Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 11th Jan 2014, 20:11
  #5001 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Japan
Age: 71
Posts: 204
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Congratulations Geriaviator. Yours is the 5,000th post on this thread. We have a winner.

Apropos very little, a few pages back I posted a late 1960s photo of a younger Ken on a Velocette. In the background was a Rover P3, and this is my war story.

Coventry was a centre for machine tool manufacturing. At the outbreak of WWII there was competition amongst the local manufacturers for skilled tradesmen, so they set up the Coventry Toolroom Agreement. That meant pay and conditions were set collectively by a manufacturers alliance, and led to Coventry toolmakers being the best paid tradesmen in the country. The Rover P3 belonged to my brother's mate Malcolm. He was a precision grinder (all his children turned out the same size), a tradesman who could afford to support a wife and three children, pay a mortgage, run a P3 and race a Triumph Bonneville at weekends. That photo was taken at Cadwell Park.

We were the respectable working class. Men wore suits and ties to work, before changing into overalls. Saturday nights were family nights, spent in the beer hall. Everyone dressed up, men in suits, ladies in frocks. The Dud Clews Jazz Orchestra found it profitable to drive up from London to perform in Coventry. Malcolm used to smoke cigars.

It's 0-dark-0 here, time to go out and shovel snow. Goodnight all.

Last edited by Yamagata ken; 11th Jan 2014 at 20:28.
Yamagata ken is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2014, 22:00
  #5002 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: lancs.UK
Age: 76
Posts: 1,191
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
well,Ken, I don't know what's going on, but your post is 4990 according to my ancient 'puter....and there was a ghost page, which should now be headed bythis post....(see Jet Blast TRABB...for the ghost page things!
No, it's still showing another page, but this is on the "real" last page.

Last edited by cockney steve; 11th Jan 2014 at 22:03. Reason: add observation
cockney steve is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 13:45
  #5003 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hove
Age: 71
Posts: 1,026
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"and they promptly disappeared into the murk."


One of my memories about the F-104 was that any formation created it's own murk to disappear into.

One of the other posters remarked on the aircraft being called the "Widow Maker". I was told that as a percentage we lost more Lightnings. I don't know how true that was but certainly the Luftwaffe had quite a number of Starfighters.
clicker is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 15:02
  #5004 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,223
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
The Lockheed 104 got the 'widow maker' name from the early versions that had a downward ejection seat. This was because, in 1958, there was concern that the ejection seats at the time would not be able to get the pilot above the high T tail. With this seat fitted the USAF lost 21 pilots whilst they were attempting to escape.
Later they fitted a seat with a minimum ejection speed of about 90 knots, similar to British ajection seats but the GAF and other European NATO aircraft were fitted with a Martin Baker seat that had a zero/zero capability.

I, pesonally, found that that flying low level around Germany at 200 ft was bl##dy dangerous. When there was an easterly wind blowing all the crap from East Germany would reduce the visibility to about 400 yards. Our heros in the 104s, and there were dozens of them, would point their aircraft at some distant beacon or Tacan and bore along at 3/400 knots. Even if they saw you they would be able to avoid you so it was a lot safer to get down to 50ft.

Unless there was a Wessex down there, in which case you had to go lower to undertake it.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 15:24
  #5005 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,634
Received 8 Likes on 2 Posts
F-104 "The WidowMaker"

The West German Luftwaffe received a total of 915 Starfighters and during its period of service with the German armed forces, about 270 German Starfighters were lost in accidents, just under 30 percent of the total force, killing 110 pilots, hence the nickname "The Widowmaker".

The attrition rate in German service was not all that much greater than that of the F-104 in service with several other air forces, including the United States Air Force. Whilst Canada had the unenviable record of losing over 50 percent of its 200 single-seat CF-104s in flying accidents.

At Rheindahlen one would see regular flights of pairs of F-104s flying at relatively low-level, south to north from the GAF base at Norvenich which was about half-way between Aachen and Cologne. These flights were a regular daily occurrence, about every hour or so.
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 15:34
  #5006 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,634
Received 8 Likes on 2 Posts
Chugalug 2

Very 70's interiors, Warmtoast, with 'earth colours' in abundance! I trust you had the long hair and flared jeans to match;-).
Long hair and flared jeans are not quite my scene. I was more into Wagner, heavy, but sublime music; James Last, and Abba after they swept the board of the 1974 Eurovision song contest with "Waterloo". I still remember the blonde singer with her tight and shiny blue trousers!
..and I still like James last.
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 16:42
  #5007 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 81
Posts: 4,692
Received 86 Likes on 30 Posts
James Last and Abba I couldn't possibly but agree with, especially as you say the very fragrant Agnetha. Wagner not so much my cup of tea, I must admit, though a very pithy Dan-Air captain that I flew with out of Berlin once suggested that one of the local #1's there might well be outfitted with the appropriate helmet, spear and shield for making her cabin report prior to door closure, for it always ended with some doom laden comment. "89 passengers on board and seated, Captain...and they are all drunk!"
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 18:21
  #5008 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 78
Posts: 7,636
Received 82 Likes on 39 Posts
At the risk of sounding snotty, is there a chance that we could get back to Danny42C's amazing career? There's so much more to hear, and being the gent he is I suspect he's just waiting for the waters of thread deviation to calm down
MPN11 is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2014, 19:08
  #5009 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Fareastdriver, Warmtoast and Chugalug,

There were dark rumours at the time about the methods Lockheed used to secure the NATO F104 contracts, and I believe Prince Berhard of the Netherlands was said to be implicated. As to that I have no knowledge, but those who have been surprised by the recent choice of the Rafale for the IAF might be interested to refer back to p.35 #691 ("regle"- RIP) on this Thread.

As to choice of music, I'm in general agreement with all that has been said, but found Wagner a bit heavy myself, Chugalug, and for some reason I got addicted to Mahler, attracted by what I call the "marmalade" quality of his music. And I could listen to "Die Fledermaus" till the cows come home.


Last edited by Danny42C; 13th Jan 2014 at 17:35. Reason: Correct an intrusive "(" to make myself clear.
Old 12th Jan 2014, 21:22
  #5010 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Fear not ! I'm waiting in the wings with the next two or three Posts in draft and ready to go.

Meanwhile, I've on many occasions on this Thread warned of the danger of it becoming a monologue. It's a Forum; the ebb and flow of "crewroom natter" is what gives it life; the Moderators have been very wise to allow us the widest possible scope; this is what has made it that "Prince of Threads" which it has grown into.

Danny thanks you for your concern on his behalf, but is quite content to wait till things quieten down a bit !

Old 13th Jan 2014, 23:34
  #5011 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: N Yorkshire, UK
Age: 75
Posts: 484
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thumbs up Another SAAF Clip from Tinus le Roux

Another SAAF Clip from Tinus le Roux

Lt Peter During, a Spitfire pilot with 7 Sqd SAAF on his 'Italian walkabout'


PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
pzu is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2014, 18:11
  #5012 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Danny and Family set out to see a bit of the Country.

As I've mentioned before, the combination of cheap coupon petrol and leave mileage allowance made it easy to afford as much travel as you wanted. And the squadrons had thought of a good way to combine business with pleasure.

Somewhere in the district surrounding Oberammergau/Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria) the RAF had established an Escape and Evasion School which all aircrew (AFAIK) had to attend - to teach them how to live off the land in the event of escaping from captivity as prisoners in some future war. These Courses were apt to be uncomfortable (I'd always managed to evade them in my flying days) and not at all popular - especially in winter.

But why not bring your wife and family down with you ? They can easily find hotel rooms in nine out of ten years. On the tenth, Oberammergau put on a world-famous Passion Play (see Wiki) all summer; all spare accommodation in the village and its environs would be at a premium. But even then the RAF had found a solution. A local large farm (name forgotten) had a tourist room available very reasonably: our aircrew had more or less laid claim to the place as a holiday base. Your family could enjoy a week or two there while you were building bivouacs in the forest and dining on hedgehog (baked Captain Mainwaring style ?).

We had a trip down there, although I was not on the Course, staying at the farm. The place rang with the chimes of cowbells as the cows came down to be milked. Almost on the Austrian border, the farm was close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany (actually the border runs right through the summit). Of course, we had to go and see Ludwig's fantasy castle of Neuscwanstein, taking a landau up the hill as it was a very hot day. Mary was fascinated by the place and galloped up and down the long galleries above the great Hall, adorned with Wagnerian frescos. Not far away is the charming small palace of Linderhof, another of the king's extravagances which almost bankrupted his kingdom.

The mountainous scenery in that part of the world is magnificent; the small medieval towns are full of woodcarvers; the walls of the houses covered with these frescos, many religious as Bavaria is the most Catholic part of Germany. We picked one of the smaller glacial lakes (cannot recall the name) as our favourite picnic spot. It was a beautiful place, the water clear as glass, but being melt-water from the snows on the surrounding mountains, was achingly cold even in the summer sunshine (and there is only sharp scree underfoot !)

On another occasion we took the rack railway to the summit of the Zugspitze. There was a very good (and expensive !) restaurant on the top. From the terrace is a wonderful panoramic view over Austria: on the lower slopes of the mountain I could pick out Ehrwald where I'd skied with Witold Suida eight years before. People were sunbathing in deckchairs in the warm sunshine and you could ski part way down from there, for on the higher slopes there was then snow all the year round (although I believe that is not possible today with the shrinking of the glacier).

Of course, the only fly in the ointment was the distance down to Bavaria. We reckoned 450 miles from GK to the Austrian border, but with an early start, and two of you sharing the driving, even with rest stops you could comfortably make it by early evening. Nearly all of it was autobahn; at frequent intervals there were raststätte in clearings where you could pull off for a breather, and eat your own snacks in the open air on the rough benches and tables provided. Nothing else was there, they were unmanned. Somehow they were always clean and tidy; the Germans took their own rubbish with them and I suppose they were checked regularly by someone or other.
(Are these places still there today, I wonder ?)

There were traps for the unwary on the way home. Usually you'd travel overnight (having squeezed the pips out of your holiday time). Again, nearly all autobahn, that shouldn't be a problem. Until you reached the dreaded Frankfurter Kreuz. * This was a spaghetti junction to put Birmingham in the shade. Many a weary driver, completely disorientated by the myriad Richtung signs, ended up on the right autobahn - but going southbound again ! Unless he twigged it, "by dawn's early light", he'd be back where he started (this happened more than once)

(* Choose Wiki's second (German) entry for a nice clear diagram)

I'd a small compass on my screen, not unlike an E2 (and about as much use), but enough to show up gross errors. And, to give the highway authorities their due, the did try to help. As soon as you cleared the Kreuz, there was a notice: "Falsch Gefahren ?" (Made a mistake ?) "Never mind, there's a junction 5km (say) ahead - you can turn round there". But as there was then no English version of the message, it was not much help to many of our people who had to learn the hard way.

Enough for the night, I think.

Cheers, Danny42C.

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive (yes, I know I've used that before)

Last edited by Danny42C; 14th Jan 2014 at 18:19. Reason: Spacing.
Old 14th Jan 2014, 18:50
  #5013 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 70
Posts: 2,063
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Ha ha Danny,

Have you double posted this ? Could be your having to go around the Autobahn system again, I never did a tour in Germany, but had a few short stays and always found the country and its people very welcoming. I envy you your chance to explore, there must be more.

smujsmith is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2014, 19:04
  #5014 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Oops ! Mea Maxima Culpa !

Another Senior Moment ! Thanks for pointing it out - and it puts me back on #5000. (Roll on #6000).

Cheers, Danny.
Old 14th Jan 2014, 23:19
  #5015 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Location: Location!
Posts: 2,259
Received 18 Likes on 13 Posts
and it puts me back on #5000. (Roll on #6000).

But very fitting that it should indeed be you, Danny - just keep ' em coming!

Union Jack is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2014, 23:24
  #5016 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Danny retells a Strange Tale fom 1945.

The new Thread that has just been opened by draken55 (Dieppe Raid Documentary) tweaks a faint string in my memory. It was of a rumour, current in India at the war's end, of another "Raid" which went spectacularly wrong. As I've never read any documentary evidence to support this rumour (and now Wiki makes no mention of it), it may be pure fiction, and I've not made any reference to it in my Posts of the time. For what it is worth, here is the story:

As the '45 Monsoon was slackening, and the land campaign in Burma was going well for us, it was decided to mount an invasion on the mainland coast at a point just south of Phuket Island. (The idea here was repeated by MacArthur at Inchon in the Korean War - cut all your enemy's front line forces off "at the knees" from their supply lines at a stroke).

Now this operation of ours was supposed to have been the original "Zipper", and Wiki covers that ground fully. The objectives were then supposed to be Ports Swettenham and Dickinson (which are far South of the spot we have in mind).

But our supposed Invasion Task Force was at sea in late July, and it was far more than a probing operation. There was a strong Naval escort, there were LCTs and LCIs carrying a large infantry force. All the intelligence that could possibly be gathered had been minutely studied by the Planners. But it was not enough.

All the old holiday memories and snaps of the landing beaches told of firm, white sand. And there was supposed to be sufficient water depth to allow the LCTs to get inshore. But the intelligence was faulty. Below a six-inch top-dressing of sand lay deep, glutinous mud. And offshore lay an unsuspected sandbar which the LCTs would strand on.

Half way across the Japanese Emperor surrendered. But it was anybody's guess whether the troops in Burma would comply with the order. The Force decided to go on. As they approached land, there was no reaction. They went in.

It was a shambles. Any light-skinned vehicles that had come ashore with the infantry were down to their axles in the mud. The heavily laden infantry floundered about in it. The LCTs couln't get inshore (and their tanks would not have been much use if they could). And above the high-water mark a substantial Japanese force waited impassively. What air support our people had (or even if they had any) I don't know.

The situation was on a knife-edge. It would need only a single Jap soldier to fire the first shot, discipline would break down, and there would be a bloodbath. His officer would cut him down at once, but the harm would have been done. The Navy offshore could not fire into hand-to-hand combat on the beach. It would have been a disaster; Mountbatten's name would have been mud.

But it didn't happen. The Japanese commander offered his sword. And the force (presumably) withdrew and was incorporated into Operation Tiderace.

And that's the story. Make of it what you will.


Last edited by Danny42C; 14th Jan 2014 at 23:29. Reason: Spacing.
Old 16th Jan 2014, 22:25
  #5017 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,634
Received 8 Likes on 2 Posts

Like you we visited Neuschwanstein Castle near Fussen in Bavaria. One of the most impressive and memorable sights in Germany.

You mention going up the steep hill from the car park to the castle entrance by "landau". Things had gone downhill a little when we visited ten or so years later as although the transport up the hill was still horse-drawn a much more rudimentary and practical carriage was used as seen here.

Outstanding workmanship to the interior as seen here.

The guide said Ludwig II's bed took two years to be carved out of a solid piece of wood as seen here.

...and of course given it's name the Swan featured prominently as seen in this painting of Lohengrin (he of the opera) arriving to meet Elsa his bride in a swan-drawn boat (the marriage didn't last!).

Also agree with you about the picturesque villages as seen here with the cows coming down from the mountains. The best ones wear the biggest bells.

Warmtoast is offline  
Old 17th Jan 2014, 15:54
  #5018 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Thanks for the lovely photos. We used to see the cows coming down over the meadows. Happy Days,

Old 17th Jan 2014, 16:49
  #5019 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Danny reminisces on Times Gone By.

Roaming round Bavaria, we suffered our first puncture ("flat") in the 403 (the culprit was a fence-wire staple). I changed the wheel without much trouble, and off we went.

Punctures are rare today; tyres must be much tougher or roads much cleaner. But in former times it was not so. In the days of my youth, every boy could mend a puncture in his bike at the roadside. He'd have a little tin of repair kit in his saddle-bag and a pair of tyre levers (or teaspoons pinched from the cutlery drawer when Mum wasn't looking).

When they and their vehicles grew larger that was no longer possible. Now you changed the wheel yourself, put it into the nearest garage (used to be 2/6), picked it up and put it back yourself. Not only that, but we used to Change the Wheels Round to Equalise Wear (there were two schools of thought about that: one pointed out that they'd all wear out togther and then you'd have to buy a full set). And even now, a mysterious "pull" in the steering can often be cured by swapping the fronts over. So of course the puncture held no terrors for me, I got the kit out and set to work. Now our senior members are calling to mind how it (typically) was.

You got the trim off (simple then), if you had any, and with sinking heart confronted the wheel nuts. These would have been pulled up tight by a gorilla on steroids , and brute force aplenty was the only answer now. Obviously the fewer of these to be shifted, the better. For most types I remember, four per wheel was the norm, now it's gone up to five and I wouldn't be surprised if they are running around with six. But surely, geometrically, three in an equilateral triangle should be enough. If not, why not ?

I suppose (having no more engineering expertise than the average layman) that the torque exerted by the studs on braking and acceleration might be sufficient to break the spokes or shear the metal of the wheel disk, so many studs would share out the load. But Peugeot were not convinced: they were of my opinion. They kept a three-stud system, and spread the load on the wheel disk like this:

Each nut had a captive washer of an oval plan, and shaped underneath, so that it would fit snugly against the fold in the sheet metal of the wheel through which the stud protruded. The mating brake drum was (I think) moulded so that it supported the fold area of wheel from the inside. Brilliant ? - Simple ? - Yes !

So you only had three nuts to struggle with (which, removed, you kept in the trim "dish"), wind up the side pillar jack, off with the wheel (on an unbraked wheel, the brake drum would often come off with the wheel, as it was only secured by the wheel studs), and on with the spare. Easy. Well, not quite. We all know the typical scenario. It's cold, it's raining, the water's dripping down your collar, you're up to your fetlocks in long wet grass, and the wet spare's playing peek-a-boo with the studs.

But have no fear, Peugeot is here. To get at the spark plugs, set deep in the hemispherical head, they gave you a long box spanner. But the tommy-bar was about ten inches (far too !) long. And on one end was formed a little cup which seemed to have no purpose. But now you looked at a wheel stud, and all became clear.

For the tip of the stud, beyond the threads, had been turned down into the form of a small grease-nipple (remember them ?). You seized the wheel: its fun was over. Through a hole you passed the tommy bar, the cup went on the end of a stud, you heaved the bar up , it pulled wheel and stud up together, the wheel slid smoothly down the bar on to the stud, and "Bob's yer Uncle".

Not exactly rocket science ? True - but none of the six cars we've had since (three French, one British, one Japanese pretending to be British and one German pretending to be Spanish) has taken the trouble to do this.

Cheers to you all,


These little things are sent to try us
Old 17th Jan 2014, 18:05
  #5020 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2012
Location: London
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The invasion (that failed) must have looked vaguely like the invasion of Rangoon towards the end of this film.

Apropos of nothing, I also tripped over a 1943 film on how to operate and fly a B24 - in colour. There's an hour and a half of it:

Reader123 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.