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

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

Old 19th Feb 2014, 08:49
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Changi Village, 1965. 5 of Seiko self-winding (which has a replacement strap, and that's all). I've just unearthed it to photograph for here and it's started ticking: talk about reliable!! CBA to reset the date, though - I can hardly read that these days.

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Old 19th Feb 2014, 09:41
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Chugalug2

In contrast, the CPO at Lyneham in earlier times was renowned for being in a foul mood if Swindon Town (I think he sat on the Board) had been beaten that day.
I remember him well, a Mr P...son ISTR, but to be fair he once asked me to buy him a Car Coat in Singapore or Hong Kong (in the early 60's all the rage and virtually unobtainable in the UK). As clothing I don't think there was any duty or tax to pay so his conscience was possibly salved and I didn't mind as I was building up brownie points for the next time I arrived back in the UK on a Sunday or Monday following a Saturday when Swindon Town had been thrashed, hoping he'd remember me well enough to be lenient with my declared imports.
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 14:30
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Union Jack

Quite close to the truth. I arrived in Aberdeen and slowly the carousol emptied and the source dried up. There were three others in the same boat and I recognised one of them as standing in the steerage line at check-in HK. It was assessed that the handlers at Thiefrow had not had enough time to riff through our bags in time to connect to the Aberdeen flight
We all trotted off to the BA office and had to fill in forms describing our baggage, etc. Because our baggage had originated from overseas we were all given a customs form to fill in.

Therein was a problem.

Owing to an oversight by my staff in China they had loaded 600 Benson & Hedges in my bag and they had not told me until after it had been checked in at Shekou. (I was flying with Cathay so the baggage check in was done before you caught the ferry from Shekou to Chep Lap Kok). I then had to declare those on the form.

I was assured by BA that when it arrived it would be forwarded to me by taxi and so I went home. It then occured to me that they hadn't asked for my keys so somebody was going to have to twist the cheap padlock off.

The taxi arrived that afternoon, unopened and no bill. I found on subsequent arrivals at Heathrow that if you were working overseas and had a bit of an excess as long as you declared it they waved you through. To much paperwork if you insisted on declaring it.

Up to the turn of the century there was not to much of a problem with dodgy watches, etc. As long as it was for your personal use and there was only ONE of them then it would be waved through. Unfortunately an EU directive came along and scotched that so everything had to be destroyed.

What it meant was that a fashion hanbag produced in China and sold at the tenth of the cost of an identical handbag made in China had to be destroyed so the label owner could continue to make a killing.
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 14:46
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"What it meant was that a fashion hanbag produced in China and sold at the tenth of the cost of an identical handbag made in China had to be destroyed so the label owner could continue to make a killing."

Quite right too. Protection of a designer's IP is important. If you're fussed by having a label, then pay for it. If you're not prepared to pay for the label, then buy something generic from Primark.


Tales of custom officers always alarm me. I presume that nowadays no public servant has that sort of latitude to let you off a statutory liability. Imagine the outcry in the newspapers. Or indeed the scope for bribery.

Do they still say 'If I were you I'd wear that watch and then it's second hand'?
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 16:03
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Danny42C
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Anything to Declare ?

Chugalug,

My sincere thanks for springing to the defence of my erstwhile colleagues in HMC&E, * and for the accompanying heartwarming story ! (#5167) It should be borne in mind that many of them are ex-Forces, some from our mob, and tend to be well disposed towards us.

In my thirteen years with them, I had little contact with the uniformed branch, but in our VAT District (besides me), we had in our room an ex-REME Captain, a Master Mariner and a charming young lady who'd been Third Officer on a tanker in the Gulf.

Thing is, the Customs Officer is trained to go after the Crown's Revenue with an almost Messianic fervour, suspecting everybody and allowing nothing to deflect him from his task. And although I'm sure that present company would not dream of depriving Her Majesty of her rightful dues, you will be horrified to learn that there are weaker vessels among us who are unable to resist the temptation.

Soured therefore by experience, your Preventive Officer will leave no stone unturned and no bag un-rummaged until he finds something - or his day will have been in vain and he will be unable to sleep that night. As a leading light in the accountancy profession warned on the introduction of VAT: "The Customs Officer lives for the day when the yacht sidles into the cove through the mist - and he's waiting on top of the path with musket and cutlass !"

* That was when we were proud of our heritage from the days of Charles I, before amalgamation with those 19th century upstarts of Inland Revenue .....D.

MPN11,

Your #5169: "Changi Village, 1965. 5 of Seiko self-winding (which has a replacement strap, and that's all). I've just unearthed it to photograph for here and it's started ticking: talk about reliable!!"

My old "West End Watch Co" (Longines), 1944, still going strong, will see me out (I have it MOT'd every three years or so). But no thing of beauty like yours, I'm afraid !...D.

Warmtoast,

I think your Car Coat would have been liable for Purchase Tax at that time - it was only childrens' sizes that were exempt. And of course there was always Import Duty !...D.

Reader123,

Your: "Tales of custom officers always alarm me. I presume that nowadays no public servant has that sort of latitude to let you off a statutory liability. Imagine the outcry in the newspapers. Or indeed the scope for bribery"

What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over ! And the bribery would have to be on a massive scale ("more than me job's worth"). All the objects so far mentioned have been of relatively small value. De minimis non curat lex. You wouldn't let a car in....D.

Cheers, all. Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 19th Feb 2014 at 16:30. Reason: Add Material.
 
Old 19th Feb 2014, 16:04
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Quite close to the truth - Fareastdriver

Very interesting - on the odd occasion that we have had delayed luggage from overseas subsequently delivered by white van man, all locks and ties have been intact. However, just think how closely HMC might have examined your bags if they had indeed to be rerouted to ABZ from ADN!

Jack

PS Yes, I did have to look it up ....
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 16:06
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Do they still say 'If I were you I'd wear that watch and then it's second hand'?
Doesn't work with digital ones, though.


(Solar topee, umbrella and rickshaw)
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 16:19
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rerouted to ABZ from ADN!
Well spotted; silly mistake.

Protection of a designer's IP is important
I would agree with that IF the working conditions and T&Cs for the girls producing the kosher kit are superior to what the girls producing the fake stuff are: They are not.
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 19:27
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As an RCT TA Movements Officer I worked both Felixstowe and Harwich. On more than one occasion someone in a Service unit would start arguing with a Customs Officer, which was the cue for my WO to suggest "Tea, I think, Sir".


A Royal Artillery unit thought they were in the clear when the Customs guy asked for the gun barrels to be depressed - "and no cushions please gentlemen", and oh the stench of whisky and looks of anguish as the barrels emptied. On another occasion an RAF Regt unit was left with 3 DIY kits for Land Rovers.

Last edited by Wander00; 19th Feb 2014 at 21:26. Reason: spelling, AGAIN!
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 21:08
  #5190 (permalink)  
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Danny is on Home Ground once more.

Morning came clear and bright. After exchanging our remaining Dm into sterling, and topping-up with the maximum that Lloyds would cash a cheque (+ F1250) for, we noticed that the pattern of our notes had been changed while we'd been away. This was interesting, but seemed a matter of no particular concern.

Now there was one which was ! It was well known that our Forces going out to Germany had, as a rule, no difficulty in changing to drive-on-the-right. And indeed, one of our chaps going home had said: "from now on, I'll never be nervous of driving on the Continent again". Most people would agree. The danger came in the first few days after coming back, when you dropped your guard, and the habits drilled into you in the past two or three years were too strong; and......!!

Of course, we'd all been warned of this: I gingerly hugged the left verge as we set out for Yorkshire. The last tankful of coupon German litres was running low, it had to be replaced by British gallons at an horrific price. On the way up north, only a few motorway-standard bypasses (Doncaster was one) formed a welcome relief from the old Great North Road ("Little North Road" said the cynics) as it meandered along through town after town. After the autobahnen, now we wouldn't have been surprised if we'd met Dick Turpin and Black Bess on the road.

It may be worthy of remark that I can remember (admittedly in earlier years) at least one spot (about half-way up) on the old A1 where there were still level-crossing railway gates across the premier road of the kingdom. The traffic just piled up and waited patiently while Puffing Billy hauled a load of wagons across at walking pace. On the other hand, there were plenty of big roadside pubs (the "Ram Jam Inn" in Rutland comes to mind), and no lack of greasy-spoon trucker's "caffs".

Somewhere in the midlands, we stopped at a hotel for lunch. Fifty miles further on, I suddenly said: "I'm beginning to think I may've been short-changed". But back-tracking was out of the question, the object was to get home ASAP. At dusk we did just that.

Needless to say, we were greeted rapturously by Iris's mother and the rest of the family; Mary (now approaching her third birthday) was the centre of attention. "Sally" had not forgotten us, and fell upon us in such a paroxysm of doggy delight that we were in danger of being licked to death.

Later in the evening, when things had calmed down a bit, I counted my remaining cash. Knowing exactly how much I'd started with that morning, it wasn't hard to work out how much our lunch had cost us. It was clear that we'd been "done" to the extent of 5 or 10 (can't remember now). Obviously I'd tendered a 20 note and got change for 10 (or 10 and 5) - multiply by 21 for today's price. More than we cared to lose.

A last, thin chance remained. I had the hotel bill in my pocket, so I had the phone number. Had an error been noticed ? Was the till 5 (or 10) "up" ? "Sorry, sir, but..." Of course, it might have been an honest mistake, but I doubt it. The notes were unfamiliar (changed colours ?). Had I got "87 EXT" on the car (as I've said a Post or so ago). Or was I still running on "LP 97 B" (there would have bound to have been a period of grace). A family busy with a small child, in a car (then) of a type almost unknown in UK, with "furrin" plates - I was an obvious "mark".

I had to be more careful in future. But I could not but think of the irony of the situation. For 2 years we'd travelled and shopped in Holland, Germany and Austria (in three currencies), and never knowingly been short-changed, even in the early days when (helpless) we'd had to spread a handful of strange coins on the counter for the shopkeeper to help himself. And now this - on our first day back home ! But, thank God, we were home again.

Good night, all.

Danny42C.


East, West, Home's best !

Last edited by Danny42C; 20th Feb 2014 at 14:57. Reason: Intrusive Apostrophe.
 
Old 19th Feb 2014, 23:28
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Whenever I return to the UK from an overseas tour (in the 1960s & 1970s) my final pay was always in British notes. What a mixture you got as the accounts officer cleared out his stock - Bank of England, Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, British Linen Bank and a host of other obscure (but valid) UK banks.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 09:30
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My family and I returned from a three year tour in Singapore on the same day that the UK went decimal. For us it was easy, having been used to dollars and cents. However, it was unbelievable how confused the general run-of-the mill British population was.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 11:36
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Danny42

a handful of strange coins on the counter for the shopkeeper to help himself
Way back in the sixties before the advent of the Euro, the Lire reigned supreme in Italy, so much so that there were about 1,700 Lire to the Sterling - a ridiculous "Micky Mouse" exchange rate.
My kids loved it when we were on holiday in Italy because the shopkeepers rather than give 12 or 20 Lire in change put a couple of sweets in lieu on the counter, so the kids were forever sucking away at these "free" to them, Italian sweeties and were forever asking "Dad can we go shopping please!" knowing they come away with a handful of "free" unplanned sweets.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 14:17
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In Bahrain in the early sixties I changed some Sterling into Maria Therasa Thalers. Armed with these I went down to the Souk and got a massive dicount on a very attractive certified gold necklace.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 17:15
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I went through Sana'a in the 70's and whilst there picked up a some Maria Theresa Thalers. ISTR that at the time Thalers were legal tender in Yemen and in the market enterprising stall-holders had silver-soldered bits of cut off coiled-spring curtain track (as used to hang curtains on kitchen doors) to the top of the Thaler as a loop through which to thread a neck chain.

The one shown in my photo makes a chunky necklace which my wife wears occasionally.




Thalers bearing the date 1780 are not worth much, too many were made including many made by the London Mint.

FWIW the Maria Theresa thaler bearing the date of 1780 is a "protected coin" for the purposes of Part II of the UK's Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. Quite interesting in view of the discussion above about counterfeit goods as The Act makes counterfeiting legal as long as it's done by the government!

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Old 20th Feb 2014, 17:54
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You can't keep a Good Forgery Down.

Fareastdriver,

Your: "unbelievable how confused the general run-of-the mill British population was".

Some of us are still confused yet ("I'll never get used to this Toytown money !"). And some were not confused at all, but spotted a business opportunity.

The very next day, our little supermarket in Thirsk had priced-up a packet of "Jaffa cakes" (to which I'm extremely partial) from 9d to 9p (hoping no one would notice). 240% mark-up. Nice work if you can get it ! They call it "business acumen". I call it daylight robbery.

"Certified gold necklace"...Certified by whom ? (Or am I a suspicious old git ?). The Maria Theresa Thaler is a fascinating story in its own right, but I'm surprised the Hong Kong silversmiths hadn't got in on the act by then and supplied a convincing replacement with slightly less silver in the mix. (I've read that a goodly proportion of the pound coins now in circulation - just ain't pound coins !)....D.

Warmtoast,

I would think your Italian shopkeeper was onto a good thing. I'd wager that the sweeties were not worth the 15-20 lire ! And he was making sure of customer loyalty, too. Good move !...D.

EDIT: Lovely pics ! And 'tis true: if you ran a Ponzi scheme like National Insurance you'd be up at the Old Bailey pronto. About '50, the late Aneuran Bevin put it neatly: "The secret of the National Insurance Fund is - there ain't no Fund !" (Mr Madoff can explain further, if you can get in touch).

And if you went gaily printing and issuing money with no backing you'd be in the Tower. But if you're the Governor of the Bank of England, it's "Quantitative Easing", you see - so that's all right, then.

Cheers, both. Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 20th Feb 2014 at 18:26. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 20th Feb 2014, 19:06
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Certified gold necklace"...Certified by whom
I will give the young lady who got it a Certificate of Competance.

Interesting this decimalisation lark. Australia and South Africe went for 10 shillings as the datum for the new Dollar or Rand. It was easy, really, as all the existing coins but the penny were a decimal ranging from 5% to 25%. It also got them out of the Sterling Area so they were in control of their own currency. New Zealand and Rhodesia followed and in my experience a year or so before the changeover coins had both currencies stamped on the back, ie 2/- 20c. Pennys increased in value by 20% until new ones were minted but with the number in circulation it wasn't worth bothering about.

The Brits went for the Pound, the biggest unit of currency in the world and then they had to change ALL the coinage overnight. The cynic would argue that the reason they kept the original pound was because of the hordes tucked away in the Indian sub-continent and it was better for them to continue to be tucked away and therebye save the Bank of England the embarrassment of having to redeem them.

IIRC there was also a major spike in inflation when it happened.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 21:03
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Australia and South Africe went for 10 shillings as the datum for the new Dollar or Rand. It was easy, really, as all the existing coins but the penny were a decimal ranging from 5% to 25%. It also got them out of the Sterling Area so they were in control of their own currency.

Interesting, considering that today's tourist exchange rate for 1 is $A1.86 and RSA18.6 with the former exceeding the latter by a factor of 10.

Jack
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 21:14
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Yes, and I am visiting South Africa in just over a month -unbelievably cheap in UK prices for the various accommodation and tours. Hope I might see the Lightning in the air
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 22:36
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Hope I might see the Lightning in the air.

Donner und Blitzen! There's certainly plenty of lightning in the air right now in SA, and I hope you will see the Lightning too.

Jack
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