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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 20th Feb 2014, 22:37
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Relying purely on my fuzzy memory of those days, I think that Sir Edward Heath, who was a keen proponent of Britain joining the Common Market, seeing the main obstacle (de Gaulle) removed at the close of the '60s, determined to go ahead. With the projected "euro" in mind, it would also be necessary first to decimalise our currency to bring it into line with those of the other members.

(VAT would also need to be introduced in all the CM states to make the system work - as the amount each "paying-in" member had to put "in the kitty" was some small percentage of its VAT "take" - this being a very rough indicator of its relative prosperity).

So our £-s-d, which somehow traced its source back 4,000 years to the ancient Sumerians and their 60-based system (we have in our clocks and navigation still), and as 12 and 20 are factors of 60, had to go; it duly went in early '71 - and the rest we know.

(VAT was introduced under the '72 Finance Act, but it did not "bite" till '73) .

As for India, it may be so, but I would think that they were more likely to go for gold (as they've always done) to hoard (not a bad idea, as it has proved). If they had stashed away large sums in sterling, it doesn't seem to have done them much good; the Indian Rupee is around 90:£ (Pakistan 120:£); when British India ended in '47 it was 14:£.

Yes, there was an inflation "bubble" at the same time (but which caused which ?) cf my tale of the humble "Jaffa cake".

Now bear in mind that I'm a Sciolist par excellence, it's all IIRC and AFAIK, and I am not to be quoted as an authority for any of this. With this disclaimer -

Old 21st Feb 2014, 07:16
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(VAT was introduced under the '72 Finance Act, but it did not "bite" till '73) .
I PVR'd in '73, and first priority was to obtain a civvie instrument rating to change my CPL (licensed to carry fare paying pax in the Chipmunk T21!) to an ATPL. Following well trodden footsteps I contacted Swindon Labour Exchange to apply for TOPS, the Training Opportunity Scheme, a splendid idea by which anyone could have the entire cost, of becoming say a Brain Surgeon, paid by HMG. I told them I wanted to become an Airline Pilot and could they pay for my IR? No they said, as the scheme had just been stopped as it had become far too costly, strangely.
So I pitched up at Kidlington realising that the gratuity that a grateful nation had just thrust into my hands (and that was all it thrust, ie no pension) would have to be spent there. Day one and a session in the Link Trainer. Get out and asked to sign the first of many bills.
"What's this?"
"Oh that's the new VAT, but don't worry as educational establishments are exempt. We have only to get our status confirmed as such and it will be refunded".
They never did, and I never was.
How I larfed...
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:26
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when British India ended in '47 it was 14:£.
Now that rings a bell.

Exercise Shiksha was a Javelin deployment to India in October 1963 and I was a co-pilot on a Valiant tanker crew that was flight refuelling them via Cyprus and Bahrain. Before we left we were issued with our LOA. R9/day. One of our number who had left India in 1947 told us that was what it was when he left. Because of the currency restrictions, only change £10 and have it stamped on your passport, we were given Indian rupees at R14/£. The official rate had also not changed since 1947.

You cannot blame the Air Force, there wasn't a lot of call for LOA etc, during the intervening years.

One of our number went sick in Bombay and a replacement had to be flown out. Owing to the urgency he was sent out with his LOA in Sterling. He was gettin R150 for a fiver.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 11:11
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All these exotic exchange rates. I used to have trouble changing my Scottish banknotes for English ones in the 60s.
Might happen again?

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Old 21st Feb 2014, 11:32
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Try getting a Scottish £50 note changed in England!
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 12:03
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I have heard that Jersey notes are now proving difficult to exchange in UK, even at Banks. Rather unsporting, as we allow UK ones to circulate freely here.

There is a small risk that we shall have to invade to restore the situation, as we did in 1066 under the leadership of our then Duke William (Guillaume?). Anyway, that one - The Bas**rd.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 22:16
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Your: "What's this?"......."Oh that's the new VAT, but don't worry as educational establishments are exempt. We have only to get our status confirmed as such and it will be refunded". They never did, and I never was".

My fading memory of C&E "Liability Notes" (several bulky and heavy volumes, which I'd to carry round in a case * with me) is that they were correct. Doubtless the firm would have submitted a claim for repayment if Output Tax had been collected in "error" (from you) - firms never missed that trick - and in any case the "error" should have been detected and rectified on the next regular VAT Inspection.

Now if this money was not then returned to you, it is plain theft and a criminal offence. Get on to your Local VAT office (it'll be in the phone book). Copy this letter to them if you wish.

Now if the situation is as I surmise, and you have documentary evidence (invoices ?) to support what you've told me, and the firm (or its successor) is still alive, and you have their address and postcode (a PO Box is no good, as you cannot enforce judgment, and an amount less than £50 is more trouble and expense than it is worth), go for them in the Small Claims Court.

There must be legally qualified members reading this. I invite comment.

Also Google: "Money Claim Online (MCOL) is HM Courts & Tribunals Service Internet based service for claimants and defendants. Money Claim Online is a convenient and secure way of making or responding to a money claim on the internet. Before you begin using the 'Money Claim Online Service' please make sure you familiarise yourself with the following information: 'MCOL Guidance' ".

* Dropped the corner of said case onto my toe around '86. Big toe nail (Mk.II) just about recovered.....D.


Not so easy with a British £50 either (from all I hear), as they're treated with suspicion...D.


Twenty years ago spent a day or two in the Falaise "Ibis". Had a look at Duke Guillaume's castle (apparently he was as stated, illegitimate). But impressed above all with the quiet little church. In it was a memorial tablet to 300 civilian casualties from the'44 battle.

Wiki has some statistics: Population'36, 5,600 -'46, 4600 (18.6% fall). Same after WWI: (18.4% fall beteen'11 to'21). I believe there were some 10,000 civilian casualties in and around the Cherbourg peninsula before and after "D" Day. The French bore us no grudge - C'ést la guerre.

We had our first taste of Krönenberg "1664" there. We were very hot and tired - pure nectar !...D.

Cheers, all. Danny.
Old 22nd Feb 2014, 14:57
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Danny, your concern on my behalf is appreciated, but I don't think I was the subject of a scam, rather that 1st April 1973 was a most appropriate date for me to become a civilian!

Looking back I'm convinced that Kidlington (I won't mention the firm's name, but most will know them and of their high reputation in civil aviation training) thought that they would qualify for exemption as an educational establishment, hence the 'temporary' need only to levy the new tax. In retrospect they were wrong and I'm pretty sure they ruefully admitted as much when I departed them clutching my new IR. Luckily the investment paid off anyway, as I managed to get a job with Dan-Air within the month, and I was soon able to become more philosophical about having to subsidise HMG rather than vice versa...
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 17:22
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When I was a nipper in the late '50s we were touring around Wales on holiday. We were in the back of beyond and stopped to fill up the car (or rather have it filled for you which was how it was back then). My Dad asked the attendant to put £5 worth in. He filled up and Dad gave him one of the old white fivers. 'Oh, I'm sorry' says the attendant 'we don't take cheques.'
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 20:25
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Just a quick thought,today is an anniversary of sorts. Many moons ago on this day, our good mate Danny had his accident, I will be raising a glass of the "Scottish" brew this evening to thank the stars for his deliverance to these columns. Danny, happy anniversary for what its worth.

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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 20:39
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Buried Treasure !


Fair point. It would seem that my recollection of the VAT liability position is incorrect. Probably the deciding factor could have been that they were a profit-making educational body. (I think the same is true of medical services). I stand corrected !

However, the princely salary that you doubtless enjoyed from Dan-Air soon soothed your chagrin over the scam (if scam it was) that the Educational Establishment we all know had practised on you....D.


He might have been wiser than he knew. The Nazis had collected all the best engravers available (including some sifted out from concentration camps) to produce very convincing forgeries indeed of the old white notes. These were mass-produced in bulk. The idea, of course, was to destroy the international standing of sterling.

I'm not sure how this could be done - you could hardly scatter them from the air over Britain - but perhaps they could be used on a large scale for trade with neutral countries; when they were eventually returned to the UK, the Treasury would have to honour them as genuine and stand the loss of foreign currency involved.

Wiki has the whole story. I'm amazed that the notes were legal tender as late as'61. To this day there are dark tales of containers of millions of them still at the bottom of Bavarian and Austrian lakes....D.


Thanks ! It was the 24th, actually, 70 years ago. But now you can all charge your glasses (sadly [liar] not at my expense !) and join me in celebration of my miraculous survival that day. "The Devil looks after his own" (did I hear someone murmur ?)....D.

Cheers, all. Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 22nd Feb 2014 at 20:53. Reason: Add Text.
Old 23rd Feb 2014, 17:21
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My apologies for preempting your prang. I did enjoy a drop in your honour last night, and now I know it's the 24th, I will see if SWMBO will allow me to mark the occasion on the appropriate date. I always find one needs a rehearsal before the big event

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Old 24th Feb 2014, 15:33
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I suspect the statute of limitations will probably preclude the recovery of the missing VAT...
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 17:15
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Danny has a Funny Thing happen to him on his way to work.

First, Disembarkation Leave (two weeks) to re-acclimatise ourselves with life in North Yorkshire (I stress "North" - and we didn't have central heating any more !) Then I had to report to Linton: to begin with I commuted from home (some 40 miles) until we could find a place in York. Linton was an AFS, so they ran a two-watch ATC system, similar to the one in force in Strubby.

I know I was commuting, for I was running South down the A19 to go on the afternoon watch when the oddest of all road incidents happened to me. It didn't deserve the term "accident" - "near miss" would cover it better. To set the scene then: straight (single) carriageway road, hardly any traffic, dry and sunny. However, the intention was to dual-carriage that stretch; for the purpose a strip of grassland had been appropriated (perhaps 30 yds wide), sloping gently down to my left. There it met a fairly solid hedge, parallel to the road.

So far, so good. About a half-mile ahead was a gentle climb. Over the brow on the other side came a furniture van and a "tail"of two or three cars, which had obviously been waiting for a safe opportunity to get past. First up was a Morris Minor (the well loved "Moggie"). There was all the room in the world, no problem.

But the Moggie panicked (probably spotted me for the first time when abeam the van), and yanked hard left across its bows to get back to the side. He overdid it, and had to yank right even harder to save running out of road (at this point I'm fairly sure I saw the back end twitch a bit).

Everybody else had the anchors on by now, for fear of what might happen next, and it was as well we had. His RH pull overshot (leaving him heading for me), next he snatched left really savagely to correct. This time he completely "lost" it. The Minor's back end broke away, the car spun left rather more than a quarter turn, flying backwards across the road about 20 yards ahead of me. It charged down the grassy slope and came to rest with the boot embedded in the hedge.

At this point I was driving past and had a glance at four (putty-coloured) faces. Two large middle-aged men in front, their even larger wives in the back, all looking somewhat alarmed. However as there was no reason to suppose injury, and the Minor should need little more than a back-end respray anyway (and I couldn't afford to be late on watch !), and seeing in my mirror that the van and another two cars behind had stopped to render assistance, I suppressed my Good Samaritan impulses and carried on to Linton. When I came back that evening, the Minor had gone. Whether it had got out under its own power, or been hauled out, I don't know.

Now I must tell you a strange thing. You might imagine that my memory for names, faces and of detail in general would improve as the intervening years lessen. The reverse seems to be the case. Perhaps this reflects the gradual onset of the "Short Term Memory Loss" syndrome (with which many of us are all too familiar).

I do not remember any names at Linton (nor for that matter in GK). Not the Stationmaster, nor the W/Cdr(A), with whom I had a lot to do, nor the RN Commander (Air), who (IIRC) replaced a W/Cdr(F), nor my SATCO, none of the other ATCs (some RN), nor our airmen. What I do remember is that Linton had a lot of RN (and one or two RM) student pilots. They flew Vampires (and I'm only fairly sure about that as we had Vampire fire hulks).

Now on all the Stations I'd been posted to since coming back post-war(excluding my training), I must have had a Subsidiary Duty (and of course, a Barrack Hut or Room to look after). For such is the inescapable lot of a Junior Officer. But other than Thornaby (where I was Mess "Wines Member" (aka Bar Officer), I cannot have been very assiduous in any of those Duties, as for the life of me I cannot remember what they were.

Apart from Linton. For I was summoned by W/Cdr (Admin), shortly after arrival, to be told that I was the Station Fire Officer, with immediate effect, and had better find out all about it ASAP (yesterday would do fine). This should prove interesting, I thought.

Evenin' all,


"....and each man in his life plays many parts...." (Shakespeare - or as much as I can remember)

PS 1: Reader123, you're probably right. Is there a solicitor in the house ?....D.

PS 2: Smudge, Yup, today's the day !...D. (For those who have not read the gory details, main story is on Page 143 #2848, sequels on 144 #2866 and 146 #2908)...D.
Old 24th Feb 2014, 17:25
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Canadian Lancaster to UK this August

I know the news has been posted elsewhere on 'PPRuNe', but I still feel it's worth a mention on this thread

RAF BBMF To Host Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster During Visit To England

Have also plugged the news on the 'Teesside Airport' (sorry DTVa thread) suggesting Peel might just do something in view it's Canadian Heritage & the Mynarski VC connection

PZU - OUt of Africa (Retired)
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 18:07
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Something to look forward to !

Perhaps they could work up a "Synchro Pair" ?

Old 24th Feb 2014, 19:18
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All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts . . .

they of course being seven by the Bard's reckoning

you nearly had it danny . . .. .you're in good company though .. . as misquotes of Shakespeare occupy chapters in books if not whole books. . .

you may not be able to come
up with the names of all those men you once knew well and served with . . . .
but what the F does that matter . . .. you do remember what's
important and what's worth the retelling . .. giving too your readers here much joy in the reading thereof

your morrie in the hedge story is another lovely minor classic (pun intended)
. . . .my mum's morrie had a dealer's transfer in the back window 'ANOTHER MORRIS' . . .. . which gran (mum's mum) got to with a razor blade so that it read HER MORRIS (for her licence test she had to do a hill start . . .move off from a standstill on a steep gradient with no slipping back whatever.. the testing man had put a matchbox jammed up against the rear of one of the tyres. . . his little party trick)

the late Ted Sly who flew with his life long friend Neville Duke in North Africa (92 east india sqn) pegged out last year at 94.. his memories of that campaign and others are graphically told in his book ''the luck of the draw'"

he used to tell us over and over i guess the last six years of his life the same stories again and again as if we had not heard them before.. . . but that was neither here nor there (though others might glaze over a tad) . . . as he always put so much energy into the telling ..
so glad to have run a tape for an hour or so one time when he was still as sharp as . . .

eg . . .. . ' we got to Rhodesia to start our basic training. one of the old hand RAF sergeants who had seen service for 20 years in Iraq and Egypt and god knows where else . . . had us lined up the morning after we got off the ship . .. . . 'what have we here' he says looking us up and down . . . ' another shower of **** from Australia' we soon sorted him out. It was he who described the sergeants mess as the holiest of holies . . .. . we had great trouble not falling about laughing .'

Ted paid the most heart felt of all his tributes to those who did the training .. . . to the old school staff instructors who instilled in the trainees the discipline and growing respect for it that as Ted said saved his life more than once during his war in England., north africa and the pacific

wonderful that for his funeral in Sydney the museum at Temora despatched their Mk VIII Spit to fly over the church as the mourners filed out.

as they did for Teds life long mate Bobby Gibbes five years previously

Last edited by Fantome; 24th Feb 2014 at 19:43.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 19:35
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
For I was summoned by W/Cdr (Admin), shortly after arrival, to be told that I was the Station Fire Officer, with immediate effect, and had better find out all about it ASAP (yesterday would do fine). This should prove interesting, I thought.
Damn, damn and multiple damn ... because not doing the Fire Officer course cost me at least 2 interesting postings, and a couple of medals for "being there".
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 21:51
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Thank you for your encouraging words, particularly your:

"....he used to tell us over and over I guess the last six years of his life the same stories again and again as if we had not heard them before...."

I hope this will not happen to me - but you never know !....D.


If I understand you correctly, it would seem that in later years the RAF adopted the novel idea of appointing Fire Officers only after they'd qualified on the Fire Course ! Such a logical procedure formed no part of the decision-making in former times. Pegs were rammed into holes regardless, round, triangular or square (on the whole * it worked out rather well, although I can see that in certain cases [pilots, for example] it might cause difficulty).

* (No pun intended).

As for the medals - think of it this way - you'd have two less to polish ! ("Silvo's" the stuff, for my money)..D.

Cheers, both. Danny
Old 24th Feb 2014, 22:57
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"the intention was to dual-carriage that stretch"

There in the early '50's a stretch of the A1 around Stamford (I think North of) about 5 miles long on the West side of the single carriage way which was in a more advanced state of readiness than your stretch Danny.
Development varied between just fenced to several unlinked sections of 200 to 300 yards long completely surfaced. Apparently work had started in 1939 but had not yet recommenced.
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