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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 15th Mar 2014, 07:38
  #5301 (permalink)  
 
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I bought three Isettas in the early 1980s ...the first two were for SWISSAIR captains on the DC9. I hired a trailer, drove them up to Heathrow and they were put into the hold of an A300 bound for Geneva. The third I kept for myself as it had already been restored.
I took the back roads from Wickford onto the Southend arterial road and gunned it scaring the living daylights out of me. My wife was following the cloud of two stroke oil smoke in our Saab 900. At home I proudly asked her what speed I hit thinking it must have been around 70 mph....giggeling she said just over 30.
Never drove it again and the following year I bought a Bristol 409 with a 5.3 V8 which I still have.
Lost about three grand on the bubble cars
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 09:00
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Danny, hope all is well with you. We all hope to hear from you ASAP.

Another bubble car, not dissimilar to the Isetta, was the Heinkel Kabine powered by a 10PS single cylinder air cooled four stroke unit. It always struck me as the 'classiest' of the trio compared to the Iso and the Messerschmitt, but beauty as they say...



Interesting that so many of the bubble cars and scooters of those days were produced by aviation related companies, though given the sudden drop in demand for fighters and bombers it was perhaps understandable.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 09:09
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Didn't one (or more) make have a kick start pedal on the engine? As they used motor cycle engines, it was the simplest way of starting, but a nuisance if you stalled it in traffic!
mmitch.
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 20:39
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Just musing on the end of WW2 and the similarity with today's "perceived" celebration of withdrawal from Afghanistan, I can't help but wonder how many, at the end of WW2 believed in a world (or country at least) looking to a life free of war and full of technological advancement. I for one, on joining in 1969, had little belief that I would be involved in military shenanigans during my service, how wrong one can be. We are lucky that, sharing a common bond (the RAF) we have access to such real personal history as we do on this thread. I'm sure that in its conception, Cliff, didn't forsee the "crew room" that it would become. But, with mod indulgence, I believe that this thread could become (to some degree already has) an ongoing narrative on life in our service, since WW2. Unlike most of our modern newspapers GAPWIWW2 has no fears of going where others dare not. Long may that continue, and lets start hearing from some more of you National servicemen etc from the 50s, there must be more to bring our history to light.

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Old 18th Mar 2014, 08:12
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Good post, Smudge. I joined 10 years before you and the last thing on my mind was war, rather it was to get through training and in particular flying training in my case. I was still at AFTS when Cuba was happening but the same preoccupations pertained.

I doubt if perceptions have changed much since then, it is more a case that as you grow older your horizons broaden until, at the stage of life most of us are who post here now, you finally see the woods for the trees.

War time memories, as this thread demonstrates, are those that had a personal impact. The broader issues of, "Why are we here?", and, "What's it all about?", tend to have to wait for someone else to dot the i's and cross the t's.

In a way the charm of this thread is that it works in the reverse way. We all have a broadbrush picture of the history of WW2, or even of the Cold War. What makes it real though are the recollections of those who experienced and lived through it, for theirs are the memories of "Millions Like Us" and they speak for a generation, and one that we all owe a great debt to.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 09:49
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Danny is back on the Flight Line from Servicing and ready for Airtest.

blind pew (your #5301)

Yes, I well remember how the sight of the roadway streaming past about two feet down under your nose gave a false impression of speed - and a clear appreciation of danger ahead !

A £3,000 loss on a single Isetta in '80 ? What on earth did you buy at ? (or was that over the three ?) For that money then you could get quite a decent 2/h five-year old car. Still, for folk who can afford a Bristol 409 and keep a 5.3 V-8 in petrol at 127.9p a litre, I suppose it was of little concern......D.


Chugalug (your #5302)

Didn't remember the Heinkel (but a nice pic all the same) - I don't think they were as numerous as the Isettas, but very much to the same design. Looking them up, it seems that both were produced as three and four-wheelers. The three-wheelers were a tax- advantageous thing in the UK, but were supposed to be dangerously unstable. I don't see how two wheels at the back (20in apart) would improve matters much, but that was how it was said to be.

The story I was told was that the 300cc single in the BMW Isetta was just half of the legendary 600cc twin which powered the mud-plugging sidecar combinations which always appear in newsreel film of the Wehrmacht during the war. If so then it must have been de-rated to produce only 10hp, but that may have accounted for the complete reliability. It never failed to start, or missed a beat, or gave any trouble all the time I had it until catastrophic engine failure finished it off (as I've said before, I'd no idea of the total mileage, it may well have been enormous).

But Wiki has the whole story: it seems that it may have been a stand-alone design....D.


mmitch (your #5303)

The more expensive ones usually had "dynamotor" starters. The "cheapos" (Bond for example) took the kick crank off the splines, refitted it 150º "advanced", then pulled it over TDC through a cable from the crank through the bulkhead to a long hand lever hinged on the cockpit floor. The cable was attached about 1/3 way up the lever, so you had a 3:1 mechanical advantage on your pull. Worked quite well.

Can't see how they would get a foot inside the engine compartments to kick-start (perhaps an external starting handle "dogged" to the crankshaft like all the old cars had ?)......D.

Cheers, all. Danny.
 
Old 18th Mar 2014, 09:52
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EXCELLENT NEWS

Welcome back, Danny42C ...
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 10:27
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Danny reports back on PPRuNe and surveys his responsibilities as Fire Officer

It may surprise some, but all this expensive equipmment is supplied for one, and only one primary purpose - to attend aircraft crash incidents on and in the vicinity of the airfield, to save life and extinguish any fire which may break out on the aircraft involved. Many think that the "Standbys" back on the Station Fire Section are in some sense "domestic" appliances, available to deal with station building fires and chip-pan incidents on the "patches".

They were not (at least not while the airfield was open for air traffic). The sequence of events envisaged was this: aircraft crashes on or close to your airfield, Crash 1,2 & 3 are sent to the scene. But you very probably have other air traffic in the circuit or approaching. These would now have no crash cover, and would need diverting or face a long stand-off. So you bring your standbys up to the Tower while you get the others down.

Air Traffickers will probably remember that this was a staple item in "Shawbury Mock" exercises, the instructor developing a scenario where the Station Commander's MQ is in flames, the student is pressured to send the standby to deal with it (Local Controller had discretion to do this in my day). But should he do so, the inevitable will happen, and he'll be "caught with his pants down".

So whose responsibility is it to put the Station Commader's fire out ? The nearest civilian Fire Brigade - his Quarter is in the same boat as any humble cottage in the village - at least in theory. Of course, this applies only when the airfield is open. Outside flying hours the full resources of the Fire Section would be available to tackle domestic incidents. But I cannot remember many of these, the most notable being the case (mentioned in a long past Post) of my Fire Sergeant's own MQ (which made it all the more embarrassing !), where considerable delay in the response was caused by the failure of the AMQ Fire Alarm system at the Guardroom end as a result of over-enthusiastic "bumping", which had dislodged a connecting plug on the skirting board there.

This incident reinforced my experience that every emergency system should be tested at least weekly, or it'll surely fail on the day. My "off watch" firemen where constantly busy testing fire hydrants, servicing fire extiguishers round the camp and checking fire alarms, beside maintaining and polishing the vehicles and keeping our buildings spick and span. My Sergeant and I went round Station buildings on Fire Safety inspections. We regularly organised rescue training on our "scrap" Vampires on the burning ground on the far side of the airfield - for this is the really important part - getting the people out quickly, if possible before a fire starts. All aircraft fires are different, of course, but in general I would say that, if a fire is not killed in five minutes, eveyone aboard is either out or dead.

Here I made a small name for myself. We had a single-seat Vampire (u/c up) on the ground, put a chap in the cockpit with Mae West and parachute on ("K" dinghy attached), full seat harness, helmet * with oxygen tube and radio plug connected, to "play dead". We had a dummy or two as well, but only used these in live fires. I think we had volunteer studes in the cockpit for many of the "dry" runs. (I can't remember ever having a T11 to practise on).

You set two firemen to get him out (any more just get in each other's way) and you need a third man to stand by to back them up with CO² or dry powder if needed. You might suppose that it was easy to free an "unconscious" man of his trappings and lift him out. It isn't. With a big man it's a struggle indeed, for you've * got no good foothold on top of the circular fuselage. I hit on a way to simplify the task.

Use a section of the L/Rover ladder, a simple pulley hooked to the top rung, a line and an underarm strop. Prop your ladder up against the fuselage side, disentangle your victim and get the strop on him, and "yeo, heave ho". When he's clear enough of the cockpit sides, pull the whole lot over to you from the aircraft so that he falls on the ladder as you take it back; you've got a sort of "tumbrel" to act as an improvised stretcher to pull him away from danger. We tried it; it worked like a charm: I got a £15 Award for the idea.

* Don't think we had "bone-domes" yet. And certainly no ejector-seats.

Next time, the Isetta figures as the star of the show.

Good Morning, all.

Danny42C


......"My old man's a fireman/Whadd'y think of that?/'E wears gorblimey trousers/an' a little gorblimey 'at/'E wears a bloomin' muffler around 'is bloomin' throat .........

Last edited by Danny42C; 18th Mar 2014 at 10:37. Reason: Always miss something first time !
 
Old 18th Mar 2014, 10:52
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MPN 11

You're using photobucket for your Sprite. You can always resize it.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 12:28
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Practice Fires. It was sunny Manby, c. 1966, when it was decided to have a proper smoke/flame Practice Crash using the newly-delivered Meteor fire practice wreck on the burning area.

So it was that assorted bods, myself included, attended the performance (watching at a safe distance). Flammable liquids were duly distributed on and under the unsuspecting aircraft, and were duly lit.

SATCO (Harry Pollitt, IIRC) then ordered the red Verey to be fired as the signal for the Crash Crew to attend. The Duty Pistol Firer, Plt Off Arthur (something) of Manby ATC, had been so entranced by proceedings that he hadn't anticipated the instruction. Further shouting from SATCO made Arthur realise that he now needed to run to the ATC Landrover parked at some safe distance and fire the red. He eventually got there. Needless to say, the first cartridge misfired. Eventually he found another, and a red ball of light soared into the air ... the Crash Crew mounted up (if they weren't already on board) and set off across the airfield for the burning area.

Basically, by the time they eventually arrived and started deploying foam (from their Mk 5), the 'new' Meteor only consisted of a tail unit, the cockpit and 2 wingtips.

I believe they got another Meteor a few weeks later. I just retreated to Strubby and let them get on with it.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 14:44
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Back in winter 1973, Moley was flying Varsities from RAF Oakington. He'd been an avid aeromodeller for years...and had just finished a rather nice control line stunt model. This was about 4 feet wingspan and powered by a .35 cubic inch glowmotor. Nearly time for the first flight...so it seemed appropriate to conduct an engine run first, to check out the fuel system. There being snow on the ground, the warmth of his room in the Mess was attractive....and it would only be a few seconds running; what could go wrong?(!)

So an old tin tray was pressed into service to preserve the carpet from drips...the windows were opened for ventialtion...the tank was filled and ignition applied to the glowplug. The engine started in a most satisfactory manner, and all appeared to be well. So the engine was stopped and the model inspected...this had been quite loud, despite the silencer, and odd bods arrived to see what was going on. Of course, a second run had to be undertaken......

This time, the engine backfired and a small flame was ignited in the drips in the tin tray....this spread across the tray surface and blowing at it didn't seem to help. By this time, the undersurface of the model was well alight, tissue, balsa wood and cellulose dope being readily inflammable....so an attempt was made to smother the flames using the bedspread.

Now we had the tray on fire, the model on fire and the bedspread on fire too...this had all happened in a matter of seconds, and the carpet didn't look too clever either! Only one thing to be done...get it OUT OF THE WINDOW!!! Bundling up the whole sorry affair in the smouldering bedspread, it was pushed out of the window....where it stuck fast, and ignited the curtains....by this time there was lots of smoke....finally the remains of the model was pushed through the window using a handy clothes horse, and a look out the window showed it burning harmlessly in the snow outside. The carpet was dealt with by stamping out the burning bits.

Phew!! Got away with it!! Just need to tidy up and do a bit of cleaning and....ah.......what's that? Sounds like fire engines.....

One helpful chap had picked up a telephone and reported that an aeroplane had crashed behind the Officer's Mess. This brought the Station Fire Plan into action, which resulted in every fire appliance in Cambridge and the surrounding retained brigades turning out....there were fire appliances queued up the road as far as the eye could see....and Moley had an interesting chat with the Chief Fire Officer for Cambridge...and later on with the Wing Commander (Admin)....
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 15:03
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Nice one, Moley
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 15:03
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Bone Domes

The first time I saw a bone dome, it was being worn by Mike Hawthorn in practice on Thursday for the sports car race at the Daily Express International Trophy meeting in May 1956 at Silverstone. I later overheard someone ask him what it was and he replied that somebody at Farnborough had asked him to try it out. Me the clever clogs spotter had already worked that out as I had seen him take it off to reveal a standard issue R.A.F. cloth flying helmet underneath.
I think us students at Thorney were issued bone domes in the Autumn of 1967, at first just for use in the NF 10 Vampires. The fitting session was a very serious affair supervised by the SMO, we told not to scatch or deface them in any way. Next everyone had to have them, to be worn for take offs and landings in the Varsities and Valettas. Then take them back to flight safety to be fitted with visors. Shortly afterwards they were all recalled and we were reissued with new ones with smokey visors. It appeared that the fitting of visors had to be a factory job not on site but when we got the new ones the SMO was not required. If this farce occurred through out the service, it effectively doubled the MOD's order.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 16:25
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The Light that Failed.

MPN11,

First, thanks for welcoming the return of the Prodigal Son (or the bad penny, whichever way you look at it !).

(Shrewd suspicion that Arthur not quite on the ball: needs to sharpen up: probably had safety catch on first time, invented story of dud round to explain delay. Memo: keep eye on Arthur; W.O. i/c Armoury to give Arthur further instruction on Verey pistol - in Arthur's own time , that is.)

Couldn't have had a better illustration of my words of wisdom: "This incident reinforced my experience that every emergency system should be tested at least weekly, or it'll surely fail on the day"....D.

Molemot,

What was the score on Mess Bill ? One complete room redecorated; one pair curtains; one Carpet, one Bedspread, (Junior Officers for the Use Of) - beer money for the month down the pan , I'll be bound.......D

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 18th Mar 2014, 16:34
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Helmet boxes wre the thing to have. AThey wbout a foot square and for the Support Helicopter force they were magic. When out in the sticks under canvas they were the ideal bedside table where you could tuck away your things so that they would not be attacked by the local crawlies.

About 1974 they took them all away and replaced them with poofy cloth bags Protests were overridden and they all disappeared.

Later we had an exercise that encompassed Salisbury Plain and the surrounding area. I selected Keevil as our location because we could break into old brick buildings and stay dry and also the helicopters could hide very successfully in concrete scrim. This was very successful as the entire RAF reconnaisance organisation failed to find us by IR or visually day or night.

Whilst I was there I had a wander around and there was a spares organisation that I cannot remember the name of that had a hangar full off aircraft spares, mostly ex RAF. There were three airworthy Goblin engines, loads of ground equipment and against one wall there was an enormous pile of helmet boxes.

It took me less then two minutes to find my old one and when I held it up the chap in charge just waved it away.

Owing to various happenings in the preceding years my helmet was not on my flying clothing card so after I retired it continued doing what it was designed to do.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 20th Mar 2014 at 15:40.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 11:19
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Danny

Yes 3 grand was a lot to loose but two were supposedly restored by a garage in Wickford (Essex of course) and the third I paid for a bare metal respray.
The two were air freighted to Geneva at my expense. Foolishly I trusted the guys after explaining the problems of restoring old cars (I had done a couple of S types in the 70s to help the budget as BEA paid peanuts).
One of the guys spent CHF 4000 on getting the car through the Swiss MOT...difficult to get any english motor oil tight as I found our with a Perkins 4108 on my yacht. He then drove it to Zurich and had enough.
Yes you are right about the consumption of the Bristol..I towed a Phoebus C glider down to the Pyrenees a few years ago average 8.5 mpg.

Re the control line aeroplane fire...I grew up in a prefab opposite Rochford (sarfend now) airport...the eldest of three so a bit of a dogs body...mum cooking a pan of chips in lard and I was asked to make the tea...as a nine year old it was a stretch to reach the kettle which was on top of the eye level grill...water splashed into chip pan which boiled over. Fat ignited with flames up to the ceiling.Mum opened back door, grabbed pan and threw it out then yanked down burning net curtains which followed the pan.
So it was mashed spuds for tea.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 13:49
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So many hilarious tales ! Loved Molemot's and MP's tales of derring-do!

IIRC, tha Bond "C" (narrow, rounded nose, projecting front wings with headlights in the ends) was 150cc Villiers -powered.....You did, indeed, have the ability to lift the bonnet, poke your boot in and kick-start it.

The later twins had the flatter front with the wide-mouth grille in anodised alloy....these had the Dynastart.

the complete engine, transmission, exhaust and wheel were mounted on a sort of Gimbal-ring....A certain chap of my aquaintance, would be in traffic-lights on Southend hHigh Street...Observing through the mirror, that the following driver was distracted, he'd spin the steering wheel and the Bond would chug round within it's own length, whereupon the occupants would make unambiguous gestures to the attractive female Pax they were now facing...another dip io the clutch and they would be facing forward again, much amusement being had from the reactions behind!.....there was a stop, but the lock on the Bond was well over 180*

Isetta and Heinkel, the latter had a roomier cabin, being somewhat more elongated than the Isetta (latter was built in Isle of Man, under license for a few years!) The twin wheels, IIRC, were spaced at less than 10" centres, to classify as a single.....the pedestrian milk-floats, contrilled by a "broom handle" sticking out front, had a similar arrangement.

It helped grip and made tyre-wear acceptable.
Messerschmitt was 200cc Sachs-powered, gearchange was a bowden-cable operated, positive-stop motorcycle one, so the lever sprang to the middle of the slot after each (hand) change,...Steering was like a kid's toy pedal-car..a peg at right-angles to the column's axis, engaged an eye in the tie-bar....the "droopy moustache" ivory plastic handlebar was around 1/4 turn, lock to lock. It was certainly an "interesting" experience!

Popular lergend had it that the hardtop's bubble and windscreen were actually from the Messerschmitt fighter...the whole thing hinged sideways to enter. I knew an owner...built a little shed for his, drove right in,one day,then remembered the reason why he always disembarked and pushed it under cover......unfortunately,the battery was U/s...Neighbours out, he spent several hours contemplating the little car and it's shelter
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 21:08
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Heinkel/Messerschmit vehicles

Post-RAF service I became a civilian wireless operator (later termed Radio Officer, but no extra pay or perks) at a station in North Staffs. At one stage we had two chaps on our watch who became 'car' owners, one with an H and t'other with an M. The H owner drove home off one night shift (10 p.m.) straight into his carport with the obvious result - couldn't open the 'front door' so had to wait for a kindly passer-by. The rest of us travelled by coach except one individual (Mac) who, on fine days, used one of those cycles with a motor driving directly onto the rear tyre, as mentioned in previous posts.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 22:34
  #5319 (permalink)  
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Fareastdriver,

Another very useful issue was the pilots' Parachute Bag. Big, tough, brown, canvas holdall, zip round three sides, could be packed till almost spherical and still zip-up, go anywhere in the aircraft, used to carry anything (inc live dogs). On very rare occasions used for parachutes.

Never wore a bone dome. Were they as uncomfortable as they look ?....D.


blind pew,

Horror follows horror ! If CHF4000 means what I think it means, someone was paying ca £2,000 for putting a thing though Swiss MOT that cost me £199 new in '50. Have we all gone mad ?

True, true - we had to wait for the Japanese to teach us how to build oiltight engines.

Oh, the old chip-pan fire again ! Your: "Mum opened back door, grabbed pan and threw it out" (Standard reaction, usually ends in A&E) . Correct action: Grab tea towel, soak under tap (or dunk in sink), fling wet over pan on stove, put gas out. Curtains ? - in sink ! About one in a million Mums have a Fire Blanket on the kitchen wall. Your Mum was lucky !....D.


cockney steve,

They must have bust the string ! Even my Model A had the cable-and-hand-pull I've described. But I suppose you could take the kickstart crank off and refit it back to "kick" - but you'd need to be careful. If your boot slipped, there wouldn't be much clearance between the metal body top and your vitals !

Yes, the same on the Meteor T7. The thing swung sideways over you with a deathly clang.....D.

Cheers, all. Danny.
 
Old 19th Mar 2014, 23:49
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ValMORNA said
Post-RAF service I became a civilian wireless operator (later termed Radio Officer, but no extra pay or perks) at a station in North Staffs.
Lovely old CSOS Cheadle (aka Woodhead Hall). Spent a couple of years there in the early 1970s after leaving the RAF and spending a few months at Bletchley before getting married and moving north to Brora which was, allegedly, a "punishment posting" until the powers-that-be realised that everybody who was sent there stayed there until retirement.
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