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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 26th Mar 2014, 19:00
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CoffmanStarter ... Thanks for the Grub (sic) links.

So is that telling us the instrument panel trim isn't actually leather, like it was in my Jags? And the PIC sits on the right? And no white lines to demarcate the primary instruments? And carpet on the sidewalls? The DVD player is a nice touch, though

The number of carpenters, riggers, painters and canvas-workers made redundant by this "progress" is frightening. Sic transit Tigger
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Old 26th Mar 2014, 19:18
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MPN11 ...

All correct ... bar the DVD player

Mind you this particular airframe had a bit of a bump

http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources...pdf_030406.pdf

The RAF Bulldog also had some "Axminster" in the cockpit

Coff.
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Old 26th Mar 2014, 19:32
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Coff, what's the point of carpet when you need to clean up puke? Or don't today's steely aviators ever up-chuck?

My one Bulldog trip in later years spared the carpet.

I cannot say the same for my one JP5 LL trip ... I blame myself for energetic lookout and attempted map reading. And perhaps the previous night's beverages during our Staff College visit to Finningley (RIP)
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Old 26th Mar 2014, 20:02
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MPN11 ...

I'm more familiar with the "comforts" of the Chipmunk ... no carpet there

Best ...

Coff.
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Old 26th Mar 2014, 20:25
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I can remember the first Chipmunks arriving at Heany. They were introduced to the public during an Empire Air Day. It was the last time I saw the 'tied together' Tiger formation.
Later on the dump at the MU became a major playground for us kids with rows of SofC Tiger Moths.
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Old 26th Mar 2014, 23:06
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Danny Sticks his Neck Out.

As I've already said, I can recall no particular triumphs and disasters - or indeed anything noteworthy - in my time on Approach and in the ACR7 at Linton. Except that there I "dinged" my 403 for the first time.

It was entirely my own fault. A long and boring Night Flying session had ended in the early hours, and I was anxious to get away home to bed. Coming out of the dimly lit truck into total darkness (all airfield lights switched off) with little night vision, I hopped into the car and reversed smartly for a quick getaway across the grass. There was a loud bang. With sinking heart I climbed out.

I had reversing lights, but they were largely decorative, and I didn't look anyway - I knew where the diesel generator was, of course. But a newly delivered 40-gallon drum of derv had been left in an unusual spot, and we had connected. The drum was on its side now, with a big dent in it, but luckily the screw-bung was in tight and there was no leak. But my offside lamp-cum-tank filler flap cluster was Cat 5 and there was a tiny dent in the bumper - but no body damage.

In any of the well-known cars of the day, the next step would be obvious - round the local scrapyards with tool kit, overalls and "Swarfega". But a Peugeot 403 was a rara avis in the UK - when you met another on the road, you flashed lights in pleased recognition. I was forced back on the mercy of Gladstone Garage, York. They got a new cluster sent up from London - machined out of solid gold, by the size of the bill - and I resolved to be more careful in future.

On the Fire Officer front, I was making a name for myself - not always favourable ! The Station Car Club had been allowed the use of an old Laing hut for their club-house and workshop. I did a Fire Inspection and found that the bare boards were soaked in oil and that there were ample "Evidences of Smoking" (as we Firemen say) in spite of the posters on the walls. I condemned it as a Fire Risk and recommended demolition. But W/Cdr (A) was more kindly, and allowed them to continue on a Promise of Good Behavior in Future (and a few more buckets of sand).

My chief concern from the beginning had been the proximity of the Ouse. We looked up flying accidents for the last ten years and plotted them on a three-mile circle centred on the airfield; a large proportion were on the far side of the river. Our nearest bridge was at Aldwark (a mile away - but that was "plated" at 7½ tons. Our L/Rover was all right at 2 tons, but the Salamander weighed in at 13 tons. Hopeless ? - well, perhaps not quite.

Built about 250 years ago, it had been rebuilt in the 19th century (after collision with an iceberg [yes ! - Google] coming down-river). In the first place, bridges were built with an enormous safety margin. And then there was a difference between day-in-day-out loads (say loads of hard-core, fertilizer or pigmeal) pounding the bridge all the time and inflicting "Repetitive Strain Injury", and a rare overload every blue moon.

Could the bridge stand up under 13 tons "one-off" ? We confidentially consulted the bridge engineers. The answer (informally) was, probably, "yes". But of course they admitted this only cagily on a non-attributable basis, and certainly would not put it in writing. So what's a poor Corporal i/c Crash 2 to do ? (it is the Fire Crew's responsibility to plot their route to an incident). If he chances the bridge, and ends up in the river with the Mk.6 sitting on top of a bridge span, who'll carry the can ?

It was way above his pay-scale (or mine). My view was that speed was of the essence; the saving of life must be the paramount consideration. If the Aldwark bridge was the closest route, then take it regardless. Otherwise, IIRC, you'd have to go South almost to York (Clifton bridge), or up to Boroughbridge, to get across. That could be up to 20 miles "dead" running - the fire would have burned-out by then. Of course, York and Boroughbridge (and possibly village "retained" Fire crews) might have got there first - but their foam-making capacity was puny in comparison with our Mk.6 - they were "water engines".

What was needed was an undertaking from the RAF to the Aldwark bridge authority, indemnifying them against bridge damage (or worse, collapse) in the event of our Mk.6 using it in emergency (for of course a trial was out of the question). W/Cdr (A) promised to take it up with Group, where (predictably) it went like a lead balloon. None of the poltroons on the Staff would put his name to such a thing. It was a Matter for Decision by the the Officer or NCO on the Spot, who Can Best Assess the Circumstances (in short, "you're on your own, mate !")

W/Cdr (A) would not allow me to put out a written Order to "Press on regardless" if need arose, but I privily assembled my NCOs and instructed them to that effect (before my Sergeant and other good witnesses), advising them to learn to swim if they could not already do so. The eventuality never arose, whether it has ever done so since ('64) I don't know (but would be interested to know, and if so, what happened).

Goodnight, again, chaps.

Danny42C.


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Old 27th Mar 2014, 00:03
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Danny

May I use that, please, in the (very unlikely) event of my winning the CapCom ? (don't hold your breath).
Please do - do we share the winnings?
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Old 27th Mar 2014, 14:37
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Aldwark Bridge

Danny, your reminiscences of Linton and the Aldwark Bridge made me recall my own time at Linton as a JP student pilot.

My experience began on a Sunday in November 1979. Carting all my worldly goods from OCTU at Henlow involved the trusty A1 with a turn off onto the A59 towards York. This was supposed to bring one into Linton via Little Ouseburn and in via the back door so to speak.

The freshly printed Joining Instructions gave some assistance and helpfully said when to arrive but being November it was dark by 4.50 pm when I arrived. Unbeknown to me some of the "characters" on the graduating course ahead, knowing that a new course would be arriving, thought it would be a bit of a hoot to re-arrange the nice red and white signposts to Linton. The all important one to me on the B6256 at Little Ouseburn was 90 degrees out!

This led to an interesting navex nearly to Boroughbridge before the error became even too obvious for me and a 180 was called for. A routing through Great Ouseburn eventually led to the old Bailey Bridge at Aldwark. The toll was 2p! So eventually I arrived at around 6 pm to meet the fellow members of 43 Course and glad that I was not the only one caught out!! In 2013 the toll was was 40p, up by 2000% in 34 years!! (ISTR Petrol then was around £1.10 a gallon or 25p/litre .)

As an aside we hold 5-yearly, well-attended, BFT course re-unions and the next one is on the 31st October in York......possibly a unique thing for a BFT course but we had such an excellent course spirit and it stuck.

MB
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Old 27th Mar 2014, 16:56
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Warmtoast,

Many thanks for your imprimatur (not that it's likely to be needed - only thing I ever won in my life was a packet of razor blades in a Spot Waltz in the war [they were like gold then]).

No, but you can share the opprobium when I pick the wrong winner ! (remember 20 Sqdn and the Beauty Competition).

Danny.
 
Old 27th Mar 2014, 17:54
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Danny, I never flew into or out of Linton as far as I can recall, but had I done so my chances of surviving an accident there would have been greatly improved thanks to you. The best bosses are not those who curry favour from above or popularity from below but those who get the most out of their subordinates and stand by them if things go wrong.

Your special bridge instructions to your firemen illustrate this to perfection. It is no surprise to me that no-one at Group or above would go out on a limb for your corporals or for their potential customers who ended up on the wrong side of the river in extremis. Leadership as a rule stops at the Station gates in the Royal Air Force in my experience. You did what was right, and as an ex-driver airframe I thank you for it.
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Old 27th Mar 2014, 18:10
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The Bridge over the River Ouse.

Madbob,

Although you were 15 years after me, it would seem that the old "upperclass" hazing spirit was still alive and well at Linton. Hope you got your revenge in some way !

Two questions for you: One, (long shot): were there any flying accidents on the other side of the Ouse when you were there ? And if so, do you remember where the Crash Crew crossed ? (Bailey Bridge? Don't think so in my time, and look at it now - Google > Aldwark Toll Bridge).

Is it remotely possible that the Linton Crash Crew did knock it down some time in the intervening years and the RE had to put up a Bailey Bridge ?

Two (quite unrelated): You were hotfoot from Henlow in '79. Did they teach you anything about the Ten Principles of War in those days (just wondering).

Danny.


EDIT:

Chugalug, (crept in while my back was turned)

You are much too kind, Sir. After all, I couldn't leave my poor Corporal carrying the can, now could I ? (no more would you, I'm sure).

"Put not your faith in Princes...."..... Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 28th Mar 2014 at 14:52. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 28th Mar 2014, 11:51
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Moley demonstrates Car Control...

Ahhhh...the Aldwark Bridge!! Waaaay back, one weekend in early 1972, Moley and another trainee pilot had dined in the Mess at Linton...disposing of a litre or so of Nicolas Vieux Ceps...and we decided to go to Leeds to see "Straw Dogs". Fired up the Alfa GTV and headed off....across the Aldwark Bridge, most direct route....Leeds and the cinema. Parked car, got in the queue for tickets; realised this would take some time, and thirst would not be denied. So we got half a bottle of something spiritous to queue with....once the ticket booth was reached, this had become a very sad old vessel so a replacement was acquired to go in with! I recall some altercation with another audience member who seemed to have a Bugs Bunny fixation, but by this time things weren't as clear as they had been.....
I awoke in an empty cinema; noticed the seat next to me was also empty....where was Pete? So I set out on a search....it's quite amazing what a gents toilet looks like after re-decoration with partially digested red wine etc.etc. (!) I located Pete and we went back to my car. Driving was out of the question, so a very chilly February night was spent under a Space Blanket....always keep a survival kit handy!
Came the dawn....and a bit later.....and later still; the hangover was developing nicely, but it was time to go back to Linton. So I fired up the trusty Alfa and set off gingerly, due to headache (!)....all went well until we reached the Aldwark Bridge. It was still pretty early...I'm a bit hazy as to whether we paid the toll or not, or whether the toll window was manned, but I do remember what happened next. The Aldwark Bridge was a strange beast, it wasn't straight and, iirc, was a wooden structure....I now know that a) bridges freeze first and b) the roadway on the bridge was thus covered in ice! As we went on to the bridge I applied a bit too much power and the back end of the Alfa broke away and started to slide! There we were, going sideways towards a loud crunching noise and a short period of freefall followed by a watery grave.....so I corrected for the slide, and the beast fishtailed back the other way....lifting off would have flung us into the waiting river.....so (as that seemed a less than optimum solution) I steered the other way.....and she fishtailed back again........!
In this fashion we proceeded to cross the full span of the bridge, the tyres reached blessed tarmac and gripped, and we shot off towards Linton. I looked at Pete....his eyes were like saucers....and he said "I'm never getting in a car with you again!!"
True enough...he never did! And I STILL haven't seen Straw Dogs.... PNKQPdVB, wonder where you are now?(!)
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 12:22
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Before the access to RAF Leeming was re-designed when the station flew the F-3, the only (legal) way in was via Gatenby Lane.

Now the farmers of Yorkshire aren't that well known for their generosity, but when it came to bovine ...'slurry', the farmer of Gatenby Grange was generous to a fault and the double bend at the end of the mile long straight from the A1 to Gatenby was often well lubricated with the stuff. To add even more excitement, the bend had significant adverse camber....

One night after a few ales in the OM, a chum offered to take 2 of us with him to find some fish and chips in a nearby village - so off we went in his Cortina estate with no problems. Fish and chips duly scoffed, back we came. However, my other colleague then announced "I hear the Gatenby Lane record has been broken again!".....

This was like a red rag to a bull, or rather to 'Weasel', the driver. Thrashing the old Cortina up to an alarming speed, he approached 'Cow$hit Corner' with little sign of braking. We swept round the first bend at an angle of about 60 degreees to the road, whereupon I decided to lie on the floor. He'd just about regained control when we came to the second bend....and he did the same thing again! Somehow we made it back to the OM, but in rather frosty silence. Did he break the record? I've no idea...

Still, he did lend me the Cortina to drive back from Valley to collect all my belongings from Cranwell a few weeks later (they wouldn't fit in my MG Midget). But it was a wretchedly awful vehicle!
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 15:38
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Molemot,

Sounds like the Linton Crash Crew didn't have to worry too much about demolishing the Aldwark Bridge - with so many willing helpers like you !...D.

Beagle,

A harrowing tale indeed ! Leeming had the Freedom of Gatenby (and could march through with bayonets fixed and colours flying). And we suggested a competition for a "Miss Gatenby of 19##", but the proposal was not well received......D.

Cheers both, Danny.
 
Old 28th Mar 2014, 18:15
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I trust you chaps will allow a woman at the bar. My daughter told me recently about this thread on PPRuNe and I have found it very interesting. I am sorry to have missed Cliff & Reg (RIP) but it’s good to see Danny carrying the flag.

Rather than wait to be conscripted, I volunteered for the WAAF in 1942. I did not reach the lofty heights of you Brylcreem boys but some of this may to relevant to earlier postings.

After basic training, like aircrew-in-waiting, I was parked at Upwood, also Silverstone (now the racetrack).They tried to keep us busy with lectures, drills and route marches but we had free time and played lots of ping-pong in the NAAFI and Tarzan and Jane in the trees on the station. We walked to the local pubs. We had two bob a week to spend, You boys had three.

Eventually, I was assigned to No 1 Radio School at Blackpool. I was not at the Avalon Hotel but know someone who was and he has pictures.

A battle-axe of a WAAF officer warned us that the rats had left the sinking ship and all the crime and vice had left London and come to Blackpool. She warned us of other dangers to our virtue but, looking back, we were all a bunch of just-left-school kids.

After qualifying, I was posted to Cranwell Signals Flying Training School where we were given the opportunity to fly. My first flight was in a Proctor. The fly-boy was strutting his stuff. I had eaten liver and onions for lunch which proved to be a waste of time. In the evenings, in Lincolnshire, hundreds of aircraft could be seen taking off to join the huge formations on their way to attack Germany. In the pub, at night, we would raise a half pint to those who “failed to return” with some of those who did.

I volunteered for service overseas and found myself on a Dutch luxury liner (converted trooper) sailing across the Indian Ocean. Heady stuff for a Leicestershire village kid. We disembarked at Colombo. Yes, we were encumbered with those sola topees, only to have them collected from us as we disembarked. Would you believe that we were then issued with those scratchy, woollen RAF forage caps?

After Colombo, I was posted to the flying boat base of Koggala from where S/ldr Birchall, ”the Saviour of Ceylon” had taken off and spotted the Japanese Fleet about to do a Pearl Harbour on Colombo and Trincomalee. Churchill described this as the most dangerous moment of the war. They gave us canoes to play with. Nobody had said anything about a flight path and one day we found a Catalina quite close to us.

When the Army had tidied up Burma, my brother, who had been with the 14th Army, was regrouping near Bombay, preparing for Operation Zipper. I asked for and received permission to visit him. I flew in a Dakota transport with seats along each side. We put our feet up on the cargo piled along the centre. We had 3 or 4 stops on the way. The WAAF were quartered in one of the several identical 4 storey building along Marine Drive in Bombay. Shortly before, one close by had collapsed due to poor construction.

Yes, we were miffed when, in May 1945, the rest of the world was celebrating the end of the war. One of my contacts was RAF Records. I was sending details of discovered downed aircraft in Burma and their occupants.

After the bomb, I was posted to Hong Kong but disembarked at Singapore because they needed a w/op. The Army had roughly cleaned up the Tanglin Barracks after the Japanese had departed. We finished the job and took occupancy.

In Singapore I met a sailor who took me for a ride on his minesweeper.

“Wiv bin tergevver nah fer nearly 69 years”

M.

PS Are there any more ex SEAC WAAF out there?
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 18:41
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Stick it with S...lurry

These tales of bovine deposits ... long ago I was apprenticed to an airfield manager of the old school. It came to pass that the Air Ministry Inspector was to conduct the annual inspection of the airfield, which required the renewal of runway markings.

Half a century before all this eco-friendly stuff, and to his great puzzlement, the then Iuvenaviator was despatched with high-tech barrow and shovel to collect five buckets of dung from the cattle which then grazed the rented spaces between the runways of our impecunious flying club, while the boss collected two bags of lime from the builders' merchant.

Lime, dung and a dozen packets of washing blue (kids, don't even ask) were added to a 40-gallon drum from which the end had been laboriously chiselled, then filled with water. The pale green mix was then stirred with a fence post. And stirred and stirred. No prizes for guessing who did the stirring. The mixture was then painted by yard brush over the existing runway numbers. The first 22-04 weren't too bad, but by the time we finished the 30ft long 09-27 my shoulders were aching, and I wondered aloud whether the boss had wasted my time, for the smelly mess might not stick at all.

Big mistake. An hour with hosepipe, brush and two-tone Aztec with khaki lower half demonstrated that cow dung is indeed superbly adhesive. The sparkling lime-dung runway numbers lasted easily for a year, but by then Cherokee had met Cow in expensive union, giving me a mainplane replacement to add to my engineering logbook. Meanwhile the club funds must have improved, for next year we used white emulsion paint. And without cattle, the Aztec stayed sparkling white.
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 19:55
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Wwwop ... may I be the first to say "Hello, Darling, want a drink?"

A great welcome to you, and thrilled to have you aboard ... that should clean up some of the tales of yore

I spent most of my career working with members of the WRAF/RAF(w)/Local Service airwomen. Indeed, I married one
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 20:22
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Wwwop - my mother, Gladys Fletcher, was an instructor at Blackpool teaching Morse Code in 1941-43. She left the WAAF to have me in 1943 and joined up again until 1946. She was very proud of being the right marker for the WAAF contingent of the Victory Parade in London.
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 20:39
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ricardian ... alas, I was a D-Day baby. My father was scheduled to be in the 3rd line of boats on SWORD, and according to the strange logic of the time determined that my mother should always have a memory of him.

As it happened, due to some rescheduling, he went ashore on D+8 and survived.

So I wasn't really needed. And I'm an only child
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 20:48
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MPN11 said
ricardian ... alas, I was a D-Day baby. My father was scheduled to be in the 3rd line of boats on SWORD, and according to the strange logic of the time determined that my mother should always have a memory of him.
As it happened, due to some rescheduling, he went ashore on D+8 and survived.
So I wasn't really needed. And I'm an only child
I never knew who my father was, my grandmother got a telegram out of the blue in 1943 saying "FgOff xxx has been killed on active duty" or words to that effect. Gran didn't keep the telegram and could not remember the name - it was the first indication she had that my mother had put down someone elses name as NOK. After I was born my mother obviously missed the service life for she left me with my grandparents & her sister to serve for two more years in the WAAF. She eventually married and had 3 children - now after umpteen years I am touch with my sister who has lived in Australia for the last 45 years.
It would be an amazing coincidence if Wwwop knew my mother (Gladys Fletcher, believed to be a Sgt instructor) when she was at Blackpool.
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