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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 28th Mar 2014, 20:54
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ricardian, in that respect I am lucky. I have my father's "Wounded" telegram, and his correspondence with the War Office in '45 (sorry, he was Royal Artillery, as befits the family 3-service history) which allowed him to give one week's notice of retirement before returning to civilian employment.

I guess the latter implies he really wasn't needed after the War
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 21:26
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Wwwop, may I second MPN11's warm welcome (and join the queue of those anxious to set up your drinks on the bar, all gasping to hear more).

Amazing coincidences - oooh, 'tis a small world - it is very likely that you (and indeed Gladys Fletcher) were from time to time in conversation with my late mother, during your service in Blackpool ... terminating in her request "Press Button "A", please" !
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 21:55
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Wwwop (M),

Your initial post dangles many carrots. I'm sure there are many more posts needed just to cover your outline there. And if you say that a Leicestershire wench is short of words I won't believe it, because I'm married to one. Like the others, I look forward to your input to a thread that, to me anyway, is not so much a story, more a tour through RAF history. I'm very sure that you must have lots to tell us all and look forward to hearing as much as you can provide. A very warm welcome is guaranteed on this thread, after all, they let me post occasionally. I hope wherever you are in Canada, it's as good as the places I was lucky enough to visit during my service. Always a great place.

Smudge
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 22:56
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Wwwop,

Welcome to our happy band in this Crewroom in cyberspace ! You are appointed i/c the Tea Swindle wef (two sugars for me, please). Mrs D. was an ex-Dental Wren - pity that Mountbatten bagged them all for his empire in Ceylon. None, AFAIK, served N of Adam's Bridge, seems the same went for ATS and WAAF. As we never flew S of the Bridge, they were an unknown quantity to us in India.

D.
 
Old 28th Mar 2014, 23:19
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Wwwop, welcome indeed! That's an awful lot of territory, and oceans for that matter, to be covered in one post. It would be really interesting to hear your story in more detail, all the more so because the WAAF has been woefully conspicuous by its absence in this thread to date.

So why the WAAF rather than the other women's uniformed Services? Where was your basic training? What was it like? What was involved in becoming a WOp? In Singapore were you working RAF Records by Short Wave?

I only ask because I remember that Changi had a roomful of operators trying to raise London and failing to do so, when a US Officer strolled in and asked if he could set up his comms equipment on the roof. An Airman was duly detailed and it was he that revealed what happened next. The officer opened the attache case he was carrying, set up a corkscrew like antenna, pointed it at the sky, twiddled some knobs and then began speaking into a handset. "Canaveral, Canaveral, this is Singapore, how do you read, over. Roger, loud and clear also, Singapore out".

It was the mid 60's, the first orbital Gemini missions were imminent and Changi was one of the places where US Rescue Teams were based, ready to fly to a capsule that came down other than in the planned recovery area. This wondrous use of what later became known to us as Communication Satellites spelled redundancy for the people in the room downstairs...
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Old 28th Mar 2014, 23:36
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Ah, the mysteries of HF comms....

'twas oft said that it was easier to raise the dead than to raise Cyprus Flight Watch - even in 2002!!
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Old 29th Mar 2014, 20:30
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Too true Beagle, I well remember struggling to get an HF patch with Cyprus, whilst having a smashing two way with ARINC New York whilst sat on the ground at Penang circa 1994. Words like skip bounce, atmospheric deflection etc all haunt me at this point, so I will leave it to those in the know to explain. Hopefully Wwwop can help.

Smudge
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Old 29th Mar 2014, 21:01
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Deployed from 38 Group (Tangmere) to RAF El Adem in late 1968 we had a 1 kilowatt transmitter to be used on the RAF Transport Command HF network. Initially we put up a whip aerial (long, vertical bit of wire) and managed to work Upavon, Cyprus, Nairobi, Gan and (just) Singapore. 24 hours later when the aerial riggers had erected an allegedly super-efficient Grainger aerial (several 30 ft masts and LOTS of wire) it replaced the whip aerial. We could raise Cyprus but that was it. Lots of tweaking and twiddling went on but for the next few weeks of the detachment we used the long, vertical bit of wire whilst the aerial riggers & techs played with the Grainger aerial.
Whilst erecting the Grainger aerial the aerial riggers had to excavate many, many holes for the posts that supported the many 30 ft masts. The newly issued Kango hammers (250V mains-driven, heavy industrial jobs) burnt out within a couple of hours and the old-style pickaxes were brought into play.
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Old 30th Mar 2014, 00:57
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Danny seeks assistance from the True Blue.

One of my Corporals came to me in some distress. It appeared that he had sold his car to a Marine Lieutenant on the AFS Course. Unwisely, he'd handed over the car and paperwork before the cheque cleared - it didn't. The amount at stake was £100 or so - good money then.

I could hardly reprove him. The same had happened to me at Thorney Island three years before, but in my case I could easily get hold of the defaulter (a nav student at ANS) and turn the thumbscews on him if needed. So where was our errant Marine ? Somewhere in Borneo, that's where !

I told the Corporal that he'd been an idiot (not news to him, as his wife had acidly been telling him the same thing for some time), that I would do what I could for him and take it up with the Navy (he had the bounced cheque as evidence), but that he should not hold his breath.

I sought audience with the Commander (Air). He gravely heard me out, then told me more or less what I'd told the Corporal. "Leave it with me", said the Commander. I reported back to my chap. "This'll take a while", I thought.

Of course it was a serious matter. "Robbing your Comrades" (which is what this amounted to) has always been considered among the blackest of military crimes (short of murdering him - like Kipling's "Danny Deever"). Between two officers, or two Other Ranks, it's bad enough. But for any officer to "bilk" a member of the Lower Deck in this way is unpardonable.

No E-mails or Skype in those days. But the Commander had not been idle. Signals were soon flashing round the world. Our Marine had been traced to his jungle hilltop: the error of his ways gently whispered into his shell-like ear.

About ten days later my Corporal came to see me again, beaming from ear to ear. Another cheque had come - a good one this time. And he was "off the hook" at home, too. Full marks to the Navy !

Not long after the Commander was posted away. I was at his Dining Out. He'd always been well liked, but there were disappointed murmers of dissent all round when, in his speech, he suggested that, as the age of the great battleships had passed, so now was the turn of our great warships of the air (the V-bombers).

Yet the Commander spoke the truth. In May'60 Gary Powers, in an U-2, had been brought down by an early Russian SAM. By extension, the same could now happen to anything else flying. The cloak of invulnerability hitherto provided to the V-bombers by their combination of very high speed and high altitude had been torn away.

The age of the bomber was over. The intercontinental missile would take over.

Goodnight, everybody.

Danny42C.


Be Sure your Sins will Find You Out !
 
Old 30th Mar 2014, 19:59
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The rubber cheque is indeed professional suicide for a commissioned officer and certain exit left if perpetrated on Other Ranks (hence the derivation of the word 'cashiered'?). We had a copilot who bought up most of Changi Village with them and was summarily dismissed the Service.

Once again Danny, smart work in acting so effectively on behalf of your Corporal, and well done the Senior Service. They might have said some very cruel things about the Junior One, such as describing our Station Parades as "Are you there, Moriarty?", but push coming to shove to regain an RAF Corporal's wodge (and their honour) is much credit where it is due. Pity the good Commander had to blot his Copybook then by crowing over who was to get the Bucket of Sunshine next. Point taken, as they say, but who's still got aeroplanes?

Wild thread drift alert! Have just stumbled on this rare BBC series on Youtube. 15 episodes that would have cost me 15 cups of tea in the local Milk Bar, which had a TV hung halfway up the wall. Homework all done and tuppence to spend, I was round there once a week for yet another infusion of War in the Air (and tea of course). Check #13 Danny, a clutch of Veangii if I'm not mistaken (though no doubt IAF!) :-

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...XTAFEYqUR8dh6s

Last edited by Chugalug2; 30th Mar 2014 at 22:35. Reason: Spelin
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Old 31st Mar 2014, 21:08
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Chugalug,

What a feast to keep me happy for days ! Thanks ! Have had a good look at #13 tonight - they certainly have re-used some of the footage which "Vlad" collated and you put up on this thread a while ago - except that I don't remember the macaque hopping about all over the VV. As you say, this is all IAF footage and (in my guess) non-operational at the OTU in Peshawar, but none the worse for that. The quality of the film is much better than the "original"

In the early part the land story is told quite correctly, but nearly all the ground-attack shots are Hurricanes (and the odd P-47 Thunderbolt). I don't think there is any film of a VV operational attack; in any case by the time your bombs exploded you would be half a mile away among the treetops and out of shot.

Danny

See why the Aussie bush hat was so popular for all ranks !

EDIT: Noted:

(around 1.13). Men are doing all the heavy work ! Most unusual in those parts !

(2.43) Obviously non-op (no kit, no webbing, no pistols). Gunner is reaching out for first handhold to climb up side to his cockpit, where back (curved) section of canopy still in place - we chucked them all out, as they were a nuisance and you could manage perfectly well without them.

(8.43) What is it ? (Looks like a TM with back cockpit faired over). D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 31st Mar 2014 at 23:17. Reason: Add Text
 
Old 31st Mar 2014, 23:04
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Have been rather occupied recently, and have just caught up with proceedings in our 'T' bar.

Wwwop, like all here, I look forward anxiously to the details of your career. You have left us hanging on to the edge of our seats, impatiently waiting for your further jottings, especially due to the way your précis was richly filled with such interesting appetisers. More, much more please.

There are even more interesting contributions happening now, far more interesting than mine, and therefore I am going to sit back and absorb. The tapestry of service life displayed on this thread is all-encompassing and completely enthralling, and I sit here grateful and proud to have played a very small and unimportant part in the RAF.

Camlobe
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Old 31st Mar 2014, 23:41
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In doing some research on Malcolm Clubs I came across this lengthy speech (in Hansard) by Lord Tedder in 1959 - pity their airships nowadays can't speak out like this. Quite a long debate too, nearly 3 hours. I loved the bit about the Malcolm Club at Wittering being built without the Air Council knowing about it until it was almost completed!

Last edited by ricardian; 31st Mar 2014 at 23:53.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 08:47
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Originally Posted by Danny42c
(8.43) What is it ? (Looks like a TM with back cockpit faired over).
I think you are 100% correct! Possibly a local modification, for MedEvac purposes.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 09:33
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Wwwop

As someone who served in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at Negombo (Katunayake) and China Bay in 1956 - 57, I'd love to hear more of how the place looked to you in WW2.

Meanwhile some WW2 photos of WAAFs in Ceylon to bring back memories.

All photos are from the IWM. Exact locations of first two photos not stated.



In the mess hall.



WAAF taking dictation



Ceylon-based WAAFs arriving in Singapore at the end of the war (wearing the dreaded forage cap - why I don't know as my sister who was a WAAF teleprinter operator during WW2 used to come home on leave wearing a peaked hat).

Finally Admiral Somerville inspects a very smart turn-out of WRENs in Colombo. Their white outfit puts the RAF/WAAF kharki uniform to shame I think!



As mentioned above all are IWM photos.

Last edited by Warmtoast; 1st Apr 2014 at 09:49.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 11:47
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ricardian,

Well that the Malcolm Clubs are not forgotten - oh, if only we had people like Tedder, "Batchy" Atcherley and "Paddy" (the Earl of) Bandon, with us today !

They had a good Malcolm Club in Geilenkirchen '60/'62. Bought a Baldamatic there - a fine 35mm camera with built-in rangefinder and exposure meter, for just Dm150 (say £13 then). A Flt. Lt. DAPM we had married one of the Malcolm ladies there.

Quote from Hansard: "Was it a crime to use a generous gift which we received from the Bristol Company for the purchase of accommodation for a Young Officers' Club in Cadogan Gardens, which we had to close after eight years' service owing to the German business ?".

Stayed there half a dozen times between '52-'54. Did d/b&b for 18/6 (IIRC), the best value in London.....D.

MPN11,

Thanks ! Not much room for a paramedic plus patient, though. Now you mention it, I have heard of it being used for that purpose, but would think the Stinson Reliant (normally used for casevac) could get in/out of much the same tight spots that the Tiger could......D.

Warmtoast,

All right for some ! (War is Hell)...D

Cheers, all. Danny.
 
Old 1st Apr 2014, 20:43
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Danny

"Paddy" (the Earl of) Bandon
Seen here as C-in-C FEAF on his first visit to RAF Gan, May 1958.





...and here having a drink with his men. He insisted that no other officers were to be present so he could hear personally of any complaints.

I always regarded "The Abandoned Earl" as a leader who inspired confidence in his men who was regarded with affection by those under him.
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 21:24
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Danny Exercises the Troops and has Food for Thought

While flying is in progress, it would be unreasonably onerous to require Crash 1,2 and 3 crews to spend the whole shift sitting in their vehicles, and the Crash Bays incorporate a Crew room where they can relax while waiting for the callout from ATC (the same is true of Civil Brigades, hence the "Fireman's pole" to speed a turn-out).

And of course, if a dangerous situation should develop, they will be ordered to "Standby", kit-up, man the trucks, move forward a few feet and remain with engines running ready for whatever may befall. Standby vehicles in the Station Fire Section will meanwhile be warned to come to readiness to move up to the Tower to replace the "First Team" if needed (which they cannot do if they are away putting out a garden fire in MQs).

As a general rule, it would be foolhardy in the extreme to lay on a practice "crash" for Crash 1,2 and 3 in flying hours: the crews know this and never expect such a thing to happen. I wondered: "what if ?..." SATCO assented, I had a word with Commander (A), we brought the Sqn. Commanders in on it, and picked a day. They subtly manipulated their sortie times so that for 20 minutes or so just before a lunchtime, there would be a gap when we had nothing in the air at all. Of course, as few people as were absolutely necessary were let into the plan and all sworn to secrecy.

We achieved complete surprise: "Practice Crash on airfield Area Delta Four - Vampire - two aboard - Go !" barked Local; a stopwatch clicked and they were away (I think we lit a flare at the spot, or something of the sort). Meanwhile the Sergeant and I stood guard on the Crewroom, for of course they'd had no time to secure jackets, wallets and other valuables in the rush to get out. Footwear of all descriptions littered the floor as they'd pulled on their Fireman's Boots. On almost ever chair and bunk was a paperback of some sort. The expected mix of Westerns, Whodunits, War stories, mysteries, lurid romances and bonkbusters. Except for one.

On this bunk lay a Penguin of Plato's "The Republic".

It put me in mind of Pte "T.E.Ross's" - or was it A/c "T.E.Shaw's" (?) tale, dimly in my memory from reading "The Mint" (?) as a boy many years before. In this Lawrence had recounted how he'd set out one weekend on his beloved Brough "Superior" (the bike on which he would one day be killed), to take some brass rubbings at an old country church (naturally with the prior permission of the incumbent).

The good old parson was somewhat nonplussed by the mismatch between his visitor's Oxford accent and the scratchy blue serge of the simple airman in front of him, and Lawrence relates how they were soon in companionable discussion over the comparative merits of Thucidides and Herodotus. I don't remember the exact quotation, but Lawrence rather waspishly remarks how he'd: "made a cockshy of the old man's assurance that the rough garb of the ranks concealed nothing but the baser instincts" (someone may be able to correct me on this).

Oh, by the way, we were rolling in 57secs. Not bad, considering there'd been no warning. (Crash 1 and 2 were told to "hold their fire" as soon as they reached the spot: they were back on the line in 5 minutes). We were in business again.

Goodnight, all.

Danny42C


You never know.
 
Old 2nd Apr 2014, 15:11
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I've seen it many years ago, but it's as enthralling as ever: the BBC's affectionate tribute to the Avro Shackleton can be enjoyed at
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Old 2nd Apr 2014, 15:28
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Or 86,000lbs of deafening pandemodium.
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