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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 5th Apr 2014, 08:58
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haha ... I had no reason to doubt Jack Meachin's story. He may have had faults, but I don't think he was a bullsh***er. The only thing I can't recall was whether he had a DFC or a DFM.

He was a burly, dark-chinned Australian with all the 'robustness' of the Outback. A bit like 'Desperate Dan', only shorter and broader! Forceful when necessary, he was nevertheless a very good mentor. As he told me, at the end of the War he wanted to stay in the RAF. However, "they" decided that he just wasn't the sort of chap they wanted as a officer ... but would allow him to carry on flying if he rejoined as a sgt pilot. So he did, rose to MPlt (perhaps he benefited from the 'wastage' of other WW2 guys?) ... and eventually became an ATCO.

One of the quirks of the Branch back then was that Master Aircrew in ATC could do Approach, but Warrant Officers couldn't!! So WO Gordon Yates, with years of ATC experience behind him as a SNCO/WO, was confined to Local, whilst MPlt Jack sat downstairs as Approach and DATCO (Duty ATCO, and i/c Watch) ... including oversight of the young officers who were in the GCA truck on the other side of the airfield

But then pilots are all-powerful and omniscient, and can do absolutely anything
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 09:28
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A step down to stay up

Further to MPN's story of the ex-Typhoon pilot reduced to sgt. My father's Canadian friend Bob Nash on 9 Sqn at Binbrook 1950-51 had served two tours on Lancasters, ending the war as Flt Lt. A grateful nation granted his wish to continue flying, providing he dropped rank to F/Sgt. and the pension that went with it.

My father was more cross about this than Bob himself. But then Bob was an easygoing fellow who seemed happy enough when given his Lincoln WS-D for his time at Binners, in between taking this small boy for exciting Sunday mornings learning cockpit drill in the real thing
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 09:34
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What it meant for us newbies was, of course, that all the senior posts in the Branch had already been filled. And our careers (beyond automatic promotion to flt lt) would remain on hold until “age wearied them” and the cork finally popped out of the bottle to make room for our generation.
When I was a young pilot in 1962 I was being shown the ropes on the station Anson by a knarled old Master Pilot. When descibing the limitations of it he mentioned its usefullness in mitigating the above problem.

When things started to go wrong then you are in it to your neck. You don't have the power to get over it, the range to get round it or the speed to run away from it. The Welsh hills and the Lake District bear silent witness to innumerable disasters where things have gone wrong. It has its uses though, because when they crash they normally have a high proportion of senior officers on board so it is useful way of clearing out bottlenecks on the promotion ladder.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 5th Apr 2014 at 14:03.
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 10:52
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Fareastdriver, I remember walking those Welsh hills as a CCF cadet on a course based at Bangor. Every day we were given a new set of co-ordinates, always near the top of another hill. Every day we found the remains of yet another CFIT accident, where we tried to identify the type involved, or at least whether it was big, small, or inbetween. They never ran short of co-ordinates!

Geriaviator, and indeed everyone else. If by chance you haven't caught this OP re WW2 Aldergrove, it is fast sinking into the PPRuNe bottomless pit. Worth a look:-
http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...ilm-found.html

MPN11, my ab initio mentor (QFI in my case) was a Master Pilot, 'Big Daddy' Bright. A man of infinite patience, he relieved much of the anxiety of the 'am I ever going to see this through OK' type. I have his signature on a framed cartoon on my study wall showing a mother crow kicking out a chick from the nest, dated 13 March 1961; first solo at Barkston Heath. He took great pleasure in telling me that as a Master Pilot his day was done when he finished flying, and that as a Pilot Officer mine would be just starting!
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 13:53
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Could it be that the re-musters mentioned were never in the R.A.F. and as members of R.A.A.F. and R.C.A.F. could not be transferred?
Probably destroyed my own argument as a quick google shows
Roy Max as short service commission R.A.F. Aug '38 - July '43
R.N.Z.A.F. as squadron leader
1947 permanent commission in the RAF as flight lieutenant
Jan '60 promoted to Group Captain. A rank he had had as co of 75(NZ) in '44.

n.b. As 5 year old in '43 "Maxie" was my hero airman.
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 14:16
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That prodded me to search for Jack's awards ... Not listed for DFC or DFM, so I assume my memory is blurred.

There was an SAC in the guardroom at Manby in 65 with a pilot's brevet and a rack of medals, though. As I heard it, he didn't re-adapt to Civvy life and just rejoined as a TAG (Trade Assistant General). So many odd anomalies around in those days, of course.
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 15:08
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MPN11 , I think we have been round this pole before.... Ex WW2 Sgt. Mustang Pilots as 1960's SAC Dental Techs etc....
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 18:03
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Missed that one, Haraka ...

Back to Danny42C
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 19:35
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MPN11, Geriaviator and Pom Pax,

There may well have been a bias against letting "Wild Colonial Boys" back into our more (?) gentlemany Air Force, while at the same time we were kicking our own people out left, right and centre. But your Jack Meachin, as an A/S/L, would have been in command of his Typhoon squadron, and that must have counted for something. It shouldn't be too hard for our in-house IT experts to get hold of a '46 Air Force List (or would the RAAF have a separate one of their own) - and trace him. Do we know his Sqdn No. ? If so, there must be an ORB we can get hold of.....D.

Fareastdriver and Chugalug,

Snowdonia was one big graveyard of war and post-war crashes. Most of the remains have been found and recovered for burial, but while I was at Valley some climbers came across a whitened skull. Instead of quickly burying it and keeping quiet about it, they took it to the police. Of course the Coroner then had to be informed, the bureaucratic machine swung into action and the affair rumbled on for months. What was worse, the skull was never identified (AFAIK), so the families who'd lost loved ones on these mountains had to suffer even more pain.

Chugalug, your Master Pilot was right. Paid at least half as much again as a new P/O, no Mess Bills of any size, uniform free, living as comfortably as (and probably eating much better) than in the OM, and no responsibilities after "DCO", he was well placed....D

MPN11 and Haraka,

Yes, I recall a Cpl (I think he was in ATC) with double wings and war ribbons. Of course, he may have been found medically unfit for aircrew when coming back after the war, or there may have been other reasons.....D.

Cheers, everybody. Danny
 
Old 6th Apr 2014, 09:42
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Master Pilot was right. Paid at least half as much again as a new P/O
A corporal got more than a Pilot Officer aircrew. When I was a P/O. my net salary was 45/month, a corporal was on 11/week. On overseas detachments my Local Overseas Allowance in Malaya was 1/8 per day against 1/9 for a Senior Aircraftsman.

The only comfort I had was that the rest of my crew, all married, lost their Ration Allowance when overseas and the LOA didn't make up for it.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 6th Apr 2014 at 16:45.
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 14:24
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I do recall with crystal clarity (although sadly I have lost the documentation) when on the GCA course in 66 ... my pay was 52/10/0 and my Mess Bill was 54/12/6
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 14:41
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I recall having a student at IOT who was told on Monday he had "failed to reach the standard required for commissioning (which was no surprise to him, he had tried to VW the week before)", and by Friday was a sgt, earning more than the APO's h had left behind
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 15:50
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Ahhh, Wander00, but never forget the potential pay ceiling ... Without actually needing an Air Marshal's baton in the old knapsack, the future earning (and pension) potential makes that a transitory advantage

Last edited by MPN11; 6th Apr 2014 at 16:03. Reason: Added Air to allow for Inflation ;)
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 16:29
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Aah, but he played it cool and was back at the Towers about 5 years later and graduated.
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 16:43
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In the mid-sevnties the goverment introduced a minimum wage where if somebody was earning, according to circumstances, less that this amount he could claim extra off the taxpayer.

Severe consternation at Odiham when a married ATC pilot officer's claim came through.

To ease our dire financial straights we dug up a section near the squadron and planted various vegetables etc, therebye creating an allotment. In went the pea sticks followed by the peas and we waited. The peas came up, were eaten by the rabbits and the pea sticks blossomed with leaves all over the place.
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 18:17
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Run, Rabbit, Run !

Fareastdriver et al,

In March '42, I became a Sgt/Pilot on 13/6 a day. I think a P/O on probation had to make do with 11/10 (and no Flying Pay in those days).

A well trained little terrier will abate the rabbit menace. Flowers look nice too. And rabbit pie is delicious (just like chicken !). Big rabbits faster, so mostly get away from dog, little ones not so quick, good doggie catches and kills 'em, brings 'em home by scruff of the neck (flesh more tender).

Probably illegal now (or at least Politically Incorrect).

Danny.
 
Old 6th Apr 2014, 22:00
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Beyond the deams of avarice

When I joined as an apprentice (Trenchard brat) in 1956 I was paid !.00 per week. this went up rapidly (The biggest proportional pay rise I ever received) to 31/6 a week, most of which was held back as "credits" paid in big white fivers when I went on leave. I discovered many new and interesting ways of throwing up in posh cocktail bars on my first Christmas leave.
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 22:26
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Beyond the dreams of Avarice.

gzornenplatz,

Your: "When I joined as an apprentice (Trenchard brat) in 1956 I was paid !.00 per week. this went up rapidly."

It had certainly gone up rapidly since '41. I had to get by on 14/- (less stoppages) a week as an A/c 2.

Posh cocktail bars not an option. Happy Days !

Danny.
 
Old 7th Apr 2014, 00:32
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Danny says: "Meanwhile, back at the Ranch".

By now we were fairly well settled in Breighton. The quarter was large and comfortable; with a large garden and surrounding farmland, it was ideal for Mary (now 3 years old, and with the stabilisers off her bike) and a lively little terrier to play with. We fell into a routine. I would go off to Linton in the Isetta (except for night flying), leaving the 403 to Mrs D. to go shopping in the village (Bubwith), or to Selby (8 miles), once or twice to Howden (5 miles), and sometimes to York (15 miles).

On first moving in, we found that our mattress in the bedroom had a delve so that Mrs D. and I tended to roll together in the middle. We didn't mind this at all, but our sleep patterns were becoming disrupted by this circumstance, so I put in a demand for a replacement to the Barrack Warden at Linton. For some reason that I cannot now recall, we could have a new mattress - no problem at all. The only difficulty was: he couldn't get any transport to get it out to us. DIY seemed the only solution.

Once again it fell to my lot to provide entertainment to the good burghers of York as they witnessed the spectacle of our 403 going through with a double mattress (in plastic cover, luckily) lashed precariously to the roof rack. Of course, the overhang front and rear gave the impression of a giant mushroom and restricted my vision to a certain extent. However, it didn't fall off and the mission was successfully accomplished.

One morning (I don't know how it happened), I went off with the Isetta with the (only) garage door key in my pocket. And of course with the 403 inside the said garage ! After exhausting the possibilities of every Yale key she could find, Mrs D. set out to pick the lock. For this purpose she chose a very small rat-tail file I had in the house (and was rather fond of), and set to work.

Of course it was inevitable. She was still locked out, but now with about 3/16in of broken file jammed in the lock. When I returned at lunchtime (for of course I couldn't abandon my ATC watch to take the key back), and the recriminations had subsided, I set to work with my trusty Black & Decker (luckily in the house) to drill the lock barrel out - the task not made any easier by the chunk of tool steel in the way. Eventually I succeeded, a new lock would not break the bank, and all was harmony once more.

Per contra, I returned one lunchtime to find I hadn't the house key, and they'd all gone out to the shops. I reconnoitred the house carefully - sure enough a side kitchen window wasn't quite closed. Rather more supple and agile then than I am now, I climbed in onto the (cleared) draining board, and into the kitchen. No crockery broken. Meanwhile our brave watch-dog contented herself with doing just that - watching carefully with cocked head without uttering a sound. "Fat lot of use you are !", I told "Sally", "what do we pay you for ?"

In truth she was not a valiant animal. One of our walks took us round a corner by a farm. I think it was arable, but as an anti-rat measure they had a trio of farm cats. And these were not the gentle, lovable pussies you see on the catfood ads. "Sally" was terrified of them, and with good reason. For that matter, I didn't like the look of them much myself: we crossed over to the far side of the lane as we went past, and "Sally" (otherwise not a particularly obedient dog) would hug my heels, making herself as small and unobtrusive as possible, and carefully keeping me between herself and these creatures. None of the three were particularly prepossessing, but the "Boss Cat" (an enormous, shaggy, long-haired tortoiseshell brute) looked fully capable of ripping - and more than willing to rip - my jugular out at a single claw-stroke.

Not all the local fauna were so alarming. One morning we awoke to find a donkey quietly grazing the front "lawn". It was a gentle animal (might possibly have been resting from summer duty on Scarborough or Bridlington sands). Obviously well looked after, it was docile and amenable, and accepted a carrot with good grace.

"Shoo !" we said. It turned sad eyes on us and stood its ground, making it perfectly clear that it would co-operate in every way but one - it wouldn't move an inch ! But we got on to the local constabulary: it seemed that this animal was well known locally for going AWOL and sampling front lawns in this way. I had to go on watch, when I got back the owner had collected it (with apologies).

Goodnight, all.

Danny42C.


"The Lord God made them all", (but the Devil slipped one or two in when He wasn't looking).

Last edited by Danny42C; 7th Apr 2014 at 00:35. Reason: Spacing.
 
Old 7th Apr 2014, 07:31
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Capt Reg Levy

I have been contacted by one of Reg's daughters and advised that Reg's memoirs are going to be published by that company named after South American river (
From Night Flak to Hijack: It's a Small World: Amazon.co.uk: Captain Reginald Levy DFC, Alex Schiphorst: Books From Night Flak to Hijack: It's a Small World: Amazon.co.uk: Captain Reginald Levy DFC, Alex Schiphorst: Books
)


It's called "From Night Flak to Hijack"



She wanted me to post and advise Reg's (Regle) friends on PPRUNE.


Adieu Andy








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