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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 7th Apr 2014, 09:04
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andyl999 - I suspect quite a few folks on pPrune will be buying the book
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 10:54
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This should prove an outstanding tribute to an outstanding aviator of blessed memory on this priceless thread.

Thank you Andy.

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Old 7th Apr 2014, 12:04
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Thumbs up

Just pre-ordered. Thanks for the heads-up.
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 12:54
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and another one pre-ordered.

Danny, when are you going to compile your posts into a book????
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 13:02
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Another pre-order here...I have already made a file of all Regle's contributions, and look forward very much to reading his book!!
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 13:09
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Another pre-order made! Delivery date 12 Jan 15.....

Hopefully it will be sooner than that! Thanks for the heads-up.

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Old 7th Apr 2014, 13:45
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More on Reg Levy

Gentlemen, I forgot to say that I have seen Reg's original work but as you can probably see one of Reg's grandchildren has edited it and filled in some gaps.

I also will buy a copy, Reg seemed to have a talent to write interesting reading matter. When I first read it I realised that in one section it was Reg describing his first operation in a Mosquito attacking a German airfield in Holland, I am guessing that he was 19 or 20 yrs old, his WC got lost and Reg alone went in 3 times to make sure that his bombs landed accurately, obviously the German gun aimers improved each time, his description had no element of boasting in it.

He was "The Real Deal" and left a lifetime impression on me......Andy
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 14:54
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 21:56
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Captain Reg Levy D.F.C.

LowNSlow, (and plenty of top rudder on the corners ?) - your #5444 refers

I'm nowhere near the end yet (another nine years and two more stations to go) - and: "Ars Longa, Vita Brevis" applies with ever-increasing force as the days go by.

Reg's book is now at the top of my List, and I hope it goes well, but I fear that WWII books may have saturated the market; the present generations much preferring footballers as "heroes" rather than the real thing.

Reg (RIP) would have said what I say; the job was there; it was up to us to do it; and so we did; and that's all.

Old 9th Apr 2014, 17:11
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Danny "Likes ter make yer Flesh Creep" (sorry, "Fat Boy", sorry Mr Dickens).

York is, of course, absolutely packed with history for those who have the time and inclination to go after it. Ghost stories abound. For that matter, ghost stories are not uncommon on RAF Stations, particularly on the ex-operational airfields from WWII, although I suspect an ulterior motive may play a part in their continued persistence. Perhaps the best known in our part of the world is the Middleton (Teesside Airport) Ghost, but there are others; Leeming had (still has ?) its No.1 Hangar Ghost, too.

I keep an open mind. I have never seen a ghost yet (but never is a long time), and am generally sceptical. But there are some stories for which the corroborative evidence is so strong that it almost compels belief. The one I have in mind is now 60 years old, so it may be new to anyone under the age of 70.

York Minster (the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe) was in the hands of the Benedictines for six hundred years up to the Reformation, which it survived, although the great Cistercian foundations in North Yorkshire (Fountains, Rievaulx, Byland, Mount Grace) were destroyed by Henry's Commissioners and are now only picturesque ruins. However, it is not the magnificent Minster which is the subject of this tale, but the Treasurer's House in the Cathedral precincts.

There are many versions (and Google has a whole selection to choose from), but the basic story is always much the same and I will tell it as I heard it (to the best of my recollection, but nearly a lifetime ago). In the Treasurer's House there was a large cellar. It was not at all a "spooky" sort of place: it was quite well lit - the sort of "games room" in which you might find a snooker or table-tennis table. Along one wall were the junction boxes for the house wiring, and on them an electrician was busy working.

The first thing he heard was a distant sound, a single note, which he later compared to an ineptly played bugle (had he been in the Army - or in the Scouts ?) Then it sounded again, but this time much louder and closer.

Suddenly from one end wall there emerged a man in tattered greenish rags and leather, wearing a sword, and mounted on a shaggy farm-horse, who appeared to be the leader of some score of following foot soldiers similarly dressed and armed with pikes. This ghostly platoon shambled the length of the cellar in absolute silence - the petrified electrician, pressed hard against the wall, noted that there was no attempt to keep step; they were dirty, scruffy and seemed utterly exhausted.

Although he was close enough to reach out and touch them (had he dared), they appeared not to see him at all, but vanished through the opposite wall. There was one more faint "call", and that was all.

A gruesome peculiarity of these apparitions was this: all their feet up to calf level (and the horse's fetlocks) appeared to have been cut off: it was if they were walking on the remaining stumps without the slightest trace of pain or difficulty.

Needless to say, the terrified electrician shot out of the cellar, resolutely refused to return (somebody else had to go back for his toolkit), told his story, and applied (successfully) to join the York Police Force (so he must have been of good character).

All the antiquarians, psychics and historians in York were on to this like wasps on ripe plums. The green "uniforms" rang the first bell. These were recorded as being worn not by Roman soldiers, but by some form of local "levies" of around 400 AD - a fact very unlikely to be known by a simple electrician. Then they tried him on various musical instruments: he identified the sounds he'd heard as a ram's horn. It was all checking out nicely.

But the truncated limbs were inexplicable - until they took the bull by the horns and applied to the Consistory Court for permission to excavate the cellar floor. Fifteen inches down they uncovered previously unknown Roman paving, which had become buried over the course of the centuries.

Game, set and match ! That's it. Believe it or not as you wish.

Sleep well,


"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet ?)
Old 10th Apr 2014, 06:20
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The plumber himself, in his own words
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Old 10th Apr 2014, 11:29
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Danny, a lot of my youngest daughter's peers seem to be interested in WW1 and 2 these days.

My daughter upset the local priest when she was about 6 or 7. We had been to see her Grandad who had made a comment about the newly elected Pope probably having shot at him during his tour on Halifaxes.
The following weekend at Sunday school the priest asked the assembled kids what they thought of the new Pope.
"I don't like him, he tried to kill my Grandad" pipes up the young LowNSlowette!
Cue choking sounds from wife!
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Old 10th Apr 2014, 11:53
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"Ars Longa, Vita Brevis"
I heard a tale (I hope true) that this Latin tag was adopted as a motto on the Coat of Arms of an aristocratic family .......

........ name of Longbottom!

Obviously got past the Chester Herald or whoever vets these things - I just hope it's true.
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Old 10th Apr 2014, 15:19
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Ars Longa, Vita Brevis.


Thanks for the link. Have tried it, but it won't play. Probably just me !

My electrician was a plumber in one of the Google versions. Is that the connection ?...D


"Out of the mouths of Babes !" But Grandad was a bit "off Beam" if referring to the present chap, who is an Argentinian. But if he had WWII in mind, then Eugene Pacelli (Pius XII) was an Italian and so (unjustly) tarred with Il Duce's brush.....D.


Another version has it that an irreverent wag, visiting a cemetery, passed a gravestone recording the untimely passing of a three-year old child of that name, and could not resist the unseemly quotation....D.

Cheers all, Danny.
Old 10th Apr 2014, 19:11
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I keep an open mind. I have never seen a ghost yet
My father died three years ago. A few weeks after his funeral at about 3 o' clock in the afternoon after tidying up the garden I was boiling the kettle for a cuppa when the phone rang. It was my Dad...he said 'Nah then lad, I just want to tell yer I'm OK and not to worry.'

I said the most stupid thing as my mind tried to work out what the hell was happening...'Dad, aren't you supposed to be dead?' 'Oh aye' he said 'but ah'm reet as rain, dun't go worrying owd cock.' Then the phone went dead. It was without a doubt my Dad, the way he spoke to me, the phrasing, it was him. I'm not religious, don't believe in ghosts, flying saucers or any of that guff. Still trying to figure out what happened. My wife heard my side of the conversation as well as she was in the kitchen with me.
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Old 11th Apr 2014, 10:21
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thing, thank you for your thought provoking post, not least because it takes some true grit to recount a story that many no doubt will find unbelievable. Rather like tales of UFO sightings (which colleagues of mine reported while flying through a deserted London TMA at 0 something hundred. They were whisked away to the MOD the next day, and had 'no comment' to add to their previously told tale upon their return), aviators are very wary of postulating stuff 'of which we have no ken'.

Danny, I have heard before of Roman soldiers sighted minus their lower extremities, marching seemingly down the original Fosse Way, which of course lies below present ground level.

One of the most intriguing recollections though was aired on Woman's Hour once. A lady had flash backs of previous existences and agreed to go under hypnosis. She was then asked where she was, and replied that it was on the lower gun deck of a ship that she named. It turned out to be a British ship-of-the-line during the Napoleonic Wars. What was her job? It was as a member of a gun crew. What did that entail? She ran through a precise description of the drill and of her part in it.

Afterwards the details were passed to Greenwich for their comments. They were amazed, as it fitted entirely with their understanding of the rapidity with which the Royal Navy could fire, reload, and fire again, while the French were still reloading. They'd had no precise detail of the drill though until that point, and demanded to know where it came from. Their reaction to the source was much as we always receive such tales, but if it was not genuine how come it passed muster?

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Old 11th Apr 2014, 11:55
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Wwwop’s daughter here. Apologies for the delay in replying to your posts. Although Mum uses a computer and iPad, this is the first time she has been on a forum. She sends me (in the UK) her copy and I format and then post it on her behalf. Here’s the second chapter:

Thanks for the responses and thanks also for the offer of drinks. We come over to the UK regularly so who knows.....
It would be difficult to put into words all the events of my nearly four years as a guest of His Majesty. Mind you, some of it perhaps would be better left unsaid! I simply tried to keep my initial post relevant.

I guess I joined the WAAF because a) there was a long waiting list for the Wrens b) I preferred the WAAF uniform to that of the ATS and c) I thought life would be more varied and interesting with the RAF.

@ricardian – sorry, I don’t remember any names of the instructors, if indeed we were ever told them. We were based in the Winter Gardens.

@Warmtoast – thanks for the photos. The first one looks familiar. I don’t think a lot of thought had gone into deciding what we should wear in the tropics. We’ve mentioned the hats. There were heavy black lace up shoes (as seen in the photos), starched Aertex shirts, warm winceyette pyjamas and elastic-legged passion killer unmentionables. We envied the Wrens with their light kit.

We were supposed to know how radios worked, how to take them apart and reassemble them. I doubt whether many of us could do all that. I have forgotten many of the technical terms but still remember my Morse. Chugalug2, I was not working in Records but did have contact with them when sending messages regarding crew etc.

For those interested in S/Ldr Birchall, there is are many online sites about him and a book by Michael Tomlinson called ‘The Most Dangerous Moment.’ It contains excellent references to the beginnings of the civil war in Ceylon/Sri Lanka.

One of my recollections of Changi is that we were invited by the Army to a game of hockey only to find that, on our arrival, it was an all male team. We played on hard baked, grassless earth. We gave them a run for their money mainly, I suspect, because most of them had very little familiarity with a hockey stick or the rules of the game. The usual festivities followed.

I expect the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank building is now a gleaming multi storied skyscraper. We worked out of the fourth floor of the HKSB building in 1944/45. After a few weeks, I was moved to try my hand at.. er...poetry:

I really, really cannot thank
The guy who built the Hong Kong Bank
Why didn’t he install some lifts
So when we go on to our shifts
Instead of climbing all those stairs
We’d be whisked up into our chairs
Sound of wind and limb
And so – NO thanks to him!

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Old 11th Apr 2014, 15:56
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I was in Cambridge
and heard a different noise. I looked up to see what it was.
Blinked twice and it still was............ a Canberra lifting off out of Marshalls.
A few weeks later they were grounded for good.
But is flying again in the Civi world Can't keep a good bird down
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Old 11th Apr 2014, 16:22
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Aircrew were castigated for reporting "Lightning" that appeared to flash up into space from clouds. All technically impossible of course.
Now "Sprites" are a recognized and accepted phenomenon scientifically, following some eventual investigation and a rethink.
Same with some UFO sightings. Eventually a reasoned explanation can be found in many cases, although the U.K. MoD has ceased investigations as "no threat" is perceived.
Which seems to be similar to the French Academy of Sciences :"As there are no stones in the sky , stones cannot fall from the sky" of yore.
The study of UFO's (now UAP - Unexplained Aeronautical Phenomena) should be widely separated from links to "Flying Saucers", which is an explanation needing a justification - where none exists.
I would maintain that formal UAP investigation should continue in the U.K. ,although reasonably outside of the MoD.and perhaps along the lines of the French investigation who have a funded body called GEIPAN, (Groupe d'études et d'informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non identifiés ) which is under the remit of CNES, the French National Space Agency.

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Old 11th Apr 2014, 18:48
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Hmmm ... Lightning.

So there I am, sat in Local at Tengah when there's a lightning strike on the tower. My hand/finger is hovering near the Tx switch on the minicomms panel where it emerges. Missed me by less than an inch!

... and lightning can go up as well as down

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