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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 21st May 2014, 18:17
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Danny42C
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Hummingfrog,

(Your #5655),

Your "change of horses in midstream" (line 41 after "Fairford") threw me for a moment - till I realised we'd jumped a generation ! Some things never change - your Dad will know this only too well. So it was, and so it will always be. What you want (or what you may be suitable for) is of no concern whatever. (HF Junior, you were just lucky !)...D.

Chugalug,

To make confusion worse confounded, I've another twist to our alphabet soup:

My log attests that I flew at No.9(P) AFU (Hullavington) from 7-26.6.42. (20 days of which I had one day only (23rd) off ("weekends" were just a distant memory). But on the rubber stamp on the log, it calls itself: "No.9 Flying Training School". This has been overwritten in manuscript: "9(P) AFU" (so: "now you see it, now you don't" - but "What's in a name ? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet").

At the end of these rather hectic three weeks, they were good enough to certify that I was of "Average" Proficiency, and had shown Aptitude as a Pilot/Navigator. Armed with this, I went off happily to my Spitfire OTU.

(You may recall, much earlier on this Thread, Millerscourt bringing to our notice a strange tale about the US/RCAF alumni being found to be sub-standard, and having to be "re-SFTS'd". Could this be a garbled and twisted version of what [quite normally] actually happened ?)

On the remaining 19 days, I flew 30 times (inc 4 Hurricane, on the last of which my u/c failed to lock-up), and I put the thing u/s....D.

Cheers, both. Danny.
 
Old 21st May 2014, 19:47
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Danny:-
What's in a name ?
Well, quite a lot I'd say. It is a revelation to me at least that the 5 AFS that I attended at RAF Oakington to learn the business of multi engine aircraft (the Varsity T1 in this case) was the very same 5 FTS formed in 1920 at Shotwick, becoming in turn 5 SFTS, 5(P) AFU, 5 SFTS, and 5 FTS, via Ternhill, Thornhill and finally Oakington, with types such as 504K's, Siskins, Harts, Oxfords, and Masters. Even the Vampires that were still there in the winter of 1962/3 now make sense, as the last SE course graduated to give way to we more mundane ME types.

HF Junior, you were just lucky !
Far be it from me to add a note of censure, Danny, least of all to your august self, but in my view there is no 'just' in the matter of luck. Luck is a prerequisite in any Service career in my view. In the period of unpleasantness that is the feature of this thread it most certainly was, and was a major ingredient in surviving it. In the more routine periods populated by the likes of HF junior and myself, it was still important in my view.

I was blessed with good fortune, even when it appeared at the time to be something different. £60 appeared as if by magic in my Bank account while at Oakington. Just as magically it disappeared, and it was only subsequently revealed to be expenses for attending Rolls Royce to learn the Dart engine that powered the then very new Argosy. My progress was not good enough for such a prize, and instead I was sent to 242 OCU Thorney Island to learn the very old Hastings instead. C'est la vie became whoopee when our postings came through at end of course; 48 Squadron Changi!

On the whole my philosophy, no doubt shaped by that good fortune, was simply to go with the flow. That it worked for me was no doubt 'just' luck. I know that the Good Lord is rumoured to help those who help themselves, but I'm not sure that view was shared by the obedient servants that were Commanded by the Air Board to send you hither and thither...

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Old 21st May 2014, 20:14
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An Interesting Article

This from today's Aberdeen "Press & Journal" about one of yours -
Press and Journal - Article - Legacy Presented to MacRobert Trust


I have the full article if anyone is interested.
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Old 21st May 2014, 20:26
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Hummingfrog
I was really interested by this part of your post -"At this point, September l943 at the very moment I might have got my hands on a ‘Spit’ or ‘Hurri’ my life again changed completely. During my leave I received a telegram from ‘those on high’ informing me that my posting was cancelled and I was to be reposted to No.2 FIS (Flying Instructors School) based at Montrose, Scotland."


Dad was born in Montrose, and I was born about 5 miles further north. Dad was in the Home Guard, and had one or two tales about RAF Montrose.


Can you ask your Dad if he remembers where he was billeted while he was there? The reason I ask is that the RAF took over Lauriston Castle during WWII, and my grandparents lived in the coachman's house at the stables. I believe they had great fun with some of the RAF chaps during this time.


RAF Montrose is now a museum. Here's a link to their website - Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. Britain's first operational military airfield.


I have some photos I took during a visit last year if you want to see them.
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Old 21st May 2014, 21:15
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Wot OTU?

Danny (et al)

I'm perplexed, re your no.5650 about hours AFU and OTU for my late dad. The record of service in the back of the (2nd) log book has no record of OTU at all. He is back from Florida/Moncton/Harrogate, next is 6 (P) AFU Little Rissington followed by SPDC Blackpool, Bombay, BRD Worli, following in your footsteps. The record of service seems to me be meticulous from him joining the RAF as a boy apprentice in 1938 to his sad demise in 1948. Is it possible that AFU was his OTU, in that the Oxfords and Ansons that he flew there were preparation for the Expeditors that he spent most of his time operating in the sub-continent?
I am at a disadvantage at this time as I am in the UK, cheering up (I hope) my ex WReN mum , just out of hospital, so I cannot look at his Service Record Cards as they are back at the ranch in "The Auld Sod".
The "Case of the missing 100 Hours" continues - log books for persons no longer with us can be so frustrating! Maybe, just maybe, the Senior PPRuNers will fill the gaps!


Ian BB
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Old 21st May 2014, 23:49
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harrym,

Chacun à son goût ! I can well imagine the huge tureen spoon handles you had in the middle of your yokes might be hard going, but our nice little bike caliper brake levers in the spade grip were quite capable of putting a Master/Spitfire/Hurricane/Balliol on its nose (or getting a Meteor/Vampire to bow gracefully) any day of the week.

And I found it simpler just to put a bit of pressure into the system, and then waggle the rudder bar as necessary, rather than balance foot effort on two huge pedals. Perhaps we didn't use our brakes so much, as I can never remember running out of puff.

Matter of opinion, really....D.


Chugalug,

I'm with you 100% in the matter of taking whatever comes: in my experience you do just as well in the long run as those who are forever "networking" to secure some advantage. On the one occasion when I was offered (and made) a choice of posting, I got the exact opposite of my wishes ! The old adage: "Be careful what you wish for - you might get it" is very sound indeed. "It'll all comes out in the wash !", as we say...D.

Ian B-B,

Now you've got me foxed ! (what's a SPDC when it's at home ? - all I did in Blackpool was to get a white shirt, a cheap grey suit and a "Michael Crawford" style beret: then wait for a train to Gourock). AFAIK, the AFUs were set up (from old SFTSs) for the sole purpose of acclimatising the Empire Training and US Schemes people when they came back to UK. They wouldn't have devoted 100 hrs to that, surely ?

Some 80 hours has gone missing ! (Again a whiff of the Millerscourt-sourced story hangs in the air). Can anybody help ?

And in India the only OTUs I recall were a Hurricane one at Ambala (?) and a Vengeance one (Peshawar), both purely for the IAF......D.


Cheers, all. Danny.
 
Old 22nd May 2014, 10:11
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Who Knows?

SPDC? Hmmm - I'll go for 'Service Personnel Dispatch Centre' - any other offers?

I don't like the sound of millerscourt's report (pg121 no. 2407) anymore than chugalug did. He does say that this came to light in Feb. 1942 when the first N. American trainees came back. If there ever was such a problem surely it would have been addressed by the time Course 12 5 BFTS came along 15 months later?

I'll go through Dad's RAF Record Cards with a magnifying glass when I get back to base. Could the OTU line missing in the log book just be an oversight when filling in the Air Forces in India book? Seems out of character to me.

Ian BB
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Old 22nd May 2014, 14:53
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SPDC

I believe that SPDC is actually 5 PDC (5 Personnel Despatch Centre, Blackpool).


Regards


Pete
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Old 22nd May 2014, 15:39
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Time for some new Specs!

Petet
I believe that you are spot-on Sir! Herself is in need of a new pair of glasses (she was reading the page to me over the phone last night) and obviously mistook the 5 for an S.
Many thanks Pete, (at least I guessed the other three words correctly).

Ian BB
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Old 22nd May 2014, 18:40
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Ian B-B, (and Pete for a masterly solution of the "SPDC" problem !),

I think you're right, and that there must have been an OTU Course hiding in there somewhere. There'd be no point in sending him out without one - what use could they make of him on any Squadron out there with a war on ?

I think that the story that Millerscourt unearthed (and very properly brought to our notice) was never more than a "mare's nest". I never heard a word of it at the time (although I was in the centre of the action), or ever since.

But it is amazing the traction that these odd tales can get. Remember the "Buried Spitfires in Burma" ? Even I put in a Post or two on that, speculating on any possible explanation, before common sense prevailed. And I was in the theatre at the time, and we would certainly have picked up whispers.

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 22nd May 2014, 21:49
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OffshoreSLF

I will ask Dad about the Officers Mess location but I believe that it was in an old house which was demolished about 15-20yrs ago. He did have a brick from it as he was visiting the area around the time it was demolished!

HF
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Old 24th May 2014, 21:21
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Something developing in the thread recently seems to highlight the fact that the Royal Air Force certainly had an ethos of continuation and development training, despite wartime restrictions. Something of a surprise to me, as I always believed that people were thrown in to operational flying with minimal qualifying experience. Once again, for some of us lesser mortals, some new territory is opening and linking past with current practice. I'm sure there's much more to come, keep going chaps.

Smudge
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Old 24th May 2014, 21:22
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The Senior Service 'Full Ahead'

In the UK on this wet BH W'end cheering up (I hope) my WW2 WReN mum, just out of hospital, can't do anymore on dads story until back in my homestead in "The Wesht".
Hope this little piece of her war story might be of interest.
She was the first female Air Mech (E) on her squadron 747 RNAS, joined later by a fitter (A) and eventually an armourer in 1944. So in time the FAA (or "The Air Branch" as their Lordships of the Admiralty preferred) became used to this new type of WReN in dirty overalls.
However when, on occasion, she was on board the squadron "hack", (Anson), and they visited RAF stations, there was, as we say in Ireland, "Great Excitement". The RAF WAAFs all seemed to be indoors, in OPS or clerical or catering - none to be seen in the hangar or on the flight line. The RAF boys were staggered, (a crowd would gather for their departure), that the "Grey Funnel Line" aviators were going around with a teenage girl (in smart bell-bottoms) employed to swing the props and pull the chocks. "Where did we go wrong" someone was heard to mutter.

Ian BB
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Old 24th May 2014, 23:12
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Danny reminisces further about CATCS

I remember very little about the endless round of Lectures-DF exercises-Lectures-"Mock Control" -Lectures-ATC Tower sessions-Lectures.... ad infinitum. There were some memorable occasions.

In the CA/DF Simulator, "S" was in the hot seat. His Instructor sat at his elbow. In the back office sat his "pilot" ('twas I ), pulling the strings (I'm henceforth "P").

I opened the bowling gently enough. P asked for a simple QGH, 18,000 feet, hdg 210. At least my alter ego P thought he was on 210. But I was simulating the still very common situation where there was just a DG on the panel, and a P4/P6 magnetic compass tucked away down in some awkward corner of the cockpit. Either P had found it difficult to read in the shadow, or he'd not waited long enough for the needle to settle down, or he'd simply misread it.

Whatever, the fictitious P had set his DG on 210 whereas the correct figure would have been 195. There was a 15 degree error built in from the start. The trace came up as 270 and S gave P that as the first 'steer'. P dutifully turned (60 right - yes ?) onto it and said so (but of course he was really now only on 255 - are you following me ? - and the QDM trace must start creeping clockwise until S twigs what's going on.

At first I simulated P as being a fair distance out; so the trace didn't move much - could easily be due to a normal cross-wind. S sticks five more on to counteract this, but it's not nearly enough and the trace continues its clockwise march. Why didn't S ask P to check his compass ? (the obvious first thing to do when a homing is going wrong). S was usually a bright lad, I can only suppose that he'd had a heavy night the night before, and was still suffering the effects.

So he carried on "trailing" the steers (to the immense annoyance of his Instructor, who was witholding comment in the hope that light might yet dawn), until the trace had worked round to 355, and it looked as if they were going to finish "going round in ever-decreasing circles" until - well, never mind. At last the exasperated Instructor exploded: "MOVE HIM !! - PUSH ! FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE" (or words to that effect).

This finally galvanised S into rattled action: "Turn right ten onto three-six-five !" he bleated. "WHAAAT !" roared the Instructor. S took this as meaning that he should have done even more: " Terribly sorry", he said in his best Sloane tones: "steer three-seven-zero !" was his final bid.

The meeting broke up (as the saying is) "in disorder".

Goodnight, all.

Danny42C.


"Every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it !"

Last edited by Danny42C; 24th May 2014 at 23:18. Reason: Spacing.
 
Old 25th May 2014, 05:10
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" Terribly sorry", he said in his best Sloane tones: "steer three-seven-zero !" was his final bid.
Heeheeehee, that old trick!! During my training as a civil ATC we drove simulator blips for each other. As the course progressed and exercises got busier pearlers like muxed-ip callsigns or the old "heading 370" classic were heard quite frequently from the increasingly flustered trainees on the other end. Keeping whatever the radio equivalent of a "straight face" is, without giving the game away (that was the instructor's job) could be difficult sometimes! And of course because we "blipped" for each other, sometimes you were the pilots, sometimes you were the trainee ATC. The shoe was frequently on the other foot.

All good fun, because no-one gets hurt in the simulator.

Adam
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Old 25th May 2014, 08:30
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Didn't you us the decimalised compass in those days?
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Old 25th May 2014, 08:40
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Dad's story continues with his view of the build up to D-Day - it must have been an awe inspiring sight to see so much hardware being positioned yet not know what the plan was until you read it in the paper post D-Day!

"Like many Flying Instructors, requests to be posted to an Operational Squadron or O.T.U. were made and on most occasions were refused - as in my case. It therefore came as a great shock when in early June 1944 I was posted back to 2 FIS Montrose, Scotland, on the staff as an instructor of instructors. It was then I realised that my chances of an operational posting was absolutely nil and no further requests were made.

In Gloucestershire we were well aware that something big was being planned for. Not only were all the grass verges of countryside roads around the airfield slowly being filled with all sorts of military stores and hardware but RAF Brize Norton, an operational airfield close to ours, was becoming much more active with glider towing exercises. Our own airfield, RAF Southrop, was also being used for landing large numbers of gliders en masse. It was an awesome sight as gliders in their dozens were released from their ‘tugs’ and landing on Southrop. Brize Norton was to become very active on D-Day itself.

At that time our quarters were in Nissan huts in a wooded part of the airfield complex. I well remember early one morning in a practice operation, goodness knows how many Dakotas flew above our quarters dropping many paratroopers supposedly on the airfield but suddenly several British paratroopers came down from the sky into the wooded area where our quarters were and found themselves suspended from trees - so ‘help the paratroopers’ was the order of the day! The Dakotas were US Air Force planes and there was much swearing towards the American Dakota pilots! Unfortunately I was back in Scotland at 2 FIS on the very day after the D-Day landings. It must have been quite awe inspiring on the day as the masses of gliders, paratroopers and infantry were flown into and dropped over France together with the movement of all the trappings of war from the lanes and roads of Gloucestershire."

If Dad had remained at Southrop it would have been strange to see the lanes empty of personnel and trucks/armour.

HF
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Old 25th May 2014, 10:36
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FED:-
Didn't you us the decimalised compass in those days?
Ah yes, and memories of the decimalisation of DTGs as well.

It must have been in the late 60s when the teleprinters sprang into life immediately after midnight of 31 March. It reminded all recipients that iaw NATO Stanag xxxx, decimalisation of time was to take immediate effect from Apr 0100.01. Cpls in Comm Cens awoke OOs who then woke SDOs who then woke up Stn Nav Officers. Stn Duty Ops officers denied all previous knowledge. By the time that Wg Cdrs were being aroused the penny had usually dropped, and attention turned to the date and origination of the signal. The first was not IAW with the supposed Stanag, the second of course had long since gone to earth.
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Old 25th May 2014, 15:07
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! The Dakotas were US Air Force planes and there was much swearing towards the American Dakota pilots!
An old ex para with whom I drink with quite a lot was part of the Market Garden show There is a German film taken during the para assault that shows one Dakota releasing it occupants some time after the rest. Our hero was in that stick and after two years of training, because things like guns, etc, were in canisters around him, he had his hands up as soon as he released his harness.

God Bless the USAAF.
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Old 25th May 2014, 19:28
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"You are old, Father William....."

Fareastdriver and Chugalug,

"Didn't you use the decimalised compass in those days? "

Please, teacher, what's a Decimalised Compass ? (retires furtively to Google, upturns a few flat stones, comprehension slowly dawns).

What on earth was wrong with a 360º Compass ? We fought WW2 with it, and didn't do at all badly, our Navs mostly got us there in the end (sssh, don't let 'em hear that). I never heard of "caramelised compasses" or whatever (must have retired at the right time [end'72]).

This dog is too old to learn this new trick ! Big Pistons, inches of boost, tailwheels, guineas, £sd and 60-minute hours for ever, say I.

Cheers, Danny.
 

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