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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 18th Mar 2009, 10:15
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No Wiley it was not normal, for much of the war - apparently a standing order came out only a few weeks prior to Phil's little adventure saying that pilots could use the seat-type 'chutes if they wanted to. Phil by that stage in his operational career was not known for taking any further risks than he needed to and so decided to use the parachute that in the end saved his life.
Exactly what brought the aeroplane down is unknown. Phil remembered, just before dropping the bombs, everything going very hot, very dry and very red - then tried to find the aircraft's controls but couldn't, realised he was falling and pulled the ripcord. He was then hidden in a barn by a French family for a few months and eventually the invasion passed him. he returned to the UK in September 1944, and to Australia shortly thereafter.

Quite a remarkable man.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 11:32
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Wiley and parachutes

The very much easier exit in the Halifax was one of the main reasons that most people who flew that aeroplane on Ops preferred it to the much more manoeuverable and better performance , Lanc. There was no huge main spar to climb over if you had to get to the rear of the aircraft and the protection of armour plating was more plentiful and stronger.
I am pretty certain that I have seen, somewhere, the official report that more people escaped from stricken Halifaxes than from Lancs. I know that I much preferred flying a Lanc in peacetime but give me the sturdy old Halifax (Especially the Mk. 111 with Bristol Herc. engines) for OPs. Regle
 
Old 18th Mar 2009, 12:08
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Andy999 - surely that's a Coastal Command Halifax - not very likely over Munich!
For those with a morbid fascination with Elsan toilets, they might like to know that we had them in our Royal Observer Corps underground posts - they were left there when we finished in 1991. I often wondered if they were taken out of scrapped aircraft after WW2, put into store and then issued to the ROC.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 17:22
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Parachutes

Will try and answer some of the previous questions soon, but will join in the parachute topic now.
I cannot remember exactly the details , but as far as I remember the pilots seat in a Lanc was a very simple affair. Constructed of aluminium , with no padding. I think it had a depression in the bottom to accommodated the shute , so not sitting on the chute, the pilot would be sitting about ten inches lower which would reduce the pilots forward view I would imagine when I took over to the give the skipper a rest, I would sit on my chest ‘clip on’ shute, unless the skipper left his chute in the depression Can you remember Regle,? but later Lancs may have been fitted with more sophisticated seats similar to the American ‘armchairs’. I would only take over for fifteen minutes, as I had to change tanks, calculate fuel used, record temps, pressures, etc.

Regle the picture I was referring to was of a Halifax and not a Stirling. Entitled avec mustache. 0 out of 10 for my aircraft recognition.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 18:59
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Lancs and seats

Thanks Cliff. That solves the mystery. I will get on to Andy as soon as he gets back from Munich. I hope that he hasn't been upside down "sans ou avec un avion ". We are airing our French! Reg
 
Old 18th Mar 2009, 19:05
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Wiley and Kookabat

I only flew Lancs from the right hand side and so wore the chest type harness but I am pretty sure that the seat type was worn on the left. I do remember talking to a Lanc pilot who said that he always wore the chest type even though he had to take his own cushion along as he said it was almost impossible to climb over that main spar in a hurry even when the plane was immobile on the ground.
Disregard that flying from the right. I can't remember ever flying a dual control Lanc. I think that I used to demonstrate whatever from the left and then sit in the F/E 's seat when the other chap was flying. I may be wrong but has anyone experienced flying in a dual Lanc, or Halifax for that matter? Reg.

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Old 18th Mar 2009, 20:06
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The Halifax had a kit for fitting dual controls. IIRC the 202 Sqn Halifaxs that flew the weather trips from Aldergrove up to 1950 ish had them fitted. This was because the trip used to last about 14 hours with two pilots..
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 22:34
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The Lancaster also had a kit for fitting dual controls, which the old Chiefs who I worked under on PA474 (and who were wartime ground crew) said was used for pilot conversion and/or training flights. At that time (1966/67) PA474 was still in original wartime single pilot configuration, but has since had the dual control kit installed and BBMF seems to operate her with two pilots.
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 15:37
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Empire Flying Training School bound

I started my flying at the Bomber Command Instructors School in Dec.1944. I had reached 953 hours when I got there. I stayed there until November of 1946 and had many pleasant experiences and met some very interesting people . One of them was a Sqdn. Ldr. Jim Wyatt who came through Finningley as a pupil and stayed on as a Flt. Commander. We became great friends and I was surprised to find out from him that he was the Brother of R.E.S. Wyatt who was England's Cricket Captain for a long time beforethe war. Jim told me many tales including showing me some of the letters that his Brother had received from the English cricket fans. R.E.S. Wyatt was not, as Jim freely admitted, the most handsome of men but some of the fan mail ...."Call yourself an England Captain ! You look like a b....y Frog.! and that was one of the milder letters.
We were at Finningley when VE Day came along and I had the pleasant task of flying some repatriated POW's over Germany to show them the damage that we had done to the Third Reich. I see, from my log book that, on the 9th. July1945, I took some of these people on a 5 hour flight over Rotterdam, Arnhem, Essen. Cologne, Aachen, Antwerp. I have noted that one of them was a W.O. Booth, a navigator, who was
shot down over Wilhelmshaven in a Blenheim of 107 Sqdn. on...wait for it!
the 4th. Sept. 1939 (The Day after war was declared.). I can't remember much about what he said but I have always remembered the grim smile that he gave when we flew over Cologne and said " I see we left them the Cathedral".
The Examining Flight of the E.F.S. came round again, this time for the new "Green Card" that was neccessary to hold if you wanted to fly in the new Control Zones under IFR that was coming in. This time I was in for a surprise as the examiner, a Sqdn. Ldr. Beardon, passed me and in making out the card asked me if I would join the E.F.S. as a Tutor for the Empire Course that was given to those chosen from various Empire Air Forces...we still had an Empire... and , also, various civilians from our own Ministry and other countries. I was, by now, looking forward to peacetime and knew that this posting would do me no harm for my ambitions in carrying on flying so I accepted the posting, which carried a Flt. Lt. ranking, with very good feelings.
I had enjoyed my stay at Finningley and had learned a lot. I had now about 1500 hours when I took up my posting and moved the family, now four of us, from the wilds of Doncaster to the very different atmosphere of The Empire Flying School, Hullavington , Wilts.
 
Old 21st Mar 2009, 07:19
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Empire Flying School

I went down to Hullavington late November 1946 and very quickly found us rooms in a farm cottage at Halt which was , literally, a train halt on the line between Calne (Sausages !) and Chippenham. The cottage was owned by a larger than life like Margaret Rutherford character called ".Mrs.Bod". She was a widow who lived in the cottage and let out her farmland to a local farmer.
The flying part of the job was very interesting. It was my job to accompany my two or three "Students" through an advanced Instrument Flying course and get them thoroughly proficient in both the flying and theoretical side of Instrument flying which, with Civil Aviation finding it's ante bellum wings, was becoming an absolute neccessity for the new generation of pilots. And we had to train the people who were going to be responsible for the introduction of All Weather, Instrument flying, RAF and Civil pilots. One of my first students was the Grandson or Great Grandson of the famous Australian pre war pioneer, Charles Kingsford-Smith. Our Chief Flying Instructor was a tough South African Air Force Lt.Col. called after his famous Boer pioneer Voortrekker Grandfather, Piet Retief, the leader of the Great Trek to the Traansvaal.
On arrival at Hullavington , the Station was abuzz with a sensational police case that had briefly involved the Officer's "Dining In" night which had become a monthly ritual in the peacetime RAF.
One of the School's Senior Officers had met a charming RAF Group Captain in a Hotel, the "Tollard Royal" in Bournemouth. They had some drinks together and then the Group Capain whose name was Rupert Brook was invited to the next "Dining In" night by the Officer from Hullavington.
As it happened he didn't turn up and did not send any message of regret. He had been very busy with other matters. His real name was Neville Heath and he was a Captain in the S.A.A.F. He had been arrested for the murder of a Doreen Marshall who was staying at the "Norfolk Hotel" , in Bournemouth. She had dinner with Heath at his Hotel and rang for a taxi to take her back to her Hotel but Heath persuaded her to cancel it and offered to walk her back. She was never seen alive again.
Heath was also suspected of the murder of a Margery Gardner at a Notting Hill Gate Hotel, "The Pembridge Court ". This had been a savage, brutal affair and Heath's fate was sealed when a railway cloak room ticket found on Heath produced a brief case, inside which was a horsewhip with the identical pattern of the seventeen slash marks found on Margery's body. He was tried in November 1946 and found guilty and executed. He was reputed to have asked Albert Pierrepoint, the Executioner for a whisky and said " Better make it a double". I seem to remember the words "Branksome Chine " and think that the poor Doreen Marshall's body was found there but I am not certain. As you can imagine "Group Captain Rupert Brook" was discussed for a long time afterwards.
To get back to Hullavington; one of the "perks" of the job was that you had the chance and right to fly any aircraft that was on the RAF's list. The Station had it's own Spitfire and I very quickly availed myself of the wonderful opportunity to fly it and what a magnificent aeroplane it was. Mrs Bod and Dora had plenty of visits from a very low flying "Spit" for quite a while.
There was a story going around, probably apocryphal, of one of the students on a previous course , a Group captain X, who had the desire to fly in a Sunderland. This was arranged for him and he was flown down to Calshot in the Station Tiger Moth by his tutor. He was duly installed in the Sunderland and allowed to take the controls once he was airborne. He said that he was Station Commander at Tangmere and would like to fly over there. He duly made a mild "beat up" of the Station and then suggested to the amused tutor and Sunderland pilot that they land and have lunch. The faces of the crew made his gaffe very clear and it was a rather chastened Groupie that went back and landed at Calshot. When they were taxying to the pier he turned to the crew and thanked them for the trip and apologised for his stupid mistake "Please don't say anything" he begged them "I would never hear the last of it " They promised to keep quiet about it, "Thanks a lot " he said and stepped out into the water .
We had acquired a nice little Austin Ruby saloon and I was ,foolishly, teaching Dora to drive. We used to take our little dog over the level crossing (no gates, just a wooden platform with "Halt" on the signboard). and then I would get out and take "James" as Peter had named the dog, for a walk. One day Dora , gaining in confidence drove off and left me, fuming, to walk back with the dog. When I got back to find Dora sitting, smugly smiling, in the car I said "You know I always leave it facing the other way". She reversed, put her foot on the accelerator, instead of the brake, and shot backwards into the henhouse in a cloud of feathers and squawking chickens. Mrs. Bod rushed out, looked at the devastation then said "You know; if it wasn't so funny, I should be very angry. ".
It was now January 1947 and the snow started coming down late in the month and it never stopped until late March. We were completely cut off from anywhere for over a month. The only telephone was a little way down the river, which ran behind the cottage ,and was completely frozen over. The telephone was in the cottage owned by an elderly man who was a recluse. I skated up the frozen river to try and phone Hullavington and let them know that we were still alive. He couldn't find the phone which was buried under dozens of books and smothered in thick layers of dust. He was a decent old chap and invited me to go shooting pigeons with him. He would stand there, shaking like an aspen tree in a high wind, fire his old musket and down would drop half a dozen pigeons . I would be lucky to get one all morning. Mrs. Bod would go out each morning and blow a hunting horn and when he answered , with a toot on his, she would know that he was alright. Country Life in the snow .!
 
Old 21st Mar 2009, 17:58
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I am very annoyed with young Andy199, gallivanting in Munich , while I work my fingers to the bone. I bet he is sitting in a bier kellar, a full stein in his hand ,and singing away to an umpah band.

But they won’t be singing. Du bist mien leibehr,
Mien klienes flieger,
Du bist mien lebher unterofizier


HARRYM Battlestead Hill is about eight miles South West of Burnaston, just above Tatenhill airfield..

Regle , Always the instructed, never the instructor. I did however receive a few letters from the A.M , after demob, asking if I wanted to re-enlist , but I commenced employment as soon as I returned home.

At St Athan we carried on with our studies, We next had to draw the instrument panel in our exercise books showing every instrument and switch, and memorize the position of every item.. How on earth we did this complicated task I can’t remember, but think we must have used a mock up panel.. This was followed by more drawings of the elevator and rudder controls., which were push pull tubes running down the port side . Next , was Action to be taken in event of controls jamming. How to disconnect Rudder and elevator push pull tubes , so that pilot could used tabs to control the aircraft
. If the ailerons became jammed, the instructions were to go to the rocking arm on main spar, and endeavour to knock straight . ~That must be the reason that every engineers large green tool bag , contained a large two pound ball pein hammer., not to mention a very large screwdriver about half a metre long. Every service , system, electrical circuit. Hydraulic circuit, and pneumatic circuit had to be studied, memorized, drawn and fully understood . I will not bore you with every detail, but will add a few more details on my next post , as you, like I thought at the time, might think what on earth could an engineer do on a Lancaster.
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 20:04
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There's a "Detonator button" just under the "Engine starting buttons" !!
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 11:07
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A "detonator button " Cor blimey, I shouldn't have joined. But thanks CHECKBOARD at least I know the drawings are legible.

Last edited by cliffnemo; 22nd Mar 2009 at 11:10. Reason: addition
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 12:52
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Cliff...................Munich

Cliff, no gallivanting, well not much, there was a lot of work to do in Munich and some serious customer entertainment that was inflicted on me. No beer kellers but a nice club where bottles of Champagne were €284 for Moet.
Reg says I should keep a passenger log book as Wednesday was LHR>>Muc, Friday MUC>>LHR, Monday Bournemouth>>Edinburgh>>Dublin, Tuesday Dublin>>Bournemouth Oh don't I love Ryanair!


I know it's off topic and many apologies, but after a heavy night of drinking in Limerick I staggered out of the hotel in Limerick and nearly fell over these beauties, I invited them to join us (following good RAF policies) but they did not respond!


Again Cliff and other readers apologies for being off topic!

I will be talking to Reg to scan some more pictures!
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 13:00
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Lot's wife. Dunno who the other bint is, probably her sister.
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 13:15
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Blacksheep

Look carefully it's three of them, probably Limerick virgins if they exist?
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 20:05
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Pilot's escape from bombers

I was at a meeting of the Stirling Aircraft Society earlier today (more recruits urgently needed please - anyone can sign up for an incredibly modest sub and they have the noble ambition of rebuilding a Stirling from scratch: no plans have survived) when the subject of escape from a downed aircraft came up and I heard one ex-Stirling crew member say the the Stirling was by far the easiest bomber to get out of. It had a wider fuselage than its contemporaries with room for an easily accessible escape hatch between the cockpit seats. In, I think it was the Lanc to which they were referring, a seat had to be physically removed to allow access to the cockpit escape hatch - not exactly the sort of job you wanted to do if you were in a hurry. No doubt an ex Lanc crew member will correct me if I misheard.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 11:15
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Yes Recorder, there was a seat blocking off the escape route, and it was the F/Es. A contraption consisting of a pull down seat, and a back rest that was purely a canvas strap pulled across to the the pilots seat onto a hook.I have happy memories of sitting on one for up to seven hours. Will explain our antics when we were told to "Emergency, Emergency, Jump, Jump " later. Trying to keep info in chronological order. Good luck with the Stirling project.

It's a long while since I heard the word bint, Andy.
Should't it be 'shufti bint' ?
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 13:14
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Cliff, the meaning of the "B" word

bint: n woman, in the loosest sense of the word. One step short of a prostitute, a bint is a bird with less class, less selectivity, more makeup and even more skin. Blokes don’t talk to bints unless they’ve had at least eight pints of beer, which is why bints turn up in free-for-students nightclubs at 2:45 a.m. with their faked student ID and dance around their Moschino rucksacks. The word derives from the Arabic for “woman.” Well, I say “derives from” – it is the Arabic for “woman.”

Well that says it all, we know where Blacksheep goes for entertainment?

However they are right about 8 pints of beer, know wonder the young ladies did not reply to my advances?

Cliff, your notes are incredible, anyone rebuilding a Lanc should borrow them!

Here's a photo that Reg probably forgot that we scanned I can't remember him asking me to post it, but here it is, I think it's Reg at an OTU?

BTW Reg "Wiki" failed me they did not recognise "Bint" which I think is a Midland slang saying?



Now I promise not to go off topic again :0)
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 20:20
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Typical, there's always someone in a photo with their arms folded the wrong way!!

Sorry, Regle. I'm assuming the blacked out name is you.

Anyhow, back to back on thread........Gents, please keep it coming.
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