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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 27th Mar 2009, 09:33
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I would like to start by saying what a wonderful thread this is and wonder how I could have missed it for so long! The first hand accounts of Cliffnemo, Regle et al are absolutely fascinating, and written in such a style to make them eminently readable.- I have read the entire thread over the past couple of nights and am now fully up to speed and ready for the next installments!
Now , the reason for my intrusion:

I have been pointed to this thread by some fellow ppruners on the "Aviation History and Nostalgia" forum in the hope that one or more of the contributers may be able to answer a question I have regarding the use of Infra-red detection and /or identification systems on RAF aircraft during World War Two.

My question regards the use and operation of "Resin Lamps" which are to be found on some Mosquito aircraft on the trailing edge of each wing, just outboard of the ailerons. Were these lamps designed to operate in the Infra-red spectrum?
I understand that similar lights/ lamps were to be found on other aircraft including the Lancaster, the Hawker Tempest and reportedly the Varsity.

I would be grateful for any responses which you might have, either on the Aviation History and Nostalgia thread (entitled "Mosquito Resin Lamps" ) or by PM.
Thanks very much for your assistance,

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Old 27th Mar 2009, 09:56
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Taxydual & Zotbox

This is the first time in my long career that I have ever heard of Resin lights. We never used them in any shape or form . Contrary to many writers on aviation , we never attempted to try any sort of formation when night flying on Ops. We were too concerned with keeping out of the way of the others to get any nearer. On Mossies, Bostons etc. Formation flying was loosely tried but fairly quickly abandoned when it was found that it only added to the stress and made little difference to the losses. The fire power only came into it when there were turrets with something formidable in them to fire. The 14 man crew of the American B17's was a different matter. The general opinion was that we presented a much bigger and more quickly seen target when we formated and as the German fighters soon developed the diving through the formations combined with head on attacks, formations were abandoned. You only have to look at the horrendous losses suffered , particularly by 2 Group, Bomber Command on Blenheims and Bostons, to see what a disaster formation flying with slow, and lightly armed, aircraft was.
Re the photo. I can only see four people in the front row with their arms crossed the wrong way.!
Old 27th Mar 2009, 10:50
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some more info here: Resin Lights and Mosquito - Aircraft of World War II - Warbird Forums
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Old 27th Mar 2009, 11:36
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Thank you for the quick response Regle, I had hoped that you would hear my plea!

Here is a picture of the lights on the trailing edge of a mosquito in the De Havilland museum- they do look rather unusual.

The thread is over at Britmodeller and Post 11 contains the pictures.

Mosquito Resin or IR Lights - Britmodeller.com

Any idea as to their use or nomenclature?

Many thanks for your help,


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Old 27th Mar 2009, 11:39
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10 out of 10.

Good answer!!

Best regards

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Old 27th Mar 2009, 16:03
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Information request

This is somewhat off topic but as an avid reader of this thread I am hopeful that one of the regular contributors (regle?) may be able to shed some light on a question I was recently asked. (if anyone knows of a better info source then please pm me)

A friend who is now aged 70+ was given a 12” tall toy monkey which was dressed in blue serge, with the stitches on the blue in white thread to make it look like the monkey was wearing a RAF uniform. The toy monkey was given to my friend when she was about 5 years old. The only information she has is that a family friend went down south (from Northumberland) at the beginning of the war to be measured for a uniform and brought the monkey back for her. Was this a one off? Were there similar children's toys about and if so are any examples still around today?
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Old 27th Mar 2009, 17:15
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Toy monkey ??

In 1956 the Comm Flight at Nicosia had a pet monkey which lived in their office. During the Suez period an RAF Regiment squadron with their Bofors guns was deployed to the airfield to defend it. One Saturday lunchtime this creature was brought into the OM bar dressed in uniform with RAF Regiment flashes on it shoulders. Needless to say it caused mayhem by knocking glasses over etc.. The RockApes were not amused though somebody was heard to comment was that it was acting in character.
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Old 27th Mar 2009, 17:20
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Engineers Log

My mind wanders again, Shufti Bint ? How about Dohbiwalla, Punkawalla. Charwalla, I wonder if these terms are still used by the current serving erks. Any Erks reading this may let us know. Suppose the Dobhi walla doesn’t collect the Dohbi each week now.

Oh well , back to the grind. I intended to gloss over the P.F.E course, but then decided to give a few more details. Particularly as others may think, as I did what on earth could an engineer do on a Lancaster, so will reproduce a copy of the engineers log sheet below (our next lesson). I think the engineers deserve a bit of publicity , for everyone knows what , a gunner, bomb aimer, wireless operator, navigator pilot does, but ?

Page one shows the pre-flight check carried out by the F/E, which on return had to be signed by the engineer leader, who even double checked the gallons per hour figure . We were not told why, he wouldn’t notice the odd gallon missing out of 2154 galls.. We were told that the high octane petrol would burn out the valves on our motor bikes and cars, but I never heard of any one having that trouble. There were other checks not mentioned on the log. One was ‘ walk round the aircraft and check the general aspect of the aircraft. This was a typical, catch all rule (all embracing ?) typical of the R.A.F, as was the offence, conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the R.A.F . It covered such things as checking for tyre creep, on each landing wheel a white mark was painted on the tyre adjacent to another mark on the wheel hub. Under heavy braking, the tyre could move round the hub in which case the marks would indicate the amount of movement. After all the checks the pilot would sign the form 700 ? to say every thing was in order, including ‘ The general aspect’
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Old 27th Mar 2009, 18:00
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How about Dohbiwalla, Punkawalla. Charwalla...
At Brize in the early days of the VC10K, we had a navigator of Indian descent - a super chap with a fine sense of humour!

He was, of course, frequently nicknamed 'Chartwallah'! Which he thought was most apt.

One day some young lady fighter controller rang our crewroom and asked if a navigator could tell her when the moon came up over the Taj Mahal on a certain date, because her mother was going there on holiday and wanted the information. So Chartwallah put on one of those 'Peter Sellers' Indian accents and told her "Dear lady, I am looking in my books and consulting my charts - I am soon finding the answer, indeed to goodness"; he went on and on like this for about 5 minutes and the whole place was in utter hysterics. The poor girl didn't know whether it was a wind-up or what - Chartwallah assured her that Professor Gujirati of Bombay University had taught him how to predict the moonrise and he would soon have the answer......

And now back to our regular programme!
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Old 27th Mar 2009, 18:13
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eaw and your monkey

I am sorry but I never saw anything as elaborate as that monkey. Believe it or not there was the odd Teddy Bear and I once had a very senior First Officer who bore a strong resemblance to your picture but the monkey is unique. Give your young friend my apologies, Best regards, Regle
Old 27th Mar 2009, 21:25
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Cliff, the meaning of the "B" word
As the OED says:-

bint, n.
A girl or woman (usu. derog.); girl-friend.

The term was in common use by British servicemen in Egypt and neighbouring countries in the wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45.
1855 R. F. BURTON Pers. Narr. Pilgrimage to Meccah I. v. 121 ‘Allah! upon Allah! O daughter!’ cry the by-standers, when the obstinate ‘bint’ of sixty years seizes their hands. 1888 C. M. DOUGHTY Trav. Arabia Deserta I. viii. 231 Hirfa sighed for motherhood: she had been these two years with an husband and was yet bint, as the nomads say, ‘in her girlhood’. Ibid. xiii. 374 The homesick Beduin bint. 1919 Athenæum 25 July 664/2 Bint, girl. 1930 E. RAYMOND Jesting Army I. ii. 24 Damned jolly little bint, that one, too! 1938 ‘R. HYDE’ Godwits Fly xi. 169 Fancy turning in a smoke for a bint. 1941 New Statesman 30 Aug. (list of war slang) BintGirl friend. 1942 N. STREATFEILD Table for Six 151 I'd like her to grow up a lush bint. 1946 Penguin New Writing XXVIII. 175 What are the bints like round here, Tom? 1958 K. AMIS I like it Here xiii. 162 As the R.A.F. friend would have put it, you could never tell with these foreign bints.
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 03:06
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This, for me anyway is the best thread on pprune. I have read every book I could get my hands on about Bomber Command, but having people like regle and cliffnemo tell their stories is so much more personel, and it feels like you know them and have just been having a chat with them.

I had the honour of meeting a chap at a RSA funeral here who was a pilot on the Halifax. Not sure what year it was but they were still doing second dickie trips and he was shot down by a NF on his first trip coming back over Holland. Apparently one of his jobs was to collect the skippers parachute, which was in a container by the back door, in the event it was needed. He did not make it back to the cockpit area as the aircraft was on fire and spinning, first right way up, then upside down. With two others he thinks they were spat out when the aircraft broke up, but doesn't remember opening his chute or anything much. The rest of the crew were killed. Easy to see why they stopped that practise when you consider the amount of training that went into each crewmember.

I asked him what happened to his "headless" crew who were waiting for his return, they were all killed eight weeks later with a new skipper. Its hard to understand in this day and age how there was never a shortage of volunteers.

You can only imagine what some of the crews went through whos stories will never be told, so keep up the good work cliff and regle, and anyone else who was part of it.
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 04:06
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we had a navigator of Indian descent
My case was at an aircraft manufacturer. We had an English fellow, "Ken", who could do any number of take-offs ... he was very good at doing me, for example ... but his Peter Sellers Indian was superb.

One morning he arrived with his usual "Good morning! Good morning! Oh my goodness! Holy Cow! It is very good ..." and so on, until he caught our frantic pointings towards a new Chum who was pure laine Indian from India.

It was all taken in good part. As time passed, the new Chum would break off when telling an anecdote: "Oh I am telling you deary me! I am a silly fellow. You do it, Ken! You are far better than I am!".
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 06:53
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TOTAL tread drift, but on the subject of Subcontinetal people with and without a sense of humour, I see comedian David Janson has been forced to apologise for making an off the cuff joke on the Beeb (radio). Suggesting a name for a Pakistani cloakroom attendant, his answer, Mahtma Coat, is considered totally unacceptable and racist in this, the society of today that regle and cliff and so many others fought so valiantly to defend.
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 09:37
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Was not always so; first heard that one from Diz Disley in a folk club somewhere around 1968...
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 11:37
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It was ever thus

This society..... I remember that the Oxford debating society ,well before WW11, passed a motion "That this House will not go to war against Herr Hitler".. I don't think that was the exact wording but that was the gist of it. My Father despaired of my generation with it's "Decrepit and shocking morals" and I bet your Grandfathers and Fathers were of exactly the same outlook. "But "Cometh the hour, cometh the man".Regle
Old 28th Mar 2009, 12:41
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This, for me anyway is the best thread on PPRuNe. I have read every book I could get my hands on about Bomber Command, but having people like regle and cliffnemo tell their stories is so much more personel, and it feels like you know them and have just been having a chat with them.
The problem with a book or recorded interview is that once it has been printed or recorded it is fixed. There can be no further questions or discussions. The joy with this thread, and the one from Old Hairy some time ago about flying the Sunderland, is that they are totally interactive. Although each of the authors has a plan for telling the story anyone can interject with either questions, or even asides, and this will spark a further discussion. It is this facility that makes the thread so interesting and brings the whole thing to life.
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 19:00
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S'land. Bringing past events to life....

Well said, S'land. I have had more enjoyment in the last few months from answering questions and hearing comments from people of all ages, than I can remember in the many ,many years since I did my last flight (1981). Believe me, when I see that someone has something to say about something that I underwent sixty odd years ago, I get a real sense of it being all worthwhile. Keep those comments going. That is what brings a Forum like this to life. Thanks a lot to you all, regle.
Old 28th Mar 2009, 23:05
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regle, what was the highest you got to on any of your trips? Did you always try and bomb from the heights given at briefing or just try and get as high as you could?

Lanc crews seemed to like it when Stirlings and Hallys were on the same op, as they could see them below catching hell while they felt safer higher up.

I have been reading about one crew (432 Sqd ) who had to change from their Lanc IIs to the Hally III. They were not very happy about this at the start, "it looked like a designers mistake from the outside and was built like one from the inside" but soon came to respect it for its good points. They said you could easily get to 24/25000ft and once bombed from 29000ft!

Their brief tour ended over Berlin with some or all the crew surviving? ( I wonder if that would have been the case had they been in a Lanc? )
The Skippers last comment in the book, "I wonder if any historian will remember the Hally, it too was a good kite".
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Old 29th Mar 2009, 05:54
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Likewise, I've been spending too much time on JB, and have missed out on this wonderful thread.

It is a privilege to read this. I say that because I am an ardent supporter and member of several flight museums with a large military component. We rarely see any WW2 pilots anymore - most of them have passed away.

As to the WW1 pilots -- heck, the average lifespan was only six weeks.
" 'Huns' yelled the observer. 'Six of 'em and coming in like stink,' and he pointed up and astern to half a dozen dots in the sky. 'Would you like to scrap, Scotty?' shouted the pilot. 'Shall we take 'em on?'"
- WW1 Display, Seattle Museum of Flight.

With most of the pilots gone, what remains are the airplanes. Each one is entwined by these stories of the noblest human attributes.

That is what stirs my committment to support these flight museums. And the next time I pass by the Spitfire, Tiger Moth, or a heavy bomber, your words will again give lift to them, Cliff.

Thank-you for serving and sharing.
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