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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 20th Jul 2014, 19:11
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Danny42C
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Gunsmoke.

harrym,

"... it was no longer needed..." Wouldn't be too sure about that. You never know (up to what age can we go before they can't recall us to the Colours ?)

In the immediate wake of the surrender, it was sometimes touch-and-go whether your Jap's loyalty to his Emperor would override his natural instinct to blow your head off.

I kept my pistol with me right to the bitter end (kraits ?)

Danny.
 
Old 20th Jul 2014, 20:32
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Monkey business !

Fareastdriver,

So now we have Gibbons to add to the list (kraits, puff adders and mud-crabs eic) of Things I'd Rather Not Have in the Cockpit/Flight Deck with Me.

I know nothing of Gibbons, but have read that an adult chimpanzee is five times stronger than a man. Supposing that Gibbons to be of similar size and capability, you were lucky to have a young one !

What did your Gurkha want it for ? I would think they had them at home, so it wouldn't be a novelty. Perhaps the Indonesian variety tasted better (perish the thought !)

Danny.
 
Old 21st Jul 2014, 09:04
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What did your Gurkha want it for
They were kept as pets. The Ibans, who had lived there since whenever, treat monkeys as a food source. It tastes like a mixture of pork and chicken because I had to dine with a headman once as it was preferable to my head being shrunk. The used either blowpipes or shotguns, both equally accurate, to shoot them down from the trees. When they killed a mother they would keep the infant until it was big enough to eat. If the Gurkhas saw one they would buy it off them and look after it.

When the Gurkhas returned to Nepal the monkeys they had would end up at Jesselton, now Kinabalu. Zoo, where they would eventually be returned to the wild. (Probably to be shot again).

Going back to the old Smith & Wesson; I was issued with one in Borneo, probably the same one as yours. With it came the tatty cardboard box with twelve (1947) rounds. I had been in the Rhodesian Army so I was a dab hand with a shooter but we were getting a new batch of pilots who had gone straight through training without seeing a gun. There wasn't a range at our home base so we were allowed to fire six rounds just before we came back from a forward area.

A fuel drum at fifty yards was the target and none of us could hit it, including me. My last round I fired into the air into wind and I could see the shell going. Something had to be done for my personal safety so I decided to use a ploy I had heard about. Using 9mm. ammunition in a .38 revolver.

To overcome the fact that 9mm. used rimless cartridges against the rimmed variety on the .38 the trick was to run a few turns of thin helicopter blade tape in the recess so it would hold it in the chamber when the hammer hit it. Blade tape was easy, 9mm. ammo not so.

I was taking some Intel people from Pensiangan to a border longhouse called Kabu, sit there for an hour or two and then fly them back. During this period I ask the Intel chap of what the chances of getting some 9mm. was. No problem, he would fix it. When I dropped them off I waited until a Gurkha came along and with a thump deposited a box of 1,000 rounds in the back.

I now had too much but the crewmen were issued with Sterling sub-machine guns that used 9mm. so I was handing out 50 round boxes like Santa Claus. They all had to unload their RAF ammo if they wanted to shoot because if they handed back magazines with shiny rounds in the armourers would know that they had fired the stuff that they had purloined off Montgomery. I then taped up fifty rounds and next day we went down to the fuel drum.

The bullets are about the same size though the 9 mm. case is a looser fit in the chamber. They needed a bit of a push to compress the tape so that the rear face was flush. Just one round; up with the gun, both hands, and fire.

BANG-Berdoing, Fantastic!

A bigger kick because there was more powder but the gun didn't throw at all. I opened the chamber and because it had no rim for the extractor I poked it out with a screwdriver. The chamber looked fine, and a look down the barrel confirmed that was fine too. My crewman then returned from behind a tree.

I loaded up six and off I went; Bang-Berdoing X 6.

Nobody else was interested in doing it for their pistols; something to do with Elfin Safly. I carried the same pistol around for a further six months and must have sent a couple of hundred rounds though it with no problem. It was a bit of a bind wrapping them and then poking them out but in the end I could hit the drum at a hundred yards which is about the maximum range you are ever going to get in the jungle so I felt a lot more secure.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 21st Jul 2014 at 14:29.
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Old 21st Jul 2014, 17:01
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Fareastdriver,

Nice to know that the Gurkhas had only kind intentions towards their booty from Indonesia, and glad they would be going to a good home, but it is always dicey returning a pet animal to the wild.

I admire your ingenuity with the cartridge-conversions - yes, a Prophet is never honoured in his own country ! I solved my camp-bed problem in Burma with my air-transportable Charpoy, but AFAIK no one else took up the idea, though it was simple and easy (you just can't help some people, can you ?) I once took up the slack in a worn throttle spindle with a bit of kitchen foil wrapped round. Worked well for quite a while.

A 44 gal drum at 100 yards is good indeed. (I don't think a .38 would carry 100yds). We were told that the only way to be sure of a result was to stick the muzzle into your chap's guts and fire.

Happy Days. Danny.
 
Old 21st Jul 2014, 20:26
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Ah, the S&W 38-200. Yes, I've watched the black streak as the bullet makes its way down-range.

These 2 examples were once the property of a very dear Arm Eng officer of my close acquaintance. The top one stopped working when, after reloading, the 8th round jammed the workings completely by preventing the cylinder rotating.

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Old 21st Jul 2014, 21:15
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One of our pilots shot himself in the foot. He fired the first round and not seeing any effect fired the second. This pushed the first round out of the muzzle and it dropped onto his foot.
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Old 22nd Jul 2014, 21:33
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O, tis sport to see the Engineer... Hoist with his own Petard !

MPN11,

I can just see the tip of a bullet coyly peeping out in the upper picture. Surely your armourers could've put the thing in a vice, put some padding round the breech, and given the ramrod a good whack with a hammer. After all, what could they lose ? - it's no good as it is ! ( I'm just popping out for a minute while you do that).

Remember Mrs Pike and the 4x2 rag stuck in the rifle in that glorious "Dad's Army" scene ?

"....the 8th round..." ? I was fobbed off with only six chambers in mine (this is a serious question: I suppose you can, in principle, have as many as you like)...D.

Fareastdriver,

Did No.2 give up the struggle after pushing No.1 out, so No.3 would have to push No.2 out, and so.......ad infinitum - or until you ran out of ammo ?...D.

Cheers, Danny.

P.S. Stand by for #6,000 coming up. Only seems the other day we had #5,000 ! D.

EDIT:

Purely for interest, I looked up the dates of the 1,000 "mileposts":....

Start 5.6.8.
1k 1.8.9. = 14 months
2k 11.9.10. = 13
3k 2.9.12. = 24
4k 6.7.13. = 10
5k 11.1.14. = 6
6k 8.14. = 7
(To reach 3k = 51 mos. From 3k to 6k = 23 mos)....D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 22nd Jul 2014 at 23:17. Reason: Add Text,
 
Old 22nd Jul 2014, 23:02
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MPN11
Must have been a fairly common occurrence. I remember a similar incident on the Barry Buddon ranges near Dundee, when one of my friends managed to get 5 stuck in the barrel.


I was RNR at the time, and we used to shoot .38 pistol on Saturday afternoons, and .303 rifle on Sundays.
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Old 23rd Jul 2014, 08:32
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Clearly not an uncommon occurrence, but it's nice to have the photographic evidence! And my thanks to Stan's widow for letting me have the original items.

Danny42C - for clarity I should have noted that after firing all 6 rounds in the cylinder to no effect, the user then reloaded with a further 6 and carried on .. but only 2 of those got to go 'bang'
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Old 23rd Jul 2014, 18:46
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Danny has a brush with the Paranormal.

Many old RAF Stations have resident Ghosts: some well known like the Middleton Ghost in the St.George Hotel (former Officers' Mess) at Teeside Airport, others less so. Our Ghost at Leeming was in the latter category.

The story was current when I arrived there in Summer '67, and our Ghost continued to put in appearances, at irregular intervals, all the time (but progressively less frequently) until I left at the end of '72. Any information from the readership about subsequent sightings would be welcome on this Thread.

There was no internet or Google to refer to in those days, and we are solely dependent on oral testimony . The story, as I heard it, runs as follows: Some time after the war, there was a training accident at Leeming. The aircraft was supposed to be one of the Beaufighter family (Buckmaster, as I recall). Pilot and Nav were killed. (No other details).

One late afternoon in the early days of the JP era, the aircraft were being put away in No.1 Hangar at close of play. It was dusk, but far from dark. An airman busy about his duties passed a figure sitting nonchalently on the wing of one of the parked JPs. It was wearing the flying overalls of the time. "Have you seen Flt.Lt. So-and-so ?" asked the figure. "No, sir", answered the airman (not knowing - or much caring - who Flt.Lt. So-and-so might be). He took a step or two more, then curiousity impelled him to look back. The figure had vanished.

He looked swiftly round the hangar. The light was quite enough to see by. But he was quite alone there. He later recalled that he felt in no way alarmed, only puzzled by the strange occurrence. He decided to keep quiet about it (he wouldn't be believed, in any case, and it would only attract mockery).

But in the following weeks, at irregular intervals, other airmen had similar experiences and the story came to light. The tales had many features in common. The apparition was always in, or close around, No.1 Hangar. It only appeared about the same time of day - late afternoon to early evening. The question was always the same. He was always in flying kit. He only appeared to one man at a time, even though others might be quite close, they saw and heard nothing.

He was by no means a fightening or menacing Ghost, quite the opposite. He seemed affable, but with an anxious, distracted air, as if his thoughts were far elsewhere. Soon there was a renewed interest in the affair after a sudden variation of the pattern one winter evening. A crew bus was travelling through the wide space between 2 and 3 Hangars, again about the end of the flying day. The driver was moving about 20 mph towards 2 Hangar, when a figure appeared right in front of his bus. He braked hard, but the figure vanished under the front wheels. He felt no bump.

He stopped and jumped out to see whom he'd run over, but there was nobody there. Plenty of people had been passing by off work, and some had been attracted by the scream of brakes. But none of them had seen the stranger, either before or after the supposed "impact". The driver got back and drove on, bewildered.

Of course, from time to time, "ghost-busting" groups of two or three set out, pot-valiant, from the Messes and NAAFI after dinner to confront this "ghost". But when they walked away from the bright lights, through the gloomy technical sections of the camp, to the now deserted, unlit black hangars standing like huge, menacing cathedrals in the darkness, their courage failed. There had been loose talk about drawing the hangar side door keys to have a scout round inside, but now that didn't seem a good idea at all. They turned tail and walked back. And that's about it.

****************

I've been rummaging about a bit. It seems that No. 228 OCU operated from Leemimg '47-'61:

<RAF 228 OCU Losses & Ejections - Ejection History>
www.ejection-history.org.uk/...228_OCU/SQUADRON_228ocu.htm

<16th January 1951

RAF Brigand B1 RH770 228 OCU struck a tree near Timworth Suffolk./ Pilot Flying Officer P F Keeling. /Other crew abondoned (sic) the aircraft safely>

That is the only reference I can find that has a possible connection with the detail in the "legend". And it does not specify that F/O Keeling was killed (although that is implied). And there would be a third man in a normal Brigand crew. Nevertheless "Brigand" was such a "near miss" for "Buckmaster", that the part-coinicidence is striking. Perhaps Keeling (the pilot) was killed, and it is he who, like Captain Hendrik Van der Decken ("The Flying Dutchman") is fated to stay near Leeming No.1 Hangar, waiting for his Nav (?) for all eternity ! Trust a Nav not to be able to find his Captain ! (Only joking, some of my best friends have been Navs).

Another search led to:

<phantom aircraft, ghostly airmen, and other spirits of aviation> www.paranormaldatabase.com/aviation/pages/avdata.php?...2...

<CrewLocation: Leeming - Former Airfield.....(???)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1950s onwards
Further Comments: The crew from a bomber have been seen walking together here, and when not seen they have been heard laughing and joking.>

This has no obvious connection with our man - except that there probably were two survivors in his case.

Had a wander across from the Tower around there at odd times during the night when all was quiet and we had no traffic, but never saw or heard anything out of the ordinary.

Evenin', all.

Danny42C.


"From ghosties, ghoulies and long-leggity beasties, Good Lord deliver us".

Last edited by Danny42C; 23rd Jul 2014 at 18:52. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 23rd Jul 2014, 21:15
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Danny,

What an interesting post. I've spent some time at Leeming in the 80s, but had no idea of this "resident". I spent most of my service on the Hercules, and remember distinctly the rumour that Bay 8 (I'm sure it was 8 though 11 rings a bell) was similarly haunted. I remember when I was trade boss on the ALSS line shift one night one of our lads coming back in to the line with areal sweat on, convinced someone had appeared in the nose wheel bay of the aircraft as he was working. At night, the bay in question had an eerie feel to it, and certainly would lend itself to such beliefs. Despite several of us visiting the bay that evening nothing unusual was observed, but to the day I retired, the "lineys" perpetuated the myth. I bet there's many such a story from our recent past.

Smudge
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Old 24th Jul 2014, 01:26
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gaining an RAFpilots brevet etc.

Evening Danny,I just came across a site where in 2012 "Old dufffer"was looking for post war information on W/C Reg Reynolds DSO and DFC with bars
Perhaps he will see this as I was baffled trying to contact him direct.thru that site
I met Reg in Cheltenham in the early 90, s when he and his Canadian wife, Mary, were fulfilling one of his ambitions--to return to live in the UK.
About a year later I met him in their new house near Gloucester and they were then in the process of selling up and returning to Toronto.
As I recall his last flying job had been as an airborne traffic pilot for one of the Toronto tv stations.
I have reason to believe he still lives in suburban Toronto.
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Old 24th Jul 2014, 05:00
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Danny,

You had mentioned 1340 (SD) Flight and its stint at Cannore.

You might be interested in this

Auctiva Image Hosting

This has several photographs of an RAF Airman's album showing the flight, various aircraft (Mosquitos, Thunderbolts, Vengeance, Beaufighter etc) . The Vengeance is actually loaded with DDT under its wings.

Who knows you might recognise some faces in the above album!
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Old 24th Jul 2014, 22:50
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Smashing post jaganpvs, that should give young Danny something to ponder. It certainly gives some detail of how life was "out there".

Smudge
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 00:56
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Faraway Places with Queer Sounding Names.

Jaganpvs,

Many thanks for an interesting link ! I've noted my comments down against the page number of the Album stated on the left margin.

2 Begumpet - I never was there. We never had a Beaufighter on the Unit. Vengeance, a Harvard, and a borrowed Mosquito and a Thunderbolt for a short time, and that was all.

3 Hyderabad, and
4 Begumpet - I was never there, so no comment.

5 "Snooty Ooty" Never there. flew over a few times.

6 Sgt Milburn - name rings a bell, but my only Sgt was Williams.... The photo of the VV is certainly the one of me in FB986 (MkIII) over the Western Ghats taken 30 Oct '45. I am carrying mustard gas on that occasion, IIRC - but we later washed out the tanks and used them for the early DDT trials. (I believe 110 Sqn took Mk IVs over to W.Africa (Takoradi ?) and did more extensive DDT trials later).

Checked my logbook. I had FB966, FB975, F986 and FD100. (I don't fly FB977 till 28 Jan '46) FD100... All taken for scrapping to Nagpur 12 Mar '46 (Because all Mk.IIIs were supplied Lend-Lease) ...The"Oxbox" (Fordson 15cwt canvas tilt) certainly looks like ours !

7 Not my place ! And is that an Anson ?

8 Note substantial RC Churches in Trichinopoly and Coimbatore, All that part of SW India (from Goa south) was old Portugese RC missionary country, and the legacy endures.

9 These regimental badges are carved in a rock face somewhere on the old NW frontier (that of my father's Regiment [King's Liverpool] will be among them). They were given a spring-clean each time a battalion of the particular Regiment came out (on rotation) from UK.

10 Certainly a T/Bolt. Never knew that any photos had been taken. Was it ours ?....The fiery end of FB966 ? I'm sure we had no fires in my time. The background is strange. If it is VV FB966, I last flew it on 15 Nov - my log simply says: "Self - Passenger F/O Evans - to Yelahanka (abortive) - 0.15".

So what happened ? Don't remember any fire. In any case, if it was on our patch, what was our old WOTI ("Fire Crew") doing ? - certainly not trying to put out any fire. And the onlookers seem to be just that. Was it a deliberate burn ?

It could be our Mossie. But who is "Red" ? (I don't remember any "Red"s (except "Red" McInnis, from whom I inherited the Unit when he went back to Canada in March '45). We had a vet for a pillot, can't remember his name, but certainly not "Red".

12 "Temple Car" - this is an original true "Juggernaut".

13 "Riga (sic) Mortis". He is having a kip on his rolled-out bedroll on a charpoy.

14 None of the names or faces ring a bell.

15-23 No comment.

24 Thunderbolt HD195 is ours (on loan) all right ! (last flown by me 1 Dec '45).

The visiting Corsair ? - no recollection, must have flown in off a carrier at sea. Why would it visit ? - no idea. I was away in Kashmir from mid Dec '45 to end Jan '46. May have crept in then.

Thanks for the link.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 25th Jul 2014 at 20:33. Reason: Add Index Digit.
 
Old 25th Jul 2014, 01:36
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Danny, many thanks for your inputs!.

that lovely album is on sale on ebay for a hefty amount. Its NOT mine..

But I have to thank the seller for putting up these photos to discuss.

----------------------------------------

Reg 966 Could it have been the following?

5-Dec-45 Harvard IIb 1340 Flt FE965 Colitatlu Malabar caught fire Belly Landed in paddy field

Its off by one digit (and ofcourse the photo doesnt seem to have taken place in a paddy field!)

-----------------------------------

Coming to the Beaufighter at Begumpet photo, that building still exists in Begumpet today. I took this photo of the same building in 2005

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Old 25th Jul 2014, 15:10
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Jaganpvs,

Of course ! The Wing Commander's Harvard - FE965 ! (Full story p.158 #3142). As I remember, we simply struck it off and handed it to the local RAF RSU to sort out. So did we burn it at Golittatu (your Colitatlu) ?
(I'm the C.O. of the Unit, and I don't know (?)

Were they our chaps at the bonfire (could have been the Army at Porcal - did my photographer - for he must have been that - for the original VV photo with wing spray tanks is a professional job, I have a blown-up, framed, about 12x9 inches, and the detail's perfect - scrounge a lift on Army MT up there to snap the fun ? We'll never know now.

Begumpet's ATC Tower (I suppose) looks fine in the photo (and it takes you back, you can almost feel the heat - look at the shadows under the trees and posts and see where the sun is !

Cheers, Danny
 
Old 25th Jul 2014, 16:59
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Proper ATC architecture, like my local airport (c. 1937). Sadly to be demolished, as it infringes the safeguarding criteria (1:7 slope).

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Old 26th Jul 2014, 00:50
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Danny, that was an awesome post on the lost Harvard

I ofcourse didnt read it earlier and completely missed it.. The single line I posted was I remember from one of Colin Cummings books - which doesnt usually give names.. and probably about a paragraph in length.. and here is the full story from you..

The RAF Airbritan histories too reports it as burned on the ground (in a single line of text )

Glad to get the whole gen ...

Reg the Begumpet building, its days of being used as ATC are long over... it is used by the airport security blokes now.. luckily this was on the other side of the main airfield today and thus survived the ages...and with all airliner flying moving out of begumpet to a larger airport called Shamshabad.. begumpet will have a quieter future ahead.. it still houses one the Indian Air Force' Navigation Training School... on which side this builiding falls under..
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 16:13
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Send not to ask for whom the Bell tolls........

To All and Sundry,

Bags I #6,000 ! Roll on #7,000 ! The clock ticks, and it cannot have escaped notice that we have a GrimReaper71 among us now. However, as I have presently two contemporaries with me, the odds are in my favour.

Cheers, Danny42C
 

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