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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 Aug 2014, 15:31
  #6101 (permalink)  
 
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Regarding take-off facilities for swans, I'm sure I remember my dad telling me that as a young PC in Hertford he had to cart a swan down to the River Lea as it was getting nowhere trying to take-off in the High Street.
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Old 22nd Aug 2014, 10:41
  #6102 (permalink)  
 
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"I wonder if younger people sense a melancholy atmosphere around so many derelict airfields, or is it just we oldies?"

Definitely. They have 'ghosts' if not actual ghosts. Places that ooze history and bravery and tragedy.

I was invited to a guest night at RAF Station Northolt (by an army Captain, so it felt very pre-April 1918!) the other week, and I could feel history around me in the officers' mess. A little like visiting Tower Green where Queens were beheaded, or going to a dinner in Banqueting House and thinking of Charles I. I cannot sit in a room like that without recalling all those who hadn't made it back to the mess for dinner - or even those who had.
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Old 22nd Aug 2014, 23:43
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Danny looks to the Future.

We started thinking about it in '70. You may recall that, ten years before in RAF(G), they'd offered me an extension to age 55, and I'd accepted. After all, when you're 40, it doesn't seem to make much difference, 50 or 55: both are years into the future. And I still retained the option of getting out without penalty at 50.

Now decision time was only two years ahead. The options had to be considered. I made enquiries, and found that that I would earn only a derisory increase in my pension if I carried on till 55. I 'd been on the top of a Flt.Lt's payscale for years (and of course my "contract" specifically excluded any hope of promotion).

Even so, there were good reasons for staying on. The problem always was: How do I fill the gap between retirement and receiving the State Pension at 65 ? (for no one could hope to survive on my RAF pension alone.) And the prospects of suitable employment at 50 were so small that the reduction that an extra 5 years would entail was hardly worth considering. Even so, I should be on full RAF pay for five more years. The gap would be 10 years instead of 15. This, on the face of it, seemed the way to go.

But there were other factors affecting the decision. Frankly, I felt in my bones that it was time to say "Goodbye". The day of my (wartime) generation was over. It had been a good day, but now it was finished. My contemporaries were disappearing one after another. A new generation had taken over; it was no longer the RAF I knew, but a different one with a different spirit. By no means a worse one - but simply different.

I recall a winter's night about that time. At 0400 I was out on the main runway, checking the braking action. It was bitterly cold, the side flaps of our tatty old L/Rover were letting in more Siberian air than they were keeping out (and the open back didn't help much). I snuggled down in my old duffel coat and cursed as we performed yet another graceful pirouette on an icy patch. "I wish I were tucked-up home in bed", I thought, "I'm getting too old for this game !"

And from the family angle, things had changed. Moves every 2 years were never much fun. But in your twenties (I suppose) they were a challenge. In your thirties they were tolerable. In your forties they became increasingly arduous: get your three estimates for removal and storage, pack up your goods and chattels (which had grown exponentially over the years), take your child(ren) out of school, find somewhere to live at the other end, say farewell to your friends and everybody else, march-out (or put your house on the market), load your car till the back-end was on the bump-stops and hit the road with family and pet. Then do it all in reverse at the other end.

In summer '70, we were still undecided. Then one Sunday morning something happened that was so serendipitous that it could have been an omen. Our family duly strolled down to Thirsk for Mass. Then back to the little newsagent on the corner of Topcliffe road. Here the friendly soul (who doubled as Thirsk's Special Constable) greeted me sadly. The Sunday Telegraphs had not been deliverd yet. I must be content with the Sunday Times as the least-worse alternative.

With this under my arm, we continued home in resigned dudgeon. All the duties expected of the head of the household had been done on the Saturday. The car had been washed, lawns mown, our daughter's swing shifted onto fresh grass. She and her pals and their bikes would give Sally-dog all the exercise she needed. Dad settled down in an armchair, lit his pipe and started on the "Times". This comprised umpteen sections, I worked through them all from cover to cover, with breaks for lunch and a siesta. In the evening I came to the very last section: "Official Appointments".

I riffled through this lot with little expectation. Stop-date appeared as age 45 on many of them, but nothing more - and most required qualifications I hadn't got. Then it jumped out at me. It seemed that the Civil Service Commissioners were minded to hold an Open Competition for an unspecified number of direct appointments to the established Executive Class. These would be for employment in H.M.Customs and Excise (HMC&E from now on); much of the work would be of an outdoor nature; a car would be required. You had be born not earlier than 1st November, 1921. Examinations would be held in London and many provincial centres in Spring 1971.

I was inside by exactly ten days -but it was enough ! This seemed an answer to prayer. What could I lose ? York was one of the centres, examination fees (if any ?) were minimal, I put my name down. No use building my hopes, of course - such an attractive offer (1450-x100-2150 p.a.) was good-ish money in those days, it would attract thousands of hopefuls. But: "Nothing Venture, Nothing Gain". Meanwhile I carried-on in the RAF (I think they only wanted a month's notice, anyway), and there was still two years to go (time for a few more Posts from Leeming !)

Goodnight, all.

Danny42C.


"We don't want to lose you - but we think you ought to go !" (Patriotic Music Hall song from WW1).
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Old 23rd Aug 2014, 02:12
  #6104 (permalink)  
 
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Geriaviator,

Very sorry to hear that you've fallen into the clutches of the cardiologists, but I'm sure that you'll soon be back "firing on all four cylinders" (rather an apt expression in your case, I would have thought ?).

From all I hear, the risk is vanishingly small. I myself got trolleyed in a couple of years ago, but I got the "Dyno-Rod" job instead - angioplasty (in common with our revered and somewhat outspoken Prince Consort: he and I are of an age). When you get back home, you can be sure of one thing: however many pills you're taking now, you can reckon on doubling it !

The "Swan Songs" keep coming in (your last one was a smasher !) and YLSNED. One curious thing, my Shrewsbury swans always used the river instead of the perfectly good and ample greensward of the "Quarry" which ran alongside it (and in the early mornings there was no one about - not like DHfan's Dad's chap, who had to be Taken in Charge by him (for Driving a Swan without Due Care and Attention ?)

I would have supposed that a land take-off would be more energy-efficient than that from water, but it seemed not to be so. I wonder whether the "ground effect" over water is more pronounced than over "ground", and that tipped the balance - after all, the swans have been at it for a long time, and should have it all worked-out by now (and do you remember that fascinating TV programme, a few years ago: "The Great Caspian Sea Monster", which demonstrated what "Ground Effect" can really do ?)

Meanwhile, you, your wife (who is now hopefully recovered from her accident) and your family have the sympathy and prayers of me and mine. Get well soon ! (I'm sure all our PPRuNers are with me on this).

Cheers, Danny.
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Old 23rd Aug 2014, 21:09
  #6105 (permalink)  
 
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Geriaviator, I can but echo Danny's call for you to get yourself 'fit for purpose' ASAP and be back on parade posting your contributions again. Danny seems to have explained the technical procedure to an equivalent Haynes Owners Manual level, so I'm sure that the medics will refer here if at all in any doubt.


Danny:-
"it was no longer the RAF I knew, but a different one with a different spirit. By no means a worse one - but simply different."

Sooner or later I think that everyone who has served comes to that conclusion. I suppose that the Service changes because it has to, indeed if it did not it would become moribund, it's just that we all prefer the familiar rather than to experience change. In my case I didn't feel that so much at the time as I'd only done some 13 years (sorry, get some what in?), but it's certainly the case now that the present RAF is far removed from the one that I inhabited.


Also like you, I was lucky. Having bet everything on my PVR going through (and there were many other possibilities if it hadn't, usually as OC GD Flight at some remote far-flung outpost) I had to find gainful employment in the airlines. I wrote to every appropriate one listed in the annual Airlines of the World edition of Flight International. Most replied noting my application but unfortunately....


I duly left, put the required IR on my CPL for it to become an ATPL, signed on the dole and, being now in Bournemouth in April, looked forward to the prospect of a blissful summer of drawing Giros awaiting developments, while enjoying the beach there. It wasn't to be. Phone rings. "Am I looking for a job? Dan-Air want 2 pilots to start next week on a 1-11 course." He had one of them and if I wanted the other report to the Fleet Manager next day with my log-book. Duly did so, and started Monday at the grandly named Training Centre (a shed on a Horsham industrial estate). Great outfit that I stayed with until its demise over 19 years later.


So I too was lucky, and it is my belief that luck is an essential ingredient in any career. Of course, the Good Lord helps those who help themselves, but the wise leave some room for His help also!
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Old 25th Aug 2014, 02:12
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Chugalug,

Your:
Am I looking for a job? Dan-Air want 2 pilots to start next week on a 1-11 course."

I remember, in the early '70s, watching a 1-11 coming, at regular short intervals, over Middlesbrough at circuit height, clearly on a long downwind for Teesside 23. I supposed it was on Crew Training (circuits and bumps [or overshoots ?]

Wouldn't have been you, by any chance ?
Danny.
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Old 25th Aug 2014, 10:58
  #6107 (permalink)  
 
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Could well have been me bashing the circuit getting checked out there in June 73, Danny. Alternatively, I was doing the same thing there briefly in February 1975 when we were checked out on the ex Court Line 1-11 500s.

Interestingly, in September 1975, I did my command course training at Newcastle. I can only think that the landing fee goalposts had been moved in the meantime!

Dan-Air always counted the pennies until Mr Newman (who founded the company with Mr Davies, hence Davies and Newman, hence Dan-Air) was ousted as Chairman by the remainder of the board. Pennies were beneath their radar, the debts mounted, and then the inevitable happened...
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Old 25th Aug 2014, 18:30
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WWII wings......Eventually

Veteran pilot gets his wings - 69 years late (From The Northern Echo)
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Old 26th Aug 2014, 23:19
  #6109 (permalink)  
 
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Chugalug,

Not '73 - I was in Manchester. But '75 and I was there ! (btw, they seemed to be very low to be over a city - ANOs and all that - were you doing LL circuits ?) ....D.

Taxydual,

Thanks for the link. File card fell down the back of the cabinet, I guess ! But it all turned out right in the end. But on ages and dates given, he would have enlisted in '43, but didn't get to FTS in Canada until Feb '45 - (very long ITW, or in a ground trade, or [most likely as ACH/GD], the poor devil had had a lot of coal-shovelling to do).

And then it was all over bar the shouting (in Europe in May, and in the Far East in August '45). Must have been disappointing - all dressed up and nowhere to go. Good luck to the lad (any chance of getting him on Thread - we haven't had much on the very last days of wartime flying training ?)

"Northern Echo", like most of our Press, cannot yet get its head round "Air Vice Marshal" (not Marshall !), but strangely don't print "Field Marshall".....D.

Cheers to you both, Danny.
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Old 28th Aug 2014, 11:22
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Danny:-
(btw, they seemed to be very low to be over a city - ANOs and all that - were you doing LL circuits ?
Without a registration, date, TOD, and corroborative witnesses, you can't pin that rap on me, you hear?

Seriously, I don't remember anything other than some half dozen of us F/Os taking turns to climb into the RHS seat, bash a circuit or two and then climb out for the next man. I can't even remember what livery the aircraft was in but as it wasn't bearing its later Dan Air reg I suspect it was white hulled, having been de-liveried from its very fluorescent Court Line colours. The Court Line 518s featured a leading edge with a concave under surface which no doubt gave the desired increased field performance when new. As they became gradually modified by being struck by various baggage trucks, steps, and other sundry vehicles, they didn't...The ex BCal 509s had a conventional leading edge that such wear and tear had less effect on.

I once wrote to BAC (Bae) asking for a 1-11 Training Manual, stating that I flew the series 207, 301, 401, 414, 416, 509, 515, 517, 518, 525, and 531. I hadn't mentioned my employer but the nice man at BAC was not to be fooled. "You're with Dan-Air, aren't you?" he said over the phone as he confirmed the book was already in the post to me.
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Old 28th Aug 2014, 22:41
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Chugalug,

Your:
"Without a registration, date, TOD, and corroborative witnesses, you can't pin that rap on me, you hear?" As if I would "shop" you, old chap ! (We're all supposed to be on the same side, after all !).

The 1-11 looks a nice piece of work. Wiki says EU noise limitations were instrumental in its demise. Was the Spey really all that loud ? (And then the 737 inherited the Earth !)

Cheers, Danny.
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Old 29th Aug 2014, 08:01
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Danny:-
Was the Spey really all that loud ?
Well not from where I was sitting, or indeed anywhere else inside it, thanks to it being rear engined, but outside and near the runway, if one was taking off, was a different story. The Spey was an excellent engine, very reliable as one made by RR would be expected to be, but it was primarily a military engine and noise was not the issue that it later became back then.

The sad thing about the 1-11 was that from a triumphal start (we sold it, like the Viscount, to the US airlines), Douglas quickly caught it up with the later DC-9, which was developed into the successful MD-80 and -90 series by stretching and re-engining.; Despite plans to do exactly the same with the 1-11 (the -800 with CFM-56 engines, the two and three eleven proposals) nothing came of it. Instead the production stopped with the 500 series, and the production line and jigs were shipped to Romania where ROMBAC either produced 9 aircraft in 10 years or 10 aircraft in 9 years, I forget which.

BAE wanted to put all their eggs into the 146/RJ basket, and HMG into the bottomless Concorde one. The 1-11 became yet another ingredient of the demise of the UK aircraft industry. Lions led by donkeys?
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 01:04
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Danny and the Multiple Alarm Clock at Leeming ATC (Part I)

There has been much discussion on this Thread of the many weird and wonderful devices which have, over the years, been devised in various RAF ATC Local Control Towers with several objects in mind:

(a) to provide a visual display on the Local Control desk of the position of all aircraft taxying ,or in circuit at any one time; those which have cleared airfield and gone over to Approach frequency; and those which are returning to circuit under Approach Control (particularly on Controlled Descents and Instrument Approaches such as ILS or PAR "Talkdown").

This is primarily in order to provide Local Controller with a visual picture of the state of play at any one moment; to enable an instant "hand over" of the position at shift end, or for any other reason (when things may be very busy indeed); and to enable the Supervisor or SATCO to grasp the situation "at a glance" when said things may be going "pear-shaped" , and another hand is needed - PDQ !

(b) by some ingenious arrangement of wiring, coloured "pea-bulbs", or squeaks/buzzers etc, to relay this information to the Approach Room (usually downstairs), to do with as they will.

The basic component on which all such systems are based is the Mapping Pin, and I can heartily endorse all that has been said (by MPN11 - p.305 #6087 and others) about its capacity to inflict painful wounds with its diabolically sharp point. On the top you can Chinagraph three or four callsign letters or digits to indentify the "owner".

And as each such "owner" may need two or three Pins at once (for different purposes), and you may have 100 "resident" pilots (whose callsigns will be written on their "sets" - for Chinagraph quickly rubs off - it adds up to a lot of pins in the "pin-bank" on your desk (see Warmtoast - p.305 #6091).

This begs the question of Who was going to keep all these pins moving ? When things are quiet, Local has only a few "live" callsigns on his plate at any one time, and can easily do it himself while keeping up the patter. But when an AFS really gets going full-throttle (and Strubby in my day was regularly clocking-up 500 movements a day (about the same then as LHR), it would keep your Assistant working like the proverbial "one-armed paper hanger". (I always use to reassure our new Controllers: "If you can hack it here, you can hack it anywhere - anything after this will be a rest-cure !")

And now there was an extra job for another Assistant, which leads me to:

(c) (but only on those AFS, when Bloggs is under training on jet aircraft), in order to save Bloggs, (who may be so wrapped-up in his new experiences that he forgets the passage of time and the voracious thirst of his jet engine or engines), from the inevitable result, by giving him a wake-up call (essentially: "Come in No.22 - your time is up !")

Most involved putting a second pin of his "set" in some form of time-frame, Assistant put this pin in at T/O time plus 30 mins (Meteor) or 40 ? mins (JP), and told Local when the clock reached that time. Local gave tongue accordingly.

But as Assistant was doing another dozen jobs at the same time, calls got missed: what was needed was a foolproof (automatic) system. Step forward F/Sgt Somebody-or-Other, who submitted his design, it was accepted, he collected a 250 Award,* and we (and other places ?) were stuck with it. (* Some disaffected persons maintained that he should have been put inside for wasting Service time and materials).

Now I shall describe what it looked like: You built a shallow open-topped wooden box about two feet square. Depth would be about nine inches at the bottom twelve at the top, so that it could more easily be read . The top consisted of a two-foot square of perspex, in the centre of which a "marine" type brass clock of about 8 inch diameter was buried with face flush with the perspex. This left a 8-inch "ring", marked radially in 60 one degree segments, with concentric rings about an inch apart, and a pin-hole in the centre of each "compartment" so formed. (I've never seen a photograph of the thing).

And that is enough for Part I, Part II will follow in a day or two when I have cudgelled my brains a bit more, and All will be Revealed. Stay with me !

Regards to all,

Danny42C.


Treats in Store !

PS: Chugalug,

Too true ! ('Twas ever thus !)...D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 30th Aug 2014 at 01:11. Reason: Add Text
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 03:09
  #6114 (permalink)  
 
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Danny42C,

Please allow me to take a little time-out here to simply say 'thank you'.

I am ex-mil. I am now an Air Traffic Control instructor with my national ANSP. I am 45 years of age.

I've been a member of PPRuNe for over a decade. I have enjoyed reading, and have gained more from your contributions to this site, than I have from any other contributor here in all of those years.

You Sir are a legend. I am very tempted to jump on an aeroplane and fly 10,000 miles simply to seek you out and spend 1/2 an hour in the local over a 7 ounce glass of beer.

I salute you, and thank you.

Now, on with the thread!

Last edited by Hempy; 30th Aug 2014 at 04:26.
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Old 30th Aug 2014, 21:10
  #6115 (permalink)  
 
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Hempy,

In the face of such a generous eulogy, what can I possibly say ?.......Just "Thanks".

It has been my pleasure to have had the chance to tell my long and tortuous tale over these past two years, to have been able to plug the gap when the giants like Cliff, Reg and Fred had (sadly) left us, and to "hold the Fort" until reinforcements from the depleted ranks of the "Pilots' Brevets of WWII" have come in to lend a hand to keep the Thread going.

Your offer is tempting indeed, and I would be delighted to take you up on it, but as it must remain in the realms of our imagination, I shall open a can of what is laughingly sold here as the "draught" Dark Waters of the Liffey, and raise a glass of the contents to you, Sir.

As you say, "On with the Motley !"

Cheers, Danny.
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Old 31st Aug 2014, 07:21
  #6116 (permalink)  
 
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Hello all,

I am hoping that the collective wisdom and memories of all those who post on this particular thread can help me with an entry from my late father's service record and in particular his time at No 4 Air School at Benoni.




I know that he crashed and was hospitalised at Roberts Heights, but I am curious what the entry following his hospital discharge is. It looks like "M.(?.?). Depot". I know that there was an aircraft and artillery depot at Roberts Heights, but the entry doesn't seem to fit that.

If anyone can shed some light on what this could be then I would be very grateful.

Many thanks in anticipation

Adam

Last edited by Adam Nams; 31st Aug 2014 at 11:11.
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Old 31st Aug 2014, 09:53
  #6117 (permalink)  
 
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MAF Depot

Adam


It could be Mobile Air Force Depot, which some websites are showing as being at Roberts Heights (although the mobile may suggest that it wasn't there permanently).


I am guessing that it was a holding depot.


Anyway, I hope this is a possible start point, rather than a red herring.


Regards


Pete
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Old 31st Aug 2014, 10:59
  #6118 (permalink)  
 
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Pete,

Many thanks for the lead. Having searched for 'MAF' it could well be that. I do believe that he was holding after the accident whilst they decided what to do with him.

Thanks again and much appreciated.

Adam
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Old 31st Aug 2014, 11:32
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he was lucky they didn't need glider pilots in South Africa.
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Old 31st Aug 2014, 12:45
  #6120 (permalink)  
 
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Adam

Possibly your father's skills were improving because according to Wiki:

62 Air School Tempe (Bloemfontein) Flying Instructor Training - 11 Nov 1940 (ex CFS) 19/24 Feb 1945
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