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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 4th Oct 2014, 12:22
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You are correct, but my memories of Nkosi as a term at home may well have come from initially a visiting South African friend of the family.

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Old 4th Oct 2014, 12:28
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Nkosi means 'Lord'
Certainly within our farm when the farm laborers addressed my father or grandfather.
By Gad, they knew their place in those days, eh what? Waiter; another brandy and soda.
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Old 4th Oct 2014, 20:25
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. . . and a 'Chota Peg' for Danny.
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Old 4th Oct 2014, 21:12
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Thanks Brian 48Nav. 42 Sqn disbanded recently they had Nimrods.

My Dad said he was on IIC's on the fateful day bombing some bridge.

On the bucket list to visit his grave. His Father and Mother couldn't afford to have his remains repatriated. Though there is a plaque above the entrance to the vestry at the Church in Blackpool.
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Old 4th Oct 2014, 21:27
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Danny 41C

Danny must not be allowed to leave us without so much as sob or two from the assembled PPRuners. You have regaled us with your memories for too long to permit you to fade away with just a simple "Cheerio". We are interested in how you coped with the drudgery of being Customsman ( or VATman). There must be more. Please.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 00:06
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I am much more of a lurker than a poster, but I wanted to put my two penn'orth in.

Danny, you are a consummate story teller, and a true gentleman. I have enjoyed reading your tales over the past I don't know how long and, if you stop, I will find the world a little less interesting as a result.

I am sure that you could find something interesting and amusing to tell us about paint drying on a slowly warping plank. Please do carry on with the stories if you can find the time, you have an eager audience waiting for "When I Was On Excise"...
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 01:34
  #6287 (permalink)  
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Thanks to all my wellwishers !

phil9560, (#6273)

Only that I firmly intend to live for ever ! (Guinness helps, too). Good genes, I suppose.....D.

Typhoon93, (#6274)

No idea ! (No G meters in Spitfires). Reckoned to be 4 or 5G (and that was a guess, I think). The Spitfire two-tier rudder stirrups were designed to delay the onset (as your raised thighs would help a bit), and you clenched in your tummy muscles, but that was about all you could do.

I think I speak for many: with your Callsign, and aged 21 , are you perchance one of our Young Tigers ? .......D.

Fantom Zorbin, (#6276)

Thank you , Sir !..................D.

Ian BB, (#6277)

I'm honoured and grateful by your kind remarks, Sir (your Father would have been proud of you). You are not intruding here ! - you speak with his voice, and all of his generation deserve to be listened to, for the survivors will not be around for long.

Yet you must always remember, that we were (in the words of the D. Tel. obituarist): "Ordinary men who did extraordinary things" - to which I would add "in extraordinary times". We were not "special" in any way, it's just that we were on watch when it all happened.

The tragedy of the Vultee Vengeance was that the RAF didn't want them, regretted having bought the things, and pooh-pooed them even when they demonstrated what they really could do (the USAAC was no better, they refused even to try theirs operationally (even with the example of the successful Stuka full in their faces !). The American Commanding General on the New Guinea front ordered the Australian VVs to discontinue operations just as they were getting into their stride. The US Navy had admittedly, worked with the idea (which is particularly suited to Naval warfare), but even so seem to have developed a total amnesia (together with the US public generally) about their SBD Douglas "Dauntless".

This after Midway, where one squadron reduced the pride of the Japanese fleet to a blazing, useless ruin in (by one account), seven and a half minutes ! (A more sober estimate was 20 mins - one Lt/Cdr accounted for one of the four fleet carriers on his own, his pilots put paid to two more); the fourth "Hiryu" got away but was caught and crippled next day. (The Japanese sank all their burnt-out hulks with torpedoes from a submarine).

Pearl Harbor was avenged (this had been the battle group which had carried out that attack); America was freed from the possibility of any assault on the West Coast; the back of Japanese Naval Air power in the Pacific was broken irretrievably (- the US yards could outbuild them three to one).

If the US ever had a Battle of America, this was it. And now they've forgotten all about it......D. (Sic transit gloria mundi.)

Nkosi, (#6278)

So, it's the direct equivalent of "Sahib" (suspected as much !). Your: "The diary was written in beautiful copperplate style of penmanship - and he was a private with limited education" mirrors my own experience with my father. He'd only had an Army "brat"'s education at a Victorian Army school in India, but his handwriting put mine to shame ! .......Burra Sahib.

MPN11, (#6279)

Once more, I'm at a loss for words to express my gratification with all the nice things spoken about me. Thank you, Sir, and please convey my thanks to the "Old and Bold", some of whom have personal memory of me (and I hope I've not inadvertently libelled them !)

MBE ? As my old Dad used to say: "When Nelson gets his eye back !" Area Radar ? (let's agree to differ !). Certainly I'll come in from time, in full Victor Meldrew mode, to keep you lot in order.......D.

ValMORNA, (#6283)

Burra Peg, if you don't mind, Sir. And yes, Glenmorangie will do just fine.......D.

gzornenplatz, (#6285)

Your: "There must be more. Please". Thanks - but only from time to time. Btw, I'm still curious about "gzornen" - what does it mean ?.......D.

PeregrineW, (#6286)

You have the "Second Sight", Sir ! Paint will have a mention in the "Addendum" I mentioned a Post or so again. But C&E is far in the future - and you never know. And thanks for the kind words.......D.

Witn kind regards and my renewed thanks to you all, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 5th Oct 2014 at 19:59. Reason: Typo. Intrusive repetition removed.
Old 5th Oct 2014, 04:44
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Danny, yes I am.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 06:04
  #6289 (permalink)  
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If the US ever had a Battle of America, this was it. And now they've forgotten all about it......D. (Sic transit gloria mundi.)
The US may have forgotten about it, but in a corner of England it used to live on. The Battle of Midway was taught at Dartmouth to young snotties on the SL aviator path.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 06:51
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Danny - thanks so much - your reminiscences have been brilliant.

Kindest regards W
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 08:50
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The G limits on a Spitfire were probably +6 to -3 in normal operation. That seemed to be the range for most aircraft immediately post war. Both the Meteor and the Vampire had G meters with the needles set at that. They could go further, +8 personally, but without a G suit prolonged G of +5 or above would induce greying.

IIRC the Vampire, which had a more aerodynamic wing than the Meteor, would G stall at about 220knots with 6 G applied. I forget what the speed was at 8.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 09:21
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Danny 42C,

Like all here, I find myself dismayed at your departure from 'regular service'. For some time now, I have voluntarily dedicated a portion of my day to learning about how the RAF worked before my time of service. And I have learned. For that, I thank all our senior contributors, both present, and posted 'upstairs'.

Your natural skill in descriptive writing that put me in the same room, cockpit, or even Married Quarter, at the same time as yourself is, in my humble opinion, a gift to be treasured. And I would also like to hear about the inner workings of HMCE.

I would like to take this opportunity to say "Thank you". Thank you for deciding to share your life and memories with us. Thank you for teaching me more about the inner workings, including the 'black arts', of ATC, than I would have otherwise known. Thank you for taking me flying with you in the VV. Thank you for taking me for a drive in cars I haven't seen for many years.

And perhaps most importantly, thank you for your service. You and your generation, by virtue of your deeds, have given me the life I know and have. I wish I could express my gratitude in ways and words that were more meaningful. But I can't. So, THANK YOU.

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Old 5th Oct 2014, 10:39
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FED, thanks for that.

Didn't Douglas Bader lose both of his legs in a crash before the War? Am I correct in that he would have had a better G tolerance than most others?
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 12:49
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I’ll put this post in to keep it running until Danny catches his breath as he asked me for some more stories from China.

Tanggu, China, end of 1996. I am running a single aircraft operation supporting an exploration rig operated by an American company in Bo Hai Bay. That is the circular bit of water between China and Korea. I am using a British registered AS332L and I have a Chinese FO and three British engineers. Our helipad is in the middle of the Navy section of Tanggu dockyard. Also on site is a sister company Chinese Harbin Z-9 (licence built Aerospatial Dauphin) servicing a Chinese operated rig. They have six pilots, a raft of engineers plus the heliport supporting staff.

Tanguu is the port where Very Large Colliers transport coal from China to feed Japanese industry. The railway does not go to the docks themselves as the Imperial Canal gets in the way so on the roads between the railway and docks there is a constant stream of lorries transporting coal. Occasionally one would see a convoy of Peoples Liberation Army’s truck on the streets doing the same thing, identifiable by their colour and also the white background number plates that denote a military vehicle.

They are doing this for money. The Army were wet leasing their trucks to balance the military budget. All over China high end apartment complexes and blocks have 24 hour security guards; these are also PLA soldiers hired out. Once a month I would lean over my balcony rail and watch a PLA drill sergeant put them though their monthly drill session. So it was with our transport. We had the use of a Hyundai Sonata plus driver which belonged to the Chinese Navy; again with the white number plates.

Normally I would be driven to work wearing casual shirt and slacks with my anorak over the top. One day I was going to meet a company rep so I put on my UK uniform, black with the four gold rings on the sleeves. When we arrived at the dockyard gate the rating that opened saw me and held the gate open and saluted me as I went past. That afternoon no only did the gateman give me a salute so did two other outside the guardroom door.

The next day I felt that it would be a shame just to be an anorak again so I put my uniform on. This time they turned out the guard! I then flew my trip and on my return my engineers mentioned that there had been some Navy people talking to the heliport staff. I was pretty sure it was about me so I wondered what the penalties were in China for impersonatning a naval officer. I needn’t have worried. When I was driven out there were no salutes; no turning out of the guard; just a surly slamming of the gates behind us. I

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 5th Oct 2014 at 20:03.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 13:07
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I think that is true. I can remember reading somewhere that he could pull a lot more than others. I feel sorry for his aircraft though.

When I brought my Vampire back with +8 on the clock it went in for an overstress check. On the Vampire there were struts called jury struts that bridged between the main spar and fuselage. Should the wings bend too much these would indicate it. Mine were all right, that is why I was a pilot for so long.

After I had graduated the FTS was replaced by the multi engine FTS using the Vickers Varsity. Solo qualified pilots would have a junior course student as a co-pilot. One day in the bar one of these junior pilots let slip the news that he had been in a Varsity that had been barrel rolled by a senior student.
Investigations immediately started and the aircraft and date was established. An inspection of the aircraft revealed rippling along the top surface of both wings. Despite this the aircraft had been serviced and flown for nearly a month.

There were no such things as jury struts on Varsities, why? so it had to be towed to the breakers. CRM was unknown then so the co-pilot got off Scot free, I don't know what happened to the captain.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 15:02
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Another thank-you to Danny for this fascinating account of a long and varied career-or should that be carreer, or even car'ere

I spent my teens and twenties in Sarfend, watched the VAT HQ being built on Victoria Circus and noted they left lights on at night,so the illuminated windows spelt V A T several storeys hight, many storeys high.

Moving on ,and up-country, I bought a small garage in a village which was a posh commuter dorm for Oldham and Manchester. fuel was dispensed from ancient clock-face pumps.

One evening, dispensing fuel, I gazed at the car's parcel-shelf a selection of "absorbing" C&E VAT publications were interspersed with copies of Private Eye.
Brightly, I said to the owner, " VATMAN is humourless and only he would choose to read that stuff, As an "Eye" reader, you must , therefore be self-employed". He laughed and said "NO! I'm actually a VATman!!!!

Wasn't you, Danny? around 1980? (Apologies for thread-drift)
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 16:03
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Wasn't you, Danny? around 1980? (Apologies for thread-drift)
Hello, hello, has Danny42C been rumbled as a Eye reader? Could explain the piquant wit!!
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 21:52
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Thanks, Danny.
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Old 7th Oct 2014, 02:36
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I can't believe that after all these years on PPRuNe, I've never looked at this thread. It's prodictively filling a very dull day off down route.

I had to have a chuckle at the reminisces of the QGH approach (roughly page 12) and how some people were still using it in the 70's. At EFTS RAF Swinderby, we were still using it as late as 1993.One of our Chipmunks while flying the procedure had a near miss with a Scampton Jet Provost which was flying the ILS onto their 05. It turned out there had been a mistake and that the procedures overlapped. Someone had assumed that we were no longer using such an outdated procedure, but it was the only way we had of getting below cloud.

In fact, this thread shows that not a lot had changed in fitty years of RAF flying training. We were still using taildraggers equipped with cartridge starters and the 1938 standard blind flying panel, and some of the taller students had to wear just the MK1 cloth inner helmet. However, the product was good and our students with just 63 hours had an excellent pass rate at the later stages of training.

The syllabus had the first solo at 10:45 and most seemed to achieve it in less.
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Old 7th Oct 2014, 03:45
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Welcome Aboard ! (you must be about our youngest member - and can look forward to being our Oldest Inhabitant ca '85 if the Thread lasts that long (and you always remeber to fly ''Low and Slow, with plenty of Top Rudder on the Corners'') - and listen to the Ancient Aviator over in the corner, bearing in mind the fact that he is Still Here while many others are Not....D.

airborne_artist, (aged 15, forsooth !) .

Very glad to hear it ! - and I bet in Annapolis, too; (but then the True Blue always had its head screwed on). If ever there was a case of victory being snatched from the jaws of defeat, it was this - the USN was top dog in the Pacific ever after.....D.


I don't recall any G meters in any of the Meteors (4s and 7s) or Vampires (IIIs and Vs) I flew, but then my last Vamp was in Sep '52 and Meteor in Nov '54. Would that tie-in ? (Nor any bang-seats either, come to that). But I do remember often greying-out on pull-out from a dive in the VVs. I never heard of anyone actually blacking out (well, you wouldn't I suppose - it sounds a bit Irish !). I would think if you tried to pull any more G in one of those, the well known"mushing" effect would negate the increased angle of attack.....D.


What can I say ? I just described it how it was to the best of my recollection, it was just my luck that the twists and turns of reality are often not only stranger, but much funnier than any fiction you could invent.

Sadly, "all good things must come to an end" - sometime - and memory is finite. Yet the odd "flash back" may come to me in future to amplify my Posts, in which case I may edit in a bit more text. Who knows ?

HMCE was a whole new world, and I am not going to tell any regular story, but may put in amusing or interesting bits from time to time (no promises, though - Enough is Enough !)

On behalf of my generation, I must repeat that it was only blind chance that had put us in the "hot seat" (rather than the next, or the next after that; the one before had its own rough time), and so enabled us to earn Churchill's undying words of praise: ".......Men will still say: 'This was their finest hour'...." (and the old chap hadn't done badly himself !)

So I accept your gratitude, on behalf of my entire age-group, for the kind words you all have heaped upon us , who have lived through those times which now fade into history. On their behalf: Thank You, Sir !

Now for the wrap-up.......D.


Yes, things have been getting a bit hectic. But isn't that exactly what a Forum is all about (even in a disembodied form such as our Crewroom in Cyberspace). It has never been healthier than now, although it has had some lean times in the 2 years I have been aboard. But it must always have as its centre the raconteurs which feed the flames of chat and comment (and, yes, contradiction - but always polite).

That is why those who have the stories (like you) must put them in the pool to keep the thing alive - it cannot keep going without you. And all you youngsters must realise - "It's Later than you Think" - time flies !

It has been the special genius of our Moderators to recognise what Cliffnemo's (RIP) Thread of six years ago was turning into, and they could rapidly have choked it off by too rigid insistence on strict adherence to its rather narrow title, but they have wisely refrained from doing so - and now look at what we've got !

Never (AFAIK) outside Page 1 or 2 of "Military Aircrew", lately extended to "Military Aviation" (and who could cavil at that); the most Posts and "hits" of any Thread bar "Caption Competition" (and that's a special case, as it naturally brings in a host of one-liners and hits - doesn't everybody look-in every time they log-in ?)

Your story of the barrel-rolled Varsity was going around in my day: the form in which I heard it had it that a later pilot who'd not heard of the affair came down complaining of the odd "trim" of his aircraft : they investigated and found the fin and rudder 7 out of vertical. (This is typical of a flaky story, the teller seeks to convince the hearers of the truth of his yarn by quoting "exact" figures). Where have we noticed this in another context ? Politics, perhaps ?

Seriously, a 707 has been barrel-rolled by a Boeing Test Pilot; there are inside photographs of it inverted to prove it. I suppose there is nothing in principle to prevent anything being barrel-rolled, so long as you keep +1G to +2G, and no more on all the time, but the pax (or your Company !) may not like it.....D.

cockney steve,

Your :

"the illuminated windows spelt V A T several storeys hight, many storeys high".

Rather a neat idea (with the taxpayer paying for the electricity !). I spent my first year with them in Old Trafford (Manchester) in a mini skyscraper, but we didn't think of that (and anyway it would have made us a target for the IRA, which were waging a mainland campaign at the time

"fuel was dispensed from ancient clock-face pumps". Them were the days !

"He laughed and said "NO! I'm actually a VATman!!!!" Some of us were almost human.

"Wasn't you, Danny? around 1980? (Apologies for thread-drift)"

No, in '74 we got back to North Yorkshire, and have never left......D.



"Hello, hello, has Danny42C been rumbled as a Eye reader? Could explain the piquant wit!!"

Wit attributable to Hiberian ancestry. Not seemly for a servant of the Crown to be seen reading such subversive literature !....D.

Tim Mills,

You're welcome, Tim !....D.

Goodnight to you all, (Good morning to Tim), Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 7th Oct 2014 at 03:52. Reason: Typo.

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