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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 23rd Oct 2014, 10:28
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More "hell on the hill". On the Meteor course in 1952, night flying, giving "patter" from the back seat, in the midst of a bunch of jets came an unknown aircraft flying a low downwind leg which turned finals and landed. Much confusion all round. It turned out to be an Oxford from Pershore which had made all the correct calls, was cleared to land but mistook the Rissy pundit for the Pershore one. Easily done by an inexperienced student. dit dah dah dit , dit dah dit; dit dah dit dit, dit dah dit i.e. PR not LR
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 15:47
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Danny42C
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26er,

Depends on your age-group. I give you Wiki:

"The Central Flying School (Basic) was formed at South Cerney in May 1952, absorbing much of the then disbanded No 2 Flying Training School. It stayed until May 1957 before moving to Little Rissington".

Your Oxford was lucky not to have a Meteor riding piggy-back on him when he got to the threshold. (I was once in hospital when they brought in a Harvard chap who'd had exactly that happen to him the previous night. Poor devil died three days later).

Cheers, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 23rd Oct 2014 at 16:50. Reason: Add Text
 
Old 23rd Oct 2014, 16:51
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Danny, In 1952 I did the basic part of the course at South Cerney on Prentices and the advanced part at Rissington on Meteor T7s. Those not selected for jets - mainly the ex Sunderland, Brigand or Lancaster chaps on my course - did the advanced part on Harvards. As you rightly say the whole of CFS moved up the hill in 1957. Little Rissington became known as "Hell on the Hill" to QFIs.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 17:06
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CFS

Danny I am sure you are correct re the location of CFS, but there certainly was a flying school of some sort at Little Risssie before that.

In August '48, while with the RAFVR at Woodley, I and several others flew to Rissie in our Tiger Moths to provide air experience for an ATC squadron's summer camp; we had been briefed that it was a busy airfield, there for the purpose of training the next generation of flying instructors - which surely was the main function of CFS?

Fortunately, having aircraft with tail skids rather than wheels, we were allocated a grass area well clear of the runway and had quite a busy day. I noticed one young lad trying to board my Tiger with his helmet on back to front, while there was the inevitable goon who (despite previous briefing) managed to knock off the ignition switches as he climbed in - but better then than later, I suppose!
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 21:03
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Just to make confusion worse confounded, I see from my log that I attended No.12 Short Refresher Course at CFS (Basic) for a fortnight in July '54 (Harvards). I remember going to North Cerney (?) Could it have been 'South' - and my memory is playing tricks ?

It is interesting to note that two of my instructors were Sergeants (McCockle and Quinney); when did the intake of NCO pilots end ? (although a lot of old Master Pilots were around for years afterwards).

I don't remember any hills around where I flew (which would justify "Hell-on-the-Hill").....Danny.
 
Old 24th Oct 2014, 16:59
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Another Tiger tale

Harrym's story of the long-suffering Tiger Moth reminds me of the many stories told by my mentor, wartime de Havilland inspector and later ARB and CAA Surveyor, Charlie Taylor. I rebuilt a couple of Tiger Moths under his supervision and he assured me there would be no problems: 'there's a repair scheme for everything on a Tiger Moth, no matter what you find someone has broken it before you'.

Mr. Taylor recalled that wartime Army glider pilots arrived for basic training clad in itchy serge battledress and steel-shod ammunition boots, producing an impressive crash as they came to attention whenever an officer spoke to them. Unfortunately this included the trainee perched on the Tiger's flimsy plywood walkway, who replied to the CFI's friendly remark by screaming "Sah!" and smartly slamming his steel heels through the walkway, the wing ribs beneath, and the lower fabric.

After that the trainees wore conventional footwear. I can't remember the reference number but if you talk nicely to BAe they can produce the wartime drawing for Walkway, DH82a, repair of.
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 21:00
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Ha ha, great story, geriaviator, and a classic bit of inter Service banter! I've told it before (apologies), but a Herc skipper friend of mind was having a stretch at the rear of the Flight Deck while over the Indian Ocean. Army JO pax climbs up from the cargo compt and joins him, as agreed with the Loadie. Polite conversation ensues, with pax JO giving brief job description. He then asks my chum about his job. "Well, I'm the aircraft captain". "I see, so where do you sit?". "Over there", indicating vacant LH seat. "But isn't that where the driver sits?". "Well, I am one of the drivers". "Good grief man, don't you have a competent NCO to do that for you?".

Sorry, we didn't do Purple back then, and anyway we get far worse on Aarse!
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 21:49
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You can't keep a Good Story Down !

Chugalug,

First heard that one 72 years ago at 57 OTU at Hawarden. Visiting Brigadier is being shown round a Spit. "But where does the NCO sit ?" Being told the horrifying truth: "Do you mean to tell me........?" etc.

Truly: "There is no new thing under the Sun" !

Thank you for rescuing the Thread from the Slough of Despond (aka Page 2 of "Military Aviation").

Danny.
 
Old 27th Oct 2014, 19:23
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I spent the weekend in London and I arrived back at about six p.m. Sunday evening. The place was like a morgue. Everybody was sitting around looking miserable. It transpired that on the Saturday morning whilst we were having our block inspection 153 course had received the results of their Intermediate Test. The consequences of this were that three had been sent home awaiting instructions to report to RAF Cardington for their basic airman training to complete their national service. One, a navigator who had demonstrated his total inability to read maps and charts, but was OK in everything else, had been offered an alternative career in the Engineering Branch so he was off to RAF Halton. Two of them who were going to become airmen were the hail and hearty ones telling everybody how easy it was.
The party was over.

Monday morning we paraded out side and waiting to meet us was an incredibly fit looking corporal. The two NCOs and I inwardly groaned because we knew it was a Physical Training Branch corporal.
“Good morning gentlemen, will you temporarily dismiss and reform in your gym kit.” We broke, changed and five minutes later we were out again slightly shivering in the cold morning air. I hope this isn’t going to be too hard, I thought, otherwise I am going to throw up my breakfast. No marching this time, we trotted down to the gymnasium and once inside were introduced to the latest weapon of mass destruction, circuit training.

Around the floor and along the walls was spread every conceivable form of old fashion wooden exercise architecture very much in the form of a show-jumping ring. The PTI demonstrated all the things we had to do going through, going through the whole gambit of press-ups, chin-ups, crutches and vaulting plus a few more equally crippling sequences. We were going to have it easy to start off with. We would go around in turn and go through the entire sequence only having to do five of the nastier ones.
“Next week,” he gloated, “you will go in sequence so as the first finishes his five press-ups the next one follows, and if anybody is caught up by the person behind he starts all over again.”

I was still fit, our monthly weekend sessions in the Rhodesian reserves had made sure of that but the NCOs were older and a bit softer. The direct entry cadets made it pretty obvious that the severest test of strength on their part was swinging a cricket bat and our ex University Acting Pilot Officers were a disaster, three years of soft university life showed us that. I didn’t push it too hard, I could still feel yesterday’s beer sloshing inside me but I worked up a bit of a sweat. Not so the others, some were having trouble gripping the bar, let alone trying to do a chin up. One hour later a host of panting, wheezing, scarlet-faced people wearily trotted shambolicly back to the block.

We went into our accommodation, picked up our towels and dived into the shower room. On went the taps and a cascade of freezing water descended on us. We frantically turned the hot taps to try to correct it but that was when we found that the coal-fired boiler was shut down on Monday mornings for decoking. The scarlet had turned to blue by now so we dried ourselves down and got back into uniform. A chorus of nose blowing was interrupted by WO Thomas walking in.
“We now know how fit you are, by the time we have finished with you you won’t believe what you will be able to do.”

We marched to the classrooms straight into the tea break and then continued with the daily routine. I was having my own troubles. Logical English writing I could understand and do. I had worked for a bank in Rhodesia and they had encouraged me to sit the Institute of Bankers exams and I had obtained a credit in English so I knew the score. What I couldn’t grasp was the layout of service letters and when to use Formal Official, Semi Official and the stupid endings like ‘I remain Sir, your obedient servant’. I took an instant dislike to administration, something which effected my career for the next eighteen years and still effects me in later life with things like tax returns etc. My protests that I had joined the air force to belt around in aeroplanes and not spend time scribbling in an office fell on deaf ears and after three weeks I was formally warned that I was going to have to improve if I was to continue training.

My saviour was another student. We had sorted out our problems that had started on the train. He had a gift for military writing and not only that he could explain how to do it with a collection of phrases that covered just about everything. What he could not grasp were aerodynamics, which is where I came in because it was an open book for me. The result is that we used to spend an hour together in the evenings and sort each other out. My standard improved so much that when we had to write an example of some letter or other the instructor would watch me intently to make sure I wasn’t copying somebody else’s work. In two weeks Jenkins and I would be off review for our respective subjects. He was more grateful than I was; the spectre of National Service was waiting for him.

My progress was interrupted the next week. We were having a session of softball on the sports field. I was awaiting my turn and was taking to somebody when my lights went out. I spent some minutes unconscious and when I woke up I was surrounded by worried cadets and they had already called up the ambulance. What had happened was that the batsman had missed the ball and let go of the bat which had then found the back of my head. I was still groggy when I arrived at sick quarters and the SMO immediately had me shifted off to RAF Hospital Wroughton for a check up. When I arrived I was wheeled in to have my bonce Xrayed. There was nothing serious but they decided that I should stay in for observation until I could see straight and recover from a God Almighty headache.

To be continued

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 28th Oct 2014 at 18:59.
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 20:23
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Good post Fareastdriver, keep going!
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 23:19
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Fareastdriver,

Just as well that Throwing the Hammer is not a sport commonly played in the RAF (at 16lb, now that would really make your eyes water !). Even so I bet it'll be a long time before Wroughton A&E logs an injury like yours again. You missed a trick there - should've got a good Injury Lawyer (pity they hadn't been invented).

I hope the vivid account of your misfortune did not later evoke the comment: "that explains a lot !"

Wroughton was rather a nice hospital, as I recall (spent a month there in November '52).

The story of your "Combined Operation" with Jenkins brings to mind one told by Richard ("Batchy") Atcherley, one of the twin AVMs who were legends of the RAF in their own lifetime. Together with his identical twin David, they were nervous at the prospect of their first Aircrew Medical Board.

For David's eyes were not quite "up to scratch", and Richard had some kidney trouble. A plot was hatched to get round these difficulties. As "Batchy" put it: "David got through on my eyes; I got through on his humbler (but vital) contribution".

(Or was it the other way round ?).

(There was a rumour that "Batchy" had in his lounge a table lamp with a large, plain translucent shade. On this he'd pasted all the Letters of Reproof he'd received from the Air Council over the years - don't know if it's true, but it certainly rings true).

They don't make 'em like that any more !

Danny.
 
Old 28th Oct 2014, 19:21
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I was going to be in dock for some time. I was severely concussed by the softball bat and they were worried whether my brain was going to deteriorate any further. I was put in the officer’s ward and I had three companions. I cannot remember what they suffered from but only one had any conversation and I couldn’t see a lot wrong with him. There was no communication from South Cerney or anybody on my course, not even an apology, so I was existing in what I was standing up in when I was walloped. Fortunately, being of a suspicious mind I had kept my wallet in the shorts so at least I had some money. All the rest was provided by the hospital.

My eyesight was the problem. I was having diocular divergence again and I wasn’t telling them that I had had it before. Amazingly, they brought out similar bits of cardboard to those that I had in Bulawayo and knowing how to use them I was showing an immediate improvement. This conned them into thinking that it was only temporary so after a fortnight I had a medical and once again I was A1G1Z1. The nursing sisters were having a party that weekend so the hospital very kindly allowed me to stay for the weekend and discharged me on the Monday.

Not having any kit to wear I was taken back to South Cerney in a car. Complete with dressing gown I was dropped outside the barrack block. When I went in I saw that all the beds had been stripped. Not too worried I got dressed and marched along to our classrooms; they were empty. I continued to the admin office and there holding the fort was the admin sergeant. He informed me that everybody had gone off to the Welsh hills to run around in the mud and things like that. He didn’t know what to do with me so I was sent of to SHQ to find the Station Adjutant. I was given two choices; stick around for the rest of the week finding something to do or take what he called ‘sick leave’ somewhere. My answer was fairly immediate and I was soon gripping a railway warrant and packing.

A couple of weeks later there was a buzz that National Service was being closed up for ever. There was a rumour that should one fail the course there was no requirement to complete the two years. Then it was confirmed. Suspension from the course either voluntary or otherwise would carry no liability for National Service. Within a week three had left followed by two or three others in the subsequent weeks. I could see their point. Being aircrew, especially a pilot, for five years would be preferable to being a squaddie in the jungle for two years so when the option to avoid both came up they took it.

I and a couple of others did not make the course for various reasons, my enforced absence was one of mine. One went out on his ear and the other was recoursed with me. We two had been friends ever since,. I was his best man and we last saw each other this year.
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Old 29th Oct 2014, 00:34
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Silence is Golden !

Fareastdriver,

Your: "My eyesight was the problem. I was having diocular divergence again and I wasn’t telling them that I had had it before".

Very wise ! What they don't know doesn't hurt 'em (or you !) I'd got through CMB twice, it seemed, with a spot on one lung (bronchiectasis). I didn't tell them, they didn't find it, and it was only on the third time (after ten years' flying in war and peace) that I was unlucky and got caught. Even then, after I'd been restricted to 10,000 ft, they posted me on a refresher on Meteors - and the AFS didn't know anything about the restriction !

Again, I saw no reason to tell them, sailed through the Course without difficulty, and reckoned I was well placed to demand my A1G1Z1 back, but CMB wouldn't play. Ah, well.

Wonderful stories, FED, keep it up ! Danny.
 
Old 29th Oct 2014, 14:10
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circuit training

Weekly circuit training and a few other tricks had me the fittest I've ever been when I left after 12 weeks at Kirton. Like all activities at ITS it was marked. A series of tests of strength, speed and stamina. They were time based, I can't remember whether it was for 30 or 60 seconds but the number of repetitions were counted and recorded. At the end of the course you had to achieved an average improvement of (x + y) % with no test having less than an x% improvement. Also required were a long jump and a high jump, again memory fails me as to whether these were from standing or a 3 step run up.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 20:49
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When we had first arrived at Cerney the form was that we would spend eight weeks in the block and then, having proved we could use a knife and fork, move into the Officers’ Mess. The plot had now changed owing to the refurbishment of a group of buildings that were to be known as the Cadets’/No.2 Officers’ Mess. Four weeks in the block then four weeks there and then into No.! Officers’ Mess. All of my fellow students, apart from my fellow recoursee, departed to the said Mess leaving we two to await the new course. For a weekend, if we had been there, we would have had the whole building to ourselves. What it did mean was the only one of the barrack block rooms would be used in the future so we stayed put downstairs. On the Monday we introduced ourselves to our new directing staff. The boss was a lot better than the old one and for both of us we regained our confidence.

The new course arrived on a bus and then it looked as if we two had been recoursed to make up the numbers. There were less than a dozen of them. We sat through the preamble with them and in the evening it came apparent that several recruits that they were expecting had pulled out, undoubtedly because of the end of National Service. The next morning the barrack room was rearranged to suit the occupancy so we had stacks of room each.

I had some spare time in the next couple of weeks because I was not wanted for things that I had done already. Central Flying School (Helicopters) occupied one of the hangers and they were quite cooperative if a cadet wanted a ride. To this end I found myself in the back of a Sycamore for an instructor’s instructional sortie. It was noisy, because you had an Alvis Leonides at apparently continuous full song just behind you. The two pilots were talking about some incomprehensible flying characteristics and then one of them turned around to warn me that they were going to stop the engine.

Either the bottom of the aircraft dropped out or the blades fell of but we suddenly started hurtling towards the ground. The two heros up front were quite blasé about it, it obviously happened all the time. They hadn’t stopped the engine because I could hear it quietly idling away behind me but it allowed us to hear the whoosh of the rotor blades as we went down. As we got lower there was a sudden farting sound behind me as the engine stopped! There was now silence as we plummeted towards the ground and then with certain disaster inevitable a pilot hauled the nose up, the blades flapped even faster, followed by a levelling and a massive sink towards the grass. At the last moment before impact the pilot hauled on a lever in the centre that arrested its descent and we rolled gently forward on the turf. There were then hands flashing around the cockpit and the sound of the starter motor and the engine bursting into life restored some form of normality. I hadn’t a clue of what was going on even when they explained that it was a practice Engine Off Landing. Not that I was worried. I had joined the Air Force to go camel hunting in a Hunter, not flutter around in helicopters.

A picture of a picture


This picture I got back after my mother died.

I went through the course as before with no trouble and then we came to the ‘Off to the Welsh hills’ bit. Surprise No.1. No hitch hiking to the campsite. It had been decided that servicemen hitching hiking as a matter of policy was verboten so we would be taken by coach. Not all the way; the last ten miles would be an escape & evasion exercise to make sure we got wet and muddy; then we would be in tents. There then came the decision as to who was going to run the camp. Guess who was the only one who had any experience in running around the sticks and living under canvas; so I was now Camp Commandant. All sympathy felt for me for getting lumbered with this job evaporated when it was disclosed that I would be going direct to the campsite with the truck to do the initial site planning. Missing the exercise didn’t worry me. I had done my bit running around in the dark chasing or being chased. The bewitching hour came, I sat in the truck, the rest in a bus and off to Brecon we went.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 23:32
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Truly: "There is no new thing under the Sun"! - Danny

You can say that again, Danny, as the following clearly shows, some 25 years earlier than even your experience.

Further to three articles about the activities of British submarines, published in The Times, between 21 and 28 June 1916, in about 1917 there was a cartoon in Punch in which a "chinless wonder" of an army officer, in breeches and tunic, Sam Browne belt and all, is being shown over a submarine by a large bearded officer in a submarine sweater and sea-boots, and in the forends is regarding all the complicated machinery with some puzzlement, and says to his naval officer friend “I suppose you have some sergeant Johnny who understands these things?"

Jack
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 17:36
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Radar at Binbrook 1951

Mailing old friends at Binbrook recently, I rediscovered Ray Whiteley's memorial site RAF Binbrook Heritage Centre. Among much interesting material you will find Alan Dowling's account of his National Service as a radar operator, complete with pictures of DF vehicle with what appears to be a huge TV aerial on the roof. Other vehicles include Ford V8 and Austin 6x4 which I can remember parked at the side of Binbrook's control tower, alas long gone.
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 00:09
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Geriaviator

"complete with pictures of DF vehicle with what appears to be a huge TV aerial on the roof"

Vehicle shown in the link is an RV 105 (VHF/DF) vehicle which I operated early in my service at Bovingdon, Gan and Abingdon. They were superseded by automatic DFs from the mid 1950s onwards.

Here's what the one at Gan looked like 1958.

On arrival from UK



A bit of loving care and attention (with a 3" brush), primarily to keep the heat down.



The finished job


Here's the one at Abingdon.


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Old 1st Nov 2014, 02:33
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26er sounds like someone who should be posting more stuff more often.
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 01:42
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Memories of Gan

Warmtoast,

Lovely photos of your mobile DF at Gan being repainted brilliant white (glad to see that you're Keeping a Wet Edge !). At home most manual DF installations were bricked-in, but the navs rarely used them from the '50s on, as the CR/DFs coming into the Towers gave (I have to say) a quicker and better service on VHF.

Consequently the operators had little to do for long periods. At Valley in '51 ours was no exception; one of our Operators had ample time on his hands for his hobby - making Lead Soldiers ! (the tale starts on p.173, #3449 on this Thread).

It will be a long time before I forget manual VHF/DF Ops !

Danny.
 

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