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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 18th Jan 2015, 21:39
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Excellent map, FED, and very interesting, particularly the "Hills to be demolished" just in front of the Chequer Board (conspicuous by its absence?)! Harrym is quite right though to take me to task, for I was being unforgivably loose with my language to call the new 13/31 R/W 'north/south'.

Our perambulation had me wandering through Wiki yet again (where else?), first on the RAF Kai Tak page here:-
RAF Kai Tak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At the bottom of the page is an item entitled 'Lists' with a link to Grade 1 Buildings:-
List of Grade I historic buildings in Hong Kong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There we find that 51 Kwun Tong Rd is the preserved RAF Kai Tak Officers Mess, now occupied by the Hong Kong Baptist University. Go to Google Maps;-
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/...ba667c6f50e442

and drag the litle yellow man to the road in front of the indicated building and, ...well the years roll by and its time for happy hour down town, just as soon as we've placed our orders at Samtanis!
I find it really rather touching that the HK authorities saw fit to preserve such a colonial relic instead of grinding it into dust.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 07:12
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Chugalug2,
ah Samtanis ! During my time in FEAF you did not need happy hour if you went to Samtanis. You would be offered a San Mig whilst you discussed your order and then another. This was on the grounds that the more you drank the bigger the order !
If we needed a 'Happy Hour' then the Gold Bar on Nathan Road was our first port of call. Happy days.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 09:03
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AA62

Do you remember the lines of 'gold' chain that were draped inside the window? We all seemed to love pulling bits of chain off as we sat there and on each subsequent visit there seemed to be less and less.


Chugalug2


Love your Jolly Jack story - I have a vague memory that he was from Fleetwood in Lancs and that the family ran a trawling business there, to which he may have returned when he left the mob in '73.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 11:51
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B48N, yes I seem to remember the same background to Jolly Jack. He once recounted how he started out by delivering Hudsons across the pond, via the usual legs BW1, Keflavik, Prestwick, and they once overshot Scotland due to unforecast tailwinds, being between layers that stymied the Nav's chances to get a fix. They landed at RAF Carnaby (I think) with barely moist tanks, having descended in desperation below SA, found themselves over the sea and did a 180, having reasoned that it was probably the North Sea!

I seem to remember that he was later on Spitfires, flying over Burma. At some point he was awarded the DFM, later on being commissioned, made substantive Flg Off wef 30.07.1958, and Flt Lt wef 30.7.1964. He earned the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air 1.1.1963, and the AFC in 12.6.1965. all this gained from Googling the London Gazette. Other than that nothing (particularly no obits, I'm glad to say). It would be interesting to hear of others recollections and, particularly in the context of this thread, of his training to the award of wings.

Jack, if you are reading this, how about it? I'm proud to count myself as one of your apprentices. If you haven't written your story yet, then there's no time like the present!

Oh, PS; Samtanis is alive and well still, though no signs of golden chains! Seems you finally did for them, B48N!
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 12:27
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I was on 24 Sqn at the time of the famous Ponza incident with Jack H route checking a squadron pilot. No doubt someone else may recall the details better than I.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 12:27
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The chains were in a bar that was on the left going down Nathan Road from the Shamrock Hotel, a bit before the shops.


I had a look in the 2006 Retired List in the local library a few months ago and pretty sure Jack was no longer listed, but considering he probably never willingly took aerobic exercise in his life and IIRC smoked and liked a drink, I think he did make a good age.


When I was attached to JATE at Abingdon 72'/73' for 5 months Jack was with the trappers there and used to come over for a chat with Mike Nash. He showed me a picture of him in front of his Spitfire ( c1945 ) and explained,' Ee I was a f**king handsome b*stard then' - I nearly choked on my coffee!


He also flew the Vengeance over Burma. I wonder when he converted to transport flying and was he a QFI?
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 12:29
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AA62

Our posts overlapped - the poor Captain in the Ponza story was on 48 Hercs, 67' - 69'/70'.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 13:30
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Brian,
the Ponza incident must have been sometime in 1967 operating out of Colerne as I seem to recall. There were TWO captains of the same name on 24 at the time. The 'other' one was fed up of being wrongly 'credited' for the Ponza div business.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 17:11
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HK memories

Chugalug2: good to know the old Kai Tak officers mess survives. Built on a hillside about 50 ft above sea level it was well positioned for watching activity, the RW31 threshold being only a short distance away. I have happy memories of sitting on the lawn, San Mig in hand, watching (critically!) early evening arrivals of various airlines, a few of which could be a bit interesting while when 13 was in use some of the takeoffs looked a bit marginal performance-wise.

Good old Samtani, I still have one or two of his shirts. Although it's almost 35 years since I bought anything from them, they still send an annual Christmas card!
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 18:26
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When I ws there in 1969 to get from the officers mess to the airfield via the guardroom involved crossing the dual carriageway high speed commuting road. The was a gap in the crash barriers and you took your life in your hands crossing it. Most livers in with cars prefered to drive on, go up half a mile,and come back on the guardroom side. Vice versa when returning.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 20th Jan 2015 at 09:13.
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Old 21st Jan 2015, 09:08
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Just opposite No 51 Kuan Tong Rd is of course No 50 Kuan Tong Rd, across a "high speed busy commuting road". It is now the Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre but used to serve a rather difference purpose, as FED, harrym, and other readers might recall...


Last edited by Chugalug2; 21st Jan 2015 at 09:10. Reason: Courtesy Wikipedia
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Old 21st Jan 2015, 22:52
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"Jack H."

Chugalug (#6683),

Regarding "Jack H",
Your: "I seem to remember that he was later on Spitfires, flying over Burma".

and

Brian 48nav,

Your: "He also flew the Vengeance over Burma" (all VVs over Burma in WWII would be operational).

This is a bit of a puzzle. As far as I recall, the first RAF Spitfires came out to India in late '43. I thought they were Mk.VIIIs, but someone on this Thread corrected me a long time ago, saying that they were tropicalised Mk.Vs. No matter, they ended the dominance of the Oscars. From mid '44, some of the IAF Vengeance Sqdns (including my No.8) converted to Mk.XIVs, but I do not think the RAF operated any of that Mark out there in the war. Will have a trawl in BHARAT RAKSHAK when I have the time.

AFAIK, that would be the only way a VV-Spitfire change could be managed, but I thought the IAF got rid of all the old British VV pilots (who would all be officers in any case) before they got their Mk.XIVs. My old friend, Niel Ker (sadly RIP) stayed with them on the XIVs, but he was IAF then. Spitfire-VV transition was easy, many of the '42/'43 intake out there had done Spitfire OTUs (as I had).

If someone likes to PM me with your chap's full name, I'll have a look in my P.C. Smith's "Vengeance" and cudgel my memory to see if anything turns up.

Meanwhile, you might like to have have a look at:
"Aviation History and Nostalgia">"Spitfire Mk.I (Type 300)" [whatever that may mean] for a 5 min You Tube of chap hugely enjoying himself in one. As possibly the last man alive who trained (75 hrs) on that Mark in WWII, will put in my comments on it there soon.

Danny.
 
Old 22nd Jan 2015, 08:19
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Danny, thanks for the Spitfire Mk1 link. What a beautiful and rare beast! Interesting to see it in full phony war sand/spinach/black/white finish (including yellow gas detecting panels). A quick change to the sky undersides for the BoB was as eminently sensible as the famous in service switch from variable pitch to constant speed propellers, as told here:-

Spitfire Mk 1 Performance - Propellers - Hornchurch June 1940

The Mk1 YouTube video that Danny referred to is here:-
http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...ype-300-a.html

Danny, re Jack Huntington, I had never heard of him flying the Vengeance but perhaps B48N can shed some light on that.
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Old 22nd Jan 2015, 09:48
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Re Vengeance

I didn't get the info' direct from Jack re him flying the VV - in John F Hamlin's book ' Flat Out' the history of 30 Sqn on pg 258 he mentions, in a paragraph reporting Jack celebrating 10,000hrs in October '69, that he had flown VVs and Spitfires in WW2 in the Arakan front. Incidentally it shows 30 having been in Burma in 44/5 with Hurricanes and then Thunderbolts.


Re the Spitfire connection, the photo Jack himself showed me in '73 showed him in KD in front of his Spitfire. IIRC he said it was just after the war had finished.


Our man was Flt Lt J R Huntington AFC DFM Born 9/1/23 Commd 30/7/59 Retd 30/9/73.
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Old 22nd Jan 2015, 15:56
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Flt.Lt. J.R. Huntington AFC DFM.

Chugalug and Brian 48nav,

Checked "Vengeance's" comprehensive Index - nothing, and the name means nothing to me.

But that is not conclusive: Peter C. Smith deals very largely with 82 Sqdn, and there were three other RAF VV Sqdns, together with two IAF ones.

But, as I understand, our man was not commissioned until after the war, he would certainly not have been posted to an IAF Sqdn, which only had officer pilots.

So the trace is cold at my end, I'm afraid.

YLSNED - I'm surprised that (somewhere) somebody said that he was flying Mark II Spits out there. Could he have meant Mark 22s (or Mk XXIIs if you like). The IAF had Mk.XIVs in late '44 !

And I've always thought that the two-blade Mk.1s had all been replaced by three-blade props before the BoB. Not so, it seems.

So the odd patch on the wing is a gas-detector ! (why didn't I know that ?)

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 22nd Jan 2015, 16:36
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So the odd patch on the wing is a gas-detector ! (why didn't I know that ?)
I'm shocked. Deeply shocked.

All that foreign service must have obscured the fact that the UK was under constant threat from CBW from the filthy Nazis. Even harmless little TMs had a gas panel behind the rear cockpit. And that's why everyone [even WSC] had to carry their gas mask around all the time, in its little rectangular carry-case.

Sheesh, if the bombing wasn't bad enough ... I wonder when that regulation ceased? Google time!

After the Blitz had ended, carrying around a gas mask became less and less important in the mind of the public.
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/gas_masks.htm

Which Blitz, one asked? There was so much propaganda about getting the Public on-side one wonders when people got bored with it all?
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Old 22nd Jan 2015, 17:06
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Discussion about gas detector panels on the aviation forum here, Danny:-
Gas Detector Panels

which links to a contemporary picture of armourers reloading a Spitfire with the yellow diamond behind the inboard port Browning.
http://www.flightglobal.com/airspace...17754s-jpg.jpg

To be honest I only picked up on this when my Airfix Calender wallpaper for November 2014 featured a Hurricane with a square GD panel near the port wingtip. Latest one here BTW:-
Downloads - Calendar Wallpapers Airfix
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Old 23rd Jan 2015, 01:11
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MPN11,

So the general public in the Uk, who soon forgot about the remote possibility of a gas attack, but continued to cart their gasmasks around (a) for fear of being picked up by an officious Bobby and (b) from force of habit and (c) because they were so useful for carting around bits 'n bobs, were protected by gas-warning panels (but I don't remember hearing about or seeing any such thing at home between '39 and '42).

Whereas we, in faraway places with queer-sounding names, who were handling the stuff and had it slopping around all day, had no gas-masks and had no idea that gas sensor paint even existed.

Which makes perfect wartime RAF sense, you see. Don't see what the Blitz had to do with it, but in any case much more dangerous stuff was coming down then in the shape of bombs large and small (including Land Mines [about the size of a pillarbox], which were their equivalent of our "cookies", and could take out two or three whole streets at a time).

And then there were the enthusiastic AA gunners, blazing away and doing civlian morale no end of good (but achieving little else), not reckoning that What Goes Up Comes Down in the shape of quite nasty, jagged bits of shell casing which had reached terminal velocity on the way down (these were avidly collected by schoolboys on their way to school next morning).

Chugalug,

Another fine link you've got me into ! Will have a good look tomorrow.

Cheers, both, Danny
 
Old 23rd Jan 2015, 09:43
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A couple of years after the war when I was five or so my uncle, a slater, used to take me around to help with roof repairs. Most of these were cracked slates due to returning AA fragments. Getting the ladders up and over the eaves was a long and fiddly job so my contribution was to assess where the cracked slates were.

Method one was to throw me into the loft where I would stumble amongst the joists and the water tanks assessing where the daylight was invading. In some streets the loft went all the way down the road, there being no partition walls.

Method two was where he knocked on the door of the house opposite and I would be dispatched up to the front bedroom to look along the suspect pitch. Occasionally I would observe from the rear bedroom on the next street.

Some times the front bed was strangely warm.

I would be up the top passing slates and on one occasion we were one short. Instead of sending me off to get another one my uncle leaned over to the next roof, ripped a slate off, and used it with the statement that they would be calling him up next week.

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Old 23rd Jan 2015, 15:32
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From Night Flak to Hijack: It's a Small World by Captain Reginald Levy DFC

The Great South American River Company tells me that they are estimating delivery of my copy by the end of the month. Having read all of Regle's contributions here, I'm looking forward to having his story in one coherent volume.....
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