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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 22nd Feb 2015, 22:25
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my grandad was in 78 sqn during wwII as a rear gunner in halifax's in breighton yorkshire and then went to 99 sqn in liberators in india and coco islands he is still alive, and love the storys he tells of the bomb runs over germany berlin and sumatra, he completed he's ops in 78 sqn and re volunteered for a second time going into 99 sqn oversees, he was in the last bomb run over japan before they droped the atom, he turned down the clasp as he said the men that were lost and him was not recognised then so why now, he still thinks of all those that were lost and for what, he said he can never forget what happened and all the friends he lost, but said he did it for country and king along with most at that time. i have upmost respect for all those in that time and always will, and overs in modern day conflict.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 22:50
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Danny42C
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binbrook,

Thanks ! My recollection of the "Air Clues" story placed it at Gaydon - but all memories are fallible, it is half a century ago, and I accept that the official account is correct (after all, two Car Parks episodes would be too much of a coincidence !)

D.
 
Old 23rd Feb 2015, 07:00
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paulm71,
when was your grandad on 78 Squadron ?
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 13:25
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I have been looking through my dad's WW2 hand-written RAF pilot training notes and in the 'Signals' section have found instructions on Controlled Descent Through Cloud referred to as CDJJ rather than CDTC. Can anyone throw any light on this please?

After 2 RC Padgate he started training in November 1941 at 10(S) RC Blackpool, then 6 ITW Aberystwyth (4/42-7/42), 7 EFTS Desford (7/42-8/42), 5 BFTS Clewiston (11/42-7/43), 14 EFTS Elmdon (12/43-1/44), spent time with 166 Sqn at Kirmington (2/44-5/44), then 15 (P)AFU Babdown Farm and Long Newnton (5/44-6/44), 1 BAS Watchfield (6/44), Long Newnton again (6/44-7/44) before joining 435 Sqn RCAF (10/44-9/45 with a month at 361 MU) and later flew with ACSEA before demob at Hednesford in mid-46.

At what stage in his training would the ground instruction on subjects like Signals (including 'CDJJ') have been completed?

Last edited by VQ5X03; 23rd Feb 2015 at 17:36. Reason: Spelling!
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 15:53
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No.5 B.F.T.S. Courses

VQ5X03

It looks like your Dad did something similar to my Dad, i.e. arrived with one course but qualified on the next course.
My Dad arrived at Clewiston with Course 11. 25/09/42, fell ill and was placed on Course 12. when he recovered.
Course 12. arrived Clewiston 12/11/42 (so that is where your Dad arrives) but Course 12. qualified 25/5/43, so, as you say that your Dad left Clewiston in July 1943 he must have qualified with Course 13. on 30/07/43.

Ian BB
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 17:35
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Well spotted Ian - an ear infection grounded him for a while...
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 20:56
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VQ5X03,

Going through Pilot training in '41, all the signals classroom instruction your Dad would have received would have been at ITW (in his case at 6ITW, Aberystwith 4/42-7/42; in mine at 8ITW, Newquay 8/6/41-1/8/41). All it amounted to was Morse (IIRC, 6 words pm on the key and 4 on the Aldis lamp - great fun on the sands on a fine day, with one lamp on the clifftop and the other on the beach).

Bit puzzled about the "Controlled Descent through Cloud". Never heard of "CDJJ", (it was usually abbreviated to "QGH" from the old "Q" Code); and that wouldn't have been taught until much later, when he started flying - probably not till OTU.

Please tell us all you can glean from your Dad's notes (have you got his logbook ?) This is the place to tell them (so much has sadly been lost already).

Danny.

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Old 25th Feb 2015, 06:08
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When Dad was posted to the squadron, the new crews were assigned the less than new aircraft-the old warhorses as he called them. While the ground crews did an exceptional job, often in poor weather, it still didnčt alter the fact that some of the airframes were tired and patched. He said a lot of them just wouldn,t climb, often getting up to only 15,000 or at best 15,500 feet, as he put it, it put them uncomfortably close to Hallybag territory. However, the squadron logs show them as having bombed from 19,000 to 21,000 feet, I have no explanation for the difference.
This tested the pilot,s skill, and the Skipper was up to it. About 3 weeks into their ops, while taking off for Berlin, the starboard outer caught fire. They were still on the ground, but going too fast to be able to stop on the remaining runway, so they continued the take off. At about 300 feet, once cleaned up, they secured the engine and extinguished the fire. The procedure then was to go to a bomb jettison site, some 60 miles offshore out of shipping lanes.
They had climbed to about 5,000 feet, and had just crossed the shoreline, when the starboard inner broke it,s crankshaft and also caught fire; in addition due to the broken crank the engine initially would not feather. With the windmilling engine and full load the aircraft could not maintain height, and the Skipper warned the crew they may have to abandon the aircraft. Eventually the engine was brought under control but still loosing height, so Skipper told Dad to start jettisioning the bombs. The incendiaries when out first but was not enough, the cookie had to be jettisoned. Amazingly, that bomb could not be dropped safe; as Dad put it, once you dropped the thing, it WAS going to go bang. Even from close to 5,000 feet they felt the concussion from the bomb exploding. They made it back to base OK.
They wondered, being close to the shoreline if there were any sea traffic under them, but they never caught any h**l from the Royal Navy, so I guess not.
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Old 25th Feb 2015, 22:18
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We do still have his log book, from the first Tiger Moth flight (N6443) in 1942 at Desford to delivering an Expeditor from Salawas in India to Oberfaffen-Hoffen in Germany in 1946. The latter was signed for on an RAF Form 603 as an 'Airframe Expeditor KJ353' (unpriced) qty1, aero engines qty 2 (with serial numbers), sparking plugs qty 36, 14 cushions, 1 dinghy, 1 transmitter, 2 medical kits and 1 mooring kit.

Like many aircrew, although he maintained a life-long interest in aviation, dad didn't talk much about his RAF flying days. Some stories which spring to mind was a night solo training cross-country navigating via beacons to RAF Morerton-in-Marsh which had to be abandoned due to a serious fire on the runway at Moreton. He spottted and landed at another airfield and walked to the control tower to find out where he was...which turned out to be Honeybourne.

And the day he was holding to take off on an operation when he noticed the Dakota starting its take off run in front of him still had the control locks in...

As part of ACSEA post-war he was flying a senior officer down-route when they landed to refuel. When he got back into the aircraft the VIP asked him why he had refueled the aircraft himself. When he explained the ground crew were on strike (as part of the 'RAF Mutiny') the VIP immediately shared his packed lunch with him !

As well as his training notes and log book, I have a set of Japanese dog-tags given to him by a soldier he carried once...
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Old 26th Feb 2015, 00:04
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psaulm71,

A belated hearty welcome to this, the Best of Threads ! It is wonderful to see the next generations taking up the story from mine, who have nearly all passed on, but in many cases must have left a legacy by way of notes and logbooks for their nearest and dearest to read and (hopefully) pass on to this "our" Forum where they will be treasured and avidly read and enjoyed for a long time to come.

But your Grandad is still alive ! Get a tape recorder and get him talking (it won't be hard after he's read a few of the stories in PPRuNe). Then you can transcribe it and put it in here (the more, the merrier !) where it belongs.

We had Liberators (159 Sqdn) close to us in W.Bengal at Salbani, but I don't know where 99 Sqdn might have been. Bit puzzled over your: "....going into 99 sqn overseas, he was in the last bomb run over Japan before they dropped the atom...". I thought the bombing campaign over Japan was entirely an American effort (although I understand the Lincoln was designed as a long range Lancaster, intended for us to lend a hand over there if the war had lasted much longer).

Small World ! RAF Breighton became a Bloodhound site after the war; they built just one OMQ for the C.O., and when the Bloodhounds packed up we lived in it ('63-'64) when I was at Linton-on-Ouse.

The "Expeditor" was powered by two 9-cyl Pratt & Whitney "Wasp Juniors", therefore 36 plugs in all. Why, of all the hundreds of components in an aero engine, Stores insisted on these being separately listed has always been a mystery to me....D.

VQ5X03,

Your: "and later flew with ACSEA before demob at Hednesford in mid-46". I was in that part of the world (late'42- early'46). May have had experiences in common with your Dad....D.

jeffb,

Your: "the cookie had to be jettisoned. Amazingly, that bomb could not be dropped safe; as Dad put it, once you dropped the thing, it WAS going to go bang". "In search of Bomber Command" (currently in Page 6 of "Military Aviation") - Page 1, Post #17, is exactly on this point. (The whole Thread is enthralling).

Your Dad's Skipper was clearly a Jinx - he should have baled-out and found another crew ASAP ! But I'm surprised that a Lancaster (?) in that state would be on an operational squadron. And a Merlin breaking a crankshaft ???

But, as Wittgenstein says: "Whereof you know nothing, thereof should you be silent". I was nearly always a single-seater, mostly single-engine man....D.

Cheers, Danny.

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Old 26th Feb 2015, 11:31
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psaulm71 and Danny42C

I was a member of 99 Sqn, but very much post-war, but still have various historical notes.
These show that 99 was in India from 1942 onwards at: Ambala, Pandaveswar, Dirigi, Chaklala, Jessore and Dhubalia flying Wellingtons and later Liberators.

With their Liberator VI's they left for Cocos Islands in July 1945, while there they flew anti-shipping strikes over the Dutch East Indies. They were at Cocos until 15th November 1945 when they disbanded, only to reform two days later at Lyneham as a transport squadron with Yorks.
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Old 26th Feb 2015, 14:04
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Danny:
The engine incident was the only one that caused Dad,s crew to abort an op; he never mentioned any other problems with their ac, other than that a lot of the older ac assigned to new crews just didn,t seem to want to climb. I am sure that they had many patches on them from battle damage; in addition to the flak and fighters, once they had a 500 pound bomb go right through the wingtip, dropped from an unseen ac above them. Luckily, it neither exploded, nor hit anything vital.
To give perspective of what they had to fly through, I was watching pictures on the TV with Dad when the first Gulf war began. CNN had crews all over Baghdad, and the pictures of the flak there was awe inspiring. Dad quietly said that was pretty much how it was for about 90 minutes leading up to Berlin; over Berlin itself it increased about 4 fold for about 20 minutes he estimated. The Germans used radar predicted flak to great advantage as on the lead up to the bombing run ( and the subsequent 30 seconds after the bombs were dropped in order to get the much hated bombing photo) the aircraft was obliged to fly at a constant speed, altitude and heading. No evasive maneuvers were permitted until the camera had taken the bombing photo, after which the crews could do what they felt best in the circumstances. Then there was the trip back home, also fraught with more flak and searchlights. It is a wonder how they went back out night after night; and how the ground crews were able to patch the airframes and return them to operational status, often at night and out in the open
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Old 26th Feb 2015, 16:27
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Eighty years ago today!

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Old 26th Feb 2015, 16:47
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ricardian,

Presumably the Heyford did the trials for "Radiolocation", as we called it then ?

D.
 
Old 26th Feb 2015, 20:48
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Danny42C - no idea exactly which aircraft was "detected", some references say "metal clad bomber"
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Old 27th Feb 2015, 10:33
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It was a Heyford. I have seen a painting of the event. May be at the RAF Radar museum?
Here is an article on the test.
On this day 1935: Radar given first demonstration - The Scotsman
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Old 27th Feb 2015, 11:02
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The book "Winning the Radar War" says - " in the January 1935 test, Watson-Watt used the BBC 13-metre Empire transmitter at Daventry. The experiment was to demonstrate that radio transmissions would bounce off a Heyford aircraft,flown from Farnborough................." " The equipment was installed in a GPO Morris truck by Wilkins. Wilkins and the GPO driver spent the night in the truck near Weedon, ready for an early start the next day........ The aircraft was detected at a range of seven miles."
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Old 27th Feb 2015, 11:27
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Presumably the Heyford did the trials for "Radiolocation", as we called it then? - Danny

.. no idea exactly which aircraft was "detected", some references say "metal clad bomber" - Ricardian

I suspect that our august eagle-eyed "Squadron Leader" was of course demonstrating his recognition skills on sighting the silhouette on the memorial plaque cleverly tracked down by Ricardian in yesterday's "Hoots Mon".

Jack
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Old 27th Feb 2015, 23:50
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Jack,

Yes, it may well have appeared on one of the recognition posters, but was easily identifiable as it was the last bomber biplane in RAF service, although it was never used operationally, but only as a radar development target (Wiki).

I have some fellow feeling for it, having done the same job myself for a few months in early '45. 1580 Calibration Flight used the (prematurely IMHO) retired Vengeances at Cholaveram (Madras). Apparently their slab-sided fuselages gave good radar returns for the experimental radars on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

What the memorial stone says is absolutely true. As I wrote in an Open "pep-talk" letter to our troops on an Auxiliary Fighter Control Unit at Thornaby: "It (Radar) enabled us to use our few precious Hurricanes and Spitfires only when and where needed, and not on the comparatively inefficient Standing Patrols of WWI". (Prior to Radar, the accepted doctrine was: "The Bomber will Always get through".

A wartime ACSEA poster blew our own trumpet (from memory):,

"And while we're about it, let us never forget
That Radar was British, and so was the Jet".

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 28th Feb 2015, 01:31
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Danny42C
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jeffb,

Your: ".... once they had a 500 pound bomb go right through the wingtip, dropped from an unseen ac above them. Luckily, it neither exploded, nor hit anything vital".

There is a bit of newsreel footage which has been shown on air hundreds of times since the war. It shows a bomb-release film over a burning German city: clearly silhouetted against the fires is another Lancaster some distance below, but exactly underneath the aircraft that has just bombed.

With the densely packed bomber streams, it must have happened many times. If the lower aircraft were destroyed this way, no one would be any the wiser.

Danny.
 

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