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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 28th Feb 2015, 05:08
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I came across this link to the No 1 British Flying Training School Museum at Terrell, Tx.
Apologies if this has been posted before.
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Old 28th Feb 2015, 19:03
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Danny42C
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sidevalve,

Nostalgic pictures ! That was one side of the coin. But in the "Arnold" Scheme (operated by the U.S. Army Air Corps), we didn't even have our uniforms - they had been taken off us in Canada - but only a civilian suit and our flying overalls (to maintain the fiction that we were "civilians", and so that US neutrality would not be compromised).

Danny.
 
Old 1st Mar 2015, 02:45
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When Dad,s Skipper did his second dickie flight on Dec 29 43 to Berlin, the ac he was in was struck by bombs from above. The squadron log show:
Bombed at 20.15hrs from 20,000ft on center of Red-Green T-I,s. Immediately after bombing rear turret and two upper rear turret guns damaged by bombs from above, and incendiaries dropped into fuselage between rest bed bulkhead. Navigator managed to put out fire with two fire extinguishers.
Interestingly enough, this crew was short a wireless Op; it was filled in by the WOP from Dad,s crew; both pilot and WOP made their first trip together. About this time Dad was also assigned to fill in for a crew short a bomb aimer.
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Old 1st Mar 2015, 07:24
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Broken propellers

Hello, maybe not the right place, but I remember my father (I am 73) telling me
about a flight from Leuchars, dropping leaflets (where, dont'no). After that the
aircraft was landed wheels up with consequent destruction of propellers.
All was covered up by an overnight change of propellers and engine checks.
Told to me as true, and of course I do believe it. Aircraft was an Anson.
Are second hand stories valued ?
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Old 1st Mar 2015, 18:41
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Danny42C
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esa-aardvark,

"Are second hand stories valued ?"

Too true they are - and this is the place for them ! Let's have 'em !

There is/was a well known story about a chap with an Anson with the wheels stuck up. Realising that he was having to land it like that, he set-up for a glide approach, cut both engines (seemimgly at approach speed, the airspeed was insufficient to windmill the props, and they stopped). Then he used the starter buttons to crank the props horizontal.

He landed on grass with little or no further damage.

Danny
 
Old 1st Mar 2015, 19:03
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psaulm71

My Dad was an airframe fitter with 78 sqn when they were based in Kabrit and Heliopolis towards the end of the war. Think he went out in '44. Will put some piccies up when I get home. (In the US working at the moment).
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Old 1st Mar 2015, 20:43
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Aviation Artists' exhibition

Ron, if you are a 'Ppruner' please forgive me for mentioning your exhibition!


SWMBO has just returned from visiting her mother who lives near Shaftesbury and brought the local freebie paper, Blackmore Vale Magazine. It contains a report on the forthcoming exhibition by aviation artists Patricia Forrest and Ron Homes DFC.


Ron survived a tour as a Lancaster pilot on 101 Sqn in 1944 and then did a tour as a Dakota pilot in the Far East before demob at the end of WW2. His painting 'Against All odds' of his Lancaster on fire after being hit by flak and then being attacked by a Me 210 acted as a catharsis and the catalyst for him becoming an aviation artist.


Now in his 93rd year he is a quiet unassuming man whom I had the privilege to meet some 12 years ago when my wife bought one of his paintings for my birthday. They subsequently exhibited together in Shaftesbury.


If you are in the Dorset area in March why not visit his exhibition at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre - 5th - 17th, 1000-1600 except Sundays.


You can Google his website too!

Last edited by Brian 48nav; 1st Mar 2015 at 20:44. Reason: Capital letter
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Old 1st Mar 2015, 22:46
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With acknowledgements to Google from the "images for C-47 Dakota".

JENKINS,

Same was true of the C-47 Dakota :-



D.
 
Old 5th Mar 2015, 17:57
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JENKINS,

Missed it ! (out with iplayer). But probably the shot with a VV being taxied in a monsoon, and another (erk-powered) push-back. Got it on video already.

Now if you really want to see VVs red in tooth and claw, look up p.129 #2561 on this Thread for Chugalug's marvellous find.

Danny.
 
Old 5th Mar 2015, 19:04
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Jenkins/Danny - saw that too today. What awful conditions to fly and fight in
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 15:00
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Hong Kong 1946 - Finale

Returning from a Changi trip mid-June, we found the squadron numberplate had been changed from 96 to 110; for what purpose was never explained and, having zero effect on our daily lives, the event excited little or no interest. I suppose, given demob and the associated post-war shrinkage, that the 110 number was going spare and for some obscure reason rated superior by some very senior airship; however, since 96 came first in numerical order and presumably pre-dated the other, retention of the 96 title would have seemed more logical – but then, as we all know, use of logic in Service admin was/is never guaranteed!

From July onwards emphasis (for my crew, anyway) switched away from China & Japan towards flights to Rangoon/Calcutta or Changi, on which we carried an increasing number of civilian passengers plus an additional crew member styled (according to my log book) as a 'flight clerk'. To the best of my memory these individuals, forerunners of the latter day Air Quartermaster/Loadmaster, were usually but not necessarily spare non-pilot aircrew, pitched into the job with little or no formal training; nevertheless from a pilot's viewpoint they were a good thing in that he was thus relieved of some of the paperwork, also for obvious reasons of flight safety their presence had to be a good thing.

However there was little they could offer our passengers in the way of comforts; no proper seats, only those dreadful bucket-type benches (Mk III Dak) or equally awful semi-hammocks (Mk IV) down each side of the cabin, and although ration boxes were provided the quality was (apart from the HK ones) fairly dismal while as for drinks, stewed tea from a Thermos flask was usually the only alternative to tepid squash. Further discomfort was usually afforded due to those rubber bungs plugging the apertures in each side window sometimes being missing, thus allowing admission of noise and cold air. (I believe these holes were provided so that, if an aircraft were subject to attack, any troops aboard could fire at the enemy with their rifles; whether or not this is true I don't know, and anyway the whole idea sounds potentially extremely dangerous!).

The Calcutta schedule called for a long first day, via Saigon for a Bangkok night stop after 9 ½ hours total, and then on to Calcutta via a Rangoon flag stop. That was the intention anyway, but my log book shows that after leaving HK on the 9th we did not return until the 22nd due to delays of four days each at Akyab outbound and Saigon inbound. Akyab was not a normally scheduled call, our presence there being due to a spell of particularly atrocious weather hanging around the Arakan coast; in fact, following a night stop we made another attempt to reach Calcutta, but ended up back at Akyab for a further three days – during which time 16 inches of rain were recorded in one 24 hour period. Whether or not, by present day standards, we were justified in sitting things out on the deck is perhaps arguable, but in that pre – search radar age such practice was considered perfectly OK and not without reason as I discovered on our return flight down that pestilential coast.

Heading back towards Rangoon and encountering more bad weather I followed the accepted method of (where possible) flying below the clag a few hundred feet over the sea, but after a minute or two of blindingly heavy rain was alarmed to find the port engine losing power for no obvious reason, fortunately picking up again when the rain cleared. This happened repeatedly on re-entering further deluges, but thankfully the rain eventually eased and the weather gave us no further frights. Thinking about it later I recalled that on carrying out the usual pre-flight water drain checks at Akyab, it had taken some minutes for the flow from the port tanks' drain cocks to change from water to avgas – I reckon at least a gallon or two of water must have entered the tanks while the aircraft was on the ground. It was a peculiar design flaw of the Dakota that the fuel filler points, instead of hiding beneath hinged flaps in the wing's upper surface as per normal practice, were recessed directly into that surface; thus, should the cap be a poor fit or its sealing washer perished, it was only too easy for rainwater to enter. Indeed perhaps this was the reason the Dak had those tank drain cocks in the first place, as I don't recall such a check being necessary on other aircraft of that period.

Our homeward passage was further delayed at Saigon due to a vigorous typhoon expected to hit the south China coast at or close to Hong Kong, so that it was several days later before we finally made it back. We found Kai Tak had indeed been somewhat hammered; for while the permanent buildings had suffered little or no damage less substantial structures such as our squadron HQ had simply vanished, with a couple of very battered Sunderlands up on the slipway looking as if they would never fly again (they didn't). A noted landmark overlooking the harbour that also vanished about this time (not as a result of the storm, but a demolition job by the Royal Engineers), was a large and ugly monument erected by the Japanese to commemorate their 1941/42 'victory'. Some cynics had suggested it should remain in situ for evermore as a dreadful reminder, but were overruled; however, given the benefit of hindsight and the present run-down state of our forces, perhaps they had a point?

By now I was beginning to wonder about demob, for I was due to start Univ in early October and some months had elapsed since my application for a Class B release; however August came and went and with it another fifty hours or so under my belt, until on return from a Changi trip on the 1st September it finally came through. However I soon discovered that grant of release and actually getting back to UK were two very different things, and a further five weeks elapsed before I finally managed to secure a low priority air passage to Changi where more official obstructionism was encountered; for here I was told to find my own way to Tengah and present myself to the Air Booking Centre* as a supplicant for air passage to UK. This was, eventually, reluctantly granted and after a further ten days I found myself UK-bound on a York that duly delivered me to a cold and windswept Lyneham – a good two weeks or so after the academic term had started so no disembarkation/terminal leave period for yours truly, just some catching-up instead!


* Why the Air Booking Centre was at the west end of Singapore island, with the Changi air transport base at its eastern extremity, must remain a mystery – refer to my earlier observation re logic and the RAF's impenetrable ways!


Danny (& Chugalug) - That VV footage via page 129 is a real gem. I have always admired those who flew over SE Asia's hostile terrain (not to mention large areas of sea as well) on only one engine - sooner you than me!
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 18:26
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harrym,

So now we're going to lose you to the Groves of Academe (but I do hope "Finale" doesn't mean exactly what it says, but if it does, then so be it; and I trust I speak for all of us on this noble Thread (and beyond), who've followed you along that rough and winding road which all of us who Gained their RAF Pilots' Brevet in WWII had to tread, in thanking you for your rivetting stories, and wishing you good fortune in the days which were to come.

But you will look in from time to time, won't you ? (all benefit from the Wisdom of the Ancients, and there aren't many of us left, you know).

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 9th Mar 2015, 03:14
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The Night Raid Report for the Nuermenberg raid paints a stark picture. It lists the loses at 94, or 11.8%. It also notes, that, IN ADDITION, a further 11 aircraft were considered write offs- 7 from landing or taxying accidents, 3 from combat, and 1 from British incendiaries. This makes 105 aircraft destroyed on this one raid. Two aircraft were observed to collide over the target and go down in flames; another 2 collided over Britian. I also believe that a Halifax and Lancaster shot each other down shortly after leaving the target in a tragic case of mistaken identity. ( Dad had mentioned at some point earlier that air to air combats between bombers did happen from time to time. It was tragic, but if the gunner thought the other aircraft was acting in a way perceived as hostile, it was a case of shoot first, rather than risk being shot at)
The report goes on the list 71 aircraft as damaged; 17 by flak, 34 by fighter, and 20 by non-enemy action.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 18:09
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Finale NOT Finis!

Thank you Danny for your kind remarks, and no the word finale refers only to writings re my involvement with WW2 and its aftermath; for following two years of academe and the award of an indifferent degree I found the pull of aviation to be irresistible, so that it occupied the rest of my working life.

However there is no autobiography as such, nor will there be as 99%+ of transport flying tends (thankfully) to the boring and uneventful; however there were inevitably some interesting occasions or periods, and it is possible some scribblings from the odd one of these might be posted up should it link with any future thread. Meantime two of my later experiences are already in the public domain, and may be found on Jelle Hiemenga’s excellent site A Little VC10derness - look in ‘Everything RAF’ in the VC10 Memories section for ‘Excitement over Brize Norton’ and ‘Fun & Games with Harold’.

You can rest assured I will continue to follow this thread closely!
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 23:19
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harrym,

First, thank you for the reassurance that you're not leaving us just yet, and for the links you gave me (a treat in store there!) Avation occupied the rest of your working life, you say? Then we'll all settle down in keen anticipation of many more Posts to come. Now, referring to your #6813:

It would seem that we both served under the badge of the Tiger of Hyderabad, but at different times. Did they still cart round with them that bit off a WWI fuselage on which it was first painted? (We still had it when I left in December '43 - our troops called it "The Constipated Tiger", on account of its melancholy appearance).

I well remember those "bucket" paratroop seats: a much better scheme was to settle down comfortably on the mailbag pile at the back. But I can't recall any rubber bungs sealing firing holes behind the windows (perhaps it was a later modification?) It sounds the same idea as the arrow slits in the walls of medieval castles ("arrow loops" ["loups?] or "balistravia" [Wiki]).

But how would you use them? I can't seem them as being very effective against attacking aircraft in the air. Stationary on the airstrip, I would have thought it better to get the troops out and deploy on the ground, for the aircraft skin is not as good as a castle wall !

16 inches of rain in 24 hours sounds about normal for a place like Akyab in the first days of the '46 SW Monsoon. We logged 13 inches in 12 hours in '45 on the Malabar coast, although it would have arrived a week or so earlier than yours as we were so much further West. "The rains come down and the snakes come up", the Old India Hands told us. "Monsoon Cape and gumboots" was the order of the day.

We were told that the reason for the morning preflight draining of the tanks was due to their remaining empty or part-empty overnight: the 100% humid air which filled the empty spaces would cool during the night and the moisture precipitate. The obvious answer was to fill tanks ASAP after landing, we always did this with our VVs and never had this problem. But rain getting in through through the filler caps ! You would think that this would have cropped up and been fixed prewar with the civil DC-3s in the US.

You're quite right about single engined pilots and open water not mixing very well ! Although all the Wright Cyclones were normally very reliable, there's no sense in "sticking your neck out" when you don't have to. When 110 moved forward from training at Madhaiganj (W.Bengal) across to Chittagong for ops in '43, we didn't fly direct across the Bay of Bengal, although it was well within range, but dog-legged overland, although that was much longer and needed a fuel stop at Jessore.

And, two years later, when I was calibrating radar off the coast near Madras, we were not at all happy, 50 miles offshore with one donk over the shark-infested Indian Ocean !

Cheers again, Danny.
 
Old 9th Mar 2015, 23:36
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Nuremberg raid.

jeffb,

"Blue on Blue !" There has never been a war in which this has not happened. As you say: "Shoot first and ask questions afterwards" was ever the key to survival. There was a prime RAF example very early in the war, look up: "The Battle of Barking Creek".

The Nuremberg raid must have been among the most costly of Harris's three year campaign. Yet "you can't make omelettes without breaking eggs"; there is no cost-free war; it was what we signed up for in the first place, after all.

Danny.
 
Old 10th Mar 2015, 10:33
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Surprisingly, of all the losses that the US Navy had over the Pacific with single engined aircraft, pure engine failure was so rare as to be discounted.
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Old 10th Mar 2015, 19:09
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Fareastdriver,

Nearly all the s/e aircraft that the USN would have flown over the Pacific would have been powered by Wright Cyclone or Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engines. Both had a long peacetime lineage in civil operation, and were "downrated" engines from our point of view, sacrificing raw power for the sake of reliability.

For example: the Wright Double Cyclones in the VV, with a swept volume of 42 litres, were rated at 1600 shp at 2400 rpm and 40 inches Hg absolute of manifold pressure. Our Merlin 266s in the Mark XVI Spit had only 27 litres, but produced the same power with +12lb boost (about 60 in) at 3000 rpm, and Wiki tells me a "special" development Merlin put out 2600 shp at 103 in on 150 octane fuel with water injection (but no record of how long the heads stayed on the engine !).

Having said that, although the Merlin was stressed far in excess of the American radials, it had a peerless record of reliability. I had no experience with wartime British radials, so cannot compare.

Danny.
 
Old 10th Mar 2015, 19:16
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My father said you could never get lost in a Halifax (Bristol Hercules). You just followed your oil slick back home.

I couldn't get lost off shore for a similar reason; dog ends.
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 00:40
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Just a Quickie,

"BBMF Visit question" is well worth a look (resurrected from '09).

D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 11th Mar 2015 at 00:42. Reason: GET IT RIGHT !
 

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