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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 30th Apr 2009, 09:50
  #701 (permalink)  
 
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No, it's one of Ryanair's latest ideas for its 737s.......
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 10:10
  #702 (permalink)  
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Rice Paper

another piece of Chinese rice paper. "It says there's a river two kilometers north of here. There'll be an old, heavyset Frenchman with a mustache and a beret, wearing wading boots and fishing in the river. We'll exchange the password and countersign, and get further instructions. Now eat this message quickly, Lieutenant."

ROLL ON THE BOAT
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 10:28
  #703 (permalink)  
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More Rice Paper.

Just googled rice paper and found another.

n Bomber Command Group. I was in the Signals office for the wireless operators air gunners. I used to type out the call signs for the beacons helped to guide them home. I used to type these codes on rice paper so that if the men were unfortunate to be captured, they could eat the papers to keep them out of enemy hands.
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 11:25
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Ryanair noooooooo

BEagle, I must admit to believing your statement, as the seatbacks are fixed and are non-reclining, however on closer examination you can clearly see at least 36" legroom, we all know that Ryanair only allow 2" actual legroom.

Now for something completely different:-

A man was sitting in the bar at Heathrow Terminal 3 and noticed a
really beautiful woman sitting next to him. He thought to himself:
'Wow, she's so gorgeous she must be an air hostess. I wonder which
airline she works for. '

Hoping to pick her up, he leaned towards her and uttered the Delta
Airline slogan, 'Love to fly and it shows?'
She gave him a blank, confused stare and he immediately thought to
himself:'

Well, she obviously doesn't work for Delta.'

A moment later, another slogan popped into his head, so he leaned
towards her again and said, 'Something special in the air?'
She gave him the same confused look, and he mentally kicked himself,
while scratching Singapore Airlines off the list.

He thought 'Perhaps she works for Thai Airways...' and said, 'Smooth
as Silk?'

This time the woman turned on him and said, 'What the F*** do you want?'

The man smiled, slumped back in his chair, and said - 'Ahhhhh, Ryanair!'

Apoligies to Cliff for going off-subject :0)
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 11:59
  #705 (permalink)  
regle
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Picture Index

Reading downwards.
1. The Constellation in which I flew to Bombay. I was allowed to fly and land at Cairo. I am on the right.
2. Prospective First officer taking Breath test.
3. Dora at the entrance to our Bungalow at Juhu. My Bearer at right, Thomas, the Cook ,at left.
4. Peter and Linda in Bombay Harbour, visiting the famous caves. They are both Grandparents now !
5, In the gardens with my bearer.
6. We met up with Ralph Hollis, 42A ,and my very good friend, in Bombay. He was flying for Decca in Hyderabad. He later joined me in the Berlin Air Lift and then went to Brunei as the Sultan's Pilot. He died, sadly, on the Golf course in Brunei. His Wife, Pam, in dark glasses, Dora & chidren with their 1948 Xmas presents on the "Maidan" in Bombay.
7. Father Xmas in Bombay.1948
8. Found this amongst my "Muck". The reverse bears the inscriptions for filling in the card starting , In the air.... , date....192.. and Compagnie des Grand Express Aeriens. Any guesses as to the aircraft ?

Thank you Andy.. Regle
 
Old 30th Apr 2009, 17:34
  #706 (permalink)  
 
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I believe mustpost has it right. The F60 was operated by the Compagnie des Grands Express Aeriens from March 1920. It was one if not the first airliner conversions from a WW1 bomber design. Another less fortunate first was to be part of the first mid air collision. (Googled info, not original research).
Fascinating to see the space and what appears to be stairs down to a lower deck (which threw me at first, looking for early double deckers or Zeppelin!).
I think Ryanair would try to get up to 80 in there, not 8!!
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 21:20
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Cliff, Regle.

Thanks you both, and also to everyone else who has contributed to what must be one of the most important records of human endeavour recorded on the interweb.

Rest assured that this is all being 'cached' all over the World, and no matter what happens to PPRuNe, it's all saved for those who believe that History should prevent wars.

I gave my Dad a notebook to record his story into, a few months prior to some surgery which he didn't survive. Inspired by this "unputdownable" thread, I'll be paying for his RAF record tomorrow.

Keep it up.

And - if there's anything that PPRuNe readers can do for you in the way of help (transport to anything, computer stuff, etc) just say so.

We're here to be able to pay you back.

John
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Old 30th Apr 2009, 22:50
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Reg, your tale of the panting FO meeting the aircraft on arrival reminded me of another practical joker, on Hastings, who for the sake of the DPA we'll simply call "Frosty". Although he was the aircraft captain, he would follow the passengers onto the aircraft wearing an Air Movements Officer armband. Briefly he would tell them the flight time to their destination, the Captain's (ie, his) name and wish them a pleasant flight. He then disembarked, the door closing behind him, but would now nip under the wing unseen to enter by the crew hatch via a forward ladder. At the destination the procedure was reversed, the same "AMO" greeting the passengers on arrival. Problem was no-one would notice, one AMO looking much like any other! His other japes included positioning a crate of empty Gin bottles on the flight deck and once every hour opening the door and rolling one out into the cabin. The most contrived was the old favourite of tying off two strings, one to the LH control wheel, the other to the RH one and paying them out as he made his way aft to the loo. Towards the rear of the cabin he would hand the two strings to a lucky recipient asking him if he could ensure that the aircraft remained on course while he attended to a call of nature, explaining that if it started turning left to pull this one and likewise the other if it turned right. Though the Flight Deck door obviously remained open, the Co-Pilot crouched low in his seat out of sight. His Auto Pilot heading control was conveniently mounted to his right side and he could thus start a turn going until the appropriate string tightened when he resumed heading. This would go on until sufficient fun was deemed to have been had, when Frosty would emerge refreshed and retrieve the strings from a relieved and perspiring passenger. Sometimes though fate would take its revenge. When instructing at 242 OCU, Thorney Island, one night he took control as usual on a roller landing when a car entered the Runway ahead of them, crossing right to left. A public road crossed the runway there controlled by lights and barriers but obviously they had not been activated on this occasion. Frosty fed in full power and pulled back, managing to stagger into the air in time and thus avoid disaster. He made the next landing a full stop, shut down the aircraft and then made his way to the Mess for two stiff Scotches. Eventually he arrived home, where his wife demanded to know why he was so late. He apologised to her and began to explain that he had had an alarming experience and had to steady himself with a drink when she cut him short. "Never mind your alarming experience, what about mine? I was nearly run down by an aircraft earlier!", she complained.
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Old 1st May 2009, 08:49
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Spot Reg!

Reg put me onto a great Mosquito book called Mosquito at war, here is a picture from it, your job is to spot Reg, no clues yet!


I've just noticed the guy 2/3rds over from the left (or port) seems to be on his mobile phone?

Last edited by andyl999; 1st May 2009 at 09:04. Reason: none really
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Old 1st May 2009, 14:18
  #710 (permalink)  
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Boguing

What a heartwarming message from you. I , and I am sure Cliff too, thank you for taking the trouble to let us know that the experiences that we have been recalling have been so well received. It is curious but I have been watching quite a few of the wartime series , figuring the "Resistance "or being an "agent" shown on various SKY channels and I have been saying to myself "I could never have done that ." or seeing the ways and means that were used by the enemy to gain information, I am sure that I would have been to s... scared to even step foot in an aeroplane. Yet who knows what one will do until the time that you are called upon to do it? Thank you sincerely, Reg
 
Old 1st May 2009, 14:45
  #711 (permalink)  
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Where is Regle ?

Andy, The book that the picture was taken from was "Mosquito at War" and was by the great Aviation author,Chaz Bowyer. The occasion was the revealing of the first R.A.F. Squadron to get the Mosquito. It was 105 Sqdn., based at Horsham St. Faith at the time but soon to move to Marham. We were all gathering to go to our aircraft and then take off and drop eleven and a half lb. practice bombs on a tent erected in the centre of the grass airfield. We swept down in formation at fifty feet and let the bombs go. Unfortunately we were flying towards the massed photographers who were snapping furiously but were soon flat on the ground as the fragments and, sometimes the bombs themselves ,came hurtling towards them. I am sure that Barnes Wallis was present and didn't forget the effect when he cane to design his Dambuster Bouncer.
I won't divulge where I am in the picture but I am not far away from my Observer, Les Hogan, who looks as though he is going to have his head sliced off by the tailplane of the Mossie GB-A in the front of the picture. The picture in my book is clearer and the "Bod" has not got the first Mobile phone. He is simply picking his nose.
 
Old 1st May 2009, 15:06
  #712 (permalink)  
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Bill Hardie and Cliff

;BOGUING. Much appreciated, but the only thing i am short of is enthusiasm . However when people 'talk to' me my enthusiasm returns. I intended to work on the Beetle today, but as soon as I had every thing ready it started to rain,( the beach buggy is in the garage) ,so will work on Photobucket and remain dry. I intend to try and crop the newspaper cutting and enhance Hardie's letter.
A pic of an aeroplane. honest.







Last two lines Read. During the next two years, I spent delivering aircraft to various

Unfortunately Hardie didn't write again or send a tape. I do have a letter from Bill, which I will search for and if relevent, publish.

Last edited by cliffnemo; 1st May 2009 at 15:18. Reason: addition.
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Old 1st May 2009, 16:56
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Where is regle?

C'mon, knowing your impish sense of humour, that's you doing your Hitler impersonation in the middle!!
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Old 1st May 2009, 18:36
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Memoirs of a WW2 Hawker Typhoon pilot - Part 1

A week or so back, I offered to post the memoirs of F/Lt Peter Brett who flew Hawker Typhoons during WW2. Peter typed these up about 10 years ago, when he still had reasonably good eyesight. They got stored on floppy disks and forgotten about until recently when they were found again and I volunteered to help get them more widely read. Peter, now 86 years old, can now only use a computer with difficult owing to his deteriorating eyesight, but I am more than happy to relay any questions to him.
Cliffnemo has very kindly invited me to join his thread, so here is the first instalment of Peter's work. There are some photo's too, which I will include as soon as I find out how!

TOW



First steps

What follows happened over sixty years ago but some of the memories are as vivid today as they ever were. Other memories were triggered by the act of writing about those days and these triggered even further recollections. All in all, it has been a nostalgic journey into the past for me and I can only hope that the reader will enjoy the voyage.

I have always been interested in flight and aircraft. As a small boy, I made innumerable flying models, mostly gliders, from balsa wood and experimented with unusual configurations. My most successful, as far as I can remember, were 'Flying Wings' with only a 'pod' instead of a full fuselage, with highly swept back wings and vertical 'tailplanes' at the wingtips.

I can also remember attending practically every annual London Air Display from 1933 until the outbreak of war. These were held at Hendon airfield which is now the site of the RAF Museum. There was of course no 'Red Arrows' aerobatic team then, but I recall formation aerobatics by three Hawker 'Fury' biplane fighters, and seeing the original DeHavilland 'Comet' - not the airliner but the twin engined, two seater, low wing monoplane which held the England/Australia record.

As soon as I was old enough, I joined what was the forerunner of the Air Training Corps (ATC). This was the Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC) sponsored by the 'Air League of the British Empire' a privately supported organisation.. This was in 1935 when I was twelve years old. I lived in Rayners Lane in Harrow, Middlesex and the nearest squadron to my home at this time was some 8 km away - Number 14(F), for ‘founder’, at the RAF station at Uxbridge.

The parades were on Sunday afternoons and a friend and I used to cycle there every Sunday after lunch to attend. The parades consisted of basic drilling, physical training and lectures on RAF-related subjects including the theory of flight and even things like stripping and reassembling Lewis and Vickers guns that dated back to the 1914/18 war. We also, very occasionally, had the opportunity to be taken up for flights from Northolt airfield.

I remember that my first ever flight was in a 'Percival Proctor' aircraft. It was flown by no less a rank than a Group Captain. I cannot now recall his name but I do remember that he was a surprisingly small man. I was very tall for my age and found it rather odd that, when I had to spring smartly to attention and salute, I found that I was looking well over his head!

The authorities also found us useful for a variety of duties connected with aircraft and the RAF, and I can recall acting as a sort of decorative 'guard' for a 'Miles Master II' aircraft at an Air show held at the Fairey Aircraft Company's airfield at Hayes. As a souvenir of the occasion we each received a copy of the programme signed by the Air Minister of the time Sir Kingsley Wood. Thus I can date this show to be sometime in 1937.

It was just about this time that the Air Training Corps was formed and the ADCC was incorporated into the new organisation. A squadron, number 101, was formed at Wealdstone near Harrow, and my friend and I transferred to this unit. Then followed probably the fastest promotions on record. Since, by then, both my friend and I were well versed in drill, Morse code signalling, and various other useful attributes, we were both promoted - the first week to Corporal, the second week to Sergeant, and the third week to Flight Sergeant. I must have done fairly well during the next two years, as I was selected to go on one of the first glider pilots courses to be organised for the ATC. Unfortunately this was now 1939 and the outbreak of war put paid to my chances of learning to fly a glider at that time.

At 16 years old I was of course too young to join up, and I was studying at Acton Technical College (later to become part of Brunel University) with the intention of eventually becoming an Associate Member of the Institute Aeronautical Engineers (AMIAeE). Unfortunately, the college was evacuated from London and my father, who was either unable or unwilling to meet the extra costs, withdrew me from the college and I became a trainee draftsman with the Marconi - Osram Valve Company (M-OV), at Hammersmith in North London.

However, as soon as I was old enough (17¼ ) I volunteered for service with the RAF and, after attending a medical examination, which was spread over three days, I was accepted for aircrew training and told that I would be called up when I was 17¾. My father was rather annoyed since, as a draftsman, I was in a 'reserved occupation' and was therefore not liable to be drafted. I cannot honestly say that I was motivated by any sense of patriotism. The object was to get my hands on an aeroplane and learn to fly it!

During the year or so that I was with Osram, I continued to attend ATC parades at weekends and also joined the Local Defence Volunteers, later to become the Home Guard. Thus I was in London during the "Battle of Britain" and the "Blitz". I can recall seeing the vapour trails of the aircraft during the "Battle of Britain" and also seeing London burning from the Osram factory roof during the "Blitz".

The one time that the Osram factory was hit by a bomb I was not on duty, but came in the next day to find that the building in which the drawing office was housed had only three walls remaining. The floor was sagging at an angle of perhaps twenty to thirty degrees. I managed to persuade some workmen to let me down on a rope to rescue my precious drawing instruments from my bench, which was teetering over a three floor drop! For the remainder of my stay with the company, I had a drawing board and desk stuck in between a sintering furnace and a multi-headed glass blowing machine. This was fine in cold weather, since factory heating was not considered an essential war service, but not conducive to neat drawings in hot weather when the temperature at my desk soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eventually, in September 1941, I received my call-up papers and was told to report to Lords Cricket Ground in London on the 20th of October !

More soon...
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Old 2nd May 2009, 10:18
  #715 (permalink)  
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Photos

TOW When you are ready P.M me and I will endeavor to set out the procedure for posting picks on PPRuNe. It is a bit complicated. Scan to say Picasa. then load to Photobucket (or similar) then copy to PPRuNe. Time consuming,but certainly enhances the post. If you are on skype, you could ring me, free ,think my Skype name is again cliffnemo (will check). Sit at your computer, and I might be able to lead you through the procedure, which would certainly be the easiest way.
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Old 2nd May 2009, 10:55
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TOW, a brilliant start to Peter's story that promises to be as captivating as Cliff's and Reg's. There seems to be so many similarities to these early stages, but the individual details say so much. ADCC, ATC, LDV, reserve occupation, volunteer for RAF service, yet....
I cannot honestly say that I was motivated by any sense of patriotism. The object was to get my hands on an aeroplane and learn to fly it!

You could have fooled me, Peter! Your modesty is shared by Cliff and Reg, and I would suggest by most of your remarkable generation. Cometh the hour, cometh the Men and Women, thank God!
How good to see Cliff taking on the role of IT mentor! Now see what you've started Cliff, truly the best PPRuNe thread ever and of a significance that will outlast us all. Well done to all of you who add to our knowledge of those dangerous and vital times and thank you.
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Old 2nd May 2009, 14:14
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Another excellent contribution to a younger generation's understanding of what actually happened before some of us were born. thank you TOW for contributing Peter's story. As Chugalug2 says, or implies, it is the slightly different details that make this thread so interesting.

Well done all, keep up the good work.
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Old 2nd May 2009, 15:32
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TOW1709: I'm in London W4, so Acton, Harrow, Hammersmith are on my doorstep. If there is anything needed in the neighbourhood to help with Peter's reminiscences, let me know.
I spread my wings and keep my promise
As a taster, not bad, not only were your generation brave but also well educated to a standard that many now would find hard to match!

Great now that we have 3 sources, hope that we can keep you bouncing memories back and forth to further enrich this thread!
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Old 2nd May 2009, 15:55
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Memoirs of a WW2 Typhoon pilot - part 2

Many thanks to all who are responding positively to this. Peter will be so pleased when I tell him of the interest shown. His story continues...

Eventually, in September 1941, I received my call-up papers and was told to report to Lords Cricket Ground in London on the 20th of October !

I remember debating with myself if I should wear my ATC uniform but decided against it, as I did not want to appear to 'line-shoot'. At the cricket ground there were several hundred of us, and it took most of the day to call our names and divide us into squads of, I think, thirty. Each squad was under the command of a corporal.

We were then billeted in what had been luxury flats in St.John's Wood. These had been stripped of all furniture but the carpets were left down, so we were sleeping on relatively soft floors! This was No.1 ACRC (Air Crew Reception Centre). Two weeks were spent here being inducted into the system. This involved being issued with uniforms and kit, having all the necessary innoculations and injections for overseas service, being taught basic drill, and having lectures about service life. When we had the multiple injections and innoculations, we were given 24 hours off, and most of the chaps spent the time feeling very sorry for themselves and experiencing all the symptoms of all the diseases for which we were being immunised!

One odd thing about this centre was that the mess, or dining hall, was the restaurant of the London Zoo which had been closed on the outbreak of war. Most of the animals had been sent away to Whipsnade Zoo in Buckinghamshire but a lot of the primates were still in residence and for many years afterwards, the hooting of the monkeys at meal times was the 'call sign' of anyone who had attended No.1 ACRC.

After just over two weeks here we were sent off to our ITW (Initial Training Wing). I was posted to No 5 ITW at Torquay in Devon, arriving on the 8th of November. Our 'barracks' was the 'Majestic' hotel which had been taken over by the RAF. Even in its heyday I doubt if the 'Majestic' lived up to its name, and when I knew it, it had obviously seen better days. For the next ten weeks we did intensive basic training in foot drill, Morse code signalling, physical training and general aircrew induction lectures. One of the more odd exercises which we did, ostensibly to prepare us for landing by parachute if we ever had to bail out, was to jump off the tailboard of a lorry which was being driven at about 15 mph. We did this facing both forwards and backwards and, on hitting the ground, did either a forward or backward roll. Later on, when we were actually flying and being given advice as to how to land from a parachute jump, we were told never to roll since this would tangle us up in the parachute rigging and make a quick getaway impossible.

It was at the ITW that I had my first, and only, experience of a route march. We marched out in the morning on a circular tour of the hinterland behind Torquay. After about fifteen miles we were re-entering Torquay and looking forward to relaxing only to find that we went straight through and did a further five or six miles before finishing. We were accompanied by transport which picked up the remarkably few casualties, and were encouraged to sing marching songs to help us along. It sounds silly now but these songs did help us to keep going. The few casualties were nearly all as a result of blisters caused by ill-fitting boots. Those of us who were not affected were feeling very superior to the poor blokes who had to be driven back. Also whilst we were here we had all the booster and back-up injections for our immunisation. This time however, instead of being given time off, we were taken on a three or four mile run up and down the hills of Devon. Consequently none of us felt the slightest reaction from the injections since the drugs were circulated and absorbed by the violent exercise.

The whole of Torquay and Paignton were taken over as ITW's and the towns were geared to service life. There were several service mens clubs run by different organisations including not only the NAAFI but the ubiquitous Salvation Army (The Sally Ann), the Red Cross, the Womens Voluntary Services, the YMCA, and even one run by an enterprising evangelistic group. This latter was known as 'Holy Joe's' and you had to be prepared to be prayed over and to sing hymns in order to get an evening snack. A lot of us went there because they had a very good cook who managed to produce tasty meals. I don't know if this club made many converts but they certainly had good publicity from practically every RAF type who went through Torquay or Paignton. We were of course lucky that our particular courses extended over the Christmas period and we had special treatment at the clubs during the Christmas break.

At the end of the training period, providing that you had passed, you were promoted to LAC (Leading Aircraftman) and issued with a white 'flash' to be worn in the forage cap to denote an aircrew trainee. I can recall a kindly lady at the WVS canteen sewing the 'propellor' badges on the sleeves of my uniform for me.
From ITW, my next posting was, at last, to a Flying Training School. This was number 18 EFTS at Booker in Buckinghamshire.
This however was not to teach me to fly but merely to assess the possibility that I could be taught and thus avoid wasting valuable time if I proved unsuitable. It would seem that this scheme was very successful as it reduced drastically the number of pupil pilots who 'washed out' very much later in their training.


More soon...

Last edited by tow1709; 2nd May 2009 at 16:27.
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Old 2nd May 2009, 18:00
  #720 (permalink)  
 
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Memoirs of a Typhoon pilot - Part 3

The flying bits come soon! In Part 1 Peter wrote that his first ever flight was in a Percival Proctor, but as the prototype of that aircraft did not fly until October 1939, (source Wikipedia) I think Peter is mistaken - or else he is telling his story out of sequence. I will check this out next time I speak to him. Anyway, here is Part 3.

In the next three weeks I was given seven hours and five minutes dual instruction in a DeHavilland 'Tiger Moth' aircraft. This was mostly in short trips of about 20 minutes or so, and was, in effect, the first few instructional exercises of a full pilot's course. The most advanced thing, which I only did once at this time, was 'spinning'. It is something which every pilot had to do, usually on every aircraft he flew, except of course larger multi-engined types. The first spin is a frightening experience although, in comparison with most of the other aircraft I flew, the Tiger Moth was very gentle. Very much later, after the war when I became an instructor on Tiger Moths myself, I came to really enjoy spinning them and being able to pull out of the spin in a pre-determined direction. That was the trouble with the Tiger Moth, it was too safe. Unless you applied full rudder, the aircraft merely gently dipped a wing and went into a spiral dive. In fact, if you made it spin and then let go of the controls the aircraft pulled itself out of the spin. It then went into a dive until the airspeed built up, when it then also began to pull out of the dive too. At the time I did not, of course, have much familiarity with the behaviour of the aircraft and did not particularly enjoy the experience. However, after doing my seven hours dual, the powers that be evidently decided that it was worth the risk of trying to train me as a pilot and gave me 7 days leave prior to posting me on.

The posting-on was to ACDC Heaton Park, Manchester. I think ACDC stood for Air Crew Dispersal Centre. Arriving there on the 21st February 1942, I then spent three weeks doing practically nothing except listen to the innumerable rumours which were circulating. It was pretty certain that we were going to be sent abroad for training and the possibilities ranged from Canada and America, via Rhodesia and South Africa to Australia! When the time came and we were shipped out we were still not told our destination. We were first sent by train, at night, for what seemed a long journey with many stops, and we hadn’t a clue where we were. At daybreak found ourselves in a large seaport. It didn't take long for some of the lads to recognise their home town of Liverpool.

The train had pulled into a siding in the docks and we were shephered up a gangway to board a ship flying the American flag. This was one of the new, all-welded construction, 'Liberty’ ships. She was called the "George F.Elliott". This vessel was fitted out as a troopship with bunks in every available space below decks. My bunk was right up forward and four decks down so it was probably below the waterline. It was so far forward in the bows that the deck space was triangular. The bunks were three high and quite comfortable. The dining area was off the main deck and was a stand-up area where the 'tables' were long shelves with vertical tubular supports from deck to 'ceiling' at intervals. The food, which was excellent, was served onto stainless steel compartmented trays, the first time most of us had seen this. Also the fact that at least once a day we had ice-cream made us realise that this was not England any more! Some of us were detailed for kitchen duty and, at first we thought we were hard done by. However, after the first day we realised how lucky we were. Washing-up gave us our first introduction to an automated dishwasher, unheard of in the U.K. at that time, and we were even more impressed with the duty of 'spud bashing' since this was performed with the aid of a large potato peeling machine !

The American crew were very friendly and there was much good natured joshing by them at our weird accents. We were part of a large convoy, and we could see usually about seven or eight other merchant ships, plus a couple of escort destroyers, whenever it was possible to see any distance at all from the deck. The weather was filthy: it rained and there were strong winds most of the time and the sea was very rough. Even the ship’s crew admitted that it was 'not very calm'. On the few occasions we were allowed on deck it was somewhat frightening, but at the same time exhilarating, to realise that you were having to look UP at quite an angle to see the sea. The next moment you were looking down from what seemed to be three or four floors height to the trough of the wave. The ship did not roll too much but the pitching was really violent. The bows were often swamped and we were forbidden to go up on the forecastle, since anyone would have been swept overboard from there. The effect of this violent pitching, up in the bows where I was situated, was that, as the bows dropped into the trough of the wave, you felt as though you were about to float off the floor. This was followed by a booming sound, as the bows struck the next swell followed by a sudden increase in weight which made your knees buckle if you were not prepared for it.

Luckily I have always been a good sailor and have never suffered from any form of travel sickness, but this continual movement was obviously not good for those who were poor sailors amongst us, and consequently the toilets were no place for the squeamish. These were 'open plan', consisting of a long trough with seats at intervals, under which was pumped a constant flow of sea water. The practical jokers soon found that floating a piece of lighted newspaper down the trough caused a very satisfactory outburst of profanity.

It took thirteen days to cross the Atlantic. It was not until we were quite close in to land that we suddenly recognised the skyline that a lot of us had seen in books and films – New York!


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