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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 25th Nov 2015, 02:31
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Thanks for your encouragement, Smudge. Next pst coming up!
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 03:01
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Does anybody recall the typical glide ratio of a Primary Glider?
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 03:37
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That's the Primary Glider type I flew at 16, identical. Thanks for the image, warmtoast.
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 04:00
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Thanks for the encouragement MPN11, and from FantomZorbin.
Danny42C, I think we're definitely birds of a feather in more ways than one. I've been reading your early posts with great interest, and you are dquite right - our stories are nearly identical. I liked the kit information you listed. You mentioned something about boots; what I can say sounds silly, but I was issued with a pair of second-hand boots that quickly gave me trouble, and I had to get a doctor's authorisation to have them changed for a new pair.
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 04:13
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Next episode Wakey wakey up the back there!



Bang went all my hopes when war started on 3rd September 1939. All training for boys was cancelled for those not already in the Air Force. My hopes and aspirations for a Service life were put onto the shelf. In the circumstances of that time, what a small matter! There was considerable fear and trepidation among the population. Air raids were expected at any time - in fact, the air raid sirens were sounded in our neighbourhood (and throughout London) only 20 minutes after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcast the grim news of the declaration of war at 11am on the Sunday morning of 3rd September.

Our household was prepared, along with most others, and the blackout curtains were in position. The start of an air raid shelter had been dug in the back garden, and gas masks were at the ready. Mother, father and I had all tried on and practised with our gas masks, but sister Pam could not be persuaded, cajoled, threatened or bullied into putting on her mask. Eight years old, she flatly refused to have the object anywhere near her face.

Arrangements had been made for many thousands of schoolchildren to be evacuated from the London area to safe homes in the country, and once war was declared, the movements of trains, buses and trucks loaded with children went on feverishly for several days. My little sister, bless her, went away briefly to the village of Great Wakering, about 40 miles off, but stayed only five weeks before having to come back, very homesick, to be with her family.

I saw the opportunity to leave the office job I had in London, on the pretext that it was far too dangerous to travel on public transport for long distances when I might be subjected to air raids, and I got myself a job at a local factory, Brown Bros Ltd, helping to make petrol tanks for aircraft. I became a "rivet boy" and pushed in thousands of rivets along the seams of the tanks for the experienced operator to punch into position with a hydraulic machine.

I think I lasted three months at this job! Early in January 1940, I found another job much nearer home at the Flexo-Plywood Company, helping to manufacture plywood doors with zinc coverings, obviously a wartime requirement for some particular purpose.

During the first months of 1940, our armies overseas were in dire straits. Germany was invading and conquering countries all over Europe. France was at the end of its tether, and was treacherously "stabbed in the back" by its neighbour Italy, who declared war just at the time when France was succumbing to Germany. The British Army was retreating fast in northern France, having lost the support of its French allies, and at home, we were fearful of an invasion from Germany at any moment.

The British Government formed the "Local Defence Volunteers", later to become "The Home Guard". Old soldiers from World War I rushed to join, young men in reserved jobs saw their opportunity to do their bit, and for youths of my generation there was fantastic fun to be had, as back-ups for the Home Guard, Air Raid Wardens, Fire Watchers, and all the other organisations which became vitally necessary in support and defence of the country. Many of the Air Cadets became messengers for the Home Guard, Tom Wills and I included. We felt terribly important, dashing about on our bicycles, dressed in over-large khaki denim uniforms and equipped with Lee-Enfield .303 rifles.

The tense days from May to August passed. It was a glorious summer, and "Jerry" was over us nightly, pounding London and other cities with bombs galore. Much has been written about the Battle of Britain, and this was when it was all happening. The Germans were determined to destroy our airfields, and it seemed, the civilian population as well. The gallant fighter squadrons were equally determined to defend us to the last. Eventually, our skilled fighter pilots turned the tide, and by 15th September the Battle of Britain was won - by our side. There were many occasions on which I saw dogfights above the skies of London, many nights I spent in air raid shelters with my family and with others, while the bombs hurtled down.

As soon as I was 18 years old, on 28th August 1940, I went to the Air Force recruiting office at Romford to try to join. I was so anxious and nervous, I was unable to cope with the simple mathematical and general knowledge tests which were put to me (and which were well within my capabilities). The recruiting officer kindly told me to go home and polish up my school training, read the daily newspapers to improve my general knowledge, and come back in three months!

On 5th December, I presented myself to the Aircrew Selection Centre in London. Two days of rigorous medical checks, education tests, and interviews followed. To my absolute joy, I was selected for pilot training. I went home on Cloud Nine, having decided that I would like to enlist immediately rather than wait to be called up about six months later, when a flying course would be available. My RAF fate was sealed!
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 08:20
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Next Episode - Rise and Shine !

Walter, your Posts are absolutely captivating ! - such things are the lifeblood of this our wonderful Thread, and exactly what Cliff Leach (RIP) had in mind when he started it seven years ago. (I'll be putting a lot of blue boxes in my replies, as I've just been told how to do it, and it makes interjected comment so easy), So:

Danny42C, I think we're definitely birds of a feather in more ways than one.
Spot on ! You in London, I just outside Liverpool, we were running on parallel tracks in the December of 1940. And now, you've signed on the dotted line and your troubles have started. No matter.

Many of the Air Cadets became messengers for the Home Guard, Tom Wills and I included. We felt terribly important, dashing about on our bicycles, dressed inover-large khaki denim uniforms and equipped with Lee Enfield .303 rifles
You were lucky to have rifles ! (did you have any ammo ?) As late as June '41 at ITW, I was standing guard at night with a pick-helve.

On 5th December, I presented myself to the Aircrew Selection Centre in London.
Beat me to it by a fortnight (I was at Padgate)

I was selected for pilot training. I went home on Cloud Nine, having decided that I would like to enlist immediately rather than wait to be called up about six months later, when a flying course would be available.
This may have been a mistake. Although I enlisted two weeks after you, I took the "Deferred Service" option and was called in on May 24th (exactly five months). Could it be that you were so useful as sweated labour (AC2/GD) that they hung on to you for a few extra weeks ?

My RAF fate was sealed!
My clear recollection was that it was sealed with a florin - was that right ?

but I was issued with a pair of second-hand boots
That was a bit much ! They issued me with a s/h jacket (often wondered what happened to the original owner), but as it fitted, and obviously " had some in", I did not look like a sprog.

Keep up the Good Work,

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 25th Nov 2015, 09:22
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Danny, definitely no ammo with the rifle. This was a thoughtful plan and must have saved many innocent lives!

Quote: "This was a mistake......" Mate, I was desperate to be an airman, and couldn't wait more than a weekend to start. Strangely, I recall going to ITW at Newquay on or about 9 May 1941. Now I am really puzzled. Surely we must have met? There was only one No. 8 ITW. I was billeted in a commandeered hotel near the seafront in a room with 2 others, one Ross Beldin and the other a German refugee named Hans Hasenfus (more about him later). Ring any bells? The Navigation Instructor was a Flight Sergeant with a pronounced limp, probably war-damaged.
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 09:28
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Danny. Re "My clear recollection was that it was sealed with a florin - was that right ?"

I didn't get a florin. I had been paid as active AC2 since 9/12/1940. It was 14 bob a week, paid fortnightly - much better than the office boy pay.
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 09:55
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Re: Next episode Wakey wakey up the back there!

..... Home Guard, Air Raid Wardens, Fire Watchers, and all the other organisations which became vitally necessary in support and defence of the country.
Your comment reminded me of the pamphlet I obtained a few years ago which was issued in January 1939 to encourage everyone to "do their bit".



A message in the pamphlet from the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain read:

“The desire of all of us is to live at peace with our neighbours, but to secure peace we must be strong. The country needs your service and you are anxious to play your part. This guide will point the way. I ask you to read it carefully and decide how you can best help”.

The pamphlet contained a whole range of suggested services, along with an application form.

Regards

Pete

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Old 25th Nov 2015, 10:00
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Old Comrades.

Walter,

I recall going to ITW at Newquay on or about 9 May 1941. Now I am really puzzled. Surely we must have met?
My start date was 8.6.41. at No.8 ITW, Newquay. So you were exactly four weeks ahead of me. Now the course was exactly 54 days long (I left on 1.8.41), so we were there together from 9 May to 1 Aug. (I'll PM you my name).

We were billeted in the "Trebarwith Annexe" just outside the Trebarwith Hotel, which was the HQ, and had in it the Airmens' Mess and all the classrooms. I've few names in memory, but Cpl. Shepherd ("the Good Shepherd") was the Drill Instructor and one of my two room-mates was Ron Sweetlove (later sadly killed on Bomber Command).

Hail - well met ! Danny.
 
Old 25th Nov 2015, 10:05
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Small World, eh, gentlemen?
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 10:33
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Danny,
Stand by for a surprise and take a deep breath............
I remembered that I applied for my Air Force history some years ago, so went searching, found the record, and it says I was posted to No. 8 ITW Newquay on 24th May 1941 The previous fortnight I remember was at Babbacombe Receiving Centre, where one of my AC2 working mates, looking around our billet (another hotel) and anticipating varied mixed duties, said words to the effect that he didn't mind this, that and the other bit of bull, but he was ****** if he was going to spit and polish his boots.
So there it is, my friend; we were at ITW together75 years ago. The name of that hotel I mentioned I think was called "Eastleigh"or some such. The German bloke was so completely repulsive in his talk about the better way (of course) that they did things in Germany that Ross and I kicked him out and we found another mate. When we passed out of SFTS with our Wings on 23 December, Hasenfus was commissioned, and you will believe it because that's the way the idiot Service managers did things in those days.

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Old 25th Nov 2015, 10:42
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I believe that we are all standing by for a surprise - a "meeting of the minds" indeed!

Jack
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 11:11
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Old Comrades.

Walter,

but he was ****** if he was going to spit & polish his boots.
Just struck me, pity your 2/h ones didn't fit, for the first owner would've done the hard graft in bulling-them up from scratch to mirror-finish, saving you many hours labour !

So we were class-mates after all ! But "Eastleigh " rings no bells", I'm afraid.

Danny.
 
Old 25th Nov 2015, 12:09
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Recent talk of kit prompts this picture of the well-dressed airman in 1936: my late father at Manston Camp, June 1936, soon after joining up.

This thread continues to amaze us ... to be able to ask two nonagenarians about their fascinating stories is wonderful enough, but what must have been the odds of them serving together? Harry, you're a gem and we're hanging on every word. Please keep 'em coming!
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 12:48
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Danny. I was guessing at "Eastleigh" as a hotel name. It was sparsely furnished of course, but ncely placed near the sea. Do you remember the tea-shop in town where all we pupils used to go for a break during lessons? It was run by a motherly woman who took a great interest in our welfare. Do you remember the PTI Corporal Geoff ** who trotted us around the town and beach to the delight of the leering youths?
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 16:41
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Facing the chop: Jack encounters the dreaded CFI test
Post no. 4 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF

The Tiger Moth sat out on the grass with its engine running, the squadron leader in the cockpit. I climbed into the other cockpit wordlessly and put on the helmet. The instruction came in a surprisingly friendly voice: “OK son, taxi her out”. In a minute we were in the air and gentle instructions followed: “Steep turn to port, steep turn to starboard. Let's climb to safe height, stall and recover. OK, climb up again, spin, and recover. Let's try a loop”. All seemed to go well, and my confidence grew.

We flew on straight and level, the squadron leader flying. Suddenly he cut the throttle and said: “Forced landing”. I looked below to a large uncluttered paddock, with no cattle and no obstructions, level and smooth. It must have been all of 20 acres and was the perfect landing site. I glided down towards this ideal target, but I had miscalculated and as I crossed the boundary fence I was still a couple of hundred feet in the air. “****, I've blown it” was my thought, and as I crossed the far boundary I was still way too high.

Ahead lay a miserable, small rough paddock with a large hedge on the near boundary and a tree near the middle. Desperately sideslipping, I cleared the hedge and guided the little Tiger away from the tree. I was right on the stall a few feet off the ground when the voice from the back said: “I've got her”. The throttle was opened wide and we rose swiftly over the far fence, climbing quickly and in silence – me with my unspeakable thoughts of this disaster and the squadron leader with a sense of amusement that I knew nothing about until months afterwards.

“Was that the paddock you chose for your forced landing?” said the voice. “Yes sir”. I lied like a flat fish. “Well, the landing was OK but you are the worst selector of landing sites that I have ever flown with”, said the CFI. Nothing further was said or done and we flew back with me again in control. We landed and climbed out, removing our helmets, walked to the dispersal side by side without speaking. Then smiling at me the squadron leader said “You'll be OK, son”. I silently lifted my eyes to heaven and thanked the Lord.

The annoyance of the repulsive squirt who was my instructor was obvious, but he said nothing. We flew together in a most unsatisfactory alliance. But within a week this instructor was changed for a more mature man, a pre-war pilot who was all I could wish for. My life was changed. This instructor arranged for me to be posted to Woodbourne to fly Harvard advanced trainers, and my dream had come true.

Many months later I was friendly with an instructor who had been at Bell Block. He told me how the laughing CFI had described in the officers' mess the lying young so-and-so who pulled up a very difficult stuffed-up forced landing while taking a CFI test. His instructor had recommended grounding but the CFI did not consider that an option.
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 18:54
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Good to see the old codgers catching up but Danny, be aware that it's well past Dad's bedtime when he's exchanging posts with you at 01:00

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Old 25th Nov 2015, 21:23
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John, Cheeky brat still!
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Old 25th Nov 2015, 21:51
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This thread is forever a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. After what must have been both an ignition harness change and an injector flush it is now roaring away again at full power!

I rather think that we juniors may be left on the sidelines for a while as their seniors exchange dates, places, and units. Carry on gentlemen, for we hang on your every word.

Danny:-
Just struck me, pity your 2/h ones didn't fit, for the first owner would've done the hard graft in bulling-them up from scratch to mirror-finish, saving you many hours labour !
Indeed! When anyone got the chop during initial training, his cere' boots were much sort after, especially by those whose boots had suffered some blemish. Of course the deal had to be preceded by a sympathetic word or two, but at least the donated pair were going to a good home to be replaced by the inferior ones for handing back to uniform stores.
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