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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 2nd Dec 2015, 04:17
  #7761 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Hygiene WWII style.

Chugalug,

Well do I remember my white enamelled "tin" mug, with a blue rim, as I recall. Lord knows what happened to it.
....rinsed off in a trough of superheated water...
My recollection is of troughs of a barely lukewarm, disgusting liquid, a sort of Sargasso Sea of nameless scraps of fatty food and God knows what else. Why we didn't all get dysentery, I'll never know.
All the currents deposit the marine plants and refuse they carry into this sea. [Wiki]
Things got a little better when we got to Canada, and once in the States we had the unexpected luxury of waiter (silver) service (smart white jackets, no less). This was because the USAAC couldn't quite make out what an LAC was, so played it safe by treating us as the Aviation Cadets they were familiar with (while not, of course, paying us as such).

Back in UK as Sgts, we had the good food and inexpensive comforts of a Sgts' Mess. Later, elevated to the Peerage, we had the rather less good food and considerably more expensive comforts of the Officers' Mess.

In India, you were a Sahib, and that was that (at the head of the queue for everything).

But they were good days !

Danny.
 
Old 2nd Dec 2015, 07:50
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
My recollection is of troughs of a barely lukewarm, disgusting liquid, a sort of Sargasso Sea of nameless scraps of fatty food and God knows what else. Why we didn't all get dysentery, I'll never know.
I like to think that these processes, and the general hygiene standards of the day, enabled us to build up natural resistance to most things. In consequence, I never seem to suffer from 'digestive hurry', the 'common cold' [is there a special up-market cold for officers?] and the like.

Today, everything is sanitised to the extreme, and ineradicable super-bugs are taking control, whilst the younger generations seem to be forever victims to some minor ailment or another.
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 08:40
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Danny:-
War is War, it is not nice, the innocent suffer with the guilty. It was ever so, and ever will be.
Such a short sentence, yet probably the most profound thing you have ever written for us, Danny. Here we are yet again poised on the precipice, yet this simple proposition is once again being swamped by the grandstanding, name calling, and irritable discussion that purports to be democratic debate. This thread is not the place for such debate (though this forum most certainly is), but Geriaviator's:-
Am I the only one to notice that the rare mentions on BBC in particular will refer to the RAF's 'controversial' bombing campaign?
goes to the nub. The BBC stance is to compare the "indiscriminate bombing" of WWII with the precision technology of today. In both cases you are limited by the technological capability extant. In WWII Bomber Command navigated by night using dubious forecast winds, Astro and Drift Sights when the weather permitted, and electronic aids when the enemy permitted, blind to the rest of the stream that they knew were all around them (or hoped so at least). That with luck might get them over the target city (the size of which greatly increased that luck). They didn't then just bomb the city, but aimed at or relative to targeting flares dropped by the Pathfinders, who unlike the bulk of the crews had cheated the odds to become sufficiently experienced. The intention thus was to hit a vital target within the city, perhaps the industrial, communication, or command part of it. Harris might have used blood thirsty rhetoric, but he needed to in order to send his "old lags" off on such a perilous business night after night.

If they had been blessed with today's navigation and weapons technology their aim would no doubt have been truer. Their intention though was the same as today, to hit the target! The incentive was there anyway. If the nerve-wracking 30 secs S&L that Petet rightly reminds us of, to take the target photo, did not reveal sufficient success then they were doomed to repeat the exercise again, against a now fully alerted defence.

The slur that has been aimed at these very courageous men by the main stream intelligentsia is disgraceful. That it took a Pop Singer to ensure that an appropriate national memorial was eventually erected to them is a reflection on this nation and its values. Yet it stands now in quiet rebuke to the chattering classes at Portland Place.

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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 09:19
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MPN11,
[is there a special up-market cold for officers?] and the like ?
There is a new kind of cold for everybody around here. For most of my enormous life span I have been regularly afflicted with "Codes in de Dose" (acute Rhinitis), but with advancing age these have become less frequent and in recent years have ceased completely. This new model has left my nose and sinuses completely unbunged up, admittedly a bit "runny" but not uncomfortably so. It has gone straight for the lungs, making expectoration difficult and introducing a novel sympton, what I call a "runaway (uncontrollable) cough" (analogous to a "runaway gun").

And it has lasted five weeks (far longer than the "ordinary" cold [1-2 weeks], but like an "ordinary" cold is self-limiting). Needless to say, Mrs D. got it too.

Your general thesis is correct - in the days when babes crawled happily all over dusty floors all day, and nobody bothered, children didn't get asthma in later years.

Danny.
 
Old 2nd Dec 2015, 10:03
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Various

But stories such as those on this thread are important to those who believe that every item of information concerning Bomber Command needs to be preserved, indeed treasured. The 55,573 airmen who gave their lives deserve no less.
My partner's grandfather was one of those 55,573 airmen who lost their lives. Having researched and documented his service life I am now in the process of trying to preserve the history of his squadron (No. 35 Squadron).

The project has resulted in nearly 200 requests for information from relatives of men who served with the squadron, some who were killed by the enemy, others by friendly fire, some who were POW or evaders and others who survived one or multiple tours.

It's a labour of love for me, which I am enjoying doing when my spare time permits.

When I first started out on the research trail a few years ago, it was clear that very little is documented about war time training, hence my interest in gaining as much information as I can on that subject whilst it is available .... this thread has proved invaluable in that process ..... so long may it continue.

The training pamphlets that were issued fascinate me, as they were down to earth and written with humour, although many would not get past the politically correct brigade today.

Whilst on the subject of the pamphlets, I attach the following cartoon which accompanied the text in my post "A slight detour to ACDC, Heaton Park"



"Mugs are issued to you against your signature when you arrive at this station and returned by you when you leave us. If your mug is damaged on return you will have to pay the cost of a new one (about 7d.) so look after it.

Last edited by Petet; 2nd Dec 2015 at 10:30.
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 10:45
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Chugalug,

To which I can only say 'Amen'.

We are cursed with idiots in high (and low) places in politics and in the meeja, who won't grasp that you cannot apply to the past the standards of the present. The most egregious example of this in recent years has been Blair's "apology" for our part in the slave trade.

Harris did what he was told by the War Cabinet, with what he had, not what he would have liked. The wonder is that they had an average error of (I believe) of only five miles.

Inevitably, there would be many civilan casualties (when the practice was to build the houses round the factories - the plebs didn't have cars in those days - there would be bound to be).

Rightly or wrongly, this was thought to be a Good Thing as a secondary objective. Hitler tried to break the morale of the British people by mass bombing. He failed. We thought that we could break the morale of the German people by the "collateral damage" that we had to inflict. We failed.

As I said, there are no "nice" wars, but some are worse than others.

Danny.
 
Old 2nd Dec 2015, 15:33
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Wartime Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF, pictured in 1945 and earlier this year when he was interviewed for the Rotorua Daily Post, to which we are very grateful for this superb photograph of a great character. Mr. Stafford returned to New Zealand in 1946 and founded a construction company. His many interests included writing and water-skiing; he captained the New Zealand team in the 1979 world championships, and continued to ski until his 78th birthday. He died in Auckland on August 1 this year at the age of 92.


A newly minted pilot finds alienation at home
Post no. 6 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF

At last it was over. I did not realise it, but of course my training was just the beginning. Now my thoughts were on the moment of truth, which would arrive sooner or later when I met the enemy. I put all that behind me as I journeyed to Rotorua on final leave. Splendid in my blue uniform with those coveted wings on the left breast, I was very pleased with myself.

The days passed pleasantly and quickly. I fished, I hunted, and I wandered in the bush at Kaharoa. With my father, who had just turned 40, I climbed through the bush on hunting trips, and spent days and nights out on the farm. But I could hardly believe the gulf that had opened between me and most of the people with whom I had been so close only 12 months earlier.

My single-minded devotion to the Air Force was beyond them; they could not understand my experiences in the air. At first I was keen to discuss my flying in great detail, but I could not get through to them. Our lives had taken very different paths, and nothing was the same. I found it very hard to accept that their interests were still centred on the weather, the stock, the fragile old fence on the back boundary, who would be at the dance on Saturday night, and so on.

Christ! Didn't they realise what an exciting world it was? If I spoke about life in the Air Force people would listen politely but before long their disinterest became obvious and they would remember that the ewes had to be shifted in the top paddock or business had to be done in town. I must have been a bore, but this was not where my life was to be lived. The sky had captivated my soul and it was there I must live or die. Life without the experience of combat would be a living death. But finally the leave was over, and I was called to Wellington for embarkation.

With relief I travelled to Frankton Junction to join the Limited Express. One or two of the pilots from Hamilton and Auckland were aboard and it was a great pleasure to talk again about our mutual love affair with flying. We dozed and read; we had railway coffee in railway cups that were almost as large as the 'jerry' under my grandfather's bed. The coffee washed down the thick railway sandwiches. The night wore on, sleep came to us, and we awoke to observe the final hours into Wellington.

We had been ordered to report to the Air Department, where we were given vouchers for accommodation in various hotels, all first class. Each morning we reported to the Department, where we were instructed to report next day, same time.

When we reached Wellington I found that a small group of Blenheim girls had come to see us off. One of the Auckland pilots had been writing to a girl and had sent a telegram to say we would be in the capital city. We were glad of their company, as the city had a large number of American Marines in residence and they had dominated the young women. We spent every day with these girls and most nights we went with them to the Majestic Cabaret. It was all most pleasant, the girls were great to be with, lots of fun. They were faithful to us although the American boys tried hard to separate us.

What happened afterwards after we left, of course, I never knew and I never cared. No doubt human nature did what human nature always does. While we were there they gave us their undivided attention and I appreciated that. What more could you ask?
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 19:13
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Then and Now

Geriaviator,

Get that hat !

Seriously, what a wonderful opening chapter in what promises to be a story fully worthy of an equal place in this anthology of gripping reminiscences. We are all standing by in pleasurable anticipation.

And thank you, Geriaviator, for bringing it to our notice !

Danny.

EDIT: Geriaviator,

For no particular reason, I revisited my priggish Post, :
Geriaviator (your #7724), Gracias tibi !
Tiny nit-pick: I am DIONYSIUS in the tongue of the Caesars
.
Dug a bit deeper, seems I have a close relation DIONYSUS, but he is rather a more disreputable character, and our ever-forgiving Moderator would balk at the selfie, so you can look for yourselves [WIki] and judge whether he is an improvement.

D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 3rd Dec 2015 at 00:10. Reason: Addn material.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2015, 00:18
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Old Comrades

Our billets at Newquay were in various seaside residential hotels, "taken over" for the duration of the war. My hotel was the "Highbury". Our dining room (Mess Hall) was inanother hotel with a magnificent picture window facing on to the Cornish coast.

At the end of our ITW course, we became L.A.Cs. (Leading Aircraftmen) which was indicated by the "propellers" insignia sewn on each upper sleeve of our tunics. It was then that we were given our postings for the first part of our flying training. Several of my close mates were sent overseas, as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. Some went to Canada, and some to Rhodesia. To my regret I was not one of the lucky ones. I went instead for my flying training to Meir airfield, at Stoke-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire on11th July 1941.

In the centre of what was called "The Potteries", the main industry in Stoke was making domestic china and pottery of all descriptions. I was billetted with my fellow trainees in an Army drill hall on the outskirts of Stoke, and transported daily by R.A.F truck to the airfield.

In spite of the war, those were very happy days for me. We flew Miles Magister aircraft - low-winged single engine training monoplanes. Sergeant Mills was my first instructor. It took eight hours dual flying for me to "go solo", and I shall never forget the sensation of that first powered flight by myself. I shouted and sang as I swept around the airfield circuit, and came in to a very competent landing in a state of great excitement.

During the 6 weeks that followed, we did circuits and bumps, precautionary and forced landings, aerobatics, cross-country flights, etc. and we finished our elementary training with about 100 flying hours each. I was delighted to receive an "above average" assessment in my flying log book at the end of the course in August 1941. The assessment came in spite of the fact that I had my first prang, when I became lost on a solo cross-country one day and decided to make a precautionary landing in a small field. The landing was good to start with, but I failed to stop in time, and ran into a hedge protecting a little cottage. No injury and little damage to the kite. The nice elderly lady in the cottage treated me to tea - boiled eggs with bread and butter, followed by fruit and fresh cream!
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 01:41
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Danny42C
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Ab Initio.

Walter,
Our dining room (Mess Hall) was in another hotel with a magnificent picture window facing on to the Cornish coast.
99% sure it would be the "Trebarwith" (don't think there were two Mess Halls). Were your Classrooms in the same building ? Ours were.
we became L.A.Cs. (Leading Aircraftmen) which was indicated by the "propellers" insignia sewn on each upper sleeve of our tunics
.
More to the point, our pay went up from 2/- to 5/6 per day !
Several of my close mates were sent overseas, as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. Some went to Canada, and some to Rhodesia. To my regret I was not one of the lucky ones. I went instead for my flying training to Meir airfield, at Stoke-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire on.11th July 1941
I've always been of the opinion that nearly all of us went out to the Arnold Schools in the US. Seems I was quite wrong (the tricks that memory plays !). But now (without any intention of "shooting your foxes"), I guess that you'd do EFTS and SFTS in the UK. What were your total hours to wings ? (we've never been able to pin this down so far).
Sergeant Mills was my first instructor
You see ? - you'll never forget him !
The landing was good to start with, but I failed to stop in time
Calls to mind the famous"Curate's Egg" in "Punch" ("Oh no, My Lord, I assure you - it is good in parts !") Any landing is a good one if you can walk away from it (and you got your "operational egg" into the bargain !)

But overall, exactly what we all want here (the tea, eggs and bread and butter bring it all to life - we can see the cottage, the nice old lady, and your Magister stuck in the hedge ! Can't help fast-forwarding three years and five thousand miles, and see S/Ldr Traill (OC 45) with a Vengeance stuck up a banana tree.

Keep it coming, Danny.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2015, 02:26
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Old Comrades

Danny, you're quite right about the feeling we were at least old hands if not veteran airmen, to have 5 months service when we mixed in with raw recruits at Babbacombe.
Another smirk with the bare bedroom story: I didn't have to buy a mirror. I did not shave until I was 21. That was in Sicily after it was invaded and captured in 1943. So I took the first shave, didn't think too much of it, then a few weeks later I was shot down and captured. Shave? No thanks. It was postponed until arrival home in April 1945 when I was 22.
Finance as a PoW was also not worrying. Nothing to earn, nothing to buy. It was 8 months before I knew I had been commissioned, and I still got home as previously remaarked, to find I had a sizeable bank balance of RAF pay.
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 03:18
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Dahny, First things first. You'd have my lovely daughter in tears to know that you're up in the middle of the British night studying PPrune posts! At home here it is now 1440 hrs Thursday 3 December. My post has been open about 2 hours, so you were up and about from 0130 hrs at your home. I hope you're keeping warm, and please look after yourself.
I can't remember where our classrooms were. I'm still trying hard to fit a certain Danny-for-real into the scenery. I'm convinced we were close. Did you spot "Highbury" as the dormtory hotel?
Another sad part of my war story included the loss of my log book, so I don't have a precise record of my flying hours to Wings presentation. When I flew with the RAFVR after the war, I caulculated that it was 60 on Magisters and 135 on Oxfords, a total of 195 of dual and solo.
Other wartime hours were 75 on Blenheims, 350 on Beaufighters.
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 15:21
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Miles Magister basic trainer. Like the more numerous Tiger Moth, it had a retractable hood for instrument flying practice.

Walter,
It's a real privilege to eavesdrop on the incredibly clear memories of you two veterans. Your old airfield at Stoke/Meir has long since been built over but there are still one or two Miles Magisters around. I'd be interested to know how the Magister compared with its far more numerous counterpart, the Tiger Moth; did you ever fly one? There's a report on the Magister at Miles Magister - Flight Tests - Pilot

Danny,
Well, one can't choose one's ancestors! Given your unfailing wit and good company, I still think Sqn Ldr Dionysus is your more likely predecessor, as Wingco the Rev. Dionysius seems rather a dour chappie
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 17:57
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Heads Up !

Heads up !

Click on A-10 at work....with music and follow the link - you won't be disappointed !

I'd always thought the Giant Warthog to be a heavy, ponderous sort of thing, but here's this chap chucking it around like a Spitfire. Obviously a COIN aircraft par excellence, and exactly what I would think is needed in Irak/Syria now.

How could they think of retiring it in today's circumstances ? Wish I was 70 years younger and had one of these to fly.

Only cavil: could we see less of the pilot and the tail, and more of the front panel and the view ahead, please ?

Thanks, West Coast !

Danny42C.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2015, 18:58
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Ah, but but but Danny42C ... the A-10 has a proper slab of wing [like a VV] and ailerons, unlike those found on a swept-back high-speed pointy-jet lift-generator
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 19:30
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Quot homines, tot sententiae.

Walter,
have my lovely daughter in tears
Worry not ! I'm essentially a nocturnal animal and can "cat-nap" anywhere/anytime.
I hope you're keeping warm, and please look after yourself.
I'm an old soldier - 'nuff said !
Did you spot "Highbury" as the dormitory hotel?
No, but there were dozens of hotels commandeered by the RAF. It would need to be close to the Trebarwith Hotel HQ
Another sad part of my war story included the loss of my log book
What on earth was your Adjutant (or the I.O.) doing, that he did not secure it with the rest of your effects for return to UK or other safe-keeping ?
a total of 195 of dual and solo
This is level-pegging with the 200 hrs of the "Arnold" Scheme; the best estimate so far on this Thread for UK training was around 140 IIRC. Around '41, Charles Graves, in his semi-official "The Thin Blue Line", said 60 hrs EFTS, then 60 hrs SFTS, to wings - 120 hrs. The truth probably is: there were so many different answers, nobody knows.

Danny.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2015, 20:20
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Originally Posted by Walter603
Several of my close mates were sent overseas, as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. Some went to Canada, and some to Rhodesia. To my regret I was not one of the lucky ones.
It was also my regret I didn't go to Canada. Going to Canada continued in the 50's as The NATO Air Training Plan. Through over taking 6 months from leaving school and getting to I.T.S. I missed being on the the last nav. course by 8 weeks and then was delayed a further 3 or 4 weeks as pilots were needed to fill the final Canadian course. Of course my reasons for disappointment were selfish, firstly I would have loved to see Canada and secondly as all trainee aircrew were now commissioned our mates got 1st class tickets on Cunard to Halifax whilst we got 2nd class British Rail to Emsworth!
By coincidence when I got to Thorney Island there was school mate just returned from Winnipeg having come from New York on (I think) the Ile de France. They had gone from Halifax by rail to London (Ont.) for acclimation was then on to Winnipeg. In Canada they lost their "privileged officer status" as they were now just NATO cadets. They were billeted 4 to a room and each of the four was a different nationality.
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 21:36
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Geriaviator,

Nice pic. It is well said: "If it looks right, it'll fly right !" On looks alone , this could be a pre-Chipmunk. But wouldn't the spats get bunged-up with mud ? Looks as if it would fly very nicely. But the wing loading per sq.ft is 10.5lb against the 7.6lb for the Tiggy, so I don't think it would be so floaty.

Yes, my preference would be Dionysus, but anno domine dictate Dionysius !

Danny.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2015, 22:16
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Danny, I didn't get to Newquay until 1966 but we were told that Watergate Bay Hotel was used in WW2 - I've sent you a PM
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Old 3rd Dec 2015, 22:25
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I'd just like to say what a delight it is to see Danny and Walter comparing notes, while half a world apart, about a time when they were mere weeks apart in training (a far wider gulf of course ). This is the thread at its best, and what it is surely all about. You are a joy, gentlemen, and I only hope that you find as much pleasure in recapturing your youth as we have in your describing it.

Geriaviator, thanks to you too for taking on the mantle of PPRuNe representative extraordinaire on behalf of Jack Stafford. He really paints a picture of an unchanging rural setting totally alien to the high tech world that he has entered. Well, if they didn't appreciate it, the Blenheim girls obviously did. I'm sure that we all empathise with that effect (if only!).

Gentlemen we are agog, so keep up the good work please. Thank you all.
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