Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 11th Dec 2015, 19:00
  #7841 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 79
Posts: 7,866
Received 156 Likes on 72 Posts
Nicely said, GlobalNav ... I'm sure many others share your view on the wonderful 'living history' on this amazing thread.
MPN11 is offline  
Old 11th Dec 2015, 20:00
  #7842 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 71
Posts: 2,063
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Second that MPN11, and thanks for a great post for the ground crew Globalnav !

Smudge
smujsmith is offline  
Old 11th Dec 2015, 22:14
  #7843 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,768
Received 245 Likes on 76 Posts
GlobalNav, welcome aboard, Sir! A couple of the terms used in your post had me checking with Wiki (though perhaps I should have consulted Cortana, who has at last taken residence on my PC!).

First off was Cosmoline, which turns out to be the brown coloured paste that coated everything metallic as a rust preventative, particularly firearms. There was a song about it, to the tune of Tangerine, but wiki doesn't share the words with us!

The second was CBI. That has an unlikely British connotation (Confederation of British Industry), could have been (given the context) the Central Bank of India, but is more likely to mean the China Burma India theatre of WWII. That is a new one on me, but might well ring a bell with others. Wiki says it was used by the US military and tended to refer to General Stillwell's Command.

Did your father fly the Hump in his C-47s and C-46s? Ernest K Gann's "Fate is the Hunter" describes his experiences on the route, an airlift that preceded the Berlin one, supporting the Chinese Nationalist Army.

Your post reminds us of the massive US logistical effort that supplied many of the Allied Forces, and without which victory would not have been possible. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto rightly said after the attack without warning on Pearl Harbour:-

I fear all we have done today is to awaken a great, sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve
How right he was!
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 01:07
  #7844 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Washington.
Age: 74
Posts: 1,105
Received 167 Likes on 62 Posts
Thank you all for your welcoming messages.

In answer to Chugalug:

Yes, CBI stands for China-India-Burma Theater of operations, a US-only term, and one that for the most part was administrative rather than a "proper" theater like ETO. I'm no expert on that. I would say that much of the action in CBI revolved around China in one form or other, while the British focus was naturally India.

By the way, the latest issue of the Air Force Magazine has a historical article concerning generals Stilwell and Chennault, who were mostly at odds with each other. An interesting read. Gen Stilwell was a champion for ground operations in Burma.

My father said they shipped just about everything on those long sea voyages in cosmoline, aircraft parts, jeeps and heaven knows what. It was a true mess to deal with and I would speculate that gasoline or kerosene must have been the solvent of choice. Dad said that the aircraft manufacturers sent technical reps to help the maintenance men sort out the parts and assembly of the aircraft. All I can think is that those test pilots who flew them initially were very brave men. My father was very meticulous as a home builder and I have no doubt he used that trait while assembling these airplanes.

My father did mention the Hump, and if I remember correctly he may have supported some of those operations as ground crew, but never actually flew the Hump, himself. I say that because he characterized it as a harrowing mission with tragic losses not uncommon. If he had done it himself, I think that would have been made plain, and he never mentioned going to China, either. His own flying, it seems to me focused on the objective of Burma. He did visit Rangoon and had a few souvenirs of that. The details of when and how that happened I do not have.

Many years later, my own Air Force service included flying to Burma, India, Pakistan among many other countries. I treasured being able to visit some of the same sites as my father - Agra, Rangoon, New Delhi, Karachi.

Cheers to you all.

Last edited by GlobalNav; 12th Dec 2015 at 02:46.
GlobalNav is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 02:25
  #7845 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
GlobalNav,

Been away from this Thread for a while, and so a bit slow in welcoming you into this, our Virtual Crewroom in Cyberspace, where naught but good fellowship prevails and a cross word is never (well, very rarely) heard, and all views expressed are treated as of equal worth. Now,
...My father served in the USAAC during WWII and, perhaps of interest to you, Danny, in the CBI...
I at first thought: Central Bureau of Investigation, and envisaged tales of "G-men", but it's only China, Burma and India Theatre of Operations. Ah, well.
...He served much of his time in the vicinity of Calcutta, told a few humorous stories of unintentionally offending the natives and of a harrowing dash through the streets fleeing from a Sikh armed with a terrible bladed weapon...
Sikhs in Calcutta specialised as taxi-drivers, all driving mid-thirties open tourers, Buicks, Chevs, Plymouths etc. in the last stages of dilapidation.
The meters were invariably "broken, Sahib", and the fare was a matter of negotiation (and a brazen attempt to renegotiate at the destination).

Presumably your Dad's negotiating technique had unintentially offended your chap; the Sikhs are a martial race; every true Sikh must carry a Kirpan, about ten inches long (this is a small one):



An example of a kirpan, a type of religious dagger, worn at all times by Sikhs


We are going to have much, much more to talk about, but it's a bit late tonight (0317GMT),so I'll say "Goodnight" for the moment.

Danny.

Why am I stuck centred ? Don't know. Must be my damn' Gremlin again !
 
Old 12th Dec 2015, 02:53
  #7846 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 100
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Geriaviator
I had less trouble with the Beaufighter than I had with the Blenheim. I appreciate that Blenheims and their crews did a wonderful job in action, but my experience with the clapped out aircraft at OTU made them difficult and clumsy. Consider the difference when passing out on the Beau, standing precariously wherever my feet would fit behind the instructor whilst he did a quick take-off and a couple of circuits, talking meanwhile and pointing to various controls and instruments, then landing, disembarking and saying the usual "You've got her. Jump in and buckle up. Good luck". Incredible power for take-off, an hour to myself, and it was like my first solo all over. I had no difficulties, all was "a piece of cake".
From memory we had 40 or more pupils on the course, together with another, similar course overlapping. The accident rate was disturbing. Friendships were made and lost very quickly!

Last edited by Walter603; 12th Dec 2015 at 02:57. Reason: Title
Walter603 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 03:04
  #7847 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Washington.
Age: 74
Posts: 1,105
Received 167 Likes on 62 Posts
Thank you, Danny, for your kind welcome and for your background information, too.

Sorry about using "CBI" without defining it. Foolish me, I didn't realize at first that it was not widely used by the allies outside US forces.

Regarding the Sikhs. Yes I have no doubt he was a taxi driver. Thank you for the photo of the kirpan. By the looks of it and imagining it in the hand of a fiercesome bearded turbaned Sikh, I guess I'd be running for my life too. I always thought of my Dad as very street smart, but maybe that wasn't fully developed yet at age 20 in a strange land. He was a football running back and track star in high school, abilities which might have been handy, considering his negotiating skill.

Some terminology from India made it into my early childhood. Dad often kidded around calling me "sahib" as he mockingly bowed with hands overhead. My favorite stuffed animal was named "Babu" and I now I think I know why.

Last edited by GlobalNav; 12th Dec 2015 at 03:18.
GlobalNav is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 03:09
  #7848 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 100
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Danny42C

......And when the Yanks were in town, all other nationalities were outclassed! Fortunately we are talking about social functions and the attraction of Yankee rates of pay.
Walter603 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 13:13
  #7849 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,768
Received 245 Likes on 76 Posts
Before we move onto the operational types I thought that it might be interesting to post the links to those Pilots Notes that are available on the Avialogs site. They can be perused on-site but pdf downloads require that you are a subscribed member.

Warmtoast (pp Tony Benn) PT-26 Cornell (parts only I'm afraid):-

T.O. 01-115GA-4 Airplane Parts Catalog PT-19, PT-19A, PT-19B, PT-23, PT-26

Geriaviator (pp Jack Stafford) Tiger Moth (RAAF PNs):-

RAAF No 416 - Pilot's Notes for the Tiger Moth Aircraft

AT-6 Harvard:-

http://www.avialogs.com/index.php/en...t-6andsnj.html

Hawker Hurricane:-

Hurricane

Miles Master not found though

Walter 603 Airspeed Oxford:-

A.P. 1596A&B Pilot's Notes for Oxford I & II - 2nd Edition

Bristol Blenheim:-

AP 1530C Pilot's Notes Blenheim V Aeroplane

Nothing found for the Miles Magister.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 12th Dec 2015 at 13:36. Reason: Found N A Harvard
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 15:07
  #7850 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: uk
Posts: 1,786
Received 29 Likes on 14 Posts
I was once told that good carpenters make good navigators, or was it the other way round. Well, I have just spent an amazing morning admiring the carpentry of my neighbour Frank and listening to his story as a Beaufighter navigator.

This is the Frank who I have been trying to get to tell his story for about 20 years. We showed him Walter603's posts and he finally agreed to tell all.

I arrived at his house to be overwhelmed with books and photographs and now have to put my notes in some kind of order, learn to post some pictures, and stretch my limited writing skills to do his story justice. This may take me some time.

In the meantime, Frank was keen to tell me about his old friend George Sproates who not only shared the same role, but was very much a fellow Geordie. However, George was a very clever mimic and soon shook off his pronounced Geordie accent. He was a brilliant actor and musician who everyone expected to take up a career on the stage. As you will see, Frank spent most of the war enjoying the hospitality of the Italians and Germans so lost touch with George. When he was repatriated he found that his old friend had shaken off the restrictions of the "class ridden" RAF (Frank's words) and signed on as an officer. Now Frank finds it incredibly funny that his old Geordie friend eventually became a Group Captain and his last position was Station Commander at Akrotiri. It is possible that some followers of this wonderful thread will have known him.

For me, it is another example of how war expanded the horizons of so many people.
pulse1 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 15:37
  #7851 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: France
Age: 80
Posts: 6,382
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Too true it did. Had an OC Admin at Watton in the 60s called Peter Moon. Great guy and as I spent 6 months in SHQ whilst the medics pondered taking away my A1G1Z1 I learned much from him. When I rejoined I came across him again as DPM(Airmen) at Innsworth. Roll forward 15 years or so and I am secretary (Ch Exec) of a large and prestigious South Coast yacht club. I am told someone who would rather not give his name is in Reception to see me. Turns out to be PM, now Captain of a local golf club and had seen my name in the local paper, so we had lunch together, and repeated the exercise a few times. Sadly he became ill and died, and I attended his funeral. The eulogy described how he had joined up from very humble beginnings in the war at the earliest opportunity. He ended up working on Sunderlands at PD. one night he was guard on a moored aircraft in a gale. He started a couple of engines and saved the aircraft. At the end of the war he stayed in and eventually made group captain. He had no formal educational qualifications at all. What a guy.

Last edited by Wander00; 12th Dec 2015 at 22:19. Reason: Typo
Wander00 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2015, 16:00
  #7852 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Afterthoughts

Geriaviator (your #7826, from Jack Stafford, [RIP]),
...The turn-around time (re-arm and refuel) for the Spitfire was 26 minutes, while the Hurricane's was 9 minutes, which increased its effectiveness...
[Wiki]
I don't see why. In the first place, in battle, not individuals, but a whole Squadron, or a whole Flight, would be scrambled at once. Barring losses, the whole lot would land at more or less the same time. Turn-around time is then a function of the number of bowsers and armourers you've available.

In any case if the wing armament is the same, and the same number of armourers, a Spitfire should take no longer to rearm than a Hurricane. And the Spitfire has only one filler cap (on top), whereas the Hurricane has two (or more ?) in the two wings, which would, I should have thought, put it at a slight disadvantage. How did Wiki get its figures ?

Danny.
 
Old 13th Dec 2015, 14:11
  #7853 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Winchester
Posts: 27
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Danny - some answers to your questions of 30th November.

I asked Dad what he thought of Vultee Valiants - he said 'not a lot'! They 'needed very careful handling but were alright after enough practice'.

In his view the Manchester was 'alright, but more difficult to fly than the Lanc - which was fabulous'. 'The Manchester was just not so good, and not many people ever flew it'. He wouldn't say he was glad to see the back of the Manchester, but it was overtaken by the Lanc which was far superior.

In terms of Turner Field - for a short time the RAF came in and joined up with the Americans. So he trained American pilots as well as RAF. This situation worked perfectly well in his opinion. He enjoyed being at Turner Field.

He thinks you are probably right about your instructor coming from Canada.
Sandisondaughter is offline  
Old 13th Dec 2015, 16:20
  #7854 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 83
Posts: 847
Received 253 Likes on 81 Posts
Danny:
Wrong thread I think, this Hurricane v Spitfire servicing quote is from http://www.pprune.org/military-aviat...nt-view-3.html on which we have both posted.



Walter:
Courtesy Wiki, here is a photo of a Beaufighter Mk II night fighter serial R2402 at Hibaldstow in 1941. It was then transferred to your 54 OTU at Church Fenton; maybe you flew it at some stage in your training? At around 20% the fatality rate on your course was even higher than that for total RAF training accidents. It seems that if the Blenheim didn't kill you, you might just about survive the Beaufighter. Your description of standing behind the pilot for a couple of circuits and then being told to get on with it makes it sound so easy:
Incredible power for take-off, an hour to myself, and it was like my first solo all over. I had no difficulties, all was "a piece of cake".
Then I looked at the Beaufighter pilot's notes at Beaufighter
HANDLING: Although stable in level flight, cloud or night flying is not advisable as handling becomes difficult at speeds below 180 mph.
Firing the 20mm guns causes disturbance of the P4 compass. It may be restored … by firing a one-second burst (about 10 rounds per gun) while flying level on compass North. This should be done at the earliest opportunity.
And all this long before you even ventured near the enemy. Not for the first time, I wonder at the demands made on WW2 aircrew, and salute your bravery and perseverance. Gentlemen, we raise our glasses to you.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 13th Dec 2015 at 16:36. Reason: Add picture
Geriaviator is offline  
Old 13th Dec 2015, 18:16
  #7855 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Still they come !

pulse1 (your #7851),

Congratulations !! for finally persuading Frank to 'cough' (it shows the power of this marvellous Thread: it's taken the tale of an old Beau [and clearly bold !] driver to bring him out of his shell). A hearty welcome to him from all of us who sail in it, he's at liberty to push into our virtual crewroom any time he likes (but IOUs are not allowed in our Tea Swindle, and it's 2d for tea and 3d for coffee any day of the week). And you can come, too !

So now we Nonagarians who gained our wings in WWII are seven (six pilots and one nav). Whoever would have thought it only two years ago ? (reminds me of a Caseval at Geilenkirchen around '60; 11 Sqdn had six (or seven ?) Navs turn up before the first Pilot).

Now I'm not alone any more. Thanks ! Danny.

PS: To Whom it May Concern - Picture Size !
 
Old 13th Dec 2015, 23:30
  #7856 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Inflight Horror Movie.

Chugalug (and any other truckies on frequency),

When you've a spare moment, have a look at this:
...Antonov 12 ULTIMATE COCKPIT FLIGHT MOVIE ... - YouTube
Video for Antonov 12 ULTIMATE COCKPIT FLIGHT MOVIE: 7 Cams, Takeoff & Landing! [AirClips full flight series]▶ 41:29
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i721IEIGDsU
21 Aug 2015 - Uploaded by Air-Clips.com
On Friday July 10th 2015 the Air Clips Team has joined a flight of Ukraine Air ... Antonov 12 ULTIMATE COCKPIT FLIGHT MOVIE: 7 Cams, Takeoff & Landing! [AirClips full flight series] .... It appears that he hand flew the entire flight and that he had to horse those controls a lot, especially on landing. It's also...
The real hairy bit starts at 33.25 into the 41.29. I now have the greatest respect for you people. Was it often like this in your Hercules ?

Need a stiff dram after watching that ! (Am now quite reconciled to my Vultee Vengeance).

Cheers, Danny
 
Old 14th Dec 2015, 05:00
  #7857 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 100
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Geriaviator

I did fly in a Mk 2 Beau, not at OTU but at St Athan in South Wales, shortly after being posted to 219 Sqn. (See my next post).
I thought the type was clearly an improvement with its Merlin engines, giving so much better visibility from the cockpit. It was lovely to fly.
Walter603 is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2015, 11:15
  #7858 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 83
Posts: 847
Received 253 Likes on 81 Posts
This was the moment of truth for me
Post no. 10 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF
A Hurricane shot past us and Gus left me to torture him. I could hear his voice: “Turn, you bloody idiot!” I breathed again, rasping gasps brought oxygen to my lungs and I felt as though I had played a game of rugby. I looked around to find myself alone over the Irish Sea. Where the hell was everybody? I saw a Hurricane above me and cautiously joined him. It was Opie from my flight and I slipped in beside him.

Scottie's voice came over the R/T calling gently and calmly. He was doing a large orbit of the area, gathering us up like a hen searching for her brood. We formed up and flew home in silence. My mind reeled, for that had been some experience! I could not believe the level of violence needed to escape death, to obtain victory when confronted by a persistent, determined and skilful enemy. How I learned that day, and what a man to learn from. How lucky I was.

We landed at Annan and assembled in the dispersal. Everybody was talking but nobody was listening. Excitement sounded in every voice, all I could do was listen. It was the moment of truth for me: so this is what it was really about. Through the crowd I saw Gus, he was looking around for me. “Good boy, Staff, you've got a chance!” And he walked away.

Weeks passed. We never stopped dogfighting, our skills were polished, our aggression honed and tempered. We knew exactly what we and our aircraft were capable of. Later we would join squadrons, and we would meet the Hun. He was as hard, as determined, and as skilful as Gus had said he was. Sometimes he killed us, sometimes we killed him.

Now I'm an old man coming to the end of my days on earth. I've had a long life. Maybe if I hadn't met Gus I would not have had all those wonderful years between 20 and 80. I never saw Gus again, but I met the Hun on equal terms thanks to Gus and others like him. I also came to owe much to the grandson of the Hurricane, the magnificent Hawker Tempest.

I don't know if Gus still lives, but I hope so. I have a feeling that he is still around, so I'll say God bless you Gus, wherever you are. Thanks for your help, and may your end come easy.
Jack Stafford continued his training with conversion onto the mighty Hawker Typhoon fighter-bomber, weighing six tons and powered by a 24-cylinder Napier Sabre engine of 2,400 hp. In November 1943 he joined 486 (NZ) Squadron at Tangmere as a sergeant pilot. Our next post joins him on his first combat sortie along the French coast.
Geriaviator is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2015, 15:26
  #7859 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,768
Received 245 Likes on 76 Posts
Danny, on behalf of all truckies, may I say how much I appreciate your kind words on our behalf. They are all the more appropriate as we are never ones to blow our own trumpet of course.

Having said that, Ukrainian truckies are clearly to be even more admired as throughout the entire 41 minutes sequence not a single in-flight meal is to be seen, let alone a cuppa, other than for the man who just wants to be alone in the downstairs room with a bay window.

All those knobs and switches, I wonder what they're all for? The last time I saw that much polling on the approach was on a Hastings. Had Mr Antonov got round to powered flight controls in the '60s? It would appear not.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 14th Dec 2015 at 15:36.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2015, 15:42
  #7860 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: east ESSEX
Posts: 4,710
Received 84 Likes on 51 Posts
Think it was a Bulgarian crew,Chug....
sycamore is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.