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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 21st May 2009, 06:54
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Reg your right on the mark again. I looked up the nov 19 '43 raid on Leverkusen in the snaith ops log and the 8th crew member is listed last as;

Sgt Beaver R. (2nd P)

So much for your memory going!!

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Old 23rd May 2009, 09:46
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Back to the top, am thinking maybe this one should be a sticky!
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Old 24th May 2009, 15:55
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Regle and all
Just back from hols.
I note that no one has yet commented on the Squadron markings on rmventuri photo's being LK, which marks the Halifax as a C Flight aircraft, as MH was the Squadron code for the rest of 51 Squadron.
If you haven't yet watched the Nightbomber video, then each RAF heavy bomber station generally had 2 Squadrons operating from it, each with about 18 to 20 aircraft and somewhere around 3,000 personnel to keep it functioning, not just aircrew.
The photos with the car seem to show a code of MH-A, which was the code on HR782 also lost the same night on the Leipzig raid and as it has Sgt Bondett who was a PoW after being shot down, then no doubt this was the groundcrew for HR782.
If there are any photos with a code of MH-Y or if HR732 can be seen by the tail, then that would be tremendous news.
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Old 27th May 2009, 11:08
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Oh well, back to St Athan, after an excellent weekend with a visit to to a military show and happy that I have now put my 1971 Beetle and my beach buggy successfully through the M.O.T. Should be able to concentrate now.

Final exams near , we studied hard and played hard,. As well as Saturday nights in Tiger Bay one of our airmen devised a scheme to visit Gloucester for the weekend ,at minimum cost. Gloucester was the home of R.A.F records , ‘manned’ mainly by W.A.A.Fs., and was recommended as an ideal R & R. place. . I can’t remember now exactly how it worked , but involved one airman travelling to Gloucester and purchasing platform tickets. These tickets were normally used by non travelling people to enter the platform to wave goodbye to friends and relatives., and only cost about one penny. We then purchased platform tickets at St Athan and got on the train, An excellent weekend was enjoyed, but I won’t tell you any more, as we don’t know who is reading this.. I must point out again that we were all basically honest people, but at that time it was a case of ‘all’s fair in love and war’.

Final exam time arrived , and I can remember moving from classroom to classroom and completing written tests on all the subjects we had studied. The final test was I think, what we called a V.V., (face to face ?) I answered the questions correctly until it came to the final question. I was asked “what do Amps X volts equal?” My mind became blank, and even though it was ‘page one of the book’ I couldn’t remember the answer, and said so. I was told to go, but as I reached the door, I suddenly remembered the answer, and said Watts. Good man said the officer and off I trotted. After this we received our results, and I found I had passed with 78% marks.

Back to the dreaded Harrogate, more standing in train corridors, sitting on kit bag when there was enough room, and eating our rations (N.A.A.F.I rock buns) on the way. We could only fill our mugs with tea, when the train stopped at a station.

After a short stay at Harrogate, I was posted to Langar, and the following day ‘crewed up’. This consisted of milling around in a large hangar , full of all trades, and talking to all and sundry , with the object of forming a crew of seven. When this was achieved the seven men reported to an officer and their names taken. Some time later we were posted to ‘heavy con’ at Bottesford, for about two months, and which was just across the main Nottingham to Grantham road.

Whilst looking through my notes, I came across the item produced below, which shows, amongst other things oleo leg measurements .pressures, and suggesting the use of a jack.Jacks were not included in our large green tool bag, so I can only conclude this reinforees my previous view that we had to know how to service the aircraft on other airfields, or the far East ?. I have either forgotten or otherwise was never told.


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Old 27th May 2009, 12:37
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Gawd Cliff, that Airman's Pay Book...

It was unchanged in my days in blue, 20+ years after yours. God only knows how many of them I signed over the years on (as the Airmen so quaintly put it) "the day the eagle shat''.

I suppose these days it's all done by direct credit to the Airman's bank account.
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Old 27th May 2009, 12:53
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" .... what we called a V.V., (face to face ?) "

Cliff - Purely as punctuation in this wonderful thread, it seem almost certain that your VV was a "Viva Voce" examination, literally a "live voice" in Latin.

Long may Regle, you, et al (to stick with Latin) keep it coming.



PS Good news about the MOTs - always cheers one up no end!

Last edited by Union Jack; 27th May 2009 at 13:59.
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Old 27th May 2009, 16:52
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Thanks again for these memories Cliff, great to hear all the aspects that living in wartime meant. Good news on the MOT's too! Look forward to see you tearing about the dunes!!
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Old 27th May 2009, 19:28
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Stick with your Latin

One of my Father's ( He was a Signals Officer serving at the same time as me and my wife ) favourite sayings, " Great big fleas have smaller fleas upon their backs to bite 'em. The smaller fleas have tiny fleas and so "Ad Infinitum".
I am having rather a rough time at the moment but hope to be well enough soon to carry on with the "Saga ". Regle
Old 27th May 2009, 19:53
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Best wishes for a speedy recovery to A1, Regle. Your fans need you!
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Old 27th May 2009, 22:48
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Amen to that - many people thinking of you Reg and wishing you well.

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Old 28th May 2009, 19:47
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Best wishes Reg! Looking forward to your next installment!

Sanitas bona! (to stick with the Latin theme...)
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Old 28th May 2009, 22:48
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Do you have anyone close who looks after you daily?
I'm a bit concerned, maybe AndyI999 could clarify?
Sorry to be a worry wart, but there are a lot here who are concerned for both you and Cliff. You simply can't leave your stories unfinished!!
You know my email and PM details, if either of you need help, then I think we'd do our best to help in any way.
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Old 28th May 2009, 23:01
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Hope you get well again soon regle, and back into "action".

Just reading an interesting story of two kiwi pilots shot down in Halifaxes within minutes of each other on 12-13 June. One pilot was the only survivor, the other got out with the rest of his crew. One flew from Snaith with 51 Squadron, Charlie Chambers, on just his 3rd op with the Squadron, previously both had been on OTU Whitleys on secondment to Coastal Command. Must have been a few weeks before you arrived at 51 Squadron regle?

Apparently they were shot down by the same fighter, 22 yr old Hans-Heinz Augenstein ( Hally pilots 22 and 23 yrs old ) he got a third one from 10 Squadron on the same flight, no survivors.

He had 46 bombers to his credit when shot down and killed by a Mosquito in Dec 1944.
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Old 30th May 2009, 16:12
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This And That

Regle. May things soon return to normal, and your most welcome posts be resumed soon. Excused boots chit in post.

ICARE, your concern is appreciated, and will certainly bear it in mind. However in my case, I am very fortunate I still have family and relatives , who would be here at the ‘drop of a hat’ if requested.

UNIONJACK. Thanks for that. The nearest I got to Latin was the book reproduced below. This was of great assistance to our import/export business Hemswell / Naples /Hemswell, to be described later (I hope)

Insert book

ANCIENT AVIATOR, & TOW. Help . Require a bit of input from you aircrew friends.( Is that vicariously ?)

Searching my records for items on Bottesford, I came across a letter (1994) from John (ex Halton app, and pilot), which I read, and considered it could be of some interest, so reproduce two of the pages ( not consecutive) below. The reference to ‘elderly gentlemen, ‘ seems far nicer than O.A.P., and reminds me of some of the stories he has told me about ex Halibag pilots sitting in the Elvington Halifax, pilots seat. Also reminds me of the story he told me about taking a flat sheet of Perspex to the N.A.A.F.I , and heating it in the oven, until it became pliable enough to form an astrodome.
Insert two pages

Insert pic of John.
Pic of John.
John on my 250cc New Imperial, on Scarboro race course, must be pre-war as there is no blackout mask on the headlamp, and he is not wearing L.A.C’s propeller. I am sure John doesn't mind me reproducing the above ,as we did discuss the matter some time ago.

Should be watching the Cup Final , but never did enjoy watching other people do things.
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Old 30th May 2009, 16:36
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Ah! The famous golden rivet!
Glad to see you back Cliff and that all is well and that family at hand.
We are fast approaching the anniversary of when this thread was first posted.
Did anyone ever think it would be one of the most popular on PPRuNe?

Perhaps a fitting salute would be to enshrine it as a sticky, perhaps combined as a D Day tribute?

Well, Everton came second, boo hoo, only thing they have is the record for the fastest goal
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Old 31st May 2009, 18:10
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Indian Summer

The small village of Juhu, where we had our first taste of living in India, had it's own airfield those days. A tiny runway about six hundred yards long served the Piper Cubs from the flying club there. You can imagine the surprise when a brand new, giant Super Constellation actually succeeded in landing on the miniscule runway. Unfortunately Santa Cruz's main runway and Juhu's only landing strip were in line and the unfortunate, but brilliant Lockheed delivery Pilot had lined up on Santa Cruz and delivered Air India's latest acquisition to the wrong address. The whole aeroplane had to be dismantled and taken by road to Santa Cruz where it was put together again, as there was no way that it could take off from Juhu.
My contract with Air India was nearing it's end and I was approached by one of the many Companies that had sprung up in the newly independent India. The Americans had left DC3's and C47's all over India and these were seized by many Presidents of banks and quite a few Maharajahs. They then proceeded to form their own airlines and were always on the lookout for pilots. I eventually joined one of them who had a better reputation than the others. This time I was to really be a Captain and not an Instructor.
I must add that I have exceedingly fond memories of Air India who were a splendid company. I received nothing but kindness and consideration from such people as the incredible founder, J.R.D. Tata, Chief Instructor Biramji, the two Gazdas amongst others far too numerous to mention .
The annual pilgrimage of devout pilgrims to Mecca....The Hadj...was a lucrative source of revenue to the many airlines participating.
Still using the old workhouse Dakota we would fly empty from Bombay to Aden via a small Island called Masirah. It was a RAF base with twelve airmen and a Flying Officer C.O. The entire station, all thirteen of them , would turn out when we landed to refuel. They would ogle the Stewardess, if there was one, as there were no women on the island. The big thing for them was to show us a tomato plant which was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. We were told that it was the only plant on the Island and was constantly guarded by anyone unfortunate enough to be on "Jankers".
From Masirah we would fly on to Aden to pick up our passengers and then fly them on to Jeddah which was the nearest we were allowed to get to the Holy City of Mecca. The passengers were very interesting. They would file out to the aircraft carrying all their possessions, some of them on their heads and others with string bags, shopping bags and brown paper parcels.
Once, after landing at Aden, to pick up our passengers, I returned to the aeroplane to find a huge crowd of people ,some of them in the plane and others trying, vainly , to get in. There were people sitting in the aisle, on other passenger's knees, on suitcases together with people standing in the aisle beside the thirty seats that had been squeezed into what was , normally a twenty-one seat aeroplane. There was no way that I could even reach the cockpit and I soon found the local Agent who began crying with rage when I told him that, no way , was I going to take any more than the thirty seated passengers. "But Sahib, every Captain takes the extra people and we will share the money " was his outraged plea. There was near rioting when it became clear that I meant what I said. Once airborne on one of those trips I was startled to find that , whilst cruising along at about 7,000ft. the nose suddenly went up and I had to trim like mad to keep control. The Radio Officer told me that he would investigate and returned very quickly to tell me that a group of the women had gathered in the back and were cooking lunch over a naked Primus flame.
I flew fairly regularly from Bombay to Nairobi and quite enjoyed the different sort of life that I was now leading but Dora was pregnant and the heat of the small apartment getting us all down. Accommodation on the ships sailing to the U.K. was well nigh impossible to obtain as thousands of people were leaving due to the virtual state of war that had sprung up from the emerging independent Pakistan and India.
On New Year's Eve 1948 we had a few people for drinks in our apartment. One of them turned out to be the Captain of the S.S. Stratheden, which was sailing for the U.K. next day. He had left his Wife in our "Pension" whilst he went on to Australia and had called to pick her up for the return journey to England.
I said to him , half jokingly " I wish that we were sailing with you , tomorrow ". He replied "If you really mean it then I can fix it." I turned everyone out of the flat where we had just made our New Year greetings, and we started packing. Next morning we bought the classic tin steamer trunks, sold our beautiful Packard for the equivalent of £25 and were installed on the "Stratheden " when it sailed on January 1st.1949
We had no winter clothes for ourselves or the children but the first port of call was Port Said. We entered the harbour in total darkness at about two in the morning and then, suddenly, everything was lit in a blaze of lights and all the shops were open and the huge department store of Simon Aerts supplied us with all the neccessary clothes including two gorgeous camel hair coats for the children. They were Peter and Linda's pride and joy, survived many years and were handed on until they became heirlooms. They were identical sizes but Peter had had a nosebleed so his coat was always the one "with blood on the lining"
The six weeks voyage was great fun. The food was magnificent and there were fancy dress parties for the children who were all well looked after and we made many shipboard friends. There were two Australian girls who were going to Britain as schoolteachers on an exchange scheme and it was one of those incredible coincidences that one of them should turn up as a teacher at the school in London where Peter and Linda started their English education.
Old 31st May 2009, 19:26
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our beautiful Packard for the equivalent of £25

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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 01:27
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I see you spent some time at Bottesford. On my recent trip to the UK, chasing the history of a relative who was a 467 Sqn navigator, I dropped in to visit. Though my relative was not posted there himself, the Squadron was at Bottesford before they moved to Waddington.

Here are some photos of Bottesford today.

First, an aerial photo:

The site is now Roseland Business Park and there are many diverse companies operating out of its old buildings. I was shown around by the company secretary who is deeply interested in the history of the field.

View of the airfield from the Tower:

This map was discovered when the tower was being restored, 20 or so years ago. It's now hanging inside:

Roselands previously used the tower for their company offices, but recently built a new one closer to the entrance to the site. They modelled it on the existing tower at Archerfield in Queensland, Australia.

Finally, this building is close to the new tower, and will hopefully be restored for further offices. At the moment it's full of asbestos. It's believed to have been an intelligence or ops block of some description:

I visited some 14 wartime airfields in my time away... all have their own atmosphere. I'll add more photos as they become relevant...

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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:00
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Thanks For The Memories.

Many thanks for the excellent pics. At least they have, not only kept the Ops room ? at Bottesford, but have obviously kept it in good repair. Unlike the control tower at Burton Wood, which was a classic example, and by the side of the M62 for all to see. The M62 cuts through the centre of the airfield. Possibly 80,000 traveling viewers per day. It was completely demolished . 'Good job' I didn't know about the dangerous asbestos then.

Note the dispersals around the 'perry track'

Last edited by cliffnemo; 2nd Jun 2009 at 10:05. Reason: Addition.
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Old 4th Jun 2009, 06:12
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Lanc checks

Hi cliffnemo,

Apologies for this late response to your note of a couple of weeks ago - I have been away.

I guess that some evil-minded techies did have a lot of fun setting oddball questions for the exams - and to figure out the answers would be most impressive, given the complexity of the beast. Thanks very much for your having taken the time to reproduce your checklists - personal handwritten too - MUCH more valuable to the historian than the printed!

I wondered whether you, or regle, or any of the bods with veeerrryyy long memories might be able to answer a question that occurred to me a while back? During training, at OTU, HCU, and LFS, a crew might be required to fly at night, and there would have been a definite possibility of German intruders sculling around. Were the guns of the aircraft used during night training exercises ever loaded? Loading them for things like night circuit bashing might have been thought unnecessary, but for longer night training flights, such as radius of action exercises, there would have been a better case.

I understand that at HCU, training crews could be sent off on Nickel and spoof raids, so I assume that on those they would treat it as a normal op and guns would definitely be ready for use, but for night training flights within mainland UK the answer seems less obvious.

Best regards,

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