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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 6th Jan 2016, 10:29
  #8061 (permalink)  
 
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The art of good navigation is, as any navigator would confirm, never being lost but merely temporarily uncertain of one's position. I suspect that Jack Stafford was never truly lost but, thanks to his inbuilt sense of spatial orientation, had always been on the right track for Volkel, merely uncertain of its exact location.

He had though that most essential ingredient of pilot self preservation, luck! The recall rockets were fired at exactly the right moment, otherwise he would have been forced-landing flapless into a ploughed field. The greatest luck though was flying this exceptionally tough old war horse of an aircraft, that had suffered a power wire strike, multiple hits from A/A, and still landed him safely back at base! Not much mention of this in this excerpt, but if he hadn't mentally said his thank-you's to Sir Sidney Camm and his team for building this flying tank then I would respectfully suggest that he be guilty of base ingratitude.

Thank you Geriaviator, your timing for dramatic suspense was impeccable. If you haven't used it professionally before, you might consider it for the future!

One man's day at work in the dangerous low skies of the liberation of Europe. Humbling!
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Old 6th Jan 2016, 19:25
  #8062 (permalink)  
 
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As promised in an earlier post, here are some photos related to my father's USAAF WWII service in India.

This is unlike bladed weapons previously pictured by Danny and others. Almost reminds me of a bayonet blade, but obviously hand-made, as of course is its case (scabbard?).


Back of my father's bracelet, obviously a trinket from Ranikhet where he probably spent a short period in the rest camp. the front has his name and the CBI shield.



My father, as previously mentioned, arrived by ship in Bombay in 1943, spent time in Karachi, Agra, somewhere near Calcutta and Burma. Precise locations and units I have no data.

Wish I knew exactly which outfits he assigned to, but from unit research suspect the 80th Fighter Group which was associated with many of the same locations.

Last edited by GlobalNav; 7th Jan 2016 at 14:02.
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Old 6th Jan 2016, 20:30
  #8063 (permalink)  
 
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Global Nav, you've had the same infuriating result as I and many others had at our first attempt to post a picture. The secret, as in so much in life, is to persevere. When logged in you can edit your own posts by hovering over them with your mouse and clicking the edit prompt, as I see that you have already tried. I assume that you now have your pics posted in an appropriate web site. Each has its own unique address there which you post into the insert image field box on PPRuNe. You need to check that this hasn't double entered the http... etc start of the address ( I always delete that from the box before pasting in the full picture address).

You can try this as many times as you wish, eventually it will work and you will be rewarded by the picture appearing in your post (not too large though or it will swamp Danny's laptop!). As with everything in this electronic world, keep trying. If at first you don't succeed...

Good luck!

Chug

Last edited by Chugalug2; 6th Jan 2016 at 20:41.
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Old 6th Jan 2016, 20:36
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Thank you, Chug,

The pictures show up for me in the post, but it sounds like they do not for you. Do I understand correctly?
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Old 6th Jan 2016, 23:26
  #8065 (permalink)  
 
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Oh, that is strange! No pics showing here, although Bev Hall's pic posted by Geriaviator on the same page is. Unless others can see them, I can only suppose that they are only showing to you because they are already in your computer anyway. Try logging off, then back in?

The only way that others on the internet can see them is if PPRuNe displays them from the images' internet address at Photobucket, or wherever. You need to check if that is their image location (right click copy location with the mouse pointer on the image and then post it into your browser address window).

Good luck!
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Old 6th Jan 2016, 23:34
  #8066 (permalink)  
 
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Ugh! They are saved in an album in my profile, but were "private", which may have made them invisible to others. I just changed them to "public" in the hopes that makes them visible in my post. We'll see. Flying seems so much simpler.
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Old 6th Jan 2016, 23:57
  #8067 (permalink)  
 
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Yup!
Got them now, GN.
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Old 7th Jan 2016, 10:06
  #8068 (permalink)  
 
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Identity Checks on joining during WWII

Danny (or anybody else who has the knowledge),

Please can you tell me what identity checks were carried out on individuals when joining up during the war? Did they rely solely on your having an identity card? And if that was the case what checks were there of identity claims for the 1939 registration?

I ask because we have been researching family history and there is a lot of confusion with my mother-in-law's past. She appears to have been born with one surname and then 7 years later her "mother" married. My mil joined thevWAAF in about 1943/4 as a parachute packer then PTI and then married in 1947 under the surname of her "adoptive father" so presumably she had been in the WAAF with that surname but there is no apparent record of the change so was it legal?

Unfortunately, now at 93 she is unable to answer any questions on the subject and we are left researching apparently very incomplete records. Any background help might assist in clearing some of the questions. However, to date it has seemed seemed that every answer merely creates even more questions.

In advance, thank you for anything you remember.
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Old 7th Jan 2016, 11:54
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Bingo! Well done GN. I hope that you feel it was worth all the effort and that future posting of images will be a doddle now. I also hope that it will encourage others with unique images from WWII to post them as well.

PPRuNe doesn't exactly encourage too many images (something to do with bandwidth) but for this very special thread I hope that we can expect the continuing benevolent discretion that the mods have always favoured us with.

Just remember 850 x 850 pixels max.

http://www.pprune.org/spectators-bal...une-guide.html
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Old 7th Jan 2016, 14:29
  #8070 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Xercules,

My general remembrance is that those were honest and trusting days, in which officialdom accepted that you were who you said you were (I think National Registration Identity Cards [I was NZVM 79 3] were dished out just on the householder's say-so - but of course there would be the Registers of Electors to check against). IIRC, they took my Card off me when I enlisted, and gave me a F.1250. Google/Wiki has a fair bit on the subject.

Your particular case sounds a bit complicated (if you don't mind my saying so) and I haven't a clue how they would sort that one out !

Danny.
 
Old 7th Jan 2016, 15:43
  #8071 (permalink)  
 
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Counting the cost as the war comes to an end
Post no. 21 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF

The three previous posts relating to the Munster Rhubarb are Jack Stafford's only reference to his hundreds of sorties, and he was clearly affected by the loss of his friends. His comment: “Home, safe, alive, no more flak until tomorrow, I could hardly believe it” gives an idea of the stress he and his comrades must have been under, as his fellow Tempest pilot Pierre Clostermann also refers to the flak as his greatest problem in so many ground attacks.

A few days later, on Christmas Day 1944, Jack and Flying Officer Bremner were credited with the squadron's first confirmed Me262 jet fighter. The jet was turning towards them when Jack opened fire, sending pieces flying off one engine. It then turned away, showing remarkable speed on one engine, but the Tempests kept pace and shot it down.
Jack was awarded the DFC, promoted to flight lieutenant in February 1945 and made flight commander of A Flight. On April 12 he shot down an Fw190D-9 east of Ludwigslust, his last of the war.

On May 15, less than a fortnight after the end of the European war, he was posted from Volkel to 80 Sqn at Fassberg, the airfield close to Munster which he had planned to attack on his ill-fated Rhubarb a few months before. Jack's final tally was two confirmed kills, three shared and eight V-1 flying bombs destroyed.


THE WAR had been over for some little time, though the evidence of battle remained. Bailey bridges spanned the many streams and rivers, while the remnants of centuries-old bridges lay nearby in ruins. Towns were just rubble, a few walls still stood here and there but many areas were virtually obliterated. The testimony to all the violence and destruction of war was there for all to see.

Our squadron, on the other hand, was housed in comparative luxury on the ex-Luftwaffe base at Fassberg, which for some reason had not been properly bombed. Its beautiful mess and billets made a great change from the privations of Holland and the canvas walls of other German airfields we had occupied. Our job would hardly have been considered recreational flying by most people, but once the shooting stopped we flew and fought each other in practice dogfights, enjoying the wonderful Tempest as a sport. Yet for all its many virtues, the Tempest glided like a brick.

The antithesis to our outstanding and massive fighter sat in the undamaged hangars of our new base. Gliders and sailplanes such as I had never seen sat on their skids, or little trolleys, waiting to be appreciated and loved. There were large ones, small ones, some with an unbelievable wingspan, others by comparison looking dumpy. The first RAF personnel to occupy this site obtained help from captured Luftwaffe ground staff to restore the gliders to serviceability and our own ground crew were more than competent to maintain these beautiful sailplanes. My interest quickened as I walked past them for several days, I was increasingly taken by their beauty and frailty. The Tempest was anything but frail and the contrast attracted me.

A glider brings the problem of getting it into the air so it can glide. We found a small frame-and-wing primary glider which could get airborne behind a jeep as we tore round the perimeter track. This was great fun but the glider did not survive the rough treatment. However, the departing Germans had thoughtfully provided us with a small Focke-Wulf Fw44 biplane with a Siemens radial engine. They called this beautiful little trainer Steiglitz (Goldfinch) and I loved to fly it. In another hangar we discovered a powerful high-wing monoplane, the Fw56 Stosser (Falcon) an advanced trainer with outstanding performance from its 260 bhp Argus V8 engine. We swiftly adapted both aircraft as glider tugs.

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Old 7th Jan 2016, 22:43
  #8072 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator,
...The three previous posts relating to the Munster Rhubarb are Jack Stafford's only reference to his hundreds of sorties...
I adopted a similar policy here myself, describing one operational dive in great detail: this could then stand for every other dive I made, and it avoided continuous repetition. Not that his experiences in his many later fighter "sweeps" were merely repetitive - they would be packed with more excitement in a single memoir than in all of my sorties in Burma put together, but the "pattern" would probably be much the same in most cases.

Again it shows the sudden twists in fortune which were the lot of every serviceman in war (or in this case, immediately after the war's end). From life under canvas to the luxury of a well-built and well furnished Luftwaffe officers' Mess, with all the makings of a Gliding Club to hand, it made for a welcome "cherry on the cake" at the end.

The FW-44 looks very like (and would likely perform like) the Stearman, but the Fw-56 does not look like an "advanced" trainer to me yet it was so (Wiki). But Wiki says the translation of "Stösser" is "Goshawk", not "Falcon".

Danny.
 
Old 7th Jan 2016, 23:33
  #8073 (permalink)  
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GlobalNav (your #8067),
...This is unlike bladed weapons previously pictured by Danny and others. Almost reminds me of a bayonet blade, but obviously hand-made, as of course is its case (scabbard?)...
Off hand looks more like a medieval European poignard - perhaps the bazaar craftsmen had seen one and turned out an excellent copy. Note that:
...“A groove in a fighting knife or sword to allow for blood to flow from a wound so that the blade can be removed easier (a significant concern in close combat).” ...
(From: Google>The Blood Groove | The BS Historian
https://bshistorian.wordpress.com/20...e-blood-groove

I think you have the equivalent of our "Antiques Roadshow" TV program over there ? This is one for their experts ! (I never saw anything like it in India/Burma).
...Back of my father's bracelet, obviously a trinket from Ranikhet where he probably spent a short period in the rest camp. the front has his name and the CBI shield...
Would also have his service number with his name, as a back-up identification for his "dog tags". Looks like Indian silver.

You've got the pictures sorted out, then !

Danny.
 
Old 8th Jan 2016, 11:02
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Danny

Editing the Stafford memoirs has been a great privilege and I have done my best to find if there were any more. In the course of this research I found that hundreds of aircrew still lie in the former East Germany, their names remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. Presumably a few charred remains and scraps of alloy would not have been noticed in this vast devastated area, while many aircraft would have buried themselves far down in soft ground.

The disastrous Munster sortie he describes in such detail is similar to many described in Pierre Clostermann's book The Big Show, which emphasises the major role played by the Tempests of 122 Wing and the stress of countless low-level attacks on heavily defended trains, transport and airfields. The change in Jack Stafford's writing is very noticeable as the war progressed and perhaps the loss of his friends inspired this detailed account. You'll be glad to know he rediscovers his joie de vol through the gliders … tomorrow.

The Fw44 is only TM size and must be delightful to fly with its 155hp engine compared to the Gipsy Major's 120 on a good day. A few are still flying. When launched in 1934 the Fw56 Stosser must have been hot stuff compared to the RAF's biplanes but the German dictionaries translate 'stosser' as 'shover' or 'pusher' in English.


Walter

We get worried when our senior staff go quiet for a while, we hope you're still working on your Beaufighter memoirs?
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Old 9th Jan 2016, 11:46
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Ode to the RAF Tiger Moth

Ode to the RAF Tiger Moth

Going through my copies of “BUKA” the station magazine of R.A.F. Thornhill, S. Rhodesia (July 1952), I came across this Ode to the R.A.F. Tiger Moth, which after 64-years seems as apt today as it was so long ago when Chipmunks had replaced Tiger Moths in the RATG. Apart from initials “L.C.R”, author is unknown.
Passed on for those who flew in, or trained on them so many years ago.





BUKA is full of similar gems, including an article written by a NCO then at R.A.F. Thornhill (5 FTS) in 1952 recounting details of his first days of service on being posted to 5 FTS (R.A.F. Sealand) in 1929 (beats Danny by a mile!).

Ode to the RAF Tiger Moth
As published in BUKA July 1952


Farewell old Tiger, you’ve done your stuff,
For many a long year the going’s been rough;
They’ve beaten and battered you, year in and out,
But your value to training has ne’er been in doubt.

Farewell old Tiger, your days are now done,
Compared with all others you’ve had a long run;
You’ve been faithful and worthy, trusty and true,
And have trained many pilots, including “The Few”.

Farewell old stager, you’ve now been replaced
By a sleek little mono that suits modern taste;
But in your retirement you can quite safely say
You were “nulli secundus” during your day.

A place in posterity you’re certain to take
With other D.H.’s of earlier make;
In R.A.F. messes for decades to come
They will talk of you just as a faithful old chum.

So bow to the Chipmunk as you bid adieu,
And wish it the fame that has been won by you;
Your comparative qualities are open to moot,
So goodbye, old timer, and accept our salute.

L.C.R.
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Old 9th Jan 2016, 12:50
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Training in Rhodesia

Just came across this YouTube piece which may be of interest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyRCtc34NvA

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 9th Jan 2016, 15:10
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Peace at last, soaring high in the silent heavens




I WALKED past those beautiful aircraft again and again, until I could resist them no longer. I picked one of the graceful sailplanes, and a friend towed me high into that calm and peaceful German summer sky. I cast off the tow and looked around for the airfield but I did not need to worry, for I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry. I seemed to hang motionless in the air.

I moved the stick forward and back, and my beautiful bird answered the command with flawless sensitivity. I gently touched the rudder, again the sweet acceptance of my merest suggestion. It was a fantasy in which I had limitless time to do everything I needed, as the response was definite but languid. I pulled back on the big wooden knob situated where a powered aircraft had a throttle, the airbrakes slid out from the wings and she slowed, seeming to stop. I moved it forwards and she gently advanced. It fascinated me, and the silence was in glorious contrast to the thunderous Sabre.

This was an aerial wonderland. I played with the glider like a child with a toy. I pulled the nose up and stalled, the soft hiss of the slipstream died away, and she gently dropped forward and glided again. I floated on and out over the Luneburg Heath, I encountered an updraught and like a glorious albatross she soared effortlessly for a hundred feet or more. Time passed in complete contentment as my altitude slowly decreased. In comfort I headed back to the airfield and made my approach. With plenty of height over the perimeter track, it was easy to coax her to a landing close to our takeoff point. I felt that I had truly experienced the freedom of the skies.

We were all caught up in the gliding craze. We taught many of the ground staff to fly and I don't know how many blissful hours I spent in the cockpits of those sailplanes, or the many hours flying the tug aircraft. Occasionally I flew up to Denmark where 486 Sqn, my old unit, was based. It was good to meet up with my fellow New Zealanders. For these trips I used another German acquisition, an Me108 four-seater, an exceptional little aircraft which I really loved to fly.

Some weeks later our squadron was posted to Denmark and to be honest, who would want to stay in the dark, unfriendly atmosphere of shattered Germany when the sun, the food and the social welcome of Denmark beckoned? It was, however, the end of the glider enlightenment, it was back to the mighty Tempest with all the attendant excitement of its great performance. The exhilaration of aerobatics, the violence and physical effort of our practice dogfights, were as competitive as ever but unlike real combat a mistake did not cost you your life.

Our attitudes were once again dominated by the demands of military flying, but for the rest of my life I would never forget the happy and peaceful hours I spent in those gliders.
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Old 9th Jan 2016, 20:12
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Geriaviator,

Thanks for that superb post, as someone who has enjoyed flying gliders through my time in service, the descriptions are as good as I have read of the joy of flying an unpowered aircraft.

Smudge
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Old 9th Jan 2016, 21:19
  #8079 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator and Smudge,

Amen to that ! I've done very little gliding, but still recall the wonderful peace and quiet of it - no engine noise, no vibration, just the hiss of the airflow - perfect !

Danny.
 
Old 10th Jan 2016, 03:16
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Danny42C
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An old tragedy revisited.

I've just come across this, and was impressed by what seems to be a reasonably accurate account of a very old, sad story (the AF447 in 2009). As one who never had an autopilot and hand-flew every minute of every hour, it made me go cold reading it. Worth a read if you have the time.
...Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves? | Vanity Fair
Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves? | Vanity Fair
30 Sep 2014...
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