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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 10th Jun 2009, 10:33
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This And That

Goosequill I think at ‘heavy con’ we would have the guns loaded, all the time. On training flights we carried a drogue (shaped like a wind sock) complete with long rope. This was occasionally streamed behind the aircraft and the crew practiced firing from the rear turret. Can’t really remember but would guess the skipper would corkscrew during firing. We also used a firing/ bombing range off the seashore North of Skegness, and also had a bombing range at Alkborough at the point where the Trent reaches the Humber.

ICARE. I think you have had a perfect account from Regle, to which I could not add much, and can only say how fortunate that we have him on board. I seem to remember we climbed on course, and just before nightfall, rendezvoused on the coast south of ‘sunny skeg’ The sight of hundreds of aircraft almost touching wings , and heading East is impossible to describe. As I have recommended before the C.D Night Bomber is a true record, produced during the war, by Air Commodore Henry Cozens . Although I intended to write about my experiences in chronological order I think I should say at this stage, that although we did make numerous trips across the North sea, only three were counted as ops, the rest being diversion raids, dropping window, etc. Did say, and repeat ‘add nauseam’ ,“no tales of derring do”
As Hardie Allbrecht said . We were the lucky ones. I would not have agreed at that time.

I intended to include details of my time at Bottesford next, but decided to ‘brew’ a mug of tea and Skype my friend John of the Halifax rebuild, just to give me a break, and also to arrange a visit in a few weeks time. Amongst other things he told me that his video of the rebuild had been reviewed in the magazine Fly past, with many pics extracted from his video .He told me that the Elvington website now includes a panoramic video of the interior of the aircraft. I googled Elvington air museum and clicked on ‘Halifax cockpit program’ then downloaded ‘quick time plug in’ I discovered that if I clicked on the pic and moved the mouse to the right, the picture panned the cockpit. However the picture is rather small and I would like some of you to try it, and advise how to increase the size. Tried zoom, and control plus all to no effect.




Re my previous question , “was an air gunners flying life about 14 hours in the early stages of the war >? Found this on the Elvington site
-------The Air Gunner's tasks were complicated and hazardous and his life expectancy appallingly short - it could be as little as two weeks before a rear gunner on bomber operations could expect to be shot down or killed----------

I have just found page one of my flying clothing book. This shows the issue of the earlier type flying boots which were of the brown suede/ sheepskin type. Think I have said before the heels were easily trodden down, and then became uncomfortable to walk in. The boots were later modified by fitting a horizontal strap at ankle level which was an improvement but later they were superseded by boots escape. Boots escape had black/sheepskin top, with normal type leather shoe, and contained a small knife for cutting off the top if in enemy territory. It also mentions issue of three pairs of gloves. Linings gauntlet, had a 24 volt heating element incorporated, and kept the hands warm at all altitudes when plugged into the aircraft supply They also kept the hands warm if plugged into a motorcycle 12 volt system at zero feet. Gloves silk , consisted of four thicknesses of silk.

I managed to obtain a better colour on this one.

Last edited by cliffnemo; 10th Jun 2009 at 10:40. Reason: addition
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 14:15
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Gauntlets, flying, left hand....
Gauntlets, flying, right hand....

Even in 1960 that was still the way of issuing leather flying gauntlets.
The left and the right were of different design and by different manufacturers. Impossible to fly with but luckily the Provost T1 had a big hot radial engine to hide behind.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 16:45
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Hi, cliffnemo, nice to see you back here.
Thanks for your comments. I hadn't properly appreciated the height that German flak reached. Having seen the USAAF B17's at 40,000 ft and still being in bursts of flak, at 18,000 to 20,00 feet pretty much everything seemed to hit you. Was there a difference between 20mm cannon fire and 37mm guns?
Weren't they the "flaming onions"? It doesn't seem as if there was any time when somebody below wasn't firing something at you once you reached Europe!!

I came across a story on one of the Bomber Command websites about a Navigator (Harry Parker?) from Southend who used to work on the pleasure steamers with a catch phrase "All aboard the Nemo before the water goes!"
Just wondered if you might have come across him with your PPRuNe name....

Anyway, the YAM Elvington cockpit video is best accessed via the Home page and just above the click on the roundel for Halifax bomber.
Halifax Bomber Virtual Tour - Yorkshire Air Museum
It loads without Quick time nonsense and is at least half a screen, not a poky square. You can then hit Full Screen and move, pause and reminisce. Trust this helps!!
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 17:20
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Ammo availability during training

Hi Cliffnemo,

Thanks very much for your comments about the loaded state of the guns during training flights - it does indeed make very good sense that they should have been loaded just about all of the time. Interestingly, there may perhaps be just one occasion when they might not have been, and that is during the first familiarisation flight at LFS when just the trainee pilot and his instructor seem to have had the Lanc to themselves. I can only think that the route taken would have been comfortably inland.

Re. streaming a drogue and taking pot shots at it; sounds like a lot of fun. (Did pilots get a chance I wonder, if their FE could take over for a few minutes?) Were extra points awarded for hitting the HF aerial ballast weight?!

Thanks again,

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 18:04
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Ammo for flight tests

Hi Regle,

Thanks for confirming ammo carried for air tests etc. The jigsaw is filling in...

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 18:18
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Bit of pre-op detail...

Hi cliffnemo and regle,

Your accounts of the prep for ops is marvellous stuff and I think everyone reading it has probably now got a most complete picture of how it all happened. Just one question occurs to this procedural ferret; at what point, and where, was the Form 700 signed? Somewhere between briefing, dinner (for those wanting to guarantee their ham and eggs), drawing chutes, getting togged up, getting bussed out, walking round the machine and then getting in; someone must have said 'would you kindly sign this...'

Ta!

Incidently, perhaps the worst 'chute joke I heard was from a 'chute hander-outer when I was in the ATC:

'If it doesn't work, cross your left leg over your right.'
'Why?'
'So we can unscrew you on a right-hand thread, har har!'

Perhaps 'chute hander-outers have never got out much...

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 06:29
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Icare9 From what I've read the USAAF B-17s usually bombed from between 20-30,000' They had a maximum ceiling of approx 35,000' but they wouldn't have got that high with a full bombload and fuel. The Halifax IIIs and the Lancasters bombed from around 20-23,000' with the poor old Stirling absorbing the flak at 17,000'.
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 08:07
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Reg has asked me to post this.......................

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Old 11th Jun 2009, 08:22
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Dates required

A little bird has told me that Reg was interviewed on TV, so Reg perhaps we can have the date that the programme is on when you know?

Andy
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 08:59
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Date of ITV 1 "Countrywise"

Andy, For those intrepid enough to want to watch, the programme is scheduled to go out in "Countrywise" on ITV 1 at around 1930 on July 16th.but check as those were provisional dates. I am saying "nuffink" as I haven't seen the result ! With friends like you, who needs enemies ? Reg.
 
Old 11th Jun 2009, 14:27
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700 signing

The form 700 would normally be signed by the Captain, irrespective of rank, when the crew arrived at the dispersal ready to get to their posts. The Chiefy would have it with him and would go over the various points with the Skipper before handing it to him to sign and officially "take over"the aircraft. I might just mention that most pilots encouraged members of the ground crew to come up with them at every possible opportunity , such as air tests. It was by no means uncommon for " Stowaways" to actually be on board on an "Op" although they must have been stark, raving mad to do so . I always believed in taking parachute packers up and personally selecting their chutes at random.
By the way wasn't Captain Nemo the Skipper of the Sub (Nautilus ?), in Jules Verne's "20,00 leagues under the sea ?"
 
Old 11th Jun 2009, 17:19
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Form 700

Hi regle,

Thanks very much for confirming that - and that would be the logical place to do it; after the walk-around. But funnily enough I have never seen it stated explicitly in memoirs, or seen in footage - the service film units only ever seemed to show happy crewmen leaving their transport and going straight up the ladder...

Thought there had to more to it!

('Excuse me, sir; would you kindly tell your crew NOT do that to MY tailwheel?'.)

Yes, Cap'n Nemo was the man in 20,000 Leagues - James Mason did particularly well in the role...

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 21:58
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Tailwheels for Goosequill

You were so right about the tailwheels. I don't know how on earth Bomber Command had any aircraft left whose tailwheel hadn't been thoroughly rotted through. If I remember rightly they were not all retractable and so it would have been quite common for the whole tailwheel assembly to drop off somewhere during the flight or on landing , simply due to the amount of acid that it been doused with during it's career. It was supposed to be for "Good Luck" and it certainly worked for me. I had a good laugh when I read your Chiefy's quotation. It was so true also. It was always his Kite and we had to respect that. The Ground crews were the salt of the Earth and were inconsolable when, as so often happened, their Kite did not return.
 
Old 12th Jun 2009, 07:16
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Nemo - Latin for "No Name"

"It would be the same as shooting at a man in a parachute." Says it all, really. A gallant act.
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Old 12th Jun 2009, 07:33
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Perhaps that indicates that Cliff knew some "naughty lasses"!!!!

Good to hear that you are now a TV star regle!! I assume the programme is about your wartime memories, did anyone on here "prompt" the TV station about this thread? I'm sure we'll all be watching where possible. If any change to schedules, I'm sure we'll hear!!
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Old 12th Jun 2009, 09:48
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NEMO ?

During my C.B period I had to decide on a 'handle'. For some unknown reason I thought of the Darky procedure, Hello Darky, Hello Darky, This is Nemo, this is Nemo, this is Nemo over. We did not use any call signs, letters of the day, or aircraft identity numbers just Nemo, and remained 'unknown'. On joining PPrUNE , what better than cliffunknown. However since then this fool has 'blown his cover'.
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Old 12th Jun 2009, 22:29
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Bleriot

No, Icare9, I actually helped the Dover Council when the Bleriot Family came over some years ago as I knew someone on the Council ,who knew that I spoke French and was an ex-pilot. Someone mentioned this to the Chap heading the PR Company who are organising the whole shebang and he rang me and asked me to help out with weekend events (July25th./26th.) and then asked me to do the interview with ITV. As I said, I haven't seen the result but was told that it was successful. They must have filmed about five minutes and will probably screen about two of them ; I must say that they were a charming bunch of people, very considerate and very professional as you would expect....We shall see ! The weekend should be very good including the Red Arrows, Flying replicas of the Bleriot X1 Monoplanes, (note the comma after Red Arrows ) Firework displays, French stalls along the Sea Front and lots of other things. I just hope that the weather is kind. Cliff, how about designing a pprune badge so that people could recognise a fellow ppruner ? Something to do with the highly derogatory order of the irremoveable digit might be an idea ! Over , Reg
 
Old 13th Jun 2009, 10:06
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Cliffnemo
Have just browsed through your thread and was delighted to see a picture of The Majestic Hotel. I certainly spent many nights there. Were any of you there the day the Sqdn Ldr C.O. ( An ex cricketer I think) blew his top because of our indiscipline Called an early morning parade and ALL I repeat ALL would attend....Well most of us were there when one member appeared on the balcony in his dressing gown smoking a cigarette.He just leaned on the balcony whilst the C.O. screamed for someone to " Go in and bring him down" Well the chap just lingered long enough to give himself time to get away.But that was not the end of the story.Whilst the CO. was berating us, a large Alsation dog, locked lovingly to another smaller dog which he trailed from the bushes behind the CO. Well the whole parade collapsed in laughter which the CO. thought was against him!. The parade just left group by group for the Copper Kettle or some such place with the screams of the CO. ringing in rheir ears.
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 10:15
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Padhist, CO's rants to errant aircrew seem to be a cosntant in every war. Sorry if some might consider this thread drift, but below is virtually the same story - but from another (almost) war.
THIS IS THE REAL THING - THIS IS WAR!

Ubon is very close to the Laotian and Cambodian borders with Thailand, and the local Thai communist guerrillas at that stage (mid 1960s) were very active, so there was some reason to take Base security seriously. The CO decided that the troops should be reminded of this, so one day he called a practice dawn alert in full battle gear. The Airmen were dragged out of bed by the NCOs, where they stood, (literally) dressed to kill, ready to do battle with the enemy.

The CO then realised that his pilots had not surfaced, so with singular lack of humour, he ‘requested’ their presence immediately on parade. After fifteen minutes, a very motley crew were on parade behind him, most of them with towels around their waists or in underwear, looking for all the world like survivors of a shipwreck. Many were also suffering - and showing - severe symptoms of a very late night.

The sight of the gathered officers would not have helped the CO’s case with the Airmen as he harangued them about the need for vigilance in a war zone, but what really blew his credibility was the helmet he wore on his head as he spoke. Emblazoned across the standard American issue steel helmet immediately above his blazing eyes was the word ‘BACK’.
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 10:24
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Darky!

Hi cliffnemo,

And a very good handle it is!

You mention the Darky procedure. I have heard of it before but have never really understood its full intended function; and in what circumstances it tended to be used.

Would you be good enough to tell us about it? Perhaps provide an example or two?

Thanks very much!

Cheers,

Dave
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