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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 4th Jul 2016, 09:14
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Danny42C
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Walter (#8829),
...“Well blimey,” I said in my best London accent, “I always thought Chattanooga was a mythical place in a song.”...
Not so ! Coincidentally, the Chattanooga (Tennessee) of "Choo-Choo" fame, was one of the turning points of a training x-country I flew from Gunter Field (Ala) at Basic School.

Danny.
 
Old 4th Jul 2016, 19:53
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Had a very good visit with my sports car club to East Kirkby to see their Lancaster Just Jane fire up and do some taxi runs. Tremendous to watch from close quarters, well done all the staff there. Icing on the cake was meeting Sergeant Len Manning rear gunner from 57 Squadron who operated from there. Had the opportunity to hear of his bailing out on his third op and evasion from capture in France all at the age of 19, Len is 92 now but you would never guess that looking at him. A Google search using his name will bring up more details of his escapade. Nice display in the Hangar about him which includes the MIA telegram his Mother received.
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Old 6th Jul 2016, 04:38
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Chugalug and Danny.
Re sitting ducks, escape plans and Chatanooga. I must say I was highly suspicious of the apparent lack of action by the Huns in failing to repair the loose window in my mini-prison. It seemed obvious that they wanted to see me climbing out of the place! As for you knowing that musically named city Danny, well..... it's amazing how our paths crossed, starting with No. 8 ITW.

Walter.
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Old 6th Jul 2016, 05:52
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Old Comrades

We were twelve days in an unheated train, with wooden seats, two guards per prisoner, travelling up through all the lower European countries. What a dreadful journey. Black bread, occasional soup, a little German sausage, little sleep and hopeless conversation. The Grand Tour, indeed! Eventually we arrived at Frankfurt, the infamous interrogation centre known as Dulag Luft. In the streets of the city, where it was already very cold and snowing, I remember my first shock at seeing a large squad of Russian prisoners, mainly women, who were being marched through the streets, clad literally in rags and old bits of blankets, without shoes, but with rags and newspapers wrapped and tied around their feet. These people were treated as slave labour, and I was to learn a lot more about such treatment in the next 15 months.

At the interrogation centre, I was strip-searched and placed in a single narrow cell, containing an iron bed, and given two thin blankets and a hard pillow. My shoes and personal possessions were taken from me. Small meals were given, consisting of dark, rye bread and thin jam for breakfast, with "ersatz' coffee made from roasted acorns; thin vegetable soup and another piece of bread for the midday and evening meal.

I stayed in this cell for four days, relieved only by being allowed to go to the lavatory by summoning the guard when necessary, and by my interrogation. At the latter, I was told by my interrogator that I could be "shot as a spy" if I did not answer all the questions put to me. I insisted that I was required by international law to give only my name, rank and number. As in Greece, it was obvious that much was already known about my squadron, where I had flown from, etc. I gave the minimum information that I thought would satisfy the officer, and was allowed back to my cell.

On one of my visits to the toilet, I managed to whisper a few words to another prisoner there. We were, of course, forbidden to communicate, and each of us had his own sentry overlooking our activities. The other prisoner was George Lloyd, a navigator from a bomber squadron, with whom I became close friends.

After four days at Dulag Luft I was sent to Stalag IVB, at Muhlberg, central Germany, and from here my P.O.W. adventures really began. Incidentally, the rest of my Squadron mates finished their tour of operations, and were back in England in time for Christmas 1943. I often think I was unlucky. I could have been with them. However, I would undoubtedly have gone on to another tour, probably on Mosquitoes for flying operations, over Norway and Europe, and who knows? I might have "bought" it. Instead, it was my dear mother who was the victim. Killed by a V2 rocket on our outer London home, before I arrived back. More about that later.
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Old 6th Jul 2016, 07:58
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Walter, your observation that, despite the privations of being a POW, your chances of your survival had you not been captured would probably have been much reduced are surely correct. Life is a gamble anyway, but in war the odds can swing violently either way. Your last sentences are sad confirmation of that.

Unlike WW1 for the UK, WW2 was truly a peoples war, when it could come suddenly and devastatingly to anyone anywhere. The few exceptions in WW1 merely confirm that general observation I would suggest.
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Old 6th Jul 2016, 11:09
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in war the odds can swing violently either way
A former Lancaster pilot of my acquaintance, says he survived WWII because of a car accident that put him in hospital for several months. Most of his peers 'bought it' while he was in hospital.
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Old 6th Jul 2016, 12:23
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Walter,

Three observations on your #8844/45:
... it's amazing how our paths crossed, starting with No. 8 ITW..
.
You've probably told me this before, (but I plead "Short Term Memory Loss"!): what dates ? And were you by any chance a resident of the Trebarwith Annexe ?
... the infamous interrogation centre known as Dulag Luft...
The reference here is to the notorious "Doolally Tap": Deolali was a transit camp near Bombay, often troops immured there were said to go bonkers from a mixture of heat, boredom and sunstroke, the word went into general use out there as "going Doolally".
... Incidentally, the rest of my Squadron mates finished their tour of operations, and were back in England in time for Christmas 1943...
Here I am one with Chugalug and ian16th in their following Posts: the war still has 18 months to go, plenty of chances to get KIA. Whereas, if you behaved yourself in captivity, it would really be a case of "for you, Walter, ze war eez over". But I suspect that that may be a large 'if' !

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 6th Jul 2016 at 12:28. Reason: Overtaken by ian16th.
 
Old 8th Jul 2016, 09:11
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Danny, your little aside about Deolali Camp is at the root of all that is wonderful about this thread. The expression of going "Doolally" is familiar to us all. It's explanation was not, I suspect.

If you put that location into Google Maps you are whisked instantly to a part of India NE of Bombay, with pictures of local scenes there as well. The ones showing an aerial view of Barnes School look suspiciously like old Barrack Blocks surrounding a central padang (or whatever the Indian equivalent is). Could that be the place where our troops did indeed go Doolally, Danny?
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Old 8th Jul 2016, 09:46
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Danny: The reference here is to the notorious "Doolally Tap": Deolali was a transit camp near Bombay, often troops immured there were said to go bonkers from a mixture of heat, boredom and sunstroke, the word went into general use out there as "going Doolally".

Yes familiar with that. We had a wee Scottish fellow on our Bucc squadron who would always say "going Doolally", and had explained "Doolally tap" as going troppo up at the garrison outside of Bombay.

Imagine my surprise years later, when I was in a 'fast black' (actually a cream Ambassador/Oxford) on my way from Bombay to the MiG factory at Nasik when just prior to ETA, there I was at "Doolally". I guess that explains a lot about my subsequent behaviour...
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Old 8th Jul 2016, 12:46
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Chugalug (#8849),
...Could that be the place where our troops did indeed go Doolally, Danny?...
Forget what we called it (didn't go in for parades much), but could not improve on the late lamented Benny Hill: "Squarebashingerplatz !"


BBadanov (#8850),
... the MiG factory at Nasik...
Wild guess: Ex-RAF Mauripur (or whatever they call it now). But they would have the Mig21 /29 (?) assembly manuals, whereas we had to assemble the first batch of Vengeance as a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Then we flew 'em !

Couple of years ago I zoomed-in on Google Maps on the new military complex at Cannanore (my final old stamping ground in India 70 years ago). Somewhere or other they'd found a barrel of bright blue paint. Among the odd items standing out like dog's balls painted with this, was a strange dagger-like thing. Concluded: Mig-21 instructional fuselage (??) Why paint it bright blue ? Who can fathom the inscrutable Oriental mind ?

Danny.
 
Old 8th Jul 2016, 17:52
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BBadanvo,

Sorry - wrong place ! ("Senior Moment !")

Of course, Bombay, not Karachi. "Nasik" is "Nashik", Gandinagar Airport, 100 miles by road from Bombay. (Wiki) Does not seem to have a RAF connection.

Danny.
 
Old 9th Jul 2016, 16:52
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Danny42C
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Head up, Chaps !

Quiet on this front, but recommend a similar Thead, where "the joint is jumpin'"

Wg Cdr Arthur Gill, OBE, DFC

Danny.
 
Old 9th Jul 2016, 19:12
  #8853 (permalink)  
 
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Chatanooga

Hello Danny, somewhere in the photo's I got from my father there is one of
the Chatanooga Choo-Choo. He took it on the way to Nashville. I believe that
he did some Vengeance course there & possibly a Stromberg carburetter
course, perhaps also a Pratt & Whitney course. He mentiond to me how nice
the sets of Pratt & Whitney spanners were (I still have one spanner) and also the problems of setting up
Stromberg carburetters without a flow bench. He spent some time assembling
VV's in India. I have his service records, but back in NZ, I am in Spain now.
Hard to tell from the records where he actually was as they are difficult to
reconcile with my recollection of his anecdotes.
John
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Old 9th Jul 2016, 19:58
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John,
...my recollection of his anecdotes...
Did he ever mention the apocryphal story of the first batch of Vengeance being assembled "by guess and by God" at Mauripur as the assembly manuals had been lost in transit ?

Danny.
 
Old 9th Jul 2016, 20:59
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Danny,
he was certainly at Drigh road. He bemoaned the lack of the flow bench
for carburetter setup which would certainly fit with the lack of manuals.
He did tell me they were assembled and then test flown by an American
test pilot. Did not mention any difficulties with the assembly. Incidentally
he was Halton trained.
John
.
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Old 9th Jul 2016, 21:08
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John,

The four RAF Squadrons started to get their Vengeances around November 1942. The first assemblies would have been in the few months before. Would this tie in with his records of his time at Drigh Road ?

Danny.
 
Old 10th Jul 2016, 11:19
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Danny42C
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John (#8854),
...He mentioned to me how nice the sets of Pratt & Whitney spanners were (I still have one spanner)...
In my garage I treasure the set of Peugeot spanners which came with my dear old 403 (1960). The jaws have convex surfaces (there is probably a technical name for this design, but I don't know it).

The beauty of it is that the load falls on the flat of the nut, not the corners. So it doesn't matter if these have been badly chewed, the grip is still firm (and you can't chew any corners yourself). Works like a charm. Never seen anything like it anywhere since. Except:

Google:
"The Most Used Tool in the Tool Box: Open End Wrenches - Apex Tool ...
www.apexinds.com › Home › Knowledge Base
Specifically I am going to focus on the open end side. ... Peugeot open wrench ... Its revolutionary design of different spaced teeth made slipping off the bolt/n"

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 10th Jul 2016 at 11:30. Reason: Found a pic on Google.
 
Old 10th Jul 2016, 14:45
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Hello Danny, searching in my memory I know my father travelled
on the SS Pasteur, and the Grace lines Santa Paula. I still have his crossing
the line certificate. , and I know that that he was posted to Canada SFTS (??) and spent 5 days on a
train to Saskatoon (??). The records show that 4 SFTS had Ansons whilst his
photo's show Oxfords, so a bit of doubt there. Then eventually to Nashville,
I assume by surface transportation as I have some photo's taken in New York.
Then to India. I know he went to Durban, and I know that the Santa Paula
sailed from Durban (Winston Special convoy) to Karachi on July 21st 1942.
I don't yet know how he got to Durban,ie from the UK or direct from USA.
This would get him to Drigh road in good time to assemble a Vengeance for you
After that I know he went to Burma, and did not get to the UK until
1946,when I met him for the 1st time.
When I am re-united with all my stuff I must try to assemble his wartime
travels.
John
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 14:54
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Ex-RAF Mauripur (or whatever they call it now).
It was PAF Base Mauripur as recently as 1963, 214 used it as a base for Valiant Tankers when we were doing the non-stop flights to Singapore and Sydney. We also staged through with Javelins.

I even did a week there in December 63 with 73 Sqdn from Akrotiri. I was attached from the Electronics Centre for a CENTO exercise, I looked like a real Mooney, but it turned out I was the only guy on the detachment who had been there before.

But it is now named PAF Base Masroor, dunno when that happened.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 16:06
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esa-a, maybe your father should have done the `Wright` course,as the VV had a Cyclone R-2600....!
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