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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 24th Jul 2016, 19:28
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Danny, you may be able to help me with something that's mystified me. I mentioned in an earlier post that my father sent home from Cairo in 1940 a silver-plated coffee table; it's about four feet diameter and came with folding legs. Later from Crete came a brilliantly patterned woven wool shepherd's shoulder bag, which I also still have. Was it usual for people serving overseas in the middle of a war to send quite bulky non-essential items like these back to the UK, at a time when I'd imagine space was needed for more important stuff?

On the other hand, I suppose most of the freight space was needed outwards from the UK, so maybe ships were returning largely empty.
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Old 24th Jul 2016, 20:57
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Buster11,

Can't help much, Buster. When I set forth for 'furrin' parts in October 1942, I would think it impossible from India. Don't think Cairo either, but don't know the place.

Now in 1940, they may have still been in peacetime mode in Cairo, and (like most of the world at the time) expecting us to capitulate after Dunkirk. So, it may well have been "business as usual" there, (and always ready to earn an honest "akker" or two).

Hope the silver didn't come off the table at first polish, and they didn't find "Made in Birmingham" on the back !

Danny.
 
Old 25th Jul 2016, 03:30
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It was common to have both Air Force and Army POW,s in the same camp, but they were segregated in different compounds. The Germans did regard the Air Force as most troublesome, so were separated where they could, with additional guards, keep a close eye on them. The AF used to do whatever they could to annoy the Germans, in a pastime called Goon baiting. Dad's favourite was to transfer the use of the guards rifle to Ashtray, Mobile, POW, For The Use Of. Every opportunity was taken advantage of; once the Germans did some drill to try to impress the prisoners. Instead the POW,s went behind them and dropped butts down the rifles. One guard in particular took exception to this practice, while naturally singled him out for addition attention. This did backfire once; they would distract him, then someone else would drop the butt in, but he wasn't distracted enough and noticed Dad doing his thing. The guard went to cock his rifle, but in his haste or anger slipped the bolt right out. By the time he got the bolt back in, everyone had wisely scattered.
In Luft 6 the army was very impressed by the Man of Confidence, F Sgt Dixie Deans, who often went toe to toe with the Commandant, more often that not making his point and getting the Germans to reconsider, much to the utter amazement of the Army types.
In the waning stages of the War, PoW were incarcerated wherever room could be found. An example was the camp at Falling Bostle; originally designed to house around 20,000 prisoners, it expanded, partially with hastily constructed compounds and partially with overcrowding, to in excess of 130,000 prisoners under appalling conditions at it's peak.
Jeff
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 09:00
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jeffb, many thanks for your informative post. As with everything these days, a brief search online reveals a site dedicated to the history of the Fallingbostel POW camps.

Stalag XIB / 357 - Fallingbostel Military Museum

Interesting is this excerpt which underlines the different attitudes between British Army and RAF POWs to the duty of escape that Danny refers to. I suspect that this duty was instilled in RAF aircrew in their training, and certainly actively encouraged by the varied and imaginative escape aids with which they were equipped either prior to going on Ops or following capture. The latter had to be even more imaginative given that they had to be smuggled in Red Cross parcels disguised as everyday objects such as records or shaving brushes:-

Stalag 357 was a well run camp-although some tension existed between the British army pows and the RAF pows, as to the nature of activities within the camp. The RAF had an escape and intelligence committee that helped pows attempt to escape. It also supplied information to the allies on certain German activities. The army however was much more concerned with causing as little trouble as possible so arguments did ensure. Eventually a vote was held to decide on an overall policy and an overall head of operations, spokesman. The vote was carried overwhelmingly in favour of a RAF ;WARRANT OFFICER ;WO “JAMES “ DIXIE” DEANS who was to become 357s answer to RSM LORD.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 09:29
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One of the Few

Found this in today's Dundee Courier. Thought you chaps might like to know.

DREVER - Deaths - Dundee Courier Announcements - Dundee Courier
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 09:32
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Jeff,

This is interesting, as it begs a number of questions. First, overcrowded as they were, the Germans never seem to have "billeted them out" on local civilian families, as we seem to have done with the Italians in Perth (cf esa-aardvark's #8938).

Then it underlines Hitler's dilemma in the 1940 Blitzkrieg. With his armour driving hard to the Channel ports, he could not be bothered with the potential 300,000 POWs, whom he would have to guard, feed and house when they fell into his hands in a few day's time.

No problem: order Guderian to halt his Panzers for a day or so to enable this lot to get back across the Channel. There they would be Britain's headache - not his. Britain would now have to sue for terms, anyway. She was utterly defeated, everybody thought so (including the Chamberlain/Halifax Cabinet and the American ambassador - the patriarch of the Kennedy clan). There was one dissenter - but his voice counted - Churchill. The rest we all know.

"Dixie" Dean was a hero of my Liverpool youth (played for Everton - remembered there to this day). Couldn't possibly be the same man ?

The Wehrmacht seem to have got a bad bargain when that chap took the Führer's Reichmark. Tries to get an (imaginary, I hope) round up the spout, and pulls the ruddy bolt out of the rifle! I would not entrust him with a popgun, would you ? (hope they hadn't got live rounds - or bayonets !)

They gave me a pick-helve (handle), and told me to do my best with it.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 26th Jul 2016 at 08:57. Reason: Advice,
 
Old 25th Jul 2016, 12:39
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I loved jeffb's post where it made mention of the 'goon-baiting' that went on.
In particular, slipping 'bumpers' down their rifle muzzles.
The scriptwriters of 'Hogan's Heroes' couldn't have done better.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 14:36
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With the accommodation of the Mods, this might be a good time to draw 'Brevet' followers' attention to a current exhibition of aviation artworks
on show in London
The Guild of Aviation Artists are the people responsible and their website features images of hundreds of outstanding works of art, particularly RAF
historical depictions, many of which, I understand, are for sale.

Definitely worth a look.
I did spend a while on there without realising that I was drooling over my keypad.
I stress that I have no connection to that, commercial or otherwise.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 14:53
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I'm not sure that Danny will be so enthralled by the GAVA site, Stanwell. I did a search for "Vengeance" which produced the only painting on offer, of a Mark IV! Good title though, "Vengeance is Mine"!

GAVA Gallery Search Results - Gallery Search
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 15:17
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Goodness me .. "No .. Not the Mk.IV!"
Personally, I thought that was one of the more striking images on the Gallery.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 18:27
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Stanwell and Chugalug,

Striking Image it may have been, and what I know about aircraft "portraiture" could be written with a whitewash brush on the back of a postage stamp, but I'm more attracted to realism (is there anyone who hasn't sighed in nostalgia over the "Lone Spitfire" ?)

Thanks, Chugalug, but have examined your kind offering with magnifying glass; it is rather an impressionist effort, and, frankly, I would not cough up a fiver for it (Philistine that I am), never mind £225 !

There is not a scrap of realism, there is almost no detail of the underside of the VV, the wing 250lb bombs are not shown yellow (although the 500 lbs in the bay are), there is little colour, scaling from the size of the fields below, it is far too low for a vertical dive, the fields themselves resemble a pleasant pastoral scene in the shires, not a jungle, and at no stage of the wing-over did we go beyond 90° of bank. It is of no merit, IMHO.

(Takes a draught of the 'Dark Waters of the Liffey' to regain equilibrium),

Danny.
 
Old 25th Jul 2016, 19:00
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"The Lone Spitfire"

It seems there are more than one pictures of the same title, this is the one I've got, and mine has the No.2 cropped out, and is on a copper sheet.






Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 25th Jul 2016 at 19:03. Reason: Typo
 
Old 25th Jul 2016, 19:25
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That's an all-time classic, that one, Danny.
I'm reminded of one time at school when I showed my art teacher a graphite pencil close-up rendering I'd done of a Mk.IX Spitfire.
It was rivet-accurate and even showed the strained expression on the pilot's face.
She said to me .. 'That's very nice, Stan - but where are the birds and the clouds?'

What do you say to that?
The answer .. Nothing really. I just walked away, muttering to myself, "Philistine".


Allow me to go on and bore you a bit further..
I'm presently completing a diorama, in 1/72 scale, of a busy WWII bush airstrip scene featuring a C-47 being loaded for a supply airdrop.
Hopefully, it'll be good enough to present to our local Air Force Club.

This particular aircraft was lost while airdropping urgently needed supplies to commandos in the mountains of New Guinea.
While I'm feeling fairly satisfied that I'd managed the camouflage, mud and dust aspects of it fairly well, the lady-friend came past and observed ..
"That's lovely, but it looks just a bit plain, Stan .. don't they have lots of tropical flowers in New Guinea?"
It was time to go open my bottle of Bundaberg Red Spot.
.

Last edited by Stanwell; 25th Jul 2016 at 20:41.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 20:17
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Danny (your #8947),
perhaps I should have mentioned that my Grandmother, and the rest of the family
lived on a large estate with lots of Bothy's woodlands, farmland etc.
So undoubtedly the POW's would have been working.
John
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 20:38
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Stan (if I may be so bold),

'Tis true, 'tis true -you just can't help some people !

esa-aardvark,

Yup, that makes more sense. The authorities would give your grandmother an allowance for feeding them (I hope !)

Cheers, both,

Danny.
 
Old 25th Jul 2016, 21:39
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Stanwell, like you I have looked long and hard through this collection. As Danny says it is a bit of a Curate's Egg, but if one ignores artistic merit somewhat (which I am not qualified to judge anyway) and simply goes for ones that capture a feat of memorable wartime aviation accomplishment, then numbers two and five take some beating in my view:-

GAVA Gallery Search Results - Gallery Search

outstanding airmanship I'd suggest.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 22:52
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Chugalug,
As that famous saying goes .. "I don't know much about art - but I know what I like".
By numbers 2 & 5, I assume you mean of the Horsa ones that you linked to.
The second of your choices, "Spot landing par excellence", frightens me.
I look at that and think .. "Oh no, .. This one's going to end up in tears..".

In quite a different category, one that caught my eye is titled .. "Close call".
Just as the returned Spit pilot is doing, it causes one to pause and reflect.

So many categories, so many subjects, styles and mediums .. How do you choose?
.

Last edited by Stanwell; 25th Jul 2016 at 23:15.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 07:13
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As an aside to the posts referring to the Pegasus bridge attack and dioramas.
In the Parachute Regiment museum room at IWM Duxford there are the original planning models for most of the airborne assaults in Europe in WW2.
The Pegasus model has every hedge etc and now has the position of each of the gliders. One is several fields away, but then you realise that it is right near a smaller bridge on the same road.....
mmitch.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 07:48
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Escape Kit ... my father showed me a couple of metal uniform buttons [of the plain persuasion, such as 'braces, for the attaching of', he had had in WW2. When one was placed on top of the other, there was a small dimple in the centre of the lower one that provided the pivot for the top [magnetised] button to stagger its way to pointing north. I'm not sure, but I think the 'needle' button also had a small dot of luminous paint at "N".
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 08:55
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In a Spitfire again

Nice Forces TV report on a Czech pilot flying in a Spitfire at Biggin Hill.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhxFoH4JQ7w
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