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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 2nd Aug 2016, 22:12
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T'was not only the local natives that the Coastwatchers had to be concerned with.

At one point, our esteemed Australian Broadcasting Commission's radio news reported on a Japanese raid being successfully intercepted following information received from "a coastwatcher on Bougainville".

Sadly, the censors did not pick it up before broadcast and the next (and last) transmission from the poor chap was that the Japs were hunting him with dogs.
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Old 2nd Aug 2016, 22:22
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ian16th (#9040)
...When in India/Burma did you ever come across the battalion of the Green Howards that was out there?...
W
Sorry, but no. Our strips were always 40-50 miles back from the fighting, so we never came into contact.

When I was at Thornaby, my Tech/Radar was Flt Lt Bob Schroder. He had the Adj's OMQ at the Green Howards Territorial Battalion Drill Hall in Middlesbrough (their Adj was single and lived in the Mess). We only met them at Mess Balls and the like.

Danny.
 
Old 3rd Aug 2016, 12:23
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C-S,bit like that twit of a Defence Sec. blabbing on TV as to why the Argy bombs didn`t explode..
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Old 3rd Aug 2016, 16:07
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CoodaShooda (#9042),
...T'was not only the local natives that the Coastwatchers had to be concerned with...,our esteemed Australian Broadcasting Commission's radio news reported on a Japanese raid being successfully intercepted following information received from "a coastwatcher on Bougainville" ....Sadly, the censors did not pick it up before broadcast and the next (and last) transmission from the poor chap was that the Japs were hunting him with dogs...
There was a similar incident in the First Gulf War: [Wiki] sets the stage:
...Iraq; this was the first of two attacks by 1 Battalion 5th Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry Division. It was a feint attack, designed to make the Iraqis think that a Coalition invasion would take place from the south. The Iraqis fiercely resisted, and the Americans eventually withdrew as planned back into the Wadi Al-Batin................ This attack led the way for the XVIII Airborne Corps to sweep around behind the 1st Cav and attack Iraqi forces to the west...
One of the US Radio networks inanely went on air with sufficient detail of the US build-up in the West to alert any half-witted Intelligence Officer. Luckily they did not pick it up, and the rest you know.

The loquacity of the newsdesks (for the newsreaders are mere talking heads) is only matched by their naivety. Two (?) years ago, BBC "Look North", found a human-interest item in the shape of an old Bomber Command "veteran", a three-toured Wing Commander no less, aged 86. Reporters are usually accurate about ages. Simple arithmetic shows the "veteran" to be 18 when the war ended in 1945.

This did not strike the BBC as anything odd; they (I do hope it was not "Project Propeller") bought him a ride (currently 95) from the Teesside Flying Club. It was his demeanour in the aircraft which struck me as as suspect. He would not touch the (dual) controls, but kept his hands primly folded in his lap. Invited by the nice young Instructor to "have a go", he murmered "Better not". Well, I ask you ?

I subsequently exchanged PMs with a member who has access to the 1945 Air Force List. No trace.

Of course this willingness to take things at face value can be exploited. I still chuckle over a succesful hoax planted on the local radio station at San Franciso (or was it Los Angeles ?) some years ago. A Chinese cargo jet had overshot the runway at the airport, no casualties, not much damage. A minute or two before the evening news was due to go out, the newsdesk got a call from a member of the public: would they like the names of the crew ? News was scarce, yes they would. They copied it down without realising, flagged "breaking news", I suppose, and passed it through. It read:

Pilot 1: Sum Ting Wong

Pilot 2: Wee Tu Hi

Pilot 3: Ho Lee Kow

Pilot 4: Bang Dong Ow


The luckless girl on the mike read it out in all innocence.

(San Fran/LA was convulsed for hours, the station had to issue a retraction).

Danny.
 
Old 4th Aug 2016, 00:30
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Excellent post, Danny.
I, too, have been watching the trend where the 'consumers' really want to believe anything they're told.
We used to think it was a joke when someone said .. 'It must be true - I read it in the newspaper'.
These days, they're serious - even Wikipedia, fer gawsake. If it was published in the gossip column of the 'Grong-Grong Poultry Farmers Gazette', it can be
cited as a reliable source.

Some might have heard of the 'Cargo Cult' amongst many of the tribesmen in New Guinea.
That is, any aeroplane (balus) seen flying in the sky, if it could be brought to ground, would deliver unlimited wealth and happiness to all.
Kinda like what you were talking about, above.

I'm also shamed to admit that I have a friend (not himself an aviator, I hasten to add) who becomes an authority on air-crash investigations - because ..
he'd watched it on television.
Oh dear.
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Old 4th Aug 2016, 08:15
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Old 4th Aug 2016, 08:50
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Media, that is the form in which information is published, has always been beguiling in its own right. That was certainly the case when computerised loadsheets appeared on the scene. Prior to that the hand written ones had scope for corrections so that "all work must be shown". Hence one could spot a problem offering by its many amendments and thus peruse it with ever greater care.

All that was changed by the "believe me, just see how beautifully tabulated is my printout" replacement that only showed AL5 or whatever. You believed it at your peril, and it was important to quickly grasp the GIGO concept (garbage in equals garbage out). The blunders still abounded, it was that they were less obvious and hence the more deadly.

Caveat Emptor!
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Old 4th Aug 2016, 10:33
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
One of the US Radio networks inanely went on air with sufficient detail of the US build-up in the West to alert any half-witted Intelligence Officer. Luckily they did not pick it up, and the rest you know.
As an aside, an Iraqi officer of my acquaintance (from an ACSC some years ago; he flew Mig-21s/F-7s during the 1991 war) said he was told that there were so many talking heads pontificating on what the coalition was going to do that the deluge of information made the western media a rather less useful source than might have been hoped.

Saddam wasn't quite able to compute that George HW Bush didn't have the sort of control that the Iraqis did over their media and thus assumed that information that was value must have been planted as a deception measure and could be ignored. This then changed to a view that the real information must be out there somewhere, but thanks to a mixture of good luck, the actual deception plan and a failure by Iraqi intelligence to guess which media report was correct, the leak did no damage - except, if I remember General de la Billiere's book correctly, to the career of the officer who blabbed to the press.
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Old 4th Aug 2016, 11:21
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Hempy,

Thanks for the clip (I howled with laughter !) But must say that my "not much damage" is rather wide of the mark !

Danny.
 
Old 4th Aug 2016, 13:22
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Oh, what a tangled web we weave.............

We all readily believe what we want to believe, and con-merchants the world over take full advantage of the fact. We know that "if it sounds too good to be true", it isn't true - but we still subscribe after reading the glowing prospectus, or buy the useless "snake-oil". Fact is, we've not evolved into Homo Sapiens yet !

The problem must be compounded when the double-bluff of military counter-Intelligence is concerned. We seem to be particularly good at it - we had convinced, with spurious radio transmissions, General Galtieri and his merry men that there were two hunter-killer atomic submarines on the loose in the area. So when the Belgrano was torpedoed, the carrier Veinticinco de Mayo put about and fled back to port for fear of the mythical second one.

And I underdstand that German Intelligence was succesfully bamboozled, with lots of rubber inflatable tanks, guns and other armour, and fake radio traffic, into believing that the 1944 invasion was coming across the pas de Calais, and not to Normandy, in spite of all indications to the contrary.

The vaunted "West Wall" had not been fully completed to the West (in part due to a huge civil engineering effort having to be diverted to repair damage to the Dams in 1943), so the invasion force established itself ashore. The bulk of the Panzers were in the Calais area: it has been estimated it would need 70 trains a day over the French railway system to get them across to Normandy in time and in sufficient numbers to throw us back into the sea.

But Bomber Command had been diverted for several weeks (in spite of Harris's furious protestations) to "interdict" the railways of Northern France. They managed only six trains per day on the day. Again, we know the rest.

(All this was the popular belief at the time, I have not tried to verify it).

Danny.
 
Old 4th Aug 2016, 22:55
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pulse1 (#305),
...there was still some vestiges of the 'old order' when I spent time there in the 1980s...

In 1979 I spent a month in Chennai (it was Madras at the time) commissioning a factory. The security guard at the door was dressed in a pseudo Indian Army uniform and gave me and my UK team a cracking salute every morning...
He would be a "chowkidar" (watchman, guard) Might very well have been a soldier. If an old soldier, might remember times when all Sahibs were saluted when addressed.

Danny.
 
Old 4th Aug 2016, 23:05
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Danny has got his copy of "Fly Past" at last, and is going to work on it.

Taster: Top Left on p.28 the lad himself appears, he is the gormless looking one about to be decapitated by the blade. To his right is Reg Duncan (RCAF), look out for his dog "Spunky" peeping out on his right.

Much more later.

Danny.
 
Old 5th Aug 2016, 13:38
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Danny

I bought FlyPast for the first time in years, principally to read the VV article and hopefully to see if you were mentioned.

What a bonus, there you are! I imagine the photograph must have brought back many memories for you, happy ones I hope!

I scanned the photo with a magnifying glass to see if a young "Jolly" Jack Huntington was there, not with much hope as you have said in a previous post that you could not recall the name. The closest resemblance is the young man kneeling at extreme left of the front row. Chugalug knew Jack too in his Hercules days and also I guess on the Hastings, I wonder if he has had a dekko at the photo?

According to the author of 'Flat out', the 30 Sqn history, Jack served on the Arakan front and flew both VVs and Spitfires. As I recalled once before, he showed me a photo of himself ' As a handsome young bastard ' ( His words ) in front IIRC of a Spitfire.
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Old 5th Aug 2016, 14:22
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Brian 48nav,

Next Post will have names of five of the six pilots (not including Flt Cmdr perched on top) standing on wing. Cannot put a name to the one far left. If he not your man, then might have been on "B" Flight - or not on photo for some reason - "Huntington" still rings no bells, though.

Will try a root around on BHARAT RAKSHAK (when I can !). I know they had a list of all the aircrew on 8 Squadron, you could pick out the influx of chaps posted in from the RAF Sqdns as they all come in around the same time (Nov, '43).

"Jagan" might help if he is on line and on frequency.

Danny.
 
Old 5th Aug 2016, 17:22
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Danny

On my bookshelves I have 'The Flying Camels', a history of 45 Sqn - it has 26 pages of their time with VVs. It's quite a weighty tome with 536 pages altogether!

No mention of Jack Huntington in that or the 84 Sqn history that I have - I guess that just leaves 82 Sqn or the 2 IAF Sqns.
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Old 5th Aug 2016, 17:35
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B48N and Danny, I'm afraid I haven't seen the pic as I do not have the FlyPast mag. I'll certainly try to locate a copy, but doubt if I'll be any more able than Brian to identify "young man kneeling, front row, extreme left". Such was the format of the orders of O i/c riot squad to the men with one up the spout when all else had failed, including unfurling the banner saying in the appropriate language(s), "Disperse, or we fire", and the high speed reading of the riot act by a local magistrate. But I digress...

Having attended various 50th anniversary reunions I can only say that in my experience men's features in particular change considerably, to the extent that I have had to apologise to some and asked if they might identify themselves. Their demeanour though does not. The terribly intense ones still are, as are the laid back ones. Would you say that you are easily recognisable still in the picture, Danny?

I think we've been round this block before, haven't we Brian? I certainly knew that as a young man Jack had flown Spits in Burma, but it was (and still is) news to me that he had flown the Vengeance. If he had mentioned the one you'd have thought he would have mentioned the other, particularly as it was an RAF steed used operationally only in that theatre. Might be worth checking back with the author of Flat Out as to how that info was come by...

Oh, and yes, I certainly knew Jack on the Hastings! I was one of his many apprentices, clambering aboard 4 or 5 at a time carrying a pie and a coke for him if on the lunch time crew change outside the 48 Sqn HQ for the afternoon shift of CPT. He of course stayed aboard all day.They broke the mould...
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Old 5th Aug 2016, 19:07
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Chugalug (#9057),
... Would you say that you are easily recognisable still in the picture, Danny?...
Most certainly not ! (pitiful, bald, skeletal shadow of former self).

The pic in question must be from 110's ORB. In my logbook I have a copy about 2/3 size. Would willingly scan and paste on Post if only I could. Perhaps one of our experts could do that for the army of "Pilot's Brevet" fans - but do not know what the copyright position is. (May well be Crown Copyright if from F.540, as we surmise).

If your local newsagents prove broken reeds (make sure you order the SEPTEMBER number), "pocketmags" have/had a digital copy to read on laptop @ 3.99. If you try them, the Best of British Luck to you !

Danny.
 
Old 5th Aug 2016, 20:28
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Oh, borrocks to copyright [within limits]. This is THE Thread, it's HISTORY, ... "The Public should be told", etc. etc.
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Old 6th Aug 2016, 05:35
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Old Comrades

Winter was extremely cold. We were able to exist on our food parcels, sometimes reduced to one parcel each week between two men, and occasional stolen vegetables which we filched from railway wagons broken open when we could get away from the watchful guards. Life was made bearable by the news, frequently received, of the big advances by the Allies in France and by the Russians on the eastern front. We took great delight in jeering at the Germans, guards included, and telling them that they would soon be conquered by our forces.

The calls for "einsatz" became more frequent. Always in the early hours of the morning we were called out to go to the railway marshalling yards of distant cities and towns, there to fill in gaping craters and bomb holes made by our air forces on the previous day or night, and to repair the rail lines. Meantime we carried on our task of building a new railway line on the outskirts of Falkenberg. Later, we were engaged in "coaling-up" railway wagons and engines for the German war machine.

Gradually the war came closer, and we were filled with hope that we would not long remain enforced guests of the Germans. We received frequent news by way of radio (usually given to us by Frenchmen) and from leaflets dropped by our own air forces during bombing missions. In between our work, carried out in shifts throughout the 24 hours, we frequently had to take shelter in nearby woods. On one such occasion, having dug bolt-holes in which to shelter, we suffered the effects of a massive American raid on Falkenberg rail yards. There were about 125 aircraft involved, and the sight and sounds of the hundreds of bombs whistling down, followed by explosions of earthquake proportions, was among the worst minutes of my life.

An hour after the bombers departed, fighter planes arrived to strafe the goods yards, but when we judged it safe to do so, we went into the area to look for food among the railway trucks. Many others had the same idea, and we were mixed up with prisoners of various nationalities and with German civilians. We helped ourselves to a wooden crate of 20 dozen eggs and several large tins of meat.

George, Fred and I stayed hiding in our bolt-hole in the woods when it came time to be escorted back to our barracks, and we were finally on the run once more. We picked up three companions. One was a Yank soldier not known to us before, and another was "Flash" Gordon, a South African who had been in our working camp. When darkness fell we slept the first night among bales of straw in a large barn. Fires were burning in the two goods yards, and everywhere was the stillness of desolation.

At 6a.m. we left the barn and returned to the woods. We had an icy wash under a pump at a farm nearby, and then took a walk to the farther end of the goods yard. 'Planes had returned to circle around the bombed railway, and bombing was in progress not very far off. We successfully passed Kolsa and Rehfeld, and were nearly rounded up when we were discovered by a guard making tea at a deserted house in the woods. However, we got away with it by pretending we were on our way back to our barracks.

We trekked past Rehfeld and went about 2 kms along the railway towards Beilrode. By this time, it had been raining hard for an hour and we were all soaked, especially the Yank who had no greatcoat. Everywhere there was an uncanny silence and we were afraid we should stumble any moment on gun positions or infantry. The rumble of artillery could be heard in the distance. Our friend Fred Grinham surprised me by deciding to go ahead at a faster rate than George could manage, he having twisted his ankle some way back. Pressing on with the Yank and another soldier, Fred quickly disappeared in the distance.

We forced the door of a workers small railway hut and decided to stay the night, as it contained a stove, fuel and a table. George, who had been brooding for a long time, suddenly got to his feet and announced that he was going back. I believe he expected to walk right over to our lines in the first afternoon. He was probably thinking too, of the motherly old ladies he had been comforting after the bombing. So we saw George off, now reducing our party to three.

We ate, made and drank tea, and prepared to settle down on the wooden floor at dusk. It was beautifully warm at first, but during the night I awoke cold and stiff. I was very pleased when dawn broke and we could make a move.Not far away we found evidence of a hasty move by German troops in the woods, in broken branches, tyre tracks and, lying on the ground, a new and almost complete white loaf of bread, which went into our haversack store.

We walked until we were south of Beilrode, at the edge of a wood, and looking west we could see Torgau (a large military training town in Central Germany). We met a Russian who told us that Torgau had not fallen, but our troops were 15-20 kms behind it, and also about 20 kms north of the town at a place called Dommitsch. By this time it was raining once more, so we made our way across the fields to a barn by the side of the railway, and just outside Beilrode. We were lucky. The barn contained straw and outside was a good supply of rainwater. So once again we had tea, fried eggs and meat, after much energetic blowing to keep the embers glowing. We did not have such a good night as we expected as there were large chinks in the walls of the barn and the wind found its way right through the straw to us.

Early on Monday morning we set off again, this time deciding to make for Prettin, 15-20kms north of Torgau, on the River Elbe and directly opposite Dommitsch. On the way we met crowds of refugees with oxcarts, handcarts, bicycles and packs, all on their way to the other side of the Elbe from fear of the advancing Russians (the "Red Army"). During the course of the morning we had a sudden surprise. About to leave the safety of a wooded area to cross a country road, we almost ran into the head of a column of German soldiers who were marching past. Quickly diving into a dry ditch at the side of the road, we watched as all kinds of military passed along. Apart from many marching troops, there were armoured cars, batteries of guns and transport vehicles. It seemed like the whole of the German Army was passing by only a few feet from us. Apart from the clatter of boots and the sounds of the motor vehicles there was not a sound from the men.

We were obliged to stay in our ditch for one and a half hours to watch this procession, which was probably a wholesale retreat but there was no way we could find out, nor did we want to know at that time! I was very glad that there was no water in the ditch.
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Old 6th Aug 2016, 06:25
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Hello Chugalug,
After all these years, I don't regret the action I took. I would have been better off if I had used an "escape committee" plan, but can't find evidence that those committees existed only in officer camps. Although I was condemned to working hard on the railways, It's likely that I kept in better health than I would have been in the Stalag. However, I'd hate to do it all again!
Walter.
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