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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 Aug 2016, 08:45
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Fantome - and a DFC to boot ISTR. He was skipper of a Dakota at Arnhem too
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Old 10th Aug 2016, 08:46
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MPN11 - "Snap"...
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Old 10th Aug 2016, 10:37
  #9103 (permalink)  
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Wander00,

And M.A. (Cantab) to boot. Had been a chorister at St.Paul's.
 
Old 10th Aug 2016, 11:29
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Danny, did not know that bit, thanks
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Old 10th Aug 2016, 17:51
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Back now after a couple of weeks in La France profonde, so here's the final part of my father's story.

As the rapid Soviet advance approached Sagan in January 1945 the Germans marched the prisoners westward; with some notice of this my father had made a sledge. My father was one of the older officers, at 45, and conditions on the march were very bad; it was mid-winter and one of the younger ones, Tony Ingram, was on the point of just lying down in the snow and waiting to be shot, but my father repeatedly urged him on and for many years after the War we received a Christmas card from him. Prisoners were housed in barns and disused factories overnight; in one of the few letters we received after this my father mentioned that as they were marched through villages this was the first time he had seen any children for several years.
He made some handwritten notes on this, perhaps for a book that was never written; I’ve located some of the villages he mentions, a bit tricky as they are now mostly in Poland and the names have changed but one or two don’t seem on a logical route to Luckenwalde.
“28 Jan. 1945 Left Sagan 6 a.m.
28 Jan. Arrived Hellbau at dusk
29 Jan. Lay up in big school at Hellbau (central heating, electric light)
30 Jan. Marched to Sichdichfür, billeted in church (v. cold, we were wet with snow)
31 Jan. Marched to Muskau, billeted in glass and china factory, warm and dry
1 Feb. Lay up all day in factory; stayed night
2 Feb. Marched to Steinau; magnificent sunset en route. Billeted in barn. Good straw to lie on, slept well.
3 Feb. Marched to panzer barracks at Spremberg. Entrained at dusk for Luckenwalde
4 Feb. Arrived Luckenwalde at dusk”
After they reached Stalag IIIA at Luckenwalde we got very few letters from that camp, the last being dated March 25th, 1945; presumably the chaotic conditions meant that PoW mail was a pretty low priority. His few letters from Jan. 11th onwards were received around a year later and stamped “Recovered PoW Mail from Europe Recently Received by British P.O”. We also received a couple of my mother’s letters to my father, sent in late 1944; they were stamped “This letter formed part of undelivered mails which fell into the hands of the Allied forces in Germany. It is undeliverable as addressed, and is therefore returned to you”.
Stalag IIIA had held prisoners from a number of nations and these included the USSR; one of my father’s watercolours was of a sumptuously decorated Russian Orthodox church that Soviet prisoners had created from one of the huts. In view of the fact that some sections of Stalag IIIA had been used earlier in the War during attempts by the Germans to recruit units formed of Allied prisoners I wonder whether improved conditions had been provided for those the Germans had hoped to ‘turn’.
In mid-April the Soviet army liberated the camp; my father’s sketchbooks included drawings of Soviet soldiers and he mentioned that there were several women in the unit. There were problems with immediate repatriation, though, and by May 7th the prisoners were still confined to camp. For some reason at home we were concerned that they might be shipped home via Odessa. Food rations were inadequate and as well as the 16,000 prisoners of mixed nationality there was an influx of Italian refugees. I have the letter from the Senior British Officer to the Russian Commandant for Repatriation outlining the problems; in it he demands immediate repatriation and resigns his responsibility for all but the British prisoners. Eventually my father, along with other RAF prisoners, was moved to Halle airfield, from which he was flown in a USAAF C-47 to Cosford, where he was de-loused, provided with a de-mob suit and from which he finally came back to my mother and me, after five and a half years absence.
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Old 10th Aug 2016, 21:53
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Apropos of nothing at all, I was thinking how Danny's many hearty and heart-felt contributions to this forum are rendered singularly insightful by virtue of his way with words, his skill at putting all his thought down in a way that might prompt a passing comparison with writers such as Steinbeck or Hemingway; roughly hewn as the former's composition may be, in comparison with the polished final product of the masters.
With that in mind, I was struck by a letter I recently received from old mate, who is laid up for a while, but putting his time to good use churning out letters to friends and relations.
(And there is not much of that goes on anymore.) Here is an extract , with his permission -

I do not need to go off to camp in a dessert for forty days and forty nights in order to find revelations as to the true nature of anything. Already, without getting out of bed, I am clear enough in the head that my life, at root a solitary existence as Anne Morrow Lindbergh compellingly says in 'Gift From the Sea', is mapped out in all ways that matter.
With all that for me has gone before badly in close relationships with women, who, with one possible exception, in one way or another helped cause the milk to sour, or were in some sense fellow agents to eventual disappointment, it is now as though I am living a blessed and unforetold time warp, imbued I have to say, as a fellow aviator, with thoughts of high in the sunlit silence, above and beyond the surly bonds of earth.
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Old 10th Aug 2016, 23:11
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Again, I find no reason to argue with you, Fantome.
Danny does have that knack of stringing two words together, doesn't he?
We are all the better for having the opportunity to take in his very clear recollections and profound observations.
Now, if only...
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Old 11th Aug 2016, 05:00
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well old chasp . .methinks you state the obvious of which I too am many times guilty. What this forum does allow is a frank disclosure of certain beliefs and principles and life lessons that without the advance of IT would leave us totally in the dark in this instance about this wonderful bloke on the other side of the world musing away (and cursing) at his keyboard. . We needs must be grateful to him and to his devoted daughter. Including here of course are those other fountains of fascinating recall who have come aboard.

As mentioned before, this prompts a recall of the posts of a former Australian army chopper pilot turned soldier of fortune spraying for budworm in North America in beaten up old bombers when not ferrying fish and lobsters from Greenland.
His real name was Les but he went by the nom de plume of 'Duke Elegant'.
In his final weeks, about to call it quits with the cancer that plagued his final year he continued to post to his attentive, affectionate sharers on PPRuNe. His writing style was as good as the best encountered here. And his heart was as big as they get.

And so it goes.
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Old 11th Aug 2016, 07:01
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Old Comrades

We crossed the bridge at Prettin with no incident. The road was now one continuous stream of refugees and we learned that Falkenberg had been cleared by 8.30 on Sunday evening. Of course, we found that Dommitsch was not in our hands and we got the usual story that our troops were 15 or 20 kms up the road. We each had a good wash, 2 or 3 cups of tea and a smoke, at a factory where 15 of our boys had been working as POWs. They made us very welcome.

At about 4.15pm the people of Dommitsch started to evacuate also! The news was that Annaberg had been taken by the Russians at 4am, although we had been within 7 miles of it during the day and had noted nothing unusual. The trouble was that there was no communication even between villages, and there had been none for a week, owing to bombing. Every town and village was isolated. We decided after this news to start out for Bitterfeld immediately, a place we knew for certain was in Allied hands since the information was contained in one of their dropped leaflets. We set out at 4.45pm to do about 40-50 kilometres intending, if not stopped, to walk after dark until we arrived there.

We kept to the road and made extremely good time, passing soldiers, "volksturm" and military police without question until we finally arrived at the village of Aufhausen, 7 kilometres from Duben, where Allied troops were supposed to be and another 12-15 kilometres from Bitterfeld where Allied troops were certain to be. At this village we were stopped by a military policeman and taken to a German officer,who treated us very well after listening to our lies about "looking for our Kommando", and then told us that "we couldn't walk any further tonight". He detailed a man to see that we were given beds, blankets etc, and we were taken to the local P.O.W. cell, in the care of two young women who stood in the cell doorway talking for a good half-an-hour when we were waiting to go to bed, being dog-tired. They told us that the guard would come for us in the morning and let us go free so that we could walk to our own lines. They said it was all arranged, but I couldn't believe it until it happened. We were supplied incidentally, with about 2 pounds of good farm bread and a 2 pound tin of meat.

At 9a.m. on Tuesday the local policeman came to our cell, told us that the German soldiers had gone and said that we had better get on our way to Duben, 7 kilometres away. We left the place with a great deal of joy and relief and had walked a couple of kilometres when, rounding a bend in the road, we had another surprise meeting with German troops. We had walked right into a large group of them, obviously stopped for a rest. Many were sitting or lying in the grass at the side of the road, while others were standing about talking to each other. Taking a deep and collective breath, we walked on past the soldiers, occasionally nodding and smiling at them on each side of the road and saying "Guden tag!" (Good day to you), to which some of them replied. We hoped they would think we were Frenchmen or other foreign workers, in view of our assorted bits of uniform and civvy clothes.

We reached Duben at 12.30, to find to our joy that it was occupied by the Americans, who had advanced and taken over that morning. We were free! We nearly pumped the arm off the first Yankee soldier that we saw. Arriving in Duben was an adventure by itself! After interrogation to ensure that we were not infiltrators or wanted refugees on the run, I was escorted around the town by a Captain. He asked me if I could ride. Lying cheerfully, I assured him that I could. He provided me with a white horse, and accompanying me on a brown one, we rode around at a gentle speed. At a large bulk store, a very frightened young woman, trying to curry favour I think, asked if there was anything I wanted in the warehouse. Desperately in need of decent footwear, I pointed to my worn boots, soles and heels flapping away from the uppers. She took me to the footwear section, and I selected a reasonable pair of new shoes which I put on and wore immediately.

Back in the centre of town, two Englishmen who had been prisoners for 5 years, vented a little of their pent-up hatred on some captured German officers, making them turn out their pockets, taking anything of value and telling them that they were going to be shot or sent to Siberia. My mates helped out with the Yanks, on guard duty to prevent people from leaving the town, and I stayed in the Town Hall and watched some German prisoners arriving. At about 5pm, in the woods not far away, an American was shot during a skirmish and as they had arrived in Duben only as an advance party, the Colonel decided to evacuate the town for the night.

Before night fell, we crossed the River Mulde by crawling and sliding across the remains of the bridge. It was quite a wide river with fast-flowing water, and there was no other way to cross except by clambering over the shattered masonry and ironwork. The next morning we found that the Germans had advanced from the surrounding wooded country and re-taken the town. We were driven in 1.5 ton trucks at great speed to an aerodrome near Delitsch and put into a large hall to sleep for the night, with full-sized blankets and a box of K-rations each, containing meat, biscuits, chocolate, coffee, cigarettes etc. The American Lieutenant actually apologised for the poor rations. We thought we were living on the fat of the land!
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Old 11th Aug 2016, 09:41
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Well done, Walter! You and your colleagues have made it, but only by the skin of your teeth. The ebb and flow of the front line enables you to catch the high tide of it at Duben before it gathers you up and retreats with you. You are free at last, nestling under US Army blankets and clutching US Army K rations at an airfield near Delitzsch.

All this thanks to the self confidence and determination of the young to march out through enemy lines to freedom. This journey started with your decision to swap your identity with a soldier and hence join his work party. It has now paid off, proving that the simplest of plans are usually the best!
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Old 11th Aug 2016, 10:52
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Back to dear old Blighty !

Walter,

What a fitting conclusion to a wonderful story ! So they didn't get you on the "Long March" after all - it shows what determination and native cunning can do in the tightest of corners. On the other hand, I wonder what happened to your alter ego, who'd been enjoying a less strenuous captivity in an Oflag, when he was roped into this huge "crocodile" of potntial hostages which the Germans wanted to hold onto at all costs ? Of course, their guards wanted to get away from the advancing Russians as fast and as far as they could. Even as late as '54, you could make a German turn pale by muttering "Komm't Russki" !

One phrase of your story could stand for all the rest:
...At a large bulk store, a very frightened young woman, trying to curry favour I think,..
How attitudes had changed ! They couldn't do enough for you now, could they ? - they could see which side their bread was buttered.

I remember the "K" Ration very well. Didn't they have a couple of sheets of toilet paper inside, too - or am I recycling an old folk memory ? Would sustain life well enough, but didn't fill the belly.

Now, it's England, Home and Beauty - except that the Yanks had got there first (only joking!)

This cannot be the End. What's next ?

Danny.

PS: Got this all ready for Post, little bell rang in head, saved it. Copy and Paste next, gloating gremlin struck -- Oh woe, oh wiiloway wailee ! - all gone. Fearfully opened File again, all there. Gremlin's knavish trick frustrated; he departs, rending garments and gnashing teeth - but he'll be back !...D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 11th Aug 2016 at 11:10. Reason: Add PS.
 
Old 11th Aug 2016, 11:19
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K ration review. The guy is a bit of a space cadet but he keeps it entertaining

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Old 11th Aug 2016, 11:27
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
PS: Got this all ready for Post, little bell rang in head, saved it. Copy and Paste next, gloating gremlin struck -- Oh woe, oh wiiloway wailee ! - all gone. Fearfully opened File again, all there. Gremlin's knavish trick frustrated; he departs, rending garments and gnashing teeth - but he'll be back !...D.
Well done, mate!
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Old 11th Aug 2016, 14:38
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Originally Posted by Warmtoast
motohakone



Please send me your email address (by private message if necessary - box on top right of page), and I'll see what I can do.


WT
Warmtoast, please use this (single-use) address: email address deleted
MH

Last edited by motohakone; 13th Aug 2016 at 09:51. Reason: Avoid getting spam mails
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Old 11th Aug 2016, 23:10
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Danny, a little bit off topic, but do you use a gmail account for your email ?

If you do, then you automatically have google docs, which gives you (what is for all intents and purposes) a notepad that lives in the cloud and saves itself automatically after every word. We use this feature extensively in my day job.

If you do have gmail, drop me a PM or mail (however it works here) and I'll happily describe in detail what I'm going on about. It is genuinely very simple and intuitive, but you need a gmail account.
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Old 12th Aug 2016, 18:26
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Danny, have replied to your PM.
Probably best to drop to email, I've sent an address over !
cheers, Dave Styles.
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Old 12th Aug 2016, 20:56
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Motohakone


Email sent
WT
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 07:25
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In Remembrance of the Surrender of Japan 14th August 1945, Forces War Records are releasing ALL their POW collections free until midnight 15th August (UK local time):-

Was your ancestor a Prisoner of War during WW2? Would you like to know more about when and where he was held and what happened to him?

In remembrance of the surrender of Japan on 14th August 1945, we’re releasing our POW collections (two of which you won’t find anywhere else online). The following record collections will be completely FREE to search from today until 23:59 on 15th August. •Imperial Prisoners of War Held in Japan (Exclusive to Forces War Records)
•Korea – British Army Prisoners of War
•Imperial Prisoners of War Held in Italy (Exclusive to Forces War Records)
•Prisoners of War of the British Empire Held in Germany
Don’t miss this - offer ends 23:59 15th August
https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk...ee_pow_records

There are also free publications available for download, including POWs The Inside Story, Battle of Britain 1940, and D-Day The Full Story. Links are also available for survivors or NoK to download Service Records directly from the MOD (charges apply for NoK).
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 08:10
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#9103 --
MPN11 - "Snap"...
it's a fine thing to think of complex card games like 'Snap'.
and to think of Hercules Grytpype-Thynne presenting in exchange his business card . . . always an outrageous model of suave . .
the exchange went something like My card . . MY card. . . MY card . . .MY CARD --SNAP

(and if any cavilling objector says whaatt?? be it known the military link is that this gag was written by one time Gunner Milligan (aka Spike Milligna - the well known typographical error) )
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 08:34
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Chugalug . .. . does this include Australian POWs imprisoned by the Japanese? If so I wonder if these two deceased RAAF veterans are listed? Both were FLT LT in the RAAF . both shot down in their Catalina in January 1942 near Rabual.
FLT LT Geoffrey Metzler and FLT LT Robert Thompson. Both were imprisoned in Japan for the duration of the war. Geoff Metzler gave a long interview with an oral historian two years before his death in 2007. It was not widely circulated but I have a copy of the transcript. It has some graphic descriptions including the detail of being shot down by carrier born Jap fighters. Like Danny, Geoff Metzler had a sharp and sometimes waspish sense of humour. In the camp and after the war he was friends with a Dutch Catalina skipper . Wym Oyins. Geoff said how they were closer than brothers.. On tape Geoff had some incisive and critical remarks to make about a certain senior officer who was otherwise highly regarded in the public eye. (His actual words were "The bull****ting little bastard . ..I could take him!" )
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