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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 29th Sep 2016, 00:12
  #9401 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks, BB, for dotting some i's for us. So it was a squadron, but unnamed or numbered, and commanded by a Flt Lt, and about to be split into three (flights?) attached to three Army Corps. Curiouser and curiouser indeed! Admittedly this operation seems to be more in keeping with the AAC, which perhaps was more the model they were following. In which case these pilots perhaps shared some of the cultural experiences of those transferred to the Glider Pilot Regiment, but at least they were flying!

Presumably he now had some ground crew to keep these admittedly basic aircraft serviceable and airworthy. Hopefully we will learn more of that soon.

Let us now bid them Bon Voyage as they set out into a very uncertain future...

Oh, added PS to assure Danny that no-one is being chastened, least of all him! I was simply acknowledging the limitations that BB is operating under in relating JD's story for him. Your inputs are as vital and informative as always, Danny. Please keep crossing the t's and if BB dots the i's we shall all end up the wiser!
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 09:17
  #9402 (permalink)  
 
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Box Brownie ... your photo at #9400. You can almost feel the climate, looking at those 5 guys!
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 10:02
  #9403 (permalink)  
 
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BB

I've 'restored' this one.

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Old 29th Sep 2016, 10:42
  #9404 (permalink)  
 
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For those wondering what the log book figures at the bottom of Mountbatten's letter.

SINGLE ENGINED DAY (1) Dual (Missing) (2) Pilot. // NIGHT(3) Dual (4) Night Pilot

MULTI ENGINED DAY (5) Dual (6) 1st Pilot (7) 2nd Pilot. // NIGHT (8) Dual (9) 1st Pilot (10) 2nd Pilot.

(11) Passenger // INSTRUMENT FLYING (12) Simulated (13) Actual.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 29th Sep 2016 at 14:22.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 10:45
  #9405 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you Ian - the wonders of photoshop! The photo of the five pilots was copied from the magazine article so I wouldn't waste time on that one. It has got to be among my slides somewhere, or John's son might have the original

MPN11 - Note Dave Proctor's hat and the peak of John's
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 11:08
  #9406 (permalink)  
 
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Danny:-
I too, wondered about John, he now seems to be a man of considerable authority
Perhaps this is the crux of the issue. I wonder just how much authority he did have. Was he formally "in command"? All this started in an Air Commodore's office in Adastral House. John has just been expelled from Canada in disgrace (having burned down his Stn Cdr's bungalow!) but he is at the top of his professional cadre. He gets the job of recruiting 30 pilots, getting them out to India, and getting the L5's out there assembled and up to Imphal. No promotion, no formal unit designation, just do it! Sounds to me like one of those Hollywood movies whereby condemned men are given the chance of reprieve and wiping the slate clean if they go on some suicidal mission to capture/kill a senior Nazi General or whatever...

One wonders if the whole unit consisted of such square pegs. The RAF wasn't going to be too bothered how they got on out there, it was an operation not only for the Army but embedded with it. Danny has already shown us that India was a far off land of which the Air Ministry knew little and perhaps cared even less (if that doesn't get a bite, what will? ;-) but at least he was flying in formal RAF units. So was this a punishment tour in which they would either sink or swim? Just speculating of course...
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 11:51
  #9407 (permalink)  
 
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Another Warburton ?
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 12:33
  #9408 (permalink)  
 
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I had a SD hat like that ... till the CO banned it from his station
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 12:40
  #9409 (permalink)  
 
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Likewise, FZ ... although my "Get rid of it" was passed on from a 4*
It was the hat I wore on my Graduation, and lasted for 2 tours before being re-assigned as my Bisley shooting hat. It served a further ~25 years in that role [intermittently in the latter stages] before being given one last outing on my last day in uniform
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 13:51
  #9410 (permalink)  
 
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I was in the VR(T) and recall at the first parade on my initial course the Flt Sgt stood in front of me and for a moment just looked. "And where have you parked your Spitfire Sir?" It's shape had improved by the morning.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 14:27
  #9411 (permalink)  
 
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Bates was the make of SD hat that everybody wanted in the sixties. They had the full crown that could be pulled down either side and with a bit of encouragement, a wet towel, could stay that shape. Mine ended up in the Borneo jungle after 1,000hrs jammed beside the gearbox of a Whirlwind.

Around the end of that decade apparently Bates got the nod from Airbox that they should only supply an orthodox version. They seemed to go out of fashion after that.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 15:33
  #9412 (permalink)  
 
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A friend of mine had a hat like that, and wore it on the AOC's Inspection. "Haven't you got another hat?", the great man asked him. "Yes, Sir, but I keep that for special occasions". He got his name taken.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 16:21
  #9413 (permalink)  
 
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What did you wear in the Great War, Daddy ?

Chugalug - and all our Merry Men (and, maybe, Gals ?), Greetings.

Thanks for the absolution, Chugalug; there are now so many hares running that I don't know where to start, so I won't just yet.

And after years of shameful neglect, I've "bitten the bullet", and sent my old u/s "Starwriter" back for major overhaul. After paying considerably more for repair than the thing cost me in the first place, it is back with me now and rarin' to go. You may recall that I had a whole lot of stuff on floppy disk about my time on the VV, so after I've done a self-refresher on operating it (how quickly we forget), I'll see if I can add anything useful here.

The maddening thing is that, although it's on a MS-DOS system, there's no USB point (were there such things in the late '60s ?) So the only way for me is to print-out from it, scan, and learn how to paste here (don't hold your breath).

To cap all, I'm having a Bad Eye Day (nothing serious, I have Good and Bad Days), so typing is slow and difficult. But I cannot sign off without reference to the marvellous pic (#9405 from ian16th). How that takes me back ! It's iust how we all were ! The Cap SD in the middle looks exactly like ours did, after being crammed into odd corners of cockpits, and repeatedly dunked in 100 octane to clean (this gave them a pleasingly greenish patina). It was only later that we adopted the Aussie "Bush" Hat.

Note the impeccable khaki woolen stockings. What did they have on their feet ? We would bave chaplis ("Jesus" sandals) or desert boots ("brothel-creepers"). Never black shoes (parade wear only). Mostly went mouldy at the bottom of your kitbag.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 30th Sep 2016 at 15:12. Reason: Typos
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 16:23
  #9414 (permalink)  
 
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Flt Lt John Dunbar DFC (RIP) Five into four won't go

Taken from two tapes

That has perhaps given you some idea of the set up. We can come back to the rest of my time in the jungle later, particularly the bayonet charge. I would like to get the story of the rescue of Nottage and the rest out there in print, not for myself but for the other pilots. They did an incredible job in dangerous situations and received virtually no recognition. A wonderful bunch of guys. When you look back on it one of the comments made in 'Wings of the phoenix', which was the RAF document, they have a picture of an L5 in it and as they say it was one of the bravest jobs of the war, because in an emergency you knew you couldn't save yourself – you had no parachute, you might just as well fly at nought feet anyway. Look at Dave Proctor who claimed to have the only air conditioned L5 in Burma because of the tears in the fabric at the bottom of his fuselage, caused by hitting branches.
By the way, he claimed to be the only British officer that was shorter than the Japanese.

Anyway, back to the rescue – this was on the 19th May 1945. I was sent for by Major Gibson
who explained that four 'bodies' were to be picked up urgently from a clearing some fifty miles behind the Japanese lines. It turned out to be a Beaufighter crew, the pilot of a Lysander and his passenger, an army major. , across the Sittang River where heavy fighting was taking place. The usual briefing took place at which the signals, comprising strips of white parachute were laid out, which were the letter X if unsafe to land, and the letter U if safe, were made known to us. I had chosen Fg Offs Dave Proctor, Jimmy Norris and Robbie Robbinson.

We flew as low as possible to the Napyawdaw area where we climbed to 2,000ft in order to spot the clearing. We were dead on track but to my consternation, the signal was a letter L. I motioned to the others to orbit while I dived down flat out across the clearing. Immediately troops emerged from the jungle and opened fire 120 miles an hour isn't very fast when you are being fired at! We can only guess that the signal was the result of bravery by a member of 163Force. We will never know. We returned to Pagu and the following day I made a solo visit, making one pass across the clearing at tree top height. There was no signal. Much to our amusement, 136 Force sent a letter apologising and saying they had been 'victim of the ungodly'.

On May 25th we were asked if we would make another attempt to rescue the four 'bodies.' It was unthinkable that they could be left to the Japanese. The following day, with an escort of 12 Spitfires, we returned. We had objected to the presence of the Spitfires, knowing that with our speed of 120mph they would alert the enemy of our presence. Luckily they turned for home some fifteen miles before the clearing was reached.

A letter U was clearly displayed, and all four of us landed safely with no room to spare. To my consternation five men emerged from the trees. A tall man, wearing a full length Burmese skirt and naked to the waste came forward. He had a huge black beard to his navel and that part of his body that was visible was a mass of jungle sores – an emaciated figure , never the less, still imposing. He demanded to know where the fifth aircraft was . It was clear we had a major problem .Each aircraft could take only one passenger, the take off run was short and there was zero wind. One person had to be left behind.

The group consisted of Wg Cdr George Nottage, CO of 177 Sqdn who had forced landed in a paddy field and his navigator, Plt Off Norman Bolitho; Sqdn Ldr Turner who had flown a Lysander with Major King of 136 Force as passenger to pick up Nottage and Bothilo, but had crash landed; and Ali Mohammed, an Indian soldier who had escaped from the Japanese.

They had a con flab and came back and said 'Ok, we'll have to leave the Indian soldier'. We loaded the four of them into the four aircraft, Nottage in mine. I was just about to start up and I noticed the Indian standing beside the plane and just looking at me with this look of despair on his face and it was obvious what he was thinking – to be left to the Japanese after all this.

BB After the war George Nottage and Norman Bolitho wrote up their account of the forced landing. Bolitho refers to the pick up 'The Lysander pilot and I got separated from the others after an encounter and when we thought we spotted them we whistled 'Col Bogey' and were reunited without any 'friendly fire' Several days were spent at the strip waiting for possible pick up by L5 light planes. At first the local Korans sat and waited with us but eventually they gave up. Finally on 26th May at about 11:00 four L5s arrived landed safely, the pilots stopped their engines and calmly lit cigarettes while the special forces people gave them their grocery 'lists'.

To be continued

Last edited by Box Brownie; 29th Sep 2016 at 19:57.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 16:31
  #9415 (permalink)  
 
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A painting by the late Ken Aitken GAvA
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
rescue1.jpg (374.2 KB, 50 views)
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 20:40
  #9416 (permalink)  
 
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What would you do, chum ?

Box Brownie (#9416),

Although I'm under a sort of "self-denying ordinance" as regards Posts on this matter, until "all is safely gathered in" I could not help putting my oar in on this:
...I noticed the Indian standing beside the plane and just looking at me with this look of despair on his face and it was obvious what he was thinking to be left to the Japanese after all this...
What would you do ? Kipling has the answer:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your God like a soldier
"

Danny.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 21:03
  #9417 (permalink)  
 
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Gentlemen,
please forgive my egoistic intrusion on this wonderful thread but I'm trying to source data regarding a close family member, perhaps some of the chaps knew him.
Ivor Terrence Chambers DFC Bar, formerly on 104, 142 and 158 sqns, survived the war, took a full commission and left the service January 11 1964 (Hullavington I believe).
If anyone has recollection of Ivor I would be greatly indebted if you would share them with me.

Once more, my apologies for hijacking the thread.

L.C.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 21:28
  #9418 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Danny42C View Post
Box Brownie (#9416),

Although I'm under a sort of "self-denying ordinance" as regards Posts on this matter, until "all is safely gathered in" I could not help putting my oar in on this:
What would you do ? Kipling has the answer:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your God like a soldier
"

Danny.
Danny, while that might be the solution, I wonder how many in such a situation would have the fortitude to do it? The will to live can at times, be quite strong!
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 09:06
  #9419 (permalink)  
 
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I passed my forage cap on to my son. His CO espied it from afar, "Where on earth did you get that hat?" (in a less than friendly tone), "it was my father's Sir" said FZjnr, "oh, that's all right then" and the matter was dropped, never to be raised again.
I'm told that the hat finally expired in the sand-pit.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 10:28
  #9420 (permalink)  
 
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Whilst I was at Labuan, Borneo during Confrontation in 1966 FEAF Air Commander came out to visit the station. We all stood to attention as he came into the crew room and he removed his hat.

Off came the crown, the peak with the scrambled egg but still wrapped around his head was the leather internal headband.

The heat and the sweat had finally rotted way the stitching.
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