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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 9th Nov 2016, 12:54
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Danny42C
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Homespun Philosopher.

Jack,

I resemble that remark !

Conrad had the best take on it:

"Rest after labour
Port after stormy seas
Death after Life
Doth greatly please"

Danny.
 
Old 9th Nov 2016, 15:02
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Much older than Conrad, Danny. Edmund Spenser, I think.
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Old 9th Nov 2016, 16:09
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Schiller,
  • Danny.
 
Old 10th Nov 2016, 15:09
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Another year passes Danny. My respects for perhaps a quiet birthday this year? Anyway raise a glass.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 15:14
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COMING ATTRACTION: the Parkhouse stories

This erudite discussion is highly commendable, gentlemen, but our flying hours seem rather low these days. Pray exit the corner, Danny, while I whet your appetites with just one of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse's remarkable stories which will be serialised when 10,000 words of recording transcripts are completed at the end of this month.

Tales of training at RAF Cranwell in 1939, memories and even photographs of POW life in Stalag Luft III, flying heavily loaded Sunderlands on the Berlin Airlift … his descriptions are utterly enthralling. In this excerpt he describes events on June 10 1940, when he arrived straight from training to replace the terrible losses of 12 Sqn, operating Fairey Battles at Souges in the Loire Valley in a vain bid to halt the German advance.




When I went down to the dispersal points on my first morning I was surprised when a rather wizened flight sergeant wearing WW1 medals and RFC wings asked me if I would air-test a Battle for him. Well, I was dying to get back in the air again so I walked to the machine with my parachute and was amazed when he came along with a flying helmet and jumped into the back.

I had never flown a Battle with bombs on before … I climbed to 5000ft and tried one or two manoeuvres including a half-hearted stall turn. Unfortunately I hadn't made any allowance for the extra 1000lb weight of the bombs and I was very surprised when the aircraft flicked over onto its back. I recovered quite quickly, took the aircraft back in to land, misjudged the approach and had to come in with an awful lot of engine on. What the poor flight sergeant in the back thought of all this I was to find out later. Anyway we landed with a thump, and we stopped before the line of aircraft at the other end of the field.

While I signed the authorisation book in the flight commander's tent I couldn't help overhearing the flight sergeant in the maintenance tent alongside. He was expostulating about 'That bloody Pilot Officer Parkhouse ... I'm never going to fly with that bugger again!' And frankly I didn't blame him, because the ammunition pan for the Vickers machine-gun had come off and hit him on the head.
Three days later, 19-year-old Rupert would be struggling to escape from the cockpit of his blazing Battle after being attacked by a dozen yellow-nosed Me109s from the dreaded JG26. And this only 14 months after leaving school.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 15:55
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One can only gape in awe at what happened to those young men in those days.

And on Sunday we WILL remember them. All of them, the fallen and the lucky ones. We only plant a badged Poppy Cross for the Air Force fallen, as all our family generations have ended up RFC/RNAS/RAF. ... and that tale reminds us of how xlose to the edge the RAF was in those dark days.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 17:24
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For those who've heard the story before, apologies! At least I've remembered that I have told it before!

One of the regular attendees at our annual 30 Squadron reunions was once a rear gunner on Fairey Battles in those early months of WWII. Somehow he had survived the suicidal daylight ops against heavy flak and Me109s alike (although now he has sadly passed on).

The frequent award of well earned medals for these operations only caused a growing irritation in him. As an airman (before the policy to make all non-commissioned aircrew SNCOs and above) he personally was denied such recognition. "The Bloody pilots and bloody navigators got the gongs, and I got none!", he complained. Once into his stride he continued with his diatribe, "The barrel of our gun would overheat as we engaged attacking fighters, which we duly reported". The solution? "Then fire them less often ", they were told!

Great heroism against overwhelming odds, which as MPN11 reminds us will be in our minds tomorrow, as well as on Sunday. We will remember them!

PS, Nice "teaser", Geriaviator. Popcorn to hand!

Last edited by Chugalug2; 10th Nov 2016 at 17:40. Reason: PS
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 18:50
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My apologies for the long radio silence. I hadn't noticed the new replies.

Danny42C - thank you very much for confirming my suppositions. It all helps to build up a picture of his last hew months. If you thought the photo was lovely, the one attached here is even more poignant when one considers that Paul was dead less than a year later.

ian16th (#9622) - what a great job you did. I'd be very grateful to have a crease-free version.

chugalug (#9624) - I don't think that Paul's logbook survived. I am in touch with his 90-year-old sister, who says she thinks of Paul almost every day, but she hasn't mentioned the logbook.
Attached Images
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 19:46
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Chugalug (#9688),

A glaring example of this scandalous "apartheid" was the action which eaned F/O Garland and Sgt Gray a VC each in an attack with a "Battle" on the Dutch bridges in 1940.

"Both Garland and Gray were awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. Leading Aircraftman Reynolds, the third member of the crew, did not receive a medal because he was not in a "decision making" position". [Wiki].

Presumably on the grounds that he did not need to be brave to get killed.

Words fail me.

Danny.
 
Old 10th Nov 2016, 19:56
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You have said it all Danny!

I have Bob Pearce, a Battle rear gunner, on tape. Once I can get to finish John Dunbar, I will put Bob's words on here.

Last edited by Box Brownie; 10th Nov 2016 at 20:12.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 20:03
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When I was a boy in Liverpool in the Twenties, Armistice Day was properly remembered. On the stroke of eleven, all city traffc stopped, the shops were silent, pedestrians stood silent on the pavements (the men bareheaded, mostly 'at attention'), not a murmer was heard for the Two Minutes Silence.

It was immensely moving (pity about the disabled ex-servicemen begging in the streets, or scratching a meagre living as a match seller, pavement artist or a busker).

Danny.

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Old 10th Nov 2016, 20:21
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Regarding Sgt Gray VC.

As an 18 year old spotty youth at college, I was intensely jealous of my best friend who had a spectacular girlfriend.

His girlfriend knew of of my interest in joining the Royal Air Force and one evening she astounded me by producing from her handbag a Victoria Cross. "This was awarded to my uncle, he was in the RAF" she said " he was killed in the war".

The girlfriend was taking it to a museum (as far as I can recall) and just had it in her handbag.

I didn't know of Sgt Thomas Gray VC then. I do now.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 16:41
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All too true, Chugalug, I'm afraid. My late father served in France with 142 Sqn (Fairey Battles) and recalled that in the pre-war RAF officers did not speak to the humble erks except through an NCO. The gunners did not meet the officer crew members until boarding, and even then they were seldom told where they were going. When (and if) they got back the gunner was expected to carry out normal duties as well as flying.

As Danny says Flying Officer Donald Garland and his observer/nav Sgt Tom Gray for their gallant attack on the Veldwezelt Bridge over the Albert Canal on May 12 1940. The rear gunner, LAC Lawrence Reynolds, got nothing. All three are buried alongside in Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 18:35
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Even in 1965 in Labuan we had groundcrew who were 'secondary winchmen'. I don't knew whether or what extra pay they got but several times I went on a winch training detail with none other than him and a filled dummy or a tin can with a spider welded on top so that the winch could snag on something.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 18:57
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I recall until relatively recently the nation remembered on Remembrance Sunday. however, in more recent time the 11 November has regained some of its true significance - any one know just when "11 November" made come back
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 19:16
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Yes I can. Under RBL pressure in the 1990s, the Silence was re-introduced. Haven't found a specific date, though

Authority: Jersey Evening Post, 11 Nov 16. I'm sure better sources exist.

http://support.britishlegion.org.uk/...minute-silence
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 10:19
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JusatinL
ian16th (#9622) - what a great job you did. I'd be very grateful to have a crease-free version.
Beat him to it - crease-free version attached.


A handsome "Southern Belle" and handsome young man.
WT
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 10:36
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Re. Flying Officer Donald Garland VC (mentioned above).

Three of his brothers also lost their lives whilst flying in WW2. Citation for his VC and photos here:
Donald Edward Garland (1918 - 1940) - Find A Grave Photos

Last edited by Warmtoast; 12th Nov 2016 at 11:51.
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 12:08
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RAF Flying VCs


Further to posts above. Whilst I was at 5FTS (RAF Thornhill) S. Rhodesia between 1951 - 1953 the airmen's billets were all named after RAF VCs. I lived in two of these billets whilst at 5 FTS, namely Reid Billet and Ward Billet. By the entrance there was a notice with details of the citation - quite a moving experience as most flying VCs were awarded to airmen who'd lost their life.


Reid Billet at 5 FTS in 1952.





Billet interior - just before the RATG closed in 1953 - lots of empty beds as personnel were posted home


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Old 12th Nov 2016, 12:44
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Danny et al,

The LAA AGM, which I recently braved the elements to fly into at Sywell, was graced by a WWII Lancaster pilot's address.
He related his RAF experiences through training in Canada to bombing raids and how the complement of the whole crew as a team was essential to help survival.

Luckily the LAA made a video now on-line, it lasts over an hour and all spoken from a standing position without notes.
Fascinating to be there and today of all days to re-listen.

Welcome to the Light Aircraft Association

mike hallam.
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