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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 12th Nov 2016, 14:52
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This link is easier:-

https://youtu.be/OrKNK3Ev3Rw

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Old 12th Nov 2016, 21:15
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mikehallam (#9701),

Just watched it through, am sitting stunned and humble. When I think of what these chaps did, and contrast it with my own largely risk-free 'operations', there is nothing I can usefully say. You youngsters, look at what your Grandfathers went through, and say "thank you".

My (Auxiliary) C.O. ('51-'54), on 3608 Fighter Control Unit, Wg Cdr David Brown, was on 101 Squadron. An Air Gunner, never knew what he did - but it earned him a DSO. Of course, the iron rule was/is: "Never ask, never tell", he was several years older than I, so must surely be dead, will never know now.

And what a marvellous old chap ! (please, LAA, can you point him in our direction ?) Cannot be more than 2-3 years younger than I, confident on his feet for more than an hour and speaking fluently without notes. (I cannot stay upright [with two sticks] for more than 5 mins). For that matter, D. of E. same age as myself, still getting around all right.

Mike, you have done us all a service, and I thank you (and the LAA) for it . Everybody who has not seen this must do so (your first link "Welome to the Light Aircraft Association" worked fine for me, but you might have to wait a bit for it to come up).

Danny.
 
Old 12th Nov 2016, 23:03
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Of course, the iron rule was/is: "Never ask, never tell", he was several years older than I, so must surely be dead, will never know now. - Danny

A wee shoogle with Google brings up several very interesting, and illustrated, mentions of the man himself, Danny, including

RAF Log Book (Brown DSO)

and others you will almost certainly consider to be well worth a shufti.

Jack
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Old 13th Nov 2016, 13:20
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Jack,

Thank you again for extending my horizons (you're never too old to learn). Thought Dave's citation rather bland, suspect it conceals a much larger, "hush-hush" story, never to be told. And that meticulously written logbook - puts mine to shame !

But three Tours ! Listen to Rusty Waumann's account of just one Tour - and think what three meant. From memory, I think it was reckoned that you had a 42% chance of surviving one tour, 17% of surviving two, and virtually 0% of three. Gibson the Dambuster (among a few others) survived three, and was paraded round the US as an example of what the RAF could do. Pre-war entrant, he was a Wing Commander at 23 (and KIA at 23).

Calm and unflappable, David was an ideal Boss. Never interfered, left me to get on with my job; I can only remember his being angry with me once - and I richly deserved it ! I'm proud of having been his Adjutant at Thornaby sixty years ago. Always remember his sardonic comment when I told him of my intention to commit matrimony at the tender age of 32 - " It's now or never !"

Watched the Parade again this morning, "Burma Star" seemed a bit thin on the ground.

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 16th Nov 2016, 23:24
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Just noticed with shock that this thread had somehow managed to slip down to Page 2? What on Earth is PPrune coming to these days? Duly bumping it up.

I coincidentally noticed that the thread starter Cliffnemo hasn't posted for a while, might I humbly ask if he is still with us?

One day I'll find the time to read this thread from scratch again.

Meanwhile, once again Thankyou Danny...One of the best things on the net.

Cooch
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 09:05
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Coochy

May I sadly and respectfully draw your attention to Post #2486 dated 6 April 2012 on page 125 (by my numbering) of this outstanding thread, which Cliff started and by which he will most certainly be long remembered with great affection and admiration.

Jack
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 11:56
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As surmised.

Thanks for the heads up UJ.

We will remember them....
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 18:59
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Coochy,

Thank you for rescuing this incomparabe Thread from the Slough of Despond (Page 2).

We owe it to Cliff's memory.

Danny.
 
Old 18th Nov 2016, 19:17
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"When I was at Strubby" ... I never knew [in the past] what an interesting history it had. From my POV, it was just another airfield in Lincolnshire doing 'useful' post-WW2 work as the home of the "Heavy' side of the School of Refresher Flying* with their Varsity's/Varsities/Big Fat Aircraft.

*Which is an indicator of how big the RAF was in the 60s, that they had an airfield [two, if you include Manby, and their irritating JPs ] that were virtually dedicated 'Refreshing' desk-wallah types and cross-trainers to go back into various parts the flying world. Two airfields.

Discuss
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 19:56
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All the military airfields that were strewn over the length and breadth of this fair land had an interesting history, though perhaps some more than others. Dating from 1942 it was a relatively late kid on the block and joined an already impressive list:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...Force_stations

My memory of Strubby is both brief and sad. On 6 February 1968 my crew delivered Hastings WD340 there. For both the co-pilot and myself it was to be our last flight as operating crew on type. I gave him the leg in a magnanimous gesture that put the onus on him rather than me to ensure a landing rather than an arrival. He rose to the challenge admirably!

As we approached the apron a Flt Sgt signalled us to keep the outers turning (we always shut down the inners on the taxy in). We put a ladder down for him, he clambered aboard, came up to the cockpit and said, "Could you taxy back out towards the runway, but just after the last bend before the holding point, go over the grass towards a gap in the hedge and into the field beyond. On the far side of it are the remains of a burned out Canberra. Just shut her down there and I'll be following with MT to bring you back here to await your lift home" (by another Sqn Hastings).

And so she went off unsuspecting to her final resting place, fully serviceable and with "No Further Faults" entered into the F700, for Fire Fighting Training. I asked if there would be a possibility of getting the Captain's Control Wheel from it? "No chance until it's written off charge, Sir". If I left my Service address could it then be forwarded to me? "No problem, Sir, I'll see to it personally". Must have got lost in the post!
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 20:17
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MPN 11. I was at Manby/Strubby in 64 - 65. At that time the CAW used Manby for JP/Varsity and Strubby was Meteor/Canberra. I was posted to Manby as a co on the Varsities on completion of FTS for a few months before completing AFS on the Meteor at Strubby. By then the only sleeping accommodation at Strubby was the Officers Mess Nissen huts although there was dining for all. I believe that the Meteor engineering had been civilianised by then. Great memories, and in some ways better than completing AFS on the Gnat.
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 21:47
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I did my first ATC tour at Manby/Strubby '55-'58. Manby was the home of the Empire Flying School (we still had an Empire), with "Gus" Walker as the Commandant. There was little movement at Manby apart from visitors and the handful of School Lincolns, all the rest of the action was at its "satellite" - Strubby, a few miles away. The major user there was a very busy Meteor AFS, to which were added the School Canberras and Meteors, with (towards the end) a sole Hunter.

It was a 1945 airfield frozen in time. The Tower, the hangars and the Nissen hutted camp were straight out of WWII, you would not have been in the least surprised to see bomb trolleys being towed around the dispersals and a file of Lancasters moving slowly out to the runway at dusk for the night's raid over Germany.

ATC was very high-intensity indeed, many days we had more movements than Heathrow. We had CR/DF in Approach, and the dear old "Bendix" (MPN-1) Radar (the "Stephenson's Rocket"of GCAs) on the field, but no ILS.

Local Control was the usual garden shed on top of an old square Tower, cold, draughty, leaky and reached (I think) by an outside staircase. There were no WRAF at Strubby (but there were at Manby). One SATCO covered both: we looked forward to our turns at being "rested" for a week at Manby - it was a haven of peace and tranquillity.

Many people lived out in Mablethorpe and Sutton (5-6 miles away on the coast). Newly married, I had the best "hiring" I ever saw (in Mablethorpe). Happy Days !

Danny.
 
Old 19th Nov 2016, 09:10
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CJ - I learn something every day. Did not realised people still doing AFS on Meteor in 65 time. I went the Gnat in Jan 66, and have always regretted that I missed the Hunter by a few courses in each direction. Some of us from the Towers refreshed at Manby at the end of 65 as we had finished the JP course in about October and need to brush up before hitting the Gnat, or t'other way about
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 09:11
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Interesting that we have several 'ex-Strubby' here! Indeed, I may well have spoken to some of you

It was my first ATC tour, 65-67. As with Danny42C, I recall the leaky garden shed that passed for Local ... and indeed it was 'outside access' from the right side of the DF Approach Room. in my time we had the 'posh' MPN11 GCA and also ILS on what was rw 27. With 6,100 ft of HM Tarmac, and decent aids, it was a popular location for Practice Diversions by RAF and USAF alike. Indeed, on quiet nights when the CAW Canberras [later Dominies*] were away getting their Nav students lost, and the Varsities were having a night off, either I or my plt off oppo on the other Watch used to call the Fighter Command Diversion Cell at Patrington touting for trade to alleviate the boredom.

Ahh, Night Flying. Being Flying Training Command, that really meant getting the students flying in the dark. So in high Summer proceedings wouldn't begin until 2130+, and often not finish until 0400+. By the time I got to my bed in the Mess at Manby, their JPs would have started their endless gyrations round the circuit, overfying the Mess in the process ... and I needed my sleep, as I would be back on Watch at 1200/1300 (depending on what position I was rostered). Ugh.

Yes, CharlieJuliet, the Officers Mess was still just about functioning in my time ... doing 'Night Flying Suppers' and nothing else. All the accommodation had been shut down, so it was just kitchen and dining room with a few armchairs at the side. The Manby Orderly Officer used to have to drive over to check the Domestic Site was secure during the evening. By my arrival [Sep 65] the Meteors were gone, Manby was 'pure' JP and Strubby was Varsity/Canberra ... although Sgt Bou***r (c/s 63, IIRC) used to fly a Meteor in from Chivenor every Friday afternoon to see his squeeze, and depart first thing Monday to have the jet back in time for Chiv's second wave


* The Staff Nav instructors complained that the Domine lacked the range to get the students properly lost
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 13:12
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Strubby was also my first ATC tour, although some years later (Spring 1971 until it closed in September 1972). By then Strubby Approach was located in the Manby Approach room, with just a PAR (SLA3C) position remaining in the Strubby Approach room. Varsities and Dominies operated from Strubby, and Jet Provosts (including the Macaws aerobatic team) from Manby. When Manby's runways were closed for resurfacing, the JPs temporarily moved to Strubby, and it's opening hours were extended to accommodate the additional flying programme. Some of the Manby Controllers were quickly checked out on Strubby positions to help cover the extra hours.

When Strubby finally closed, the Varsities moved to Oakington, and the Dominies to Manby, which lacked a precision approach aid. The JPs had happily operated for many years with QGHs and SRAs (using the Manby AR1 and ACR7 radars), but the Dominies had been spoilt at Strubby with its PAR, ILS and NDB (albeit the NDB non-precision). Because Dominie operations at Manby might be restricted by the lack of a precision aid, it was decided to install an old MPN11 radar at Manby, probably making it one of the very few RAF airfields with three radar installations!

Following Strubby's closure, ATC staff were either posted (approaching tourex), or retrained at Manby, as did I. I'll always remember the Manby and Strubby ATC Sqn as a very happy team, with a good mix of aircrew on ATC ground tours, direct entrant ATCOs, and ex-WWII aircrew, whose experience and friendly guidance was invaluable to we youngsters.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 14:05
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Yay! Another one!! Thanks for the updates, especially as I knew things had changed dramatically but had never found any detail (until now). Glad to see the MPN11 came to the rescue at Manby Some major changes and investment at both airfields in your time ... no wonder it all closed!

So, they eventually rebuilt Strubby Local ... and about bloody time too. Do you know when that happened? I've seen pictures of a proper Gaydon-type Local, and often wondered how/when. Did Manby ever get a proper VCR?

I recall a degree of 'antipathy' by the Strubby ATCOs towards Manby's, as they would keep letting their mini-jets get in the way of our GQH and GCA patterns, especially when we were (mercifully rarely) on the Easterly runways.

Afterthought: Despite being subtantially post-WW2, I always had the sensation at Strubby that I was half living in the past. It was certainly a time of great change actoss the whole RAF. Just think ... from Meteors to Dominies in one blink of an eye! And MPN11 to AR1

Last edited by MPN11; 19th Nov 2016 at 14:46. Reason: Afterthought.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 16:44
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MPN11,

Sorry, I don't know when Strubby Local was rebuilt, in my time the design was as it appears in this link:-

RAF Strubby airfield

I do recall that the VCR was accessible via an internal staircase, and the external route was also still available.

When I arrived at Manby in 1971, the ATC building was relatively new, built in about 1967 I believe, and remotely located on the far west side of the airfield. The original WWII Control Tower building (next to the hangars) was then Flying Wing HQ, but the ACR7 radar displays were still located and operated from this building. Shortly after I arrived, the ACR7 displays were moved to the new tower. The following link has photos of both Control Towers:-

RAF Manby airfield

My recollection is that there was a very good working relationship between the Manby and Strubby Controllers, helped I think by both Approach functions being co-located in the same room. Inevitably there was plenty of the usual friendly banter!

But I do recall one occasion when I was "talking down" a Varsity on Strubby PAR when another radar return briefly appeared on both the elevation and azimuth displays. Possibly a JP, but nothing conclusive, and the Manby AR1 was out of service at the time.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 16:58
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Ah, a NEW Tower ... that was a transformation! I had only seen the pics of the old one (labelled as Ops) by the hangars. How did I fail to find that link???

In my time, Manby Local was done with a pin-board in the Approach Room, and with absolutely no view of final to 05! A new proper ATC was long overdue ... and another major build before closure!
PS: The ACR7 consoles (x 2) were in the back room on the right side. I've seen pictures with PAR in place, so clearly it was a Mega Upgrade.
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Old 20th Nov 2016, 08:09
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Good story in the hometown local rag today. He's looking very sprightly at (by my count) 94 too!

First flight since 1944 | The Border Mail
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Old 20th Nov 2016, 11:20
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From my logbook I see that I did my Final Handling Test on 26 Mar 65 and on 21 April I flew my last sortie at Strubby, delivering T7 WL 380 to Kemble. I expect that this must have been among the last deliveries as I also flew T7 VW 427 to Kemble on 2 April. I then went onto 85 Sqn flying Meteors until my Hunter course at Chivenor started in August.
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