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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 22nd Dec 2016, 10:54
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But, surely, none cover such a myriad of topics that come from the congenial/affable members of our 'crewroom' ... and for that we must be grateful to our Mods.
And this number of posts has been achieved without argument and bickering which would boost the number, and for which we are all eternally grateful.

All he very best to all.
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Old 22nd Dec 2016, 13:53
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"Now a lot of people didn't know that (self included!), but they do now. Thanks Danny!"

Surprisingly it's actually quite well known and I was reading about it only a week or two ago in the context of Malta. It's even on the Spitfire's Wikipedia page.

(Which also tells us that if fitted with a 170 gallon drop tank, a Spitfire could fly the thousand miles from Gibraltar to Malta and that twelve of them did.)

This made me laugh (Malta again):
“On one occasion all our fighter aircraft were grounded in order to try to increase serviceability. The Hun bombers came over in force with quite a large fighter escort. It happened that there were several fighter pilots with me in the Operations Room, one of whom was a Canadian with an unmistakable voice. I put him at the microphone at a stand-by radio set and proceeded to give him dummy orders. He replied just as if he was flying his fighter. This, we suspected, caused a cry of ‘Achtung! Spitfeuer!’ to go over the German radio. In any case, two 109s enthusiastically shot each other down without any British aircraft being airborne. This knowledge that the Germans intercepted our orders stood us in good stead. We claimed that Pilot Officer ‘Humgufery’ shot down the two Huns.” P/O Woodhall
And sorry for the thread drift but this is another fascinating fact: in two months the Axis powers dropped more bombs on Malta than London received during the blitz.

Last edited by Reader123; 22nd Dec 2016 at 14:08.
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Old 22nd Dec 2016, 15:44
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Geordie Expat (#9882),

Hear, Hear ! The saintly forebearance of our Moderators (give them a big hand ) has always been matched by (and is contingent on): the unspoken understanding that "no harsh word be spoken" on our part. As the denizens of this Thread are, to a man (and to a woman), "Gentlefolk", it has been the roaring success that it has been since Clifford Leach (RIP) first had the wonderful idea.

I raise a glass of "the dark waters of the Liffey" (WiKi tells me that two of its tributaries are the Rivers Dodder and Poddle - and I can see why).

Once again, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all PPRuNers !

Old 22nd Dec 2016, 15:53
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The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 14. The first post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.

WE APPROACHED the outskirts of Sezanne and there was an odd silence about the place which I found very disconcerting. We turned into the main street and to our horror there was a line of German tanks. The crews had jumped down and were rifling the shops on both sides but they swiftly grasped their weapons and laughingly took us prisoner.

A medical man put a dressing on Sgt Morris's chest, which had been hit by pieces of cannon shell. They took his revolver and gave us a quick search but they didn't find the compass which my father had given me. They then took us to a large four-storey house which was full of French prisoners, with a guard on the front. Upstairs we found a crowd of French poilus who were cooking meat and drinking wine, they were very happy. I can't remember if they gave us anything to eat or not.

As darkness fell we went to the top floor and saw no guard at the back, so we slid down a drainpipe, walked out the back garden, and gingerly went to the main street which was once again deserted.

We found a tin of rusks and a tin of peas in a grocer's shop and set off cross-country in SW direction on my little compass, although we had no maps. We walked all that night until 5am with a rest among a field of corn stooks, but as we crossed a road mid-morning we hid when we saw a German infantry column of bronzed warriors singing a magnificent marching song and led by an officer on a horse and followed by a line of horse transport, it was a very impressive sight which took half an hour to pass.

We then continued but after crossing another road we saw a German recce vehicle about 75 yards away and its crew shouted at us but didn't point their guns. We agreed to run at 45-degree angles and meet up in the woods ahead and on the word 'GO' we ran like rabbits and evaded the Germans. We walked all that night but my crew were having difficulty because their feet were very swollen in their fleece lined flying boots, while I had my officer issue boots for the first time.

Along a railway line we came across a French battery which had obviously been bombed, the horses were lying all over the place and the guns were mangled. I suppose it was the first time we had seen dead men so we did not rifle their pockets for maps and chocolate, somehow it seemed wrong.
NEXT POST: Rupert reproaches himself for his crew's predicament: “Since I had landed them in this mess through my instrument flying error I felt very guilty about the whole thing.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 23rd Dec 2016 at 09:56. Reason: Line spacing
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 09:09
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RP (c/o Geriaviator) :-
I can't remember if they gave us anything to eat or not.
Having read, and now listened to, quite a lot of Sqn Ldr Parkhouse's account of both his and others' actions, I think we may take that as a "not".

This man is self effacing and uncritical of others to an almost painful degree, and certainly in complete contrast to the defaults of these days. I would think that even by the standards that prevailed in the 30's (when he was still growing up) he was exceptionally modest in his style and demeanour.

To my mind this well illustrates the value of this thread and of accounts being delivered by those who were there rather than by those who merely recount the lives of others. By having RP's story told by the man himself, Geriaviator puts us in direct contact with that man. We have to constantly remember that he comes from that far off place of which we may know very little, ie the past!
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 10:40
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'The past is foreign country; they do things differently there'. L. P. Hartley.

A favourite quote of mine and very appropriate to this fascinating thread.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 11:54
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The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 15. First post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.

EVENTUALLY we came to a deserted village and my crew said we really must rest overnight, so we found some eggs, climbed into a hayloft and slept fitfully until the morning when I woke to Morris snoring and guttural German voices. A supply column had moved in overnight and soon we were prisoners once again.

They were very good-humoured and took my crew to their field kitchen for coffee and black bread, while they took me to their command car where the Hauptmann [major] said in perfect English: “What a pity our two nations are fighting again because I have an English wife at home. For you the war is over”. He beckoned to his batman who produced a couple of chairs, black bread with jam, and coffee while we talked for half an hour. He told me that his wife came from Devon, which he knew very well, then he apologised for having to send us to the POW collecting point.

On arrival I was put among a group of French officers while my crew were put among the French poilus, although I tried to argue they were warrant officers and should stay with me. We slept in four cottages surrounded by barbed wire and were fed from a French kitchen for about four days, then marched out in a long column. My crew had very bad dysentery and were put on the medical cart, and though I was constantly aware of my duty to escape somehow I just couldn't leave them. Since I had landed them in this mess through my instrument flying error I felt very guilty about the whole thing.

When we reached Meaux I was placed in the civil prison while my crew were put in the infantry barracks. My gunner MacDonald had become really ill and was placed in the hospital where I was able to visit him but I was very shocked by his condition, I just hoped he would not die.

I remained in prison for about three weeks and was able to give a letter to my parents to a French war correspondent who was due for release. It reached them eventually via the American Embassy. I was very worried at the effect of my capture would have on my parents as my brother had been an invalid from birth and I was in effect their only son.
NEXT POST: Rupert tries vainly to find another way to escape, reproaching himself when he is unable to do so.
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 13:17
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Geriaviator (pp Rupert Parkhouse),
...What a pity our two nations are fighting again...
Curiously enough, my Dad said almost the same of WWI: "We were fighting the wrong people !"

Really, Rupert must stop blaming himself for the fact that they were where they were. The Fortunes of War, old chap ! They were alive, weren't they ? Many were not. What had they to moan about ?

Nice to hear the chivalrous way their captors treated them. (But that Major's * wife must've had a hard time).

EDIT: * Hauptmann = Captain (3 pips), I think, Rupert

Compliments of the Season to all PPRuNers !


Last edited by Danny42C; 25th Dec 2016 at 18:26. Reason: Addn.
Old 24th Dec 2016, 13:30
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All the Best to you Danny & all the other essential contributors here.

Merry Christmas,

mike hallam
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Old 24th Dec 2016, 15:24
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Merry Christmas to you all, and thanks to all those who have made this the "Must Read" Thread every morning. I wish you all the very best of health and good fortune for 2017.

We are not having a Christmas this year, due to assorted sickness and other issues in the family here [too complicated to relate] but we will have one privately later when it can be properly enjoyed.

Flexibility is our watchword
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 07:33
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Unfortunately the "flexibility" only extends to the thought process ... it gets lost in transmission to the rest of the body.

A very Merry Christmas to all on this Thread of Threads.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 08:22
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Hello Danny,

Do you have any WW2 Christmas experiences you would care to share with us?!

Cheers and Merry Christmas,

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Old 25th Dec 2016, 08:32
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MPN11 hope all works out ok. Happy Christmas nevertheless. W
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 09:04
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Merry Christmas all, and especially to Danny.

A photo album has turned up containing photos from my Great Uncles time in Asia in 1944/5/6, which I will see later today. They are apparently dated, so likely will be possible to tie in with his log to have a guess as to where were taken. I am told they mostly seem to be taken during off duty times or on leave, but one appears to be a squadron photo taken with a very large single engine aircraft in the background - I'm hoping its a Vengeance of course, but prepared that it may be a Harvard, there is a mention that the squadron, 110 (H), had one.

I watched the you tube video of Vengeances the other day - not the most beautiful of aircraft, but they look surprisingly graceful in the dive. Must have been disconcerting for the gunner facing backwards with little to do.

Anyway, watch this space!

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Old 25th Dec 2016, 11:39
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The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 16. The first post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.
ABOUT August 8 we were taken by German truck to the prison at Drancy, the place that became infamous later, but at that time it consisted of several tower blocks where the lifts were working and we lived in fairly civilised conditions.

A week or so later a couple of French officers told me they had discovered an underground passage for the heating system and invited me to join them in an escape. So in my naïve way I went back to my companions and asked to borrow a French uniform. They were extremely worried because it would mean them wearing my RAF uniform and being implicated in the escape. They told me I did not speak proper French and would be a drag on the others, and they didn't think I ought to go.

Rather shamefacedly I told my friends what I had been told, and I have regretted it ever since. They escaped next day and when it was discovered we were asked to sign parole not to escape, which I could not do and so I was consigned to the other ranks quarters which were half-completed concrete shells. We lay on bare boards and I got lice and very bad diarrhoea until I got some medicine.
I tried vainly to think of a means of escape but it wouldn't come. I met a sergeant air gunner and we endlessly discussed escape without success; looking back I think this was the result of the emotional experiences we had been through, post-operational stress they call it now. But that's not totally convincing because several gallant chaps escaped from France.

On September 10 I was reunited with the French officers and we were taken by train to Germany. At the Belgian stations the people would come and give us fruit and things. Once again nobody thought about jumping the train for the plan just wouldn't come. Eventually we arrived at a place called Liebnitz in Silesia and were marched to a prison camp called Oflag VIIF which was the old Saxon cadet school which was surrounded with barbed wire.

We actually lived the kind of life that the cadets would have lived; we had quite smart parades in the morning, the German commandant was a typical Prussian who came out wearing a picklehauber and a sword, we were counted and then we could walk around the perimeter. At night we would sleep treble bunked in the school with an enormous coal stove in the centre, and my French friends had great amusement from telling me bawdy stories in French and getting them to repeat them in my bad French accent.

Such was the efficiency of the German railways and the Red Cross that a whole consignment of musical instruments arrived at the camp after the first month. There were many talented players among the thousand French officers and we would sit down to lunch, a pretty sparse bowl of soup and bread, and listen to the orchestra playing. On the walls around us were the honours boards with names picked out in gold of the cadets who had fallen in the Franco-Austrian war of 1866, the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, and of course an enormous list from the First World War.
NEXT POST: Rupert is reunited with RAF officers in the Dulag Luft camp, among them Roger Bushell the famous escaper.

May I wish a Merry Christmas and Peaceful New Year to all our fellow Pruners, particularly to Danny in his crewroom seat of honour, and most of all to all British Service personnel and their families, wherever they may be.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 25th Dec 2016 at 12:06.
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 14:45
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May I echo Geriaviator's words by wishing all Pruners here a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and most particularly our 'senior man' Danny - 10,000 posts getting nearer!
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Old 25th Dec 2016, 19:43
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Octane (#9893),

Strangely enough, not really. Christmas 1940, I spent at home, having just enlisted and been sent home on "deferred service".

Christmas, 1941, I was in the US, it was just after Pearl Harbor, they were still so shell-shocked that they had little heart for celebrations, it was very quiet. Log shows three flights on 24th, then two on 27th, so something must've happened in between, but I can't remember what.

Christmas, 1942, I was at Worli (Transit Camp): vivid memory, as a Sergeant, of serving Christmas dinner to airmen while under violent air attack from every sh***hawk in Bombay.

Christmas, 1943, now an officer, flew an 'op' on morning of 24th, then an "admin" flight in afternoon, then nothing till another "admin" flight on 27th. Again the tantalising gap, but as 1941, no memory. Had recently been shanghaid onto 8 (IAF) Sqn, most of the incumbents were Moslems, or Sikhs, or various other Hindus, so a Christian celebration seems unlikely.

Christmas, 1944, out of a job in Yelahanka, very few in Mess, quiet.

Christmas, 1945, up in the snows of Kashmir on RAF Ski School, having basely deserted my "squeeze" in Cannanore (she got her own back in spades when I returned !) Too cold and too exhausted to bother with Christmas Day.

1946, back home a civvie again.

All recorded in detail somewhere on this (and other) Threads. Will try and find references if you want (and if PPRuNe "Search this Thread" will work) - but don't hold your breath !

Not much of a story, really. Cheers and Happy New Year ! Danny.

PS: We appear to be on opposite sides of the argument in Another Place, but then: "Quot homines, Tot sententiae". D.
Old 25th Dec 2016, 20:13
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jerryh99 (#9895), Geriaviator (#9896), and Brian 48nav (#9897),

Now, spare an old man's blushes ! What you see is what you get - no more ! Yet am grateful for the seat by the fire in the "snug" (or the stove in our cybercrewroom), old chaps feel the cold - our blood gets thin.

Brian 48nav: the Vengeance was a lousy aircraft, but a fine dive-bomber !

Geriaviator (pp Rupert Parkhouse). More, more, please !

Happy New Year to all PPRuNers. Lang may their lums reek !

Old 26th Dec 2016, 12:01
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The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 17. First post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.
ABOUT the end of October I sent my family some POW letters which reached them, and in mid-November I was transferred to the famous Luftwaffe camp at Dulag Luft [near Frankfurt] where after a very perfunctory interrogation – after all my information was four months old – I can't really describe my delight at being among RAF officers again. The Red Cross parcels had arrived and there was plenty of chocolate and supplies and new clothes, so it was a completely different environment which caused me great joy.

There were permanent staff there, among them Wing Commander Day, Roger Bushell the famous escaper who would be shot by the Germans after the escape from Stalag Luft III, Bob Stark, a New Zealand navigator, Lt Cdr Jimmy Buckley who would drown in a Danish lake after escaping, Alistair Panton who had just come out of hospital in Belgium after being badly burned when he was shot down, and Woolloomooloo Baird who came from a town of that name in New Zealand. An indication of stress levels was perfectly indicated by Alistair Panton who had been shot down three times and who had frightful nightmares every night, he would bale out of bed and we had to put him back and calm him down.

About November 10 I was sent by train to Stalag Luft I at Barth on the Baltic coast, a compound near a flak school and with two large barracks each holding 120 chaps, a dining hall, and another block being built to the east.

Once again we were rather short of food and I remember particularly Christmas 1940, when we had a special piece of pork and we were entertained by the NCO batmen with a selection of RAF songs containing quite a few lewd passages which amused us all greatly. I still like to remember them now but they're not suitable for this occasion.
NEXT POST: Rupert joins the tunnelling teams and has yet another narrow escape.
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Old 26th Dec 2016, 14:51
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we were entertained by the NCO batmen
Batmen! Oh how I remembered those. Uniforms pressed, laundry hung correctly and two cups of tea in the morning when you put your shoes outside the door.
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