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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 23rd Jun 2008, 18:47
  #81 (permalink)  
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Love the words, but the pics need to be bigger Cliff
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Old 23rd Jun 2008, 23:37
  #82 (permalink)  
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Cliff - I don't suppose you regarded yourselves as brave young men but that's what you were and you have our eternal gratitude for what you did.

Your story is a marvellous chance to look into the past through the eyes of a participant and you have the real story-teller's gift; keep it coming.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 11:14
  #83 (permalink)  
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A Load Of Bull

Hi Exscribbler,
Many thanks for your encouraging contribution
Re your remark story-tellers gift , all us Yorkshire men are good at "shooting a line". But I would like to stress I am trying hard not to do that. I am doing this, because, what to me is only yesterday, seems for some unfathomable reason to interest quite a few other people.

As for "didn't regard you selves as brave young heroes" Don't think so. More like it can happen to someone else but not me. (Psychologists please explain). But would agree there were quite a lot of B.Y.Hs.

Also I must iterate, reiterate, even say again.My career has a slightly UNUSUAL ending with no D.F.C s or D.F.Ms.
Just in case you think this means I was "drummed out" no, I was discharged with V.G character reference. So please wait until the end (if I ever get there) for any accolades.
Just noticed I had not typed a caption to the pic of the bombed out houses (see above). Have edited it to read, t My home until 1941.

What did the erk say to the erk who did't have a number?
I've been in longer than you. I was in when D.R.Os were written on stone. ( D.R.Os ? Daily routine orders.)

Last edited by cliffnemo; 24th Jun 2008 at 11:58.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 13:59
  #84 (permalink)  
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For those of us who are awaiting the next instalment of Cliffnemo's story with bated breath, there is, if you haven't found it, yet another brilliant series on flying the Sunderland in Aviation History and Nostalgia.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 17:07
  #85 (permalink)  
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Our Introduction To The Darr School Of Aeronautics

On our arrival at the Darr school. We were taken into our billets and shown round. Perfect,quite new, white painted , wooden single story building. Gas central heating Hot showers available night and day. Double bunks ( one above the other you horrible little man). Each of the many windows with a wire screen fed with water to stop the dust blown up by the aircraft props. It was summer, 103f with total blue sky and no wind, which stayed constant for a month or two.

After that we were taken in to the mess. We were very impressed stainless steel fittings every where. A fantastic choice of food, and such things as apple pie and ice cream , bacon and eggs, cereals and SUGAR. and BUTTER

One thing we couldn't fathom, was the proliferation of signs saying KEEP OF OFF THE GRASS. While the university air squadron types discussed at great length whether the use the word OFF, was grammatically correct, another cadet who had noticed there were no tarmac runways , said I wonder how they expect us to get those aeroplanes airborne

We had a shock on our first evening, we thought we would go down to the local pub. However we found out
we were only allowed out from 5 P.M to10 P.M on a Wednesday. and midday Saturday to 10 P.M Sunday all day 'til 10 P.,M. ,and there were NO PUBS. Nose to the grind stone the rest of the time.

The first thing we did on arrival at a new camp, was always to find an oppo (friend)_ or two. I chummed up with a lad called Bill ****,from Cardiff, and an Americn from Atkins. Iowa . called Hardy Albrecht (d). (second generation German), but a a loyal American, proud of his country.We remained firm friends all the time we were at Ponca City.

The next day, we were taken down to the control tower and introduced to every one and then allocated to an instructor. My instructor,was a Mr Dux who turned out to be a very experienced patient, cool pilot, but most of all he could teach. He explained he would be teaching us for three months , primary training, which would be one hundred flying hours, and most of it would be over the 101 ranch. I asked him why 101, and he replied that's the size in acres. I was later to find out it was 101,000 acres. He explained that all the roads ran North South , East , or West. That as the railway ran North and South though Ponca , initially, as well as map reading. we would be able to find our way. Also that each large water tank had the name of the town printed on it. Following the railway was frowned on by the R.A.F , and was called flying by Bradshaw. Bradshaw being the official British railway time table at that time.

The next day was 4/8/1943 (from my log book) we were instructed , on preflight checks including , see that there are no loose objects in the cockpit, peto head cover removed check for full and free movement of all controls, chocks under wheels, sufficient gas for the journey etc etc. Then came "swinging the prop, throttle open , mixture fully rich, switches off , suck in. followed by throttle closed switches on .Contact.
I assure you pre flight checks became more complex as time went on. Hope, in the end, you will realize it became a little more than "wings on take off".

next came taxying, it was explained to us that as we couldn't see in front for the engine, we had to zig zag.
to obtain a clear view. A thing you didn't need to do in a Lanc:. If you did you would be off the perry track and possibly, bogged down.

After this my log book shows . Taxying ,climbing. straight and level and descending.
I have endeavored to print a pic of Hardy and me, in front of the control tower wearing the American equivalent of the R.A.F Irvin flying jacket.
Usihg 600X800 format as recommended by our moderator, fingers crossed.
Next lesson on the link trainer, it's time I went to the N.A.F.F.I, if only I can find a penny
Brains baffles Bull excreta . Or was it the other way round? [IMG]file:///C:/Users/CFL/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot.jpg[/IMG]

Last edited by cliffnemo; 27th Jun 2008 at 12:48.
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 11:07
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Any of you ex B.F.T.S "bods" out there remember if the P.T17 was started by swinging the prop, or did it have the wind up inertia starter. Was it fitted with a radio?
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 12:43
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Thank you!

Thank you very much, Cliff, for your reminscences - I do enjoy your writing style, and it all strikes a particular chord for me as my father learned to fly courtesy of the US Navy at Pensacola, and then went on to fly Sunderlands between 1943 and 1946.

Sadly, he is no longer with us, although I do have his log book at home and I often wonder what stories lie behind some of the entries. One in particular is, I think, particularly poignant: an entry for 1 May 1945 showing "ASR 95/H - unsuccessful" - I presume this indicates that the crew of 95/H were lost, just a week before VE Day.

One of his fellow pilots from 95 Sqn (in fact, also his best man) still lives not far from you, on the Wirral.

Thanks again - looking forward to some more!
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 16:01
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Yes Pensacola was a much sort after posting. Any one graduating there received the R.A.F wings and the American wings. They were allowed to wear the American wings on the right chest. This did not apply to B.F.T.S s

The Sunderlands not only had an Elsan chemical closet, but a galley as well. Other aircraft had the Elsan also, and it was not unknown for some inconsiderate pilot ( more likely the flight engineer had taken over) Pilots don't do that sort of thing . The crew member would be given sufficient time to sit down, then put the aircraft in a dive , and then pull up sharply. I did hear a story of one chap empty theirs over Germany (subject normal)

Regards my style of writing. Must be because when I started this I said to myself "to hell with , parsing. punctuation, split infinitives, past tense, present tense. Just get it down before it's to late"

ASR9S5H .Seems as if this was an air sea rescue and they failed to pick up airmen in the drink. It reminds me of an article in the 6 B,F.T.S magazine, which I still receive. An ex B.F.T.S pilot flew out in a Walrus, a twin engined flying boat (I can't spell amphibian) to rescue a downed crew far out in the North sea. It was very rough, but he decided to touch down. He then picked up the crew, but then with the extra weight and the high waves, couldn't get airborne. He decided to "taxy" back to blighty. He was half way home when an air sea rescue launch, met him and towed him back (it's true) . Pilots don't lie.
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 19:18
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Cliffnemo, Sir I am enjoying your stories immensely.Im the chap writing about the Sunderland and I hate to correct you,but....we had a "Shanks' china flushing toilet,with a sea water header tank.One of the fittings that impressed our American friends no end!!! Keep up the good work.
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 20:10
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Sorry Old Hairy. But a sunderland flight engineer who didn't know his shanks from his elsan called it that . Maybe you had a posh sunderland. But it was an Elsan that was fitted in Lancs. I know I spent most of my time there.
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 21:41
  #91 (permalink)  
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This is a real page turner.

Keep 'em coming.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 10:05
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This is a fantastic story, I know from my father that there is a distinct reticence by many who served during the 2nd World War to tell their stories on the basis that "they didn't do much" but you did, you made it possible for us all to live in a free society, so you have my heartfelt thanks.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 11:39
  #93 (permalink)  
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Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

As there may be people reading this link, who would like to know more a bout 6 B.F.T.S Ponca city There is a book available explaining things better than I can and some smashing pictures , called The R.A.F in Oklahoma I emailed one of our friends in Ponca city for permission to

publish details. Her reply below is self explanatory.
Some of you might want to Google - The R.A.F in Ponca City -, and for a laugh enlarge the picture of the Link trainer, that I mentioned earlier.


Hi Cliff,
Yes, of course I would like you to mention the book. If possible, can you mention my website since it tells all about the book? It is reached at www.pkdenson.com. I have registered just now on PPRuNe but could not find your blog since they have not sent me a code number yet. I will check when I get it.

I have heard many wonderful things from the people who were involved in Oklahoma's training of RAF pilots in WWII, and almost on a daily basis. For example, I got an e-mail today from the daughter of a gentleman in the first course at Ponca City. Over half that course died but this man is still alive! How exciting to hear from them. My book sales have done reasonably well over the past year and a half but I still have about 300 to sell and am very adept at getting them in the mail to people in the UK so your help would be wonderful.

I look forward to hearing from you again.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 17:19
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Experiment. Front Page Of My Log Book

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Old 27th Jun 2008, 17:24
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Front Page Of My Log Book

Just practising printing from my log book . Also , finding out if print size can be increased when viewing in this link

Showing the flying exercises to come.
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Old 29th Jun 2008, 02:08
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Along with Wiley above, I've just finished reading Harry M's scribblings on his wartime training in Canada.

Thank you very much Harry!

And to Cliff and Old Hairy as well - there's nothing like history told by those who were there. These have (collectively) been some fantastic threads - keep it up!
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Old 29th Jun 2008, 04:46
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best thread on PPRuNe - probably ever.
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Old 29th Jun 2008, 05:14
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Harry, can we all see your story here? If it's a bit long, give it to us in chapters.
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Old 29th Jun 2008, 09:32
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Welcome aboard Hairy.
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Old 29th Jun 2008, 11:30
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Thanks Cliff.
Get cracking lad,can't wait to read the rest of your exploits.
All the Best
Old Hairy
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