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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 7th Jan 2017, 14:16
  #10001 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Danny Congrats.

Dunno about York's carrying coal, but brand new Hastings, straight off the production line, were used to carry coal to Berlin, and they still had coal dust under the floor when they were scrapped!
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Old 7th Jan 2017, 14:36
  #10002 (permalink)  
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A big BZ, Danny, and very cunningly achieved too, not to mention providing a pleasing similarity with the old joke about Shackletons, although in this case it's "10000 posts flying in loose formation"!

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Old 7th Jan 2017, 14:37
  #10003 (permalink)  
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Thanks for breasting the 10k tape for us, dear Danny42C.

We now resume our normal random programming
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Old 7th Jan 2017, 14:49
  #10004 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
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I was beginning to get worried that Danny would miss the 10,000th.

Well done Danny! Thank goodness you found this thread 5 years ago - you have inspired us all with your wit and amazing memory. Long may they continue.
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Old 7th Jan 2017, 15:16
  #10005 (permalink)  
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I would like to add my best wishes and congratulations to our revered Chief Pilot. Danny you have, with a combination of modesty and determination, made this thread into the unique inclusive multi tiered ramble through history, geography, and memories that it has become.

All have been welcome, all may contribute, and we have all become the richer for it. Our virtual crew room has become packed, yet by its very nature it can always accommodate all comers. Well done, Sir, and here's to the next 1000!
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Old 7th Jan 2017, 16:48
  #10006 (permalink)  
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What can I add to what has already been said !

Well done Danny and thank you.
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Old 7th Jan 2017, 21:21
  #10007 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Congrats Danny. I'm just a reader of the forum and only on page 209 at the moment. I really enjoy the posts and you can't beat reading personal stories of lives and experiences of everyone who posts on this forum.

Delighted to see you're still posting away and long may it continue. Roll on 11000 :-) Looking forward to catching up.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 16:04
  #10008 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
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To all my well-wishers.

My sincere thanks to all for the congratulatary Posts sent in about me. But I've always regarded having this Thread to scribble in as a privilege to be grateful for. How many old "mute inglorious Miltons" must there have been, who've gone to the grave without a hearer for the marvellous stories they were itching to tell - but with nobody to listen !

Now let us join in welcoming Farmer George (#10002) and R14SS (#10009), aboard this Prince of Threads and hunt around in our infinitely extensible Nissen cyber-crewroom for another couple of ricketty chairs for them to perch on - while they listen avidly to the Wisdom of the Ages, which is always on tap round the smoky old coke stove (chimney pipe glowing dull red) and defy the freezing weather outside !

FG, so I had a secret, small admirer watching me as the 20 Sqn Spitfires trundled in and out of Valley ? ('Y Fali', I'm told). Did you ever hear of the Spitfire wheel which fell off as a chap got airborne from 19 (?), and did an unbelievable amount of damage in Rhosneigr (judging by the claims on MOD !) There being no ready market for Spitfire wheels in Anglesey, we got the wheel back and were able to find cause of the bother.

Or hear about the Beauty Competition (ca '50) which went badly wrong - but such matters wouldn't interest a six year old but the Lead Soldier Man (a year later) was right up your street. And did did you ever see a little green Bond Minicar (Google) - only one on island - buzzing about ? (sometimes with the then 'squeeze' - Ann Pearce [Bangor], where are you now ?) That was me !

Bit hazy about r/ws, as I remember, we always used 19/01 all the time, was a small short E-W r/w, landed a Vampire there once in teeth of a howling gale one day, no trouble. Looks as if they've built a long 14/32 for the Hawks.

Yes, Alex Hindley was the best of bosses, went to India and grew very rich, but came to a sad end, I'm afraid (reported by old friend Flt Lt Niel (sic) Ratan Ker (RIP). No use raking up now).

Memories, memories !

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Old 8th Jan 2017, 16:28
  #10009 (permalink)  
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Welcome Farmer George! While you were watching Danny & Co. at Valley in 1951-52 another little lad was watching the Brigands, Hermes, Argonauts, Dakotas and Constellations at RAF Khormaksar, Aden. Our account of a very different boyhood there began with #3515 p176. Thanks for reminding me of HMS Sheba, the Royal Navy's base at Steamer Point, whence came a couple of our classmates at Khormaksar School.

There were only a couple of RN families and their children returned home to Steamer Point after school, a source of regret to them as they could not be full-time members of the pestilential Khormaksar Kids, but of great relief to their parents (as in: “Have you heard what those bloody kids have done NOW?”)

Ian16 reminds me of our trip home from Aden in a Hastings: Boys wore shorts in those days and as we headed north I began to feel an icy blast across my legs. The double doors alongside were battered and I could see through the one-inch gap along the bottom. Dad said the Hastings had been used on the Berlin airlift and like the Dakotas and Yorks had taken a battering.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 16:53
  #10010 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2001
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I was at Valley on the Vampire T11 in 1961. I was sent off on a solo sortie one day and was briefed to finish up with a flapless landing. Most of the time the runway in use was 20 but right at the end they swapped to 26 (the short runway). Like the idiot student that I was I landed fast with no flaps and realised, rather late in the day, that the sea was approaching rapidly. I got away with it (just) and I never made that mistake again.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 18:57
  #10011 (permalink)  
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Young FED nearly dug a hole on the short runway at Oakington. It was a formation sortie and the normal T/O procedure for a three ship was a pair getting airborne in formation with the third at five seconds. In this case I was the only stude as an instructor was flying No3 on staff continuation. This being so we were going to do a Vic takeoff.

We lined up on the short runway and got under way. I had never flown off the short runway before and I was a bit concerned as we crossed the intersection with notta lot of airspeed on. The leader then surged ahead as he opened up to full chat instead of the 500 rpm flex that we had to maintain position. I didn't lose much distance and as his wheels left the ground the surface changed from tarmac to grass. Luckily I was good at formation flying which is why all three of us managed to fit inside the gap in the trees at the airfield boundary.

There was a bit of inter-instructor bitching when we landed as No 3 pointed out that formation take offs were prohibited on the short runway.

Didn't do him any harm; he later led the Red Arrows.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 20:02
  #10012 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Danny42C View Post
Geriaviator (pp Rupert Parkhouse #9992),

Better than coal, it seemed; I believe the Yorks could never get rid of the coal dust.

Did the Sunderlands land in the Havel lake ?

Recalls the US Skymasters going into Tempelhof, where the second dickies would open the side window on long finals, and toss out a load of 'Hershey' bars (one at a time !) to the eager crowd of Berlin children below (didn't Hershey, when they heard of this, supply the chokkies free for the purpose ? (through the PX, I suppose).

Several of the Hastings of LXX Sqn at Akrotiri in the mid 1960s still had coal dust lurking in various bits of their interiors
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 14:28
  #10013 (permalink)  
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The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 24. First post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.

ON JOINING 201 Sqn I was very inexperienced, most of my flight lieutenants had many more hours than I had, but they were very kind and tolerant and I had an excellent wing commander (flying) in Stan Baggott and a sympathetic station commander, Dick Shenton.

With the admin duties and being transferred to ops rooms for exercises I found it very difficult to get as much flying as I wanted. On July 26 I had to take off heavily loaded on a special exercise at night when I hit my aircraft's float on a buoy, the float collapsed into the port aileron, and we had quite a dicy time sorting out the aeroplane. I sometimes wonder … if I had not had the very experienced Canadian Flt Lt Hutchinson with me to sort out the aircraft, I was so shocked that I didn't know what the hell to do.

I don't remember doing it, but at the moment of impact I must have pulled the throttles back. The engineer in the back, Flt Lt Barclay, shouted that the revs were down and we might be near the stall. Hutchinson, who was in the right (second pilot's) seat, came on the intercom and said 'Christ, who pulled those throttles back?' We immediately opened the engines again and we were all right. I eventually landed the aircraft but had I not had an experienced crew who virtually told me what to do we could have been in a very sorry state.

Rupert's recordings finish at this point. His son told me that the Sunderland incident resulted in a Court of Inquiry, after which had a pretty torrid time. “The fact that he made such a fundamental error of throttling back after they hit the buoy meant he lost his nerve for flying duties and he transferred to the Admin Branch - where his uniform bedecked with wings did not sit well with the "admin wallahs" he was working with - he was neither fish nor fowl! “

Rupert's last flight as a pilot was in a Sunderland, taking his log book to 913 hrs 20 min. It seems that he found staff work much more to his liking, especially his early posting to the US where he made many friends and perhaps achieved more via social contacts than can sometimes be achieved through formal diplomatic channels. The irreverent colonials of Washington re-titled him as Parking Leader Squawkhurst.

On return to the UK in 1956 Rupert held various SAdO appointments at stations such as MoD, Kenley, Biggin Hill (aircrew selection), Bomber Command at High Wycombe, El Adem in Libya (1963). He left the RAF early in about 1974 and then worked for the Business Equipment Trade Association and George Wimpey, the builders, where he finished his working life as an architectural administrator. He retired in about 1987 and, aged 95, lives in a Bournemouth nursing home with his wife Rosemary.

It has been a privilege to prepare this long series from Rupert's recordings, for it is clear that he was scarred for life by his experiences. His son says that in latter years he called himself a "passed over two and a half" and that is where he stayed. He was very disappointed in his career, but the one benefit of his vascular dementia is that he has been released from all his historical baggage and is as happy as he has ever been.
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 15:05
  #10014 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator (pp Rupert Parkhouse #10015),
...most of my flight lieutenants had many more hours than I had, but they were very kind and tolerant and I had an excellent wing commander (flying) in Stan Baggott and a sympathetic station commander, Dick Shenton...
Where was this Shangri-La ? Can I be posted there, please ?.....please ? What's the MQ situation ? Any good local pubs ?
... The irreverent colonials of Washington re-titled him as Parking Leader Squawkhurst...
Children can be so cruel.......
..."passed over two and a half"...
Ah, the "Feast of the Passover !" Join the Club ! Better than being a two ring neverwozzer !

Seriously, I hope you will convey all our sympathies to Mrs Parkhouse when next you see her. I lost a brother-in-law (wartime RAF Fitter) that way last month and know how his wife Leny has suffered in his last years.

Makes two brothers-in-law and my darling wife gone in a single year.
Send not for whom the bell tolls.........

But thank you, Geriaviator, for telling us his story so vividly.

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Old 9th Jan 2017, 16:59
  #10015 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Many thanks for your warm welcome to this thread in post #10010. I checked our family photo albums - no Spitfire wheel sized holes in roofs and no Bond Minicar to be seen.

They are using 01/19 for all flying at the moment while they rebuild 14/32. It has taken a year but in March I will be seeing the traffic again over my house, which is on the extended centre line of 32. Bring it on !

W/Cdr Hindley was very kind to me as a first time visitor to India. I well remember a large gin and tonic in his traditional style colonial bungalow. The talk with his family was all about the casting of tens of thousands of extras for the film Gandhi, which his wife/daughter ? was involved with.

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Old 9th Jan 2017, 18:36
  #10016 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Thanks for your welcome to the thread and your memories of Aden, which I have read in the past year. I have been trying for some time to write up my father's WW2 experiences. It’s a case of .. why didn't you talk to him more when he was alive… I have many of the letters he wrote home from Aden 1942 - 1944 but of course the need to remove anything the censor would not like means they give little information. One question I do have was from another blog … a Catalina was droning over the harbour doing circuits and bumps. Where was the landing area ? in the inner harbour ? and was there a flying boat slipway on to RAF Khormaksar ? The Catalina was very important to my father, as he told me when I , age about 15, was making my Airfix model, "a Catalina saved my life", but he never wanted to talk about "his" war. Only now thanks to the internet have I got together the story. When I've written it up I hope to post it on PPRuNe.

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Old 9th Jan 2017, 19:21
  #10017 (permalink)  
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Thanks from me too, Geriaviator, for the substantial effort you have put into telling Rupert's story here.

As to his career? Well, not everyone is going to be CAS or a famous Test pilot, let alone a Stn Cdr. At least he had the honour and privilege of wearing the Pilot's Flying Badge, which is more than most have achieved. And he served, and did his various duties, and no organisation can function properly without a competent and committed Administrator in the system.

I'm probably grateful, in my more reflective moments, that I was binned from flying very early on ... I'm quite sure I would have killed myself, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be with me!
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Old 10th Jan 2017, 18:05
  #10018 (permalink)  
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The Sheep from the Goats ?

MPN11 (#10019),
...I was binned from flying very early on ... I'm quite sure I would have killed myself, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be with me!...
As I recall the circumstances, you do yourself an injustice. In my book the Navy gave you a very raw deal indeed. Too much water under the bridge now, of course; what's done is done and cannot be undone.

And, in my case, I was surprised, at the end of Primary School in Florida, when my instructor told me he had recommended for me the (single engine) future training I wished (what boy, in summer 1941, would not want to be a "Spitfire" pilot ?). Why the opinion was sought at that stage, and not at the end of (still all s/e) Basic School, I do not know and cannot think.

Years later a Wise Old Owl advanced a theory: From almost the first two weeks, when the USAAC "chopped" about 40% of our boys, it is possible to pick (from the survivors who would almost all go on to "wings") the ones likely to take a chance too far one day. Keep them on single seaters - then they will only kill themselves !

The more careful ones you recommend for a twin Advanced School: they will be more likely to go on to multis and keep their crews alive. Not very flattering to us - but there you go !

And it lends credence to the story told me just after the war. Aer Lingus (?) was interviewing candidates. "In our opinion", they said, "single engine flying is not flying, and single engined flying time is not flying time". They were not alone in that view.


Gentlemen, today is the 10th.
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Old 10th Jan 2017, 18:20
  #10019 (permalink)  
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Gawd! Mess bills!
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Old 10th Jan 2017, 18:21
  #10020 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Danny, mon vieux, I might have made Multi (at least in my head!) but (a) I would still have to be competent on singles, and (b) the RN was a bit poorly equipped with multis

Taking your third paragraph, I found it very interesting when the OH was a flt cdr at IOT. I used to attend all the sicial functions (and other events*) as The Boss's Wife. After the first week's Meet and Greet, I used to seal in an envelope the list of names of those who would probably graduate from her Flight. I was never far wrong. And, for the record, we NEVER discussed that aspect of her work.

Question 1: "Would you wish to sit opposite this person at breakfast?"

* Long 'cross-country walks', DS 'Sniper' on Exercises, etc. Otherwise I would just have sat at home, alone!
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