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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 16th Jan 2017, 15:04
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Flt Lt John Dunbar DFC RIP

Taken from three tapes Five into four won't go

Earlier I mentioned Dave Proctor, one of life's characters. At the end of the war along with three others, I was sent to Rangoon where we were going to fly L5's off aircraft carriers on the invasion of Singapore to aid the forward troops. Two days after I left, apparently Dave's demob came through though the message had not got to him. Dave did one more trip and two days later I received a message to say that he was in a field hospital at Meiktila. The story is he was coming back and no one knows why, he crashed into the jungle. Luckily he was seen by some army bods who managed to get through to him and get him, unconscious, out of the wreckage. They put him in a jeep and drove him fifty miles through the jungle tracks not knowing that his back was broken.
I can remember going down to the flying field at Mingladonand asking “What is the fastest aircraft that you have lying around?” They pointed to a Spitfire but I said I couldn't fly one and was then pointed to a Harvard. It was a good 200 miles. I got up there and of course knew Meiktila well.
Having found the field hospital I went to the Chief Medical Officer and said I was F/O Proctor's ex CO and said “Tell me, how is he?” “ Oh, he's ok. There is a really nasty head wound but he will recover. We are waiting for a Dakota to fly him out to India where he can get some decent treatment.” I asked if I could see him and was told yes but that he was a bit delirious.
I went in and Dave was just lying on a strip. His first words were “ My aching back” and I said
“You xxxx bxxxxxd – the moment I leave you , you go and write off a plane again.” Again he said “My aching back” and I said “Thank Christ you haven't lost your sense of humour”. “ I mean it Ginger. My back is broken but they won't believe me” I was wondering if I should say something and decided to do so. I went back to Medical Officer and said “ Look, he's telling me his back is broken.” This chap almost brushed me off. I said “Look, if Dave Proctor tells me his back is broken it is broken! I want something done about it.” To cut a long story short, his back was broken in two places. They flew him back to England and he was three years in the Loughborough rehab centre. You remember he had pleaded with me to be taken to Burma as his brother was missing there. All of the time we were there he would disappear at night. You never saw the Burmese, it was jungle. He would go into the villages and try to get a lead on his brother, but he never did. He married his brothers widow. They did divorce but he educated both his brothers sons and put them through university before emigrating to New Zealand. A truly remarkable man.
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Old 17th Jan 2017, 14:55
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To support this fascinating account of Stinson ops in Burma and India, here's a fine picture of a Stinson L5 on casevac operations, showing the long side door which hinges down so the stretcher can fit down the fuselage. The L5 had a six-cylinder 190 horsepower Lycoming O-435, more powerful than the contemporary Austers used by the Army Air Corps, and was also shorter – hence the very large empennage. Stinson seems to have got it right as the post-war Auster AOP9 looks almost like a copy.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 17th Jan 2017 at 16:19.
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Old 17th Jan 2017, 17:09
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Box Brownie (#10041),

The Ladies (and they were every inch "Ladies") of that generation were made of sterner stuff. They knew (as Kipling put it:

"Single men in barricks
Don't grow into plaster saints"

Grandmas delivered Lancasters (in ATA), and thought nothing of it. What Col Coogan said would not faze them.

Danny.

Edit:...(#10042)
A truly remarkable man...
They don't make 'em like that any more.....but maybe they do.

D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 17th Jan 2017 at 17:20. Reason: Addn
 
Old 17th Jan 2017, 20:06
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I was in our hangar at Kemble about three years ago, no one around.
Walking towards me was a guy on artificial legs. I was able to put him in our static Spitfire. This quiet and thoughtful chap was ex-army. As he sat in the cockpit we spent some time talking. He was a remarkable man

A very humbling experience
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 10:50
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Facebook reminded me this morning that today is the birthday of our founding father, C. F. Leach...aka Cliffnemo. He lives on in cyberspace.....and his thread endures.
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 10:54
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Following BB's postings I'm really interested in the Stinson though it's unlikely I shall get my hands on one now. This old report is the next best thing: Pirep: Stinson L-5
I particularly liked this quote:
The ambulance models also have one of the more hysterical military placards you'll run across. It states, "Intentional spinning with litter patients is prohibited." Makes you wonder what ambulance pilots had been doing to fight boredom when returning with a casualty, doesn't it?

Last edited by Geriaviator; 18th Jan 2017 at 14:53.
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 11:04
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Box Brownie (#10045),

Pity your chap wasn't Air Force - just think how much extra "G" he could stand ! (believe that was also the case for Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader [RIP], CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL ).

Static Spitfire Hoary Old Shaggy Dog Story:

Visiting Brigadier is being shown over a Spit. "But where", quoth he, "does the NCO sit ?" Gently explained that there is no NCO aboard.

"WHAT !" (horrified) - "do you actually mean to tell me that you allow an Officer to operate this without an experienced NCO to advise ?"

Can't vouch for this.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 18th Jan 2017 at 14:17. Reason: Spacing up the Creek.
 
Old 18th Jan 2017, 12:19
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And here's the Submarine Service version from WWI in Punch cartoon form!


https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...things&f=false

Jack
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 12:49
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I'm sure you've told that tale before, Danny, thought it may have been somebody else, but last time the punchline was "Do you mean you don't have a man to drive it for you..."
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 12:56
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My son is currently a serving officer in Royal Navy submarines and reports that not much has changed from the WW1 cartoon and comments mentioned by Union Jack. Submarines and surface ships still have very different cultures, it seems.
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Old 18th Jan 2017, 14:28
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Reader 123 (#10050),

Very likely ! Put it down to Short Term Memory Loss (afflicts the aged).

Danny.
 
Old 19th Jan 2017, 12:40
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Oh, bloody hell ... what a nasty quirk of timing.
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 13:35
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That is truer than you realise MPN 11 I have missed out a chunk! Now looking for it.
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 13:38
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Flt Lt John Dunbar DFC Five into four won't go

Taken from three tapes.

At the end of the war I flown 228 hrs operationally over the jungle Interestingly, of 176 aircrew forced down in the enemy controlled areas or in jungle in Allied territory, 166 were lost without trace. I was flying in Batavia in the Dutch East Indies when I was told that the following day I would be going to Kuala Lumpur to again be the personal pilot of General Messervy who was now GOC Far East. I had flown him about fifty times in the L5 but this time it would be in the Beech Expiditor.
On arrival I was greeted by his adjudant and was told Messervy was in meeting, but we would
be flying the following morning as the General wished to go to Singapore – an 8 o'clock take off. We were told not to worry as the General liked pilots. Little did the adj know!
I was introduced to W/O Jimmy Rainbow who was to be my navigator. He had been on 177Sqadron flying Beaufighters. We were told to be standing under the nose of the aircraft to await his arrival.
We get to the dipersal area the following morning and there are what appears to be hundreds of soldiers lined up. There is this enormous parade to see Messevy off and standing next to the aircraft is the RAF contingent which consists of the AOC, x number of Air Commadores and Group Captains all now standing to attention. I hadn't been introduced to any of them, didn't know any of them, I was just the pilot.
Messervy had commandeered a bloody great Packard that the Japanese had used during the war and appears complete with outriders, a very posh peacetime General. He is looking out and he sees me. This is a true story and if you told an army bod he wouldn't believe you. He leant forward, tapped his driver on the shoulder and the car stopped, he gets out and almost half runs across the tarmac. He puts his arms round me “Ginger!” This a General to a Flt Lt. *The Air Commodores and the Group Captains were apoplectic. He then went through every pilot by christian name asking how they were, just the three of us together. He then went to the AOC and I heard him say “ Sorry about that, Ginger and I went through Burma together”

Last edited by Box Brownie; 19th Jan 2017 at 13:46. Reason: Words added
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 13:59
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Box Bownie,

Priceless ! Couldn't happen now,I fear.

Danny.
 
Old 19th Jan 2017, 16:15
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Priceless ! Couldn't happen now, I fear. - Danny

Not exactly "now" perhaps but, when visiting any one of his ships, Admiral Nick Hunt was renowned for spending time talking to crew members in inverse proportion to their rank - and on at least one occasion shanghaiing one of his personal staff officers at Portsmouth when the flagship's next port of call was Gibraltar......:

Jack
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 19:01
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Jack,

Our AVM in 221 Group, Burma, "Paddy" Bandon (the Earl of Bandon - or the "Abandoned Earl") was renowned for speaking mostly to the airmen on his official visits. Reckoned he could get to know the true state of affairs much better that way !

Danny.
 
Old 19th Jan 2017, 19:03
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Lovely dit, Box Brownie.

When those moments happen, they are welded in your memory. I won't narrate mine in detail, but at a Guest Night I was greeted by the 2* guest of honour as he made his way to his seat at the top table. It felt really good!
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 19:07
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Danny42C ... the Abandoned Earl was a leader of men, in War.

Sadly they don't make many of those these days. I was lucky to encounter a few, but the majority were largely pole-climbers.

I resist posting a list, so don't ask, but at my retirement interview with my then 1* he acknowedged I had drawn some 'lesser' leaders of men
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 20:18
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Air Vice Marshal Bird-Wilson was a gentleman as was Sir Ivor Broom. I interviewed Sir Ivor so that may well be one worth putting on Prune.
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