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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 24th Jan 2017, 08:41
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Flt Lt John Dunbar DFC Five into four won't go

Taken from three tapes Back to the UK

One day, after about three months of flying the General, I just semi-passed out while airborne with Jimmy rainbow, after flying General Messervy to Bangkok. He was not on board. Jimmy Rainbow had undergone pilot training in America under the Arnold scheme but late in the course was washed out, becoming a navigator. *I had let him fly the Expiditor when airborne on a number of occasions and fortunately for us he was able to get us down in one piece. I have no recollection of the next ten days. They discovered that I weighed 100lb and was suffering from a combination of malnutrition and heat exhaustion plus dysentery – all the things we all had out there. I came back as a medical repat. They didn't know what to do with people like us when they came back from Burma.
I can remember the reception committee for the hospital train coming into Waterloo station. There was a cpl MP who had some blank passes to enable us to get to our destination – that was our reception from a grateful nation when we got back. I was given double food rations and told the best thing I could do was go home, rest and in three months have a medical at Adastral House. In the meantime I had lost my flying category as well, which didn't please me at all.
After three months I had a signal to report to Adastral House, which I did. There was a three day medical and on the second day the usual boring routine was in progress. I was sitting in a corridor and was suddenly conscious of a body standing in front of me making a muted cough. I looked up and there was this Group Captain, gorgeous uniform and rows of medals just standing in front of me. What does one do as a humble Flt Lt? I stood up to attention and he didn't say a word to me – just looked at me and eventually he said “ Don't you recognise me?” “ Well sorry sir, should I ?”
“Oh yes – you should recognise me alright” I said “ I'm terribly sorry sir, but I am afraid I don't”.
“Well I suppose you don't. I'll tell you what. I'll give you a clue. Picture me wearing a Burmese longyi and a big black beard.” The penny dropped, Wg Cdr Nottage, the CO of 177 Sqdn who I had flown out of the jungle was now Grp Ctn Nottage and was in charge of postings.
“I think I owe you a lunch. Name any restaurant in London. I will pick you up at 1:00 o'clock”
When I mentioned the medical board his reply was classic. “Don't worry about them. I am in charge” In the taxi on the way back he asked me to see him once the medical was over so that a posting could be sorted out for me. My flying category limited me to Transport Command or Training Command. George Nottage suggested a posting to No1 Flying Instructors School at Woodley. He had noticed on my records that I had above average and exceptional categories. The station was civilian run by Miles Aircraft. What interested me was that the instructors stayed in the Beehive pub owned by Simmonds brewery. So that was Nottage's thank you to me.
I had an interesting few months at Woodley, particularly as Miles had just produced the Aerovan. Their pilots lived in the mess and the Chief pilot said to me one day “ Are you staying for the weekend?” I said yes because I had a rather nice girlfriend there at the time, at which he invited me to fly the Aerovan. We had a great time. He knew a farmer and we beat up the farm. On returning air traffic had a go at us as we had been reported for low flying. I thought 'well, I'm not the pilot'. A few days later he came into the mess and asked if I had signed on. I replied yes and that I had signed on for eight years on the understanding that I was in line for a permanent commission. “ You can get out you know” I said I didn't want to. “ Ah, but would you like to join us as a test pilot?”I fell for it, took my demob and went back there a few weeks later to be greeted by a large notice on the gate Miles Aircraft Factory Closed' So I found myself in civvy street without a job.
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Old 24th Jan 2017, 08:59
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Back in the late 80s/early 90s, a well known sqn ldr Loadmaster was Secretary of the RAF Equitation Association, and I was Treasurer. He used to bring his Mother in Law to events and she presented the trophies, most graciously too. She was/is Dame Vera Lynn.


I am now in touch with Tom, and with his agreement I will be sending a card to Dame Vera for her 100th birthday in March. It would be nice if I could include the best wishes of the PPRuNe community, some of the boys and girl she sang for, but rather more of their successors
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Old 24th Jan 2017, 12:23
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Wander00 (#10083),
...It would be nice if I could include the best wishes of the PPRuNe community, some of the boys and girls she sang for...
Never sang for me (individually), but she had the pluck to get right up to the "sharp end" in Burma - which is more than some other "celebrities" cared to do. Got in amongst the PBI to sing in the Burma mud (quite right, too - for the "Forgotten [14th] Army" were the real heroes of the Burma war.

Abiding memory of her at the Calcutta Swimming Club (the one opposite the Law Courts), wearing a slick yellow one-piece, surrounded by a cohort of "Gabardine Swine". Looked great ! Was on leave at the time, far side of the pool, had to worship from afar. Memories, memories !

So congratulations Dame Vera, and All the Best - from one of your many secret admirers.

Danny42C.
 
Old 24th Jan 2017, 12:55
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GABARDINE SWINE

Steady on, Danny, the bromide seems to be wearing off! I'd post another piccy of Section Officer Harvey, but wouldn't want your sphygmomanometer to ping off-scale high!

About 25 years ago I arranged a 3-ship UAS Bulldog trip for some PR stunt involving Beaujolais Noveau () being delivered to some charity do in London - we flew to Manston to collect the crates which the OTC had driven up to Calais and the URNU had brought over in their boat. We flew it to Northolt via special clearance down the heli-lanes, off-loaded it, then flew back to Benson. Meanwhile the students pedalled their way from Northolt to the event on butchers' bikes with the wine bottles jangling in the baskets.

Our route took us over HQ STC at High Wycombe at about 500 ft. Plodding up the hill from the OM were all the staff REMFs off to their mahogany bombers in their blues - like matchstick men from a Lowry painting. "There they go, all the gabardine swine brown-nosing in their headlong rush for promotion", I remarked to my student. But he'd never heard of the Gaderene swine, so the pun was rather lost on him...
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Old 24th Jan 2017, 13:58
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Danny


Have just sent that lovely story on to DV's daughter and son-in-law


I am taking your contribution as carte blanche to include PPRuNe best wishes in the 100th birthday card
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Old 24th Jan 2017, 17:04
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Wander00,

As the reference to "Gabardine Swine" may be puzzling some of our readers, I sought to bring up my long-time-ago Post on the subject. Predictably "Search this Thread" was (as usual) useless, Google likewise.

So here is a potted version:

Staff Officers in Cairo in WWII find No.1 (tropical) uniforms tailored in thin khaki gabardine much more elegant (and pleasing to the ladies) than in the (official) khaki drill. Monty's merry men, coming in hot dusty and tired from chasing Rommel round the Western Desert, observed these splendid creatures and applied this sarcastic term to them.

(You will all be familiar, I trust, with the Biblical story of the Gadarene Swine ?)

The practice was taken up by the Staffs in India. Of course, when Vera came out under the auspices of ENSA (?), these were in pole position as escorts.

(only jealous !)

Danny.
 
Old 24th Jan 2017, 17:13
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Thanks Danny, I was not unaware of the term......


Hope you are keeping well and looking after yourself


W
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Old 24th Jan 2017, 17:31
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Wander00,

Never doubted it for a moment ! (but some of the younger generation may not know the allusion).

I'm fine, thanks !

D.
 
Old 24th Jan 2017, 21:08
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Danny - re Vera Lynn and Burma

As a fan of Andre Rieu I recorded one of his programs broadcast on Sky Arts a couple of years ago of his concert in Maastricht for the Veterans
on Armed Forces' Day 2013. I particularly liked it because it included an interview with Dame Vera Lynn in her home where she discussed her trip to Burma - a quite moving experience. The actual broadcast of Andre's interview with Dame Vera has been posted on YouTube here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acZFr21WLNw

The clip includes photos from Dame Vera's photo album showing some of the troops she met whilst in Burma.
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Old 25th Jan 2017, 09:47
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Happy One Hundredth in March, Dame Vera. You brought hope and comfort to parted loved ones in our darkest hours.

Here she is in full song at the 1990 RVP. Also featuring Robert Hardy, as well as an all singing and dancing Air Chief Marshal. Now that's something you don't see every day...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Dwf93z7w8

Last edited by Chugalug2; 25th Jan 2017 at 10:36.
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Old 25th Jan 2017, 16:39
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Warmtoast and Chugalug,

Thanks both for the links (although it takes forever on this museum piece of mine to get them up !)

Warmtoast, wonderful interview with a wonderful not-quite-so-young lady !

Still 'on song' in 1990 (age 73), Chugalug, but could not spot your "all singin', all dancin' ACM" - was he in the chorus line ?

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 25th Jan 2017, 17:44
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Look Stage Right (ie to the left as you look at it), Danny. Yes, presumably holding an Equity card too. When even the ACMs start looking younger, is that a sign of my advancing years?

BB, John Dunbar seems to have made a career by letting others decide on his next move in it. Perhaps this latest input was at last for the best?

Last edited by Chugalug2; 26th Jan 2017 at 11:54. Reason: Misdirection, sorry!
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Old 25th Jan 2017, 17:55
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Indeed Chug. Having said that, Sir Ivor broom said that every move made was at the suggestion of others.
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Old 26th Jan 2017, 11:14
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Fair point, BB. From Sergeant Pilot to Air Marshal, so it obviously worked well for him! Personally, I was a great believer in the fickle finger of fate, so whatever the job allocated, the posting received, etc, I simply took it all as it came. Turned out well enough for me, in both my military and civilian lives. I consider I was lucky with the hands fate dealt me, but that is the essence of it. I have known others who planned their careers down to the n'th degree; so many years here, then off to the Far East for the remainder, before returning for a well earned retirement; only for it all to become horribly unstuck by industrial, political, or any other reason. I was lucky, and for most of us that's what it all boils down to in the end. As I asked a friend's son just starting out as a brand new airline pilot, "Are you lucky?". He didn't understand the question, but his Dad did!

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...vor-broom.html
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Old 26th Jan 2017, 14:52
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Chugalug,

Yes, I always "went with the flow", turned out just as well (or as badly !) as for the chaps who were always working contacts and trying to wangle postings.

"Be careful what you wish for - you might get it !"

Once (but only once) I was asked for my preference for a UK posting after a tour in RAF(G). "I'll go anywhere you like, any Command,", I said, "with one proviso - please not a Pilot AFS again !" (I was still bearing the mental scars of 3 years ATC at Strubby).

What did I get?...... Linton ! - well, I suppose they got a giggle out of it.

Danny.
 
Old 26th Jan 2017, 15:50
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Chugalug,
...I was lucky, and for most of us that's what it all boils down to in the end. As I asked a friend's son just starting out as a brand new airline pilot, "Are you lucky?". He didn't understand the question, but his Dad did!...
It is recorded somewhere that Napoleon was being buttonholed by a courtier, who was extolling the virtues and military prowess of some General of his acquaintance.

"Yes, yes !", said Napoleon testily, "But is he lucky ?"

Danny.
 
Old 27th Jan 2017, 09:50
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Danny42C... I was in the pub in Louth [The Wheatsheaf] that functioned as the No 2 Officers Mess for Manby when I looked at SATCO and said something like "I'd really like to get out of Flying Training Command: any chance of a posting?". "Where do you want to go?" he replied. "Oh, anywhere, and I'll only need a couple of weeks' notice" I replied, in that uber-confident plt off way when talking to SATCO down t'pub. "I'll have a word with 'Red' <redacted>. Leave it with me." ('Red' was the sqn ldr who managed ATC JO postings.)

And ... a couple of weeks later I found myself posted to Tengah. What's not to like?
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 15:58
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It ain't what you know, but who you know !

MPN11,

Crawler ! (bet you paid for the beer !) Worked, though

All right for some !

Danny.
 
Old 27th Jan 2017, 20:57
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Only to an extent, Danny42C ... I succumbed to the tropical heat and married my first wife on the rebound from my [previous] gorgeous squeeze

All's well now, thank the Lord, with Mk. 2 after 34 years

Back to 'Cyclops Brown' on another thread, about good VSOs, who I remember to post a dit.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 21:52
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MPN11,
...All's well now, thank the Lord, with Mk. 2 after 34 years...
Ad multos annos ! (I ran up nearly 62 - and it wasn't "a Day too Long").

Danny.
 

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