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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 1st Aug 2009, 08:47
  #1001 (permalink)  
 
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Goosequill; Posting pics, follow the instructions here http://www.pprune.org/spectators-bal...une-guide.html
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Old 1st Aug 2009, 09:25
  #1002 (permalink)  
regle
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Blenheims

I am pretty sure that I wrote a lot about Blenheims in my much earlier threads . I went to 17 OTU Upwood and have already described the days there where I flew Blenheim IV's with ,for no known reason, night flying on the shortnosed Blenheim 1. I was then posted to 105 Squadron at Horsham St. Faith who had Blenheims and I , once again, briefly, flew the Bisley which was probably the ugliest and worst aircraft I ever flew...I never flew the Botha ! The Bisley was a Blenheim IV with the turret removed but with no attempt to streamline the resulting gap ...just a [___] with the vertical line at each end rejoining the fuselage. If you could get into the cockpit of the Blenheim without breaking a limb you were lucky. You had to climb from the wing....Don't ask me how you got on the wing...to a hatch on the top of the fuselage and lower yourself, complete with seat parachute in to the Cockpit. Once there your troubles really began as there was no attempt at instrument coordination and the placing of the instruments varied from machine to machine. Even operating the U/C lever could gash your hand if you weren't careful.
The two pitch propellors had their control levers positioned in a niche behind the pilot's left so that, after takeoff, to change the pitch you had to reach blindly behind with your left hand and pull the pitch control lever. As the two fuel tank shut off levers were just underneath the pitch controls and identical in feel and shape you can imagine the frequent results .
I can't remember getting much over 200 m.p.h. in a Blenheim but ,Thank God, we were just getting delivery of the first Mosquito Mk IV and I never operated on Blenheims and I know that i would not be writing this now if I had. My cap goes off to all the brave men that flew the Blenheim on the suicidal daylight, low level, shipping strikes and such.. Bill Edrich, the England Cricketer was one of the men that I met and a Blenheim pilot who survived. Does that answer you Goose Quill ? As you might have guessed, I have no fond memories of that aircraft. Regle.
 
Old 2nd Aug 2009, 04:39
  #1003 (permalink)  
 
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Isn't some group currently doing a re-build of a Blenheim? From what regele has said in his last post, it will be an interesting first flight for them if they get it to an airworthy state. Reading regel's description of what was involved in just flying such a machine (forget actually operating one in a combat environment!) gives a whole new understanding of what a steep learning curve it must have been for the (mostly very low time) crews of that had to operate those aeroplanes in a totally unforgiving environment, and why the RAF lost more crews to training accidents during WW2 than they did to enemy action.
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Old 2nd Aug 2009, 07:03
  #1004 (permalink)  
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Isn't some group currently doing a re-build of a Blenheim?
I believe there's one being rebuilt at Duxford photo at: blenheim rebuild pkdscf0091 pictures from aviation photos on webshots
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Old 2nd Aug 2009, 09:46
  #1005 (permalink)  
regle
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Blenheim rebuild

The Blenheim Society a few years ago patiently and expensively rebuilt a genuine Blenheim Mk IV (I think )and then entrusted the machine to an unfortunate and nameless Airline Pilot to Air Test and who wrote it off immediately. I saw something fairly recently in an Aeroplane Magazine to the effect that they are trying again. Do not jump to hasty conclusions. I wouldn't go near a Blenheim if I could help it. Regle
 
Old 2nd Aug 2009, 10:24
  #1006 (permalink)  
 
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Blenheim.

For info. on the current Blenheim restoration, see the Aircraft Restoration Company (Duxford) website.
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Old 2nd Aug 2009, 10:27
  #1007 (permalink)  
 
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Blenheim

Regle (or regele or regel.. try again Fubaar!!!) You are quite correct about the rebuilt Blenheim, didn't last long before it was in pieces again. Heart breaking for those involved in the restoration, but ll credit, they went and started all over again....
I'd always thought the Blenheim had been lauded as superior to any fighter (like the Mossie, but 1933 performance nothing like 1940 capabilities, I suppose. I'm just astonished that it went into full scale production with such poor control layout. No wonder a lot of BC veterans volunteered for front line service rather than risk their lives in HCU training!!!! The enemy you know is trying to kill you, rather than "green" crews who might succeed!
Also, it's now reached over a 1,000 postings, really remarkable tribute to Cliff and others who have made this thread come alive.
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Old 2nd Aug 2009, 18:33
  #1008 (permalink)  
regle
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Blenheims

The Blenheim was a pre war private venture from Bristols,known as "Britain First" and the prototype had a much better performance than the production version after the various departments had added turret, guns, higher bomb loads etc.
The understanding for the need of standardisation of the placing of instruments had not yet arisen as the demands for skill in night flying were virtually non existent and it would be a long time before it came into being. The idea of the daylight flying ,medium bomber was still that formation and gun turrets would be the answer to the fighter menace and it took disatrous casualties before the higher ups reacted to the practical advice that was coming from the people that were actually trying to do the job and paying dearly for the mistakes made in strategy. The Mosquito was a revelation and must be one of the top contestants for one of the finest and most versatile aircraft of the war. Once again it was the designers and makers of this aircraft that took all the risks and went ahead against the refusals of Government to back the project...just as it had taken the backing of a Lady to enable Britain to go ahead and win the Schneider Trophy and pave the way for the Spitfire to play such a part in the destiny of this country. Note that I say "play a part " as the Hurricane shot down more enemy fighters than the Spitfire and was the preferred mount of the majority of it's pilots just as the Halifax was the workhorse of Bomber Command and the Lancaster had to have a terrible start as an underpowered Manchester before emerging as the aircraft that it became. Those pilots who flew both, knew which one gave the crew the best chance of survival and it wasn't the Lancaster.

I think that it is our destiny to have the finest men doing the fighting despite the terrible mistakes of the ones sitting at the top.... The First World War criticism of the British by one of their powerful enemies ( I can't remember who but it might have been Bismarck ) "Lions led by Donkeys". It was ever thus. Regle,..... but I don't mind Reg !

Last edited by regle; 3rd Aug 2009 at 09:25. Reason: Slight addition
 
Old 2nd Aug 2009, 21:07
  #1009 (permalink)  
 
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Regle, that post was as beautifully a succicnt summation of WW2 British air defence and offence as ever I have seen.

As regards the survivability of Lancaster crews: one American historian, in "Courage and Air Warfare" (Mark Wells) described the designer of the Lanc's escape provision as "criminally responsible".
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 07:27
  #1010 (permalink)  
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I used to land on an Island in the Gulf called Masirah
Pronounced "Misery".

A chap on our squadron once got into a punch-up with a corporal clerk from Gen Office who had workied at PMC Innsworth and still had mates there. Within a week he was on PWRs and the following week received his posting - 18 months in Misery.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 08:29
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Blenheim

There is also a Bolingbroke being restored (display)at the Museum of Flight East Fortune,Scotland. I will try and post a pic or two
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 14:17
  #1012 (permalink)  
regle
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Slaughter in 2 group

Apropos the Blenheim losses; A squadron of 12 Blenheims based in England but probably operating from France , May 17th.1940, lost 11 of the 12 to German Fighters. I do not remember any of the details but I am sure that it can be easily found. Regle
 
Old 3rd Aug 2009, 22:21
  #1013 (permalink)  
 
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Posting images

Thank you, Henry, I shall study and have a go!

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 22:25
  #1014 (permalink)  
 
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Blenheims

Hi Reg,

Thanks for that nice summary - I must have come along after you first posted on the Blenheim, so thanks very much - and I think I'll also back track a bit and see if I can pick up your earlier posts.

It was the bees knees pre-war - amazing how real hostilities sort out the myths from reality...

Thanks again.

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 4th Aug 2009, 08:34
  #1015 (permalink)  
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The Winjeel...




and the Wirraway...



The image is Crown Copyright and is found at the Digger History website.

I was doubtful about the claim of its use in combat but it really is true!

The one on the left is flown by Pilot Officer (PO) J. S. Archer who leapt out and claimed a Zero. The claim was confirmed when the wreckage was found and Archer was later awarded the DFC for his exploit.
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Old 4th Aug 2009, 09:40
  #1016 (permalink)  
regle
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Goosequill for threading

Start around page 13 onwards if you have the patience, Reg
 
Old 5th Aug 2009, 05:18
  #1017 (permalink)  
 
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Blenheim

Hi Reg,

Thanks very much for taking the time to find the pointer - I'll take a peep!

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 5th Aug 2009, 05:45
  #1018 (permalink)  
 
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Winjeel production line

Hi Henry, and other Winjeel admirers,

Here goes:



Yippee!

That nice pic from Blacksheep shows how good it looked with the panels on. (Did the blonde get included as standard fit?)

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 5th Aug 2009, 07:39
  #1019 (permalink)  
 
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WWII runway lighting

Hi Cliff, Reg,

An odd question for you - if it has stuck in the mind after all these years...

I stumbled across a bit of detail on runway lighting, and discovered that the Mark II runway light was only powered by a 15 watt pygmy bulb. There were two of these inside the 'turtle', one for each direction so pilots would not land the wrong way at night, and shining out through a rather small aperture. Made me wonder, were these puny lamps visible when overhead or downwind, or did they only get revealed in their full glory at funnels?

Ta!

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 5th Aug 2009, 16:47
  #1020 (permalink)  
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STOP PRESS !! .BROADBAND CHANGEOVER DATE NOW AUGUST THE TWELFTH . (PHEW)


GOOSEQUILL, Follow Henry’s advice but If you check post 931 you will find a scan of a photo bucket page, it may help. Sorry , I can’t answer your question on fifteen watt pygmy bulbs, probably passing too quickly at the time. Can remember the Drem system, with quite bright blue lights. I thought the system was O.K.


I have just found my release book, so thought I would scan a few of the pages before I lose it again. It may be of interest to some historians. I note that my final pay was nineteen and three pence per day on demob, as a war substantive rank warrant officer , but demobbed as sergeant (A.C 1), The A.C 1 refers to my rank as an equipment assistant. When the war finished , and awaiting demob, most of us had to take a trade course, we were not very enthusiastic, hence the A.C 1 ,rather than the L.A.C rank I would have achieved if I had been enthusiastic.` I was posted to R.A.F Catterick for psychological tests, to decide what trade I should take, this included tests to see if I could put round pegs into round holes and square pegs into square holes, etc. It was decided I was more suited to a clerical job rather than a mechanical job. This was despite the fact that prior to enlisting I was an apprentice plant fitter working on building and civil engineering plant, and vehicles.
REG will note I was demobbed at Kirkham, a place he will know well as it is not far from Blackpool, Remember the Astra cinema Reg on the Blackpool/ Kirkham road., and the regular showing of ’The Thirty Nine Steps’ in glorious black and white. With Robert Donat starring ? Think \I saw it at virtually every station I was on.









After completing. training at Bottesford , our crew were posted to 150 Sqdn Hemswell. The rest of the crew traveled by train, but as I still had my trusty Norton with me, I entrusted my kit bags to the crew and travelled by road. We were pleasantly surprised by the comfortable quarters , bathrooms and showers being in the same building as our rooms. This was due to the fact that it was a pre-war station with all quarters permanent brick built buildings. The mess was first class, food was good, and surprise surprise large bowls of vitamin tablets on all the mess tables.
The first thing we learnt was that there was a compound behind the guardroom full of old bikes, mainly ‘sit up and beg’ types. . Some were scrap R.A.F bikes but some were ‘civvy’ bikes, and we were told by the old hands ,that we should collect a bike and spares and build a bike for our personal use.
The usual hole in the compound fence was at the rear of the guard room and somehow no one in the guard room ever seemed to notice the frequent visits made by future cyclists Rumour had it that the ‘civny’ bikes had been borrowed from nearby Gainsboro.. Evidently it was the habit of certain airman having missed the liberty bus, to borrow a bike and on return ,leave it outside the guard room. The following morning any bikes left outside were returned to the Gainsboro police, who returned them to their owners. Bikes not claimed were returned to the compound . If you have seen the video Night Bomber , you will have noticed the large number of bikes at Hemswell.

The first month we practiced high level bombing and cross country flights one was by day, and another by night of over four hours duration. Numerous other flights and one ‘Air to sea firing’ which was carried out at Alkborough, near Cleethorpes. The target was a float offshore in the North Sea. With the Lanc at about fifty feet the Bomb Aimer, Mid upper, and Rear Gunner, firied at the target as we passed the float.

'Ecky thump' better post this before it disappears
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