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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 Feb 2017, 21:31
  #10201 (permalink)  
 
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Danny, I'm not sure which of my links doesn't work for you. You don't mention the "Fort Myers" one which includes Carlstrom and its many satellites. It works for me, but I'll post it again in case your PC relents and grudgingly decides to co-operate:-

Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida, Ft. Myers area

Similarly there were two YouTube links, the first of which was made up of old photos and videos of Carlstrom:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyDo795tE3U

If that doesn't play, a search on YouTube for "Carlstrom Army Air Field" (sic) should find it.

The "Ghost Town" one you obviously watched. I wonder if you recognised any of the old Carlstrom amongst all the later additions? The circular roadway that is so dominant in the old photos seems to be where a lot of it was filmed from.

Yes, IBB, I too wondered that the RAF was credited with the Albacore, the hats, and the wellies! To be fair though, they were all Brits at least! I was intrigued by the American parade at 9.09 captioned as "Class 44H War Bound Parade in Arcadia". Should it be "War Bonds"? Though on second thoughts either could be right...
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Old 17th Feb 2017, 14:46
  #10202 (permalink)  
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Chugalug (#10203),

I didn't try the "...Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida, Ft. Myers area..." - but there must be dozens of 'em, most wartime RLGs, I suppose, long since returned to nature.

The second link came up all right (the one with the pics of Carlstrom Field). I didn't recognise any pictures of Carlstrom buildings in the Ghost Town.

Couldn't get the third (last) one up at all.
...Class 44H War Bound Parade in Arcadia...
The sense here is that they were "bound" for action in the war. Now "44H" would've graduated in August '44. If RAF, it would have been September before they'd cleared Canada and got back to UK. Add four months for messing about and an OTU, and they couldn't have got to their squadrons much before January '45 - and the end was then in sight.

But the Arnold Scheme last RAF graduates finished around September '43.......? Probably what was "bound for war" here in Arcadia were USAAC cadets, graduated as 2/Lieuts.

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

It is a sombre thought that the number of States-trained British Pilots (ie 'Arnold' plus BFTS) - around 7,500 +, would just about equal the pilot losses in Bomber Command (say 1/7 of the 55,000 +). This shows what an enormous boon the US Flying Training was to us, as an addition of the EFTS output.

Danny.
 
Old 17th Feb 2017, 17:30
  #10203 (permalink)  
 
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As an observer at Neatishead I always reeckoned that amongst FCs there was a higher than normal percentage of left handed people

Last edited by Wander00; 17th Feb 2017 at 22:28.
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Old 17th Feb 2017, 19:37
  #10204 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Wander00
As an observer at Neatishead I always that amongst FCs there was a higher than normal percentage of left handed people
I couldn't possibly comment!

But then my 'hand' became shifted when working the MPN11 truck. Watch on the right wrist, to be able to read the dial under the [essentially] feeble pea light above the Comms switches.

And during the years on the T82 at Eastern, with a right-hand joystick and numerous left-hand comms and other panels, I guess I became a bit amphibious



I now use my computer mouse with my left hand, enabling a free right hand to hit "ENTER"/whatever for speed and ergonomic convenience. Funny the way old habits/customs persist.
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 09:23
  #10205 (permalink)  
 
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MPN11, what an iconic piece of kit is your "typical Controller Console as used in RAF Area Radar Units in the 1960 - 1990 period. One can attempt ( and probably fail!) to sort the various additions and mods that it attracted in those years; by style, colour, and technology. One can see how the hue of the original subtlety changed. Was that by revised standards, ageing effects, or simply layers of nicotine?

Would it not have been at home in a miniaturised version in an episode of Thunderbirds? I can also see a chap wearing a dinner plate sized hat feeling similarly at home, and adding further to the knee wear in some Soviet bunker or other. As I say, iconic.
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 10:19
  #10206 (permalink)  
 
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A worn and weary T82 console! Essentially 'green', the 'armrests' have had the paint worn away over the years! Certainly a "No Smoking" environment, so no nicotine involved!!

Considering the time I spent working these, I find myself struggling slightly to recall what all the bits actually were! I'll try and decode, starting top left and going clockwise:
  1. 40-way landline comms. Up for Assistant, down for Controller, and all capable to being 'patched' to anyone else on the panel. Also capable of multiple patching when required. The top 2 rows are internal, the lower two rows external.
  2. T82 Radar display. Many consoles had a 2nd display mounted above, being fed from the T84/T85 at a friendly local GCI station via microwave links.
  3. Pale green 'shiny box' is, IIRC, the SSR (Mode 3) control panel that determined what codes were displayed?
  4. Below that is the joystick, which moved a circle on the display. That was then used to select 'store dots' over the radar return, which the Tracker then controlled to follow your aircraft. The dots displayed small numbers on-screen, enabling other controllers to identify who was controlling that a/c and then coordinate with you.
  5. Behind the joystick is the Height meter - on request your Height Finder Operator would get a reading of height from the stacked beam antenna.
  6. Across the front are the R/T frequency switches. Usually just one in use per controller, plus 243.00 [the black switch?], but one could select other controllers' frequencies to monitor proceedings. Frequency distribution was also managed by a massive 'spaghetti junction box' at the back of the room.
  7. The bank of 8 switches above that are, IIRC, the store dot selectors, which you allocated to each aircraft that came under control. Usually only 4 dots per console [the A or B position] - this shows #6 still available for use.
  8. Tucked away at the back, at desk-top level, is the big black rotary switch for radar beam selection. To minimise ground clutter, one could use 'high beams' if operating a/c above FL245. The other switches there are lost to memory fade!
  9. Finally, the small light green box below the landline panel is an interface to the electronic Tote Board, where the Assistant would dial in the height of each store dot [and also 'climbing/descending' indicators if appropriate] to facilitate inter-console coordination. So the store dot number on the radar display would be correlated with the Tote indication of height, and the relevant controller contacted by landline.

Or something like that!

It was all much prettier in the semi-darkness, of course, with loads of little lights glowing ... and the wear and tear being invisible

More pictures here >>> https://atchistory.wordpress.com/201...ru-raf-watton/
And some training notes here, which I wish I'd found/read before posting the above! https://atchistory.files.wordpress.c...lme-part-1.pdf
Pages 8-18 may explain a bit more, or utterly confuse you!

Last edited by MPN11; 18th Feb 2017 at 10:37.
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 13:40
  #10207 (permalink)  
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MPN11,

Do you honestly mean to say that they left you alone to operate that without a competent NCO by your side ?

Did it make the tea as well ? (otherwise no use in ATC).

Danny.
 
Old 18th Feb 2017, 15:11
  #10208 (permalink)  
 
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No, Danny42C ... after our maximum 2 hours on console we headed to the Crewroom, where the Tea Bar operator provided the essentials. One crewroom for Controllers, and the other side for the Assistants. Of course, if you were on a Centralised Approach Control (CAC) console, you could take a break if there were no planned Recoveries/Departures ... leaving your Assistant to monitor the landlines and r/t.

All this was managed by the Allocator, up on the bridge, who allocated general traffic to consoles and kept track of who needed a break (the SNCO i/c watch managed the Assistants breaks ... Control Assistant, Tracker, Height Finder, Tote). It was deemed rather improper if a CAC controller had to be summoned from the Crewroom via the loadspeaker having forgotten an ETA/ETD

With 14 control positions to manage, and taking calls from adjacent Units for handover to the appropriate controller, Allocator could be a busy position ... with nearly all the work done on landlines. Oh, it was satisfying ... and fun! Sorry you missed out
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 15:26
  #10209 (permalink)  
 
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I happened to wander around South Cerney churchyard on Thursday, armed with my trusty Hasselblad 500C. Developed the film this morning and the photo below shows some of the wartime graves there.

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Old 18th Feb 2017, 20:10
  #10210 (permalink)  
 
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Sgts Warren and Harry were both at 3SFTS RAF South Cerney, the third almost certainly was as well. So young, still in training, and right at the start of the war. The waste of it all...

Here is Edward Charles Warren's CWGC entry:-

Casualty Details

Here is a list of all 25 military graves at All Hallows churchyard, South Cerney:-

http://places.wishful-thinking.org.u...erney/MIs.html

Those dated 24th March 1969 relate to the tragic loss of Hercules CMk1 XV180 at RAF Fairford (also while training).
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Old 18th Feb 2017, 23:03
  #10211 (permalink)  
 
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On the same visit:-
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Old 19th Feb 2017, 12:56
  #10212 (permalink)  
 
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Fg Off Robin Plumtree was the son of AVM Eric Plumtree. When the latter was a young Plt Off, he served as a Blenheim pilot on 53 Squadron. On 27 October 1940, he set off from Detling to attack shipping off Den Helder in T2132/R. He and his crew ended up in a running battle with three Bf 110s of ZG76.

Plt Off Plumtree, Sgt Wood and Sgt PM Kinsey were badly injured and their aircraft was very badly damaged but they managed to land at Martlesham Heath. Plt Off Plumtree was awarded the DFC two days later and Sgt Kinsey the DFM.

He retired as an AVM and settled into a nearby village just behind my local pub. I shared the odd drink with "Plum" and his good lady. He still had bits of shrapnel in his head from the Bf 110 encounter and later in his life the shrapnel started to give him trouble.

It seemed totally ironic to me that he had managed to survive this attack and several other events in WW II and here was his son getting killed on a training flight on a 4-engined C-130 aircraft in peacetime.
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Old 20th Feb 2017, 10:54
  #10213 (permalink)  
 
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Training has always taken its toll, some 3000 alone dying at Bomber Command OTUs. They are rightly included in the 55,575 commemorated on the London Memorial. As Danny reminds us at post 10204:-

It is a sombre thought that the number of States-trained British Pilots (ie 'Arnold' plus BFTS) - around 7,500 +, would just about equal the pilot losses in Bomber Command (say 1/7 of the 55,000 +). This shows what an enormous boon the US Flying Training was to us, as an addition of the EFTS output.
Those trained like he in North America as pilots barely kept pace with that terrible loss rate. The cost of freedom in peace or war is prodigious, be it measured in blood or treasure. It is though a cost that we have to bear if we treasure that freedom.
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Old 20th Feb 2017, 12:09
  #10214 (permalink)  
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Chugalug,

How true ! In "The Song Of The Dead" by Rudyard Kipling, he speaks of the Navy, but the words are applicable to all the Services:

"....If blood be the price of admiralty, Lord God, we ha' paid in full...."

Danny.
 
Old 20th Feb 2017, 20:38
  #10215 (permalink)  
 
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Bomber Command losses

A belated Happy New Year to one and all. Danny, glad to read that you bounced back after your recent 'hiccup' and are continuing to lead us onwards on our merry and wandering route through aviation history.

Speaking of history, Chugalug's reference to the 55,57+ lives lost in Bomber Command was brought home to me during my last tour in the RAF, over 20 years ago. Life being a funny old thing, I find myself presently in the company of other ex-military types (three ex-RAF, one ex-REME, and one ex-RNZAF) currently engaged on the Major Inspection of the RAF Lancaster PA474. Non of us consider ourselves 'old men', although we are 'old sweats'. Inter-service rivalry, along with the easy banter all ex-military personal enjoy, help make this a labour of love, not a job. Don't misunderstand me, we are getting paid. But we are all in agreement, we are not here for the money.
One example of how this task is out of the ordinary is the daily crewroom conversations. Normally, in the world of Contractor Engineering, the topics will vary between which agency is paying the most this week, and where are the best digs for the next planned contract. Not us, and not here. To give an example, after we first gathered for this task, and compared notes with each other, we realised that each of us was reasonably read in our chosen field, and that field was historic aviation. So much so that by the end of the first week, the Kiwi turned around and said 'I thought I knew a lot about historic aviation...and then I met you lot!'
The Lancaster we can keep in good health without too much difficulty. Generally, parts are available, and there are a few firms out there who can continue to overhaul the Merlin engines and the DeHavilland propellers. There are also small pockets of engineering excellence where many of the 'old' skills are still found. Two days ago, I even met a gentleman who spins for a living. Not a politician, but a genius who can spin a flat piece of metal into an aircraft spinner, just the way they were made 70 years ago.
Unfortunately, we are unable to keep the former crews, both ground and air, in the same health with the same ease. So, we continue to treasure the contributions of Danny's generation, and those generations that have followed.

On behalf of the 'Lanc Team', I thank and salute you all.

camlobe
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Old 20th Feb 2017, 20:51
  #10216 (permalink)  
 
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camlobe ... and thank you, and your oily colleagues, for continuing to keep PA474 in the air.

"Living History" can take many forms.

Originally Posted by PA474 on Wiki
It was later announced that with the ongoing maintenance, PA474 should still be airworthy until 2065.
Which is more than can be said for many of us.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Lancaster_PA474
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 07:50
  #10217 (permalink)  
 
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I once had the privilege of a flight in PA474 which I have already described on this thread. Suffice to say the 20mins pax flight went straight into my Log Book. The aircraft was immaculate, the aircrew volunteers (with the exception of the two pilots, one the OC BBMF the other his replacement). The "second Dickie" position was installed for the former to check the latter out.

The occasion was the 900th Anniversary of the city of Newcastle, for which we were escorted by a couple of the flight's Spitfires. It certainly impressed me as I am sure it did those on the ground. The Flight is a great advert for the RAF just as it is a tribute not only to those who served in the BoB, but in the RAF generally in WWII, and especially in Bomber Command. Personally, if it ever came to a choice between the BBMF and the Red Arrows surviving the constant cuts prevalent these days, I would choose the BBMF. Sacrilege to some perhaps, but the sound of close formation Merlins is the very sound of freedom mentioned previously.

Well done camlobe, I echo MPN11's thanks for your good work. Any chance of some pics being posted of 474's rebirth?

Last edited by Chugalug2; 21st Feb 2017 at 08:01.
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 15:30
  #10218 (permalink)  
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camlobe (#10217),

Ta ! (glad to be back),
...a genius who can spin a flat piece of metal into an aircraft spinner, just the way they were made 70 years ago...
Pity that, 77 years ago, they didn't get him to make a few for the "Battles" - and complete what was really quite a graceful aircraft design ! (I'm sure Geriaviator would agree).

Danny.
 
Old 21st Feb 2017, 16:02
  #10219 (permalink)  
 
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Danny: Agreed the Battle nose looked unfinished, but the engine was so tightly cowled that there seems little room to attach a spinner. My father used to say that the Battles needed a lot more than spinners to save them. This pic, by the way, shows Cpl Davies of 142 Sqn doing his daily checks at Berry-au-Bac, France, in early 1940. Note the single forward-firing gun in the starboard wing. Within a few months most of the Battles were destroyed with horrendous losses.

On a happier note, I called into an old haunt the other day to find a beautifully rebuilt Tiger Moth with shiny new cowlings created by a company in Cambridge, I was so pleased to find that the old skills still exist. Last time I saw this done was at RNAY Sydenham where I was privileged to be a guest in 1971. I arrived for my weekend flight to find that the Fleet Air Arm thought my scruffy 1941 cowlings were lowering the tone of their shiny Sea Vixens and had very kindly replaced them, in exchange for which I was happy to fly almost everyone on the airfield

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Old 21st Feb 2017, 16:18
  #10220 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator,

Glad your pic has been taken down (or at least on my laptop), there are just red crosses; and, if you remember, a while ago you gave me your gracious permission to use it in the (unlikely) event of my winning the CapCom ?

Hope that still stands ?

Danny.
 

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