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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 21st Feb 2017, 17:04
  #10221 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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On a Post long ago (I cannot trace it now), I told of a famous "Daily Mirror" cartoon from WWII. The scene is set in mid-Atlantic. Against a darkening sky, over on the horizon, a torpedoed, burning tanker sinks.

In the foreground, spreadeagled on a piece of floating wreckage, soaked in fuel oil, a lone merchant seaman, lies dead or dying.

The Caption ?....."The Price of Petrol will be increased by one half-penny per gallon from midnight tonight".

Suddenly, "knocking off" a gallon of aircraft or MT fuel for your car didn't seem such a good idea, after all.

Danny.
 
Old 21st Feb 2017, 18:08
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Danny, there was some problem with the image website. Of course you're welcome to use it, drop me PM if you need a copy, and good luck!
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Old 21st Feb 2017, 20:34
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PA474 thread drift

Gentlemen,
Many thanks for your kind comments. I shall pass them on to the rest of the Lanc Team.

Chug, understandably (I suppose) the RAF have expressed there desire for a curfew on the release of private pictures of '474's progress. However, ARCo (the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, the organisation tasked with the Major Inspection, have their own Facebook page, and there are many photographs detailing the Lanc's improving health.
Of course, once the Major Inspection has been completed and '474 is back at Coningsby, I suspect many private pictures may well become public. And as well as taking many snaps of the old girl, I have been following the progress with cartoon renditions on our impromptu notice board.

Of course, you must appreciate, this contract is taking slightly longer than originally planned due to aerial distractions at Duxford, especially the Merlin and Griffon powered ones.

(Sigh) It's a hard life, but someone has to do it, so it might as well be me. I'll take this one for the team.

Camlobe
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Old 22nd Feb 2017, 16:46
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Having been enthralled by the tales of Fairey Battles I went on my mid term two weeks leave in Singapore. I stayed in Temple Hill Officer’s Mess at Changi which was convenient to Changi Villiage. There I availed myself of an Akai M8 reel-to-reel tape recorder plus two enormous speakers that came with it. I had only just learned how to set it up and I was recalled to Labuan. A panic to get it on the Valetta and then I was back on the Squadron.

The plan was for me to go to Tawau and stay there until that part was wrapped up. It was going to be at least six weeks so that meant it was a full personal pack to take with me. Sepulot had missed a couple of fuel drops so I was taking full en-route fuel so this plus my kit and spares for Tawau almost filled up my aircraft. There was some desperate reason for carrying some freight from a unit in Brunei and after picking that up I started on a lonely flight along the border to Tawau.

I flew past Long Pasir, the strip still showing the large patch of different coloured earth where the first, and only, Air Portable Grader, had met its end when the parachutes failed. Keeping the border ridge well to starboard a trio of hills pointing northwards, one with a large catapult shaped tree which identified it as the entrance to the Kabu valley where I had lunched on monkey and rice. Pensiangan passed on my left and then I plunged into unknown territory off the normal routes from Sepulot. The compass was my only guide but after a time the scenery wore a familiar face and then I passed over one of our forward clearings from a completely different than normal direction.

The tree covered saddle halfway between Sepulot and Tawau came into view and I was on familiar ground. Over the clearing where we had done the night trial and there was Wallace Bay glistening in the distance. The maps went away as I tracked along the river and arrived in Tawau, my backside sore after two-and-half hours in the most uncomfortable seat in the RAF.

I followed the normal routine; a flight every other day, daily sizzling steaks and stud poker. After three weeks or so came the news that the squadron was being recalled to the UK.

Both 225 and 230 Squadrons belonged to 38 Group, Air Transport Command, and they were detached to FEAF for the duration. 225 had been disbanded and absorbed into 103/110 Sqns FEAF so the rumour was that 38 Group wanted to get their hands back on 230 Sqn before they lost it. The Harrier Force was just coming into being and the plan was that there would be a helicopter squadron in direct support and 230 was the only UK Whirlwind squadron available.

Other bells were ringing. The Navy had moved from Bario in Sarawak to Sepulot. Our squadron had left Sepulot and was now holding the fort at Bario until the Singapore squadrons took over in Labuan. They already operated from Kuching up to Nanga Ghat so that would mean that the whole of Sarawak would be supported by Singapore Whirlwinds and the Navy would only look after Sepulot.

The British Army units in our area had started wrapping up and handing over to the Malaysian Army. The RMAF would be their helicopter support so eventually came the final farewells and I took another fully loaded Whirlwind off towards Sepulot to refuel en-route to Labuan.

Arriving at Sepulot I landed on the end of the strip to see what had changed. Two Wessexs took up the entire dispersal area and they had positioned the fuel drums on the other side of the airstrip. They should have known I was coming and eventually a matelot in shorts waved his hands furiously to direct me to the refuelling point. Two others joined him and there was a shouting match for a time as one who was not familiar with the Whirlwind tried to undo the engine reduction gearbox tank filler cap to shove the fuel in. He was corrected and the fuelling progressed. Shortly afterwards somebody with some rings on their shoulder climbed up the side and started shouting the odds about me not talking to some bloke called Flyco. I ignored that and when I had enough fuel I waved them off and punched off to Labuan.

Confrontation was coming to an end and apart from some diehards crossing the border and being chased by Ghurkhas there was little else happening. The first of 103 and 110 Squadrons had arrived including some who had been on my helicopter course at Tern Hill. I was not required to go to Bario so I spent my time doing local tasking and training for the UK environment, e.g. underslung loads and winching.

I already had a date for going back; 14th September 1966 and on the 26th August I was told that I was going to Sepulot for two weeks!

Next: Rescuing the Navy
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Old 22nd Feb 2017, 18:17
  #10225 (permalink)  
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♫....Those Far Away Places with Queer Sounding Names....♫

FED (#10226),
...Confrontation was coming to an end...
Was on standby for that caper. They jabbed me for every tropical disease known to man except beri-beri and paid for one of the very last big, beautiful, blue and gold British Passports for me. Was wearing my RAF greatcoat for the photo, which rather contradicted my "profession" as stated inside ("Government Official"). Or words to that effect, as I know I've still got it somewhere, but can't find it now (happens a lot these days). The little red EU passport was a poor thing in comparison.

Was at Shawbury at the time, instructing at the Air Traffic Control School. But they didn't send me out, and managed without me. Just as well, as my Ayesha would've been livid. (I mean, who'll mow the lawn and walk the dog now ?) Perhaps, at 44 or so, I was judged a bit 'long in the tooth' to go back to the jungle.

Wiki shows us this. Were you on them ?

Danny.
 
Old 22nd Feb 2017, 19:27
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Not on that Danny, that a Navy Wessex. More about them Later.
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Old 22nd Feb 2017, 21:06
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The Royal Air Force aircraft serving cycle used to have large chunks of effort called Minor and Major Servicing. The Navy did not do this; they used a system called Progressive Servicing. This involves changing components that are time expired on a progressive basis so that the aircraft is very rarely in a position where a massive amount of work has to be done. Ideal for carrier operations as the full complement is usually available for the whole of the cruise and the big bits are done in the dockyards. However, this may work very well on carriers because, on the fixed wing side, there is a steady supply of spares being scraped off the deck but it doesn’t work in the jungle when most of your squadron is hundreds of miles away at sea.

In others words, both the RN Wessex at Sepulot were AOG. They needed a Whirlwind in a hurry and I, apparently, was the most experienced pilot on the squadron and most able to cope with this sudden demand. With flattery like that what else could I do but get airborne the next day.

There were three of us. They didn’t give me a crewman, just an cpl airframe and a cpl engines both empowered to oversign each other. We sallied forth and on arriving I tried to call this bloke called Flyco but there was no success. On landing I was marshalled to a separate pad and it became obvious that there was nothing organised for us whatsoever, they just walked away.



My airmen assured me that they would sort themselves out and I wandered up to the old aircrew mess. There I was met by a Petty officer who informed me that I was bunked in the Ghurkha Officer’s Mess. Being the Ghurkhas they gave me a room instead of a cabin and as I knew most of them I settled in.

The room was excellent. A proper bed with an enormous mosquito net hanging from the ceiling. White sheets and pillows, with a sideboard and a fabric wardrobe in the corner. Dinner was taken on bone china with the regimental crest, ornate cutlery and the barman would serve your Tiger beer in silver goblets.

The Navy seemed to want to avoid me. I really wanted to find out what the score was with any changes to various landing zones but they were non-committal. There was also a shortage of them. Two Wessex means six pilots for full cover and there were only two of them. It appeared that as the aircraft were going to be sick for some time the surplus had departed by various means on leave which I thought was an excellent idea.

Halfway through the evening a Ghurkha waiter told me that I was wanted. I looked over the side and there were my two corporals. I confirmed with them that they were being fed and watered and then they asked me how much I was paying for my beer. I told them that it was the normal 50c/can as it always was. With this they asked me to supply them with a slab of Tiger beer. No problem, the barman took a cold slab out of his big refrigerator. I passed it down, $12 came up and I thought no more about it.

About an hour later that was another call from the floor, this time for the Navy Lt Cmdr. I didn’t know what it was about but one of the Ghurkha officers overheard and told me the story. It was the Chief Petty Officer beefing to his boss about my airmen undercutting their beer swindle. Apparently the P.O.s were charging the ratings $1 each for their beers thereby making a 100% mark up and our airmen were letting them go at cost. As they weren’t talking to me I could not address the situation.

There wasn’t a lot of flying during my final time there. Apart from a couple of company withdrawals from Pensiangan there were only the farewell trips for our Intelligence officer around the various longhouses. My Yaws victim was in excellent health and the scars were nearly gone but the biggest impression I had was when I went back to Kabu.

As you may remember I said in a previous post that we would fly around a longhouse before landing so that they had time to organise the children to hold the roof down against the helicopters downwash. After landing at Kabu it was apparent that most of the longhouse roof had been replaced. The story was simple. A Wessex, bigger and noisier than a Whirlwind, had come had come straight in with ‘The Navy’s Here’ and lifted the roof over into the sticks behind. As the IO gravely remarked. “ It’s lucky this little war is over otherwise they would be on the other side.”.

All good things come to an end and gathering up my airmen we flew back to Labuan. I had calculated that my Bates SD hat, lovingly bought with my 10 uniform allowance at South Cerney, had now achieved 1,000 hours airborne in some aeroplane of other. It was now decidedly worse for wear so I thought that a fitting end was for it to be perched on a tree in the middle of Borneo for as long as the tree stayed up and so it went out of the window. Not having any reports of Gibbons behaving like commissars I presume it is still up there.

An alcoholic farewell in Labuan. A semi alcoholic farewell in Singapore then to Paya Leba to catch a civvy Brittania back home. A refuel in Ceylon and then an engine ran down over the Arabian Gulf. Hello Kuwait, I shall be here until another engine comes out.

They took all our booze. To be fair , they gave it back to us when we left but we didn’t know that was going to happen. Kuwait was just starting to transform. There was one main street with half-a-dozen expensive shops showing ladies clothes that would not be out of place in Chelsea. By an old town gate there was a 56 Chevrolet, the same as my father once had, sitting there with flat tyres and bullet holes decorating the driver’s door. We walked Kuwait city in about an hour.

Two days later we were airborne again and into Gatwick. A long discussion about my Akai but eventually he admitted it was used and I was reunited with my wife with whom I had spent more time away than together during out married life.

Six weeks disembarkation leave and the Belfasts brought our aircraft home. XS 412, the last aircraft I flew in Borneo, was first back and the first one I flew in the UK.

Eighteen months later I was back in the Far East when I was posted to 110 Squadron. Borneo had finished then so it was just Malaysia and Hong Kong. In February 1971, 110 Sqn, Danny’s old squadron in India, disbanded and I had the privilege of flying in the final fly past

Then I started on the NEW Puma HC1 in the UK; but that’s a different story.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 23rd Feb 2017 at 19:03.
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 11:14
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The withdrawal from Labuan rang a bell so here are a couple of photographs for you. More to follow.
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 11:34
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And here as promised are more.
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 12:27
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Great stories FED, even though I prefer my wings firmly bolted to the fuselage. More please!
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 13:58
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Nice tales, FED, and good pics from JW411. Wow, posh seats instead of red webbing! That were luxury travel back then!!
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 14:26
  #10232 (permalink)  
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Fareastdriver (#10229),
...
Chief Petty Officer beefing to his boss about my airmen undercutting their beer swindle. Apparently the P.O.s were charging the ratings $1 each for their beers thereby making a 100% mark up and our airmen were letting them go at cost...
The "Boss" would mean an officer, surely. This is blatant "robbibg my comrades !" Are you telling us that that a RN officer condoned this barefaced, gross swindle oprerated by the Petty Officers on their own men ?

I was a bit dubious about the 6d a week "Sports Subscription" (deducted from our pay of 2/- a day as airmen - what "Sports" ?), but this pales in comparison.

Union Jack, as a representative of the Senior Service, would you like to comment on this ?

FED, and JW411, keep 'em coming !

Danny.
 
Old 23rd Feb 2017, 14:59
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FED:

Looking at the original photographs, the two Whirlwinds being loaded into the Belfast are XP357 and XS412. I reckon the latter was your favourite aircraft. (XR412 was a Radioplane OQ-19 Drone).
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 15:43
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As I said before XS 412 was the last Whirlwind I flew in Borneo and the first I flew back in the UK. It was originally a Piston Engined Whirlwind 8 that belonged to the Queen's Flight. These were replaced by Whirlwind Series 3 which was a civilian version with lots of windows, etc. XS 412 was than modified as a Whirlwind 10 with a Gnome powerplant and issued to the Air Force. Because of its ancestry it had chrome plated handles on the side to enable you to climb into the cockpit.

I had a 'Royal Wave' experience later when I was, briefly, a passenger in a Wessex of the Queens Flight when it was repositioning at some high powered function.

(XR412 was a Radioplane OQ-19 Drone).
??????? You've got me on that one. (Edit. Got it, corrected).

Thanks for the pictures of our aircraft being loaded at Labuan; something I hadn't seen before. I remember when a Belfast arrived the captain was waxing lyrical about the ACR7 approach he had been given to Odiham.

"When I looked up all I could see were green fields."

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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 16:12
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Union Jack, as a representative of the Senior Service, would you like to comment on this? - Danny

I must say that I am very surprised, Danny, and that it certainly wouldn't have happened on my watch, nor indeed would the apparent, and I hope very untypical, lack of welcome experienced by FED.

On the other hand, I am not totally surprised that FED got no response from the "bloke called Flyco"because Flyco or Flying Control is, unlike DetCo,an inanimate object rather than a bloke, and was probably unmanned at the time.

Going back to the matter of the beer swindle, was there a possibility that the senior ratings were very responsibly and thoughtfully trying to encourage the junior ratings not to drink so much. No, thought not.

Jack
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 17:29
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FED:

Fascinated to hear of the background to XS412. (I only mentioned XR412 because you mentioned it in post #10229).
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 18:20
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Way back when I was a callow youth my father, who had been an instructors at RAF Heany, in Rhodesia, in the fifties, decided to emigrate to said country when he left the Royal Air Force. I followed him shortly after when I had finished my O levels and settled in at Bulawayo. After a few months I was settled into a job at the Bulawayo Chronicle, the local rag.

As soon as I was eighteen I became liable for Rhodesian National Service and I went back to RAF Heany, now called Llewellyn Barracks, for my six months square bashing followed by two years one weekend/month reserve service. Shortly after this there was a period of political uncertainty called the Nyasaland Emergency.

A Dr Banda, ably assisted by the Church of Scotland, had returned to Nyasaland to stir it up. I was called up and being a battalion signaller, drove my truck all the way to Salisbury prior to getting permission from the Portuguese to cross Mozambique to Nyasaland. Owing to the situation I was flown by RRAF Dakota to Lilongwe were I ended up guarding the Post Office.

The situation eased and coincidently my signals truck arrived in a convoy that had driven via Tete in Mozambique. The decision to withdraw was the taken and the people who had driven up were going to be flown back and vice versa.

During our time at Lilongwe most of the shops were closed so essentials, like cigarettes, soap, razor blades etc. were difficult if not impossible to get therefore it was with great joy that our NCOs announced that they had obtained supplies and had opened a shop for the blokes. They were charging the normal price for everything and very soon the stock was exhausted.

I drove back to Bulawayo in a convoy that lasted four days through the Rift Valley, the Copperbelt, through Lusaka to Salisbury and eventually to Bulawayo. After I had been discharged I went back to the Bulawayo Chronicle.

"How did you get on with all the stuff we sent up to you?"
"What stuff?"
The cigarettes, razor blades, soap and toothpaste that was collected by the citizens of Bulawayo to send up to the troops. There were two truckloads of it."

You can see why I was not surprised about the fuel and beer at Sepulot.
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Old 23rd Feb 2017, 18:23
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Oops !

FED (#10236),
...I remember when a Belfast arrived the captain was waxing lyrical about the ACR7 approach he had been given to Odiham...
I don't think "lyrical" was, perhaps, the right word, given that his experience had been:
..."When I looked up all I could see were green fields." ...
All too reminiscent of the (apocryphical) story of the GCA "talkdown" student at Shawbury, who is supposed to have ended his spiel with the despairing: "Look around for the runway and crash visually - Talkdown Out !"

On return from RAF(G), where I revelled in the luxury of a CPN4, I was brought down to earth with a bang in '62 at Linton-on-Ouse, where they had an ACR7. Three years ago I wrote reams about this long obsolete beast here in my page 263 , #5255 (if anyone's interested). It was good gear, and good work could be done with it (Teesside Airport had the built-in version in their Tower at the time).

Danny.
 
Old 23rd Feb 2017, 18:41
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Ah, well.

Geriaviator (#10222),

Your Pic is back (in all its glory !). My Fox well and truly shot. Never mind,

Danny.
 
Old 24th Feb 2017, 12:48
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Narrow Sqeak.

Danny invites all of good wiil to join hin in the Cybercrewroom tonight for a noggin to celebrate the 73rd anniversity of the morning when he reduced a Vegeance to scrap in the Arakan - but he and his pal "Stew" (in the back seat) miraculously survived against all the odds.

The Devil looks after his own ?
 

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