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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 28th Feb 2017, 13:02
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I shall never forget sitting in the back of a Bedford QL as an ATC cadet in 1955 going from Maidstone station to RAF Detling. The noise it made going up Detling hill will be remembered forever.
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Old 28th Feb 2017, 13:24
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Danny does a Good Deed.

You may find this amusing, though it's not strictly relevant (my explanatory comments in box brackets).

Extract from Page 301, #6008 here:
...One evening, near the end of my time, 3 AFS had finished for the day, night was falling and we had no traffic at Leeming. Teesside came on the phone. They were trying to recover a "puddle-jumper", and not having much success.

Some farmers on North Yorkshire's broad acres are not short of a bob or two, they could get themseves a PPL at Teesside, buy a light aircraft, hangar it in a barn, and they had plenty of their own flat grassland to fly from. Naturally they flew whenever they wanted with no reference to anybody. They were just a small addition to all the Bloggses daily wandering about at all heights and in all directions from the several RAF training Stations in the Vale of York ("Death Valley !" in civil parlance).

It seemed that this particular Farmer Giles had gone down to visit the farm of a friend somewhere near Hull, but had left it a little (well, rather a lot) late starting back. Consequently he'd been overtaken by darkness, which prevented a safe attempt to land on home turf (where of course there was no lighting - nor much else, apart from a home-made windsock). No problem, he'd go on to Teesside (not much further), leave the aircraft there; Mrs Farmer G would come up by road and collect him.

Now how much night flying he'd done (or whether he'd done any - do you need it for a PPL ?), I don't know. Then, predictably, he got lost and was wandering forlornly about somewhere in the skies of North Yorkshire. Teesside's puny radar [ACR7D] was little help: if he had a radio compass he'd no idea how to use it: he was "up the creek without a paddle" and no mistake. I'd always been boasting about this wondrous AR-1 we had - could I possibly assist ? Noblesse oblige !: "Of course", said D., "Never fear, Leeming is here - I'll take him. Leave the line open. I'll see what we can do". (Why do I never learn NOT TO VOLUNTEER).

The first task was to establish contact, it took some time to cajole him to come off their VHF frequency, launch into the unknown and try all the buttons until we got him on 117.9. Now it was up to me, it should be plain sailing. "Approach" got a QTE on CR/DF, he was somewhere to the East. "Talkdown" (humble self [wearing both hats]) looked down the line and there he was, 25 miles East, mooching about helplessly over the North York Moors.

These run up to about 1200 ft AMSL, and not very far from him was Bilsdale TV Mast (another 1000 on top of that). There was broken cloud at 2500. At all costs I must keep him away from that Mast, and get him out of the hills onto the plains ASAP. Shouldn't be difficult - I had him under control (or thought I had). First things first. I got him to set QNH and told him, on pain of death, not to go below 2500 until otherwise advised.

Knowing exactly where Bilsdale was, all I needed to do was to move him North till he was well out of harm's way, then West. But I would tell him to fly North, and he would fly East. Or East, and he would go South. I queried his compass, but was assured that that had been fine so far. So why...?

"Nay, lad", he'd say, "there's cloud in t'way". This was going to be interesting (to put it mildly). Teesside ATC, having offloaded this nightmare onto me, were enjoying it all enormously from their safe standpoint, and offered sympathy.

I thought I might soon need it. There was only one end to this carry-on: the prognosis was not good. A vision was forming in my mind, of a Coroner's Court with me as the star witness at an Inquest. What was his fuel state ? He wasn't quite sure, but anyway "he'd had plenty when he set off ".

Somehow (I ascribe it mainly to the power of prayer !), we got him off the high ground and from then on it was easy. I offset my centre spot onto T/side [you can do this with an AR-1, Teesside is 14mi to the NE], then zoomed in progressively until I could put him on long finals for their 04 (045 ?) - (the scene of my faux-pas some 19 years before). I stepped him down to 1000 ft with ten miles to go to touch down, they took him back onto their ACR-7, and it was in the bag.

It was the custom in those gracious days, for the countryfolk in these parts to reward doctors, vets (and any other professionals) who had done them good service over the year) with a suitable token (always in kind) of their esteem at Christmas. Old Dr. Swanston could have set up an off-licence in his Thirsk surgery with the bottles of Port, Sherry and "Old Sheep Dip", to say nothing of the hams and legs of lamb which were left there.
I waited in pleasant expectation. Not a sausage ! Ah, well...

Goodnight, all.
Danny42C.

Virtue is its own reward ? .........
.......
 
Old 28th Feb 2017, 18:08
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Lovely story Danny. Here is a quick Yorkshire tale. A friend of mine visited Sutton Bank a couple of years back. He bumped into a couple of locals outside the clubhouse.

"I used to do a lot of gliding here 20 years ago so I thought I'd call in and see what has changed" said he.

After a bit of thought.

"Well, we've coot t'grass"!
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Old 28th Feb 2017, 19:54
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JW411,

ISTR that, after Mess Balls at Leeming, some of our young gentlemen induced a few of our more trusting young ladies to accompany them "to see the Sunrise over Sutton Bank".

Well, I suppose it made a change from the Golden Rivet ! (what else was in view I do not know).

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Old 28th Feb 2017, 20:24
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Gentlemen!

While Yorkshire airfields are "on topic" may I ask a question? Though I cannot guarantee my starting facts, alas!

A cousin was posted over here as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII. He was a radio or Radar technician and I have a photo of him sitting beside a hatch in the rear fuselage of a Mosquito while working on some component. My recollection (I was about 12 yrs old) is that he was at "Church Fenton" and the question is whether that could be a correct memory and how to discover what units were posted there, probably 1943 and/or 1944.

Feel free to tell me it is a silly question!

But one reason for raising this at such a late stage is that he sent home with his letters an enormous archive of documents (e.g. every bus ticket from his journeys around England), all of which are due to be delivered to me in the near future. So some specific background would be useful.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 28th Feb 2017, 20:50
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Church Fenton was a Mosquito night fighter base and OCU. One of the squadrons there was 409 Squadron which was Canadian manned.

Stories here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeds_East_Airport

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Royal_Air_Force_aircraft_squadrons#Allied_Manned_Squ adrons_.28300.E2.80.93352.29
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Old 1st Mar 2017, 12:57
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Fareastdriver

Thank you! It was a foregone conclusion that some veteran of this marvellous thread would know where to look.

I am pleasantly surprised that a memory laid down ca. 1943/44 and never accessed until very recently, should be proved valid (i.e. Church Fenton). Some day, perhaps, biologists will understand just how memories are formed and accessed!
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Old 1st Mar 2017, 16:42
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Earlier remarks re semaphore indicators sparked off a further memory: the first flashing indicators were on the 1950 Ford Consul and Zephyr, and the first Zephyr I saw was a green saloon purchased by Sqn Ldr Polson at RAF Khormaksar in 1952. It was the talk of the station and his son Lennie achieved some peer status. Unfortunately it was not enough to raise him to Khormaksar Kids status, he wasn't sufficiently obnoxious. The name is unusual, I don't think he was aircrew or I would have pestered the life out of him, but I wonder if it rings any bells in our crewroom?
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Old 1st Mar 2017, 17:03
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I had 'flashing ears' on my first car in 64 [63?] ... an upright Ford Popular.

Then had an old Hillman Minx with SCREEN WASH ... or more accurately a washing up liquid bottle. I used to open the driver's window and spray water optimistically in the required direction. It vaguely worked. Oh, and a Roberts portable radio on the back window shelf, with some sort of stick-on aerial. That vaguely worked too.

Kids today ... they haven't got a clue!!
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Old 1st Mar 2017, 17:47
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Well, I suppose it made a change from the Golden Rivet ! (what else was in view I do not know).

Danny.
ah . .. . lacking the breadth and the robustness and the touch of bawdiness in our illustrious chronicler , he of many parts, the 'Golden Rivet' , until researched was a
mystery to me. Rivetting, for want of a better word, in its early nautical
applications. So, to return to the original allusion, the implication would seem to be that back then around Sutton Bank there were a bunch of blokes known to favour 'batting for the other side', and for them to be consorting otherwise was something of an anomoly. But how supremely human and poetic to get your rocks off when witness to a glorious sunrise. (Such frequent events are one of the delights of being alive and cause for great appreciation of eyesight, for the thought of those who are deprived the experience is indeed sad. )

Seeing as how diversions into entirely different aspects, say of someone's war for instance, are acceptable hereabouts, here are two little Second World War anecdotes I heard today from an old mate, for the first time in fact. Which surprised me not a little. His late uncle was in PNG at the height of the first Japanese advances across the Owen Stanleys. He, the uncle, and his mate had had a gutful of one of their officers who was the epitome of an arrogant, ignorant oaf without a shred of concern for his men and lacking any true moral fibre himself. One night, during an advance , with Jap snipers popping off their targets all around, these two aggrieved men took summary justice into their own hands. One felled the officer in question, keeping him face down, while the other plugged him with his rifle to the back of the head. He was buried on the spot, as were all the other dead men, victims of Japanese sharp shooters, hidden in the tree tops. The secret of the two perpetrators stayed with them until shortly before the death of the last to survive into old age. According to his nephew, uncle, not surprisingly, had been thoroughly traumatised by his experiences during the war.

The other story relates to an incident at Buka Passage in the islands to the east of New Guinea. The war was just over. A bunch of Japanese POWs were lined up on the jetty waiting to be taken aboard a ship to take them away to an encampment. An Australian soldier, known well to my informant, saw that the prisoner standing at the end of the queue of prisoners was a hated officer who had personally executed and brutalised many of our captured men earlier in the war. Without hesitation our man fetched a long length of four by two and with a mighty swing hit the Japanese square on the back of the head, sending him flying into the fast flowing current. Screams of outrage continued until the victim was carried out of earshot. Thus, one more savage did not have to face the War Crimes Tribunal.

Last edited by Fantome; 1st Mar 2017 at 21:43.
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Old 1st Mar 2017, 19:50
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Both seem wrong ... but then who are we, who were not there, to judge.

War is a horrible thing.
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Old 1st Mar 2017, 20:04
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Then had an old Hillman Minx with SCREEN WASH ... or more accurately a washing up liquid bottle. I used to open the driver's window and spray water optimistically in the required direction.
I had the same Minx/bottle combination, around '65. As I recall, if used on the motorway, as much water went up my sleeve as on to the windscreen.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 06:37
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One car back then I had was a 1948 Hillman with those troublesome cable brakes. The shockers were shot too. The old road between Perth city and Jandakot Airport was sealed but in poor condition with humps and holes all along for miles. The poor old car with its massive front beam axle the lowest portion of the front end would smash into the high spots of the bitumen causing great shocks to the hand clutching the steering wheel. The old Tiger Moth at Jandakot I had a share in , an ex-croppy, was not much better than the Hillman in terms of general condition. One day out at Cunderdin the rudder's lowest rib with the two lugs that caught the tail skid, collapsed. Fortunately the chief engineer of Bob Couper Aviation there , a friendly bloke full of old yarns, name of Ken Weaver, lent me a replacement to get me home.

That Tiger had a wind driven generator. Often the battery needed the generator putting out a few amps to get the radio to work to call the tower. The long taxiway that ran from the more distant hangars was out of sight of the tower , so to get enough charge through the battery to work the radio, I'd run back and forth on the taxiway a few times, a fast taxi with the tale up.

One day when flying past a paddock near the village of Rocky Gully. There was an Auster and a black Tiger parked in that paddock. So curious , I turned around and landed. It was only mid morning but already there were four blokes there sucking on cans of 'black duck soup' (i.e. Swan Lager). One held out a can to me but I politely declined as I wanted to fly on quite a distance that day. One bloke was standing up on the black Tiger with a big green jerry can fuelling her up. The next thing I saw was money change hands for the purchase of the Tiger. A man from Albany bought her. As is. Unregistered. Just on a hand shake.
What did he pay? A whole hundred pounds !
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 10:11
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Originally Posted by oxenos View Post
I had the same Minx/bottle combination, around '65. As I recall, if used on the motorway, as much water went up my sleeve as on to the windscreen.
Good heavens ... same time-frame! To avoid the splash-back, which I do recall, I think I used to use the quarter light, which pivoted through 120 or so, and stick my hand/bottle device through there. Oooh ... I've found the photo

At one stage I was a 2-car a/plt off at Shawbury in '65, as I changed over vehicles. The old Ford Popular was then hired out at 10/0 a night, make your own arrangements if you get stopped by the Police. I bet that back seat had some tales to tell! The Hillman ended up extremely battered at Manby in '67, when one night returning from 't pub in Louth, I managed to skid/spin into the Commandant's front gate-post and severely mangled the port side rear pax door. I parked it against a wall at the back of the Mess in the hope nobody would guess the culprit [and I never heard anything about it!].

Apologies for major off-topic nostalgia

.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 20:54
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MPN11 (#10290 and #10295), and oxenos (#10293),

Didn't the early VW 'beetles' have wipers driven by vacuum from the intake manifold - so the harder you put your clog down, the slower the wipers ?

As for Hillman Minxes of that era, I think Rootes sold all their factory rejects to the RAF as "entry level" Staff Cars (they wre renowned for excessive oil consumption - I went through three gallons from Yorkshire to the S. Coast in ours). There was a suspicion that the "Ensign" canvas tilt pick-ups were off-loaded onto us in the same way.

(Any MT Fitters in earshot care to comment ?)

Danny.
 
Old 2nd Mar 2017, 21:09
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early Holden cars built in Australia certainly had the windscreen wipers hooked into the intake manifold. Those early FJs were so unstable at speed on a back road, the first thing a cocky would do when he collected from the show room was go round to the produce store and put three bags of cement in the boot.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 21:34
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If you are talking about cars from the fifties and sixties you are talking to the right person.

The early VWs had a swing axle rear suspension so that if you invested in expensive tyres that didn’t slide easily the outside wheel in a corner would grip and jack up the whole suspension. As a result the C of G of the car would be so high that it would roll over. There was no fuel gauge. Turn a tap or press a button and a sight glass would show you how much fuel was in the tank. Later models dispensed with this and fitted a reserve tank so that when the engine stopped you had sufficient fuel to find a petrol station. Changing the plugs involved removing the engine.

Everybody had vacuum wipers apart for early post war British cars where it was manual or a wiper box attached to the top of the windscreen. It the late fifties the auxiliary vacuum pump siamesed with the fuel pump on the Ford Zephyr enable the wipers to have some sort of effect in that they overcame the lack of vacuum from the manifold.

One of my squadron cohorts had a Mk2 Zephyr similar to mine. He found that he was putting large amounts of engine oil in it so he went to the main Ford dealer in Bury St. Edmunds. They advised him that he needed a reconditioned engine as it was obviously too worn.

Bleating into his beer he asked me if there was any other way. Out to his car and I lifted the bonnet. On the starboard side of the engine bay was a generous coating of oil. This was from the vacuum/fuel pump combination driven by the camshaft and isolated by an oil seal. The seal had gone so the vaccum pump side was extracting air from the engine sump, including the suspended oil, and spraying it all over the engine compartment.

The seal cost 9d and took fifteen minutes to change.

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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 21:54
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Danny (#10296),

One unusual feature of the earlier VW Beetles was that the windscreen washer tank was pressurised by the spare tyre.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 22:50
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priceless . .. . and a battery powered hair dryer to defrost the windscreen
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 23:03
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The late Chris Braund flew with 3 SQN RAAF in N Africa. Later he joined East-West Airlines in Tamworth NSW. He had his own Mustang he bought from disposals at Tocumwal for 300 quid and flew it away. I had the pleasure and the privilege of getting to know him when we both worked for Maslings of Cootamundra. He was the most whimsical person I have ever known. He was well known for his pronounced stammer. He came up on frequency one morning. An anonymous voice said good morning Chris. He came back with H. h. h. how did you know it's m.m.me?

I will put a few Chris stories here instead of in the nostalgia forum as more people come here and they are worth trotting out, I think. (And Danny once said to me DO NOT HOLD BACK we are a very catholic mob here in our diversity.)

I still have one of his old flight plans in the DCA format circa 1066 . where it says means of cancelling SAR , Chris has crossed out radio, crossed out telephone and written there instead SMOKE SIGNAL

he was taxiing Mascot one day in his Eanie- Weanie (east-West airlines ) DC-3. Tower said hold position. Pass behind the Catalina taxiing on your right. As the Cat lumbered by Chris stuck his head out his side window and with the mic in his hand said quietly to the men in the wheelhouse of the Cat - "D.d.d. did you m.m.make it y.y.y. yourselves?"

but probably the Chris yarn that really broke me up more than any other when first I heard it went like this - Captain Robert Crouch of East West Airlines had a big scone like Telly Savalas and just as hairless. One day Chris was sitting up in his Dak waiting for the pax to board. Capt Crouch walked close by , heading out to his aircraft. He looked up at Chris and mimicked " G . . g. good morning Ch Ch Ch Chris" . Chris's reply was "You sh..shut your ef.eff.effing f.f.f face Crouch. Or I'll p.p.pput an egg b.b.b. board stamp on that b.b.b. big sh sh sh shiny p p p pate of yours."
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