Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 5th Aug 2009, 19:31
  #1021 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
kirkham

Cliff, I too was demobbed at Kirkham and could (almost) walk home to Blackpool but I don't remember the Astra on the way...were'nt they all called "Astra" ? For me the film that I never saw the ending of was "Night train to Munich" showing when I was cleaning the bogs in the Sgts Mess at Bicester as an AC2 GD in November 1940 when nearby Coventry was being clobbered. The Sirens would go and in the end we all gave up in disgust. Goosequill, Re your light problem ; have a look at your PM's, Reg.
 
Old 6th Aug 2009, 11:11
  #1022 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: LIVERPOOL
Age: 100
Posts: 401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Astra Cinema

Yes Reg , there were a few Astra Cinemas in various counties, and these were operated by the R.A.F. The cinema near Blackpool, was on the left hand side on the Kirkham/Blackpool road. A white concrete building near the entrance to Wharton airfield. The words Wharton always reminds me of the Flying Fortress trying to land at Wharton but crash landing on Freckleton school, killing some children and staff. I think the Americans had the school rebuilt and provided a memorial garden. ?

Although my release book is stamped Kirkham . I think I was billeted at Wharton
cliffnemo is offline  
Old 6th Aug 2009, 11:26
  #1023 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Wharton

Yes Cliff, I remember it well and was going to ask you if you remembered. It was a terrible accident and hit the little commmunity very hard. The Americans were magnificent in their behaviour and Wharton will never forget. Reg
 
Old 6th Aug 2009, 11:38
  #1024 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Goosequill & Turle

Thank you for the kind remarks.. I just do not remember anything about the Turtle light but I cannot remember anyone landing the wrong way either...I suppose that you might call it "Turning Turtle". ! All the best , Reg
 
Old 6th Aug 2009, 19:29
  #1025 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sometime in the fifties some bright spark used the principle and design of the runway/taxiway light to design and patent the now universal cats-eyes. The big difference being, and this is where the bright spark bit comes in, was that the cats-eye had a collapsible rubber centre.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 6th Aug 2009, 20:50
  #1026 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Winchester
Posts: 37
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cats eyes

You can get the full story of Percy Shaw (1935) if you google him, or indeed 'cat's eyes'. The brilliant bit was the fact that the rubber top deformed when run over, and any rainwater in the cavity was squeezed out past the glass beads, thus making them self-cleaning. When I was kid, we used to try to get unwary friends to stamp on the rubber pad after rain just to see the water shoot up their legs - 10 point bonus for girls...

These modern replacements are no fun...
Goosequill is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2009, 19:07
  #1027 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Near the watter...
Age: 76
Posts: 251
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just to get this magnificent tour de force back on the front page where it belongs....
Molemot is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2009, 06:47
  #1028 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Winchester
Posts: 37
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oxygen in the WWII Lanc

Hi Cliff and Reg,

I wondered if I could ask your opinion of the oxygen systems you experienced in the Lancaster. I understand it was pretty basic - just a bunch of cylinders under the rest station, and no clever processing of the gas - how did it feel to actually breathe it? Was it cold, dry, etc? Did you find it any effort to take a breath or was the system pretty well balanced?

I'd be most interested to hear about anything that comes to mind.

Thanks,

Dave

Molemot: we had sunshine at the weekend - I was just as stunned as the other respondents...
Goosequill is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2009, 11:14
  #1029 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Once more unto the breach, Dear friends.....

Or fill the walls etc... Around March 1952 an advertisement appeared in the aviation magazines "Aeroplane" and "Flight" that roused the somnulent world of British aviation. Sabena, the Belgian Airline, wanted Pilots. practically everybody at Shorts applied but I did not. I was quite happy at Rochester. We had our little house and garden, the children were happy at school and had rapidly made friends. The working hours were reasonable and left me free to enjoy family life and free lance at weekends. I learned ,later that Sabena had over 1200 applications .
A week or so went by and one day I came in to work about a quarter to ten to find my Flight Commander, Peter Harrison, in a bad mood. "What time do you think this is ?" he said "I'm not lecturing this morning, Peter " I said, reasonably " It doesn't matter; everyone is supposed to be here at nine whether they're lecturing or not " he replied. I lost my temper "Why don't you install a bloody time clock then we can clock in and out!" was my reply. I stormed out and sat straight down and sent off a letter to Sabena applying for one of the vacancies.
I quickly forgot about it but got a letter from Sabena's London Airport Office asking me to come for an interview on a weekday the following week. I wrote off an answer saying that I was working during the week and, in all fairness to my present employer, could not ask for time off to apply for another job. I told them that if they could not fit me in on a Saturday then they could forget about my application. I sent this off and forgot all about Airline flying about which I knew nothing. A few days later our neighbour, Mrs. Foreman, told me that there was a phone call for me. It was a lady from Sabena who told me that she was the London Manager's secretary and that they would intervoew me the next Saturday morning. Even then I was in two minds whether to go or not but, eventually, we all went up to London where we stayed with our old friends Chris and Jim Smith who were neighbours from our block of flats during our Clapham days.

The interview turned out to be more like a questionnaire conducted by me as it seemed that an expanding Sabena were desperate for pilots and were trying to sell the idea of coming to Sabena and the many benefits of living in Belgium. The big obstacle in getting the job was the huge number of applicants. Evidently Sabena were expanding rapidly. They were one of the oldest companies in the world and pioneered flying to Africa between the two World Wars. The Belgian Pilots' Association was agreeable to the \company recruiting foreign pilots but had insisted
that they must be British, preferably with RAF backgrounds. This was because the hard core of Captains was all ex RAF and most of them with distinguished Fighter Pilot careers and still with a high regard for the UK. Many of them were married to British girls, several of them ex WAAFs .
The very high number of applications was due to the fact that Sabena wanted pilots of varying experience, some of them with very few hours for future training but some with enough experience to fill the present gaps. They had not asked for current licences so ex-RAF pilots who were in sedentary jobs and had long given up the thought of a future in civil aviation had applied. The fact that they wanted a few experienced pilots was where I was lucky.

The interview board consisted of Mr Stocke, The London Manager. Mr. Stainier, The Sabena General Manager and one of the handful of British Pilots who had joined Sabena directly after the war, Dougie Owen.
I was told that, if chosen, I would be given four years of seniority to compensate for my high number of flying hours ( three thousand...a lot of hours in 1952 ) and would be paid around twice as much as a Captain in the UK was earning at that time but that I would have to start as a Senior First officer and was promised a Captaincy within two years. In BOAC, now British Airways, First Officers were waiting up to twelve years and ,sometimes, never attaining Captain's rank. There would be a probation period of three months and then the Company would pay for the passage of Dora and the three children to join me in Brussels. During this period I would be lodged in a first class hotel and all meals would be paid for by the Company. There would be a ground course followed by examinations on general aviation subjects such as Meteo, Radio procedure, Air Traffic and even Aviation Law. I did not anticipate any trouble from this as I already held a Commercial Licence which 97% of the applicants did not. All this was dependent on passing Sabena's medical examination.
A heartsearching discussion now took place between Dora and myself. It must be remembered that this was 1952...long before the Common Market had ever been thought about. Very little was known about Belgium by the average British citizen and what there was was not very heartening. The country was going through a very critical constitutional stage. The King, Leopold the second,had been spurned by the country after the war and had been forced to abdicate. There were many calls for Belgium to become a Republic and the British press reported fighting between the Flemish and the French speaking Wallons with many student protestations mainly from the Flemish speaking "Vlaams" groups.
In the end we decided to accept the three months probation period as that would give us a chance to see for ourselves what conditions were like. Dora and the children would stay with her parents in St. Helens but Sabena had promised free tickets at weekends and they had a DC3 service to Manchester so "wi out further talking or chatter, that were decided upon" To be continued ...if you so desire, Reg
 
Old 12th Aug 2009, 11:22
  #1030 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Location: Location!
Posts: 2,217
Received 6 Likes on 5 Posts
To be continued ...if you so desire, Reg

We do, Reg, we certainly do!

Salaams

Jack
Union Jack is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2009, 11:33
  #1031 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 72
Posts: 883
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To be continued ...if you so desire
Sorry Reg, that ranks as a silly question. Of course we want to hear the rest. This is still one of the best and most enjoyable threads on the board.
S'land is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2009, 03:25
  #1032 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Age: 70
Posts: 21
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is actually one of the best and most enjoyable threads on the Internet and has been permanently open on my PC since its inception as I wait as patiently as I can for updates. Thank you. It's the stuff of legend; the legends that are directly responsible for my own 25 year career in the RAF, and I am sure, the careers of many, many others. To have such human faces put upon them and see them recounted in the first person is priceless. Please keep up the good work gentlemen, and never doubt that many of us are hanging on your every word. TB
Tabby Badger is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2009, 06:05
  #1033 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: A posh villa in Rome
Posts: 110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The interesting aspect about your Sabena selection is that, given there was no shortage of applicants, how gentlemanly they seemed to be. What a contrast with today's 'call centre culture' which seems to have come with the low cost airlines.
Caractacus is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2009, 16:16
  #1034 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: LIVERPOOL
Age: 100
Posts: 401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Glass House

GOOSEQUILL. With regard to your question about oxygen, I started to scan my notes on oxygen and then realised I may have done this before. I then tried to use the search facility in PPRuNe, to find the relevant page but this only brought up all the pages containing the word oxygen.. I then remembered some one on this thread had told us there was an easier way, use Google. I entered ‘oxygen PPRuNe cliffnemo’ and amazingly it said page 32 on this thread. So refer to page 32 and it may answer some of your questions. As I remember it basic it might have been, but it worked well, no different to breathing pure air.. I am not sure , but I think the oxygen flowed all the time it was switched on which would be rather wasteful . It was unlike the modern diving demand valve fitted to compressed air bottles which only deliver air when a diver breaths in. Oxygen itself has no taste or smell and I cannot recall any. I experienced no problems breathing oxygen, no problems in taking a breath, and think the system, for that period comfortable and perfect. The only problem I had as previously mentioned was when my portable bottle failed on my return from the Elsan, and I collapsed at the main spar.



I think at this stage the matter of aircrew punishment and ’The Glass House’ should be brought up. Shortly after arrival at Hemswell we heard that an? a? N.C.O aircrew member had either sworn at, or hit an officer , and had been sent to ‘The Glasshouse‘ for twenty eight days. Evidently this was in the original Sheffield prison, and was mainly, if not solely, for aircrew, and run by the R.A.F (not sure)
On return from Sheffield the N.C.O was questioned by every one about his treatment. He told us that after breakfast every morning he went into the prison yard, given a wheel barrow, brush , shovel, white wash, and brush. First he had to go to the far side of the yard , brush it clean, and whitewash the floor , return to the far side and fill the wheelbarrow with coal, wheel to the other side and tip the coal on the white washed floor, return to the opposite side , brush up, white wash , and repeat the whole procedure all day long. He also told us the food was terrible, and the treatment horrible, no wonder his last remark was ‘never again‘.

Evidently the treatment was much the same for the army offenders. I was telling a friend of mine who had been in the army, ex Dunkirk, and ex D Day, He told me something similar happened to him . He returned to camp drunk and was ridiculed by a superior so he ‘lashed out’ finishing up in the Glasgow army glasshouse for twenty eight days ( Blairllnie prison ?) On arrival he called a sergeant sarge, The sergeant replied I am sergeant, not serge, and that webbing belt is filthy (although it had just been cleaned) told him to ,blanco the belt and polish the brass and return for inspection. On return the sergeant told him to take it off ,and throw it on the ground , then told him to stamp on it. He then told him to pick it up , and as he was picking up the belt kneed him under the chin , knocking him over.

HAPPY DAYS.

P.S Think I am now using Sky broadband, but not sure . One page says "No connection" I Click a few buttons and I am connected. Sky + is brilliant, and phone is working on
Sky, I think.
cliffnemo is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2009, 16:26
  #1035 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 1,057
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is a great thread. I'm enjoying the Sabena stuff as much as cliffnemos WW2 stuff - both fascinating................

keep on going :-)


Arc
Arclite01 is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2009, 17:41
  #1036 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Cliff and Oxygen

As soon as you mentioned the word demand , Cliff, I remember that the system used by us on Halifaxes was just that and gave you oxygen as you breathed in. It was quite odourless and one very quickly became adapted to it without even having to think about it. One of it's useful things was the ability to switch to 100% so that the flow became constant and was useful to regain your shattered nerves when a burst of flak under the tail had turned you on your back (but did nothing for the smell ).. It was also used extensively when on an Air test the morning after a night out in Pontefract or other such delightful Watering Hole.
Apropos the distasteful Glasshouse stories did you ever come up across any episodes of the punishment for LMF( Lack of Moral Fibre ) ? I never did and put most of this
squarely amongst the shameful behaviour of the treatment of "Cowardice" during the WW1 and applaud it's subsequent apologies by the Government. Many thanks, everyone, for the kind words to us 'old uns. By the way, Cliff, I hadn't heard 'ecky thump for centuries and it took me right back to a glass of Ale in Yates Wine Lodge, now defunct, in Blackpool.
 
Old 13th Aug 2009, 17:58
  #1037 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Location: Location!
Posts: 2,217
Received 6 Likes on 5 Posts
Blairllnie prison

Cliff - I'm actually quite glad that you are unfamiliar with the name of HMP Barlinnie, known to the cognescenti as the Bar-L or, in more recent times as Smack City - and we're not talking corporal punishment here!

Jack

PS I trust that the Moderati will ensure that these enthralling and truly historical accounts of the intriguing progression from life as an aviator in WWII to life Post-war to Sabena and beyond all remain firmly in one place .....


Last edited by Union Jack; 14th Aug 2009 at 11:20. Reason: In the spirit of Regle's Post 1040
Union Jack is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2009, 21:30
  #1038 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Union Jack and drift.

I would defend it this way. Drift in the Navigational sense is caused by the wind and I would argue that the Post War, and this would more than encompass Air travel, was a product of the winds of change that were brewed in the cauldron of World War 2. Gaining a brevet in WW2 was one of the keys to the door of the classroom to enable us to participate in this period and thus gain a greater knowledge of how to navigate this later period more safely and therefore bestows a right to make this knowlege and experience available to others, eager to put it to the best of uses. The Defence rests.! Regle.

Last edited by regle; 13th Aug 2009 at 21:38. Reason: one small word added
 
Old 14th Aug 2009, 00:14
  #1039 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,451
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cliff, are you able to give us any information on the (possibly mythical?) horror camp in Scotland where aircrew accused of LMF were sent?

I think John Beede mentioned it in his excellent, if very bitter, recounting of his time as an Air Gunner on light bombers, "They Hosed Them Out".

Wherever it was I read about it, the author mentioned that the "LMF" aircrew were treated abominably by RAF SP prison guards, almost all of whom had never seen a moment's combat and had no idea what the prisoners had been through.
Wiley is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2009, 06:52
  #1040 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: British Isles
Posts: 211
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>Gaining a brevet in WW2 was one of the keys to the door of the classroom to enable us to participate in this period and thus gain a greater knowledge of how to navigate this later period more safely and therefore bestows a right to make this knowlege and experience available to others, eager to put it to the best of uses.<<

Keep it going please! The transition to post war Britain is just as interesting. We can all learn a lot from how blokes settled back into civvy street and re established their lives. This period needs to be remembered to. People had to start from scratch by all accounts. My late Dad (RNVR), for example, returned to Univerisity in 1946 to finish the degree he started in 1938!

What is interesting about Cliff and Regle is that, 60 plus years on they are now prepared to to talk about their experiences. My parents and relatives were a lot older in WW2 and, in their later lives, it was still all a bit too close to home to talk about. As children in the 1960's and 70's we heard snippets but no more. Now with this thread we are seeing a different side of things - and learning a lot!

I find it fascinating hearing about austerity Britain.
Spartacan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.