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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 14th Aug 2009, 11:11
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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!
I am delighted to have unintentionally provoked such a masterly and truly Churchillian response, and a great defence indeed although - as I suspect you already know from our PMs! - none is needed since my specific hope was precisely to ensure that all your, and Cliff's et al, wonderful stories are indeed kept in the one place.

Out of respect for you, and "for the avoidance of doubt", as you lawyers would say, I have therefore amended the PS in my original post to make it less nautical and more historical.

With very best wishes

Jack
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Old 14th Aug 2009, 16:57
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L.M.F

Cliff, are you able to give us any information on the (possibly mythical?) horror camp in Scotland where aircrew accused of LMF were sent?
Sorry WILEY I can't give you any info on the 'horror camp in Scotland' , but don't think aircrew were punished by beeing sent to a 'horror camp' Think they must have committed some other offense to be punished that way. however REG, could you correct this statement if I am wrong, bearing in mind , I welcome constructive criticism when I offer 'duff gen'. I think the rules were . All air crew were volunteers. They could at any time refuse to fly. The punishment was to be labelled L.M.F and reduced to the ranks. Usually they were given some menial task, but one of the worst results was that brevets , stripes etc when removed always left signs on their uniforms of their removal. I remember, immediately post war, visiting our concrete works, to decide what parts were required for the maintenance at the weekend. I was surprised to see a man shovelling sand and cement into a large concrete mixer, R.A.F mustache, R.A.F battle dress devoid of all insignia, but still showing the imprint of his pilots brevet, D.F.C and D.F,M and squadron leaders rings. Incidently, from then on we became best friends, and I may give further info about Cedric later.

I don't think every one despised these men, I think a lot of us said 'There but for the grace of God go I'

Must stress Cedric hadn't 'gone' L.M.F, just removed the brevet etc so that he didn't have to dirty his demob suit. And would add he didn't stay long on the 'banjo' (shovel)

REG COMMENTS PLEASE
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Old 14th Aug 2009, 17:33
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LMF

Cliff, I have never seen any hard and fast written rules on the subject. I am quite sure that you are right that all air crew were volunteers. From the age of 18 until the first "conscription" age you could volunteer for the Service as well as the job which was the carrot in front of the donkey for the would be Pilots especially as about from 20 onwards you became liable for conscription and had no escape from being sent down the mines if they so desired.
As to the LMF factor, once again I never ever came upon anyone who had been labelled with that "Shame". I cannot ever even remember hearing of anyone in a crew being removed from "Ops" with the stigma of "LMF" so cannot comment on the punishment factor. There were, of course, loads of stories flying around about places such as Brighton , in particular, and also dreadful tales of the treatment handed out. I am sure that there were such nasty scenes of parades with the hapless man being stripped of all insignia but I never met anyone , or wanted to, who had ever seen such a happening. I would say that the vast majority of Squadron Commanders were exactly what one would expect and were compassionate in their treatment of the borderline cases that must have come up . We were fortunate in the immediate leaders of our Forces which speaks volumes for the quality of all the "volunteers". Reg.
 
Old 15th Aug 2009, 21:55
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LMF et al

Hi Cliff, Reg,

Clearly, I have no personal experience to offer on this subject, but I have read the reports on the psychological disorders of RAF flying personnel that the RAF psychologists produced in 1947. Most of the research (from flight and squadron commanders, as well as the squadron medics) actually tacitly acknowledged that it was largely a selection failure if someone displayed 'LMF' on ops. Instructors, medics, and even the padres were instructed to be on the lookout for the signs of someone not cut out for the job before their training ended, so they could be extracted while there was still time. However, the LMF sword of Damocles was kept, even if used as little as possible, to keep temporary waverers on the straight and narrow.

The psychologists' report based on the 1943 interviews may be at odds with the empirical reports that came later. The 1943 reports reckoned that it was easier to get the first half of a tour out of a man than the second, whereas other sources say vice versa. But both sources agree that it would be after the first six ops that people were confirmed as good to carry on, or have to be extracted. Then there was the dozen ops point where a worried man might have to be buoyed up by his fellow airmen to convince him he could carry on - he usually did. Then there was the final few ops of the tour when many wondered if they would make that final few.

So, that was the shrinks' view, and I regret I will have to wait two weeks for any comment - I'm off on hols in a few hours, so will catch up then.

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 14:27
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This And That

Ah REG, Yates’s Wine Lodge , Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The war won, train from Kirkham to Blackpool for a night out. Last train back to Kirkham, Reminds me how two and a half tons of fifty six pound test weights and some ‘red’ paraffin lamps mysteriously disappeared from Blackpool Central? Station and reappeared at Kirkham station. I might stick my neck out and tell the tale later., but back to Hemswell.

One advantage I had over some of the others was the freedom my motorbike gave me.. It was great to be able to nip into Gainsborough for a night out, to explore the local area, but most of all I could travel home whenever off duty. The ferry across the Humber was only twenty miles away with very little traffic, the journey most times would only take half an hour. This reminds me of one night when we were ‘stood down’, the crew decided to travel into Gainsboro, I went on my motorbike , one crew member on a push bike and four others on the crew bus. The W.O.P. Jock, who didn’t drink smoke, and obviously a sensible chap, remained in the billets. We gave him the telephone number of the hostelry we intended to visit , in case we were required. Unfortunately we were recalled, and then had the problem how to transport the extra four back to Hemswell quickly.. We eventually decided the only way was to tow the bike, using a piece of a shot up drogue rope that I always carried on the motorbike. Fortunately the push bike had a backstep so with three on the motorbike and three on the push bike we cruised back to camp at a steady twenty knots., with no repercussions. `

We next carried out a diversion raid, no doubt dropping loads of Window, a total of six and a half hours flying. This was the trip when there was a ‘clamp on’ at Hemswell as previously described. ~We landed at Dishforth with what seemed like the rest of the R.A.F. Returning to base after a good sleep. More h igh level bombing, fighter affiliation, and air to sea firing, and self tow.


And now the tale of I Q Jig. ( Reg your observations on this would be much appreciated. What do you think went wrong?). I Q Jig was known as a jinx aircraft on the squadron, having been forced to land in France, repaired using cannibalised parts and returned to 150 Sqdn and was usually allocated to sprog aircrews. After fitting with a new starboard inner we were the lucky ones to be chosen to air test it, with instructions to climb to ten thousand feet, and stop the starboard engine ,feather the prop, for ten minutes, then restart. We duly climbed to ten thousand feet and feathered as per instructions, and we trimmed the rudder to compensate for the dead engine. Shortly after this , we flew into thick cloud. I was instructed to unfeather and start the engine. I believe the trim was not removed , so we then had the starboard engine and the trim pulling the aircraft to port at which point I glanced at the turn and bank indicator and noticed it showed a rate four turn to port, In other words the needle was ‘up against the stop’ think the gyro had toppled and the airspeed was increasing . This was followed by load bangs creaking, and shuddering with the Lanc rapidly descending in a spiral. Still in thick cloud, the skipper shouted emergency, emergency, jump, jump. As my chute was stowed under the ’navs’ table there was no time for me to reach and fit it, so I stowed my seat and lent against the Starboard side of the aircraft to make room for the ’nav’ to pass me on his way to the escape hatch. However as the turn tightened I was pinned against the starboard side facing the skipper, and could not move and suspect non of the crew could move. more loud noises, popping , and banging and the altimeter merrily whizzing round. The only thing I remember is that my eyes were alternately fixed on the skipper ,and the altimeter, until we broke cloud at about a thousand feet, and saw the ground rapidly approaching. The skipper was hauling back the stick with all his might. And the Lanc seemed to level out just above the trees. The intercom suddenly came alive with the crew making silly remarks, and someone singing ‘I am safe in the arms of Jesus, . I don’t care if it rains or freezes etc’ However the mid upper was surprisingly quiet. We decided to land and keep quiet about the whole episode . Hoping no one would notice a few panels missing from the top of the wings, ( yes , I know , some chance. But it seemed a good idea at the time ,sir. ). After ‘Funnels’ the airfield , which appeared to be quiet , suddenly became a hive of activity, the fire engine, and ‘blood wagon’ being the first to appear. Followed by numerous bods on bicycles who headed for our dispersal. On arrival at the dispersal we were amazed to see people staring up at the Lanc with open mouths. We were soon to find out why when we climbed out of the aircraft to find numerous panels missing, but worst of all the mid upper turret at disappeared , We found out later, all external aerials had disappeared, every radio valve in the aircraft was shattered ,etc, etc. When we finally found the mid upper gunner, he was completed dazed and with difficulty explained parts of the turret had hit the back of his head. He was immediately sent to the station hospital for tests. One of the tests was something like. walk four paces forward, three to the right, t hen three to the left He could not complete this task , and was immediately moved to a specialist hospital.

An enquiry followed, each crew member questioned individually, after which, nothing further was heard, I would imagine from then on I.Q Jig was avoided ,whenever possible by crews ,and possibly gven another call sign.

REG. Discuss?.
Gyros toppling. ‘Flying by the seat of your pants’. Trim ? What do you think the panel of enquiry would say in private after the enquiry? How many times crews were ordered to jump. Jump and could not move ? Did we exceed Mach 1 ? (Don’t remember an order to reduce revs and boost)

I attach below a scan of ‘Pilot’s Notes, General 1943 ,contents page, and if any one would like me to print any particular page, I would be happy to do so. (+Time and energy permitting)

Last edited by cliffnemo; 21st Aug 2009 at 14:29. Reason: corrections
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 23:01
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In a spin, loving the spin that I'm in.....

Certainly that old black magic got you out of that one, Cliff. I'm pretty sure that you got into a flat spin in cloud and the negative G would certainly topple all the gyro instruments and probaly that's where you lost your turret and the mid upper. As I used to demonstrate but not to the limits that you went to , if you left the Lanc alone it would sort itself out but you had lost an engine and had the trim to contend with and all I can say is that you were bl...y lucky to get away with your lives. Yes you would, indeed , be pinned to the sides and would never have got out with the G forces against you, especially in a Lanc with that main spar to get over. I imagine that the Board of Inquiry were at as much of a loss to find out what went wrong as you were and were glad not to have to take it any further. Pilot Error ......but it wasn't really that. Lack of training in Instrument Flying, poor Instruments and poor positioning of safety exits ... you name it...but in the end it came down to a combination of all those things that caused it and sheer good luck and then sufficient skill to take it on from there played it's part together with the inherent good flying characteristics of the aircraft when it was left to itself, to get you all out from a horrific situation. Thanks for telling it so vividly. It gave me the shakes just reading it, Reg.
 
Old 22nd Aug 2009, 05:54
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Cliff made mention of the motorbike and the freedom that came from it. I've encountered a few stories of airmen with various forms of motorised transport (and not so motorised, like a pushbike...). The pilot of the crew I'm researching shared a car with his deputy flight commander (a guy called Dan Conway), the vehicle being affectionately known as "Gearless Gertie". I'm assuming that Dan took over full ownership when Phil was posted missing over Lille, there being no further mention of it in any of his letters after returning to the UK (though he does write about claiming his wireless back).

Was the MUG thrown out with his turret or did you find him elsewhere in the aeroplane?
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Old 22nd Aug 2009, 12:01
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Reply To Kookabat

KOOKABAT. The 'midupper' was still in the aircraft, on the rest bed I think. He did not attend the celebrations that evening at a pub at Caenby Corner on the A15, unfortunately.
By 2000 HRS we were all fully recuperated, and I would imagine singing away around the piano as usual. We're leaving Khartoum by the light of the moon./When this blinking war is over/Bless em all. Silly men.

I think Gearless Gerty would possibly be a Lanchester, which had a fluid flywheel instead of a clutch . Although it may have been that it was stuck in one gear. This sort of thing was the norm during the war as spares were almost impossible to obtain for civilian vehicles.For instance tyres were run untill the the tread disappeared and the tubes popped out. Oh happy days
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Old 22nd Aug 2009, 15:14
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spare tyres

Trolley Ack tyres were always as good as new ( not much mileage on a trolley ack ) and fitted most cars of that era. A word with the Chiefy was usually enough. I had a Lanchester later on and it was a lovely car... I always thought that it was an offshoot of Daimlers but could be mistaken. (BSA ?) The fluid flywheel was way before it's time and was great to use. Regle
 
Old 22nd Aug 2009, 15:59
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Regle:
Lanchester was an independent company founded, I believe, around 1899. They merged with Daimler in 1931. I nearly bought second hand one in the mid seventies. I wish I had. It had the Wilson pre-selector gearbox.
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Old 23rd Aug 2009, 17:56
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In 1975 or thereabouts, I owned a Lanchester "10" of 1947 vintage.

Although a quality car of it's time, such things as a heater were not standard!
the opening windscreen was useful on frosty mornings, peering , watery-eyed thriugh the resulting "gun slit" to make progress.

a party-trick with the Preselector, was to drive into a filling-station, stop, reverse, all without taking a hand off the steering-wheel

Daimler buses of the era were also fitted with the Wilson 'box - any attempt to move the selector -lever whilst the gear- change pedal (clutch -equivelent ) was depressed, was rewarded with a mule-kick from said pedal....the selector would need to be moved and the engagement-mechanism reset with a stout push on the pedal.....fine on the cars, but commercial drivers who survived this, without their upper-leg being broken on the underside of the steering -wheel, usually had to stand with both feet on the pedal and use the steering-wheel for a purchase to get the beggar re-latched.

A fascinating system, and though the fluid flywheel was not a torque-multiplier, it did enable slippage so engine-revs would come up on the power-band. the 3-speed and reverse Epicyclic gearbox design is a clear relative of the modern auto-transmission.

Daimler, Lanchester and BSA cars (among others) all used the Wilson transmission and a thriving owners' club serves those three makes.

Frederick Lanchester was a brilliant engineer.

Thanks, Gents for these reminiscences which bring the past so alive.

I still chuckle at the thought of all those rotting poisoned birds!
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 01:52
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From spinning Lancasters to dodgy car transmissions in five easy posts. What a fantastic thread!!
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 10:07
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From Lanchester to Lancaster via Halifax

Put that into Auto Route and see what you get...The Wars of the Roses ? Not a bad guess with the BSA and the Daimler. As you say, Kookabat...fantastic thread and now the Ashes as well to rub it in ! RRRegle.
 
Old 24th Aug 2009, 11:05
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Apropos nothing at all.

From Lanchester to Lancaster via Halifax

Would some one put me out of my misery and stop my mind wandering when I read these posts.
This time it was-

From Hull, Hell, and Halifax, Good Lord deliver us.

What did Wordsworth say?
And oft when on my couch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood. they flash upon that inward eye , which is the bliss of solitude.???
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 11:44
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I have just been sent a photo by my sister of my Uncle's course during WW11

He was in A Flight Ninth Course No 1 Squadron RAF Aberystwyth dated 25th Feb 1941. All the names were shown of all 48 men. In the front row two corporals ,a P/O R.O Whitaker and in the middle ( the boss I guess as he has wings unlike the rest Flt Lt C.Wyatt-Hughes)

Clearly my uncle got a move on gaining his Pilots Brevet as in Jan 1942 as a P/O Wellington Pilot in No 40 Squadron from Alconbury he crashed into the North sea and was a POW for the rest of the war. Sadly two of the crew of 6 were killed

I wonder how many passed the course and survived the war?

Last edited by thegypsy; 24th Aug 2009 at 12:31.
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 15:05
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thegypsy

Your Father's course I think must have been in the UK, as the first USA designated cadets were Class 42A on the Arnold Scheme, they actually (as 42A Suggests) were planned to graduate with wings in January 1942 (although I think Reg you graduated in December 1941?). So the first cadets would be coming back from the USA when your Father crashed.

When I counted how many survived in some of the courses in 1942 it was somewhere between 40 to 50% had died. However as the war went on the rate changed with the prevailing battles. i.e in 1940 we needed fighter pilots as the UK was being attacked, however later in the war when we went on the offensive we needed more Bomber and Ground Attack pilots.
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 16:14
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thegypsy: You can always use the CWGC website to look up the names of those on that course to see who didn't make it. To shorten the search, put in Second World War (obviously!) and then you can search just for Air Force casualties.
You'd need at least one initial unless a very unusual name, and sometimes the names they were known by had little in common with their true initials! But it could be a useful exercise. Isn't that so Reg?!!
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 16:30
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.... and sometimes the names they were known by had little in common with their true initials!
This is true. A couple of years ago I wanted to look up the details of an uncle who was killed in the run up to Operation Torch. I put his name into the CWGC search engine and got no results. It was only when I put his surname only into the system and spent ages sifting through all of the names, and those of the next of kin, that I found him. I had not realised that, like me, everyone used his middle name when referring to him. He was listed under his true first name.
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 16:48
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S'Land what a co-incidence!

I too tried to use CWWG for finding my Uncle who was a Spitfire pilot in North Africa (operation Torch) who died on March 30th 1943.

I put his name in that we all knew him by and got nothing, eventually I just tried the surname and got three pages on the last page Bingo he was, using his second name in normal life!

Regards Andy

PS it's a long and arduous task though!
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Old 24th Aug 2009, 17:25
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Blimey, wish I hadn't mentioned that now but here goes. Will come back next week sometime!

Oh dear just looked up the first one at the start of the back row one P/O H Waugh killed 4/4/42 guess it was him. Think I will stop at that.

Last edited by thegypsy; 24th Aug 2009 at 17:37.
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