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 26th Aug 2009, 08:34
  #1061 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East Sussex
Posts: 449
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OOps! Sorry, guys, didn't want to make this an unhappy task!
I was trying to say that the CWGC site is very useful, but you only get back results for what you put in.... surnames can be a good start point if you don't find the result first time, although spelling variations or phonetic options need to be explored. After all, Pat doesn't always mean "Patrick" but could be a "nickname" for someone with Irish connections, Fred could be Frederick or ALfred, Bert might be Bertram, ALbert or Herbert; similarly for Bill and Bob, or as you have found, names they were known by aren't always the same as their initials.
Don't forget that you can amend the search parameters, I usually start with everything blanked apart from the War and then narrow it down. it is limited to 1,001 names (67 pages) so if you need a RAF chap from United Kingdom, that strips out all the Navy and Army bods..... simples..... And you may not realise that the HEADINGS are searchable, so if you know their serial number, Regiment etc, you can arrange them numerically or alphabetically, although sometimes you need to go to the end of the 9xxx numbers to pick up the prefix series, which you don't always know about in advance!!!
I've just been updating a Roll of Honour for Acton WW1 and have traced over 700 with a few more still refusing to come out of the woodwork!!
Icare9 is offline  
Old 26th Aug 2009, 14:57
  #1062 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bournemouth
Age: 75
Posts: 119
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To go back in the thread a bit

You may all recall both Nemo and Regle Talking about their respective trips to the USA for pilot training.

I stumbled across this webpage in my research, this pilot actually travelled on the same ship to and from the USA as Reg. I sent the return story to Reg and he realises that he is even luckier than he thought! He does remember seeing one of the destroyers blow up, it's hard to understand that the press announce the shipping details of new pilots back to the UK?

Hope it's OK to show parts of another website?

Wickenby Lancaster PD201

Journey Out

After final exams he became one of the first British airmen of the war to learn to fly in the United States under the secret Arnold Scheme, away from ration books, blackouts and bombs. All the group of 550 was told at this stage was they were going to Canada and at Greenock they boarded the twin-funnelled Britannic, flanked by the battleship Rodney and destroyers Eskimo, Mashona, Somali and Tartar. All this for one troopship? They soon found out why after the convoy set out on May 22. Some airmen broke the monotony of the voyage by reading the escorting warships' Aldis lamp signals and were alarmed to discover the Bismarck was not only on the high seas but had their position and course. It did not improve their peace of mind to see the Rodney and three of the four destroyers peel off and disappear below the horizon to hunt down the pride of the German navy. The Admiralty had signalled to the Rodney: "If Britannic cannot keep up, leave her behind with one destroyer." The Rodney in turn signalled to Britannic to head at top speed for her destination. The liner, now accompanied by only the Eskimo, changed course and increased speed but arrived safely in Halifax, by which time the Bismarck had been sunk, the Rodney having played a key part in the denouement. A relieved cargo of trainees spent that night on board, gazing in wonder at Halifax dock's lights undimmed by blackouts.


Journey Back

At Halifax on January 30, 1942, they boarded the 15,000-ton Dutch liner Volendam for the 2,800-mile return journey, accompanied by another troopship and two Royal Navy destroyers. The fact that the enemy could easily have read in the American press full details of their training in the United States and its conclusion date only imperilled them more.

The several thousand British and Canadian aircrew aboard wrestled with hammocks below decks on the first night as the Volendam set off on her treacherous voyage. They would know nothing of the hideous disaster to take place in the heavy seas around them. German U-boat U-82 intercepted the fast-moving convoy, and her captain prepared to fire torpedoes. One of the destroyers, HMS Belmont, went full speed ahead to block the line of fire to the Volendam. Within seconds a torpedo hit the Belmont, which was rocked by two violent explosions, and she sank with all 138 hands in the bitter cold winter night. Her brave crew had sacrificed themselves because the safety of the Volendam passengers was considered paramount.

The Volendam sped away, believing that as they were only 300 miles out of Halifax a rescue ship would soon arrive to look for any survivors. A frantic chase then took place as U-82 tracked its quarry for three days, keen to use two remaining torpedoes. She was joined by three other U-boats, two of which fired their torpedoes, but the fleeing convoy's 14-knot (16mph) speed was too great for the pursuers.

Trying to sleep as best they could in their hammocks the airmen had come within seconds of death without knowing it, and neither were they told of the drama when they woke on the second day. But alarm soon spread when, on deck, they could spot only one destroyer. The second troopship, USS George Washington, was also nowhere to be seen, fuelling incorrect speculation that both ships had been lost in the night.

Fred said: "When we got up the next morning the second troopship and the second destroyer were not there. We didn't know about any attacks overnight. When you go to sleep all you can hear are the motors of your own ship. There was no information offered to us at all about it. There were a lot of RAF cadets who were very nervous indeed. Rumours went around that the other ship or ships had been sunk."

The airmen were not told of the furious race to escape the enemy as it took place over the next three days. All they saw was the remaining destroyer, HMS Firedrake, doing double duty for the rest of the trip, moving at high speed over a distance normally covered by two ships. Fred said: "It was listening for subs to sort them out, going out to the skyline in one direction, out to the skyline in the other direction. I remember being in the barber's shop and there was a great big bang and the ship shook. It was so close I thought it was the ship, but it was just our escort Firedrake dropping depth charges."

Andy

Just found this:-


1 9 4 2


January Newfoundland Escort Force service in continuation.
31st During escort of return troop convoy NA2 hit by torpedo from U82 off Halifax.
Sank with the loss of entire ship's company in position 42.02N 57-18W.

Last edited by andyl999; 26th Aug 2009 at 15:02. Reason: more info
andyl999 is offline  
Old 27th Aug 2009, 10:43
  #1063 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East Sussex
Posts: 449
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Andy, I think HMS Belmont was one of the destroyers Churchill arranged on Lend Lease. HMS Belmont (H46) was a British Navy Town Class Destroyer. She was built as the USS Satterlee (DD190) in Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co, Virginia, USA. On the 31st January 1942 in the North Atlantic SE of Halifax, Nova Scotia whilst escorting a Canadian Troop Convoy NA2 to the UK she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-82. All the crew perished.
As you say, a remarkable story, and I'll raise a glass tonight in memory of that brave crew.
Icare9 is offline  
Old 31st Aug 2009, 11:28
  #1064 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: LIVERPOOL
Age: 100
Posts: 401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
RAMBLING ON IN MY OWN INIMITABLE STYLE.
We carried on with our training, a trip to Fredericia, to test German radar, and another to Flensburg, Delivery of a Lancaster to Elsham Wold, a couple of trips to Tours in France. (but can’t remember why) .. Various diversion raids, three of these counted as ops, but were very uneventful. The the rumour still persisted that we were being trained to eventually go with the squadron to the Far East, as it was considered the war in Europe would soon be over, and the Australians and New Zealanders were, quite rightly, feeling a bit neglected. It was felt that sending a large number of aircraft would help to rectify this situation.

During this period, we took off with the rest of the squadron just before dusk , and sometime after crossing the coast I noticed a Lancaster not too far below us, flying back to base. Whether I could see that he had one prop feathered, or not, I can’t remember, but if I didn’t I certainly found out the next day We heard that a Lancaster had crashed on the top of a hangar, all killed except the rear gunner who was unharmed and on parade in the morning, and the flight engineer was our flight engineer leader.

Evidently on landing with one engine dead , the aircraft had ‘undershot’ . The skipper ordered ‘full power’ and pulled the stick back with the result that it possibly stalled ,and then span round landing on top of the hangar. I think trim again reared it’s ugly head, plus giving full power to only three engines, or maybe pushing the throttles ‘through the gate’ (emergency power) would cause the aircraft to turn. Perhaps Reg would be good enough to explain to us what happens when you apply full power on three engines when nearly stalled out.

This was followed by instructions that all crews should practice three engine landings and we were told it was better to overshoot, than undershoot, that is, it was better to hit something at the end of the runway when the aircraft was travelling at a lower speed Hmmm. It provided a bit ot entertainment over the next few days, watching the antics of some of the pilots as they tended to come in too fast., trying to force the aircraft down while still flying., resulting in a few spectacular bounces and then applying full braking. Luckily Lancasters were fitted with an early form of A.B.S think it was called something like Dunlop Retardex? At times it seemed as if some of the pilots were intent on hitting something at the end of the runway.

Below is a picture of the Lancaster that crashed on the hangar. I did post it to this thread sometime ago, but it may have been removed by Photobucket, you may remember remove a pic from Photobucket and message appears on the post ‘picture removed by Photobucket’. I have also enhanced it slightly, but should point out it was taken with a five bob ( 5/-_or five shillings) Brownie box camera just peeping out of my battledress. (until V.J day it was an offence to be found with a radio or camera)





If you remember some time ago I removed photographs from Photobucket which were then replaced with a notice ’ Removed by Photo bucket’ . I intended to replace them, but not in chronological order. So experimented with the photo below. I then thought possibly I could insert this in it’s original position. I inserted the photo below in it’s original position using edit See post # 64..




Any of you academics could advise . Should we say ’an R.A.F, or a R.A.F ?’ Vowel A before and acronym ?
cliffnemo is offline  
Old 31st Aug 2009, 13:47
  #1065 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
what happens when you apply full power on three engines when nearly stalled out.
The only time I have seen that was with a Halifax at Aldergrove around 1949.
You go through the main dispersal, removing various Lancaster wing tips en route, through the firing range, through more assorted scenery and end up in the coal dump.

Being a Halifax you walk away from it.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 31st Aug 2009, 21:47
  #1066 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Safety Speed.

A very poorly taught and little known factor in assymetrical engine flying is "Safety Speed " If, with your wheels down and full flap, you open up full power on the good side be it one or two engines and assuming a complete loss of power on the other then there is a speed at which you can no longer keep the aircraft straight. That, very simply put, is your Safety Speed and if you let the aircraft get below that speed you will start turning towards the lost engines, you will start losing height in the turn due to the added lift required and you will stall and lose control of the aircraft. It was, probably , the cause of most of the accidents at OTU's and HCU's during assymetrical flying because frankly, the Instructors themselves were not sufficiently trained to know this and therefore very little, if any, instruction was given until much later when Bomber Command Instructors School came into being and , very quickly, taught recognition of Safety Speed as being of vital importance to the people who were going to be Instructors. When I had my crash in a Mosquito , returning from a raid on a German Airfield in Holland on one engine I am now sure that it was because I let the speed drop too low and below the Safety speed and was unable to stop it from turning and crashing into the trees that saved our lives by lowering us more gently to the ground. I had never had the words "Safety Speed" given to me in any of the instruction that I had been given. Hope that this helps. It goes without saying that you had a different safety speed for each configuration of the aircraft i:e Wheels down 30 Flap etc. Two good engines on one side, one good engine outboard , differing from inboard and even the direction of rotation of the propellors played a part because of the Gyroscopic effect acting 90 degrees in the direction of rotation. (The cause of many a swing on take-off in tail wheel aircraft when pushing the stick forward to raise the tail thus exerting a forward force at the top of the circle of the prop rotation which is transmitted to a sideways force of 90 degrees in the direction of rotation.) Reg.
I found this in a copy of pilots notes for a Halifax 3 (Hercules engines)
Engine failute on take-off. The aircraft can be kept straight on any three engines at take-off at full load provided a safety speed of 155 kts, has been attained.
In the event of an outer engine failure below safety speed, control will be lost unless the opposite outer engine is immediately throttled back, at least partially. Feather the propellor of the failed engine, retrim and re-open the throttle of the live outer engine.
After control has been regained as described above, it will be possilble to climb with flaps in the takeoff position and U/C up on three engines at take-off power at 140 kts. IAS at light loads.
At heavy loads or if the engine failure has occurred at a low height immediately after take-off it will be necessary to land straight ahead using the two inner engines to control the rate of descent.... And the best of British luck ! I hope that this clears things up. For Kts. read MPH....Sorry, but that's how accidents happen ! Reg.

Last edited by regle; 1st Sep 2009 at 16:11. Reason: Safety speed found in Pilot's notes Halifax 111
 
Old 1st Sep 2009, 03:04
  #1067 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Wide Brown Land
Age: 38
Posts: 516
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That was exactly my thoughts when I read Cliff's post. Safety speed being 'blue line' on today's multi-engine pistons - the speed below which there is not enough rudder authority to keep the aircraft going straight, and (secondary effects of rudder being roll and all that) rolling onto its back. The cause of a sadly fatal accident at Bankstown a few years ago.
kookabat is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2009, 10:17
  #1068 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It didn't stop with pistons. Fast forward to the Meteor, a few people killed in those trying to overshoot below safety speed.
Amazingly the Vulcan 2, believed to have no problems with that owing to its close set engines, was found to go out of control in a certain configuration. That was after a friend of mine was killed in one.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 2nd Sep 2009, 00:58
  #1069 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Wide Brown Land
Age: 38
Posts: 516
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It didn't stop with pistons.
...so my experience is somewhat limited compared with others on this thread....
kookabat is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2009, 12:01
  #1070 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: LIVERPOOL
Age: 100
Posts: 401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
V.E Day.

One thing that really impressed me at Hemswell, was the ‘Esprit de corps’ (Consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.) . I don’t think I have ever experienced such dedication before, or since. Every one from the A.C 2s up to the C.O had only one goal, Unlike in industry where often people are pulling in different directions, and criticizing the ‘boss’ who doesn’t know what he is doing. In fact the upper ranks , who had already ‘done their bit’ were eventually forbidden to go on voluntary opps, as too many experienced officers were being lost..

With the end of the war approaching fast , it was decided to bomb Hitler’s retreat at Berchesgarten as it was suspected he was in residence. 150 SQDN was to take part. I hoped and prayed that our crew would be chosen, but it was not to be. Consequently I visited the engineer leader and asked if I could stand by in case he was short of an F.E. , but was told ‘join the queue’ .Frustrated again, a feeling I had throughout the war.

When it was officially announced that the war in Europe was over we decided to celebrate on the parade ground, with an evening bonfire, and fireworks ( using any Vary pistols and pyrotechnics we could acquire) The bonfire was built that afternoon using any combustible material that was not screwed down. The evening started off well with the airmen still ’ ‘pursuing a common cause‘ but the cause had altered slightly. Tables and chairs were brought out of the various messes and offices, and also a grand piano. An accomplished pianist, soon began to play all the usual ribald songs, and I must say, I had never seen so many happy people on an R.A.F station before, the atmosphere was electric , and the noise from singing airmen was deafening. Dancing on the tarmac square was rather difficult, but the W.A.A.F s did not complain. One thing that marred the evening somewhat was when some clot started to fire a Vary pistol almost horizontally just above the heads of the revellers. However he was quickly subdued and normal chaos resumed. When the fuel for the bonfire ran out, empty beer barrels were collected from the mess and burnt. However one thing annoyed me somewhat, was when the fire beginning to die out, some bods threw the grand piano on also. There were no repercussions, fights or fizzers ,everything brushed under the carpet, and the hole in the tarmac quickly repaired.

The following morning a church parade was organized. Crew buses and three tonners were used to transport us to the outskirts of Gainsboro from there we marched to the church in the centre of the town, preceded by a military band. Military bands are supposed to invigorate the marchers, but I’m afraid it didn’t work for this sorry looking bunch of stragglers, all suffering from the effects of the night before.
Shortly after V.E day it was decided to empty all the bomb dumps, and to this end we loaded the Lancasters with Incendiary and H.E bombs and took them almost to the middle of the North Sea. I say almost, because we did not have bacon and eggs the following morning. More likely porridge, cheese on toast, or other tasteless food. After this task was completed, we flew on ‘Cook’s Tours’ which consisted of taking ground staff on a tour of the Rheine valley, and the Ruhr , and showing them the effects of the bombing. I was surprised, when it was a bit ‘bumpy’ how many were airsick.

I reproduce this scan as it was removed by Photobucket on page 10 #187
cliffnemo is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2009, 18:31
  #1071 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Winchester
Posts: 37
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
QDM - another bit of craftsmanship

Hi Cliff,

Thanks for that bit of navigational wizardry - took me a while to figure out, but; another gem...

Cheers,

Dave
Goosequill is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2009, 22:51
  #1072 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We invade Belgium....

Sabena confirmed their acceptance of my application , subject to my passing their Medical examination and enclosed a return ticket London-Brussels. I went there on March 14th. 1952 in a Convair 240 OO-AWT and the Captain was British. He was called Len Thorne and was one of the Pilots that I had checked with the Check Flight at Aldermaston and had been made redundant from BEA in 1948 with me and about 80 others. He had gone to Sabena immediately and was already a Captain and spoke glowingly of the Company. About six of the passengers were obviously prospective Sabena pilots and we were met in Brussels by two very nice Sabena girls who showed us around the small complex at Melsbroek. One of us, David Cable, was so impressed by one of them , Lillian Goossens, that he stayed in Brussels that night, instead of going back to Brussels with the rest of us, and took her out to dinner. Nearly thirty years later, Dora and I were on a Sabena flight as passengers from Jo'burg to Brussels and we instantly recognised the Stewardess to be David and Lillian's daughter. As far as I know they are still in Brussels with their Grandchildren and the rest of their family.
The medical was a very thorough one and included blood tests, electro- cardiograph, X-Rays.etc. I was instructed by a little nurse to "deshabille" so when she left the room I undressed and lay on the couch. She came back in, burst out laughing, and went out again. One of the Doctors came in and explained that it was only necessary to undress "a la ceinture" to the belt.! After the Medical we were given a very good lunch in the Staff Canteen which was a lot better than most of the English Restaurants of that era and then, with the exception of Dave , caught the same plane and with the same Captain. back to London.
I, very quickly, received a letter from Sabena telling me that I had passed my medical and that I was to report to them at Brussels on May 1st.1952. They enclosed a ticket to fly on their service from Manchester.. This time the aircraft was a DC3 (21 passengers full load) and the Captain was a very nice Belgian called Captain Lieutenant. This caused a problem or two as we had never come upon that name as a surname before, or since for that matter. This time I was the only "would be" British Pilot on board but when we arrived at Melsbroek I was met by yet another nice Sabena girl who explained that May 1st. was a Public Holiday in Belgium and no one was working that day so she put me on a tram that was waiting ouside the Airport and told me to go to the Terminus where I would find the Palace Hotel and to book in there as that would be my home for the next three months.
The tramride was quite an experience as it swayed and vibrated for the many miles, or so it seemed before we arrived right outside the Palace Hotel. The Hotel seemd very nice so I had a bit of a wander round but everything was closed for the holiday so I went back to the Hotel where I met up with some of the other British Pilots who had arrived from London and we arranged to meet up later on and have dinner together. There were about six of us including Dougie Wilson, Jimmy Rice, Les Beech, Jack Veys and Denzyl Gaughan. We were all very pleased with our rooms, all en suite and very comfortable and we all met for drinks before being ushered in to the lovely Restaurant.
It is hard to relate, now, how we appreciated the menu that was put before us. In 1952 England was still under very strict rationing and Restaurants were very limited in what they could offer. The Head Waiter was most attentive and plied us with wine and we had Lobster, Oysters, Snails, Steak.... you name it. We had it.! When we had effectively , gone through the Menu, the Head Waiter presented us with the Bill. We airily waved it away and told him that Sabena would be paying. You could see that he was most unhappy about this but after a lot of consultations we went off to bed , very happy and full with the best meal that we had eaten for a very long time.

Next morning we caught the nearby tram to Melsbroek. We had been told to report at 0800 so we caught the 0700 tram. This was the first time that we had to try and get used to the very early start that the Continent made to their working day. We later found out it was so that they could make a very enjoyable and long luncheon break. We were also introduced to the habit of the "Handshake", The trip was around forty minutes with numerous stops and at each stop, as each new round of passengers got on , they would solemnly do the round of the tram and shake hands with the sitting passemgers, obviously fellow Sabena colleagues.. Each and every passenger carried a very smart briefcase and we wondered what was carried in them. We were met at the Terminus by the three young ladies who were to be our guides for the next few weeks and were told that the Operations Manager. Mr. Stainier, wished to meet with us. We had been warned that he had somewhat of a fearsome reputation and we thought " Ah. He is going to give us a welcome to Sabena. " We were ushered into his Office and there, in central position , upon his Desk and very evident was the Bill from the Restaurant. It was not even 0830 so the Hotel had not wasted any time. The Head Waiter must have beeen one of the handshaking passengers on the tram and now we knew what was contained in the briefcase which each and every passenger carried.


Mr Stainier began " When we said that we would pay for your food we did not mean that you could have the equivalent of an a la carte Wedding Banquet each day" Then he began to smile which, we were told later, was unheard of "I know what it must have seemed to you and I hope that you enjoyed it. so, this time, just this once, we will pay. In future you will have your lunch in the canteen and you will pay 14 B.Frs. for it and your daily allowance is 40 B.Frs. Now off to your classes and good luck to you all."
More later.. There were about 140 B.Frs. to the £ at this time but the daily allowance was ample for the Canteen, which was heavily subsidised by the Company.
 
Old 11th Sep 2009, 15:44
  #1073 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: uk
Posts: 1,737
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This excellent thread has been lurking on Page 3 so I thought I would bring it to the top by telling you about a chat I've just had with a near neighbour who I have actually known slightly for years. A nicer more self effacing man you would not meet.

He started out as a poor Durham miner and joined the RAF in 1939 to become Observer on a Bleinheim bomber. He didn't think much of that so he grabbed an opportunity to retrain as a W/Op/Gunner on a Beaufighter. Posted to North Africa he sank a few ships around Malta before getting shot down to become a PoW in Italy.

When Italy surrendered he escaped into the mountains, trying to get to Switzerland, until captured again by the Germans and remained in a prison camp near the Elbe until the Germans abandoned them as the Russians advanced. While they were wondering what to do, the camp was invaded by women and children trying to escape the Russians. When the Russians eventually arrived he witnessed the rape of several of them. It was this, more than anything which turned him against war.

This man must have so many stories from each phase of his War and I would love to get some of them out of him before it is too late. I did suggest that he came on here but he is stumped by anything "beyond Morse Code" he says. He is a very active 91 so I hope that I have some time yet.
pulse1 is offline  
Old 11th Sep 2009, 19:23
  #1074 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: 149 Ashridge Way, Sunbury on Thames
Age: 99
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Harrogate and what followed

I got my Pilot's brevet at 3 BFTS Oklahoma (course 16). Returned to England expecting great things but then came Harrogate. Suffered courses on aircraft recognition, ship recognition, unarmed combat, Link Trainer and now and again three weeks flying Tiger Moths. Then came three weeks at Melbourne, Yorkshire trying to be an Aerodrome Control Pilot and three weeks trying to be a soldier at Whitely Bay. Back to boring Harrogate and we were offered a posting to a railway station near our home if we volunteered to serve on the footplate! Then came a better offer - transfer to the Fleet Air Arm. I volunteered and in a short time did my first solo in a Miles Master and then a Spitfire and was transferred to the RNVR with the rank of Sub Lieutenant.

Next an intensive course at Henstridge, dummy deck landings, low-level photographic reconaissance and army cooperation. A long train journey to Ayr, allocated a Seafire and search for an Escort Carrier. Six real desk landings and then a few days leave.

Now, in contrast to the boredom of Harrogate, life got interesting. Flown out from Lyneham to Ceylon (as it was then) and joined 879 Squadron on HMS Attacker. Sailed as part of a Fleet led by HMS Nelson to the far east. During our journey to Malaya the Atom Bombs were dropped and the Japanese surrendered. HMS Attacker carried on alone to Singapore and after three days minesweeping of Singapore harbour we ceremoniously entered Singapore with all flags flying. Finally returned to Belfast and demobbed a few months later.

Dave Davis
GordonPDavis is offline  
Old 11th Sep 2009, 21:33
  #1075 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 72
Posts: 883
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In the last year and a quarter this thread has been one of the most interesting, informative and enjoyable that I have ever read. Not only the two main posters, but also the newer posters giving their memories have made it so.We can now add GordonPDavies to this list. It really would be great pulse1 if you could get your neighbour's memories added to this thread. His age should not preclude him from contributing. As far as I can see the older they are the more able to use a computer they are. We need more memories permanently recorded. One of my biggest regrets is that my late father, regular army not RAF, would only talk about the 'good times' and not the hard work that went into his career.
S'land is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2009, 01:31
  #1076 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East Sussex
Posts: 449
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well said S'land, especially since I believe it was your tales on flying boats that got me into this! I too have the same regrets that I didn't get my parents to open up about their wartime training and service. All I ever got were the silly things, falling asleep in the desert and 3 weeks in hospital with sunstroke, learning to drive and hitting the only tree for miles, getting promoted, having a drink to celebrate and getting busted back down for drunk and disorderly. That's not what I want as memories, but that's what I have! Better that than nothing!
So come on, please don't let these memories die before they are recorded in whatever way possible.
PS a big welcome David, you'll not be allowed to just put up 3 paragraphs to encapsulate all your service. I'm sure stories of life aboard an aircraft carrier will be as rivetting and refreshing as those already posted. We expect you to maintain that standard, we're a demanding public and haven't been disappointed!
Icare9 is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2009, 02:30
  #1077 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,451
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
... especially operating *** Seafires from a carrier! Some first hand accounts of landing on with that oh so narrow undercarriage should make for some interesting reading for all of us David.

-------

I have a second uncle twice removed who has eighty pages of hand written reminiscences from his time as a WOP on Sunderlands with the RAAF, including being shot down in the Bay of Biscay.

I just have to convince him to pass them on to me. His own kids aren't particularly interested.
Wiley is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2009, 17:24
  #1078 (permalink)  
regle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gordon Davis

I think that the reluctance to tell your tales of "How Daddy won the War" comes from the "Oh No, not that again " look that seems to appear on the faces of the family around you and, especially, when they are in the horrible 'teen years and then, later on, when it becomes a "Pavlov response" to whatever sentence you begin with. I know that when my beloved Wife's father started to talk about Gallipoli, there was always a resigned look on the faces of the Grandchildren around but how I bitterly regret not having some of those stories on some kind of permanent record. So I beg of you, Gordon, please let us have plenty of choice morsels for the Pavlov dogs to chew on. Start right away ! Reg.

Last edited by regle; 12th Sep 2009 at 22:08. Reason: Wrong title
 
Old 12th Sep 2009, 23:22
  #1079 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 72
Posts: 883
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Icare9, thank you for the compliment, but I think that you will find that it was OldHairy who told us about his experiences with the Sunderland. Personally I wish that he was also contributing to this thread as he flew quite a few other aircraft as well as the Boats.
S'land is offline  
Old 13th Sep 2009, 12:14
  #1080 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: 149 Ashridge Way, Sunbury on Thames
Age: 99
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Deck Landing

Hello Wiley,
Yes, landing and taking off a Seafire from an Escort Carrier could be very fraught.
HMS Attacker had a flight deck just less than 500 feet long and a beam of 100 feet, rather short and narrow! Because of the restricted forward vision of the Seafire the approach had to be a continual curve and with an airspeed only five knots above stalling speed. The approach and landing was controlled by the Batsman who not only controlled the landing but also had to adjust the approach in rough weather so that the plane caught an arrestor wire as the deck was rising. The Attacker had a top speed of some 20 knots so on a good day with a wind speed of say 20 knots the Seafire hooked up at a speed of 25 knots relative to the flight deck – not too bad!

Take off also had its troubles. As Regle mentioned in permalink 1068 the gyroscopic effect pulled an aircraft one way or the other. Not too much trouble on a wide runway but on an Escort Carrier the sea wasn’t all that far away! Secondly the flight deck was rather short. When the aircraft reached the end of the flight deck it was still not really airborne and for a few seconds the aircraft was still dropping towards the sea – rather scary!

All this talk of landing recalled the A25 Song –

They say in the Air Force a landing’s OK,
If the pilot can get out and still walk away,
But in the Fleet Air Arm the prospects are grim,
If he lands in the ‘oggin’ and can’t ****** swim.

Dave
GordonPDavis 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.