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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 Jun 2017, 17:03
  #10881 (permalink)  
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What a fascinating article that is Ian. I think it would be fair to say that the good old aircrew watch lost its attractiveness when Seiko came out with an affordable quartz watch in the 1970s. They were so accurate I can remember standing in the bar at Brize at 1300 with all of us looking at Mr Seiko's products as the BBC beeps went. The accuracy was amazing.

I bought my first one (a quartz 4004) in Masirah in 1975 (522753) and it still keeps almost perfect time.

Incidentally, I dropped it on the pool surrounds in Singapore and the day/date function stopped working. When I got to Hong Kong I took it down to the Seiko place in the Ocean Terminal. I explained to one of the young ladies what I needed fixing and she asked me to take a seat. About fifteen minutes later she re-appeared and I thought "now I'm going to get the estimate".

"How much?" said I.

"Nothing", said she, "And we have also given it a clean".

What service.

I don't think the Greenwich Observatory could ever match that.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 06:34
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Aah, the days of service! Parker (the pen people) used to have a similar ethos of customer service ... took broken pen to their emporium in The Aldwych, fixed 'while you wait' new nib and cleaned FOC.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 13:36
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Nothing to say.

Just want to bump the forum up the page a little.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 14:21
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A neat idea, old chap, but i don't know how the Moderators might look upon it ! All through its long and varied history, this Prince of Threads has seen periods of furious activity interspersed with times in the doldrums, and has even, occasionally, fallen into the Slough of Despond that is Page 2.

But never fear, it has always "risen from the ashes" so far, and I'm confident thar it will do so again. Up to you, chaps (and chapesses) ! There's plenty of room round the old coke stove in our shabby cybercrewroom yet, and a welcome and battered chairs for newcomers.

Old 16th Jun 2017, 16:09
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Watches: About 1970 I invested in a very fine Omega Seamaster for navigation in my newly rebuilt Tiger Moth. The watch stopped after six months, was fixed by the supplier, failed again after 10 months and was again repaired.

About 14 months after purchase I was flying from Weston-super-Mare to Blackpool on a pretty nasty day, with oblique vis only a couple of miles as I approached the smoky Wirral. In those days there was a low-level corridor from Crewe to Wigan, enabling VFR crossing of the Manchester zone at max 1000ft. I was amazed to find my Tiger Moth was doing mach 1 as pinpoints popped up ahead of time. In fact my Omega was running at half speed and then stopped; fortunately I knew the route well and noticed before blundering into the Manchester zone.

The Omega agent was quite surprised that I had expected an accurate and reliable watch. Those days being before consumer legislation, I had to cough up another six weeks' wages to buy a Seiko, which keeps perfect time to this day although I can no longer get batteries for it.

This great thread: only 114 posts to go before we clock up No. 11000. Danny, please stand by.

Thanks: to Danny and those who sent PM following my Poona reminiscences, but sorry that's my lot. Still think it's strange that I have such clear memories from 70 years ago yet I can't remember why I came into this room. Oh yes it was to write this post
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 17:04
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I think I would like to tell you the story of a very brave Australian:

F.Sgt. Ronald Rashleigh Sillcock 400840 RAAF.

It is 1942 and he is serving as a Lockheed Hudson captain with 53 Sqn. the Americans are having huge problems with U-boats on the east coast of the USA and in the Caribbean. One of the major German goals is to sink ships taking bauxite from South America to the USA in order to make aluminium. The US President, Franklin D Roosevelt asked Churchill for help and so it was that 53 Squadron was sent across the Pond.

"On 26 June, news was received that No.53 was to proceed to the USA at the end of the month. Some 20 Hudsons and crews were to fly out to the US Naval Air Station at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The main objectives were to familiarise the Americans with ASV radar and anti-submarine procedures and also to reinforce the rather inadequate resources currently facing the U-boat menace on the other side of the Atlantic".

Patrols were mounted from Quonset Point to the St Lawrence River to the north and New York harbour to the south but the Squadron fairly quickly moved south to Trinidad. Here it was that F.Sgt. Sillcock and his crew came into their own.

"F/S Sillcock (RAAF) and crew in AM797/W damaged Type IXC U 509, commanded by Kkapt Wolff to the east of Martinique on 16.08.42".

"F/S Sillcock (RAAF) in AM797/W found a U-boat in the process of surfacing at 0921N 5325W on 27 August. He attacked immediately with four DCs and caused such extensive and serious damage that Kkapt Beucke was forced to take Type IXC U 173 back to base (Lorient) for repairs".

"On 10 November, F/S R R Sillcock (RAAF) and crew in V9253/L found a U-boat on the surface at 1010N 5904W which they promptly attacked. She was U 505, a Type IXC commanded by Klt Peter Zschech. One of the depth charges struck the deck in the vicinity of the 37mm flak gun mounting and exploded prematurely, carrying away the gun and wrecking the outer plating of the conning tower. Debris was thrown up and some shrapnel struck one of the Hudson's fuel tanks (the Hudson had wet wings and did not have self-sealing rubber tanks) which exploded right in front of an astonished U boat crew. Fragments from the Hudson were later found in the wooden deck planking of the U-boat. F/S Sillcock, Sgt P G Nelson (RNZAF), Sgt R Miller, Sgt W Skinner and S1C H L Drew (USNR) were all killed. U 505 was eventually captured intact by the US Navy off West Africa. She was towed to America and is now on display at the Museum of Science in Chicago.

The 53 Squadron crew are remembered on the Ottawa Memorial.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 18:39
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JW411 (#10887),

Your: ...."It is 1942 .... and the Americans are having huge problems with U-boats on the east coast of the USA"...

Exacerbated by two factors: Coastal shipping was silhouetted against the lights of the coastal towns (was there a blackout, and when ?). And the "Radio Range" signals nr the E. Coast were being used by the U-boats for navigation: they were switched off and civil air transport disrupted for a while. [from memory]

Old 16th Jun 2017, 19:21
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Ref your #10889 . . .

Various commercial radio stations along the US coast were also used by the submariners for triangulation and navigation purposes, I understand.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 19:42
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Exacerbated by two factors:
Actually I think there was another significant factor. - the refusal of the Americans to take on board the Enigma intelligence provided by us ignorant Limeys and to use appropriate defensive measures such as convoys.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 21:08
  #10890 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
Exacerbated by two factors: Coastal shipping was silhouetted against the lights of the coastal towns (was there a blackout, and when ?).
August 1942.

When World War II was fought off North Carolina's beaches

Many people who lived along the coast during World War II remember having to turn off their house lights at night and having to put black tape over their car headlights, so that lights on shore would not help the Germans find their way in the darkness. Even so, the government did not order a general blackout until August 1942.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 21:40
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the refusal of the Americans to take on board the Enigma intelligence provided by us ignorant Limeys and to use appropriate defensive measures such as convoys.
The refusal to accept British advice to institute a convoy system was largely due to Admiral King's dislike of the British
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Old 18th Jun 2017, 12:41
  #10892 (permalink)  
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I'm sure we would all welcome your comment on the new "Helicopter rescue feasibility" Thread.

Would think the intense heat would cause such a turbulent updraught as to make a chopper uncontrollable (never mind the smoke and flame), but then I know nowt about it.

Old 18th Jun 2017, 20:09
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One poster made a comment about the requirement for helipads on the top of skyscrapers in Las Vegas which saved 1,000 people at the MGM Casino. If you are going to pull a lot of people off a roof with a helicopter(s) it has to be built for it. If it isn't then it's a case of winching them off one at a time because of TV and satellite aerials, etc.

I cannot imagine a couple of hundred of hot footed people waiting in an orderly line waiting to be picked up by winch. It would be chaos, with three or four hanging on to the one being lifted and it would only end in tragedy for the helicopter crew as well.
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Old 18th Jun 2017, 22:56
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With the swift engulfing of that building by a roaring inferno fanned by a strong wind from near bottom to the top 24th floor and on all four sides, I would imagine that any chance of a helicopter hovering above it for winching, let alone landing on (if it had such a helipad) would have been very slim to say the least.

There were though the usual media helicopters providing live feed at a safe distance for the rolling news channels. As the BBC told our boss when he pleaded that they withheld reporting of a Hercules crash at Fairford, in which all six crewmembers died late afternoon, until the late news so that next of kin could be informed first, "Sorry, I'm afraid not. The public have a right to know, you know". ITN, when similarly asked, obliged.
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Old 19th Jun 2017, 07:13
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my wife heard about the crash of XV 180 before I got home from Fairford. As you can imagine she (and the others ) were in a bit of a state.
In GW1 one of the Beebs 'star' reporters virtually admitted to me that he would send a story back to the UK even if it ran the risk of compromising an operation.
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Old 19th Jun 2017, 10:15
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FED (#10894),

..."with three or four hanging on to the one being lifted"...

Believe this was the case with the last helicopters to lift-off from the US Embassy in Saigon, with the Viet Cong at the gates.

Clearly it would have been impracticable in the Glenfell Tower case. But isn't megan's video clip (#8 on "Helicopter Rescue Feasibilty" a little jewel !)

I knew that the USAF had Sgt/Pilots in Vietnam on their Hueys (why should helicopters be regarded as a "poor relation" of fixed-wing in the matter of pilot status ?) But I didn't know they were in service as late as 1980. Very impressive, too. Are they still ?

Full marks to the presenter for being game enough to "have a go".

Chugalug and aa62, what a shameful light it casts on BBC ethics ! Reminiscent of the case in GW1, when a US radio announcer nearly blew Stormin' Norman's crafty plan to attack Saddam Hussein in Kuweit well to the West of what he expected. But in her case, it was artless, not intentional. I believe no harm was done, as Iraki Intelligence didn't "twig it".

Danny (once a Sgt/Pilot, and proud of it).
Old 19th Jun 2017, 10:48
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Danny and aa62, if they stuck to their charter and broadcast a neutral non partisan editorial content then I would have been prepared to put this down to a one off by their local studios. They don't of course, and I for one would gladly see the BBC "privatised" and made to make its own way unaided by a mandatory tax on TV receiving devices on threat of criminal prosecution (and I have at last started enjoying a free dib, so no personal advantage here).

Oh, and add Channel Four to that list (also kept afloat with Licence Payers money!).

Sgt pilots were still around in my training days, Danny, though a fast disappearing breed. One of my own instructors was a Master Pilot, probably the best rank to attain in those days. As he explained to me (as an effective AC2) "When you finish your day job as a Commissioned Officer you will then start your other job (O i/c bog rolls, OO, SDO, etc). I'll be going back to the Mess now for a well deserved beer or two".

Despite this rather demoralising revelation of the real world of the RAF for an innocent young man, I must acknowledge he was right in that as he was in everything else. A good man that man!
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Old 19th Jun 2017, 11:43
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Ad Multos Annos ! Congratulations on joining the ranks of the free-loaders on the BBC Licence Payers ! As for the Corporation itself: Lord Reith, thou should'st be living at this hour. It would never have lost its sense of national responsibility in his time.

I thought I had put this on here. Seems I put it on "PPRuNe Social>Jet Blast" (Senior Moment) So here it is now:

From my niece in Melbourne:
..."I have just read in the paper that the victims of Grenfell House are to receive 5,500 pounds each and funerals paid. I hope they do not accept the offer. I have no legal training, but would have thought they have a massive class action case against the council. I hope someone tells them to get legal advice"...
Well said ! Amen to that !

Old 19th Jun 2017, 12:30
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would have thought they have a massive class action case against the council.
The building was managed by a management board that consisted of 8 residents, 4 independents and 3 councillors (one of whom is now the local MP). Establishing that the Council itself was responsible may be rather difficult.
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Old 19th Jun 2017, 13:32
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Blacksheep (#10900),

Good point ! (I hadn't thought of that). I'm no lawyer, but wouldn't the old adage: "...Qui fecit per alium fecit per se..." still apply ?

Have we a Solicitor in the House ?


Last edited by Danny42C; 19th Jun 2017 at 13:41. Reason: Got my Cases in a Twist !

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