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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 5th Jul 2017, 10:04
  #10961 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you for a well-considered and informative post. The losses were surely horrendous, but could perhaps not be revealed to the British public at the time.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_D...nd_The_Few.jpg
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Old 7th Jul 2017, 02:07
  #10962 (permalink)  
 
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Which is maybe why it has taken so long to understand the truth behind the Dunkirk recriminations.

Here is a shot of the Merlin piston that I mentioned earlier. (Click to enlarge)
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 09:06
  #10963 (permalink)  
 
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Totally off thread but of interest to all those who have been to Hong Kong and have ventured on the ferry to Macau.

Main structure of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge finished - Xinhua | English.news.cn

I've had a look at this on Google Earth and you can see the silt building up behind the bridge piers already.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 8th Jul 2017 at 10:11.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 15:38
  #10964 (permalink)  
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Again off thread, but Danny - would you (if you could)???

Inside the airport control tower that's now a luxury holiday apartment

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 16:38
  #10965 (permalink)  
 
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I assume random items of totally uncoordinated furniture is the new Scandinavian style? And where's my anemometer readout? And the sprightly female ATC assistant bearing coffee?
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 16:50
  #10966 (permalink)  
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pzu,

If it were somewhere nice, and I could have the rest of the building to store all my stuff in, it might not be a bad idea (I don't do minimalist !)

Meanwhile I'm quite happy where I am. In any case would need to consult daughter, who has taken over mantle of SWMBO.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Jul 2017 at 11:03. Reason: Senior Moment !
 
Old 8th Jul 2017, 19:03
  #10967 (permalink)  
 
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The Frying Pan Hotel at the bottom of the page is reminiscent of the various Thames estuary area AA Forts of WWII. One of them, Rough Tower off the Suffolk Coast, is now the independent Principality of Sealand.
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 16:45
  #10968 (permalink)  
 
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I've been persuaded to add to this great thread a tale or two about the activities of the Comet Line.

For those of you who are unaware, the Comet Line was an evasion network set up in 1941 by Andrée De Jongh, a 24 yr old Belgian woman and financed by Britain - thanks to Michael Cresswell (a British diplomat). Its aim was to repatriate shot-down Allied aircrew.


Andrée De Jongh and Michael Cresswell (British Embassy, Madrid)

This picture tells the graphic story of Bomber Command's losses:



The white crosses present the percentage Killed in Action; the red crosses those injured; the yellow boxes those taken POW and the solitary blue box - the evaders. 125,000 airmen served in Bomber Command, and for every 100 airmen - 55 were killed on operations or died as result of wounds, three injured (in varying levels of severity) on operations or active service, 12 taken prisoner of war (some wounded) and 27 survived a tour of operations. Only 2 would evade capture after being shot down.

As the war progressed and the 8th Air Force joined the action, the numbers of aircrew 'on the loose' in Nazi-occupied mainland Europe swelled dramatically.



It was a story of 'ifs'.. If the aircrew survived their aircraft being attacked by fighters or subjected to flak, if they were able to exit the aircraft, if they survived the parachute landing - often at night - without breaking a limb, if they weren't captured immediately, if they were able to make contact with someone sympathetic to the Allied cause and if they were passed on to Comet, then they stood a reasonable chance of making a 'home run'.

The route chosen by Comet for the evaders, led from Brussels to Paris. Then Paris to Bayonne in the Pays Basque by train. After lodging in various safe houses, the small groups of evaders would be led by Comet guides over the Pyrenees at night to a safe farm in Francoist Spain - from where they'd be collected by diplomatic car and driven first to Madrid and then Gibraltar for onward passage home.



More to come..
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 17:22
  #10969 (permalink)  
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sidevalve,

Splendid ! This is exactly the right place to tell the story of those heroic men and women in the Nazi-occopied countries who, at the grave risk of their lives, hid our downed airmen from the Germans, and smuggled them over the border into neutral Spain, from where they were able to make their way back to Britain.

It should do much to counteract the false impression supplied by " 'Allo, 'Allo" on TV !

And the pics are excellent - Thanks !

Danny42C
 
Old 10th Jul 2017, 17:28
  #10970 (permalink)  
 
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Welcome, sidevalve, to our cyber crew-room. What a fascinating introduction to a story of which many of us are only vaguely aware. Speaking for myself though I should know a lot more, and look forward to your future posts revealing everything and everybody.

We are used here to celebrating members of the allied armed forces, of the trials and tribulations of those on the home front, and even acknowledging the achievements of our enemies. What we don't tend to dwell upon though were the stark choices facing the occupied civilian populations. Some would choose collaboration, whether overt or covert, most to keep their heads down and try to wait it all out, and some to take active steps to thwart the enemy occupier's plans and to aid the allied effort.

Comet resulted from the determination and courage of those who chose the latter course. Such a choice was a fraught one to make. One only has to imagine the dangers and consequences they faced and wonder if that was a choice that we could make ourselves.

Thanks sidevalve. Over to you.
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 19:09
  #10971 (permalink)  
 
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Here's the question..

Andrée De Jongh used to warn prospective helpers for the Comet Line that their operational life expectancy was no more than 6 months (maximum) before being arrested by the German security services.

And once arrested, the gloves were off. Unlike the aircrew, the provisions of the Geneva Convention didn't apply to civilian helpers of organisations such as Comet - so those arrested were subject to the grisly medieval methods of 'interrogation' employed by the Gestapo and the SD.. followed by execution or deportation to concentration camps.

So - what would you have done?

About 288 aircrew evaded successfully via the Pays Basque from 1941 to mid-June 1944 when the Normandy landings made transits through the fighting area too hazardous. After June 1944, Comet developed other methods of evasion for the aircrew and by the war's end a total of some 800 aircrew had been repatriated. Stopping the outflow of aircrew evaders via Comet became the priority for the Germans as the evaders were, for the most part, operational aircrew (some intelligence agents and saboteurs used Comet also).

Bear in mind that the Comet helpers were untrained amateurs and they had only their wits to rely on. In contrast, the security services of the Occupier had had several years to practice their dark arts. How much training had the aircrew in evading? Perhaps Danny can answer that one.
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 22:50
  #10972 (permalink)  
 
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This list of 1940 pay scales for RAF airmen was recently posted on Facebook and may be of interest


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Old 11th Jul 2017, 08:33
  #10973 (permalink)  
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Regrettably, especially given the selfless and courageous efforts of those running the escape lines, they and evading aircrew were also prey to collaborators infiltrating those lines. Largely the work of one man, Jacques Desoubrie, 168 Allied aircrew shot down over France in 1944 were betrayed to the Gestapo. They did not go into the normal Luftwaffe-run POW system, but were held instead in Fresnes Prison near Paris, in close confinement and in poor conditions. In mid-August 1944, as the Allied advance neared Paris, the prison was emptied, the men were packed into boxcars for a 5-day rail journey to Buchenwald where conditions were immeasurably worse. The Luftwaffe eventually became aware of this illegal imprisonment and secured the release of the 166 surviving men to Stalag Luft 3 in late October.

I have to admit to only having become aware of the fate of this group of airmen a few years ago, and I understand that there was a degree of official unwillingness to publicise their treatment on return. A book, "168 jump into Hell" by Arthur Kinnis and Stanley Booker was published in Canada in 1999, and relates the whole story.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 12:22
  #10974 (permalink)  
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...I can't say I heard anything that would have justified such a delay over the standard 30 years.
Perhaps certain matters concerning downed RAF Aircrew being denied boarding?
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 12:36
  #10975 (permalink)  
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sidevalve (#10972),

..."perhaps Danny can answer that one"...

Yes, Danny can - at OTU in 1942 absolutely none ! (Apart from the standard: "All you're obliged to tell them is your name, rank and number").

In Burma later, there was really no point. Either the Jap got hold of you or you managed (with the help of villagers) to walk back out (many did).

If the Jap got you, you did not have to fear imprisonment - as a rule they chopped the heads off aircrew on the spot.

Managed to avoid all the uncomfortable "Escape and Evasion" exercises that came my way in later years. Nearest I ever came to one postwar was on leave in Oberammergau: the RAF had one running in the snowy woods nearby, and sometimes the unfortunates "escaped" from their Course and crept into town for a warm-up and some grub.

Once again, sidevalve, our thanks for opening yet another line of nostalgia in this our hydra-headed Thread. Pull your chair nearer to the cyberstove and give the fire another poke ! We are all ears !

Danny.
 
Old 11th Jul 2017, 13:01
  #10976 (permalink)  
 
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168 jump into Hell" by Arthur Kinnis and Stanley Booker was published in Canada in 1999, and relates the whole story.
It's in Wiki.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KLB_Club
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 13:09
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Thanks for confirming what I have long believed Danny.. It was probably thought that any discussion of, or training for, evading in enemy-occupied territory would be "bad for morale"! (akin to providing pilots in WWI with parachutes!)

I've been putting together a map showing all the sites of interest connected with Comet - because as the story progresses, it should prove useful in orientating yourself. There are still a handful of places to be added, especially in and around Paris.

Let's see if this works.. Map.

Standard tools for accessing the map: to slew the map off - drag and drop, zoom in/out via the +/- signs, and select either map or satellite view at top left. Click on the legend to the right to go straight to the pin required. If you click on a pin, you can enlarge the image by clicking on it. If you spot any errors/typos/omissions, please let me know - thanks.
Edited to add: a couple of the pins now have videos embedded - Nos 45 & 88

More to follow.

Last edited by PPRuNeUser0139; 13th Jul 2017 at 18:31.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 13:18
  #10978 (permalink)  
 
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Fascinating. And God bless the Luftwaffe guys who retained a sense of decency in those awful days.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 13:50
  #10979 (permalink)  
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MPN11 (#10979),

There was a similar story (for which I can give no reference), in which a group of RAF prisoners had been handed over to the Gestapo instead of going direct to an Oflag or Stalag.

Realising what now awaited them, the officers of a nearby Luftwaffe unit went down in a body to the local Gestapo HQ and demanded their release - at pistol point ! They were handed over; their rescuers took them back to camp, fed them, and made sure they were handed over to the proper POW authorites.

I do not know what the repercussions might've been: it is likely that the rescuers were confident that Goering (himself a fighter pilot from WWI) would back them up.

Is the story true ? Dunno - I hope so !

Danny.
 
Old 11th Jul 2017, 16:15
  #10980 (permalink)  

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Speaking of "gentlemanly conduct", ISTR a tale of a British Pilot interned in Southern Ireland who managed to escape to the North.

From where the appropriate authorities smartly sent him back!

[perhaps this should be in the "getting Lost" thread!]
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