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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 2017, 16:11
  #11141 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Brian 48nav (11136),

Yes - We exchange emails with a widowed niece of mine in Melbourne every day: I wrote a long critique of "The Viceroy's House" (DVD version of the book just published) to her, ending:

..."The hopes that the Lion would lie down with the Lamb proved vain; there were huge and violent exchanges of population both ways across the arbitary border; there was naked slaughter of men, women and children on an enormous scale. The estimate at the time was two million * dead and many times that number homeless refugees. Of course, the Indian view was that it was all Britain's fault - blind to the the fact that, when the "colonial oppressor" left, Pax Britannica went with him ! - and this was the predictable (and predicted) result. Our "Daily Mirror" wrote ruefully at the time:

"THEY KNEW" - Isn't it annoying when the wrong people turn out to be right ? - and we see the Indians behaving exactly as the old Blimps and Curry-Colonels said they would !" (Coincidentally, BBC 1 TV is starting a new two-parter on this very subject tonight)"...


and a day later:

..."I was far more impressed with the first episode of "My Family And Me: India 1947" (BBC 1 last night), personal experiences of British residents paying their first visit to the home villages of their forefathers. Very affecting. (Would I like to go back [if I could] ? - No, it's always a mistake: you cannot go back in time, the India I knew doesn't exist any more)"...

[Note *: revisionist historians have massaged this figure down to one million - I prefer the original figure; the truth is nobody knows, it is all guesswork anyway as nobody was counting].

Danny.
 
Old 14th Aug 2017, 16:14
  #11142 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator and FED (111137 and 138),

I think the Coles Crane was probably "commandeered" for miltary service, and they hadn'nt had time to repaint it and give it a service number.

So just plain old rubber boots, then ("Boots, rubber, gum, airmen for the use of ?") - stores Ref ?

Think there was a medieval statute which allowed draymen to piddle al fresco on the offside back wheel of their cart.

Danny.
 
Old 14th Aug 2017, 16:27
  #11143 (permalink)  
 
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The RAF used Mauripur, Karachi, as a staging post until 1956.

When 214 Sqdn went there in 1960, I believe that we were the 1st RAF visitors since 56.

Many of the locals, shop keepers, taxi drivers et al, asked us, 'Are the British coming back?' In a hopeful tone!
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Old 14th Aug 2017, 18:44
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In a shoe box of WW2 photos, is this one taken by my Dad in Italy in the summer of 1944. I have no idea who the pilots were other than that they were members of 208 Sqn. Maybe someone may recognise one or more of them.
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Old 14th Aug 2017, 19:20
  #11145 (permalink)  
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ian 16th (#11114),

Never went back myself, but an old 20 Sqn friend, Flt Lt N.R.Ker (RIP), an Anglo-Indian born and brought up in India, and a fluent Hindi speaker, went back several times in the years after Partition.

He often heard, from the old folks: "I wish the British would come back !"

Danny.
 
Old 14th Aug 2017, 19:53
  #11146 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator (#111141),

Mahadeu would have been a Hindu, his home, Poona (now "Pune") was in India, over the Partition border, several hundred miles south of Karachi, a Muslim town in what is now Pakistan, where you had to part.

As you say, his prospects of reaching Poona alive by train in those times would have been poor indeed !

Danny.
 
Old 14th Aug 2017, 20:37
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"I wish the British would come back !"
Then they would have somebody to blame.
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Old 15th Aug 2017, 08:16
  #11148 (permalink)  
 
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For Danny

An RAAF Vengeance taxying in New Guinea.

Snipped from ADF serials.

IMG_0138.jpg
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Old 15th Aug 2017, 08:21
  #11149 (permalink)  
 
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Danny,
todays online Daily Mail has some pictures of the RAF in India and Burma in WW2.
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Old 15th Aug 2017, 13:24
  #11150 (permalink)  
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ancientaviator62 (#11150),

Thanks for the steer ! - very interesting ! But some of the text is strange: what are we to make of ..."Corporal Peter Westlake Walker was stationed in India and Burma, but was soon deprived of his pilot's license due to being colour blind"...? for example, and there are other items difficult to understand.

The shots of chaps in their 'blues' (and that amazing two-man rickshaw with the puller in a sort of mad Red-Indian head dress must have been at a hill station (Poona? or somewhere up north in the winter. In Bengal and all points east we wore KD all year round.

..."At the book's semi-official launch, I was really taken back by how many people spoke to me of their fathers, brothers and other relatives who had fought out in the Far East and everyone without exception said 'they never spoke about it"...

cf my Thread: "Dad never said much about the war when he came back". (Multi-page thread 1 2 3 4 5) on Military Aviation.

Danny.
 
Old 15th Aug 2017, 13:54
  #11151 (permalink)  
 
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Danny,
text and captions in the Mail (and other papers) sometimes are at odds with the pictures. Glad they were of interest. Was one of the a/c a Vengeance ?
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Old 15th Aug 2017, 14:46
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
ancientaviator62 (#11150),

The shots of chaps in their 'blues' (and that amazing two-man rickshaw with the puller in a sort of mad Red-Indian head dress must have been at a hill station (Poona? or somewhere up north in the winter. In Bengal and all points east we wore KD all year round.
Danny.
This is almost certainly on Durban Sea Front where his troopship probably stopped.
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Old 15th Aug 2017, 15:13
  #11153 (permalink)  
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Three Wire (#11149),

Thank you for the pic of my cantankerous old steed ! The RAAF got Mk Is and IIs (in which they flew all their 'ops' in WWII) and later Mk.IVs, mostly converted as target tugs. In India/Burma, we likewise operated Mks.I and II, Mk.IIIs (non-op), but no IVs (in fact I've never even seen a IV in the metal). They all look alike at first glance.

It looked what it was: a big ugly brute ! But quite docile and easy to fly, A useless aircraft in most respects ("too clumsy to fight, and too slow to run away"). Like the Stuka, it could only operate in conditions of aerial superiority. But superb when pointed straight down !

Notes: The upper massive airbrakes are hinged from the front, the lower from the back. They are mechanically linked, so the effects of airflow are balanced out. Well away from the wing surfaces, they had no effect on control. Very easily open/closed, they can be partially or wholly extended to make "parking" in your formation station "a piece of cake", after rushing up into position from behind. Fully extended in a vertical dive, they held the speed down to the terminal velocity of 300 mph.

As shown here, they also make a convenient backrest for your crew when giving them a lift between dispersals. The gun ports show up well, but what is that stuff draped over the outboard port on the wing ? And why doesn't it blow off ? There are no wing bomb racks fitted: it is not going to war that day.

The u/c leg shows the pilot's "short cut" to the cockpit: right foot on the (3-ft) wheel, left foot in the "stirrup", a quick scramble - and you're on top. Better than climbing "the North Face of the Eiger" (hand and footholds up to the gunner's cockpit level), then stepping onto the trailing edge and going forward.

As, for some reason, the Jap did not molest us (although he had the "Oscars", which could cut us to shreds), ours were the safest 'ops' imaginable: it was said that our greatest danger was of twisting an ankle when jumping down from a trip !

Last one extant, AFAIK, in the Camden Museum, Narellan, Sydney.

Danny.

PS: aa62 (#11152), No, saw no VVs, old stuff like the Hawker Demon" (?) - and what is that Lancaster doing out there ? (not in WWII).

Last edited by Danny42C; 15th Aug 2017 at 18:46. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 15th Aug 2017, 15:21
  #11154 (permalink)  
 
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Danny (your #11147)
Mahadeu was indeed a Hindu, I should have noted that we kids called him Pop as we could not pronounce his name. His gentle and enthralling stories of the Hindu gods are described in my Poona post #10749 p538, as usual ending with chaos in Sunday School when my ecumenical attempt went wrong. Seventy years on, I'm still happy to rely on Lord Shiva
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Old 15th Aug 2017, 19:02
  #11155 (permalink)  
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Re: my (#11135),

"Jet Blast" has a Thread running on this, 87 Posts to date.

D.
 
Old 16th Aug 2017, 12:05
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Two days ago @11145 I posted a random photo from the shoe box marked 'my dad's easy war pics' and announced that the photo was taken in Italy in 1944.

Today I visited the naval8/208 squadron association website and discovered that a chap called Porrit has posted pics of his dad whilst serving on the same squadron at the same time and place.

One the photos (which in fact is only the left half of it), shows his dad standing next to a Spitfire MK 9 propellor holding his cap and standing in his wellies.

[Clicking on the pics enlarges them]

Reg Porrit 02

Hmm I thought, I am sure that the full original of that one is in the shoe box.
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Old 16th Aug 2017, 13:29
  #11157 (permalink)  
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roving,

Nice pic ! Two points: they are wellies (which disposes of my "puttee" idea) Did we have wellies in Burma ? (must've had but can't remember, but recall our "monsoon capes").

And they are on pierced steel planking which we mistakenly used to call "Sommerfelt tracking" (something quite different - see Wiki). Laid on mud, this PSP Meccano-like covering allowed aircraft to operate from forward "kutcha" strips in the monsoon. I found the clatter and vibration scary: sounded as if something had dropped off your aircraft when moving about on it.

Over on the R is a wheel of a "chore-horse" (ground battery back for starting).

Danny.
 
Old 16th Aug 2017, 15:25
  #11158 (permalink)  
 
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Danny, thanks. Photography was my Dad's thing.
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Old 16th Aug 2017, 16:31
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Originally Posted by pzu
Danny et al

Have quoted Tinus le Roux's video interviews before, his latest is with Denis Taylor a Spitfire pilot (and also POW) of 4 Sqd SAAF

http://saafww2pilots.yolasite.com/denis-taylor.php

Also his library is

Tinus le Roux - YouTube

Trust these may be of interest (I have Tinus's permission to post links)

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
This is a brilliant website for those interested in aerial warfare in the Middle East and Italy.

pzu has posted about it on this forum many times and I agree with him.

There are video taped interviews of South African WW2 aces, all now sadly no longer with us.

The 17 video taped interviews with Major Stewart Finney DFC* provide an extremely detailed and wonderfully understated anecdotes of Hurricanes and Spitfires dogfighting with 109's.

http://biltongbru.wixsite.com/ww2-sa...ge/bomb-finney

My initial interest arose from the fact that the C.O. of 208 was a South African Lt. Col. during much of the Italian Campaign.
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Old 18th Aug 2017, 20:40
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More on Comète..

Some of the best stories about the Comet Line are those that didn’t make it into the history books.

The German security services were aware that evading Allied airmen were transiting through the Basque country en route to Spain and Gibraltar and so putting a crimp in the operation of the Comet Line quickly became a high priority for them. The security checks at Bayonne railway station became tighter and tighter as the war progressed.

The Comet organisers adopted a number of ruses to counteract this: they first used teenage girls to meet the airmen on the platform as they arrived on the overnight train from Paris to greet them with kisses as though they were returning boyfriends, before breezing through the exit gate.

The next phase in evading detection was known as ‘Operation Water’ (Le water being an old-fashioned French term for the toilet – a contraction of Water Closet). At Bayonne station, there was a toilet on the platform that also had an external door to the street outside. This door was normally kept locked. However, the Comet helpers managed to get hold of a key from sympathetic SNCF workers – thus bypassing the leather-coated security men waiting at the main exit.

Once outside, they would be led in Indian file across the bridge over the Adour to a restaurant - chez Gachy - opposite an old fort in the centre of Bayonne that was used by the Germans as a barracks. Madame Elvire De Greef, aka ‘Tante Go’, the brilliant Comet organiser of the network in the South West, always took each new group of ‘children’ or “parcels’ (as the evaders were known) to this restaurant to give them a good meal before setting out on the Pyrenees crossing.

Rather than serving the evaders in a side room on their own (which could have attracted unwelcome attention) Mr Gachy seated them in the main area of the restaurant in the midst of the many German military diners from the barracks opposite – the thinking being that no German would ever imagine that the young men sharing his table could possibly be Allied airmen. If Mr Gachy spotted a German trying to engage the evaders in conversation, he'd tell him that he was wasting his time as they only spoke Basque.

So far so good. Mme De Greef always treated her evaders to a steak lunch on arrival to boost their morale before they set off for the mountains. At this point, it should be remembered that, unlike in France, people in the UK (and maybe elsewhere) were not accustomed to eating steak that was served rare. Apparently one day, an evader cut into his steak and, on seeing the blood that ran out from it, he pushed his plate away. There was a dog in the restaurant and before the evader could be stopped, he held out the steak to be gobbled up by the lucky dog. This was at a time when 80% of French food production was being sent to Germany.

This exchange immediately piqued the interest of a Wehrmacht officer sat nearby and he appeared to ‘Tante Go’ to be taking an excessive interest in her table. Sotto voce, she told her ‘children’ to finish their meal quickly – as in now – and they paid and left before the German officer had time to dwell on his suspicions.

The next phase saw the Comet guides, with their evaders, switching trains at Bordeaux station from the main line to a slower country line that took them to Dax (about 60km from Bayonne). Bicycles were pre-positioned at Dax station with the connivance of the SNCF workers and the evading group would ride from Dax to Bayonne.

What could possibly go wrong? Who would have thought that someone who could fly a B-17 would be unable to ride a bike? Strange but true. “Franco”, the Comet guide, took the embarrassed pilot around to a patch of waste ground near the station for an instant 10 minute course.

The party of six – 2 guides and four evaders – then set off and shortly afterwards they found themselves cycling along a long straight lane towards the distant blue Pyrenees. “Franco” saw 2 German soldiers on bikes in the distance coming towards them. The tyro cyclist found himself drawn irresistibly across the lane into the path of the Germans and they all collided in a tangled heap. Displaying his quick wits, “Franco” pulled out an almost empty bottle of cognac from a pocket and mimed that the evader was drunk – at which the Germans laughed it off and they went on their way.

And then there was the RAF evader who, on being handed his bike at Dax station, blithely rode off on the wrong side of the road.. A moment’s inattention was all it took to attract unwelcome attention from prying eyes.

Below: 'Tante Go' with 'Max' and two evaders; Bayonne station in the 40s; a German guard on the bridge over the Adour from the station to Bayonne; Bar Guernika (the former Chez Gachy), Bayonne; Dax station; René and Faustina Gachy.
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Last edited by PPRuNeUser0139; 19th Aug 2017 at 06:47.
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