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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 22nd Sep 2009, 15:19
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Window

I have just returned from the Republic of the East Riding, after spending a few very pleasant days there. Talk about the return of the ‘Prodigal Son’ Well that’s my excuse for not replying to Gordon P Davis, so a belated reply.

An excellent post Gordon, It seems we had similar experiences, but I am sure you will be able to fill in a lot of blanks. So. Please, let us have more posts. For instance I had forgotten about the dropping of Coke bottles, only remembered toilet rolls. Landing a Seafire on an aircraft carrier very interesting. Do you know anything about the Hurricane pilots who were catapulted of merchant ships during the Russian convoy voyages and how when they finally ditched survival time in the freezing water was only seconds ? What did we do whilst wasting our time at Harrogate etc ? More please. Whilst on the subject. Pulse1 I think we would all like to have some info from your friend the WOP/AG, Perhaps you would be good enough to ask him questions and publish here. And Trevor, perhaps you could carry on with the Peter Brett story which so far has been very interesting. Which reminds me Trevor, the attachment you sent me , the pic of 5 I.T.W, downloaded as a word document ( .word) and not as a pic. If you would like me to post it, then could you try again ?

I think Reg has covered the Windows subject a lot better than I could , but was mystified by the statement that the W.O.P dropped the Window. However I soon realised he was talking about the Halifax. In the Lancaster the Window Shute was to the right of the flight engineers right foot, and to a certain degree the silver paper was sucked out of the Shute. In fact this suction effect was present when a cockpit window was opened also, as I learnt when I was map reading and the map suddenly on it’s own accord ,shot out ot the open window. And GOOSEQUILL again in the Lancaster as the F.E sat in his own (primitive) seat he remained plugged in to his usual oxygen supply point. We did all have portable oxy bottles, which I have mentioned before, see my post re visit to the Elsan. Think they did clip to our chute harness , but as usual, not sure. Whilst visiting over the Pennines I visited John ,he of the Halifax rebuild, and he said the windows shute was half way down the fuselage on the Stbd side, this would account for it being the job of the WOP on a Halifax. Incidentally he said it was the last thing he fitted on the Elvington Halifax.
Corny wartime joke. Did you hear about the airman who heard his wife was having an affair. He obtained compassionate leave . Went home by helicopter.
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Old 22nd Sep 2009, 16:52
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Window, and chutes of various sorts...

Hi Cliff,

Aha! I think you have just solved a mystery, probably brought about by loose descriptions in the biographies etc. There was a honking great flare chute in the rear of the Lanc, or at least some of them (seen the pics) and I think that some authors have concluded this was also used for window. But your mention of the mini chute next to the FE is not the first time I had heard of this. So, unless there was some huge difference between the marks of Lanc, with some not having the FE chute, then I think that solves the issue.

Reg, I have just dug out a reference to the Lanc oxy system - apparently there was a point by the 'flare station' but from what you say, no-one ever wanted to be there!

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 23rd Sep 2009, 12:00
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Hi, Reg, nice to hear from you, and a question (or two): Many of the Heavy Bomber raids were assisted by Mosquitos dropping Window to give the impression of the Main Force stream heading to another target to distract fighters away from the intended target.

I always thought that the Mossie cockpit was a snug fit, so do you know how they managed to drop their bundles of Window at the required set intervals? I visualise the bundles as being a bit bulky so moving around without "irritating" the pilot must have been extremely difficult. Was it possible just to toss them out of the window (no pun intended) rather than feed them down a flare chute?

There must also have been occasions when following bombers trying to shake off fighters or flak flew through the window strips. Can you recall any such incidents, as I assume they wouldn't cause intakes to clog, just catch on any protusions. I'm just wondering if in that case the radar signal would be enhanced, giving night fighters a better signal to home in on.

I also see your old girlfriend Vera made it into the charts, pity she's not getting royalties as it's so long out of copyright!!

Look forward (as do we all) to hearing more of Sabena shortly, too
All the best, chin up lad!!
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Old 23rd Sep 2009, 12:16
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Life at Harogate

No, afraid I know nothing about the Hurricane pilots during Russian convoy voyages but when you mentioned survival time of a few seconds in the freezing water it reminded me of an incident when I doing my first deck landings. One of our group was Johnny Wright. Johnny was making a good approach but was still some hundred yards behind the carrier. Despite the Batman’s frantic signals to increase power and gain some height Johnny ignored the Batman and landed in the sea. It was reckoned that a Seafire would only stay afloat some six or seven seconds – Johnny was out in three seconds! After a medical and a Court of Enquiry, the Powers that Be decided Johnny (with a bit more practice) didn’t need a Batman and he was posted to Malta to help trainee Batmen learn the job.

Going back to those boring days in Harrogate I remember being posted to Brough, E. Yorkshire for another three weeks in Tiger Moths. Now Brough was where I did my first solo and a Flight Sergeant there had us all on parade and told us to remove our cap badges to see if we had polished the back of the badges. Most of them were a delicate shade of green! Arriving at Brough for the second time we were greeted by the same Flight Sergeant. That night I told everyone about the cap badges and we all assiduously polished the back of our badges. Sure enough the Flight Sergeant had us on parade the next morning and told us to remove our badges. He just couldn’t understand it when the back of ever badge glittered in the sun.

Another posting from Harrogate was to RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire. Three weeks sitting in a caravan near the start of the runway. RAF Melbourne was a bomber station flying Halifaxes and was one of a few airfields equipped with FIDO, a fog dispersal system. FIDO was a system of pipes along the side of the runway filled with petrol which when lit cleared the runway to a height of some three hundred feet. Once an aircraft had landed it was guided to a dispersal point by a tractor with a large sign on the back –FOLLOW ME. One day I was cycling around the airfield and there in a ditch was our tractor. All that could be seen was the sign – FOLLOW ME!

When full the FIDO system contained 500,000 gallons of petrol! Petrol was ordered on a form that asked for the required quantity of petrol to be entered in units of 1000 gallons. It must have been a new lad in the office – instead of asking for 500 units of petrol he entered the full amount 500,000 units (500,000000 gallons). I believe someone must have realised the error before a vast fleet of petrol tankers descended upon us!!!

Yes Harrogate was boring but some of the postings had amusing moments.

Dave
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Old 23rd Sep 2009, 13:28
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Still dropping windows

I can't help you there, Icare9. I only flew the Mosquito on low level daylight raids and couldn'' tell you whether a flare chute was included in the later versions. There must have been , however, as they played such a big part , later, in the PFF and had to drop all sorts of various pyrotechnical gadgets. I am sure that someone will know for certain how the window was dropped. One thing, discount opening windows in any aircraft....You just don't do it if you can help it.. We once jammed the sodden skirt of one of the Stewardesses who had spilt coffee all over it, into the slipstream of the D.C.3 and gravely handed her the remaining waistband a few minutes later. Another time we had the task of scattering the ashes of a fallen colleague from the chute of a Wimpy and were combing them out of our hair for a long time afterwards.
Apropos the position of the flare chute in the Halifax I learned from my "Bible", " Snaith Days" that the Flare Chute was displaced later in the Halifax 3's by a V shaped chute expressly designed for Window and placed around the starboard at the side of the W/Op. It was also , very quickly , found that it could be used as a quick relief chute for liquids until the W/Op's began to get "Blowbacks" of Window that had become soaked by the previous use and a deterrent was devised. (A sort of minor rabbit trap ?).
As to the effect of flying through Window , I never experienced it and I never heard of any incidents even of strips being found in or around engines but I am sure that it must have happened.
 
Old 24th Sep 2009, 11:25
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Later, as technology advanced in the fifties and sixties, window was carried in dispensers we called "Window Boxes" with each containing window that jammed a particular frequency band. We'd station a chap outside, equipped with a dustbin lid borrowed from the flight hut, to catch them before they burst open. I once dropped two packets of window on OC Eng Wing who, being typically nosy, was attracted by the noise and wanted to see what it was. He ended up completely covered in a mass of very finely-cut X-band window and would have made a fabulous Xmas decoration for the Officers' Mess.
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Old 24th Sep 2009, 12:02
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Some more Sabena

We soon found that dining at the canteen was no hardship. A great steak and chips was fourteen francs (Our daily allowance was 40B.Frs and there were about 140 B.Frs. to the £ at that time.) We quickly learned to dip the magnificent Belgian chips in mayonnaise instead of ketchup... As long as you kept a small piece of meat on your plate to show that you had bought a main course you could go back for as many chips as you liked . This practice, "Frites a volonte", existed in most of the many good cheap restaurants to be found in the Brussel's department stores such as Innovation, Galeries Anspach and Au Bon Marche. Half a dozen Oysters with a glass of wine, bread and butter would cost fifteen francs at any of those places. We were staying at the very comfortable Palace Hotel but could not afford to repeat our first meal experience there so were lucky to find a Cafe, just opposite, run by an Englishman, Ken Hancock,who had stayed on after the war and married a Belgian,Adele, who was now his partner in running what became our home from home. For 30 B.Frs. each evening, most of us would sit down to a giant meal of soup, steak, mushrooms and chips with all the rolls and best farm butter that we could eat. Later, when Dora and the family came to join me the, biggest treat for the children would be to go to Hancocks for a meal where they would be treated like Royalty and we would safely leave them there whilst we went shopping. They would play happily on the football machine and it was always the first choice for birthday treats for many years. When our fourth child, Susan, but always known as Feeka was born in 1956 we would leave her, quite contentedly in her cot on one of the benches under the care of Adele and Ken. Sadly, the cafe was pulled down to make way for a giant car park next to the "Bon Marche". Ken became the Chef at the very popular English tea rooms in the English shop W.H.Smiths. Once ,Dora and I were having tea there and I went to the very old fashioned toilet upstairs. It was an "Unisex" one with a small half size urinal on the wall and a closet to which I hied myself. When I came out, to my amazement there was a woman perched precariously on the urinal with her knickers around her ankles. I could only mutter "Bon Jour" and hurry out.
We had been joined by other British Pilots and were about seventeen on the course together with some Belgian trainees , mostly ex-Belgian Air Force. One of the British pilots had arrived at Melsbroek dressed in a pinstripe morning suit, bowler hat and tightly rolled umbrella. A porter said to him in English "Are these your bags Sir ? " and our pilot pointed his umbrella at him and said in pure Oxford tones "How did you know I was English ?"
More soon. My Finger is tired. Regle
 
Old 24th Sep 2009, 16:26
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A little bit more

I never realised that Window went on until the 50's and 60's, Blacksheep, or had it now become "Chaff". I also thought that the bundles opened in the slipstream so did not understand how you could catch them ?

On with Sabena; We soon made many friends and everyone spoke and was happy to speak English. Virtually every Belgian pilot who had escaped to England had become a Fighter pilot and the "Esprit du Corps" and comradeship was very much in evidence. Throughout my long career ...thirty years.. with Sabena, I, and all the other British pilots ,were treated exactly the same as the Belgian pilots. Promotion to bigger and better aircraft came on Seniority, irrespective of Nationality, and this was meny years before the European Union came into being. We were issued with Work permits and these, by Belgian Law, could not be repealed on any grounds except the obvious ones of grave misdemeanour etc. We were never asked to change our Nationality nor was language ever a problem. Every Belgian seemed to speak at least four languages and loved the opportunity to speak English, so that our efforts to speak French---Flemish was beyond most of us with one notable exception....went unheeded. Despite this our ground course was conducted entirely in French which led to some very lively sessions but our Belgian co-students would always come to the rescue if the Instructor struggled and it was surprising how much French that we had learned by the end of our surprisingly interesting and well presented six weeks course.
To celebrate the successful completion, by all of us, of our course the Chief Pilot for Europe, Peter Dils, a Fighter Pilot D.F.C. invited us to join him in a night out at the "Maison des Ailes", the Headqurters of the Belgian Airline Pilots Association. It began with a noisy, beery session around the piano where we sang all the old songs such as "Bless em all" etc. most of which were well known to the Belgians. "Craven A" was, surprisingly, not and was encored several times. We were very surprised to learn that, in Belgium anyway, the obvious "White Cliffs of Dover " was not regarded as being typically English and "My Bonnie Lies OVer The Ocean" was virtually regarded as the National Anthem and was sung at the least excuse. Even when having a quiet drink in a pub, if you were heard speaking English, immediately the strains of "bring back, bring back..." etc. would waft over the air. and free drinks would follow .
The "Maison des Ailes" was a stone's throw from the Night Club and Entertainment quarter around the Porte de Louise. We moved on to one of the smaller bars where we were having a quieter drink with Peter Dils and another Chief Pilot , Paul Leva, who with his English Wife, Pat, was to become amongst our greatest friends. Paul had been a Spitfire pilot and one of his achievements was to down a V1 (Hitler's robot flying bomb) by formating on it and then tipping it over with his wingtip as he had used all his ammunition. We were standing at the bar when the street door burst open and in rushed a short, well padded little man who put his fingers to his lips and dived around and hid under the bar. Immediately afterwards, two big Gendarmes came in, looked us all over carefully and then departed. The rotund figure emerged "Now that they've gone " he said "The drinks are on me ". This was our introduction to Freddy Moreau. He and Jeff, his brother, had escaped to join the RAF and had both married English girls. The two Brothers were now Sabena Captains. Evidently Freddy had been "spending a penny (or centime?)" on a corner of the Ave.Louise when the Gendarmes had seen him. We wondered what Freddy had done to deserve being chased for this was a common sight in Belgium in those days. Perhaps it was because the Ave. Louise was not the sort of place to do that sort of thing as it was, and is, the most distinguished street in Brussels.
Freddy was one of the characters of Sabena. Only a couple of years later, Freddy was driving up the Rue Neuve, which was one of the main shopping streets, and was stopped by a Gendarme who pointed out that he was driving the wrong way up a very narrow one way street. " I always do something stupid when I am pi...d " said Freddy. Even up to 1967 there was no such thing as a driving licence in Belgium. Anyone could buy a car of any horsepower and take it straight out of the showroom. This, coupled with the absolute "Priorite de droit " which gave traffic on the right absolute priority irrespective of the importance of the road on which you were driving, led to the mayhem that ruled the roads at that time. To make it worse, the ubiquitous Tram had absolute priority over all other vehicles. Descending the Rue da la Loi which had double tramlines in the middle and was the busiest road in the Capital, was like the Chariot race in "Ben Hur where there was no quarter asked or given and came down to survival of the fittest.
Freddy was hauled into Court and , as there was no licence, was forbidden to "exercise the right to control petrol driven machines for six months" This embraced motor cars, even lawn mowers and, alas, aeroplanes. Sabena gave him six months leave so he decided to visit his Wife's parents in England. His Father in Law was doing the "Pools" one day. "Come on, Freddy, he said. "Give me eight numbers " Freddy did and they were all draws (They did'nt have to be Score Draws in those days) and he won a huge amount of money. One of the first things that he did was to seek out the Gendarme that had arrested him and take him for a night out that nearly got them both in prison.

I had been fortunate in finding a very nice little unfurnished house to rent in a district called Evere, quite near to the aerodrome. It was small but had three bedrooms and was near to schools, shops and the trams into town. Buying a car was a long way off as we had to furnish the house from top to bottom. The Westminster Bank had long been established in Brussels and I made an appointment to see the Manager, Mr. Lowe. He turned out to be a Fellow Lancastrian of the old breed of Bank managers. When I told him that I needed a loan of Two Hundred Pounds to furnish the house , he took me to a nearby Bar called the "Bodega" and there, over a few beers, we discussed everything except the loan. After about half an hour one of the bank employees came in and handed him an envelope which Mr. Lowe gave me to me and said "Theers your money, Lad and Good Luck." I always had a good rapport with the Bank. When Mr. Lowe retired he was replaced with a Mr. Oxley . Many, many times I would receive statements sent to me erroneously by the Bank which were those of other customers sometimes showing overdrafts of huge amounts. I would ring Mr. Oxley and say "Your people have made a b...'s of it again and that would be good enough for a slap up lunch where I would discreetly return the statements.


All this talk of drinking .... I am going for a cup of tea. I hope that you are enjoying my recalling of those wonderful nostalgic days as much as I enjoy relating them Regle.
 
Old 24th Sep 2009, 16:40
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Fascinating stuff, Regle...keep up the good work!! I, too, have fond memories of "real" bank managers...a certain Mr. Humby who, during a little local financial difficulty, told me "We certainly won't force you to sell your aeroplane"...for which we were VERY grateful!! These days it's all computers and rules and nothing about judgement at all.
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Old 25th Sep 2009, 18:30
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Ceylon

Without doubt the Spitfire and its sea borne counterpart the Seafire were great aircraft but they had their faults. Forward visibility was poor, the wheelbase was very narrow, they were not suitable for night flying and they were unhappy when not air borne. Great care had to be taken when taxiing to the take off point. Cooling was non-existent on the ground and after a couple of minutes taxiing the engine coolant boiled and the flight had to be aborted. Although the Seafire was strengthened it wasn’t really up to the thumps of a heavy deck landing. Naturally, the taxiing problem didn’t apply on a carrier but for some time our squadron was stationed ashore in Ceylon (as it was then) and the heat of Ceylon made things difficult: -

With thanks to Dave McIntosh

John Robertson of North Bend, B.C (British Columbia), recounts that in 1944 one jungle airstrip in Ceylon was so hot that naval aircraft overheated as they taxied to the runway for takeoff. So they were towed to the takeoff point.
Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten arrived one day for a squadron inspection
" What is your operational strength?" he asked.
"Twelve Seafires and one elephant, sir" said the C.O.
This was a new one to Mountbatten.
"How fast does an elephant go?" he asked
"About 3 knots, sir" said the C.O. and pointed to the runway. Sarah was just ambling up to the takeoff point with a Seafire on tow.
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Old 26th Sep 2009, 20:01
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Excellent!

Guys please keep posting, your posts are great fun and most informative.

Dan
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Old 27th Sep 2009, 11:21
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Look forward (as do we all) to hearing more of Sabena shortly
HEAR, HEAR OR SHOULD i SAY "AMEN TO THAT" ?
.
REGLE I am sure we are all enjoying th Sabena story so please keep it going, and more from Gordon please. Just wondering, does any one belong to the Aircew Association , if any one does , or has a friend, how about recruiting some other ‘trades’ Navs, Wops Gunners etc ? I ,certainly, would be pleased to hear of their experiences, and respectfully suggest that if they are not computer nerds, then you could do the posting for them.

Thanks for the comments DAN (winter roll) this thread would not have carried on for so long, if it wasn’t for the contributions like yours.

With regards to the Window subject, we also referred to it as Chaf, and remember it measured about 12” x2.5” as previously mentioned. Possibly 3” thick and held together by a brown paper band. Not sure but would imagine the Nav stored it under his chart table, and as he sat just behind me, would pass each bundle to me. I would then tear of the wrapping and drop the whole bundle into the Window chute. I never heard of the strips clogging up air intakes in following aircraft.

My question to Gordon about catapult/Hurricanes on the Russian convoys was prompted by his reference to ship borne aircraft. Seemed to remember some reports about the pilots having to ditch in the sea. Evidently they were dead when picked up from the freezing water. To overcome this problem I think it was decided to launch the rescue boat before the aircraft ditched, but not sure if this was successful .

Back to Hemswell.
I think we were awaiting posting to the Far East, when it was announced that we would be would be flying to Italy on Operation Python Leave . This consisted of flying to Pomigliano near Naples, a day of R & R then return to Glatton near Peterboro with twenty soldiers, who would be on leave for one week, after which we would take off from Hemswell, land at Glatton, collect the twenty soldiers , and return them to Pomigliano.
No parachutes would be carried or worn to give the soldiers confidence?
After this we would have a week off then repeat the operation . The day arrived with every one in high spirits at the thought of sight seeing, Naples, Ruins of Pompeii . Salerno, and Sorrento.. The whole squadron took off heading for TouloN, then set course, passing over Corsica for Naples. We all landed , with aircraft from other squadrons, and were then transported in three tonners to the Hotel Belle Vista at Torre Anunziata. . .Belle Vista , yes, but Hotel ? No internal toilets, walls cracked, and plaster missing, odd windows boarded up, but we didn’t care it was very sunny, clear skies, a good view of Vesuvius, the Bay of Naples, swimming in the Med, and plenty of places to be explored. The Italians explained the toilets didn’t work because we had destroyed all the sewers. Some of the less responsible airmen, however were disappointed ( the black marketeers ) as the only items available were ,wine, cameo broaches, grapes, peaches and oranges. On every street corner were youngsters, calling ‘hey Johnny any pounds’ , but it was decided to use the ‘pounds to purchase the cameos, wine, and fruit, as these were in very short supply or none existent in the U.K. The purchases were hidden in the aircraft, hoping the customs officers wouldn’t find them on arrival at Glatton. However, on arrival at Glatton it was pandemonium , with a heavy bomber landing, or taking off every minute., A frantic customs officer whizzing along on a bike shouting up to an open cockpit window “anything to declare” making a note in a book, then pedalling furiously to the next aircraft before it got away That evening back at Hemswell , in the mess the sole topic of conversation was the setting up an import export business.

Gothard Fox (IQ FOX) GOTHARD ***** was the call sign for Hemswell. 150 Sqd, i.e Gothard Fox Funnels.
A picture of our Lancaster with crew and soldiers, note it is parked on hard sun baked soil, a thing never seen in the U.K as they would immediately ‘bog down’,

I have just noticed on Face book that Puala K. Denson , who wrote the book ‘The R.A.F in Oklahoma’ is at the moment visiting Lincoln. Paula who is a ‘Friend of 6 B.F.T.S ‘ is also a reader of PPRuNe. Welcome to England Paula, and I hope you have a pleasant visit.
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Paula K. Denson Had a great day in Lincoln, England. The walk was invigorating, the castle interesting, and one of the first places where there was Christianity in England! Lots of interesting Roman ruins here too!
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Old 28th Sep 2009, 15:17
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What is a Forum ?

Q. What is a Forum ? Ans. Quote ...Oxford Dictionary...Forum. A place of or meeting for discussion.....etc. Q. What is Discussion ? A. A Conversation on different subjects. and what is needed for any Conversation ? More than two people !!!


Forgive me for blowing my top !! I just wanted to address myself to those of you who are ...may I say it ? Intelligent, reasonable, interested and extremely knowledgeable people of all ages and interests who would make very welcome contributions to this great Forum and either say, "Great, keep it up " but probably more often , say to themselves "Yes, that takes me back to.." and does absolutely Sweet Fanny Adams about it. I stress that I am not addressing this to the numerous splendid originators and commentators on such good subjects and discoveries that have been aired here....Just a polite thought to the hundreds of you who have always wanted to put your thoughts and experiences to others but have been too timid or self deprecating or too uncertain of your own ability (as I was) or just too darn lazy ?
There are people recently, such as GordonPDavis who have started to make outstanding and such interesting contributions and they are to be highly commended and encouraged by showing your interest and that can only be done by telling them and asking questions or offering comments.
There, I've got it off my chest so like Delia Smith at Carrow Rd. after a rather liquid consuming half-time said over T.V. "Let's be 'aving yer!" Regle

Last edited by regle; 28th Sep 2009 at 15:20. Reason: repetition
 
Old 28th Sep 2009, 15:24
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regle check your PM's

Have you ever heard of German fighters shooting at bombers wings and giving time for the crew to parachute out before finishing the aircraft off as has been suggested to me by a german researcher talking to some nightfighter pilots from WW11?
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Old 28th Sep 2009, 16:52
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that have been aired here....Just a polite thought to the hundreds of you who have always wanted to put your thoughts and experiences to others but have been too timid or self deprecating or too uncertain of your own ability (as I was) or just too darn lazy ?
Well said REG, I couldn't have put it so eloquently, I was initially very uncertain, only having had a technical education, and certainly not known for my journalistic ability However I was encouraged by people who had fathers , uncles etc, who had been in aircrew during the War, and wanted to know about the minutiae, not to mention the encouraging P.Ms I received.
Also , as I have given all my memorabilia to my grandson (thirteen), and noting the high price on Ebay of memorabilia when supported by information on the original owner, I decided a print out, of my contribution, would enhance the value of the memorabilia. If he keeps it for a few more years it should appreciate in value.

Finally I thought, I don't care any more, publish and be damned .

So as Reg and Delia said " Lets be avin yer"
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Old 28th Sep 2009, 18:45
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Chivalry

I ,personally, only encountered the chivalry of the German Pilot who formated below my port wingtip (carefully ahead putting the wing between himself and the midupper gunner) when completing my bombing run over a blazing German city and, shrugging his shoulders, pointed to his guns and shook his head, stuck his thumb up and half rolled and dived away. ( I have related this in more detail in a previous post). I haven't heard of the act that you described but the chivalry between the respective Air forces during the African Campaign was legendary as was that between the Eighth Army and the Afrika Corps.

Us Liverpudlians have to stick together, Cliff. I have also furnished my family with my memoirs but never realised that it might even help them financially. I suppose,like most of us, we just don't want to be forgotten so what better way than to dive in here and share those experiences with all of us and we can join in. The water's luvly and warm, Regle
 
Old 28th Sep 2009, 20:11
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..... we just don't want to be forgotten - Regle

And thankfully, there's absolutely no chance of that that thanks to your, Cliff's, and now GordonPDavis's, marvellous contributions - living history.

My very best wishes to you all, Gentlemen - may you and those whom we hope will respond to your exhortations keep them coming for a very long time to come.

Jack
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 07:38
  #1118 (permalink)  
 
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Standing ovation, Reg: Absolutely spot on.
This must be one of the most read threads currently on the Forum.
I come from a generation whose parents had obviously lived through and served in the Second World War. Would they talk about it? No, only on the very rare occasions when an old mate came by, and a few beers had flowed. Even then it was mostly self deprecating stuff, too much to drink, fell asleep in the sun, badly sunburnt when woke up, learning to drive in the desert and hitting the only tree.

Now they are gone and trying to build a picture of them, these memories aren't sufficient.

What Cliff and Reg provide is the full colour version of what went on in wartime, how people tried to cope and what they had to endure. That they came through is a testament to their ability to take the knocks of life intensified a hundredfold, and makes todays "Nanny State" appear totally lacking in understanding that every day you live actually gets you one day closer to death, whatever you do, so you may as well make the most of it.

So, please, as Reg says, if you know of anyone who served and has a good recollection of their time, PLEASE put it on paper. I could pass Reg or Cliff in the street and never know what they did, but having shared some of their experiences I can only admire the RAF for its wonderful training that produced such excellent people. It makes me more determined to ensure that those that didn't make it should be always remembered, there but for Fate, would be Cliff or Reg.

I'm sure that post war training was just as rigorous, but also there was the "Work hard, play hard" aspect that sadly seems to be in decline now. People can't be seen to be having fun, must be some misery guts just wanting to make one criticism and everybody stops what was perfectly harmless high spirits.

I respect and admire our Armed Forces and the job they do with always the piece of kit that was vitally needed for the last "problem" but is b*ggerall use now. It's the self serving politicians that turn my stomach.

So, let's have the clean air of wonderful memories wafting through this thread. Please, do try. Cliff and Reg may have set the standard high, but ALL are welcome.

I'd be very interested in what training a gunner had to go through and how they managed on the bombing missions in all kinds of weather. It wasn't just the pilot and Flight Engineer, on board, so where the h*ll are the rest of the crew??? Come on lads, share the load and let us know what life was like for you..
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 08:57
  #1119 (permalink)  
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Regle

I have just noticed that a large group of Mosquito Pilots and Navigators are going to be at the De Havilland Centre 4th October. If you go to Mosquito Aircraft Museum - de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre you will see who is attending. Your name is missing!!! " Let's be 'aving yer"
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Old 29th Sep 2009, 18:15
  #1120 (permalink)  
 
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I only flew the Mosquito on low level daylight raids
Only? ONLY??

Such modesty is rare in this day and age, regrettably.
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