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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 18th Sep 2017, 17:57
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Danny42C
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Is it really the end for this, once the best and most popular of all Threads on the best of all Forums on PPRuNe ? Cliff Leach (RIP) started it nine years ago, now it is in the Doldrums of Page 2 of "Military Aviation" (where once it usually topped the Bill on Page 1), and attracted just 32 'hits' in the last 24 hours (where once it was good for thousands).

Nothing is forever, I suppose. Pity. Thanks to our Moderators for their endless patience with our Thread excursions !

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Old 18th Sep 2017, 18:51
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Hmm, Alan Deere, Assistant Commandant at The Towers when I was a cadet. Shook me rigid when he walked out of the Junior Cadets' Mess and addressed me by name, in his first week in post
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Old 19th Sep 2017, 08:22
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Danny:-
Is it really the end for this, once the best and most popular of all Threads on the best of all Forums on PPRuNe ?
Danny, I share your concern. The secret of this thread has been that of a running narrative, principally first hand from you and your fellow WWII pilots, and latterly second hand by the likes of sidevalve. He tried to revitalise the thread by telling the story of the Comet Line. It seemed to be an appropriate theme, WWII aviation related (the target customers were escaping Allied aircrew), telling of outstanding duty and courage by civilians living under Nazi occupation. Little interest was shown though and he understandably stopped posting. In the absence of any further personal WWII testimony I sadly agree with you that the end is in sight.

This thread constitutes an important historical document, quite apart from the very real pleasure it has given over the years, and the many BTW's that delighted us all. Much of that delight and pleasure has stemmed from you, Danny. Thank you for informing and entertaining us so well. This may not be the end, etc, but I suspect we have seen the best of the thread now.
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Old 19th Sep 2017, 09:13
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I hope we can keep this wonderful thread going!

I picked up a good read last week in Hay Cinema Bookshop - 'From Dogfights to Diplomacy' by Donald MacDonell.

He went to Cranwell in the early 30s, did a loan spell with the Fleet Air Arm amongst other postings and was then posted to Kenley as OC 64 Squadron just in time for the Battle of Britain. I've just reached the point where he was shot down over the English Channel by the Luftwaffe ace, Molders, in 1941 and 'rescued' by the Germans.

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Old 19th Sep 2017, 13:15
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Al Deere was Commandant of RAF Halton when I was there. He used to ride about on a motor bike and sidecar with his wife in the sidecar. Here he is at the Band Competion, with me picking up the prize for the Best Corps of Pipers (3A Wing).

Best Corps of Pipers Summer 65 3A Wing.jpg
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Old 19th Sep 2017, 18:10
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Al Deere - a memory

Quite aside from his illustrious wartime career, Al Deere was a true gentleman in the real sense of the word easy to get on with, no 'side' whatever and a great sense of humour; in late 1959 he hitched a ride to his home country on my Britannia, when we supported 617 Squadron's three Vulcans on their eventful flight to New Zealand and onwards.

For some reason he incurred the displeasure of the AVM commanding whatever group to which the Vulcans belonged, who was determined that Al should not be with us; however, by dint of appearing on the ramp at the last possible moment, hiding behind whatever cover was available until the AOC's Comet departed, he managed to evade detection and got home safely. As this VSO was not particularly well liked, we were only too glad to assist Al in any way we could.

We eventually returned to UK with only one Vulcan as company, but that is another story!
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 08:40
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but that is another story!
HarryM you can't leave it at that!!!!! Please tell us more or you'll be condemned to do the washing up till TourEx!!
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Old 21st Sep 2017, 17:18
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Sorry FantonZorbin that's all I can provide on Al Deere, I could give a fuller account of that NZ trip although it's somewhat OT for this thread.

However having just arrived on holiday in Italy with only a tablet, you might have to be patient as all my memoirs are on my home computer.

All the best- harrym
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Old 22nd Sep 2017, 10:11
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In the Italian Campaign 208 Squadron was tasked with Tac/R which involved (1) low level oblique photography to enable the US/British armies to see the picture on the ground, and (2) locating and reporting targets of opportunity. and (3) directing the 'big guns' to targets up to a distance of 20 miles. (my late father never talked in detail about operations in WWII -- but he did once say that he could see the shells from the big guns as they passed under his MK IX Spitfire).

Of course the Germans were not stupid and as soon as they saw the Spitfires flying low overhead they targeted them with 88mm flak.

This is the Telegraph obituary, dated 28 Jan 2016, of one of 208 squadron's pilots and at the time, one of the two flight commanders, and who was shot down by flak over Monte Cassino in May 1944. it includes how he fought with the partisans before eventually reaching Allied lines. it reads like 'boys own stuff'.

Flight Lieutenant Eric Garland - obituary - Telegraph

Last edited by roving; 22nd Sep 2017 at 10:17. Reason: typo
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Old 22nd Sep 2017, 14:09
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Spurred by the appeal from the incomparable and irrepressible Danny, alas I must join Chugalug in agreeing that we have seen the best of this wonderful thread as one by one our gallant contributors have made their final climbs. On the other hand I enjoy the more recent third-party accounts which show that there's still fascinating material out there, so please keep it coming. Enjoy your sojourn in Italy, Harrym, and please can you tell us more when you return? Godetevi la vostra vacanza in Italia!
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Old 22nd Sep 2017, 14:51
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Thanks Geriaviator, I will endeavour to follow up on that NZ story sometime next month.

Cheers - harrym

PS Yor Italian is better than mine!

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Old 22nd Sep 2017, 17:35
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Converting to Spitfires and developing skills in oblique photography occupied the Squadron for some months in Syria before flying over to Italy.

My late father, fresh from completing the No. 1 BFTS Course in Texas and the No. 2 Flying Instructors Course in Montrose, was posted to the Squadron to help with both the conversion and the photography.

The Army was initially sceptical as to whether the Squadron would be able to provide what it required, namely an accurate picture of the Germans on the ground and to reduce the risk of Italians being accidentally targeted.

Photographs of this quality (from my late father's albums, and I have uploaded a blow-up of just one part of it) persuaded the Army that the Squadron could deliver. But flying low and straight involved risk from the German defensive positions and a number of the pilots were shot down in the same way that Garland was, but not always with such a happy outcome.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 07:47
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Continuing the story of 208 Squadron in Italy this from the obituary of ken Lambden on the Squadron's association website ...

A veteran of the Italian campaign in 1944, Flight Lieutenant Ken Lambden also served in Palestine after the war during the Jewish insurgency. Ken, of Bardon Hill, was born on December 31, 1923 at Micheldever Station near Andover in Hampshire where his father, Frederick, was an accounts clerk for a local farmer. Ken grew up with two elder and two younger sisters and a love of flying. He went to local schools and then won scholarships to Huish Grammar School in Taunton and then Brasenose College, Oxford where he joined the University Air Squadron. While there he enjoyed flying Tiger Moth biplanes out of Abingdon airfield but he found the privileged world of Oxford University a real eye-opener. He said one of the hardest aspects of it was coming to terms with the Oxford tradition of having a manservant, known as a 'scout'.

From Oxford he continued his training on American Harvard fighter planes in South Africa in 1943 at an airfield near Johannesburg and in 1944 flew Hurricanes and had his first solo flight in a Spitfire at Petah Tikva in what is now Israel. At 6ft 2ins, he found squeezing into the Spitfire cockpit a challenge and it was compounded by having to try to balance maps on his knees while flying. In October, 1944 he joined 208 squadron (known as the 'flying shuftis' because of their role in carrying out photo reconnaissance flights) in Florence as the Allies tried to overcome stubborn German resistance. His memories of that time were of the rain, mud and the fog of the Po valley and the empty chairs in the mess as the war took its toll among the squadron's pilots. The squadron's role was gathering photographic intelligence, so he had to fly straight and low while enemy ground troops took pot shots. The role also involved disrupting enemy supply lines, which meant strafing trains and road convoys. At the end of hostilities Ken was posted to Palestine where the British were policing Palestine during the emergence of Israel. Having survived the war, he had his closest brush with death there. He was in a warehouse where he was working with a group of WAAFs (Women's Auxiliary Air Force). The warehouse was besieged by an angry mob out for blood and Ken says he was saved by the WAAFs who used hockey sticks to beat off men trying to climb through the windows - until help finally arrived.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 13:28
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roving (#11254),

Wonderful stuff ! Just what this old Thread needs to revitalise it ! Keep it coming !

The details (like the WAAF - when did they turn into WRAF, btw ?) are the lifeblood of this Thread. As Kipling said: "The Female of the Species is More Deadly than the Male" (what does our Jolihokistix think of it ?)

A suggestion: Suppose we altered the title to just "Gaining an R.A.F. Pilot's Brevet", might that bring in some of the next two generations of "Drivers, Airframe" ? (of course include the WSOps [what exactly are they, and what do they do, and how did we win the war without them ?] and all who have worn the Light Blue, as before, pace the Moderators, of course ?)

EDIT: Not excluding all of the True Blue, and Khaki, of Good Will !

Throw it open !

Danny42C.

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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 17:29
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Danny 42C

Yes, perhaps Chugalug has tales to tell of flying the Hastings during Confrontation, and there must be other posters who served in Malala during the Emergency - to name but two of the 'hotspots' in which the three services saw action since WW2.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 21:14
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Brian 48nav (#11256),

Yes, he has - and has Posted about it long ago on this Thread. Chugalug, come in !

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Old 24th Sep 2017, 06:49
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The video clip in this link may be of interest to those who trained at BFTS in the USA.



https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texa...sh-pilots-wwii
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Old 24th Sep 2017, 19:27
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roving (#11258),

Thanks for the clip ! Ran it - Oh, to hear that glorious "Pratt & Whitney" Sound again ! All the P&W engines in the Wasp family had this sonorous tone ("Sonor Harvardorum et U/Torum", as one contributor to "TeeEmm" (?) put it long ago, for the benefit of classicists.

They all had this sonorous undertone, but the AT6A/Harvard had the aboriginal 600 hp "Wasp" - well, you can hear it on the clip. It was reckoned that the two-blade prop tips were supersonic. In contrast, the Wright "Cyclones", their arch-rivals, sounded like nut and bolts being shaken up in a barrel (I flew a few hundred hours behind a Twin Cyclone 1600 hp, and it hammered my ears out. Good engine, though.

The BFTS boys had it good. All the six BFTS were near towns (often on the town airfield) and they stayed the whole six months in one place, so were able to establish friendly relations with the local Southern Belles (all with their own convertibles, and keen to suss-out what had breezed into town), whereas we "Arnold" chaps went to three different places often hundreds of miles apart at two-month intervals, and all were Army fields with Army discipline, out in the sticks, with nowhere to go and no transport to get us there. It Wasn't Fair !

All credit to the good folk of Terrell for keeping the memory alive in their Museum, my thanks to them and to Rudy Bowling from Danny42C (ex-Arnold Scheme).
 
Old 25th Sep 2017, 00:17
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Danny

They all had this sonorous undertone, but the AT6A/Harvard had the aboriginal 600 hp "Wasp" - well, you can hear it on the clip. It was reckoned that the two-blade prop tips were supersonic.
As someone who something to do with Harvards at 5 FTS (RAF Thornhill, S. Rhodesia) in the early 1950's ISTR that this turned out to be an urban myth. The diameter of the prop (8ft?) x the 2,600 rpm round the circumference wouldn't have led to the prop tips travelling faster than sound (760 mph). However, mathematics have improved since them and I'm willing to be corrected!

...and fond memories of 21 Wasps all going at once as here!

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Old 25th Sep 2017, 00:53
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Danny:-
Chugalug, come in !
Danny, I'm never far from this wonderful thread, but I fear that I have exhausted the meagre contents of my threadbare bag of anecdotes and blurred pics that now lie curling at the corners in its archived depths. In any case I have always felt that its true CofG lies, as per the OP, in those desperate and dangerous years 1939-45. So I join with you in encouraging roving to tell us everything he can of those years and in particular of the very hazardous job of low level photo recce. How ironic though that having survived his war Flt Lt Ken Lambden came close to submitting to a baying mob that was only held at bay by hockey stick armed WAAFs!

As to the thread title, anyone who browses this thread will have quickly realised that it has wandered far from its very specific title, which clearly shows that it is by no means restricted by it thanks to our ever indulgent and kindly mods. My two-penneth is that it should be aviation related and principally centred on WWII. One of my great regrets is that there was a chance of German WWII veteran pilots posting here that came to nothing. They were as brave and skilled as any. I stumbled recently on an interview with Hanna Reitsch. She may have been a Nazi and admired Hitler, but what an incredibly skilled and experienced Test Pilot:-

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