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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 9th Oct 2017, 22:37
  #11341 (permalink)  

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Excuse my ignorance or naivety. Re the Comet line, I understand that these brave souls got down to Gibraltar courageously assisted by the French resistance and Spanish sympathisers. But the flight back to England over the Bay of Biscay with occupied France on the starboard side must have been a pretty dangerous flight. Were many of these shot down? What aircraft was the preferred choice?
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 06:54
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The default method of moving personnel around the world in WWII was by ship, usually in convoy. That would certainly have been the case here. Gibraltar was a major transit point for Mediterranean bound convoys to/from the UK, and those who got there via the Comet Line wouldn't have had long to wait for a voyage home. Of course, such a voyage was not without danger, but the routeing would have been out to the west, beyond the range of the shorter range Luftwaffe aircraft at least, but Condors, U-boats, surface raiders, etc all posed potential hazard. So did living in the UK of course. It was war, six long years of it...
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 07:37
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Originally Posted by lasernigel
Excuse my ignorance or naivety. Re the Comet line, I understand that these brave souls got down to Gibraltar courageously assisted by the French resistance and Spanish sympathisers. But the flight back to England over the Bay of Biscay with occupied France on the starboard side must have been a pretty dangerous flight. Were many of these shot down? What aircraft was the preferred choice?
Nothing to excuse LN - the evaders were driven down to the Embassy at Madrid first (for initial debriefing, clothing, money) in a diplomatic car (reportedly a large Merc!) before onward travel to Gib (where the evaders were stuffed in the boot as they crossed the frontier). Not sure where telegrams home were sent from.

There weren't many sympathisers on the Spanish side - but that's probably because many weren't needed. Paco Iriarte was one notable - he and his Basque family at Sarobe Farm (at Ergoien, near Oiartzun) were one of the very few (<5) active Comet sympathisers. Paco Jr (he was 7 years old at the time) welcomes us each time we arrive there with the same nourishment as was provided to the wartime evaders - soup, tortillas, spicy sausage and rioja..

For the trip to the UK, air travel was frequently used via anything that was available that had the legs - Catalinas, Sunderlands, Hudson, DC-3s were all used. I'm not aware of any shoot-downs involving Comet evaders. Some evaders returned by surface ship - George Duffee, for example, returned by merchant ship from Seville (I'd not known before that it was a port)
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 08:02
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sidevalve greatly enjoying your narrative.
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 12:23
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I think air travel between UK and Gibraltar continued throughout WWII - would be mostly by DC-3/Dakota. There were casualties, Leslie Howard ("Ashley Wilkes" in "Gone with the Wind" - the best film ever IMHO) got shot down in transit in 1943.

Glen Miller was lost in the Channel, but that may have been bad weather.
 
Old 10th Oct 2017, 14:24
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Thought they had now established that Glenn Miller's Norseman was "shot down" by a bomb jettisoned from above
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 16:39
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Wander00 - I agree that the jettison account is the accepted wisdom on that poor little Norseman carrying the great Major Miller to Paris.

Danny - could not agree with you more about the film "Gone with the Wind".

Pub Quiz time now: What was the planned title for the book before MM settled on using "Gone with the Wind"?
If you have a copy of the book on your shelf, here's a clue - look at the last line of the story.
NB I cannot afford a prize for the provider of the correct answer. (Terms & Conditions apply).

Ian BB

PS. Mr Wander00, I now see that some bright spark says that the time of the Lancs. jettison does not match the time of the Norseman in that area of the channel - he says icing is the main suspect. Hey Ho! unless the wreckage is ever identified I guess we will never know.

Last edited by Ian Burgess-Barber; 10th Oct 2017 at 16:52. Reason: New info. on the interweb!
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 17:30
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Pub Quiz time now: What was the planned title for the book before MM settled on using "Gone with the Wind"?
If you have a copy of the book on your shelf, here's a clue - look at the last line of the story.
NB I cannot afford a prize for the provider of the correct answer. (Terms & Conditions apply).
"Tomorrow is another day."

More stories from you all is my prize please.

Still trying to ask relatives if anyone knows where my Uncle Fred's logbook is. It will cover his training in Canada and Hurricane 11C training in SA. His entries in Burma will be short as I was told it was only his 3rd mission when he was shot down. I will persevere.
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 18:43
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lasernigel - has the right answer! "Tomorrow is another day". (Thinks?....nigels are usually ex-BA)

In a noble (old school BA way)? he accepts the Terms & Conditions and only asks for more war stories.

Gentlemen please rummage in your log books for more memories &, as the song says, "enjoy yourselves, enjoy yourselves, (it's later than you think)!

Ian BB
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Old 10th Oct 2017, 21:25
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(Thinks?....nigels are usually ex-BA)
Not this one unfortunately. Although Uncle mentioned before was a pilot and my Mum's cousin was also and retired as an Air Commodore, Nigel got glasses at 12 putting his dreams as a pilot to rest. Twas a Sgt in REME for 13 years and a RQB1 (S/Sgt) in SOLF.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 09:26
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I wonder if I may post a question relating to this wonderful thread, namely how those in service in WWII acquired their flying wings and subsequent war service.

I have in my possession a piece of paper, sadly somewhat crinkled, which is described as a 'Summary of Flying and Assessment" with the Squadron (in this instance 208). It is undated, by I can work out from the name of the C.O. of the Squadron approximate date when it was written.

It contains all sorts of details for example the number of hours flown and the type of sorties flown, then there follows an assessment.

Now for the questions:

1. Was this kind of document common place in the Royal Air Force during and immediately post WWII?

2. What was the purpose of the document?

3. It seems to have been prepared as my father's tour was coming to an end, because it contains a recommendation for his next posting.

4. Since this is not a photocopy, but the original document, was its purpose to simply provide the named officer with a reference/record? Presumably as I hold the original it was not forwarded to anyone concerned with postings.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 09:46
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roving (#11352),

Never heard of such a thing. Might've been a "one-off" at the station concerned. Did it have any RAF Form Number at the bottom (eg "F.414A", which they stick in your logbook) ?

All I got was a pair of USAAF silver wings stuck on my scruffy flying overalls (200 hours wear) by a Colonel Julius B. Haddon at Craig Field, Selma, ALA. No documentation AFAIK

Anybody ?

Danny.
 
Old 11th Oct 2017, 09:58
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Danny this was written after some two years operational flying. I will post a copy of it.

It is pointless blocking out his name because of my past posting history.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 10:40
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roving,

Clearly a "home produced" document, carbon copy banged off on a typewriter in Flg. Wing Office.

"Exceptional" (Congrats !) .... "Should make good Flight Commander!" ...... Lucky him ! - most "Above Average" pilots were/are "creamed off" for a tour as QFIs.

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Old 11th Oct 2017, 11:34
  #11355 (permalink)  
 
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"Should make good Flight Commander" when already OC "B" Flight??


Nice Assessment, though. I'm sure he was pleased to receive that.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 16:04
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Originally Posted by MPN11
"Should make good Flight Commander" when already OC "B" Flight??


Nice Assessment, though. I'm sure he was pleased to receive that.
This why I said it was being written as his tour was finishing. As I posted here some time ago, what followed was a staff course, promotion and then a promotion tour to Iraq as P1. He then demobbed,

So far as the pilot assessment aspect, it originated at the 1 BFTS school. ~It never helped. He was destined to be an instructor for the rest of the war, until he kicked off about it. It was the C.O, at 1 BFTSm who happened to fly into Montrose, that organised his escape to 208 Squadron - The pretext being that the Sqn needed a QFI to help with the conversion from Hurricanes to Mk5 Spits and then to Mk IX Spits.

When he rejoined in 1951 -- after 4 years flying with 613 AAF Squadron, he was current on Vampires

Was he posted to a fighter squadron?

No of course not. He was posted as the CFI at Woodvale teaching on Chipmunks.

He only escaped from that because 267 Squadron, based in KL. needed a QFI able to teach on single and twin engine a/c. He then took over as flight commander.

As an outsider I think the system of postings in the Service leaves a lot to be desired.

Last edited by roving; 11th Oct 2017 at 16:12. Reason: spelling
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 16:13
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Postings have always been a bone of contention, although in my case (65-94) they made a very sensible career ladder, for which I was grateful. I enjoyed 'round peg, round hole' for most of my time.

I suspect the sheer numbers of people to be juggled post-War, and the vast spectrum of the RAF back then, made things considerably more difficult for the Posters.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 16:32
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Originally Posted by MPN11
Postings have always been a bone of contention, although in my case (65-94) they made a very sensible career ladder, for which I was grateful. I enjoyed 'round peg, round hole' for most of my time.
.
As you may know my father was at Shawbury with Marshalls for twenty years -- much of which as Chief Pilot.

When the inspections came around the first topic of conversation would be retention.

My father's advice was abolish the supplementary list, allow pilots to continue to fly beyond age 38 subject to medical fitness, do not post just for the sake of rotation.

It seems his views eventually became 'current'.

There is amusing twist to my father's great age at Marshalls.

The Flt Lt posted to Shawbury to help with the conversion from mark 3 to mark 4 Jet Provosts in the early 1970's, was Bob Garlick. He was at school with me, albeit a couple of years older
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 16:52
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Log Book Assessment Summaries

Roving, in answer to your #11352 what you have is a copy of RAF form no. 414 (A), for insertion in log books and measuring 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches. It is headed SUMMARY of FLYING and ASSESSMENTS FOR YEAR COMMENCING........... , followed by two sections for completion under the sub-headings of ASSESSMENT of ABILITY and ANY POINTS IN FLYING OR AIRMANSHIP WHICH SHOULD BE WATCHED .

Its first appearance in my log book(s) is in February 1944 on completion of SFTS training, and regularly thereafter both annually or on completion of a (flying) course; its last appearance in December 1960, so presumably its use was discontinued from 1961 onwards. All such summaries completed in the UK are on the official form 414a, but those made overseas in 1944/6 are either based on a typed reproduction (as for the SFTS entry, done in Canada) or on a freehand copy as drawn by the log book's owner (then in SE Asia).
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 17:04
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Originally Posted by harrym
Roving, in answer to your #11352 .
I am very grateful to you for clearing up the mystery.

Very recently four very large boxes have arrived at my son's house in London -- I am currently living overseas. I rather hope that one of them contains his log books.
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