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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 1st Dec 2017, 12:18
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VMT to Olympus for his very interesting thread drift drawing attention to these most impressive citations, which I had not seen previously. BZs all round to these brave men.

Continuing the thread drift, I had to allow myself a smile at the placing of the words "with unabated zeal" in the phrase in the then Wing Commander Squire's citation, namely:

"......but he continued flying after his return to the ship with unabated zeal."

Jack
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 05:30
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A very much belated Happy Birthday Danny. A Vultee story as a present, re Bob Hoover's experience.
When testing a Vultee Vengeance, he lowered the gear and reduced the throttle and flames spewed out. Opening the throttle caused the flames to disappear so he climbed for height in case they had to bail out. When he closed the throttle again there was an explosion which blew off the bomb bay doors.

​With flames burning his legs he told the sergeant in the back seat to jump. He was reluctant to go but the flames finally convinced him and he climbed out. His harness snagged the machine gun mounting and he hung there, banging against the side of the fuselage. Hoover rolled the Vengeance inverted, managed to shake off the sergeant and switched off the engine. The flames subsided and he made dead-stick landing.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 06:46
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Yesterday the Guardian posted an excellent obituary of Joy Lofthouse.

Joy Lofthouse obituary
Pilot whose role during the second world war was to fly military planes between air bases for the Air Transport Auxiliary

As a flying member of the female section of the Air Transport Auxiliary, Joy Lofthouse was one of the women styled Attagirls, working on pay rates equal to those of the men.

In 1943 Joy Lofthouse, a 20-year-old bank cashier, replied to an advertisement she had seen in the Aeroplane magazine. It was for women to train for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), and although the competition was intense her application was successful. As a result she went on to become one of 164 female pilots during the second world war who were given the important job of ferrying military planes around the UK from one air base to another.

Lofthouse, who has died aged 94, showed great aptitude for flying. Her first solo flight was in a Miles Magister, an open, low-winged monoplane. After qualifying, her initial work focused on delivering Magisters and Tiger Moth biplanes to flying schools. Later she moved on to fighter planes, including Spitfires.

She was born Joyce Gough, always known as Joy, in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Her father was a professional footballer who later became a hairdresser, and her mother was a dressmaker. Educated at Cirencester grammar school, both Joy and her older sister, Yvonne, were dedicated to sport in general and to tennis in particular. Joy began working in the local Lloyds bank just as war broke out.

But she had greater ambitions than to be a cashier, and sought inspiration in the pages of the Aeroplane magazine, the journal whose then editor had proclaimed that “the menace is the woman who thinks she ought to be flying a high-speed bomber when she really has not the intelligence to scrub the floor of a hospital properly”.

When Joy applied to the ATA she had no idea that Yvonne had also put in an application, just before her. Both were successful and served together until the end of the war.

As a flying member of the female section of the ATA – which also had 1,153 men in its employ – Lofthouse was one of what the press liked to call the Attagirls, working on pay rates equal to those of the men. That there was a women’s section and that it attracted pilots from around the world was substantially due to the efforts, before and during the war, of their senior commander, Pauline Gower. The pilots’ work expanded rapidly from the transport of medical supplies and personnel to ferrying fighters and bombers to bases around the country. For Lofthouse this meant a posting to Hamble, near Southampton, in 1944.

Alongside workaday aircraft she also flew more spectacular machines. There were Hawker Tempest Vs, North American Mustangs and Supermarine Spitfires, all 400mph fighters. She flew a total of 18 types of aircraft – relying on a map and the view out of the cockpit for navigation – but the Spitfire was her enduring favourite.

By 1945 she completed training for twin-engined planes, only to quit the ATA after the end of the war; it was wound up that November.

In 1946 EC Cheeseman’s book, Brief Glory: The Story of ATA, was published, listing, on page 230, “Third Officer Gough, Joyce, Miss”. But jobs for women pilots were then practically nonexistent, and she had to turn to other things.

After the war she married Jiri Hartman, a Czech Spitfire pilot whom she had first encountered while working at Lloyds. The marriage ended in divorce in 1966. Two years later, while training to become a teacher in Portsmouth, she met Charles Lofthouse, a former bomber pilot who had been held at Stalag Luft III prison camp in what is now Poland, where he had worked on preparations for the 1944 Great Escape. They married in 1971, by which time he was a headteacher and she was teaching children with special needs.

It was only towards the end of the 20th century that the scale of the achievement of women such as Lofthouse began to be appreciated. Throughout her life she retained her links with her former female comrades in the ATA and attended many reunions. In 1990 she met young women aspiring to be RAF pilots at Biggin Hill, and in 2008 she was a recipient of a commemorative badge for the Attagirls issued by the government. She was also a patron of the Fly2Help charity, which encourages young people to take up flying. In 2015, at Goodwood in Sussex, she took to the air in a (dual-control) Spitfire for the first time in 70 years.

She and Charles retired to Cirencester. He died in 2002. She is survived by a son, Peter, and a daughter, Lyn, from her first marriage, and a grandson. Another son from that marriage, Michael, died in 2008.

• Joy Lofthouse, pilot, born 14 February 1923; died 15 November 2017
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 12:22
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megan (#11603),

Thanks for the kind wishes ! Could you give me a steer to this Bob Hoover, please ? (book, publishers & ISBN; PPRuNe Post references etc, so I can go after them). There is little written on the VV (this one would've been RAAF, I take it).

Difficult to diagnose that problem from the symptons.

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 2nd Dec 2017, 12:47
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Seen on an RAF-related Facebook page today, may be of interest to Danny:

80 years ago today, possibly the ugliest combat aircraft the RAF ever had in service, made its first flight.
The Brewster Buffalo was built by the American "Brewster Aeronautical Corporation" and operated by 5 RAF squadrons, 7 FAA squadrons, as well as 8 RAAF squadrons an 2 RNZAF squadrons. This was despite the original A&AEE assessment of the aircraft considering it to have inadequate armament and armour, poor high-altitude performance, engine overheating, maintenance issues, and poor cockpit controls, although it had good handling, cockpit space, and visibility; it was considered unfit for duty in western Europe. But we were desperate enough to buy them anyway and send them to the pacific, where they were provided to pilots who weren't properly trained to fly them either.
In Malaya, 60 were lost in combat, 40 on the ground, 20 more in accidents. Despite this however the Buffalo force did manage to shoot down about 80 enemy aircraft, mostly bombers.
In Burma 67sqn operating Buffalos shot down 27 Japanese aircraft for 8 losses.
The type has a reputation as being a poor aircraft, but in reality it did pretty well. Of 509 aircraft produced, 40 aces were born. In Finland, where they operated the type against Russian fighters, the Finns scored a kill:loss ratio of somewhere between 20 and 35:1. The US Marine Corps also operated them early in the war successfully, before mostly relegating them to advanced trainer duties.
The main reason for its poor reputation was probably because of its record in Allied hands against the Mitsubishi Zero, which was far better than anybody ever expected it to be. There are no RAF Buffalos left anywhere in the world, but a few foreign ones in museum.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 13:51
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Danny yr 11605 - just google Bob Hoover (if you havn't already) one of Americas finest flyers, died just last year, his air displays and his WW2 exploits should never be forgotten - and a real 'gent' I am told by those who knew him.

Ian BB
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 13:54
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ricardian (#11606), Ta !

From what we heard out there at the time (!942): We had a squadron of Buffalo in Malaya when Admiral Phillips in his flagship "Prince of Wales" broke radio silence to advise Singapore that his ship had been attacked by Jap torpedo bombers, badly damaged, and was returning there at 1 kts on one shaft, and asked for a tug to help.

As it was almost certain that the Japs would come back to finish the job, you would expect AHQ Singapore to order air cover for the crippled ship, but they dallied: it was left to the (acting) C.O. of the Buffalo squadron (Flt Lt Tim Vigors?), to recognise the danger and (on his own authority) to launch. But the delay had been fatal: before the Buffalo reached the position the Japs had been back, the ship was on the bottom, and 1,200 men lost (inc Phillips).

I would not be surprised if the official account differs to a certain extent.

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 2nd Dec 2017, 14:20
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megan (my #11603), and Ian B-B (#11608),

Thanks, Ian !
Googled; Brazilian River has on current offer:

"Forever Flying"; "Passion for Flight"; "La Vie Fantastique de Bob Hoover" (I read French with fair ease).

Any idea where the Vengeance quotation appears ? (sorry to be such a persistent nuisance).

Danny.
 
Old 2nd Dec 2017, 16:28
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Danny yr. 11609

"Any idea where the Vengeance quotation appears"?

The incident happened (I think) at a field near Oran early 1943. Bob was test flying anything and everything that came out of the packing cases (so it was probably the first time he had met a VV).

Try googling Bob Hoover/Vultee Vengeance and read the <airportjournals.com> articles. It is certainly recounted in the Bob Hoover chapter of "In Defence of Freedom" by Wolfgang W E Samuel.

IanBB

PS Hoover’s childhood hero, Jimmy Doolittle, once called him “the greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived.”

Last edited by Ian Burgess-Barber; 2nd Dec 2017 at 16:31. Reason: Add PS
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 16:57
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PPS Have you come across this one Danny?

The following is from Peter Smith's website about his book about the Vengeance:

VENGEANCE! The Vultee Vengeance dive bomber.

H/B (1) 1986 (ISBN 0 0906393 65 3) H/B (2) USA Edition 1986 (ISBN 0 -87474 866 6)

The true story of the forgotten dive bomber of the RAF - the American-built Vultee Vengeance. This aircraft was built in the USA but served in the combat role with the RAF and Indian Air Force in Burma, with the French air force in North Africa and with the Royal Australian Air Force in the Pacific. With a feast of new facts and many rare and previously unpublished photos this is the complete history of this aircraft, unjustly derided by many "historians" who do not know the full facts, and subject to many myths which still persist today, the design, construction, and war history of this unique aircraft is given in full with a host of tables and appendices.

Seldom has the RAF possessed a more accurate bombing platform, yet seldom has that aircraft been so misrepresented in print and history. For the first time the men who designed the aircraft and who flew her in combat were interviewed and talked to the Author at length. The still-repeated fable that the Vengeance only operated with fighter cover is demolished totally, in fact they hardly ever had fighter cover at all due to the ranges at which they operated. Totally ignored by air historians of the Imphal and Kohima battles the Vengeance was in fact the most important and successful of the air weapons which broke the Japanese sieges in those battles. Their precision bombing of vital supply bridges was legendary, yet has been totally omitted in the air histories of the air campaigns in Burma. The author offers reasons why this policy was adopted at the time, as revealed in official documents, and questions why it still persists today when historians should know better.

"Peter Smith, the author, has done a handsome job in bringing the story of the Vengeance to the fore. This is first-rate reference material", stated the Aviation News, while Aircraft Illustrated added: "The exhaustive research of the author has paid dividends...he succeeds in portraying the true image of this much maligned aircraft."
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 01:52
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Got it from here Danny. No nuisance at all, a pleasure to correspond.

Bob Hoover

The link suggested by Ian

http://airportjournals.com/?s=hoover

His Wiki entry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Hoover

A couple of videos of him at work



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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 15:40
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megan (#11612),

Thanks ! What can I say ? Trained in the States (Arnold Scheme), in contact with Americans most of the War, and on PPRuNe for the last five years - and this is the first I've heard of Bob Hoover ! Reading all the references you gave, I was increasingly stupefied by this chap's flying story. What a man ! We shall not see his like again. .... RIP, Bob.

The Vengeance incident was with the French in Oran - Agadir (?), therefore a Mk.IV (US A-35). But the Vengeance illustrated is a 12 (?) Sqn RAAF Mk.I or II (US A-31). These were the only Marks which saw action in WWII with the RAF, IAF and RAAF. I have no experience on or knowledge of the IV (A-35), but it differed externally only in the substitution of a single 0.50 rear Browning for the other Marks' twin 0.303s (and the wing AoI set at +4 instead of the zero on all earlier Marks - the zero shows up well on NH-L - although it it is hard to be sure from photographs).

As they all looked alike, the RAF called them all Vengeances, which has led to some confusion. For example, "Winkle" Brown tested both the Stuka and the VV, concluding that the former was more stable in a vertical dive (which only the VV was designed for). Explanation ? (suggested by Chugalug): He was almost certainly given a MK.IV to test: the increased AoI would be likely to make it a better aircraft, but a worse dive bomber. In fact, all Mks I-III dived beautifully - but were useless for anything else. It is possible that the fuel system was changed in the Mk.IV: I have never heard the like of an engine fire such as that described. Can anyone suggest an explanation ?

Ian B-B (#11611),

I know that Peter C. Smith's new (2nd) edition of his 1986 "Vengeance!" is on the stocks (or has it already been published ?) as we have corresponded about it. But it is hard to see what else there is to say now about this forgotten relic of WWII.

Cheers and renewed thanks, both, Danny.
 
Old 4th Dec 2017, 16:11
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Poached from Jet Blast, but y'all might to take a look:

Post Starter Loose rivets: A LOT of things I never knew about the Concorde crash. ( 1 2 3 4)

Danny42C.

''''''''''''''''''''''

Senior Pilot,

Sorry - dunno what happened ! Here it is:<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqOcYhzWUZY>

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 5th Dec 2017 at 10:09. Reason: Insert YouTube link
 
Old 4th Dec 2017, 17:23
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
Poached from Jet Blast, but y'all might to take a look:

Post Starter Loose rivets: A LOT of things I never knew about the Concorde crash. ( 1 2 3 4) <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqOcYhzWUZY>

Danny42C.
Thanks, yes I had seen that before. He is quite poisonous about the French.
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Old 4th Dec 2017, 17:30
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Roving reading that it seems he might have been justified in his views
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Old 4th Dec 2017, 17:55
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Originally Posted by Wander00
Roving reading that it seems he might have been justified in his views
I have the highest regard for him and his case is pretty compelling.
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Old 4th Dec 2017, 18:07
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Like most aviation tragedies, this one has the stench of cheese about it. Gruyere, at a guess.

Edited to add that I've just caught the tail end of Document on R4, which no doubt will be available on iPlayer. Beeb blurb:-

Document

The Gibraltar Diary of Squadron Leader Mallory

Nick Rankin examines a detailed document, written in French and discovered in the wartime files of the Iberia Section of S.O.E., the Special Operations Executive. This personal account by Squadron-Leader Hugh Mallory Falconer tells how he established a secret wireless network covering the Western Mediterranean and linking Gibraltar with North African cities including Casablanca, Tangier and Oran. This network not only helped pave the way for Operation TORCH, the Anglo-American invasion of Vichy French North Africa in November 1942, but when the US armed forces went into combat, it was Falconer's radio network that held up when the other Allied communications systems failed. For three days in was the low level radio post housed in a cave in the Rock of Gibraltar that kept the Allied Commander Eisenhower in touch with his ground forces. In an increasingly challenging situation Mallory's network helped ensure this pivotal moment in the war did not turn into a disaster. Later in the North Africa campaign, Falconer was captured by the Germans on an S.O.E. mission in Tunisia and was held in a variety of prisoner of war camps until he was liberated in 1945.
Nick talks to historians of the period, operators who explain the challenges and brilliance of the S.O.E. operatives and he tracks down Falconer's daughter who has her own recollections of her father's wartime exploits. She had no idea that Downing Street, in a memo of 19th May 1943 had described the work of Mallory and his team in glowing terms. 'It is abundantly clear that the operators handling the signals... were as essential to the operations as the organ blower to the cathedral organist.'
Producer: Tom Alban.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 4th Dec 2017 at 20:38.
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Old 4th Dec 2017, 20:47
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roving

I see that you have clocked up another year - many happy returns!

Ian BB
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 09:50
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A good innings for a Beaufighter driver

Danny et al,

Just a note to let you know that Dad died last Thursday, the Memorial Service will be this coming Friday 8th December in Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsular. He had a great life and influenced all those who were lucky enough to meet him.

Thanks for letting him into this thread, I know he enjoyed reading it and posting his reminiscences as Walter603.

Cheers, Dad, and farewell.
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:13
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roving,

Hear, hear ! - and many of 'em !

Danny.
 

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