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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 4th Jan 2018, 00:49
  #11721 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: By the Sea
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BBC HARDtalk: George 'Johnny' Johnson

Perhaps this would be of interest here...
HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to 96-year-old George 'Johnny' Johnson, the last remaining British survivor of one of the most extraordinary and most famous aerial missions of World War II, the Dambusters raid. It was costly and not entirely successful - so why has it become such a part of Britain's national folklore?
BBC Iplayer (UK only): https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episod...nson-dambuster

BBC Audio Download: BBC World Service - HARDtalk, Last surviving British Dambuster - George 'Johnny' Johnson

First few minutes on YouTube:
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 08:27
  #11722 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
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I think its a Sikorsky S-38
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 13:03
  #11723 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Seen on Facebook just now:
Sadly - David K Laird
Ex XV Sqn Lancaster member, David Laird passed away 30 Dec 2017. He was immensely proud of his time with XV. The programme of events of the disbandment was always on his table and he had a lovely week at the MacRobert Trust during the Summer.
Aged 92 David led a very interesting life. After the war, he served as a Major in the Lovat Scouts and he headed youth development on Sheffield Council. A keen sportsman he played professional football in Scotland and was in the football team of every RAF station on which he served. He was still ski instructing in Italy well into his 80's!
The current plan is that David's funeral will take place at the Friockheim Crematorium on the afternoon of Thursday 11 Jan 18.
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 18:57
  #11724 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Commissioned 27 August 1944

1571017 David Kerr LAIRD (180233)

VR Commission relinquished.
Flight Lieutenant D. K. LAIRD (180233) (on
appointment to the Territorial Army). 6th Nov.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 08:34
  #11725 (permalink)  
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sidevalve there was an Obituary in yesterday's Telegraph for Flying Officer Alfie Martin D.F.C., a WWII Halifax bomb aimer, who in Spring 1943 escaped from Belgium via the Comet Line.


This Obituary is not behind a paywall.


This is the Obituary for the pilot Squadron Leader Lashbrook, who died in June 2017, who it appears from this brief Obituary also escaped.


Last edited by roving; 5th Jan 2018 at 08:46. Reason: edited as appears
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 10:54
  #11726 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Ricardian #11725, Roving #11726

This is from the Dundee Courier -
LAIRD Suddenly, at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, on Saturday, December 30, 2017, David Kerr Laird, of Carnoustie (formerly Sheffield), in his 93rd year, beloved husband of the late Doris, a dear father of David, Ian and Stuart and the late Pamela, a dear father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather. Funeral service in Parkgrove Crematorium, Friockheim, on Thursday, January 11, at 1.30 p.m., to which all relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired, for Poppy Scotland will be received at the Crematorium.
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 22:22
  #11727 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the links to Johnny Johnson's Hard Talk "interrogation" by the Beeb, EV. I assume from its title that the point of the programme is putting interviewees under tough questioning, but whether that is the case or not the agenda was all so predictable from Aunty. Did you think of the women and children that you killed? Did you ever have a moment of regret or remorse in doing what you were doing?

What the hell do these Hampstead Thinkers know about war, or Totale Krieg as Josef was want to call it? You fight to win with everything available to you, and to do so as quickly as possible, lest the enemy beats you to it. If the Beeb is opposed to war (unlike we mercenaries who obviously relish it) then I suggest it uses every means at its disposal to call for a greatly increased defence budget, so that we may have a big stick that would enable it to speak softly to the world. Otherwise we may expect history to repeat itself. It usually does, sooner or later.

I thought that Johnson gave a good account of himself, of his generation, of Bomber Command, and of his beloved squadron. He was polite and calm throughout the ordeal, which is more than I can claim.
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 23:33
  #11728 (permalink)  
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Chug, absolutely correct!
I felt the interviewer was talking "at" Mr. Johnson rather than "with" him. Like a lot of other modern interviewers, this fellow seemed to think he was the centre of attention.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 09:33
  #11729 (permalink)  
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Saw this in today's Aberdeen Press & Jourmal.

DU FEU (Lossiemouth)Winter John Du Feu died peacefully at Dr. Gray's Hospital, Elgin, on Thursday, December 28, 2017, aged 98 years. RAF 1940-45, Flight/Lt 576 Squadron Bomber Command 1944/45. Loving husband of the late Mary, dear father of the late Patricia Joan. Sadly missed by relatives and friends in Jersey, UK and Australia. A celebration of his life will be held at William Watson's Chapel, Blackfriars Road, Elgin, on Friday, January 12, at 11.30a.m., thereafter to Lossiemouth cemetery, all friends respectfully invited. Family flowers only please, donations if desired at chapel for the RAF benevolent fund.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 09:36
  #11730 (permalink)  
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The longevity of some of the WWII aircrew who survived until VE/VJ Day(s) is remarkable. Danny being a wonderful example.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 11:14
  #11731 (permalink)  
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To really live you must nearly die.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 11:39
  #11732 (permalink)  
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I understand why Bomber Command engaged in a war of attrition over Germany in WWII, notwithstanding the very heavy air crew casualties. I hold no truck with the revisionists who seek to question the policy from their armchairs decades later.

Where I do question policy is during the period when Sholto Douglas, having replaced Hugh Dowding, who was by common agreement shoddily treated after Fighter Command's finest hour, embarked on "big wing" attacks against Luftwaffe fighter aircraft over France during 1941 and 1942.

Many distinguished Battle of Britain fighter pilots were KIA or captured during these operations.

The real tragedy of Sholto Douglas's policy was two fold:

1. It was totally ineffective. In 1941 German losses in combat were 103 c/f with Royal Air Force losses of some 400 fighter aircraft -- being shotdown over France, even if the pilot survived, invariably meant 4 years in a POW. In 1942 the introduction of the FW 190 meant that the Spitfire MK V was not only outgunned but under powered. it was only with the introduction of the Spitfire MK IX that the balance was restored. It is to be noted that these Fighter Command operations were not intended to support Bomber Command. Bomber Command didn't bomb over France and if they did, it would have been at night.

2. The unnecessary losses over France in 1941 and early 1942 meant that much needed experienced pilots and Spitfires were in short supply for the defence of Malta and the Battle of El Alamein. Whilst Hurricanes were extensively used in North Africa to drop bombs on enemy positions, there were insufficient (faster) Spitfires to provide air cover, leading to heavy losses of Hurricanes and pilots over the Med and North Africa in 1941 / 1942.

It was only in late 1943 and early 1944 with the introduction of the Spitfire MK IX (and other faster aircraft) and pilots trained under the Arnold Scheme in North America, that the Royal Air Force (in combination with the USAF) achieved control of the air in Europe.

I suspect that the justification for the 1941 Sholto Douglas policy was that it helped Britain's new ally, Russia. If so that was a pretty thin excuse. Germany lost the war in Russia for the same reason Napolean did. Military forces with overstretched supply lines and inadequate clothing for the extremely cold Russian winters.

What prompted this post was reading this Obituary from 2000.


Last edited by roving; 8th Jan 2018 at 12:06. Reason: added last paragraph
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 12:32
  #11733 (permalink)  
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Danny 11721

My Father was on Course 42C and a photo of him beside a Stearman shows the number 50 on the engine nacelle. He started at Darr Sep 2 41, then Vultees at Cochrane Nov 6, finally AT 6 at Dothan 2 Jan graduating Mar 28 42.
I came across a document in an Arnold Scheme file at Kew re Class 42A. 550 trainees started the course Jun 8 41, 270 graduated 3 Jan 42. Eliminated due to flying deficiency 251, ( Primary 44%, Basic 3%, Advanced 35% ) Held over 17, Deceased 9, Deserted 1, & 2 were eliminated for Discipline & Insurbordination.
The trainees were older men & many married. Apparently this led to an early stage rebellion against American discipline which accounts for the two eliminations. Apologies if this has already been covered in this fascinating thread.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 17:21
  #11734 (permalink)  
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The Last Dambuster.

Chugalug (#11729),

Well said, Sir ! As I emaied to a relaiive who'd drawn my attention to the interview:

..."Then I hunted down Johnny Johnson, the last Dambuster - another eye-opener. Calm and rational despite his years, he answered his interviwer politely enough, even though he was being needled with the BBC revisionist "Butcher Harris" claptrap that passes for history nowadays (and, I suppose, is taught in schools).

Oh, the poor innocent civilian Germans in Hamburg and Dresden ! How they must have suffered ! How could we have done such cruel things ? .... Pardon me ? How about the poor folk of Rotterdam, London, Coventry and a dozen other places. "When you prick them, do they not bleed ?"

Firstly, as my old Uncle Laurie (ex-WWI trenches) expressed it: "When the scrap-iron starts flying about, EVERYBODY'S liable to get hurt". Then I put it on PPRuNe (for this very question has been thrashed out there): "Harris would've liked a rapier - but all he had was a club !" (you have to fight a war with what you've got - not with what you would like to have). Harris himself put in a nutshell with this Biblical (?) quotation: "They have sown the Wind ... They will reap the Whirlwind". And they did !"...

Old 8th Jan 2018, 17:24
  #11735 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ireland
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Dsrsia - Welcome - better late than never! Where were you when I needed you?
ie: April 2014, Pages 276/277 posts 5509 -5519 etc. etc.

While I accept entirely that our respected Danny42C never saw such behaviours, I am relieved to find that evidence of "bolshie" insubordination that I brought up from my research is corroborated in a file at The National Record Office in Kew.

Now you are here please give us all you know and tell us what happened to your Dad

Again, welcome to this gem of a thread!
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 18:37
  #11736 (permalink)  
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Dsrsia (#11735),

Welcome into this glorious company ! Drag up a pew to the old coke stove in our cyber crewroom and listen to the Wisdom of the Ancients, as the gale howls around and flaps the loose Nissen hut corrugated iron sheets.

Now as to your ..."Apparently this led to an early stage rebellion against American discipline which accounts for the two eliminations"... Read Page 114, #2275 of this Thread, which bears on this very subject. At the risk of "teaching my grandmother how to suck eggs", the easy way to get to Page 114 (or any other Page) is to click on the little inverted cone in a box at the end of the Page bar: this will give you a "Go to Page" box.

The enormous "washout" rate in the Arnold Schools is a mystery to this day.

Your Dad must've gone the twin-engined route, as a single engine man I went Carlstrom-Gunter-Craig Field. So although we were both on 42C, we would never meet (except by chance in Canada on the way in and out).

Let's have anything you know of your Dad's war history, and ask anything you want to know: there is always someone on this Best of All Threads who will know the answer.

Happy Posting, Danny.
Old 8th Jan 2018, 20:49
  #11737 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Lost, but often Indonesia
Posts: 608
Greetings all.

Danny you're back! Was the lappy with the fixer?

Last night I literally stumbled on the picture below. It's on a NZ university website of all places. Hopefully it's a new picture of a VV to add to the collection?
It appears to be painted black? Seems a bit odd..
The foliage appears to indicate the Far East rather than the Pacific but just a guess?
Do the bombs shown look familiar to the ones you "delivered" Danny? Note that 2 of them have black "rear ends". Why on earth would they bother to paint them?


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Old 9th Jan 2018, 03:53
  #11738 (permalink)  
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More dark colours - RAAF, A27-245 in foreground (destroyed in New Guinea at Nadzab strip), middle -221 (written off force landing North Queensland), distant -226 (survived to disposal).

Last edited by megan; 9th Jan 2018 at 04:11.
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 10:12
  #11739 (permalink)  
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Octane Would overall Foliage Green be an explanation rather than black? (for the a/c) Were bombs colour coded perhaps?
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 10:23
  #11740 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
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quick look at Google. Looks to my totally untrained eye that there are 2 x 1000lb on the front of the trolley and 2 x 500lb (painted)
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