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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 30th Sep 2018, 14:02
  #12361 (permalink)  
 
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Surprising how many people still remember Khormaksar, albeit with memories not as happy as mine as an 11-year-old. Interesting to compare this old picture with today's Google satellite view. Sheikothman road retains same line but is now dual carriageway. I was oddly pleased to see our house still standing at the corner of the Patch; from the arrival of my pet land crab, Ahmed, we didn't have another cockroach in the house and I'd like to think that his/her descendants are still crunching up the cockroach population.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 08:44
  #12362 (permalink)  
 
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Geriaviator, glad to hear that your Khormaksar home has managed to survive into 21C Yemen. Does the same hold true for your Alma Mater, or even Abdullah's Sentry Box? Perhaps the very lack of active town planning in a war ravaged country has lent them and the rest of this ex RAF Station (which might as well be set in a Moon Crater given your pic) a chance of survival that many UK ones were denied.

The lack of any vegetation whatsoever is the most striking feature of course. The immediate thought is that the station has been newly constructed and awaits nature's healing powers. I imagine that it still does...
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 08:50
  #12363 (permalink)  
 
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The lack of any vegetation whatsoever is the most striking feature of course
Aden had to wait until Johnny Johnson flew in the topsoil when he was the Commander.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 09:41
  #12364 (permalink)  
 
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and what better gardening tool to use for that than a Whistling Wheelbarrow, FED?
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 12:25
  #12365 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
and what better gardening tool to use for that than a Whistling Wheelbarrow, FED?
I heard that it was a Beverley.

And that the 'soil' contained a large proportion of kraal manure.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 12:41
  #12366 (permalink)  
 
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Geriaviator (#12363),

Surely the Land Crab was "Abdul", chota Sahib ?
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 14:26
  #12367 (permalink)  
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I don't know quite how much of Khormaksar has made it into the 21st century. The Argosy Detachment website has some photos from 1998, when one of our erstwhile number went back through in a DC4. This was the MRT Wing Hangar, vacated like everything else at the end of 1967:

Khormaksar 1998
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 14:45
  #12368 (permalink)  
 
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Namaste, burra Sahib! Abdul was Graham's crab which became the Terror of the Church Parade. My crab Ahmed was useful only for terrorising my little sister until Dad threw him over the verandah, thenceforth to live outside the kitchen. I did catch Mum feeding him scraps when she discovered his voracious appetite for cockroach.

Chugalug, on looking again to Google Earth I think our school building is still standing though I'm sure Abdullah the chowkidar and his box are long gone. On the subject of soil, Aden's volcanic sand was very fertile, requiring only the addition of precious water. (Same in the Canary Isles I think). If you look back at my #12320 you can see a siphon hose dangling from the kitchen lean-to window, draining sink and shower water into a trench alongside the garden path. This trench contained a row of parrot trees, so called because of their curved flowers resembling a parrot's beak; they are about three feet high in the picture, but when we left less than a year later they were up to the roof.

Again from Google, the skeletons of the old hangars are still standing. From my 1951 picture, the NAAFI building is still there as well.
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Old 4th Oct 2018, 18:47
  #12369 (permalink)  
 
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hi Danny42C, do you have any details of vengeance serial numbers against codes used by RAF in Burma, this is for RAF vengeance profiles
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Old 5th Oct 2018, 00:53
  #12370 (permalink)  
 
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"Aeroflot** M*****, yes, one of my crew has served in Aden".
"M*****, now we know why you left!"
Fantomzorbin,

I visited Aden in the early 90s, "between the first two civil wars". An interesting experience for me, because my grandfather had been there for a few years with "Bricks and Works", in the early 30s. It was fascinating to see places that had not changed much from the B&W photos in our family albums.

What prompted me to post was that prior to visiting Yemen, I had made a couple of trips to Russia. Some of the architecture in Aden and particularly around Khormaksar was a bizarre mixture of RAF architecture and concrete Russian apartment blocks, that looked exactly the same as ones I had seen in the Arctic!

I noticed that the ex-RAF hangars had been extensively shot-up in the first civil war.
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Old 5th Oct 2018, 14:02
  #12371 (permalink)  
 
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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.


sagindragin (#12371),

This should help, I hope:

(With full acknowlegdements to Peter C. Smith: "Vengeance", Appendix III)

BRITISH (US A-31)

AF745-944; VV II, VULTEE BUILT, BRITISH CONTRACT.
AN538-837; DO.
AH838-AN999; VV I NORTHROP BUILT, BRITISH CONTRACT.
AP001-AP137; DO.
EZ800-EZ999; VVIA NORTHROP BUILT LEND LEASE
FB918-FD117; VVIII VULTEE BUILT US CONTRACT FOR LEND LEASE

BRITISH (US A-35)

FD118-FD221; VVIV VULTEE BUILT LEND LEASE
HB300-HB550; VVIV DO.

AUSTRALIAN

Appear to be mostly in the AN-*** series (as in your Line Drawing).

.......................

Notes:

The "Contract Price" was US$63,000 (ca 15,500) per aircraft

Can't remember Squadron letters (did we have them ?) on either 110 (RAF) or 8 (IAF) Sqns: think just a solitary aircraft letter. Stand to be corrected !

All RAF and IAF ops in Burma were carried out in VVs Mks. I and II. The Mk. III (mechanically identical, all US A-31s) came out only after ops ceased in summer 1944.

The Mk.IV (US A-35) was different in that it had a 4-degree Angle of Incidence in the wing. Your Line Drawing would appear to show an A-31 (zero angle of Incidence), which would indicate an A-31 (VV Mk. I-III).

The A-31 (all the Marks (I-III I flew) was a lousy aircraft per se, but a fine dive bomber. Never saw a Mk. IV (A-35): would guess it to be a better aircraft and a worse dive bomber. They also had 0.50 Brownings in the wings (replacing the 0.300s in the A-31s), and a single 0.50 Browning in the back (replacing the original twin US 0-300s - which we replaced by British 0.303s in service).

The Mk.IV s went all over the place, Brazil got some; the Free French used them, the ones that went to UK and Australia were converted to target tugs.

The last survivor (a Mk.I dolled up as a Mk.IV) lives/lived in the Camden Aviation Museum (currently closed), Narellan, Sydney.

That's about all I know.

Cheers, Danny.

PS: No thanks for your line drawing, but thanks all the same: I already have a very good one drawn by two of the very nice new baby Controllers who came to me in ATC at Leeming. They also did a 1/72 Airfix model for me (God knows what became of it).

One finished as a Wing Commander, commanding that ATC School where he had started as a pupil !
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 02:42
  #12372 (permalink)  
 
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thanks Danny, that explains why i have not seen many aircraft with codes on, i bought Peterrs book back when i started collecting all the info i understand there is a new one coming out this month, i also recieved a lot of Vultee engineering drawings and the E&M manual, all this just to get the correct shape of the fuselage and engine cowling forward of the cockpit, sadly i had to get rid of all the paper stuff i collected when i moved house but by then the main work was done.
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 09:30
  #12373 (permalink)  
 
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Did Danny know about this?

Did the organisers know about Danny?
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 13:25
  #12374 (permalink)  
 
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ian16th (#12375),

"No" - on both counts ! And I am content that that should remain so. The last thing I want is for some cub reporter from the M'boro "Evening Gazette" snuffling round here to scribble some copy about a new "War Hero" he's found living in their midst.

Ditto BBC "Look North" - although I think (hope) that they are still nursing burnt fingers after the last one they found some years ago (who turned out to be a "Walt").

Low profile's the thing - I value my privacy !

Danny.
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 15:12
  #12375 (permalink)  
 
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Re. Accommodation
In my #12331 of 26th Sept I showed a couple of my photos of the airmen's billet in S. Rhodesia which I occupied during my first overseas tour (1951 - 1953).
In 1956 I was posted to the Far East and spent time in RAF Negombo (Katunayake), RAF China Bay, RAF Seletar and RAF Gan between 1956 - 1958. Some photos from my album showing the Far East accommodation below.

RAF Negombo






Palm trees everywhere with storm drains alongside the billets. Drains were occupied by frogs that loudly croaked throughout the night. On arrival we were given a briefing that scorpions were a constant hazard and told to give our shoes a good bang to dislodge any nasty's before putting them on.

RAF China Bay



General View - Modern Blocks


Airmen's accommodation blocks


Grey Langur monkeys were plentiful. Troops of them were everywhere especially on the roofs of buildings. They were harmless and accepted scraps of food - the youngsters were very appealing!



RAF Seletar






Finally RAF Gan


42-miles south of the equator and brown tents meant it was Hot!




Later 'Kadjan' (woven palm leaves) walled buildings replaced tents, much better, but still too much heat as roofs were un-insulated corrugated iron sheets.


...and just before I left Gan at the end of 1958 to return home the first of the many 'proper' billet blocks were completed, but I never lived in one.

WT
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 18:08
  #12376 (permalink)  
 
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What is the story re the Harvard ?? parked up side down on the Seletar square ? do tell please.
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 18:15
  #12377 (permalink)  
 
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Ah, “Blocks, Barracks, Tropical, Troops for the use of”

Mind you, there were original parts of the OM at Tengah which were a bit like that. I spent my first few weeks in one before an ‘air-conditioned’ one became available. Louvre doors at both ends, and a languid fan dangling from a high ceiling. Adding the mossie net and I knew I was in the Far East! Loverley! Sadly no camera back then ... I hadn’t had time to go to Changi Village!
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Old 6th Oct 2018, 19:02
  #12378 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by zetec2 View Post
What is the story re the Harvard ?? parked up side down on the Seletar square ? do tell please.
It was drunken revelry at Seletar - Christmas 1957. ISTR we were a 'bolshie' lot in those days and from the raised arm gestures the group having overturned the Harvard instructional airframe were probably singing verse three of "The Internationale"!

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They'll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We'll shoot the generals on our own side
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Old 7th Oct 2018, 14:28
  #12379 (permalink)  
 
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Warmtoast, thanks for reply, looking at picture see where outer wings bolt on faired in would suggest traing airframe, thanks again.
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Old 7th Oct 2018, 15:12
  #12380 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, great pics WT. Thank you. Interesting that some of the buildings have tiled pitched roofs, while others have flat roofs, presumably concrete slab ones. Rather echoes the UK trend whereby the salubrious triple decker 'Baldwin' OMs (eg Thorney Island and the now lamented Manby) gave way to the later more utilitarian ones with flat roofs. Not a cost cutting move as one might think but an attempt to make them more resilient to blast damage from bombing raids. The early buildings at Changi had tiles (from Marseilles), but the majority (including Temple Hill OM) had flat concrete roofs. For those who fancy wallowing in yet more pictorial wandering down memory lane, Pinterest offers a very addictive habit:-

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/4942...tm_medium=2004

Last edited by Chugalug2; 7th Oct 2018 at 16:34. Reason: Repairing Link
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