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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 26th May 2019, 10:06
  #12641 (permalink)  
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Night Take Off

Beneath our wheels the flares and glim-lamps race
Each gooseneck stretching taut,then only space
Descends as now the leading-lights are past
And three-dimensioned darkness holds us fast.
We are of night and night hugs close her own
The long black caverns of her sleeve are thrown
Around us and she bids the circling clouds
Encompass us with vigour as with shrouds.

Poem in book named after poem Three-Dimensioned Darkness by Captain Lincoln Lee ( A BOAC Captain ) published in 1962
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Old 27th May 2019, 16:41
  #12642 (permalink)  
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Operation Dragoon 1944

Not sure if this will interest folks on here but here goes, my late Dad Ken Crossley joined RAF in 1940 and eventually completed training as as an Air Gunner in March 1944, as he said he missed the 'killing fields of Lincolnshire and was posted back to the Middle East were he was attached to the SAAF 34 and later 31 Sqd on Liberators
With them apart from other operations he had bit parts in Operation Dragoon (Invasion of S France) and later the Warsaw Airlift
For Op Dragoon 34 Squadron were tasked to provide EW/Radar Jamming for the actual invasion, have just found the attached document detailling equipment etc (apologies for poor quality copy and insertion method)
Dad used to say he 'had a Good War a) he survived and b) they made him an Officer and Gentleman!!!
Post war he rejoined and became an ATCO - in fact he was stationed at Thornaby as SATCO on 608 Sqd around the same time as Danny; sadly he died in 2001 and therefore I was unable to ask him about Danny - did ask Danny if he remembered him but sadly not

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

Last edited by pzu; 28th May 2019 at 22:55.
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Old 28th May 2019, 09:57
  #12643 (permalink)  
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Breathtaking, as yesterday attending commemoration of 3 man team parachuted into Deux-Sevres France, on 16 August 1944 to help organise sabotage and disruption OF German forces post D-Day. The courage of that generation and later just leaves me breathless with admiration
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Old 30th May 2019, 14:07
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PZU, many thanks for the interesting USAAF paper re Mandrel at D-Day and the Invasion of Southern France. Here is a map of the airborne deception plan for D-Day -1 and D-Day itself, showing inter alia Op Mandrel:-


The currents mentioned are enormous. The noise from the inverters must have been phenomenal. The Hastings had a mod whereby a pallet mounted Doppler Nav equipment could be fitted to the cargo floor of certain pathfinder modded a/c. The noise from that one inverter was painful. 9 of them...?

Wander00, fully agree re that very special generation. The Major General's Review in the run-up to this year's Trooping can be seen on YouTube. One of the neutral marches this year is "The Liberators" which always seemed to be played as the FANYs marched past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. Never fails to give me a chill down the back of the neck whenever I hear it. It was of course the cover unit for the brave civilian young women recruited into SOE. No words can begin to describe their cold courage.

Neutral march The Liberators (following Quick March Past):-

Last edited by Chugalug2; 30th May 2019 at 15:02. Reason: Added YouTube link
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Old 26th Jun 2019, 16:17
  #12645 (permalink)  
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Flew the Rans from Horsham to Piltdown (nr.Uckfield) Sussex Saturday 2nd June for the strip owner's annual Fly In for a RAFA benefit day.

Previous years we've had several WW II aircrew including pilots in attendance but, tempus fugit & the numbers were down to just one fellow this year.
He was aircrew (I believe) as a fairly young Flight RADAR operator towards the War's end.
He is pretty deaf so our conversation was necessarily rather limited.
Regardless, A Grand Old Man turning up here every year.

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Old 7th Jul 2019, 11:32
  #12646 (permalink)  
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I am slightly perplexed at the subject of this thread which started as a description of gaining a ww2 brevet some 600 + pages, and a few years, ago, but seems to be a general ww2 subject now, so I'll add a little question to the mix and see if anyone can help. I have a few pages of service history of a ww2 pilot i am researching, and some written things are so difficult to desipher. Has anyone seen this and can maybe shed some light ?
On the movements , on 25.4.44, 'Ferry training: on c/a to 311 FTU'..... what is c/a to 311 FTU (Ferry Training Unit) mean ?
On 8.5.44, 'suby' or 'subig' , anyone know what that is ? or again 'supy-missing"
I.B.P.D. , 'runf' ????

On the promotions page, if started out as an AC2 on 7.10.40, promoted to LAC, 'ASU or ASM' , what rank is that ?, 'T Sarg' or 'F Sarg' , what is a T Sarg ?. Why would his rank from AC2 in 1940, go to AC2 etc again in 1942 ?

Any insights appreciated.

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Old 7th Jul 2019, 14:09
  #12647 (permalink)  
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cyfler, the last member who posted his story IAW the OP title, Danny42C, has sadly passed away and with him a direct link to those dangerous and challenging years. Nonetheless the thread continues to honour those who told their story and to add to our collective understanding of the colossal organisation that the Royal Air Force was then. So your post is both welcome and apposite and I thank you for bringing this unique thread back onto page 1 where it belongs.

Danny could have rattled off answers to most of your questions I suspect, but I have to fall back on Google to seek answers:-

ASU translates as Armament Support Unit in this much later post, but could he have started out in such?
History of the RAF Police at the ASU

No idea about T Sergt (Temporary, Technical?) whatever it was he goes back to AC2. I suspect this might have been disciplinary move (ie busted to the ranks?), but again not sure.

He claws his way back up, via LAC to T Sgt again, before starting pilot training.

311 was indeed a Ferry Training Unit:-
311 Ferry Training Unit[RAFCommands Archive]

I suspect the IPBD is 1 BPD, ie No1 Base Personnel Depot, as here:-

No idea about the supy's, possibly supernumerary due a missing unit (ie its moved location since the posting/attachment order).

Well, there's a starter for ten which will no doubt be heavily corrected by those more knowledgeable than I. Good luck with your research! I suggest placing RAF after the various acronyms, as it can help sort out the search better.

PS I think perhaps that missing means just that. He is missing 13.7.44 which is the date he is later presumed dead. The intervening supy's are probably an administrative procedure whereby he is kept on strength until finally presumed dead.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 7th Jul 2019 at 14:40. Reason: Second thoughts re missing
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 15:49
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Originally Posted by cyflyer View Post
I am slightly perplexed at the subject of this thread which started as a description of gaining a ww2 brevet some 600 + pages, and a few years, ago, but seems to be a general ww2 subject now, so I'll add a little question to the mix and see if anyone can help. I have a few pages of service history of a ww2 pilot i am researching, and some written things are so difficult to desipher. Has anyone seen this and can maybe shed some light ?
Did this Pilot start off as groundcrew or a different Aircrew 'Trade' ?
If perhaps you can post some more images such as earlier 'movements' etc it might be of great help.

T Sgt would be Temporary Sgt
'ASU' could possibly be Acting Sgt Unpaid ?? - these hand written forms are a nightmare sometimes.
In the RAF at that time - if somebody 'Remustered' to a different trade they sometimes had to 'officially' revert back to AC2 rank.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 17:53
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In 1944, 40 Squadron RAF were based in Foggia, Italy. Operating Wellington X aircraft.

Perhaps his aircraft was missing in action that day 13/7/44.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 22:24
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Agree with Longer Ron that more information about his service before U/T Pilot would be of interest. Could runf be reinf, ie reinforcement?

He's sent to 2 Aircrew Reception Centre (Rabat Sale, Morocco) Mediterranean Allied Air Forces wef 8/5/44, and the very next day he is at 1 BPD Hussein and Fort de l'Eau (Algeria). A quick turnaround indeed, and 3 days later he is with 40 Squadron at Foggia, Italy (thanks OOT!).

Tragically within 2 months and a day he is missing presumed dead. Therein lies the brutal reality of war. All that training, all that service, extinguished in 2 months of ops. RIP

Ground Units

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Old 7th Jul 2019, 23:52
  #12651 (permalink)  
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Firstly, thanks for all the replies, I am grateful for your input.
Out Of Trim, indeed it was, he was the pilot of Wellington X, KIA on that date 13/7/1944, out of Foggia Main. His name was Charalambous, he was Cypriot. I am researching a small handful of Cypriots that served with Bomber Command, and he was the only pilot.
Chugalug2, thanks for the kind words, i don't think the 'Armament Support Unit' can be correct, this is a rank and there's no such Armament Support Unit then as far as I know. T Sarg, I have never seen in any RAF reference book a reference to such a rank, do you think that could be F/Sargent ? and its written in a strange way ? There should be a course on how to decipher some these people's handwriting ! No1 BPD, you may well be correct, that would make sense, based in Algeria, that would be the logical stepping/route to Foggia when ferrying crews and aircraft, well done. The way they abbreviate 'training', notice it is written 'Tring' every time, the i is always dotted, in that 'supy' does it look like an i, which would be 'supig', which would be short for ??? So what do think ' 'Ferry training: on c/a to 311 FTU' means, c/a... ? Phew, service records give more questions than answers.

longer ron, here is the earlier movements, it doesn't look like he started with a different trade, most of it seems to make sense, even though I cannot understand why he was almost a year at EFTS when it should only be about 10 weeks, when apparently he had his 'wings' by the end of August 1941. There was a photo of him in a local english newspaper on 31st August 1941, and he has Sgt stripes and his wings.

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Old 8th Jul 2019, 00:01
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You're probably going to ask why he was in a local newspaper. The story as I have seen it, he saw a mushroom while flying, and landed in a field to pick it. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but here is the newspaper clip from 'Sunday Chronicle' of 31st August 1941...I didn't believe it either until I saw it. Was he reprimanded or rewarded ? I think the newspaper clip answers that question. The timing of the photo is about right , about 6 weeks after starting at 9 EFTS which would be about right, so it would have been in a Tiger Moth of 9EFTS, so what was he doing there until August 1942 ?

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Old 8th Jul 2019, 10:02
  #12653 (permalink)  
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Hi Cyflyer
I assume this is your man .
He was eventually commissioned which is why he was 'Discharged from RAF' in 12/1943,an NCO had to 'officially' leave the RAF on commissioning and then 'Rejoin' as an Officer.
Given his age when he died - it is possible he was a pre war pilot and he was employed as a Flying Instructor in 1941,which would explain his photo with 'Wings'
13.07.1944 - 40 Squadron RAF
[Lost in Wellington X LN270 'O' on an operation against the Milan Lambrate Marshalling Yards]
Initials: C
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 40 Sqdn.
Age: 30
Date of Death: 13/07/1944
Service No: 162971
Additional information: Son of Charalambous and Haji Maritsa Charalambous, of Nicosia, Cyprus.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: III. F. 8.

Last edited by longer ron; 8th Jul 2019 at 10:25.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 10:09
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On 10/11 July 1944, eighty-nine aircraft were detailed for an attack on rolling stock concentrated at the marshalling yards at Milan-Lambrate.[22] Ten Wellingtons from 40 Squadron participated in the operation. The results of the operation were good and left the target area covered in small fires. The tracks were also cut at both ends, which led to rolling stuck being trapped in the yards. Three nights later,

The target was again the rolling stock at the LAMBRATE Marshalling Yards at MILAN, now pinned in the yards as a result of the destruction of the exits in the previous raid.[23]
Nine Wellingtons from 40 Squadron was detailed for the operation. Wellington X LN270/O piloted by Plt Off. Charalambous (162971) took off from Foggia Main at 20.20 hours. Hyer was the navigator of this aircraft. The attack was successful, but six aircraft were lost in the operation. LN270/O was one of them. Apart from Plt Off. Charalambous and Hyer, the crew of the aircraft were Fg Off. Martin, FS Shephard, and Sgt Knight. It was Hyer’s fourteenth operational mission.
The Navigator Lt KAJ HYER (SAAF) was Danish
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 10:43
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ASU, Acting Sergeant, Unpaid? I was an Acting Corporal for about 7 months, but luckily paid. Rank was annotated as A/Cpl on forms.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 11:59
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Acting Unpaid

Seem to remember in the ‘Army’ that Acting Unpaid only applied for 28 days then you were paid, not sure if you got back pay for the first 28 - was often alleged that certain unscrupulous staff would stand you down for a few days at day 27 then resume status for a further 27!!!

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Old 8th Jul 2019, 12:47
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I agree with ASU meaning Acting Sergeant Unpaid.

I think that all the variants of Supy mean Supernumerary, ie a temporary administrative attachment to a unit rather than a proper posting to it. In this case, other than his one day at 2 ARC Rabat/Sale, it seems to occur after he is posted missing and until he is presumed dead. Supig rings no bells with me. These are hand written entries by Admin Clerks, no doubt with their own idiosyncratic ideas about spelling and abbreviations.

As to "on c/a to 311 Ferry Training Unit", how about Course Attachment?

Interesting that commissioning from the ranks means leaving and then re-joining the RAF. You learn something every day! Thanks LR.

ACDW is the Air Crew Disposal Wing, Brighton


Last edited by Chugalug2; 8th Jul 2019 at 13:14. Reason: added ACDW
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 15:58
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A bit more on this old thread on another website Details of Missions flown... [Archive] - Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
I missed Hoyer
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 20:17
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I still have not worked out the drop in rank - unless it was a disciplinary matter ?? or perhaps loss of Flying Medical Category ?? (although it would seem harsh to bust him all the way down to AC2).

But if it was a discip matter he would then seem to have been commissioned on the very day he regained Temp Sgt (22/12/43) - which would also perhaps seem a little unlikely.
A bit of a puzzle.

On RAF Unit Histories (RAFVR) - it has a link to a Biography in the Cyprus Weekly but the link does not work - but if you are local ??

Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve) Officers 1939-1945 -- C


The reference to - PPP Wolverhampton will be No3 Pupil Pilots Pool Wolverhampton.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 21:30
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His Service number has also changed on commissioning...
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