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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 6th Nov 2019, 17:58
  #12721 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairford, Glos
Age: 95
Posts: 155
The wrong answer!

Seems like I had an experience similar to Danny's, during my end of SFTS course interview with the station commander. On discovering I had attended a Rugby-playing school, I was asked which position I played in: to which I responded "none if I could help it" (or words to that effect), "I was no good at sport and didn't like the game anyway". So who ever said 'honesty was the best policy' I reflected, on leaving the station as a Sergeant Pilot rather than Pilot Officer; but in the long run perhaps I had after all said the right thing, for NCOs seemed to pass through the blockage that was the Harrogate holding unit rather quicker than the commissioned - and so it proved to be for me.


Originally Posted by Geriaviator View Post
Sir Basil Embry didn't always find favour with his subordinates, who included our sadly missed contributor Danny42C. Having flown Vengeance dive-bombers in Burma Danny returned to his old job in the Civil Service in 1946 but found its stuffiness unbearable, so he rejoined the RAF and at last was given a Spitfire to fly. His bid for a permanent commission was going quite well until he encountered Sir Basil, as he wrote in his e-book Danny and the Cold War:


Most followers of this wonderful thread will have copies of Danny's e-books In with a Vengeance and Danny and the Cold War but if anyone hasn't, send me a PM with your email address as Prune cannot handle attachments.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 20:15
  #12722 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ireland
Age: 72
Posts: 222
What a genuine joy it is, in these dark and desperate days (of both the weather, and the zeitgeist) to hear a pertinent word from one of this epic thread's great contributors (95 and still batting) - so all respect to harrym!
More please harry - however brief - your reminiscences are a priceless link to the core of this fascinating historical thread.

Keep well, keep warm Sir - and keep coming in on this frequency.
Very Best to you
IanBB
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Old 8th Nov 2019, 18:11
  #12723 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairford, Glos
Age: 95
Posts: 155
The wrong answer!

Thank you IABB for your kind words! Over the years most of my WW2 reminiscences have appeared on this thread, but now & then someone will post something that triggers a remote corner of my memory - so hopefully I'm not done yet!

Cheers - harrym
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Old 9th Nov 2019, 10:58
  #12724 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 75
Posts: 5,376
On that note, I would mention that tomorrow, 10 Nov, would have been our dear departed Danny42C's 98th birthday.

"Gone but not forgotten".
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Old 9th Nov 2019, 15:34
  #12725 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 78
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Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
On that note, I would mention that tomorrow, 10 Nov, would have been our dear departed Danny42C's 98th birthday.

"Gone but not forgotten".
Here, here, MPN11. He brought to life those dark days of WWII and was the very life of this thread. He also brought with him the politeness and tolerance for others that seems so lacking these days. We learned so much more from him than the fascinating stories with which he regaled us. I will never forget Danny, nor the qualities for which he stood.

Rest peacefully, O Happy Warrior!
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 15:58
  #12726 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 528
IN MEMORIAM: Danny 42C

Our dear friend Danny 42C (sometime Flt Lt Dennis O'Leary) passed away one year ago today, and I think we all agree that this thread hasn't been the same without his memories, his wit and his wisdom. His devoted daughter Mary, who cared for him in his last years, sends her regards to the crewroom; while she misses him terribly, she recalls the many happy hours her Dad spent on his laptop with Prune and reflects that he would have been in his element discussing today's political antics!

Our thanks to recent recipients of his e-books In with a Vengeance and Danny and the Cold War for their generous donations in his memory to his chosen charities the RAF Benevolent Fund and Marie Curie. Plenty more ebooks in stock if you PM your email address to me, Geriaviator. Finally, I've had several requests for my own tribute posted last year in the FAREWELL, DANNY 42C thread on this forum. As the link doesn't always work and people say they cannot find my post #122, may I once more seek the Mods' indulgence and repeat it below?
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 16:01
  #12727 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 528
A LAST LETTER TO MY DEAR OLD PAL

Hello again Dennis, my dear old friend,

Can it really be six years since you first cast your spell on us Ppruners? Already enthralled by the long-running Brevet thread for World War II aircrew, we logged in every day to read your latest instalment.

In your time foreign travel was undreamed of for most people, let alone flying, yet your 18-year-old self, yearning to fly a Spitfire, joined the RAF and was sent off to learn to fly in Florida.

Through your writings, a rich mix of humour, knowledge, and vivid memories of times long gone, we followed your shaky steps into the air and your sense of wonder at this strange land where everything was plentiful. We shared your delight when you returned to England and your dream came true with training on Spitfires and posting to a new Spitfire Wing in India.

Four years later I would follow in your footsteps when my mother took me to rejoin my father in RAF Poona. Long before Bombay came into view we too picked up the exotic smells, from spices to sewers as you described them. From the deck of HMT Strathnaver we too goggled at the Victorians' vast Gateway to India, wondered at the teeming humanity, picked our way through the seething platforms of Victoria Station to our reserved carriage. At Poona, the aviation bug infected me for life the instant my father lowered me into the cockpit of a Vengeance, perhaps it was one that you had flown.

That was when our electronic friendship began with your first greeting Namaste, chota-sahib! An address I had not heard for 70 years, and the once-familiar terms of the Raj that my father used until he died 22 years ago: memsahib, chai, jeldi-jeldi, dhobi, tiffin, charpoy. We shared memories of basha and bearer, of cobra and Kipling, of monkeys and monsoons. We even enjoyed a few phone calls despite your deafness, which had started with many hours behind a thundering Wright Cyclone and later a Merlin.

Back on PPRuNe you kept us spellbound with your rail journey across India and our hearts sank with yours when you eventually reached Madhaiganj and you spotted a big ugly thing on the apron.
What on earth is THAT? we asked our driver. That's a Vultee Vengeance, Sarge, they're dive bombers! We knew nothing about dive bombers and clung to our last faint hope.

What about the Spitfires we're supposed to be getting? — You've had it, Sarge, there aren't any out here!

Oh, Noooo ... Oh, Yesss! Not for the first or last time in the RAF, we'd been sold a pup.
Soon a thousand PPruners per day were following your love-hate relationship with the Vengeance and your description of its two-mile vertical dive had us on the edge of our seats; in between came your witty and colourful mix of reflections on India and the life of its European exiles. Then a Japanese bullet severed an oil line and you were badly injured in the ensuing forced landing, thankfully to recover and to command a special Flight carrying out gas spray trials until the war ended.

In your 90th year, you began writing all your stories on an elderly laptop with touchpad, a laptop which became increasingly unreliable as the years went by -- just like ourselves, we laughed. So we decided to produce your story as an e-book and all through last winter we exchanged drafts and yet more memories, leading to In with a Vengeance in April this year.

This first book was so well received that my wife and I began work on your second volume, Danny and the Cold War, for which with great effort you transcribed the first 22,000 words. Once again we hung on every word as you rejoined the RAF, converted from Spitfires to jets, only to be grounded by your lung problem in 1954. Then you regaled us with life as an air traffic controller on airfields around England and even to Berlin during the Cold War. All the while you watched the RAF and its personnel change from a wartime to a peacetime and different Service.

But despite the loving care of your devoted daughter Mary, your responses became slower and I detected a faint note of resignation. We're pals for life, you told me, and said you would like the book produced even though you might never see it, and I promised I would see it to completion.

It was a poignant moment when we read of your loving care for your little daughter in her playpen, and we thought how your lives had turned full circle as little daughter Mary was now caring for her dear Dad. As your bad days increased, we worked flat-out to finish your book at the end of last month, and we are so glad we did as you were alert to the end and able to see the first proof copy. Thank you, thank you, thank you, you wrote, and it gladdened our hearts to know you were pleased.

But at 4am on November 12, Mary told me, you became restless, you asked for your laptop, and you called on your last reserves for a brief mail which brought tears to my eyes:
Well, Doc says my life span is a week or a fortnight: it had to come sooner or later, I suppose, but I had hoped for a bit more ... Now, I would wish you to offer the book on PPRuNe as we agreed ... My favourite charities would be the RAF Memorial Fund and Marie Curie ...Heart too full now,must break off now.
A few hours later, you 'slipped the surly bonds of earth and soared the skies' for the last time, leaving a void that can never be filled. But now, far beyond the sparkling clouds with their towering castles and sunlit canyons, you have joined your beautiful Iris once again. May you have eternal happiness together.

Ever your pal, Michael
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 16:51
  #12728 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 75
Posts: 5,376
How can I have dust in my eyes when it's pi§§ing with rain?

Cheers, Geriaviator ... and Danny of course.
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 17:05
  #12729 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 1,006
MPN11 - me too!

Thanks again Geriaviator and Danny - RIP.
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 17:27
  #12730 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 78
Posts: 4,202
What a combination, Danny42C and Geriaviator! You capture completely the love and affection that came from all here who were privileged to read Danny's numerous entertaining and informative posts. He grasped at once the opportunity this challenging new internet technology provided him to tell younger generations of his journey from Liverpool schoolboy to gaining the OP wings, plying his trade of dive-bombing the Japanese Army, and returning to a peace time RAF and thence HMC&E. After a few hesitant tries wherein the PPRuNe dog repeatedly ate his homework, he was soon the equal of any latter day blogger.

We miss your wit, your amazing memory, your gentle manner Danny. Thank you for taking us to a far off country of which we then knew little but we now know so much of. I see that the movie Midway is now released. We learnt the significance of that victory from you, along with so much else. You told your story and spoke for a generation that you always denied was special. With respect, Danny, it was, and so were you.

Goodbye dear friend.

Chug
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 12:56
  #12731 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Llandudno
Age: 95
Posts: 118
Thank you Danny. You welcomed me so many years ago. I was lucky enough to be trained at 1 BFTS in Texas, you suffered under the Arnold Scheme. I am glad that we were able to communicate one to one last year. You are sadly missed.
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 14:34
  #12732 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 528
So good to see that Harry and Brian, our two senior members, are still on frequency. Good health gentlemen!
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 17:04
  #12733 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 75
Posts: 5,376
One aspect I will always personally remember is how his magnificent lifespan managed to capture the lives of so many of us. From WW2 pilot contemporaries to late-comer Air Traffickers like myself! Even Fighter Controllers got a look in!

Oh, such a richly filled span of years. Cheers again, Dennis, and sad you weren’t my Instructor at CATCS!
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 21:33
  #12734 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 1,006
Geriaviator

I hope you aren't thinking of this Brian as a senior member! I'm just a sprog of 73, though it is almost 50 years since the odd occasion I flew with Chugalug2 on 30 Sqn!

Regards

B48N
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Old 14th Nov 2019, 21:40
  #12735 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Llandudno
Age: 95
Posts: 118
Thank you Geriaviator. Still around!
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Old 18th Nov 2019, 10:22
  #12736 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Sleepy Hollow
Posts: 304
Tha'ts a wonderful post Gerivator & many thanks for details of Dannys books & very pleased to make donations towards both RAFBF & MC charities, per ardua ad astra & forever blue skies Danny.42C
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 12:22
  #12737 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 528
Sorry for ident confusion, Brian48nav, I'm so glad to see that the Brian I mentioned is still squawking around Llandudno!
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 14:57
  #12738 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,307
I missed Danny's Anniversary, but he is never far from our thoughts, indeed none of you are.
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Old 8th Dec 2019, 11:53
  #12739 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: West Sussex, England
Posts: 429
Surely there must still be a goodly crowd who scan this tribute thread several times a week which 'proves' that its spirit continues - as does our need for any scraps of reminiscence.
When yet energized over recent years by Danny's multiple and historical memories of his life both during, and post WWII, it flourished.

I'm grateful to note, despite their admittedly great age and yet who are skilled in using the Internet, that at least two of his contemporaries have continued to find & post us comments.
Other colleagues e.g. in Poland and France have likewise broadened our knowledge of the past events (including revealing some of the less wonderful things the British Government did & did not do !)

A Happy Christmas and a glass of cheer to both present and departed friends.

mikehallam (Jackrell's Airfield West Sussex).


Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
I missed Danny's Anniversary, but he is never far from our thoughts, indeed none of you are.

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