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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 20th Aug 2020, 17:34
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Bill, Please tell us the tale.
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Old 27th Aug 2020, 09:44
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Fighters in the Blood

Some of you will have read bits of this before (A Spitfire Pilot) in this thread when I transcribed my fathers’ memories and started to drip feed them in this thread. A couple of years ago my brother wrote down his own thoughts on his career in the RAF, drawing parallels to those of our fathers’ experiences. At the same time I rediscovered over a hundred of his letters to our mother between 1939 t0 1945. Sadly neither parent had the opportunity to re-read their words and so my brother intertwined these letters giving a whole new light to the events of 75+ years ago.

Encouraged to have them printed by Pen & Sword, the result is a fascinating and insightful record of what it was really like to be a fighter pilot then and again in the 60s onwards.

“Fighters in the Blood” is the result and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we both did.


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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 18:14
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Pursuant to our late CO’s brilliant metaphor .... long have I lurked in the nether regions of our ‘virtual crewroom’, just cleaning up the ‘tea swindle’ mugs but with ears always a-flapping (twixt now ever-more-frequent sorties to the ablutions) to pick up the wonderful conversation from around the stove.

... the stove has gone cold now, it seems, and I gaze with sadness upon the battered armchair next to it, now empty and perhaps never again to be occupied. If Danny - God bless him! - be gazing down upon us ‘from a great height’ now, I fear he might be most displeased to see this “best of all threads” left to wither on the vine.

That must not be! This thread is a unique, and absolutely irreplaceable, record of history-as-it-happened. Can any of our crew with sharper technical skills than mine see a way to preserve it for posterity, whatever may happen to PPRuNe in the future . ... perhaps as a contribution to the Imperial War Museum database?

That sombre stuff said, I don’t think we’re quite done yet!

- We’ve had some truly spendid contributions from the descendants of former WW II pilots who are no longer with us, and I hope that more such may emerge if this thread may continue for longer.

- I for one - to my shame - have a number of queries etc. on which I should have posted much earlier and didn’t, but which may still help to keep this thread alive long enough for more valuable contributions to emerge if I so do now ... I suspect that I am not alone in this respect! ... what do you think, folks? Can we keep this show on the road a little longer?
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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 21:25
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Hi, I'm sorry to hear that your Father passed away, although 96 is a good number.

I've only just got a notification that you had replied to one of my postings, apologies.

I have not been up here after Reg "flew off" and I was starting to hit dead ends with my Uncle's research. I was trying to find out why my Uncle only completed Primary training at Darr Aero then appeared in Terrell in Texas to join BFTS1 to complete his training. I even went to Albany and the archives in Montgomery Airbase (that was another story where they in the entrance did not want me to enter the site to go to the archive!) and could find no records of him, apparently there was a fire at Darr Aero and the training records all got burnt.

As my previous postings said he completed his training and got posted to 64 Squadron as a Spitfire pilot then onto 154 Squadron where he got posted to North Africa where he was shot down by German "predictive flak" at the age of 20.

BTW his name was Sgt LVC Brooker, he had married my Mothers sister hence the connection.

Hope this helps? Regards Andy
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:59
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Alas, Dogle, this thread lost its vital spark when our honorary CO departed on his final posting, much as I enjoy the posts of his late comrades' successors. We have been assured by the Mods that this thread is a priceless record of aviation history by those who were there, and will be preserved for as long as Prune exists.

As to the IWM, don't hold your breath; they showed total disinterest in Danny's book about a forgotten Air Force supporting a forgotten Army in a forgotten theatre of war. Nothing personal – they were just as disinterested in my father's photographs of Fairey Battle operations in France, 1940. Of course they haven't room for everything.

However, we won't forget our valiant posters and anyone who hasn't read In with a Vengeance and Danny in the Cold War should send me their email address via PM and I'll send them the books with a request for a donation to the RAF Benevolent Fund. With hundreds of copies despatched over the past couple of years, as Danny said the Fund must think it's their birthday!

There is also Reg Levy's excellent account published as Night Flak to Hijack.

Best wishes to everyone who shared the halcyon years of this fascinating thread.
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Old 25th Nov 2020, 18:42
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Thank you for livening this 'thread' up again and nice to see you ' younger' fellows are still keen on staying involved.

I'm afraid I've no derring tales to relate.
My National Service - after 'Square bashing' at RF Bridgenorth, then RAF Locking [No.1 Radio & Radar School] was spent on RADAR units in Cyprus, It was 1959-60 &" Peace Time" !
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 16:44
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Thank you Andy - I can't find any mention of Sgt Brooker in Dad's records, sadly.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 07:45
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Hi and a Happy New Year ( it will be when covid is sorted out) to all the wonderful members of this thread.

OK I've just finished reading a book which Danny would have found interesting. I think I remember him saying that he couldn't understand the RAF's attitude towards dive bombing. Well (and I hope this hasn't been discussed before) the book is: "The history of Dive Bombing" by Peter C. Smith. The basic idea it covers vis a vis the upper echelons of the RAF is their desire not to be too involved, at the time, in dive bombing because they saw themselves as upholders of strategic bombing ideology ( Trenchard and Douhet ) not Army cooperation. There is more about the history of dive bombing from the start in 1911 to 2007 and is very informative.

I found this book very good, it can be found here at the longest river also other quality book sellers. For those with a kindle £0.82 !
https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Dive-Bombing-Comprehensive-Onward/dp/1844155927/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2UFYDYUL45746&dchild=1&keywords=a+history+of+dive+bombing&qid=1609489971&sprefix=History+of+Dive+Bombing%2Caps%2C230&sr=8-1 https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Dive-Bombing-Comprehensive-Onward/dp/1844155927/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2UFYDYUL45746&dchild=1&keywords=a+history+of+dive+bombing&qid=1609489971&sprefix=History+of+Dive+Bombing%2Caps%2C230&sr=8-1

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Old 1st Jan 2021, 09:02
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DG, I wish you and all who follow this very special thread a Happy New Year too, and thank you for drawing attention to this follow up to Peter C Smith's 'Vengeance'. Danny treasured his copy of that authoritative tome and made sure that it would be safe in the hands of someone who would safeguard it in the future. I'm not sure he would approve of the front cover of this history, given that the aircraft (which is presumably in the process of dive bombing some hapless target) is not diving from the vertical. He was even somewhat dismissive of the infamous Stuka which delivered its bomb from some 70-80 degrees, hence inducing a throw-forward which had to be accommodated for in the aiming (ie short). Danny's Vengeance had a zero angle of incidence (hence the ungainly nose high attitude when in straight and level flight). The attack would thus be from the vertical, from immediately above the target. There was no tendency for the nose to rise thanks to the zero incidence and he simply kept his sight on the target down to the release altitude. The bomb then carried on maintaining the aircraft's trajectory, while the aircraft itself was pulled out of its dive, often inducing blackout, and usually at treetop height. By going into the dive on different headings, his 'box' would end up like a Red Arrows star burst when flying away from the target, thus confusing the A/A gunners. All this did not apply to the Mk4 which had a positive incidence and hence flew more conventionally, but thus less effectively as a dive-bomber. As the RAF employed them for target-tugs it mattered little.

Your point about Strategic v Tactical bombing is well made and illustrated by the vast numbers of long range heavy bombers based in England and the cascading of unwanted types such as the Vengeance and Hurricane to overseas battle fields, where they did stalwart service. The concept of the Corporation Dust-Cart syndrome is a well trodden path in the RAF. I flew the Handley Page Hastings, with wings and systems from the wartime Halifax, and generally seen as obsolete in the 60's when it equipped my squadron. It could still outrange and outhaul its 'replacement'. Just as Danny treasured his memories of his dust-cart, so did I of mine.

The kindle version of the History of Dive Bombing is a bargain and duly grabbed. Thanks for the heads up!

Last edited by Chugalug2; 1st Jan 2021 at 11:44. Reason: Details, dear boy, details!
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 09:15
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Looks like £0.82 well spent! And ... downloaded!


Edit @ 10 Feb. Finally got round to reading it, and a most excellent dissertation.

Last edited by MPN11; 10th Feb 2021 at 09:04.
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Old 16th Nov 2021, 12:23
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First time I've seen this, looked darn good, was just getting into it! Surprised to see Cliff was 98 when he wrote that entry in his blog, 2008! I would have loved to have read more. RIP Cliff, one of our many great hero who fought for his country in he war!
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 13:04
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Mt Dad was Tadeusz Turek and both my brothers were in that ATC unit.
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Old 17th May 2022, 10:52
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6 BFTS Course 11

I have yet to read all of this excellent thread - came across it when researching 6BFTS and am delighted that I did so. I am no pilot (colour blind, so my ambition from age dot to 17 was stymied!), but my father in law was. Until recently, all we knew was that he did some training in Canada, had the 'caterpillar award' and was an instructor during the war (he quite vehemently protested the fact that he was not in combat). His wartime diaries were very recently discovered and it turns out he was on course 11 at 6BFTS. If you have read either Tom Kiilibrew's or Paula Denson's books, my father in law was the 'Gordon' referred to in the extract from Alan Watson's diary entry for Christmas day 1942. I am transcribing the diaries, which is taking a hell of a time due to Gordon's appalling writing. I do hope this thread is retained. Many thanks to all who have contributed.
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Old 20th May 2022, 14:25
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Hello OFG, welcome to the best-read thread on Prune before our contributors one by one made their last takeoffs for higher service. The Mods very kindly made this a permanent record of so much aviation history, beginning 14 years ago with Cliff's starter post on Lancasters: "So full power, wheels up, flap in by five, and 2850 plus 9. We are away."

As you will see we have enjoyed countless stories about basic training both here and abroad, hair-raising tales such as Reg's Halifax acquiring a bomb-shaped hole right through its fuselage from friends above, and teach yourself dive-bombing as related by Flt Lt Dennis O'Leary, the much loved Danny 42C who began posting in 2012. It was my pleasure to edit his memories into two e-books, In with a Vengeance dealing with his training in Florida and operating the Vultee Vengeance in Burma, and Danny and the Cold War, detailing post-war flying on Spitfire, Meteor and Venom, then ATC before demob and closing career as a VAT inspector.

In accordance with his last wishes, I'm glad to send copies to anyone interested in exchange for donations made direct to the RAF Benevolent Fund, we suggest £10 per book. Please PM me, Geriaviator, with your email address as we can't send attachments via Prune.

Regards to any old-timers still on frequency ...

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Old 1st Jul 2022, 15:33
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I don't know if it's already been linked on here, but someone on the Key Aero forum posted this link to wartime archive footage of 84 Squadron, including shots of Vengeances, as well as Mustangs and Hurricanes in India and Burma

F26539 | Collections - Catalogue - Catalogue Item | Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (ngataonga.org.nz)
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Old 3rd Jul 2022, 14:04
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A lovely find, but sadly my feed leads to a stop at about 22 minutes in.

Oh, that Danny 42c was here to give us a supporting narrative. Indeed, is he featured?
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Old 10th Jul 2022, 10:58
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Originally Posted by Fargo Boyle View Post
I don't know if it's already been linked on here, but someone on the Key Aero forum posted this link to wartime archive footage of 84 Squadron, including shots of Vengeances, as well as Mustangs and Hurricanes in India and Burma

F26539 | Collections - Catalogue - Catalogue Item | Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (ngataonga.org.nz)
Wow, what a find FB! As MPN11 says, what a shame that Danny is no longer with us to comment. While his Vengeance Squadrons were 110, 82, and 8 (IAF), this video is of No 84 Sqn. Nonetheless, Danny would recognise many of those portrayed, and have much to say about the aircraft, Ground and Air Crews, the various locations, and of course the operational scenes. I don't remember him mentioning US Mustang escorts, though there were the occasional Hurricane ones. Most often his 'box' were on their own, as was Danny when he was confronted by an Oscar and lived tell the tale!

Thanks for this video, FB. A reminder of a forgotten campaign by a forgotten army! The shear size of the Vengeance is apparent when being serviced (or used as a prop for group photographs). A deadly weapon in the right hands, and mercifully they were!
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