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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 16th Mar 2010, 22:32
  #1621 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CHESTER
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PILOT TRAINING in UK, WW2

On the last day in July, 1942, Ivan and I, with four other crews, were told we would be posted the following day. We were to be cleared from Abingdon by 11-00am and then report to the Engineering Officer. There we were given the Form 700 for six ancient Whitleys which just been serviced, after lying idle for some months. They were an uninspiring sight, recently fitted with six internal tanks,- long cylinders stacked three each side in the fuselage. We were told these would enable the Whitley to fly for up to 14 hours, and we were to deliver them to St Eval.
10 kit bags, two for each crew member, plus several other packages and three bicycles, were strapped down in the available space and we climbed in. Unfortunately there was no seat squab for the pilot. Also we had no parachutes nor Mae Wests, despite the order we were always to carry these. Abingdon parachute section demanded they should be handed in before clearance and would not issue others. Peter, my Bomb Aimer, acquired a blanket from the Sergeants’ Mess for me to sit on. The engines fired up and the airframe rattled and groaned as we taxied out.
A Pilot Officer wearing pilots wings, but also the badges of the ATC, said he was authorized to fly with us to St Eval, as he was spending a holiday in Newquay. Peter had confirmed this at the Watch Office. I invited him to sit in the jump seat and Peter said he would sit in the nose. As we turned onto the grass airfield the Pilot Officer said he had never flown in a Whitley and he was looking forward to the trip. I replied, “They are very solid aircraft, but don’t judge them by this clapped out old kite. I will feel much happier when we get it off the ground.” I wish I had not said that !
It was hot day with no wind and the “T” was laid out to give the longest run. Opening up to full bore we rumbled across the grass in a long run but, just as we reached take -off speed, I felt a slight swing to port. I immediately knew something was wrong so I called, “Hold tight. We are crashing.”
The trees on the airfield boundary loomed up as I pulled back on the stick and we just scraped over them, dropping onto the wheels in a field of stubble.
Flames shot up between my legs and the green fabric by the side of my seat was also ablaze. ( Who would line type of dog-pit with a green carpet-like material?) Then we hit a fence and the wheels were torn off, and we stopped in a field of wheat. Although I had hit the switches there was an awful noise from the fire.
The Pilot Officer had disappeared through the nose, following Peter. Jack Roberts was standing on my right thigh and pushing against the escaped hatch. I reached up and released the catch and Jack shot out. As I turned round, I saw ‘Benny’ Goodman staggering from the wireless compartment. He had taken his jacket off before take off, because it was a very hot day, but now his shirt was in flames, his hair had disappeared and the skin had gone from his face. He was blind, and groping forward with his hands.
I grabbed hold of him and steered him up to the hatch and pushed him out. The port wing was ablaze so I pushed ‘Benny’ forward over the front turret where Bert Bradley had come round from the rear turret and he grabbed him.
I urged the crew away and we ran to a farm house at the edge of the field. The front door was open but no one was about, so I picked up the telephone and asked the operator for Abingdon Airfield, saying it was ‘An Emergency.’ She did not know what an emergency was and did not want to connect me. As I argued with her, a hand came from behind me and took the ‘phone. It was Group Captain Gray. I said to him, “I don’t know what on earth happened, Sir.”
“Don’t worry, sergeant. All your crew are alive. That’s all that matters.”
The rest of the crew were already in the ambulance and ‘Benny’ was being swathed in wet bandages, taken from a bucket of brine water.
I commented on the speed at which the Ambulance and Fire Crew had arrived and one said. “We watched you take off. Half way down your run we saw the fire break out from the port engine and it was like an eighty foot blow lamp. It even burnt off your port rudder before you got airborne, and we started out, not across the field but by the main gate.”
Of the other five Whitleys, Ivan landed at St Eval, but as he passed over the “hump” on the main runway he found he had no brake pressure. Unable to stop he turned and wrote off the undercarriage. A second aircraft landed at St Merryn and also suffered brake failure, crashing into the bomb dump railings. Number four lost an engine in flight and landed safely at another airfield. Number five landed safely at St Eval, and number six did not take off at all. Wing Commander Pickard, the C/O of the new unit at St Eval was not amused!

fredjhh
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Old 16th Mar 2010, 22:41
  #1622 (permalink)  
 
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PILOT TRAINING in UK, WW2

On the last day in July, 1942, Ivan and I, with four other crews, were told we would be posted the following day. We were to be cleared from Abingdon by 11-00am and then report to the Engineering Officer. There we were given the Form 700 for six ancient Whitleys which just been serviced, after lying idle for some months. They were an uninspiring sight, recently fitted with six internal tanks,- long cylinders stacked three each side in the fuselage. We were told these would enable the Whitley to fly for up to 14 hours, and we were to deliver them to St Eval.
10 kit bags, two for each crew member, plus several other packages and three bicycles, were strapped down in the available space and we climbed in. Unfortunately there was no seat squab for the pilot. Also we had no parachutes nor Mae Wests, despite the order we were always to carry these. Abingdon parachute section demanded they should be handed in before clearance and would not issue others. Peter, my Bomb Aimer, acquired a blanket from the Sergeants’ Mess for me to sit on. The engines fired up and the airframe rattled and groaned as we taxied out.
A Pilot Officer wearing pilots wings, but also the badges of the ATC, said he was authorized to fly with us to St Eval, as he was spending a holiday in Newquay. Peter had confirmed this at the Watch Office. I invited him to sit in the jump seat and Peter said he would sit in the nose. As we turned onto the grass airfield the Pilot Officer said he had never flown in a Whitley and he was looking forward to the trip. I replied, “They are very solid aircraft, but don’t judge them by this clapped out old kite. I will feel much happier when we get it off the ground.” I wish I had not said that !
It was hot day with no wind and the “T” was laid out to give the longest run. Opening up to full bore we rumbled across the grass in a long run but, just as we reached take -off speed, I felt a slight swing to port. I immediately knew something was wrong so I called, “Hold tight. We are crashing.”
The trees on the airfield boundary loomed up as I pulled back on the stick and we just scraped over them, dropping onto the wheels in a field of stubble.
Flames shot up between my legs and the green fabric by the side of my seat was also ablaze. ( Who would line type of dog-pit with a green carpet-like material?) Then we hit a fence and the wheels were torn off, and we stopped in a field of wheat. Although I had hit the switches there was an awful noise from the fire.
The Pilot Officer had disappeared through the nose, following Peter. Jack Roberts was standing on my right thigh and pushing against the escaped hatch. I reached up and released the catch and Jack shot out. As I turned round, I saw ‘Benny’ Goodman staggering from the wireless compartment. He had taken his jacket off before take off, because it was a very hot day, but now his shirt was in flames, his hair had disappeared and the skin had gone from his face. He was blind, and groping forward with his hands.
I grabbed hold of him and steered him up to the hatch and pushed him out. The port wing was ablaze so I pushed ‘Benny’ forward over the front turret where Bert Bradley had come round from the rear turret and he grabbed him.
I urged the crew away and we ran to a farm house at the edge of the field. The front door was open but no one was about, so I picked up the telephone and asked the operator for Abingdon Airfield, saying it was ‘An Emergency.’ She did not know what an emergency was and did not want to connect me. As I argued with her, a hand came from behind me and took the ‘phone. It was Group Captain Gray. I said to him, “I don’t know what on earth happened, Sir.”
“Don’t worry, sergeant. All your crew are alive. That’s all that matters.”
The rest of the crew were already in the ambulance and ‘Benny’ was being swathed in wet bandages, taken from a bucket of brine water.
I commented on the speed at which the Ambulance and Fire Crew had arrived and one said. “We watched you take off. Half way down your run we saw the fire break out from the port engine and it was like an eighty foot blow lamp. It even burnt off your port rudder before you got airborne, and we started out, not across the field but by the main gate.”
Of the other five Whitleys, Ivan landed at St Eval, but as he passed over the “hump” on the main runway he found he had no brake pressure. Unable to stop he turned and wrote off the undercarriage. A second aircraft landed at St Merryn and also suffered brake failure, crashing into the bomb dump railings. Number four lost an engine in flight and landed safely at another airfield. Number five landed safely at St Eval, and number six did not take off at all. Wing Commander Pickard, the C/O of the new unit at St Eval was not amused!

fredjhh
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Old 16th Mar 2010, 23:13
  #1623 (permalink)  
 
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Rmventuri

REPLY TO RMVENTURI

Apparently, in 1942, Bomber Command was under pressure from the Navy to release aircraft for anti-submarine patrols. 51 Squadron, with several other Whitley and Wellington squadrons were already operating from airfields in the south west. 51 was at Chivenor but due to return to 4 Group. Reluctant to give up whole squadrons, Bomber Command decided some Whitley OTUs could send crews to a new unit called 10 OTU Detachment at St Eval for a short time, before going on to bomber squadrons. My crew was one of the first chosen, as I have recently described. Wing Commander Don Peveller took over from W/C Pickard, and he ran the unit until it was closed in July 1943. Some years before he died, Don told me at a 51 re-union at Wyton, that he believed most of the casualties were from engine failure. All operations were in daylight across the Bay of Biscay down to the coast of Spain, and the idea was to keep U-boats submerged as long as possible on their outward and inward journeys , burning up fuel and shortening their operational patrols. My trips ranged from 9 hours to 11 hours and mostly without a second pilot.
I operated over the winter of 1942/43 and I had left St. Eval by the end of January. fredjhh
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 01:42
  #1624 (permalink)  
 
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10 OTU Detachment

fredjhh

Thanks you so much for your reply - helps fill in the gaps - the glue that is so difficult to find without talking to someone like yourself who was there. So I would also assume that your long 11 hr anti-sub patrols did not count as ops - was this an issue for the crew?

By the way did you serve at HCU 1663 Rufforth after St. Eval?

Best regards Rodger
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 09:44
  #1625 (permalink)  
 
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Rmventuri

After Coastal Command we did a week on a Battle Course at Driffield, then three weeks on 1658 HCU at Riccall.
At St. Eval we were told to enter "operational patrols" in red ink.
When we joined 51 Squadron I noticed that my "A" Flight Commander, S/Ldr Russell, had his Chivenor operations counting as half ops. Fred
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 12:34
  #1626 (permalink)  
regle
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`Fredhjj

Our small world . I was at 1652 Rufforth in July of 1944 as an Instructor after my ops and had F/lt. Russell and his crew as pupils before his posting to Snaith I also went through 1658 Con Unit at Ricall for a 4 days (sic) Instructor's course before being let loose as an Instructor at 1652 Con Unit at Marston Moor. Regle
 
Old 17th Mar 2010, 12:41
  #1627 (permalink)  
regle
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encore

I also did a "Night Vision" course at Driffield where we were taught some very good tips on better night vision but were also made to play Hockey wearing dark glasses. My Bomb Aimer , Jackie Collins , still has the scar on his forehead where I split it open in the pursuit of better night vision ! Incidentally the eating of carrots to enhance your night vision was shown to be a complete figment of the Ministry of Agricultures effort to increase the consumption of them. It succeeded spectacularly and the myth exists to this day. Regle
 
Old 17th Mar 2010, 19:55
  #1628 (permalink)  
regle
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`Fredhjj

Fred, I should like to have said that "Ops" must have seemed like a piece of cake after your O.T.U. experiences but it seemed that I would have been wrong. My big regret is that I never got to talkto you when we must have run into each other at the 51 reunions but I look forward, immensely, to your future stories. We were so near together in time at 51 and it's training satellites but thank my stars that I was fortunate enough to escape Whitleys. Blenheims were bad enough but Whitleys thoroughly deserved their apt nickname of nose down flying coffins. Regle.
 
Old 17th Mar 2010, 20:18
  #1629 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Ops

Fredjhh

I noticed that my "A" Flight Commander, S/Ldr Russell, had his Chivenor operations counting as half ops


The half ops explains an enigma that never added up in the past – I had written it off to a mistake or missing information never to be known. Doug’s logbook has all night flights in red (whether an Op or training) and while at Snaith operations were always preceded with “Ops”. Obviously some did not count – noted as “returned early” due to icing up or some mechanical issue. While at St. Eval he was on six long anti-sub patrols which were neither red nor preceded with “Ops” so I had incorrectly assumed did not count. It never made sense to me why these didn’t count but since the numbers never added up I have always questioned it.

When I received his (200+ page) service history his last performance evaluation stated 15 ops as of 9 Oct ’43. I could never make this add up from his log book. The additional 3 ops at St. Eval now reconciles the difference. The ill fated Leipzig raid of 4 Dec ’43 was his 20th op.

(Stupid?) question for all – was photographic evidence required to get credit for an op? Would you ever get credit for an op if you were well on your way then forced to return early however bombed an alternate target?

Thanks
Rodger
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 22:29
  #1630 (permalink)  
 
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Rmventuri

I don't think photo evidence was needed. I seem to remember that you had to pass beyond 5 degrees East to count as an operation, unless operating over France or to Italy. Fredjhh.
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 23:03
  #1631 (permalink)  
 
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In John Beede's book ("They Hosed Them Out"), he mentions that photo evidence was required of the bomb run (and hits) for a sortie to be counted as an "Op". He recalls it was introduced as some crews were returning 'with dubious excuses' for DNCO.

Flying straight and level over the target to get the 'photo'!!.

Utmost respect.
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 23:11
  #1632 (permalink)  
 
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Rmventuri

I don't think photo evidence was needed. I seem to remember that you had to pass beyond 5 degrees East to count as an operation, unless operating over France or to Italy. Fredjhh.
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 23:44
  #1633 (permalink)  
regle
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Ops

There was no hard and fast rule laid down and a huge amount depended upon the C.O. of the Squadron. There were some constants and amongst them were not carrying on for a reason that could not be well and truly explained and believed. This would never count as an Op wherever you turned back from. If this happened with the same individual more than was deemed normal there were some very hard examinations made with questions asked to the crew members and drastic action would be quickly taken. It also differed fromn Command to Command and even from Squadron to Squadron. There was also a vast difference in what constituded an Op. Mine laying, for example ,invariably counted as a "half op" however close to the enemy coast you became. Later, much later in the war when the attacks on such targets as V1, V2 sites , ground troops, general bombing of so called tactical targets became more current, the whole system changed dramatically and the duration of a tour became more the decision of the immediate Officer commanding the Squadron.
Apropos the entries in Log books I never encountered any rules whatsoever as to how entries should be made and , apart from the obligatory monthly summary on hours flown and dates, the log books were never examined but had to be signed at those times by the Flight Commander. However it was customary but not mandatory that night flying would be inserted in red ink but only in the night flying column. I, like a lot of people but not everyone, entered my Ops in red ink in the remarks column and underlined the whole entry with red ink but this was a personal choice and by no means everyone's method.
One last bit of friendly advice. Ask these questions now ! Regle
 
Old 18th Mar 2010, 00:01
  #1634 (permalink)  
regle
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Taxydual

I meant to answer this in my previous thread. Taxydual, flying straight and level over the target was absolutely vital not to get the photograph but to make sure that you got the aiming point . I would estimate that this was carried out faithfully by 75% of all the crews and there would be keen competition amongst Squadrons for the most aiming points on the photos each month. Whilst not employing the American method of the automatic pilot being linked up with the famous Nordern gunsight during the whole of the bombing run , you virtually handed control of the aircraft to the Bomb Aimer and followed his instructions immediately. You kept it straight and level with the agreed constant airspeed and then followed the famous "Right or Left left " which was given by him. The repeat of the left call was to make sure that the pilot did not misunderstand. In anticipation "No, I was never told "Back a little, Skipper " I am sure that you will remember my most weird straight and level run across the target, Berlin, when a Messerschmidt 109 formated slightly ahead and below my port side , pointed at his guns and shrugged his shoulders and accompanied me on my bombing run before saluting and halfrolling into a dive . Oh for a camera ! regle
 
Old 18th Mar 2010, 09:35
  #1635 (permalink)  
 
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rmventuri

Hello, Rodger and nice to see you back on here.

When you catch up on your reading, you will see that cliffnemo has been making efforts to contact nachtgeschwader crew to inveigle them into joining this thread. It may be worth contacting him to see if any of his contacts may be able to locate a bi-lingual researcher for the flakartillerie records at the time Doug was lost on the Leipzig Op. Because Connie got their wedding ring returned, I'm convinced the wreckage came down in the vicinity of Leipzig, if not in the target area itself. The fact that neither any wreckage of HR732 or any of the crew were found indicates that the midair explosion fragmented the aircraft so much that the Germans probably never realised they had a complete Halifax and thus didn't search more thoroughly for the crew. If they had identified a crew member, then they would have looked fairly thoroughly for the rest and the associated wreckage to link them to. At least you have the news of the Ops totals being solved to pass on to the rest of the crews families.

This website may have some contacts if anyone can translate better than Google or Babelfish! Flakartillerie

Apologies to all for deviation and hesitation!! Just a minute!!
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 12:36
  #1636 (permalink)  
 
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On 'What counted as an op', I recall Max Hastings in Bomber Command writing something about French targets initially only counting as one third.
"Then", he wrote, "they went to Mailly-le-Camp".
The Mailly operation - which my great uncle and his crew were on, a week before they were shot down - was a raid on a German army camp in France on I think 3 May 1944. There was (among other things... I'm still looking at Jack's early operations so haven't reached this one in any detail yet) a delay in marking, which led to many bombers milling around the target while waiting for the markers to go down. The nightfighters had a field day - out of about 540 aircraft on target, 48 or so were missing.

Interestingly enough a similar thing happened over Lille the next week - markers were obscured or extinguished quickly by the first bombs so a delay of some 20 minutes was incurred. Out of 89 aircraft dispatched, four aborted... and no less than 12 were shot down, six of those from Waddington. My great uncle was in the crew of one of the missing aircraft.

As Hastings wrote, "there was no more talk of French targets counting as a third of an op […] lingering around a target for accurate visual marking could be fatal."
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 23:06
  #1637 (permalink)  
regle
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Entering the jet age

The long and arduous course eventually came to an end and I was relieved to face the three examiners for the oral examination that would determine my future. One of the most difficult questions and known favourite of the examiners was to explain the complicated formula for thrust that had covered the blackboard during the course and had given me nightmares. I was determined to master it and had learnt it off by heart and was overjoyed when it came up as one of my questions.
The Chairman of the Questioners, The Chief Pilot was an old veteran and pioneer of Sabena's first flights to the Belgian Congo. I could see that I was boring him to tears with my dissertation on the question and when he asked me "Why are the noise bafflers , commonly called Thrust Destroyers ?" and I started to refer him to the "Area" portion of the formula, he interrupted me, said" Well done, Thank you " and I was in.
My fellow trainee, Charles W. had also passed and on the 19th.March 1964 we started our flying training. There was no simulator available at that time and this was our first real view of the 707 cockpit. We were fortunate in having, as our Instructor, one of the finest and well liked pilots in Sabena. Bobby Laumans had escaped to England when Belgium was invaded,had been accepted straight away in the RAF , had married an English girl and had been shot down and spent the war in captivity. His English was perfect and he was a charming man and wonderful Instructor.
It is exactly 46 years to the day tomorrow when I first took off in a jet aeroplane after 14,497 piston engine hours and I was nearly 42 years old. We started our flying on March 19th. 1964 and by March 23rd. had completed a shared 27 hours of flying. I will quote direct from my logbook the details of the exercises we performed. Familiarisation, general flying, stalls etc. 3 & 2 engine flying, runaway stabiliser,circuits, ILS, Dutch roll, emergency descents,tuck under, engine failure before and after V1, 3 & 2 engine flying and landings and finally a little night flying.
The runaway stabiliser was a very important part and was very sadly remembered in Sabena as it was the cause of one of the first 707 crashes.
On Feb.15th. 1961, one of our new Boeings coming from N.Y. and on final approach at around 1,000 feet had suffered a runaway stabiliser and had crashed near a little village, Berg, killing the 11 crew, 62 passengers and a Farmer working in his fields. I was in a classroom doing a DC 7C course when it happened and we all ran out to see the plume of black smoke in the distance. We knew all the crew, of course and morale was very low for a long time afterwards.
The stabiliser problem was eventually solved before I came on to the 707 ,but remained a nightmare so the emergency procedure , which involved grasping the rapidly rotating massive trim wheel with the bare hands , was taught. Most people wore gloves for the duration of the flight. Another nasty habit was that of the aircraft suddenly adopting what was called the " Dutch Roll". This was because it developed a motion akin to the appearance of the Dutch Speed Ice Skaters when a wing would drop and the A/C would turn towards it, recover and turn in the opposite direction , descending and building up a horrible momentum which would eventually put the A/C into a spin. Sabena never had an accident but there were numerous "near misses ". The installation of a small fin underneath the fuselage under the rudder cured this and had been installed by the time that I came on to the aircraft.
On April 3rd. 1964 I stepped into the cockpit of Sabena OO-SJC and took off for New York with my Instructor and Chief pilot as my Check pilots and first officers. A veritable new era in Aviation had dawned and much more was in store for me. What a wondeful feeling that first jet flight was....almost as good as that day back in 1941 when I had first dicovered the new dimension in my life.
 
Old 19th Mar 2010, 05:19
  #1638 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Crew up - Whitley to Halifax

Reg,
One last bit of friendly advice. Ask these questions now ! Regle

Don’t mind if I do as long as all can tolerate the occasional daft one.

I’m trying to connect the dots to determine when the Halifax crew of HR732 actually crewed up. Because you and Fred overlapped so significantly with Doug’s service timeline I think you can help (by the way I can hardly remember what I was doing at age 20 so your recollection of this era 70 years ago is nothing short of amazing).

Reg – Doug arrived at Snaith 4 July 1943 which I think was very close to your arrival?
From Doug’s log book and service history it is clear that he (rear gunner) and the pilot (Arthur Salvage) crewed up at 10 OTU Abingdon flying Whitley V’s and stayed together to the end. That would be from 10 OTU Abingdon to 10 OTU detachment St. Eval (Whitley V’s) to 1663 HCU Rufforth (Halifax V) to 51 Squadron Snaith (Halifax II A)

Fred, I was interested in your explanation of the Whitley crew with a second pilot/bomb aimer and Harris’ decision to eliminate two pilots on any single aircraft. It looks like you were about 5 or 6 months ahead of Doug so I am conjecturing that by the time Doug was at 10 OTU there was not a second pilot on the Whitley and the (5) crew consisted of Pilot, Bomb Aimer, WOP/Gunner, Navigator, Rear Gunner. I don’t know if this is accurate or not. If it is then the additional two crew for the Halifax would have been picked up at the HCU – the additional two would have been the mid upper gunner and the engineer. Does this make sense? I thought an Observer was on the Whitley so don’t’ know how that would play into the final crew up on the Halifax.

As always very appreciative of your thoughtful responses … Rodger

Last edited by rmventuri; 19th Mar 2010 at 05:34.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 06:06
  #1639 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Icare9 - HR732

Kevin,
My oldest uncle (Doug's older brother) - the elder Milliken now at age 91 (served with the Royal Navy in WW2) is traveling to California to visit us for a week in April - A topic for discussion will be his thoughts on hiring a researcher. Once again Kevin I cannot express my thanks for your many hours of research for us. Doug's best friend (from grade school to enlistment) Mert Zapfe was KIA while at Snaith on his very first raid in May '43 (new crew/new plane - got lost out of the stream over Amsterdam and picked off by a night fighter). We have connected with Mert's sister who hired a very knowledgeable researcher also recommended by the 51 squadron historians as outstanding. So we will be talking to him in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed.

I have a group picture of Doug Milliken/Mert Zapfe/Jack O'Dowda (all 51 Squadron) and Jack Thompson taken in Canada before heading overseas - all best friends - they couldn't have been more than 18 or 19 years old. From the picture you can see their youthful excitement to "join the air force and see the world". None of them came home. I still find it difficult to look at that picture.

Rodger
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 11:31
  #1640 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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regle: Interesting info on the problems with the 707. It has obviously been overshadowed by the Comet accidents, but it's a timely reminder that the US aircraft industry DID make its share of mistakes too. (Wasn't the Convair Coronado another design that didn't work too well?).

Your account of the crash seems a tad abbreviated, wasn't that the one with the US Olympic skating team aboard? I thought that was the first commercial 707 crash, so I'm sure there were lengthy enquiries into what had happened.
No doubt you are going to bring more incisive comments in a bit later, so apologies if I have jumped the gun!!

PS: Have you checked your emails lately?

Rodger: You know that all I am trying to do is in some small way assuage the debt owed to those who fought for our freedom. I don't have much to contribute except a willingness to try and help where possible. It's the expertise and knowledge of contributors to this thread that keep me interested!! They're the ones who have first hand accounts which clarify so much. Good luck with your continued research into Doug's early stages in the RAF. I'm sure others will help where they can!
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