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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 19th Mar 2010, 12:15
  #1641 (permalink)  
regle
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Smile Mventura

I see that I made an air test at Snaith on July 21st. 1943 and went to Hamburg on the 24th .'43. on what was to become to known as the "Fire bomb" raids when the RAF bombed Hamburg for three consecutive nights whilst the Americans followed each day. It makes me shudder to think of it to this day. So although Fred was already at Snaith, I cannot remember meeting him and he was certainly not in my Flight (C).
Icare9. Sorry if I did not go more into the Berg crash but my memory has erased the details as memories are wont to do over unpleasant things... Yes, the entire US Ice skating team en route to Prague for the World Ice Skating Championships, were killed, together with many members of their families who were accompanying them. I did mention it in one of my earlier threads together with the awkward moment when I went ice skating in New York on one of my trips and was asked by one of the professionals what I did and when I told him there was an awkward silence before he told me he had lost his fiancee in the accident. One of life's lesser moments ! If you Google, Sabena Accident, Berg they have a fairly comprehensive account. I wish that I could remember more of the corrective actions for the runaway stab. and also the Dutch Roll but ,there again , it was another lifetime ago. Regle
 
Old 19th Mar 2010, 12:23
  #1642 (permalink)  
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I care9

I am having a lot of trouble with my e-mails lately. Many that I send and appear as "Sent items" are not reaching their destinations. I try Send/receive , draft etc. but it is still going on. Any suggestions in PM please.
 
Old 19th Mar 2010, 13:18
  #1643 (permalink)  
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I wish that I could remember more of the corrective actions for the runaway stab.
When on B707 Major Maintenance at BA I understood the procedure was for the Captain to grab the trim wheel on the F/O's side, the F/O to grab the trim wheel on the Captain's side and the FE to open the circuit breaker for the Stab Trim Motor. The ultimate engineering fix was a mechanical interlock that gagged the stab trim drive system if pressure was applied to the control column in the opposite sense - i.e trim runaway nose down, pilot instinctively pulls back on the column and the drive locks and vice-versa. The ultimate fix for Dutch Roll was a full-time rate-rate yaw damper.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 16:08
  #1644 (permalink)  
 
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PILOT TRAINING in UK, WW2

REEPLY TO RMVENTURI

The decision to fly only one pilot was made in February/ March 1942, as I understood. As soon as a pilot was cleared to fly solo, he flew with another pupil in the 2nd seat, simply to allow quick changeovers on circuits and bumps. The second pilot logged it as “Passenger time.” When crewed up for training and cross country exercises, the crew was as you describe it. All navigators were originally given the “O’ wing showing them as qualified Navigators and Bomb-Aimers. When the new Bomb - Aimers were awarded their B/A wings the Observers were supposed to wear the new “N” badge, but many persisted in wearing “O”, at least on their Best Blue uniforms. My crew at Snaith had two “Observers” and they both wore the “O” wing. F/O Dothie was the navigator and F/O Nock was the Bomb-Aimer. We picked up a Flight Engineer and Mid-Upper Gunner at Riccall. Nock had a broken finger and did not fly with me the night we were shot down.
The five man crew was what we operated with at St Eval. On three trips I had a newly qualified pilot attached as a “Second Dickie,” but they were destined for Coastal Command. For Observer use Navigator, - the same thing.
Ten hours flying at 300 feet to 800 feet with no second pilot was a pain, especially if “George” packed up. fredjhh
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 17:00
  #1645 (permalink)  
 
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regle: email problems

PM sent, no brilliant solution I'm afraid, perhaps a call to your family expert!
Meantime can you try by replying to one of mine with a "test" message to see if that works?
I didn't mean to badger re 707, I've got many decades (decayeds?) on you and I can't remember much of my twenties (not not sex, drugs or rock 'n roll!!) Well, maybe some....
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 11:14
  #1646 (permalink)  
 
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In your post: A Spitfire Pilot Part 6 there was mention of Derek Olver and his wife Kay. Sadly Derek did not survive WW11. He died on the 15th March 1942 while training pilots near Grantham, Lincolnshire. I was told that one of his trainee (Free French - I believe) pilots clipped his wing and tragically there was no chance of survival. His wife Kay never really recovered from his loss. However unknown to her at the time of his death, after six years of marriage, my brother Derek John Richard Olver was preparing to make his appearance.

My mother, Kay remarried my father, Ward Ira Binkley, who was in the Canadian Intelligence Corps in 1945. They are no longer with us.

During the past few years, I have been doing some family tree research, which has taken in several branches. If anyone else has any further accounts of Derek Olver Acting Flying Officer, I would greatly appreciate any information so that I can pass it on to his son, grandson and granddaughters.

Thank you for your accounts.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has frequently flown past our home in Lincolnshire. They bring with them memories of those brave young men of my parents' generation to whom I will forever be grateful.

Last edited by raguoC; 20th Mar 2010 at 21:55. Reason: removal of email address
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 12:46
  #1647 (permalink)  
 
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Typhoon Pilot Peter Brett's memoirs continued - part 19

Some more of Peter's operations with 183 Sqn...

On the second of November [1943] I flew aircraft HF-T on a shipping reconnaissance in the area of the Goulet de Brest. The weather was not too good with low cloud at about 2000 ft and rain showers. We were flying quite low, at about 250 ft. We kept well out from the coast of France in our search for shipping and we came upon two smallish merchant ships sailing in line astern about five miles west of Camaret-sur-Mer.
The C.O. split us into two groups of four to each ship. I was number two in the group attacking the larger of the two ships. As we turned in to the attack both ships opened up with 20mm and 40mm AA fire. It was my first experience of being fired at with tracer and it was rather unnerving. Although there were probably only three or four guns on each ship the fact that all the firing was coming from a small area, towards which we were exactly heading, made it seem very concentrated. The red dots would seem to float gently towards you and the suddenly speed up and zip past -what seemed like only inches away. I tried my best to ignore the tracer and concentrated on getting as low as possible. The idea was to fly directly at the ship and release the bombs at the last second just as you were forced to pull up to avoid hitting the masts or rigging. The trick was to release the bombs at just the right moment. Too soon and they would fall short and explode harmlessly in the sea, too late and they would fly over the ship to do the same thing on the far side. I don't know where my bombs went, perhaps I hit the ship but can' t be sure. At least two of us did, and as we left both ships were on fire and the larger one looked as if it were sinking. We did not wait around to find out however since we were now without bombs and had accomplished our mission. As we formed up again I realized that somebody was missing. F/O Alan Palmer, who had been No 3 in the first group, had been hit on the run-in and had crashed into the sea and been killed. His number 2 had seen it happen and later reported it at the debriefing. We flew back to Predannack in sombre mood and, as we approached the airfield, we formed up in close formation of two 'Finger Four' sections. It was the accepted form that, if any aircraft were missing on the return from an operation, the remaining aircraft flew in as close formation as possible, leaving the appropriate formation position empty so that the ground crews would know how many and which aircraft were missing.
A couple of days later I flew a spare aircraft to Harrowbeer and back where the squadron went to carry out an operation. Then on the 5th November it was dive bombing again. The target was the airfield at Poulmic, south of Brest on the far bank of The Goulet de Brest. We were only airborne for about 50 minutes since, as we approached the French Coast the cloud was down to below 1000ft and the leader decided it was no good trying to bomb from that height so we turned back. On the way back we jettisoned our bombs into the sea by turning the arming switches off, selecting the drop switches and then pressing the bomb release button on the command of the leader. The bed of the English Channel must be littered with jettisoned bombs. We were flying very low as we returned and I was No.2 in the second four flying on the left of my No.1. The first four were slightly ahead of us and a bit to the left. I suddenly saw the number three of this four, Flight Sergeant Arthur Napier, disappear in a cloud of spray. My immediate thought was that he had dived into the sea, but no, the aircraft emerged from the cloud of spray but began to drop back. Arthur called up the leader to say that he had hit the sea and he was experiencing severe vibration which was causing him to reduce his airspeed. We all throttled back and kept station with him as we flew home at a slower speed. When we landed, we all went to look at his aircraft. Two blades of his three bladed propellor were bent forward about six inches at the tips. This had happened as they had just touched the sea. This meant that he had come within five or six feet of hitting the sea with his radiator which would no doubt have flipped him over and almost certainlykilled him. He said that the vibration on the way back was so bad that he felt as if he were still shaking some half hour after landing. I later heard stories of other Typhoons which had hit the sea and survived and in some cases the propellor blades had been bent backwards. I have since wondered how this was possible since the propellor was pulling the aircraft through the air and, as it was then suddenly hitting a much denser medium, the water, it surely should have bent forward as did the one I witnessed. [TOW1709: Apparently if you strike the sea or ground with the engine at high power, the tips will bend forwards. If the strike happens at idle power, they bend the other way]

The same team tried to bomb Poulmic again the next day and this time, although we managed to reach the target, the cloudbase was still too low to allow us to bomb and once again the bombs were jettisoned into the English channel. The weather then really clamped down and Predannack was shrouded in mist and rain for over two weeks. Several times we were alerted to stand by for operations but the weather was against us and I did not fly again between the 7th and the 21st of November. I took part in a shipping strike reconnaissance on the 21st November carrying two 500lb bombs but no shipping was found and yet again the English channel received sixteen unarmed bombs.
At this time we were going out with two squadrons at a time. One squadron of eight acting as bombers accompanied by the second squadron eight without bombs acting as fighter escort. Thus, the next day, I was with the squadron acting as fighter escort. All I noted in my log book was that we saw a large ship which the bombers attacked without visible result and we suffered no losses although the ship was escorted by two flak ships.
The 23rd November saw me flying again as fighter escort but this time we, the fighters, also attacked the two small ships that we found. Once again no dramatic results were observed from our cannon strafe although I did note in my log book that there was "a hell of a lot of flak".
I must admit that I greatly preferred the fighter role since this meant that the Typhoon was flown without bomb racks or other encumbrances and was much more lively than when carrying bombs. Unfortunately the days of acting as fighters were numbered since there were so many more effective fighting aircraft and the Typhoon was becoming known as a very stable gun platform which could stand up to quite a severe amount of punishment. There was a constant stream of modifications being carried out to improve its role as a ground attack aircraft and also to overcome the one main structural drawback. Quite a few Typhoons literally came apart in the air. Several were lost due to the tail assembly breaking off under severe manoeuvres. At least three modifications were carried out to the tail unit. At one time the fuselage just forward of the tail plane exhibited a series of patch plates placed all round at each longeron position. This was later replaced by internal strengthening. Although this improved the situation, and as far as we knew had cured it, I found out after the war that Typhoons were still mysteriously crashing for no apparent reason right up to their withdrawal from service in 1946 ! The incidence of these crashes seems to have been completely random and luckily I never had occasion to doubt the strength of any Typhoon that I flew, although there were one or two occasions when aircraft in the same formation went missing without obvious cause.

More soon...

Last edited by tow1709; 21st Mar 2010 at 07:31. Reason: Make the typeface a bit bigger.
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 23:30
  #1648 (permalink)  
regle
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Bienvenu, Welkom etc

It is so gratifying to see new contributors and above all, younger ones.. I feel that there will, inevitably come a time when you will be asked to do what the present generation are already doing.. It is virtually upon us already. I am not going to say any more on that because it would not be printable. Like every generation and especially in wartime we had our own words and expressions so I urge you not to hesitate in asking if there is anything that you don't understand. Please let us have your own impressions, suggestions and, above all questions. . I can remember , as an eighteen year old, when I first joined the R.A.F, that I felt as though I was entering a foreign country and could barely understand the different dialects because, like most of my generation ,I had probably never been more than fifty miles from home and I had never sworn in my life. Never feel foolish about it Time is running out fast for the answers to be given from experience. I am not being the least bit morbid, just practical. Quoting Delia "Let's be 'earing from you." Good to have you aboard, regle
 
Old 21st Mar 2010, 00:11
  #1649 (permalink)  
 
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Guy Gibson

Regle,
I read somewhere that you have a copy of Guy Gibson's logbook? If so can you tell where he was in March of 1942. I am trying to determine if he was in Canada at that time. Thanks in advance .... Rodger
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 10:57
  #1650 (permalink)  
 
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Rodger - looks like he was there in late 1943 - see attached link:- Dambuster - Guy Gibson which was recorded in Canada and now available on CD.
Dambuster - Guy Gibson. Product code: TRD200897/CD. £10.95
A unique CD featuring an exclusive interview recording made in Canada in late 1943 with Wg Cdr Guy Gibson and, following the Dambusters March, 8 of Guy Gibson's favourite records are included - with additional comments from actor Richard Todd. Also includes an interview with 617 Squadron Lancaster crew who describe the attack on the Mohne dam.
I'm sure others will provide more specific dates. Reg probably flew with him!! (Probably was his instructor and taught him the trick about how to judge when you were 60 ft above water!!)

You may also be able to get hold of a copy of the book The Dambusters
This is an excellent biography of Guy Gibson of which the Dams Raid is only a very small part of the book. The book covers the life of Gibson from birth to death.The story of his unhappy childhood from a broken home, his tense and failing marriage,his relationship with his men, which wasn't alway the best,particularly the ground crew.His life wasn't easy but through his determination he was noticed and came to lead the raid that was to make his name.Some of the book covers his tour of Canada and America and his dabble with politics and selection as a Parliamentary Candidate.The story of the making of the Film "The Dambusters" starring Richard Todd was good, including the "Spooky" incident involving the dog that was to play the part of Gibsons dog.The final chapters involving the fatal crash,the theory of how it may have been caused,together with the legacy of Gibson makes for a very interesting read.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 16:25
  #1651 (permalink)  
regle
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`Guy Gibson.V.C.

Guy illustrated his log book graphically With pithy remarks and large letters underlined in many coloured inks and the heading for the 1st. Jan. 1941 was "WITH THE NEW YEAR I AM POSTED AS CFI TO 51 OTU. CRANFIELD. THIS BEING HELD AS A REST FROM OPERATIONS !!! He then signed it Guy Gibson S/L.

He flew during the whole of the month in Magisters,Oxford,Lysander,Dominie,Blenheim, and Wellington. In only one of these trips,20 in all, did he fly as a C.F.I. for a test on a Sgt. Murphy. Another typical flight that month was in a Lysander to West Malling with "Dave Humphreys . 48 hour pass was in the remarks column.
March 1942 he only flew from the 1st. until the 12th. (3 flights) and his next entry is on April 1 1942 when he was still at Cranfield but by now had added the "Manchester" to his list. He does not always keep a record of his stations and there is no list in the back of the book. (It is a copy ).

After May 6th.1942 There is an entry "Fell ill and went to Rauceby for two weeks" and his next entry is June 14th. "in an Oxford to Cardiff for two weeks sick leave. On July 4th.1942 with no mention as to where,( My remark ,Syerston) he is back on Operations, this time for the first on Lancasters with the remark "Usual crew. Operations bombing Wilhelmshaven, 10,000 ft. (Low, my remark) load 5x2,000 H.C. Good Prang . The trip took 4hrs night flying.

In March 1943 he made a NFT on the 1st. and then on the 11th. he made this entry. "Lancaster X. My last trip 71st. bombers.Operations Stuttgart. Flew there/back on three engines and a quarter. good trip. Flak light. Photo.Main attack fell S/W of main town." The next two pages are a summary of his career in which he made 42 ops on Hampdens, 99 Fighter ops on Beaufighters and 29 on Lancasters !!!!!!! 170 in all. HIis next entry on the following page just states Awarded bar to D.S.O. 25th. March 1943. I will leave you there and hope that it gives you the information that you want. Obviously he was not in Canada during this period. If this interests you all ,I can go on the next few months with what he wrote about certain things...very little actually. Regle

Last edited by regle; 21st Mar 2010 at 18:12.
 
Old 21st Mar 2010, 16:32
  #1652 (permalink)  
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Icare9

No, I wish that I had met him regardless of his reputation BUT I did have the great pleasure of having Richard Todd, the actor who portrayed him in the film , in the cockpit with me when he flew with me as a passenger from Brussels. Richard was the most charming and self effacing of men and told me that it was the greatest honour that he had ever had in his career when he was selected to play the part. Keep trying ! REGLE
 
Old 21st Mar 2010, 16:37
  #1653 (permalink)  
regle
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Tips for low flying 1care9

Make sure that you can always see your shadow in the water so don't fly at midday or night . Regle
 
Old 21st Mar 2010, 20:41
  #1654 (permalink)  
 
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Corkscrew

Taking Regle at his word to ask questions now. I have been enthralled with this thread and read through it avidly. Amongst many questions, the 'Corkscrew' manoeuvre used to throw off German nightfighters, which I understood to be a diving turn followed by an opposite climbing turn. Was this employed when a nightfighter was either spotted or suspected, or did pilots use it routinely 'in case'? If heavy bombers were as heavy on the controls as I imagine, surely this would be an exhausting way to fly for many hours? Kap
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 22:09
  #1655 (permalink)  
 
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Guy Gibson

Regle and Icare9 - Thats more than enough re: Guy Gibson's log book info. Thanks.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 23:25
  #1656 (permalink)  
regle
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kaputar

If you have, as you say, read through my threads (Starting page 13 !) then you will see that I have described exactly what you are asking. Yes it was extremely hard work, especially in the Halifax which was significantly heavier on the controls than the Lancaster but I thought that it was worth the effort and like a lot, but I fear a minority, of pilots corkscrewed practically from crossing the enemy coast until the straight and level bombing run and then I restarted until I had recrosssed the coast. Even that was not enough later on as the German intruders caught many of the returning bombers on the way out and even on the approach to land. Later on there was even a "Corkscrew" mode built into the Automatic Pilot which helped matters considerably until the Germans worked out the exact "next move" as there was no different modes built in.Keep asking , regle.
 
Old 22nd Mar 2010, 10:00
  #1657 (permalink)  
 
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Corkscrew

Many thanks indeed for that. Yes I did read the post where you said this but couldn't find it again and wondered if I had misunderstood. The idea that a pilot would corkscrew all the way to Berlin and back leaves me gobsmacked with admiration. desperately hard work for the pilot but also for the rest of the crew I imagine. The reason I raised it is that I first heard about the corkscrew from and old rear gunner, now sadly no longer with us, who gave me to understand that it was used only when the gunners spotted something suspicious or they were actually under attack otherwise they flew straight and level on the course. So my further question is, was it was it advised or even ordered at squadron level, or simply down to individual pilots to decide? Were new green crews introduced to it? Kap

Last edited by kaputar; 22nd Mar 2010 at 10:06. Reason: You do say only a minority followed your example and am wondering why, if it was generally advised. Was it discussed much?
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Old 22nd Mar 2010, 17:54
  #1658 (permalink)  
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Kaputar.

Thetwo main reasons for the minority use of "Corkscrew" were the physical effort and the real risk of collision because you were entering altitudes allocated to different groups than your own,with another friendly aircraft as a result of the extreme concentration of the Bomber stream which was now the tactic adopted in preference to a long drawn out raid over several hours in order to cause disruption and fatigue amongst the firefighting crews and the population. There was also the effect on the crew, as airsickness was quite a problem due to "Corkscrew". And there was always the Navigator , the breed apart, who very often got his own way. Weaving was very often preferred. This consisted of gentle alternate turns without losing height. This was quite generally used but the advent of the "Nacht Musak", the German name for the Msserschmidt 110 armed with four fixed angled upward firing cannons , tracking his victim from miles behind and gradually creeping under to let loose a lethal burst which usually hit the centre fuel tank made me and I think, a lot of other pilots corkscrew from start to finish of the dangerous part, about 90% of the whole trip.
I know that one of the reasons that I am still here today is that when just finishing my straight and level bombing run over Mannheim on Sept.5th.1943 I immediately started a violent diving turn to port as the beginning of a Corkscrew. At that moment a burst of machine gun or cannon fire came from slightly behind and below right across in front and climbing above me. My magnificent rear gunner , "Geordie" Tommy Walker saw the Messershcmidt 110 and gave him a quick burst. We all saw the Messerschmidt burst in to flames and crash. ( I am glad that I don't have to type Messer etc. too often.). As a matter of interest the tactic of the deadly "Nacht Musak" was a direct result of the great success of Bomber Command's first use of "Window" (On Hamburg July 23rd. 1943, My first "Op" on Halifaxes) when the Night Fighter Radar system of the Germans was completely swamped. The reply was the use of every fighter possible, even Day Fighters to congregate over the brightly lit targets (from the fires and a carpet of concentrated searchlights) . The fighters would wait at a much higher altitude possible to the bombers and dive on the victims silhouetted below whilst the "Nacht Musak " fighters tracked in and out of the target and did what they could below the stream approaching and leaving the target . The stream, once it was established was often illuminated by flares dropped from observing German aircraft to guide the Fighters towards it. This Day Fighter operation was called "Wild Sow" by the Germans.
As targets such as Berlin, Munich, Leipzig were trips of over eight hours (That Mannheim trip was logged as eight hours night flying) yes, it was a big strain but you should have seen the biceps of the veterans after a successful tour. ! Regle
 
Old 22nd Mar 2010, 21:29
  #1659 (permalink)  
 
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Corkscrew

Many thanks again regle for the marvelous detail not found in the standard histories. Raises further questions (and then I promise to shut up). The night fighters with upward firing cannon did not always, I understand, use tracer and consequently crews often did not know what hit them even after they had been hit. Do you recall when this tactic became known to RAF intelligence and aircrew were briefed about it? Secondly, my old rear gunner informant told me that officialdom tried to explain away the enormous flash to be seen occasionally in the bomber stream, as the clever German's using a shell called a 'Scarecrow' to simulate a loaded bomber taking a direct hit and hoping thereby to put the wind up crews. He said they did not believe a word of it, they called them 'Ronsons', and accepted them for what they thought they were and carried on. Do you know any evidence that 'scarecrow' actually existed?
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Old 22nd Mar 2010, 23:50
  #1660 (permalink)  
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Eat carrots to see at night. Kaputar

"Scarecrow" came from the same box of myths as the title of the thread. There was extensive searching and interrogation after rhe war and no evidence was ever found to justify the existemce of what was labelled Scarecrow by the British crews as they had been told, probably to improve morale , that it was a false indication of a bomber exploding ... which it probably was. It is even possible , because Scarecrow came into the language later on in the Bomber Offensive, that it was the result of the aforementioned "Nacht Musak" where the catastrophic strike on the central fuel tank would have producd an enormous explosion. Especially if no tracer had been seen beforehand.
As to the tracer, I can't see anyone in the attacked aircraft being able to see tracer directed from directly underneath so the question could only be answered if the whole attack had been seen from another aircraft and I doubt that it ever happened because, to my knowledge, there is no record of such a sighting. Perhaps if we ever have a German point of view in the Forum we might get to know more but I am sure that our intelligence would have gone in to that sort of thing after the war.
Your very kind remarks about the sort of information that we few are still able to give you makes it more important to refresh our memories by posing these questions. I find that just the mention of a long forgotten event or detail brings back an astonishing amount when it is linked with something else that appears and ,"lo and behold" it all comes flooding back. I can still only remember one line from "Eskimo Nell" ..and though she grinned, she put the wind, up the other forty-nine, ! I will leave you with that profound thought. regle
 

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