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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 23rd Mar 2010, 02:21
  #1661 (permalink)  
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regle, a penny for your thoughts. The Lancaster is the aircraft that has captured the limelight, but it is said in some quarters that the later marks of Halifax were its equal. Be interested in your comments on the relative merits of the two aircraft ie strengths and weaknesses.

And what do you personally make of the oft made proposal/theory/argument of replacing the heavy bombers with Mosquitos (two crew, two engines against seven crew, four engines and using the smaller aircrafts speed as a means of defense). Respect.
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 09:40
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Eat carrots to see at night

Many thanks again Regle for the fascinating detail. My father joined the RAAF on outbreak of war, coming to Britain as an WAG early 1942 when I was 6 months old and died March 1943 so I never 'met' him so to speak and the barest service records are all there is. So its the detail of 'doing the job' that fascinates, interesting though the formal histories are. Thanks again and I may jog your memory again if I may. All best. Kaputar
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 09:46
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For something somewhat connected to the discussion... I have a superbly written account from a retired Qantas 707 pilot - who was an RAAF engine fitter in WWII, then joined Qantas as a flight engineer after the war and eventually retrained as a pilot - about his experiences converting to the jet age. If people are interested I should be able to post it in the next few days?
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 10:50
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kaputar: Then it must be close to that March anniversary, our thoughts are with you. Mind you, your description of him:
My father joined the RAAF on outbreak of war, coming to Britain as an WAG early 1942 when I was 6 months old and died March 1943 so I never 'met' him so to speak and the barest service records are all there is.
would be interpreted differently in current football parlance!!!

I'm sure there are many who could try and help you find out more, with Squadron details etc if you want to do so, perhaps in a separate thread or another forum, such as RAF Commands or the like. If you want to contact me off thread, please do so if you'd like me to post there on your behalf.

kookabat. If there is approval by the Moderators, and because it then links as a comparison for Regle, then I for one would like to see the Quantas story. To appease the Mods, would it be possible to also have his memories of his RAAF training, again to provide a comparison to those already detailed in this thread.

If it doesn't destroy any bookmark links, the Mods might consider transferring to Aviation History and Nostalgia, but I only float the idea to allow for expansion into what "pedants" might feel is not "military" history.....

Regle: Have you checked your PPRuNe private message Inbox lately? I might even get you some lyrics for Eskimo Nell, that may trigger more verses from you!!

Meantim, look forward to your views of the merits of the Lancaster versus Halifax. Apart from sympathy, how was the Stirling regarded by its crews - I know others felt them useful as the softer targets for night fighters but how sturdy and easy to fly was it?
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 11:20
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My war ended in June 1943 and I did not hear of "Corkscrew" or
"Upward firing cannons" (Schrage Musik) until later pilots brought the news into Prison Camp. I did try corkscrew when flying Welingtons in 1946 but I do not think I could have kept it up for very long. The only tactics I was taught was 'weaving' - minor alterations of course, but I also included alterations of height. An Artillery Major in Ack Ack said his predictors "overbalanced" if tracking an aircraft which lost or gained height for more than 400 feet!
On my last briefing we were told to make the final approach, before the straight and level bombing run, just oscillating up and down; no heights were given.
An excellent book giving the German point of view was written by a 51 Squadron Navigator who worked in Germany after the war.
He spoke fluent German and made friends with many Luftwaffe Officers, some of very high rank. He regularly attended 51 Squadron re-unions.
"The Other Battle" by Peter Hinchcliffe, OBE.
Airlife Publishing Ltd. 101 Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9EB
ISBN 1 85310 547 3

It is well researched and and gives an impartial view of the night war above Germany. Incidentally, Goering implored the German aviation industry to make him aircraft "like the Mosquito." fredjhh
Sadly, Peter died last year.
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 11:57
  #1666 (permalink)  
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Luftwaffe Krieg Pilot.

Hi Reg, Yes I Skyped the Researcher. Thanks for the contact. I had a very long and pleasant phone conversation with him yesterday, when he said it would be better if he contacted his German contacts first, With which sentiment I agreed, on the basis of an email from a stranger may not be opened. I will let every one know the results soon.. Will P.M you now with the answer to your question. (Mr Researcher we would like you to make yourself known on this thread)

With regard to R.A.F songs, I would like your opinion on the song 'I am safe in the eyes of j**** , I don't care if it rains or freezes , I am J**** little lamb, yes by J**** C***** I am, J**** loves me yes I know. good old J***, bloody good show.' Although extremely irreverent, I always suspected that it was, in the mind of the singer, intended more as a crude prayer or hymn.
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 12:25
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Re the corkscrew and your comment you had not heard about it until later as a POW.

If you go to page 81 post No 1608 you will see that I was quoting exactly from a combat report that my father wrote up in 1943 in a Stirling over Lorient where one of his gunners told him to corkscrew to avoid a Me 109 which they shot down.

Before bombers he was an Instructor on Oxfords at RAF South Cerney for over 3 years. Now whether he taught pupils the corkscrew or whether it was taught him on his conversion to Stirlings in late 1942 I assume the latter.
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 12:57
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Oldest Pilot in ww2 ?

Dear Cliffnemo & Regle
How I have enjoyed reading your postings !! Fascinating ! Now I wonder if you could tell me about age limits for pilots during the war ?
My father's regular pilot,with whom he "crewed up" in 1944, was Sqdn/Ldr Ralph Van Den Bok,DFC**.They started out together at 12 OTU in July 1944,flying Wellingtons,then Stirlings with 1657 Conversion Unit.After this,they joined No. 214 (FMS) (BS) Sqdn at RAF Oulton,Norfolk,in order to operate B17 F & G "Flying Fortresses".My father was,at the time,a Flt Sgt WOP/AG. A detailed account of 214 Sqdn's exploits,both as a Bomber unit (Stirlings) and Radio Countermeasures (Fortresses) can be obtained by reading "A Thousand Shall Fall" by Canadian Murray Peden ; in fact,it was Murray who "checked out" Ralph on B17s.
Ralph Van Den Bok was born in London,of Dutch and Australian parents,in about 1905,so was obviously not in the first flush of youth when war broke out.He joined the RAFVR in 1940,and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer (probationary) ; I do not know if,at this stage,he had asked to be a pilot,but I imagine his age would have precluded it ?? He would have been about 34. After training as a WOP/AG,he was posted to No.408 (Goose) Sqdn, RCAF,where he became a " WAG ",as the RCAF called them ! He flew a full tour of 30 ops with them,inluding an attack on the Scharnhorst,for which he was awarded his first DFC (as a F/O),in mid 1942. Two months later,as F/Lt,he won a bar to the DFC after escaping from Belgium----His Hampden was shot down whilst returning from a raid on Saarbrucken,by Hauptmann(later Major) Wilhelm Herget.The CO of 408,W/Cdr Twigg,and the Gunner,were killed,but Ralph and Flt/Lt Gordon Clayton Fisher baled out and were repatriated ( Ralph ,by "Comete"). After these exploits,he was then sent to Hagersville,Ontario,for training as a bomber pilot,and received his wings at at age 38 !!! Promoted acting S/Ldr in March,1945,he received a second bar to the DFC in November of that year.He remained in RAF service into the 1950s,but what the enemy couldn't do, a train-crash did,in 1957,and he lost a leg. But ---was he one of the oldest pilots in Bomber Command ??
My father,incidentally,rated an "above average" gunner,eventually became a F/O,serving with 59 and 220(T) sqdns (Liberators) ,then 51 Sqdn ( Yorks),crashing at Dum Dum(Calcutta) in Sept 1946.He survived (several RAF Padres did not),and retired as Second in Command of Civilian Operators at Strike Command,High Wycombe!!He died suddenly,in 1987,aged only 63,the day before going up to London for a reunion with another (Canadian) gunner from his Fortress crew. There are photos,etc,of Sqn/Ldr Van Den Bok and F/O John Tudor Mills on the 214 Sqdn website. I hope you have found this interesting-- I have grown fond of Ralph Van Den Bok ,although Dad never mentioned him---not once !!
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 14:39
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carrots and night

ICare9 Many thanks for that and I will dig out what there is and get in touch. I AM showing my age taking about WAG's, what the youngsters on the thread might think I can't imagine! I will also try to dig out my old rear gunner informant's details, I know his children would like to know. He was one of my teachers after the war and we stayed in touch down the years, I regret greatly not asking him questions when I could; Regle's point yet again. kaputar
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 14:48
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Fredjhh Thanks for that and the also reference which I will try to get hold of. I have wondered when the upward firing cannon attack was 'discovered' by crews and they could be briefed about them beforehand. You say news was brought by recently shot down crews so I imagine the word would have got back home. But it seems to have been a devastating tactic unless the rear gunner spotted it in time.
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 15:17
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Very interesting interview with ex-operator of Schrage Musik.

YouTube - Peter Spoden Luftwaffe Night Fighter ace demonstrates Schrage Musik.
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Old 23rd Mar 2010, 15:57
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I watched that demonstration of "Shrage Musik" not Nacht as I have been wrongly calling it. Getting my Heinkels and Handels mixed up. I think that it is another name for "Jazz". I must admit it gave me quite a shocked feeling at what I escaped but I think that it bears out my reliance on constant corkscrewing regardless of discomfort and even pain. It also must have helped the "Scarecrow" story as no combat would be witnessed. What the German says about night visibility is quite true. Unless there was a moon (Peenemunde !) then you were lucky if you saw anything beyond the wingtips. Proof was when there were six hundred bombers concentrated in twenty minutes over Dusseldorf on Nov.3rd.1943 I never saw another aircraft until the hundreds of searchlights over the target illuminated the sky and then I never saw another one the whole way back. Regle
Old 23rd Mar 2010, 23:00
  #1673 (permalink)  
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Kaputar And Others

I forgot to add:


The Other Battle: Luftwaffe Night Aces Versus Bomber Command - Hardcover (Oct 1995) by Peter Hinchliffe
9 used from £5.00 fredjhh
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Old 24th Mar 2010, 00:04
  #1674 (permalink)  
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Your tame Agony Aunt

Wow ! How this Forum has taken off recently ! Here goes ; the Halifax was a catastrophe at the beginning as the rudder area was too small and a fatal flat stall was often experienced (once per person, of course !) When the rectangular fins were fitted it was a much better aircraft but suffered in comparison with the Lancaster in it's much lower maximum altitude of about 19,000ft. when fully loaded for a long (Berlin say) trip. This brought it within range of both heavy and light flak (referred to the calibre,not the quantity). It was also very much heavier on the controls and a brute to throw about the sky. The probable reason for this and why the crews loved it was because it was built like the proverbial brick...sorry, my fingers slipped,.. built like a battleship and was heavily armour plated in all the vulnerable places. Probably the biggest reason for it's crew popularity was the lack of the hip high main spar of the Lancaster which was difficult to climb over clothed in the bulky Irving jacket ,flying boots and parachute when the Lanc was on the ground let alone if you were trying to get out from a stricken aircraft, possibly on fire and subject to all the G forces involved. A lot more crews escaped from Halifaxes than Lancs. When the Mk.3 was fitted with the Bristol Herc,16 engines it could equal the Lanc. in altitude and speed and was a great and important weapon in Bomber command's armoury. I was fortunate in flying Lancs at Bomber Command's Flying School as an Instructor to teach pilots who had finished their ops how to be Instructors and then I went on to the Empire Flying School to become a "Tutor" mainly on Lancs. and Mozzies to take very experienced and often very high ranking Officers from many air forces through an extensive three month course where limit flying was one of the exercises. The first time that I flew a Lanc. I knew that it was a beautiful aircraft and I never changed that opinion. I would get to about 12,000ft. then close the throttles, gently pull the stick right back in to my stomach and hold it there and would not touch the rudder pedals. The Lanc would fly straight and level, stall then dive perfectly straight until the airspeed fell off then repeat the process again and again without ever a wing dropping. At about 5,000 feet I would gently push the stick forward opening the throttles bit by bit and we would be flying at normal flying s,peed by 3,500 feet. I swear that it would have hit the ground and leave the perfect plan silhouette of a Lanc had I let it continue. I know that I could have looped a Lanc without harming it but would have been court martialled but was sorely tempted at times.
The least said about Stirlings the better. I thank my lucky stars that I never had to fly them . Practically every aerodrome in Bomber Command would have a Stirling on it's belly in a corner of it's field at some time or other where its long and stringy undercarriage legs had collapsed on it. It's maximum Operational altitude was about 12,000 ft. where it was subject to all the types of flak, bombs dropped rom the Hallies and the Lancs above it and even firing from the German Home Guard and stones thrown by the population. I grant that it was quite useful as a Glider tug but was always a few feet longer when it landed than what it had been taking off.

The Mozzie was way, way ahead of it's time and it's performance, even on one engine was superb BUT, the cockpit was a nightmare , getting in was a physical and mental exercise that left you struggling for breath even up to takeoff, and emergency exit virtually impossible. The stick was offset, the pilot sat with two inches between his Observer who was about four inches behind him and had absolutely no table or even a place on his knees for map reading and even some of the instruments and vital switches, such as the engine fire extinguisher buttons were out of reach of the pilot and had to be pushed by the Observer if he was still alive. Add to that the fact that the Mozzie became a flying brick once you put that huge mudguarded undercarriage down... that wonderful performance and its undoubted versatility had to be there for the crews to love it as they undoubtedly did.

So there you are,;for me "Op"s on a Hallie Mk.3, Joy of flying a large prop a/c The Lanc. and my one solo flight in a Spifire Mk, 9 for fighters...I never flew a Hurricane. Honourable mention; Miles Master, Beaufigter ,Boeing Stearman and D.H.Rapide.!

FlyingIcecream; Where did you think that pseudonym. If you had been in the War I would say that it was you had often been coned but... Just a brief answer to your question of age limits for pilots. You had to be at least eighteen to be considered for taraining but, as far as I know there was no mandatory upper age limit other than the normal one for joining the forces in any capacity. I remember my first American Insructor, an ex Hollywood stunt pilot, telling me "Reg (like all Americans, pronounced Regg), there are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old , bold pilots." There is always the exception to prove the rule. What a man your Sqdn. Ldr. Van Den Bok must have been. No wondr that you became fond of him. Have you ever thought of researching his story ?
Old 24th Mar 2010, 09:36
  #1675 (permalink)  
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So was the glider tug version known as the Long Stirling or the bomber the Short(er) Stirling? Wasn't that the Wellington with its geodesic frame that was supposed to stretch, like a trellis fence?

Didn't the Mossie have a similar bomb load to the B17's and B 24's? That would have been something if the Americans had taken the Mossie for mass production in the same numbers as the Fort and Liberator. Although the films of massed formations would have lost some of their majestic procession across the skies as the cameraman tried to keep up with the Mosquito's. Any truth in the rumour that the Mexicans were planning on building a copy, called the Mesquite?!! Groan!! Hat, coat, byeee!!
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Old 24th Mar 2010, 11:27
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My sort of humour

Yes it was true of the "Wimpy" because of it's Barnes Wallis designed frame. My Stirling remarks were made "tongue in cheek" . It was also true of the Mozzie.; 4 x 500 lb. bombs equalled the Fortress's 2,000lb load but the terrific feat of decimating the power of the Luftwaffe before D.Day more than made up for the difference in performance. That 11 man crew did wonders in shooting down so many of Hitler's fighters. It's influence on the Allies success with the Normandy landings cannot be forgotten. Regle.
Old 24th Mar 2010, 14:47
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Dear Regle
Thanks for your comments about Sqdn/Ldr Van Den Bok. I have,in fact,spent quite a lot of time researching him,and was only recently able to fill in the "blanks",ie between 1942 and mid-1944, when he had "dropped off the radar" ; Those blanks were filled in for me by his son Adrian,whom I located in Australia,and who sent me all the photos,documentation,etc that I was able to get posted on the 214 Sqdn website --do take a look ; it's easy to access,and you just type in aircraft type (Fortress) and personnel ( Van Den Bok ) .
I see that your opinion of the Stirling is at variance with that of former Flt /Lt Murray Peden,DFC,RCAF,who seems to have positively LOVED them (but not the undercarriage !). He does,of course,maintain that the abysmal altitude figure was entirely due to the Air Ministry insistence on a wing span imposed by the limitation of existing hangar door widths,and is strongly of the opinion that even a relatively small increase in wingspan would have made a tremendous difference in altitude performance. He also praises the aircraft's almost aerobatic handling qualities-----Ah well, "one man's meat", I suppose ! He certainly had a VERY high opinion of the Fortress,one of which he managed to bring home in a badly shot-up state, crashing it into the wreckage of a still bombed-up Lancaster at Woodbridge (and surviving !!).
I couldn't think of a particularly original "user name" when so asked by this site,so I chose the popular nick-name of a certain Naval Air Squadron,with whose Sea Vixen FAW 1 & 2 I was permitted to "mend & bend", in 1965-66.The Squadron badge,or emblem,was a Torch ( like the old road-sign for a school,remember ?) with rather splendid wings ( I will try and blazon it heraldically for you !),which looked just like a Flying Icecream !! Ergo.....
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Old 24th Mar 2010, 18:03
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The Mosquito

The Wooden Wonder

"In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy."
-Hermann Göring, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, January, 1943

And the USA General:
"You have twin engine bomber, with a crew of two, who can carry 4,000 lbs to Berlin, higher and faster than my B17s, with four engines, a crew of 10 men with the same bomb load? Don't ever let the American public hear of this!"
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Old 24th Mar 2010, 19:09
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Typhoon pilot memoirs - part 20

Operations continued and on 26th November [1943] I was one of nine aircraft that flew to Harrowbeer to mount a dive bombing operation against the airfield at Martinvas. The only unusual thing that I noted about this operation was that we experienced a lot of heavy AA fire as we prepared to dive. Fortunately nobody was hit and we bombed successfully. However the weather once again intervened on the way back and we were diverted to land at Exeter where we were stuck for another day, returning to Predannack on the 28th. Between then and my next operation on the 3rd December I flew three or four times doing practice bombing, camera gun attacks, and on the 2nd I had a glorious time beating up gun positions along the coast to give the antiaircraft gunners some practice. It was great fun to play at war in this way where there was no chance of the target shooting back!
However serious business was resumed on the 3rd December when the whole wing of four squadrons were taken on a long range sweep down into the Bay of Biscay and back across the Brest peninsular. The idea was to try to tempt the Luftwaffe to come up to attack us. We were to fly at 12,000 feet and we had a top cover of other fighters flying above us at 20,000 feet to try to 'bounce' the opposition. I think the top cover fighters were Spitfires although, since no opposition was encountered, we never saw them at all.

This was the first time I had flown using long range tanks. These were extra petrol tanks containing 45 gallons each, which were slung one under each wing. There were no gauges fitted to tell the pilot how much fuel was left in the drop tanks so the procedure was to take off on main tanks, switch to drop tanks at a given signal from the leader, and then fly for a set period, depending on the throttle settings etc., until the leader gave the signal to switch over to the second tank and later to switch back to main tanks and then jettison the drop tanks. Everything went as planned until, just before we crossed the Southern coast of the Brest peninsular, near Lorient, the leader, Wing Commander Gillam, gave the signal to jettison tanks. What everybody seemed to have forgotten was that there were four squadrons of aircraft, a total of thirty two machines. Sixteen of these were in front of and about five hundred feet above the second sixteen. The result was that the second sixteen, of which I was one, were suddenly subjected to a rain of thirty two large, tumbling, petrol vapour filled, aluminium containers. A few seconds of wild evasion manoeuvres, which nearly became collisions, resulted before my own leader, Squadron Leader Dring, came on the air and blistered the Wingco's ears with his protests. Fortunately the Wingco was a forgiving type and had the grace to apologize.
Things then settled back to normal except for me! My tanks failed to jettison. No matter how hard I yanked at the lever, the tanks stubbornly refused to release. This now meant that I had quite a bit more drag than any of the others and consequently had to open up my throttle more to keep up. I soon realized that, unless I did something, I was going to be short of fuel for the last part of the return flight. I therefore did the only thing I could think of and that was to switch back to the long range tanks and take a chance that I could fly for about five minutes more on each tank before the engine cut. If the engine had cut I would have had to call up and tell the leader as I would then have no doubt lost several thousand feet before the engine picked up again. It was a fairly nerve wracking time listening to the engine note and wondering what would happen if we were suddenly attacked by German aircraft. I did not hold out much hope of being able to dogfight with two drop tanks in position. Luckily the worst did not happen and the engine kept going for the five minutes on each tank. Even so I was very short of fuel by the time we reached Cornwall again. Having by this time radioed the situation to the Wing Commander, he allowed me to break formation and land first. On inspecting the tanks with the Engineering Officer after landing we found that there was only about three gallons left in each tank, about another three minutes flying at the boost and revs that we were using. The cause of the failure to jettison was a bent retraction pin on the starboard tank which stopped the Bowden cable moving. I had, without realizing it, bent the jettison lever about 45 degrees in my efforts to get rid of the tanks. I heard no more of the incident but no doubt some luckless rigger got a dose of 'jankers' for failing to inspect the system properly.
Next day I again flew HF-B, which by this time was considered as 'my' aircraft, on a shipping recce, short range this time, but we sighted nothing. Practice flying in battle formation and practicing 'breaking' when attacked took up the next few flights and my next operation was on the 18th December. This was once again a long range effort but this time acting as fighter escort to a squadron of torpedo carrying Bristol Beaufighters of Coastal Command on a pre-planned shipping strike. The weather was not good and we had difficulty in keeping station on the Beaufighters which were a good bit slower than us since they were carrying torpedoes. They were doing the navigating and all we had to do was to keep station on them. Not as easy as it sounds in squally conditions with heavy rain showers and a low cloud base. We all flew below the cloud and, thinking back, our presence probably made no difference at all. We were there just for moral support! The navigation of the Beau squadron was spot on and we picked up the ships on time. The convoy consisted of five ships: one large merchantman, two destroyers and two E-boats. We had been briefed not to attack but to make dummy runs to confuse the gunners. We made four approaches to the convoy, turning away just as they opened fire, whilst the Beaufighters made their torpedo attack run. The tactics seemed to be successful since nobody was shot down in either formation at the time and two torpedo hits were scored on the large vessel. One of our aircraft, flown by Flying Officer Walley, was hit by flak but managed to get back OK although he had to make a wheels-up landing back at Predannack.

On the 20th December we tried to bomb a 'noball' target near Cherbourg but were unable to attack since the cloud was 10/10 over the area. These targets were ski shaped concrete ramps with associated sheltered buildings. We did not know what they were at the time but it later transpired that they were the launching sites for the V1 weapons or 'Buzz-Bombs' as they became known.
On the 22nd we tried again, this time at full wing strength, with 183 and 164 squadrons bombing and 193 and 266 squadrons acting as fighter escort. As we approached the target area, the cloud cover was almost complete again. However the C.O. put us in echelon port and then started a slow turn to starboard to see if he could pick up the target. He managed to spot what we were aiming for through a small hole in the clouds and tightened up his turn to keep it in sight as he called the 'Arm bombs' and 'diving now' orders. I was flying at number two to the leader of the second four of the second squadron which made me fourteenth of the sixteen aircraft to dive. It also meant that I had to keep on opening up the throttle in order to keep up as I was on the far left hand end of a string of aircraft turning right. By the time that the aircraft in front of me peeled off to dive I was nearly at full throttle and banked steeply to keep in formation. I just managed to glimpse the target through the small hole in the cloud as I peeled over into the dive but had to pull over almost inverted to get round on to the line of the bombing dive. As soon as I was in the dive I realized that I was going much too fast but there was nothing I could do except throttle back in fine pitch and hope that the following pilot would be able to keep clear. As it happened, I need not have worried on that score since the last two in the formation had been unable to keep station had lost sight of the hole in the cloud and given up trying to bomb. I concentrated on lining up with the target, released my bombs and pulled out. By this time I was experienced enough to pull the maximum 'G' I could stand and had learned that this could be increased by putting my feet up on the 'high' rudder pedals, curling up in a ball, and yelling as loudly as possible. All of which tended to push blood up into the head and thus help to counteract the effects of the 'G' force. Even so my vision went immediately and I blacked out almost completely. When my vision returned I was going almost straight up and just had time to see that my airspeed was well over 450mph before I was back into the cloud. Before I had time to settle down to fly on instruments I was back up through the cloud layer and found I was shooting up past the rest of the formation although by now my airspeed was bleeding off rapidly and I quickly rejoined. The trip back was uneventful but I was not sure whether I had been hit by flak or not. The aircraft seemed noisier than usual and I was having to use very slightly more throttle and higher revs to keep station. On landing at Harrowbeer the local ground crew drew my attention to the undersides of both wings. Several rivets had 'popped' at the point where the wing 'cranked' just outside the undercarriage legs. This had allowed the metal skinning to pull away from the rib and left a gap of about a centimetre. This had been enough to cause a slight increase in drag and to change the noise and 'feel' of the aircraft in flight. As far as anybody could tell the only way this could have happened is that I had far exceeded the maximum speed and consequently the maximum 'G' on pullout which had actually bent the wings!
I was considered to be extremely lucky to have survived since everybody was of the opinion that the extra stress should also have caused the tail assembly to break off! After much discussion I was allowed to fly gently back to Predannack so that the aircraft could be repaired by our own ground staff. I remember that the regular fitter on the aircraft concerned seemed more hurt than annoyed that I had so bent his aircraft.
That operation was on December 22nd and I was then lucky enough to be granted leave over Christmas and did not fly again until the 6th January 1944.
tow1709 is offline  
Old 24th Mar 2010, 21:02
  #1680 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: England
Posts: 9
Query about RAF Spitalgate 1942

Thanks to Johnfairr I have learned a great deal more about Derek Olver Acting Flying Officer. I feel as though the curtains of the past have been drawn back to give me a true insight into the lives of Derek and his wife Kay. Information that I sought and the knowledge that I am now gradually digesting as I proceed to find out more.

Derek was stationed near Grantham where he instructed on Oxfords. I have an active interest in aircraft however that was a new one to me although in the past I doubtless have encountered one when visiting the likes of Duxford. I shall be more on the look out for one next time I visit a similar establishment.

Now I am putting forward another query, which I trust one of you might be able to help me answer. Does anyone know if the training near Grantham took place at RAF Spitalgate?

If there is anyone else out there who has any recollection of Derek Olver please could they contact me.
raguoC is offline  

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