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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 30th Apr 2010, 10:57
  #1741 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: CHESTER
Age: 99
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RAF Pilot's brevet in ww2

Lucky you. I hope to fly in a Tiger Moth before my 90th birthday. My last flight in one was August 1941. Instructors sat in front. Pupils flew dual and solo from the rear cockpit always. fredjhh.
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Old 30th Apr 2010, 13:40
  #1742 (permalink)  
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Thank you fellas, I was pretty certain that CoG had something to do with it, which is why reading somewhere that pupils sat in front was confusing me. Back to those find those sources to see if I was imagining things
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Old 2nd May 2010, 00:06
  #1743 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
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Luftwaffe Night Fighter Claims

Anyone have the Theo Boiten book "Nachtjagd War Diaries: An Operational History of the German Night Fighter Force in the West: volume 1, September 1939 - March 1944

Apparently a lot of research to "connect the dots" using the bits and pieces of information available (only 2- 3% of the Luftwaffe records survived the war?). In the sample pages I read online the claims have been cross referenced between German pilot and RAF aircraft serial number for each major bomber command offensive.

Fairly recent book as I understand first print was 2008

Last edited by rmventuri; 2nd May 2010 at 02:52. Reason: clarification
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Old 8th May 2010, 20:52
  #1744 (permalink)  
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More memoirs (Part 23) from Peter Brett - WW2 Hawker Typhoon pilot

Today was the Victoire holiday in France where Peter now lives. Peter is one of the very few British members of the Anciens Combattants, an association of former servicemen in France. He was invited, along with a few other local former French servicemen from WW2 to a small ceremony in his local village.

The Mayor of Liernais (pictured here with PB) gave a very nice speech in which she said they were very proud to have a former member of the RAF present, and thanked Peter for his contribution to the liberation of Europe from fascism, which drew a big round of applause. Lots of free drinks in the Town Hall followed, and Peter had a thoroughly nice time.

I don't know what will happen once I press submit. I hope the pic itself will appear. On the preview only the link shows.


Peter' story continues...

On the 8th February [1944] I flew four times in one day. This was unusual since normally we would only fly two operations in any one day. This day however the first two flights were air tests of 10 minutes each, followed by two dive bombing operations against 'No-ball' targets. One was on the Cherbourg peninsula and the second at Cap de la Hague. I noted that the first target had 'a bit of flak' with fair bombing whilst the second stated 'no flak, very good show'.

These dive bombing attacks on 'No-ball' targets were by now getting to be routine affairs and the German AA gunners were becoming wary of any formations of aircraft approaching their area. Consequently the flak was gradually becoming heavier and more accurate. We tended to try to confuse the issue as much as possible by varying the methods of attack. One method we found most effective was not to change formation as we approached the target. Obviously the German gunners were aware that, as soon as they saw a formation changing to echelon, we were preparing to dive bomb someone!

Sqn/Ldr Dring, our C.O. came up with an idea for diving on a target from the normal 'Finger Four' formation. He would fly past the target, call 'Ready, Steady, Go' and, on the word 'Go' would do a half roll into a loop to pull out on the bombing dive angle. He would be immediately followed by the rest of his own four in the order 3,4,2. As soon as the leader of the second four saw the C.O.s number 2 start his roll he would follow with his four in the same order.

We practiced this many times before we tried it on operations and we found we could get all eight aircraft in the dive at the same time within six or seven seconds. This meant that the gunners had little chance of concentrating on any one aircraft and just had to rely on putting up a barrage, when it was just pure luck if they hit anyone. The fact that the aircraft were diving closely behind each other did not affect the bombing accuracy since we were all doing the same speed at the same angle of dive and could safely ignore the other aircraft whilst we aimed our bombs. All you had to make sure of then, was that you did not start your pull-out before the chap in front of you since, if you did, he could then have pulled out into you!

We used this tactic on our next operation which was again a 'No-ball' target at St.Omer. There was quite a bit of cloud and, since we did not change formation prior to bombing we obviously caught the defences by surprise and there was very little flak. We tried the same thing on the same target the next day, February 10th, but were unable to bomb since the cloud cover was 10/10ths over the target.
For the next ten days I was engaged in practicing formation leading and doing an exercise called 'Savvy', of which I can now recall nothing! Obviously it was a rather boring job.

On the 21st and 22nd February I took part in two long range shipping recce's. On neither of these did we see any ships and in both cases it was just a long low level flight over the sea. These long low-level flights were very tiring and, as you relaxed on the way back, it was often very difficult to stay alert. The squadron Doc heard about this and gave us a short talk on staying alert. One thing he recommended was to turn up the oxygen supply.

This definitely worked! The only thing he forgot to mention was that, as well as making you feel alert, it also greatly increased your awareness of all the small annoyances which had been numbed by the long flight. The most immediate sensation was to feel as if you were sitting on ball bearings since the dinghy pack, which formed the cushion on which we sat, contained a CO2 bottle for inflation. This bottle formed a slightly harder part to the 'cushion' but was normally unnoticeable. The extra oxygen supply however made all your senses more responsive and every discomfort was greatly exaggerated. Consequently many of the pilots preferred to stay drowsy and dangerous rather than alert and anguished!

On Feb 24th we did an unusual operation in that we provided escort cover for some American Mitchells which were bombing. It was good weather and we sat up above the Mitchells and watched them bombing. There was no opposition and the target was thoroughly plastered.

Three days rest followed and then it was back to dive bombing 'No-ball' targets again. On the 28th Feb it was near Abbeville. This was a routine show with only light flak and nobody was damaged. The only thing of note was that we were nearly attacked by both Spitfires and Thunderbolts. The Typhoon was still at this time not too familiar to most fighter pilots and, unfortunately, from some angles looked remarkably like a Focke Wolf 190. We were therefore very wary of any other formations of friendly aircraft we saw and, if they showed signs of attacking, we would break formation and frantically waggle our wings until the 'friendly' aircraft decided to be just that!
The morning of 29th Feb saw us again on a 'No-ball' target, this time near Londinieres. The weather was lousy with low broken cloud and heavy rain. We managed to bomb well and had very little flak. The German gunners were probably sheltering from the downpour when the alarm was sounded. I was leading the second four on this operation. By now I was getting very used to pulling out of the dive with the maximum tolerable 'G' force and this time, due to the very low cloud, I shot up through the overcast and the second layer, only to find that the rest of the squadron had levelled of between the cloud layers and were not to be seen. I therefore headed for home and luckily the rest of the squadron then appeared through the cloud below and in front of me. I opened up a little in order to catch up only to hear on the R/T. "Bandit six o'clock.- Break", and to see the squadron do a battle breakaway and scatter. I was about to follow suit when I realised that I was the 'Bandit'. I called up "Red Leader this is Red Four. I think I am the reported bandit" and I waggled my wings. The squadron then reformed and my other three joined up on me. My number two was later subjected to a deal of joshing over the fact that he had reported his own leader as an enemy!

In the afternoon I did two short trips which I noted in my log book as 'Observing experimental bombs for F/O Harbutt. I think that in this case Eric Harbutt was testing a new angle of dive indicator but I have no real recollection of the occasion. I remember Eric well however. He was a very likeable and ebullient type who was the life and soul of any party. It was some time before I found out that he was the son of the founder of 'Harbutt's Plasticene'. Harbutts was a household name in the field of childrens’ playthings and general modelling. I found out one evening at a party in the mess, when he had a few too many and tried to give me some shares in the company. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I was more sober and refused them! We kept in touch after the war, but unfortunately he died at the early age of about 35 around about 1957.

The next two months saw major changes, both in the aircraft itself and in a whole new concept of ground attack.

We did very few fighter-escort operations, which, in retrospect, was probably a good thing. The Typhoon was not a good fighter and tended to wallow around at any altitude above 15000 ft. It was however a superb low level ground-attack aircraft being very stable at high speed and, being very heavy, was not unduly disturbed by the buffeting which lighter aircraft experienced when flying very near the ground. When I first flew a Typhoon they weighed around seven tons. As the war progressed and they were modified more and more for their low level ground attack role they became heavier. They finished up as the nearest thing ever to a flying tank with armour plating around the cockpit and more and heavier armament. Fortunately the engine also continued to be modified and, as the weight increased so did the engine power so the performance remained more or less constant.
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Old 9th May 2010, 16:51
  #1745 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
To all ....

Just to let you know that I am back home but not exactly running around. They are awaiting results of a biopsy (I nearly put autopsy !) on my hip bone as they have found something and are now trying to find out where it has started. They will take over two weeks. I am far less mobile but am coping... Your comments were heart warming and I appreciate them. C'est la vie and I am the last one to moan ,having had such a wonderful life, Reg.
Old 9th May 2010, 17:07
  #1746 (permalink)  
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Hang in there, Reg....I am of far lesser experience and flying ability, but I have medical problems too....let's hope we can - all of us!- enjoy our next posting......
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Old 10th May 2010, 12:48
  #1747 (permalink)  
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Great to have you back on the forum, Reg!

I'm sure I speak for the whole of PPRuNe when I say we're all looking forward to many more of your fine contributions.

All the best!
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Old 10th May 2010, 14:23
  #1748 (permalink)  
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Glad to see you are back at home (or have hacked into the hospital system!)
Andy's email address comes up with "hash invalid" so cannot contact him on that to send Best Wishes that way.... also posted PM to him but that took a while and his previous email address hasn't answered so a bit snookered until you returned!!

Sounds like you've gone solo on your zimmer, just take it easy, your hip and accoutrements must still be very painful, so don't push yourself too hard. One volume of your Memoirs a day will suffice!!! Just joking, post as and when you feel up to it, we here are all doing our bit to wish you soon recovered.
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Old 16th May 2010, 10:51
  #1749 (permalink)  
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More Hawker Typhoon memoirs from Peter Brett

Part 24 of Peter's notes...

For the first two weeks in March 1944 it was 'Noball' business as usual interspersed with a fighter patrol at 14000 feet over St. Omer on the 5th and a shipping recco on the 11th. The 'Noball' target on the 4th was the one near Londinières again but this time we scored a direct hit on the bomb storage facility which resulted in a most gigantic explosion. The fighter patrol produced no results at all but the weather clamped down whilst we were out and we were diverted to West Malling on our return.

We had to change gear to a higher speed on the supercharger as we went up through 13000 feet. This always seemed to us to be a highly chancy operation since the supercharger was driven by a long shaft which ran from back to front of the engine on three bearings. The gear change was by means of a dog tooth clutch which went in with a bang! The net result was that the drive shaft had twisted through 180 degrees at the back end before the front end, with the supercharger attached, caught up!

This was demonstrated to us with pride by the engine makers when some of us visited the Napier works at Acton in London.

The test on the shaft consisted of twisting one end through 270 degrees with respect to the other, which was clamped, and then letting it go. It had to return to its original shape within 1/2 degree after five operations. It was obviously a very special piece of steel but there was still that moment of apprehension, when changing gear, that the shaft would fracture and the engine would stop! Fortunately this fighter patrol was one of only about three or four operations on which I had to change gear on the supercharger and I never experienced any trouble.

March saw a major change in 'my' Typhoon. My old HF-E was taken away and I was allocated a modified 'Tiffy' with the new sliding canopy hood. The difference was amazing. Instead of feeling 'boxed in' by the two side doors and the 'lid' one was suddenly practically out in the open. The 'bubble' hood gave unobstructed viewing in all directions, even behind, and the net result was to make you feel much more in control of the situation. Opening the hood prior to landing made the lookout much easier and consequently made it much simpler to put the aircraft down with more exact judgment of height. We soon found that the hood would close by itself at any speed over about 100 mph and all you had to do was release and lock out the pullout knob on the hood winding handle and the hood would roll shut. I think I was only the second or third pilot on the squadron to fly the new hood. The C.O. of course had the first one!

The shipping recce on the 11th was also non-productive but this led to me deliberately missing a target for the first and only time. We were being led on this operation by the Flight Commander of 'A' Flight, a Canadian, who was renowned for bending the rules.

We had strict Standing Orders that we were never to attack any targets of opportunity on the Channel Islands. However, since we had had no luck with shipping he decided that we would attack the airfield on Alderney. Despite being reminded by two or three of us that this was forbidden, he gaily went ahead with a low level bombing run. The airfield was just a grass field on the edge of the cliffs at the south west corner of the island. I recall only one 20mm gun opened up on us, and he was very inaccurate. I was flying number three and as we approached I decided that I would not drop my bombs onto the airfield. I selected the dropping switches but left the arming switches off so that, in effect, I was jettisoning the bombs.

I also made sure that I released the bombs very early. They hit the beach below the cliff and did not explode. No doubt the Germans removed them without too much trouble but I expect they assumed that they were delayed action and perhaps took a lot of unnecessary precautions. I did not mention any of this at the debriefing but just said that I thought that I had released too early and did not see where my bombs impacted. Our leader was reprimanded for disobeying Standing Orders but nothing further happened. As far as I know this was the only time that British aircraft attacked the Channel Islands!

More soon ==TOW
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Old 17th May 2010, 08:45
  #1750 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
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tow: Utterly absorbing!
It shows what a fairly simple idea (nowadays) it must have been to adopt the "bubble" canopy. I can't recall which aircraft first introduced it, perhaps the Fw190? That change alone must have increased pilot confidence and probably saved a lot of lives as well as spotting hostile aircraft earlier than before.

I'm also interested in the reference to the Napier factory in Acton, just a few roads away from where I now live. That must have been an important part of Acton's history, but I doubt if more than a handful of residents are aware of its existence and its important contribution. I'd never considered "gear" changes in an aircraft and I can understand the concern that such a long piece of high tensile steel would be man enough for the job!!

Looking forward to further instalments!!

PS: I started a thread to wish Regle a speedy recovery, and to save clogging this thread. If anyone wants to add a message to cheer him up while he learns to solo on the Zimmer, please do so...

Last edited by Icare9; 17th May 2010 at 09:00.
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Old 17th May 2010, 13:56
  #1751 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Scotland
Posts: 96

I have become completely hooked on Peter's notes.

My brother-in-laws father flew Spitfires and then Typhoons with 184 squadron. The more I find out about what he did the more I am in awe of him. As with all people of his generation he continuously plays down his role.

I am sure that he shared many experiences with Peter and, I hope that you dont mind, but I am currently collating Peters notes to pass on to him. I am sure that it will bring back many memories.

Thanks tow/Peter.

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Old 17th May 2010, 15:07
  #1752 (permalink)  
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Can understand completely concerns over supercharger gear changes. On both the RR' Griffon and the (Bristol) Hercules it was accompanied by a loud thump and an airframe vibration.
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Old 17th May 2010, 18:46
  #1753 (permalink)  
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The difference in those days was that the loud thump could be a 20mm cannon shell.
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Old 17th May 2010, 20:27
  #1754 (permalink)  
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More memoirs from Peter Brett - Hawker Typhoon pilot

First can I add my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Reg. I found out that he was at the Liverpool Institute at the same time as my father. My dad was two or three years older, so they did not know each other. I think this school was also Paul McCartney's alma mater. TOW

Peter's story continues...

Another 'Noball' target on 14th March and then, on the 15th I was scheduled to take part in escort duty for another dive bombing operation not in HF-E, but flying HF-J. This was one of the few times that I turned back. Just after takeoff I realized that the aircraft was flying very left wing low. This was so bad that I was having to use considerable force to keep flying with wings level. This force becoming harder to hold as the airspeed increased. It would have been impossible to hold the aircraft during any high speed manoeuvres and I therefore turned back just after we crossed out over the English coast and the 'spare man' took over. I reported it as soon as I landed and the Flt/Sgt senior rigger decided to re-trim the ailerons himself. This re-trimming was somewhat crude since, as there was no manual lateral trimming device, the trim was effected by a small metal tab at the trailing edge of each aileron. If this was bent up it deflected the aileron down and thus tended to raise that wing.

Since I reported left wing low he bent the left wing tab up. Unfortunately he was a bit too enthusiastic and when I then flew an air test the aircraft was right wing low! It was very difficult for the ground staff to exactly judge the amount of trim needed since it was purely a subjective report on the part of the pilot and one pilot might say the aircraft was 'a bit' out of trim whereas another might fly the same aircraft and say it was 'a hell of a lot'. I duly reported this but I don't know if the next pilot had any trouble or not.

I never flew this particular aircraft again. In fact, for the next couple of weeks we all flew strange aircraft since, not only were we moved to Manston, but all our squadron aircraft were taken away for modification and we were flying aircraft lettered TP-, borrowed from 198 squadron.

My first operation from Manston was on 21st March when I flew No.3 to the C.O. on a 'Ranger' operation. We took off at dawn and headed out at low level across the North Sea towards Holland. The cloudbase was only about 1500 feet and, just before the Dutch coast, we started a battle climb to 20,000 feet. Almost immediately we were in cloud. Fortunately it was not too dense and it was fairly easy to maintain formation. Everything was going well until, still in cloud, we were passing about 10,000 feet. Suddenly my engine started running roughly and then cut completely.. A quick glance at the air temperature gauge and then at the wing leading edge told me the story. I was suffering from severe icing! I immediately switched on the carburettor heater, just before the C.O. called up and said 'All Bingo aircraft, switch on heaters, icing conditions." It was probably only ten or fifteen seconds before my engine started to pick up again but in the meantime I had lost a lot of airspeed and had to put the aircraft into a glide. As soon as the engine came back I resumed my climb but of course by then had lost sight of the aircraft on which I was formating. I continued the climb to 12000 ft but still had not reached clear air or seen any sign of the rest of the formation. There was only one sensible thing to do and that was to head back. I levelled off, still on instruments, and did a nice gentle 180 degree turn to head back home. I headed 270 degrees (West) and flew for about fifteen minutes until I was sure I was back over the North Sea. I then let down slowly, keeping a wary eye on the altimeter, waiting for the base of the cloud. At 2000ft I came out of cloud and looked down, expecting to see water. What I did see was a large city! Almost at the same moment I started to receive hostile attention from light AA. I whacked open the throttle and shot back up into the cloud. After a further few minutes I tried again and this time, sure enough, there was the sea. A quick look around to make sure that I was alone and I dived for the sea to keep below any unfriendly radar.

As I was not sure where I was, (I later worked out that I had come out of cloud right over the centre of Rotterdam), I then climbed up again to just below the cloud base and called up for a homing. I immediately received a very clear transmission from a station with an unfamiliar call sign which told me to steer 263 degrees. I was a bit suspicious of this so I fortunately ignored it. I continued steering 270 degrees and waited a further ten minutes. Trying again, I this time received a much weaker signal which told me to steer 274 degrees.

This I did and, after a further twenty minutes or so, saw the Kent coastline ahead. I called up Manston and told them 'I am flashing my weapon'. This was not as rude as it sounds since it was the code to tell them that I had turned on my IFF (Identification Friend and Foe) transmitter. This gave a special signal which appeared on the radar scopes and told the operators that I was friendly. Unfortunately it had no such effect on the coastal AA batteries, and, as I approached I was greeted by a hefty barrage of 20 and 40mm Flak.

Luckily the gunners were too enthusiastic and opened fire whilst I was still out of range which gave me a chance to turn parallel to the coast, waggle my wings and lower my undercarriage. This latter being a universal sign that the aircraft concerned was not hostile. The gunners responded correctly and, as I flew back over the coast I could see several of them waving to me! I landed back at Manston about an hour ahead of the remainder of the squadron. When they did return, I learned that my Flight Commander 'Pete' Raw had been shot down near Nijmegen and was missing

I reported the strange homing reply that I had received and was told that the Germans were occasionally trying to break in on our frequencies with misleading messages. Had I followed the course I was given I would probably have finished up running out of fuel over Belgium or Northern France This was the last operation from Manston and also the last operation I did in a bomber Typhoon. The squadron was posted from Manston to ThorneyIsland and our aircraft which had been taken away were now returned to us. They were no longer dive bombers, but were fitted with rocket rails! We were about to become 'RP' (Rocket Projectile) equipped.
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Old 17th May 2010, 20:44
  #1755 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East Sussex
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Had a chance to do some research on Napier engines today.
The Sabre, Rapier and Dagger were so named due to the proximity of the Wilkinson Sword factory in Acton.

It's also due to Napier that we have "British" Racing Green as it was their car winning the 1902 Gordon Bennett trophy in dark green paintwork that started the trend!

Don't mock, you may very well win a Quiz Night with that sort of info!!
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Old 18th May 2010, 09:23
  #1756 (permalink)  
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ICARE9 - Google

Well lets see how much better your google skills are than mine. I got the ORB's from St. Eval and found that Doug and most of the the crew of HR732 at that time flying a Whitley in late April to late May 1943 on anti sub patrol (as previously mentioned with Fred). On each of their six Ops while at St. Eval actually had a crew of six (not five as one would expect). The sixth crew member listed as P/O Searle R.N. (however listed second in the crew listing so possibly a second pilot? - Pilot Sgt. Salvage was always listed first) and not part of HR732 when the rest of the crew was posted to Snaith. I am trying to find if R.N. Searle is still alive as it looks like he survived the war but cannot find any info on him?? A little off topic sorry. Google away
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Old 18th May 2010, 09:28
  #1757 (permalink)  
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Message for Reg - I think we are all collectively holding our breath and waiting to massively exhale when you are back in the saddle. Speedy recovery.
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Old 18th May 2010, 10:13
  #1758 (permalink)  
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St Eval.
There was a bunch of pilots attached to 10 OTU who were destined for Coastal Command, and they flew as second pilots with the Whitley crews. They were listed second on the crew list. I flew one 'op' with a Sgt Watkins, one with P/O Chilton, one with P/O Davy and two with P/O Read. On two ten hour trips there was no second pilot available. On one of these "George" failed soon after take-off; we encountered the worst possible weather, and lost an engine on return. I slept for 20 hours and missed my day-off! fredjhh
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Old 18th May 2010, 15:09
  #1759 (permalink)  
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regle's thank yous

Thanks everyone to all the wellwishers. I am still undergoing a long testing time and even have a colonoscopy booked on Sunday! I am home with my youngest son (61!) looking after my shopping and transport. Am not very mobile but am getting around . I will keep you posted but am taking it very easy for the moment ( I have'nt any choice. ) All the very best, Reg
Old 18th May 2010, 22:11
  #1760 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: UK
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Very best of good wishes with all that Reg.
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