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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 May 2010, 09:02
  #1761 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Rodger: Fred has answered your query better than I can. It's what I would have assumed, the training at St Eval was probably to condition the crews to long flights and an experienced pilot would be aboard to show them the ropes, teach them what they could and could not do whilst providing a useful deterrent to U boats, spotting survivors etc.

Pilot Officer Searle hasn't shown up on my searches yet, but as most of my links are Bomber Command related and looks as this chap was Coastal Command. I'll need to search in that area. I'm just hoping that the initials are R. N. and not an abbreviation for Royal Navy!! There was a Sgt R Searle 77 Sqdn PoW but that was in Oct 1943 and not likely that your chap would have been demoted.

It does look as if he survived the War as there is no R N Searle recorded in the CWGC Debt of Honour database. However, obviously in the intervening years, he may well be no longer with us. If I find anything, I'll let you know.
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Old 19th May 2010, 11:18
  #1762 (permalink)  
 
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Did the Navy have rating pilots at that time? If so could it refer to a "petty officer" who may well have been attached to a Coastal Command unit? I know the Navy were recruiting rating pilots in the late forties/early fifties.
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Old 19th May 2010, 13:00
  #1763 (permalink)  
 
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26er: I'm pretty sure it's the guys initials, but just covering the bases in case it meant something elsewhere!

I think the guy must have been in Coastal Command as I have pretty extensive Bomber Command sites searched without success. I have asked a Coastal Command guru if he has any info, similarly 10 OTU (Codes were [email protected] etc....)

No trace so far in Flight Archives where I would have expected to find promotion details etc.. Still looking, but all help appreciated!
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Old 19th May 2010, 14:00
  #1764 (permalink)  
 
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ICare9

St. Eval.
Whitley Squadrons were taken off Bomber operations in 1942, and many Squadrons were move to Coastal Command airfields. 51 Squadron (for example) was moved to Chivenor until the end of the year, then reformed with Halifaxes at Snaith in January 1943.
10 OTU Detachment was a "one-off" compromise by Bomber Command when Coastal Command were insisting on more 'heavy' crews. Other Whitley OTUs also supplied crews to 10 OTU (SD). We had finished all training and normally would have been posted immediately to Bomber Squadrons. The majority of OTU crews were on Squadrons at the same time as those seconded to St. Eval.
The second pilots were newly trained pilots straight from SFTS or PAFU(s). They were not experienced pilots, had not flown any other than training aircraft, and were there merely for the ride, or to relief the captain if he wanted to stretch his legs.
When I finished my stint and returned to Bomber Command I found many of my OTU friends, who had gone directly to Squadrons, already missing or dead. fredjhh
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Old 19th May 2010, 15:03
  #1765 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Regle. keep your chin up! - you have a lot of people wishing you all the best" We thank you for your Service..

Respect Sir!
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Old 20th May 2010, 09:08
  #1766 (permalink)  
 
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St. Eval

Yes they are initials. The ORBs list the crew for each of their ops exactly as
Sgt. Salvage A.J
P/O Searle R.N.
Sgt. Baker F.J.
Sgt. Hampson M.
Sgt. Davies I.G.
Sgt. Milliken D.W

The ORB's are very good quality so no problem in guessing the spelling - they did typo the initials sometimes but Searle was always with initials R.N.

Thanks for your help
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Old 20th May 2010, 16:05
  #1767 (permalink)  
 
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Still no sign of RN Searle anywhere.... I'm puzzled that no reference found in Flight as that details promotions, so would have expected to find him as P/O and if any higher... no such luck. No response to request on Coastal, but always hopeful!!

Are the ORB's in electronic format? There are regular requests for ORBs for various units so if you feel like making them available for others to research, let me know....
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Old 20th May 2010, 20:13
  #1768 (permalink)  
 
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More Hawker Typhoon exploits from Peter Brett - part 26

On 6th April [1944] I had my first flight in an 'RP' (Rocket Projectile) Typhoon, practising 30 degree dives on to a target in Poole harbour. Then, on the 11th April, the squadron was moved to Llanbedr in North Wales to undergo a ten day rocket firing course. The flight there was quite eventful since we were forced by weather to land at Weston Zoyland. This airfield had a particular runway that was very short, only some 850 yards, and as luck would have it this was the one in use that day. The C.O. warned us all by radio before we landed and told us that, if we did not touch down very near the start of the runway we were to open up and go round again. I managed to get down fairly shortly after crossing the boundary but all of us had difficulty stopping in time. In my case it resulted in the brakes overheating so badly that, just after I turned off the runway, there was a loud bang, the starboard wing dropped, and I swung sharply to the right. My starboard tyre had burst and I was stuck. The squadron managed to take off later in the day when the weather improved but I had to remain another day until a spare wheel was brought down (in a motorcycle and sidecar!) and fitted so that I could follow them. During this ten day course I flew several different aircraft but not 'my' HF-E since it was not returned modified with rocket rails until after the course was over.

It surprised me that some of the pilots were a bit worried as to what would happen when they fired their rockets, especially when firing a salvo of eight projectiles. It appeared that they were worried about recoil! We had been told that the effect of firing a salvo of rockets was the equivalent of a broadside from a light cruiser! This made some pilots think that they were going to experience the recoil equivalent to the firing of eight naval guns! Had this really been the case the aircraft would have fallen apart from the shock! In reality of course there was no recoil at all since, if anything, the rockets tried to pull the aircraft forward. They were held onto the guide rails by a short length of 16-SWG soft copper wire which was there to prevent them sliding off if the aircraft happened to get too nose-down. On firing, the copper wire broke, and the rocket released.

Each rocket consisted of a tube about four inches in diameter and about five feet long which contained the solid fuel motor. The fuel was a very fast burning, waxy looking piece of extruded plastic explosive, in the form of a cross. To the front end of this was screwed on the warhead which could be of several types. The most common was 60lb explosive but we also used 40lb armour piercing, 60lb phosphorus incendiary and even 40lb anti-personnel heads. These latter had a small propeller at the front. When fired the propeller rotated and unscrewed a thread which allowed a 3ft long telescopic probe to extend out of the front. This probe ensured that the explosive went off before the rocket buried itself in the ground and thus had the maximum blast effect. At the rear end of the motor tube were clipped on four fixed vanes, which were just flat steel plates which kept the missile straight in flight. The whole assembly was over six feet long and weighed some 150 pounds. It took two men to load each one on to its rails, which themselves were formed of twin aluminium tubes on which the rocket hung by means of a sort of twin 'coat-hanger' of thin steel strip.

The aiming of the rockets was much less haphazard than the aiming of the bombs. The reflector gunsight normally projected an orange image of a circle with a dot in the middle, bisected by a horizontal line with a break in the middle, on to the windscreen. The break in the horizontal line could be varied in width by adjusting a knurled ring below the sight. The idea being that you set it to give the apparent wingspan of the aircraft you were attacking at the optimum cannon range. In order to sight the rockets, the image had been turned 90 degrees so that the line with the break in the middle was vertical. Instead of aiming with the dot, you used the top of the lower half of the line as an aiming point and, by adjusting the gap and consequently the height of the tip of the bottom line, could adjust the site for various angles of dive - even down to zero angle for low level attacks. The trajectory of the rocket projectile was somewhat odd in that whilst the motor was firing, for about the first three seconds of its flight, the trajectory was practically level (relative to the attitude of the aircraft). As soon as the motor burnt out, the projectile followed a normal ballistic curve like a shell or a bullet. The trajectory therefore depended on the aircraft speed at the moment of firing. Whatever speed this was, the motor added another 600mph or so during its burning, so that the final speed at motor burn-out could be anything from about 800mph to over 1000mph.

Somehow I seemed to be able to judge the trajectory quite well and I gained a reputation as a 'Dead-Eye Dick' with RP's, thus redeeming my abysmal failure as an air-to-air cannon marksman. With eight rocket rails carrying eight rockets and sometimes also with long range tanks the performance of the Typhoon was sadly depleted except in the dive when the increase in speed was dramatic! Since 'my' aircraft had not yet been returned, when we were due to leave Llanbedr and return to the South coast, I was unlucky enough not to draw an aircraft and had to make the trip as a passenger in an Anson. As soon as we returned to Tangmere we were posted yet again. This time to Thorney Island where we were under canvas as a mobile 'airfield', obviously in preparation for the invasion of Europe, but of course with no idea when this would be.


[There is some youtube footage here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrdfbrwcuM8 of rockets being assembled, loaded and fired. Note the black and white stripe paint scheme on the Typhoon wings. PB tells me this was done just before D-Day to aid in the identification of Allied aircraft. ==TOW]
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Old 21st May 2010, 01:49
  #1769 (permalink)  
 
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This is fantastic stuff. To date most of the work I've done has been looking into Bomber Command, so to hear something from that other part of the RAF is great.

Keep it up!!
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Old 21st May 2010, 21:11
  #1770 (permalink)  
 
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Some more of Peter Brett's recollections as a Hawker Typhoon pilot

On the 23rd April 1944 I flew as a passenger again, this time in a Handley-Page 'Harrow', to Llanbedr to pick up one of our aircraft which had been left behind for repair.

Unfortunately, due to lack of communication, I arrived only to find that the aircraft was not ready and would not be for some time. On contacting my squadron C.O. by telephone he told me to return with the 'Harrow' which had gone up to collect all the ground support equipment such as the 'Ops room', adjutant’s office, etc.

I went to the mess and had lunch whilst the aircraft was loaded and when I returned I found that I was to sit in a deck-chair in a small space left in the fuselage between the loaded goods. When I was installed I could not see out and it was fairly dark. I decided that, once we were airborne, the only thing I could do would be to try to sleep! We trundled out to the end of the runway, turned into wind and the pilot opened up for take-off. The noise and vibration were terrific. It was like being inside a kettle drum. After what seemed ages the rumbling of the wheels ceased and we were airborne. However the vibration continued at the same level since the pilot didn't throttle back for what again seemed a long time. Eventually the note of the engines reduced and conditions became more bearable.

It took over 1˝ hours to reach Thorney Island and, when we did, the landing was very heavy. When we stopped taxiing, I had to wait a few minutes until somebody opened up the door to let me out. I found the pilot and his navigator, looking very harassed and worn, remonstrating with the Flight Sergeant 'Ops'. The poor man had no responsibility for what had happened but he was the nearest person on whom the aircrew could unload their troubles.

It appeared that nobody had bothered to make any calculations as to the weight and balance of all the stuff which had to be moved and it had just been loaded, willy-nilly onto the aircraft. The net result was that the 'Harrow' was overloaded to at least 150% if not more! The pilot had only just managed to get airborne at Llanbedr where, fortunately, the runway finished at the shore line with no obstructions. It had taken him almost half way to Ireland to reach 1000 feet and feel safe enough to turn! On landing at ThorneyIsland he had crossed the fence at well above stalling speed, cut the throttles, and literally fallen out of the air onto the runway.

That was one pilot who would never, ever, take the loading of his aircraft on trust again. Luckily I was in blissful ignorance of what was happening so had not been worried at all.

The next day, April 24th, I took part in my first operational sortie as a rocket-firing Typhoon pilot. This was an attack on a railroad bridge near Carenten on the Cherbourg peninsula. As was often the case, the operation was aborted due to cloud over the target area and we returned. The most noticeable difference between this first rocket show and a dive bombing op was that we did not jettison our armament but landed back with the rockets still on the rails. Once we were re-equipped with the rockets, we had to abandon our 'quickie' method of getting all the aircraft into the dive since, when the rockets were fired they shot ahead of the aircraft. Consequently you had to leave enough space between the attacking aircraft to allow the first man to get out of the way before the second had to fire his rockets. Thus we resumed our 'echelon' formation prior to diving. This was not so bad now since we were mainly diving at only 30 degrees or flying in at low level and therefore presented a more difficult moving target than when diving steeply.

April 27th 1944 saw my first successful RP operation when the squadron attacked the railway viaduct at Merville near St. Omer. The operation was very successful with very little flak. However my aircraft suffered damage to the leading edge of the starboard wing. When I landed I found a hole about six inches in diameter in the leading edge just outboard of the 'cranked' position the skin had been smashed inwards as far as the main spar and the inside of the wing was coated with a mess of blood, bone and feathers. I had obviously hit quite a large bird and from the speed of the impact it seemed probable that this had happened during the dive on the target. I had not even noticed the impact.

A couple of days later we were back on the 'Noball' run, this time an early morning show on a site in the forest, south of Morlaix. We experienced both heavy and light AA fire but nobody was hit and we put all our rockets in the target area. We were on squadron stand-by in the afternoon and, during my one hour stint, we were 'scrambled'. During squadron stand-by we took it in turns for two aircraft to sit at the take-off end of the runway. We sat just off the runway on the grass, strapped into the cockpit with the hood open and each with a ground staff chap standing by with a fire extinguisher. (This being mandatory whenever a Typhoon was started.) We started the engine every 15 minutes so that it was warm and we could take off quickly. The signal from the control tower was a red Verey light.

The NAAFI wagon came round and my 'fireman' obtained me a 'char and a wad' on the promise of payment as soon as I was released from standby. I had just taken my first bite of the cake and was about to sip my tea when the red light went up from the control tower! The wad went one way, the cup went the other, and twenty seconds later I was airborne. We were given various vectors to fly but did not find anything and after half an hour were recalled. I then had to make sure that I found my 'fireman' ground crewman and pay him for the tea and cake which I had had to throw away.

Another couple of days off and then, in the evening of 2nd May, I made my first flight in a Typhoon whilst not completely sober! It was about 6.30 pm and a few of us were in the bar. I had had a couple of pints and was looking forward to dinner when the C.O. came in and asked for volunteers for an Air-Sea rescue search. F/O Glenn had ditched on the way back from France about fifteen minutes earlier. There was no lack of volunteers and it just happened that I was nearest the door and the C.O. chose me and two others to make up the four. It wasn't until I was half way down the runway on take-off that I realised that I really shouldn't be in control of an aircraft! I felt completely over-confident but was having a little difficulty in keeping straight! This was first time since my elementary flying school days.

I decided that the best thing I could do would be to go onto full oxygen to try to sober up. I did this and it had the desired effect except that I then had an immediate hang-over! We flew round over the area where F/O Glenn had ditched for over an hour but none of us saw anything and we had to give up the search as it was getting dark. Sadly, he was not found. By the time we got back I was feeling more normal and my landing was no worse, or better, than usual. The experience was however worth it, in that I made sure that in future I never had a drink if I thought there was any likelihood of being called upon to fly within twelve hours.

Next day I took part in a 30 degree dive RP attack on the railway marshalling yards at Formerie south-east of Dieppe. For some reason we did not see any flak. Perhaps there was but they were not using tracer. In any case we had a very easy run and could concentrate on picking targets. The C.O. told us that, if we had a choice, to go for freight rolling stock and concentrations of track points in order to disrupt operations as much as possible. We were not to attack locomotives since they would almost certainly be driven by Frenchmen and our job did not include killing our allies. Later on, when we were doing armed recco shows, we were told always to first make a dummy attack to give the crews time to stop and jump off before their trains were blown up! On this occasion however I had plenty of time to pick my target and chose a long freight train that was just moving out northwards. I dived at an angle of about 30 degrees and across the train at about 45 degrees. I aimed very carefully for the third wagon behind the loco and fired a salvo of eight rockets. I pulled up and to the right and then banked sharply left so that I could look back down at the train. It must have been going much faster than I estimated. The locomotive and two wagons were by now well away from the explosion but the remainder of the train was continuing to pile up into the wreckage of the wagons and rails that I had hit. Several other trains were derailed or on fire and, at one end of the yard, where the rails came together there was a large cratered area where the points had been. Altogether it was a very satisfactory show.


More soon ==TOW
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Old 22nd May 2010, 08:45
  #1771 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Name: GLENN, NEVILLE TAYLOR
Initials: N T
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Flying Officer
Regiment/Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Age: 28
Date of Death: 02/05/1944
Service No: 420741
Additional information: Son Of Samuel and Stella Glenn; husband of Olive Isabel Helen Glenn, of Dee Why, New South Wales, Australia.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 257.
Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Was there any reason why RAAF aiircrew do not show the RAF Sqdn they were attached to? Most (if not all) RCAF crew are shown with the Squadron Number followed by RAF in brackets (unless at an OTU etc).... just not always easy to track all the crew of an aircraft unless the Names are provided.....
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Old 23rd May 2010, 14:54
  #1772 (permalink)  
 
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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Periodically I check the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight website. Today I discovered that they have a link to some very interesting footage that has recently been placed on You Tube: one in particular shows a video of the interior of a Chipmunk. Further links show some amazing footage of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight that was taken this month. There are also several interesting videos of a Lancaster in the Derwent Valley during a flypast/reconstruction of the training that took place prior to the bombing of the Ruhr Valley dams (RAF Squadron 617). I have just realised that the actual raid took place in the middle of May 1943. Please bear in mind that some of the footage is very good, others quite amateurish. However it is there for all to share for which I am grateful. I hope you enjoy having a look at what is freely available to view. As I have stated previously, I am grateful that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight keeps warm the memory of those who fought so that we could know the true meaning of democracy and freedom that many people throughout the world still strive to experience.
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Old 24th May 2010, 18:14
  #1773 (permalink)  
 
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ORBs

Kevin yes I will freely share any ORB's. I have Snaith 51 squadron from July 4, 1943 to Dec 4, 1943 (electronic format) and St Eval 10 OTU detachment April/May 1943 (hard copy - I'll try to scan in the future but paper size is very large).
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Old 24th May 2010, 19:03
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RMventuri - ORBs. Are these available on-line or only to see at Kew. I have a particular interest in guest lists to mess functions at Watton 66-69. I discovered that my birth mother lived at Necton (right under the right turn at 500 ft on climb-out) and that as Chairman of the Parish Council and Vice-Chairman of the District Council she may have been invited to events like the BoB Cocktail Party, and we may therefore have been at the same functions without realising it.
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Old 24th May 2010, 19:44
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ORB's

Wander00, I have someone recommended by the 51 squadron historian to pull records for me from Kew as he is knowlegable on how Kew organizes the info - if you are interested I can send you a pm with is contact info as I am by no means an expert on this. On occassion I have also done online searches using the kew website and some documents can be down loaded for a per page fee (many documents are still at kew in hardcopy or microfiche only). For example I found a two page combat report that my uncle prepared when they were engaged with an ME109 on the Peenemundee raid and successfully down loaded it - its hit and miss on the quality of the downloaded document (in my case pg 2 is unreadable). Let me know
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Old 30th May 2010, 15:18
  #1776 (permalink)  
regle
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Flight to Hell Aviv

Sabena formed a new sector of London and all the main Mid Eastern destinations. It would mean considerably more time at home as the flights would be shorter. I was one of the Pilots selected to start the sector in the spring of 1972. One of the more attractive flights was the one to Tel Aviv, in Israel. This left Brussels around midday, stopped at Vienna and then continued to Tel Aviv arriving at six in the evening. The crew were always well looked after at the Dan Hotel where they gave us a really nice dinner in the evening. We would leave the next morning at 07.30. May 6th. was a Saturday and it was Cup Final day and I had asked for the day off to watch it on T.V. This was granted and I was made "Reserve" on Monday May 8th. my fiftieth birthday. Dora was most upset over this. "You know that you are sure to be called out " She said "and now you are sure to be flying on your fiftieth birthday. " Sure enough, late on Saturday evening I was called by the "Roles" and told that I was needed to take the Tel Aviv flight on Monday morning. I quickly rang my Chief pilot and explained the situation to him and asked for a ticket for Dora to accompany me on Monday. As always, in Sabena, families were really looked after and I was told that I could collect the ticket before my flight on Monday. I then told her "Now we can celebrate my fiftieth birthday together in Tel Aviv". "It's silly to go all that way for one night." she replied but I could see that she was pleased.
Monday, May 8th. 1972 was a beautiful sunny day in Brussels. I put Dora on board OO-SJG before the passengers and then went back to the airport to phone my youngest daughter to let her know that Dora was definitely going as there was always an uncertainty with free tickets. As I was walking back to the plane down the walkway a very pretty girl passed me and gave me a dazzling smile. I thought "Well I'm fifty years old today but pretty girls still smile at me". As I was getting on board I saw that two of our friends from the Brussels Cricket Club were embarking and I told them that Dora was on board. They told me that they were only going to Vienna but were able to sit next to her.
The flight to Vienna was absolutely uneventful and the weather was glorious all the way. I said goodbye to my two pals from the Cricket Club and we took off for the long flight to Tel Aviv. I climbed to 33,000 ft. and the weather was fine with wonderful visibility. We had just passed over the city of Sarajevo which was the scene of the event that triggered the First World War when I heard a scream from behind me at the entrance to the cockpit. One of the Stewardesses had been pushed to the floor and two men, obviously Arabic, burst into the cockpit. One held a pistol to my head and the other pulled the pin from the grenade that he was holding and threw it (the pin) on the floor. They were both in a highly nervous state and the hand holding the pistol was shaking violently. "You go to Lod" they were shouting. My only thoughts were "How do I calm them down". ............ And I am going to leave you there until I am certain that you want me to continue on this thread because I am conviced that the experience I gained "gaining a pilot's brevet in WW2" had a lot to do with the outcome . My sincere thanks for all the good wishes and letters that I have received. I am very aware of your thoughts, Regle
 
Old 30th May 2010, 15:32
  #1777 (permalink)  
 
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Blimey! What a comeback post!!
This is even worse than when a kid at the Saturday matinee at the cinema!!
Talk about Cliff hanger!!
Speaking of which, come in Cliff, haven't heard from you for a while.... everything alright?
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Old 30th May 2010, 15:32
  #1778 (permalink)  
 
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............ And I am going to leave you there until I am certain that you want me to continue on this thread
Err, Yes! And welcome back.
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Old 30th May 2010, 15:47
  #1779 (permalink)  
 
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Pilot, author, raconteur and now........master of internet theatre! Welcome back, Reg! You know your audience awaits!
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Old 30th May 2010, 22:24
  #1780 (permalink)  
 
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Brilliant.

And I heard the pin drop. Plink.
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