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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 8th Jun 2010, 18:24
  #1821 (permalink)  
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YouTube - Spitfire pilot returns from combat

This video shows him being hoisted aloft after he had just downed a Ju.88. His story about his private audience with the King and Queen is as priceless as it is bloody funny!
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Old 8th Jun 2010, 18:40
  #1822 (permalink)  
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... enigmatic 3 BFTS association.
This it? Not much activity. B.F.T.S - British Flying Training School
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Old 9th Jun 2010, 08:41
  #1823 (permalink)  
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or this?
Paula K. Denson | The Royal Air Force in Oklahoma
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Old 9th Jun 2010, 08:47
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Ewan the is a museum in Texas Introduction - NO. 1 BRITISH FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL MUSEUM, INC, LOCATED AT TERRELL, TEXAS although they are BFTS 1 they have a lot of material and want to incorporate other BFTS's into that museum. They are worth contacting and even visiting!


Last edited by andyl999; 9th Jun 2010 at 08:57.
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Old 9th Jun 2010, 19:50
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Gentlemen, thank you all very much!
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Old 9th Jun 2010, 21:25
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The show goes on.

Almost two years to the day that marked the anniversary of the hijacking ,May 8th 1972, I found myself on a Sabena Boeing 707 bound for Rome. this time I was a passenger ,in company with my Chief Pilot and friend, Marcel Vanderverren, bound for Rome where we were both to undergo our Simulator training that would prepare us for our conversion on to the newly acquired fleet of DC10's that Sabena had recently purchased. I had spent nearly all of the last two years flying for Sabena from Johannesburg to Brussels but being based in South Africa. The Company had deemed this wise and treated me with the utmost consideration but, of course, it had meant a huge change in our lives. However we were back in our own home in Brussels where I was faced with the choice of continuing as a Captain on the 707 or opting to fly on the newly purchased DC10. I had to promise to stay on the DC10 for at least three years in order that the Company could realise their investment in training me. It had always been my ambition, even my dream , to eventually fly the 747 but I was not quite high enough in the seniority at that time in order to bid for them. The bidding system in Sabena was, broadly enough, similar to most Aviation Companies. As vacancies on an aircraft appeared, Pilots were asked, in strict order of seniority in the Company, whether they would like to bid for that aircraft. This would often mean a change in sectors as well. In return the Pilot had to promise to stay on that aircraft for the time laid down by the Company and could not bid again until that time had elapsed. I had reasoned that I was 52 at the time of bidding for the DC10, could fly on it for the statuary three years then if, and IF was the operative word, there was a vacancy on the 747 and the coveted Transatlantic Sector then I would still be able to complete the madatory four years, on this aircraft, before reaching the normal retiring age of 60. It says everything for my relationship with "Lady Luck" that it turned out exactly like that.

I was accepted for training on the brand new DC10 and had the enjoyable experience of going to Ostia, near Rome ,for my Simulator training and then to Yuma, Arizona, where Douglas had an airfield, for the Aircraft training. The Simulation of flying had reached the level where you could practically fly the aircraft itself before you stepped into it.. The DC10 embraced a completely new concept in flying, where instrument flying was of the utmost importance, but I found no difficulty in adapting and looked forward to Arizona and the flying of the aircraft itself.
Anytime I see "Spaghetti Vongole" on a menu I am immediately transported to Ostia. Our Chief Pilot , Marcel, was training with me. He was a schoolboy in England during the war, had an English Wife and was a great friend who had helped me with many problems of the stressful times of the Hijack. It was he who found us the wonderful Restaurant in Ostia where the three crews who were training there would repair to each evening. Your evening meal was swimming around in enormous tanks as you entered the place Trouble was that by the time it appeared in front of you on a plate it felt as though you were greeting an old friend. Not that it stopped us enjoying the wonderful cuisine. ! The Vongole consisted of the most exquisite mixture of clams, shrimps, prawns, oysters, crab, lobster..if it swam in the Med., it was there.
The Simulator Course was rigorously but efficiently given to us by the Al Italia and the Douglas Instructors and was very comprehensive but enjoyable.
After the successful completion of the Simulator course , three crews comprising three Captains, three First officers and three Flight Engineers together with our Chief, Marcel, flew by our own Company to New York ,then crossed America to Los Angeles and then flew by the famous Howard Hughes Airline to the small town of Yuma, Arizona where Douglas had their own field for training crews.
We disembarked out of the small DC9 that had brought us from L.A. and walked out into the searing heat of Arizona. A gentleman with "Douglas" emblazoned on his bright pink blazer welcomed us. "Hi, there" he said. "Welcome to Yuma." He handed us three sets of keys. "These are the keys to your automobiles " he said "They are waiting outside the gate. Your Hotel is the only one, it's three miles down the road". He gave us three credit cards. "When you need gas, use these Any filling station will do. They all know about you. Have a good day. " With that he disappeared into the sunset and, with the exception of one of our number, we never set eyes upon him again. The three cars were great big , brand new Chevrolets and we got great pleasure out of using them. After hours of flying the great DC10 we would explore the desert which surrounded the small town of Yuma. We would drive for hours on end just drinking in the magnificent Desert scenery. One nameless Captain drove a few miles too far, one day and inadvertently crossed the border into Mexico and finished in a Mexican jail where he languished until our Douglas Rep. , still in his pink blazer, eventually got them out several hours later.
Old 10th Jun 2010, 16:14
  #1827 (permalink)  
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What's happened to cliffnemo, the thread originator. Nothing heard since April.
Thanks for inquiring Mr Forget, (and Icare)
I an 'fair to middlin tha knows', and to prove it photo below shows John Hunt (Elvington Halifax) and me about two weeks ago. John is the pretty one on the right, we had just been sitting in the cockpit making vroom, vroom , sounds.

Does any one know the history of the jet ? A relative was given this by Pinewood Studios.

At the moment , I am fully occupied reading all the exciting, and interesting posts, but will finish my mundane story when things slow down.
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Old 10th Jun 2010, 16:20
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flew by the famous Howard Hughes Airline

Reg, when I first travelled to the USA (1979 ish) I used to fly on Hughes Airwest, they were DC9's (rear twin engines like a BAC 1-11) they were painted all yellow and were known as "The Yellow Bananas"?
Inevitably they were flown by Korean war veterans (probably ex fighter pilots) they did not know what a rate 1 turn was!

Also there was PSA at that time that I think was amalgamated with Hughes? I distinctly remember several trips where the stewardesses wore hot pants, but I digress.......................

If you don't believe me see YouTube - Southwest Airlines Hostesses Hotpants Ad 1972

Oh how the world has gone backwards and "political"
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Old 13th Jun 2010, 16:08
  #1829 (permalink)  
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A moral dilemma

Our DC10's were destined to fly the Far East network but Sabena had scheduled a virtual "round the world" trip for it's DC 10 crews. Starting from Brussels you would fly to Alaska, over the North Pole, slip (the term used to describe the getting off an aircraft, handing it over to a waiting crew, then after taking your rest, continue the flight by taking over the next aircraft to come in) and then carry on to Tokyo, slip again, then take the next flight westwards, this time slipping at Manila or Bombay. Sometimes you would go through Dubai or Abu Dhabi but it was a really sapping flight due to the many time zones that you would cross. Alaska was minus ten but you would cross the date line en route to Tokyo and land there the day after you had taken off from Alaska. Also the waiting time at slip destinations was governed by the frequency of the schedules and Sabena did not have daily flights to each destination. One tip that I learned from the locals whilst slipping at Bombay , which was six and a half hours ahead of GMT, was to turn the watchface upside down when the hands would be at , more or less, the right time for the time in Bombay, if you had kept the watch on GMT.

As Sabena did not have any experienced DC10 Pilots, Douglas insisted upon the initial line checks for new Captains would have to be carried out with a Douglas Pilot. It was because of this ruling that my line check, in 1974, on the DC10 nearly became the last flight that I would ever make. Pause for break....Just kidding ! One of Douglas's Chief Pilots was the checking Pilot. He had held one of the most prestigious jobs possible before joining Douglas and was well known and liked in the Aviation World. He apologised for rhe regulations that made it mandatory that he occupied the First Officer's seat for all take offs and landings. I had already passed out as a Pilot for flying the aircraft and had it on my licence but this was a check on the routes that I would actually be flying.
We were Tokyo bound but flying the long route Eastwards. The first leg was from Brussels to Athens and all went smoothly. The next leg was from Athens to Bombay and I took off, with a heavy aircraft, from Athens . We were using the sole runway that headed out over the sea.
As was my normal practice, I called for undercarriage up as soon as I saw my climb and descent indicator showing "positive climb", the command was followed and the wheels retracted. The next thing that I knew was the control column was juddering like mad and the "Stall Warning" was working. In much less time than it takes me to write this, I saw that the leading edge slats were retracted. I opened up the engines, dived for the sea (we were at no more than three hundred feet ) and yelled for the slats to be put out. This had already been done. I was able to regain speed and control no more than sixty or seventy feet above the surface of the sea.
We climbed away in complete and utter silence. Eventually I was able to speak " I did'nt ask for "slats retract" I said. My Checking Pilot seemed to be in a state of complete shock and just sat there saying nothing. What seemed to be hours later the only words that he spoke for a long, long time were..... "You sure got them ".
The leading edge slats are a device that increases the airflow over the wings at low speeds and are absolutely vital for takeoff where the aircraft is at it's most vulnerable with it's highest weight and lowest speed. Not all types of aircraft need them but the DC!10 certainly did. There is always a minimum speed for the retraction of those slats and we were well below that speed. We were very fortunate that we were over the sea and had maximum space to recover our flying speed but it had been a very near thing. Eventually the Check Pilot spoke to me "I don't know what came over me" he said " I have never done such a thing like that in all my life." There was very little I could say. It only goes to show that we are all human and mistakes are inevitable but the retraction of those slats below flying speed should have been made physically impossible. I never reported it and I am sure that he never mentioned it. The anonymous delivery of a case of whisky to my house , some time later, did little to change my opinion. I am sure that he has lived with it ever since. What would you have done ? Regle

Last edited by regle; 13th Jun 2010 at 18:03.
Old 13th Jun 2010, 19:59
  #1830 (permalink)  
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Could have been a similar event to a Trident at Staines called the droop.

These days it could not be kept a secret.
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Old 13th Jun 2010, 23:31
  #1831 (permalink)  
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The anonymous delivery of a case of whisky to my house , some time later, did little to change my opinion. I am sure that he has lived with it ever since. What would you have done ?

Well, I would definitely have drunk the whisky! I hope you did too - you certainly earned it ....

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Old 24th Jun 2010, 11:11
  #1832 (permalink)  

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By heck!

I've been off for some time having had to endure quintuple bypass surgery. cliff looks more chipper than me and he's got a few years on me!! I wonder if he knew what he was stirring up when he started this thread!

What a lot has happened.

Thanks for the continuation of your memoirs regle, fully understand your reasons for skipping a little.

Have thoroughly enjoyed 'Tow's Tremendous Typhoon Tales' as well.

Come on folks, let's get some more stories up and running!
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 17:10
  #1833 (permalink)  
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Welcome Madbob and would look forward to your fathers memoirs.
It's been said previously, but in a way, he needs to ensure that the memories of his crew and others aren't forgotten. We need his story to ensure WE NEVER FORGET what they went through.

Very impressive sight, all those Stirling tugs and Horsa gliders waiting for the "off" for Arnhem. Too many to count!

Also sounds as if his experiences in the Med would be very interesting!
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 19:00
  #1834 (permalink)  
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Congratulations Madbob

You have done much better than me because I have never mastered the art of posting pictures on the Forum. I find them fascinating and I have always taken my hat off to anyone who flew Stirlings and survived ! Please , please "Carpe Diem" and let us have your Father's experiences whilst you can get them first hand. All my very best regards to him, Regle.
Old 26th Jun 2010, 08:21
  #1835 (permalink)  
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and is worn by all ranks but not Officers
.... nor officer cadets.
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Old 27th Jun 2010, 13:29
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More Typhoon tales from Peter Brett

Peter has lent me a copy of a book called "Hawker Typhoon - The Combat History". It is by Richard Townshend Bickers, and published by Airlife Publishing 1999. Its ISBN number is 1 85310 908 8, and it contains a wealth of information on this aircraft and its pilots. This copy is signed by the author.

Peter sent an early draft of his memoirs to Richard and some of the bits I have posted in this forum also appear in this book.

Peter's story continues...

On May 4th 1944 we did an exercise with the army called 'Fabius'. This consisted of dummy attacks on a Motor Transport convoy on a road near Andover. My first effort in the morning was abortive due to the fact that the CSU (Constant Speed Unit) on my aircraft's propeller was not working and I could not get out of fine pitch. In the afternoon I led a four on the same exercise and had a fine time 'beating up' the convoy. We received a message of thanks from the Army with an offer to return the wing-tip that one of us had left inside a canvas-topped lorry! My number three had been a bit too low and, as he banked to pull away, his wingtip had just touched one of the steel hoops that supported the canvas hood of the lorry. Fortunately the wingtips were separate fairings which were only skin rivetted on. His complete wingtip had whipped off and fallen inside the lorry which was luckily empty. The wingtip was returned by a REME Lieutenant and Sergeant who arrived in a small van. The two army types were given a right royal welcome in their respective messes - the MT section even went so far as to cook up a false mechanical failure report for the van so that the two could stay overnight and get over their welcome!

A few days earlier than this, one of our aircraft had been spruced up and flown up to Northolt where King George VI was due to inspect a selection of aircraft from the 2nd Tactical Air Force which was just being formed. On 5th May I was flown up to Northolt in an Auster by Flight-Sergeant Pattison to collect our 'exhibit'.

This aircraft had been standing out on the airfield for over a week without being serviced and I had a hell of a job getting it started. After the first five attempts to start it, I had the cartridge starter reloaded and tried again. Still no luck, and by this time I was sure that I had got the engine well and truly flooded. After four more cartridges, without a peep of life from the engine, the fitter standing by informed me that they had no more cartridges and would have to go back to the main stores to collect some more!

I decided to give up and try again after lunch. I left the aircraft parked facing into wind with the radiator flap open and hoped for the best. After lunch I met the fitter once again. He had been to stores and arrived with a full box of fifty cartridges. Obviously he had no confidence in my ability to start the engine! Fortunately this time the engine started on the second attempt and I taxied the aircraft back across the airfield to park outside Flying Control where I ran the engine for about ten minutes to ensure that it was well and truly warmed up before I switched off. I then booked out at Flying Control and it subsequently restarted first time.

After take-off I could not resist the fact that I was within three miles of my home and nipped off to do a low-level 'beat-up' of Rayners Lane. Luckily nobody put in a complaint about low flying aircraft and I had my first and only aerial view of my house from about 300ft! I had had no chance to warn my parents that I might be 'dropping in' in that way and I later learned that the noise rather frightened my mother and she kept indoors rather than go out to see what it was all about. I then had an uneventful flight back to ThorneyIsland.

May 11th was the next op. and this time, once again I had to turn back. This time the aircraft - not my usual mount but HF-H, was practically uncontrollable due to exceptionally stiff elevator controls. They had seemed all right in the pre-flight checks, but after take-off, when I tried to ease forward on the control column to get into the correct climbing attitude, nothing happened.

I increased the pressure and it suddenly 'gave' putting me into a shallow dive. Since I was only about 200 feet up at that moment it was most disconcerting. Hauling back on the control column resulted in another violent change of angle. I immediately called up the leader and said I was making an emergency landing. By the time I had done a circuit, somewhat like a porpoise, the runway was clear and I managed to get the aircraft down in one piece. The landing was certainly not one of my best. I put down the wheels and flaps and tried a fairly steep approach. As I crossed the threshold of the runway I cut the throttle and waited as the airspeed bled off. I tried to judge it so that the stick would come back the right amount at the right moment. The first movement sent me ballooning up again but by dint of a violent forward and backward movement on the stick everything seemed to work out right and I got to the bottom of the next 'porpoise' just in the right attitude about three feet from the ground as the aircraft stalled. A heavy thump and I was down.

I taxied in and complained bitterly to the sergeant rigger. It seems that this aircraft had just had new elevators fitted and there had not been time to give it an air test before being scheduled to operate. There was not much that the riggers could do except to squirt in some penetrating oil and work the elevators continually until they loosened up. I learnt later that for three days this was the punishment for any lowly 'erk' on 'jankers'. He had to sit in the aircraft for an hour moving the control column fully forward and back continually. There must have been quite a few 'naughty boys' since, three days later when I flew an air-test, the elevators were as smooth as silk!.

However, before that I flew on May 12th in another aircraft, HF-P, as one of a section of four to attack a railway track.

At this time some of the aircraft were fitted with a 35mm movie camera operated by a button on the control column. My aircraft was one of the two in our section so fitted, and I used it as I dived on the tracks. The track was on a slight curve, and I fired the rockets in pairs as I did a curving dive at about 30 degrees.

It was a classic operation for it appeared that each pair of rockets hit one on each track. The film, either mine or the other one - I never found out which - has been shown many times since on cinema screens and TV. Whether we actually broke the rails or not I will never know, but the film has become a classic of its kind.

Although we did not know it at the time, 'D-Day’ was rapidly approaching and our role was beginning to change once again.

PS Peter will be 87 years old on Tuesday 29 June.
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Old 27th Jun 2010, 20:58
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I had no intention of continuing my experiences after flying training aind the Abingdond Crash, but Peter's fascinating stories, and the recent one about the locked control column, reminded me of the following:

One morning at Riccall I was told to collect a Halifax from the hangar and take it on an air-test. We were also authorised to fly out to sea for some air to sea firing by the gunners. As we were about to leave the dispersal, the Wireless-leader arrived and said he was going to give the Wireless operator a check-out in the air. I had walked round the exterior check with Doug Keane (F/E), removed the tail lock from the inside and stowed it, and removed the control locks which prevented me from getting into the pilot's seat.
The operation of all flying controls was normal. Then we started up and tested engines and did the mag.-drop check before signing the 700 and taxying out. It was a dual control aeroplane and I think F/O "Nick" Nock, the bomb-aimer was looking forward to handling it in the air. At full throttle "Nick" locked the levers and I pushed the stick forward to lift the rudders up into the slipstream.
At 100 m.p.h. I eased the stick back to lift off, but the stick only moved part way then locked solid. I pulled hard but it would not move and we were hurtling towards the hedge at over 100 m.p.h.
I always had my oxygen mask across my face and the microphone switched on for take-off so I was able to shout, "Pull on your stick, Nick, pull hard." He grabbed the dual control column and we both pulled together. There was a loud crack, the sticks came back and we shot into the air, - but far too steeply. Luckily we had speed to spare and, as we climbed away, I called again, "Now push!" The control columns shot forward and we dived towards the deck. Pulling back again we gained height, repeating the process and diving and climbing at ridiculous angles, until we reached 1,000 feet. The control column would not stay central for level flight, so we 'porpoised' around the circuit.
Flying Control had been filling my ears with questions as to what I was doing, but I had no chance to answer until I had pulled up wheels and flaps and settled down into a switch-back orbit of the airfield. Then I was able to tell them, and the very worried crew, that the control column was locking in the forward or aft positions, but it would not stay central. Doug Keane (F/E) and the Wireless-leader started checking the controls to the elevators, but everything seemed smooth and undamaged. Keane checked under the foot of the control column, then he went down to the rear to check the elevator assembly, but he could find nothing wrong.
The Wing-Commander and the Engineering Officer were now in the Control Tower offering advice and suggestions, but we could find nothing at fault. At last the Wing-Commander ordered me to bale out the crew over the airfield, fly to the coast, head the Halifax in a climb out to sea, engage automatic pilot and jump out myself before the coast. I repeated the order to the crew, who had heard it themselves, and ordered "Parachutes on. Prepare to abandon aircraft." At this the Wireless-leader announced that he had come aboard without a parachute. After telling him what I thought of him I told Keane to help me off with my harness and give it to the Wireless-leader, together with my parachute pack. The officer refused to take it. I said I was giving him an order to take it, but he said he would never jump. The crew then said that if I had to stay on board, so would they. Meanwhile the Commanding Officer was asking why I was delaying and I had to tell him about the Signals officer. The C/O repeated the order, but it was no use.
I climbed higher and told 'Nick' I would need his help in an attempted landing, so first, we would practise landing above cloud. We throttled back all four engines and dived steeply towards a cloud then, when I called, we pulled back together on the stick. After two or three trials I was ready to land and I got reluctant permission from the ground.
We did our undulating circuit at 1,000 feet and turned in at the same height, but with flaps and wheels down.
I held height at 600 feet until we were almost over the edge of the field, then I cut all four engines and let the nose drop into a steep glide.
The fire engine and the ambulance were moving slowly forward by the A.C.P.'s caravan. The A.C.P. ( Aerodrome Control Pilot) got out of his caravan and retreated to a very safe distance as we plunged towards the end of the runway. I glanced across at 'Nick' and saw the sweat pouring off his face. When I judged the time was right I shouted "Now! Pull!" We heaved back together. The column stuck for a moment then cracked right back and the Halifax was running down the concrete on three wheels in as smooth a landing as I had ever done. I shouted, "We are down. We're O.K". 'Nick' released his seat and disappeared.
I taxied up to the Watch Office where the Wing Commander was instantly aboard. As I switched off he appeared by my side demanding to know what the trouble was. I was pinned into my seat by the column, which was hard back, and it took both of us to shove it forward to release me.
The fault was, I believe, that a plate in the tail assembly was jammed by a loose object, probably a nut. Some years after the war another Handley Page aircraft, a development of the Halifax, dived into the ground in Oxfordshire, and the cause of the crash was attributed to a loose object in the tail assembly.
The Wing Commander asked if I wished to prefer charges against the Signals Officer, or would I leave it to him to deal with the matter? I did not wish to get involved with a Court Martial so I let the WingCo deal with it. When I made my statement of events I left out references to his refusal to bale out and dealt only with the mechanical problem.
The crew were very impressed with my ability to make a "dead-stick" landing of a Halifax, but I pointed out that, without help from 'Nick', or some other member of the crew, I would never have got the stick back.
There were many stories in PoW camp of Aircrew who refused to bale out, - they preferred death by fire or impact!
Sorry to break the thread. fredjhh.
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Old 27th Jun 2010, 23:25
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Sorry to break the thread

Break? Break? Now that's what I call a break, Fred - in more ways than one!

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Old 28th Jun 2010, 08:18
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Someone else who can produce heart stopping stories! And a perfect landing!!

Thanks Fred, I think we're all relieved that you and your crew all made it!! That's what we now find so amazing. Day after day and night after night, thousands of young men climbed into their aircraft never knowing what might happen in the next few hours, yet they still did it. Not only flak, fighters, collision, bad weather, faulty engines or equipment, wounded or dead crew and even on practice flights, Fate could still bite you!

With aircraft production 24/7 I suppose quality control can't be perfect. The surprise is that so many aircraft, bombers, fighters etc were being produced at fantastic rates and that superiority was being gained.

That's why these memories are so important. To lose them without record is a dis-service to all those brave lads who never had the chance to tell their stories. We have to have them to ensure we never forget what they did for us.
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Old 28th Jun 2010, 08:53
  #1840 (permalink)  

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Fred, you're not breaking the thread, you're making the thread!!


And a really happy birthday in advance to Peter.
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