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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 28th Jun 2010, 09:26
  #1841 (permalink)  
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You have been hiding your light beneath the proverbial bushel. In the many hours of "Hallybashing" on all marks, I never encountered such a problem as yours ( I bet that it was the old pre square rudder Halifax, the Mk 1 ) nor even heard of such a problem until today when I read your gripping tale and sweated every second with you. Even Riccall brings back many memories "Total Riccall" ? Keep them coming, Reg
Old 28th Jun 2010, 10:04
  #1842 (permalink)  
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The Mk 1 Hastings crash near Abingdon was caused by metal fatigue in the elevator hinge brackets.

Last edited by brakedwell; 28th Jun 2010 at 11:33. Reason: added hinge
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Old 28th Jun 2010, 11:15
  #1843 (permalink)  
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Reg. I only flew Halifaxes Mk 1 and Mk2, never with the larger fins and rudders.

Further to my piece on the jammed elevator, I have now found the article in The Telegraph (date unknown) about the Hermes crash.

Plane controls jammed.

A small extraneous object, caught in the elevator mechanism, jammed the controls of the HERMES aircraft in which three people died when it crashed near Bishop's Stortford in April last year, a report to the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation concludes.
Mr J W Duggan, Deputy Chief Inspector of Accidents, says the object was not found and it was impossible to identify it, but it deprived the pilots of control of the aircraft and caused the accident..................
The four-engined Hermes, which was making a test flight after engine change, crashed about six miles from Stanstead Airport on April 1, 1958, fifteen minute after take-off. Its pilot, Skyways' chief test pilot, Captain G.D. Rayment, aged 38, had radioed that the controls were completely jammed.
Descending in a series of dives and climbs the aircraft plunged into a field at Manor Farm, Measden Green, and burnt out, killing Captain Rayment and the second pilot Captain J. A. West, aged 38, and Engineer Officer N. Bradley, aged 35.
An examination of the wreckage revealed deep, bright score marks on the moving part of the elevator mechanism, indicating that a hard object, such as a small split-pin had jammed the mechanism.
Mr Duggan states that the object was presumably displaced when the aircraft hit the ground, but several small extraneous objects ( among them an inch- bolt and spit-pins were later recovered from the stern frame bay.
He added that an inspection of another Hermes revealed a similar assortment of such objects.

AND we thought we had only to contend with night-fighters and Flak! fredjhh
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Old 28th Jun 2010, 15:57
  #1844 (permalink)  
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On that same day I flew from Cottesmore to Leuchars on a Mickey Finn aboard a Hastings of the same squadron. There but for the swipe of a tasking chinagraph..............
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Old 28th Jun 2010, 16:13
  #1845 (permalink)  
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Forget - a mate was on the same para course as the majority of the victims - but at the other end of the alphabet - with two exceptions the Army guys are from A-H, according to this list about 80% down quite a long page.
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Old 29th Jun 2010, 15:58
  #1846 (permalink)  
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Picking up on my post of the 24th June I am able to offer what I hope may become the "contents" page of my father's route to Gaining An R.A.F. Pilots Brevet in WWII. He is still alive and whilst physically not in good health retains his all-important marbles....I hope that he can keep up the tale for a little while longer!

His story is a little unusual as it began in Trinidad, then part of the British West Indies and begain in November 1940 at the ITW run by the Empire Air Training Scheme in Trinidad. This involved square bashing and ground school and lasted until January 1941 and on completion was followed by EFTS at Piarco in Trinidad on No. 3 course with two civil registered Tiger Moths (VP-TAC and VP-TAD) which had been previously used by the Light Aeroplane Club (LAC). These had been commandeered (and painted in camoflage!) and the CFI was a F/L Carroll and an RNVR Lt. Williams as deputy CFI. (He later became CFI).

There were 5 on the course which included two close friends, Richard Bryden and Sandy Fraser. Both were subsequently killed in flying accidents and my father was deeply affected by their deaths and found meeting their respective mothers on his return in 1946 very hard. (Richard was killed in May 1942 flying Hurricane V7466 aged 19 following an engine failure. Sandy was killed in a mid air collision whilst flying a Mustang on the 27th May 1944.)

Lt. Williams ended sending him off solo after 7 hours dual on the 21st Feb 1941. The entire course lasted 50 hours and dad's log book shows him having 24.15 dual and 26.10 solo all by day with the course finishing at the end of April 1941. He was graded "above average" with 88% and posted to England travelling of course by ship (the MS Vibran from Norway) arriving on the 2nd June 1941.....

More to follow....

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Old 2nd Jul 2010, 10:10
  #1847 (permalink)  

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MB - Thanks a lot matey. Keep it up.
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Old 4th Jul 2010, 15:06
  #1848 (permalink)  
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Snaith Squadron 51 Crew Photo

Apologies for the late reply to this, but this is the first time I have seen it, and I am new to these forums. Regle is correct the pilot is indeed

Flt Lt E (Ernest) .R (Robert) Herrald.
The rest of the crew is very likely to be:
P. (Philip) E. (Emlyn) T. (Thyer) Jones DFC
W. (William) H. (Henry) Higgs Engineer DFC
A. (Alfred) Kell DFC
H. (Harry) F (Francis). Sibley DFC
S. (Stanley) Gibbon DFC

The crew member third from the left is my grandfather. I have a very similar photo, but without the chap 1st on the left.
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Old 5th Jul 2010, 23:49
  #1849 (permalink)  
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Snaith Crew Photo

Pbeach, welcome to the forum! Glad you are able to make a connection with the photo. Actually that photo is a bit of an enigma as until now I did not know most of the names of all the chaps so I very much appreciate your response. I have some of the Snaith Ops logs and found one entry (August 30, 1943 raid on Munchen-Gladbach) with the entire crew you listed except the 7th crew member listed is Jack O'Dowda. Jack was KIA mid March 1944 when Squadron Leader Eno and his crew where shot down by flak (Jack may have been a spare bod on that raid??). Do you have any information on Jack as a crew member along with your Grandfather? In fact Doug and Jack were friends - both went to B&G training in Mossbank Canada and I have photo's of Doug and Jack while at Mossbank.

I will email you the photo's that I have from Snaith - only about 5 or 6 with whatever information I have about them. Would much appreciate if you could do the same with any of your Snaith photos - kind of off thread so we can do this outside the forum (I'll contact you)

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Old 6th Jul 2010, 06:26
  #1850 (permalink)  
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Snaith Crew Photo

Look forward to making contact. With some assistance from regle, we can put some names to faces. Doug as you say is 1st on the left, 2nd on the left is "Ernie" Herrald (Pilot), 3rd from the left is "Bill" Higgs (F/Engineer), whilst the chap on the right is Stanley Gibbons (Navigator).
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Old 7th Jul 2010, 21:53
  #1851 (permalink)  
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Regle is still a bit shakey at the moment, so he may not be able to respond just yet. I'll let him know, although I don't think he was C Flight and therefore may not come up trumps this time.
Certainly a highly decorated crew, should be references in the London Gazette and Flight Archives, as well as in the well known book "Snaith Days".
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Old 7th Jul 2010, 23:38
  #1852 (permalink)  
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Icare9, looks like Regle was in C flight - take a look at post 731 on page 37. I have the Snaith Days book and it is signed as Regle DFC and also signed by many others from 51 Squadron. I don't think Reg has told us about his DFC?

Hoping Reg is back on his game soon
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Old 8th Jul 2010, 08:29
  #1853 (permalink)  
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Regle was in C flight - take a look at post 731 on page 37
Ooops! My bad memory, but there are books shorter than this thread!
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Old 8th Jul 2010, 10:28
  #1854 (permalink)  
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Snaith Crew Photo

6 of the crew all received DFC's
From the London Gazzette:
14th March 1944 (p. 1225 of Iss. 35592) Acting Flight Lieutenant Ernest Robert HERRALD
(122125), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 51 Squadron.
This officer has completed a large number of sorties, involving attacks on a variety of strongly defended targets. In pressing home his attacks he has displayed great courage and determination; qualities which were well in evidence when he attacked Magdeburg recently. On the outward flight the bomber was attacked by a fighter. Owing to some defect, Flight Lieutenant Herrald's gunners were unable to fire their guns to defend their aircraft. During the next half-hour the enemy attacked repeatedly but, each time, Flight Lieutenant Herrald out-manoeuvred his adversary.
In the end the fighter was successfully evaded and Flight Lieutenant Herrald continued to the target and bombed it. His skill and resource throughout this spirited action were worthy of the highest praise.

The rest of the crew, Dick Sibley, Stan Gibbon, Alf Kell and Bill Higgs received their DFC's at the same time on the 6th June 1944 (p. 2700 of Issue 36550). On what I assume was the completion of a full operational tour.

I think I will let rmventuri explain who the other member of the crew is - now we know.
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Old 8th Jul 2010, 14:17
  #1855 (permalink)  
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"C" Flight and 578 Squadrons and 4 Group Bomber Command

It had always been a move that was very much disliked when the powers that be in Bomber Command decided to create a new Squadron, 578, in 4 Group. It was decided to transfer , from Snaith in S.Yorks,the whole of "C" Flight of 51 Sqdn. in 4 Group to form the nucleus of the new 578 Sqdn. to be based at nearby Burn , near Selby,S.Yorks. Despite the very angry protests, "C" Flight was officially designated as 578 Sqdn. even before the move to Burn was made At that time I was nearing the end of my Operational tour which had taken nearly eighteen months to complete due to my transfer from 105 Sqdn. to 51. and the time of converting on to "Heavies" in between various other postings (BAT (Beam Approach Transition )courses, night vision courses etc. before I was officially Operational again. During this time I flew Bostons, Mitchells and even a captured Junkers 88 before I was eventually posted to Snaith to continue my interrupted tour and made the majority of my Operations starting with the Hamburg raid of July 23rd. 1943 and eventually, finishing with three raids on Berlin,the last on Jan.28th.1944 . I had made the first of my trips on Mosquito's with 105 Sqdn. from Marham on Oct.27th.1942 (Power station, Antwerp, low level daylight), made an abortive Met flight at the astronomical height of 30,00ft to Hanover which had to be abandoned because of "con trails" and was then shot up ,wounded and crashed back at Marham after we had bombed the German aerodrome at Leeuwarden, Holland on Oct. 30th. and had the nose of the Mossie shot away and the port engine set on fire by the so called "Light " Flak of the ground defenses. I was in Ely Hospital for about two weeks and after a bit of sick leave I was back with the Sqdn. on a low level daylight to Courtrai Marshalling Yards, Belgium on Dec.14th.1942. I made the last of my nine "Ops" with "Mossies" to Aulnoye marshalling yards on January 13th.1943. and was then posted to 109 Sqdn. Wyton , Mosquitoe's to learn how to use "Oboe" and then as mentioned before , on various training courses Still determined to get on to something more substantial, I was eventually sent to Marston Moor, H.C.U (Heavy Conversion Unit) to crew up and was then posted to 51 Sqdn. Snaith where I continued with my tour of Ops. I was credited with 8 operational trips on Mosquito's and had completed 21 more with 51 and 578 on Halifaxes with only the last two trips of the tour being flown with 578 Sqdn. Even then we had not then moved to Burn and I flew my "C" Flight Halifax of 51. Sqdn. on Jan., both to Berlin on Jan.20th. and Jan 28th.1944 from Snaith for my last two trips but as I was now officialy with 578 when my award of the D.F.C. was announced it was as a member of 578 Sqdn. I had been taken off Ops one short of the required 30 due to the extended time that my tour had taken. The vast majority of my tour had been with 51 and although 578 had the privilege of later having the only Halifax V.C. of the war, (Cyril Barton who had trained with me in the States but a little later, and was a good friend also from the famous "C" Flight 51 Sqdn.), I always considered myself as being a 51 Sqdn. "bod" as did so many of the people that attended the 51 Squadron Reunions after the war. Ernie Herrald was Deputy Flight Commander to the beloved "Charle" Porter of "C" Flight but had finished his "ops" before the transfer to 578 took place. It was rare for crews to mingle in the little spare time available but there was always an affinity between my crew and Ernie's and we often went out together.. Ernie was one of the very few car owners, albeit a bit cramped to attempt 14 people, so he was very popular. We all had bikes and biked everywhere. It was also highly unusual for all but one of Ernie's crew to be decorated and bears witness to what was undoubtedly the most devastating period of the Bomber Commands assault on Germany's cities and towns . Midsummer 1943 until
March 1944 was the period that Bomber Command suffered it's highest losses. I was very proud of the fact that four of my crew were decorated but each and every one of them deserved it. The actual award was a bit of an anti-climax as the medal came through the letterbox one day with a very nice note from King George V1 "Greatly regretting that he was unable to personally present the medal that I had so well earned". I suggested to my M.P. some time ago that an invitation to the people who had not been to "Buck House" to receive their honours, because of the King's illness , could be given to one of the numerous "Garden Parties" that the Palace gives each year as some sort of recompense . He heartily agreed with me but I think that Bomber Command was a "No, No " by that time. I side with Edith Piaff's sentiments. Regle
Old 8th Jul 2010, 21:12
  #1856 (permalink)  
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Brakedwell. Any chance of you reducing your scan in Post 1845 so that the thread is within our computer screens.
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Old 9th Jul 2010, 00:46
  #1857 (permalink)  
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30.8.43 Returning from Munchen-Gladbach Raid

At 0403 hrs 10 miles SE of Ossington at 4,000 feet aircraft collided with a Lancaster aircraft thought to be on reciprocal course. Some damage to Halifax. Aircraft was difficult to control and pilot found it possible only at a speed of 180 mph. Successful landing at that speed was made at Ossington.
Offline Icare9, pbeach and myself have been exchanging some emails - Icare9 picked this duty detail out of the Snaith Ops logs. As a result Doug banged his head against the turret and was briefly hospitalized.

I image landing a Halifax at 180 mph was comming in a little "hot" - what was your normal landing speed?
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Old 9th Jul 2010, 06:03
  #1858 (permalink)  
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mventuri landing speed

180 mph was not far off the maximum speed fully loaded of the old Mark I Halifax. ! The recommended landing speed for the later Halifax 111 (Bristol Hercules engines ) taken from my tattered copy of Pilots Notes gives the following; Recommended speeds for the approach with full flap at 55,000lbs. Engine assisted....110(115)mph I.A.S. Glide120(125)mph I.A.S.
The "Mislanding" (sic) procedure is interesting...The aircraft shows no change of trim when throttles are opened with flaps and u/c down unless the elevator trim has been wound fully back. Climb away at 100(105)mph I.A.S., raise flaps to 40down and then raise u/c, then increase speed to 145-150 mph I.A.S. Note If propellors are set to 2,400 r.p.m., set fully up immediately should it be necessary to use more than plus 6lbs. boost.
As a matter of interest the maximum speed in Diving is given as 320mph.! I never saw that on the clock even upside down ! Regle
Old 9th Jul 2010, 07:14
  #1859 (permalink)  
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Brakedwell, sorry but I'm afraid you will have to re-size your screen shot. Its extending the page sideways and PPRuNe cannot handle that.

We can only accept a size no larger than than 850x850 - yours is 1460x526 and too wide for the page as you can see. You are able to adjust the size in Photobucket.




BEags has saved us all the bother and his link is perfect. Thanks.
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Old 9th Jul 2010, 07:31
  #1860 (permalink)  
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Alternatively, as the image might not resize well, just click on this link: 1965 Little Baldon Hastings accident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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