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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 5th Jun 2008, 14:55
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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Well here goes transferring from F.O Wales blog to this page. So full power, wheels up, flap in by five, and 2850 plus 9. We are away. (maybe)

Will now try and transfer my blog from F.O Wales to this page.

Plenty on here will be very interested Cliff. Yesterday 11:30 cliffnemo F.o Wales
Herewith garbled version of my efforts to obtain my wings during the 39/45 war.

numerous visits to recruiting office with hundreds of other hopeful future spitfire pilots. Finally accepted for consideration.(Didn't finish up on Spits)

Three days at R.A.F Padgate for exams including maths, geometry. etc. Tests for colour blindness . Tunnel vision, night vision ,physical fitness etc.etc.

A few weeks later accepted as pilot U/T to be informed tbat as i was in a reserved occupation the R.A.F would endevour to obtain my release from the ministry of labour. In the meanwhile to join the A.T.C to learn signals. basic navigation.
Six months later received letter I was now in the R.A.F VR on deferred service as an A.C 2 and given a silver V.R lapel badge.
Three months later instructed to report to Lords cricket ground where I remained in a "luxury flat" for a month .classes in maths, basic navigation . aircraft recognition, drill, P.T. swimming and life saving plus ?

Six months at Torquay I.T.W previous subjects plus morse- radio and aldis- ,navigation, dinghy practice in the harbour, five mile cross country runs. clay pidgeon and deflection shooting, armanents (strip our machine guns in the dark and name all parts) engines, aerodynamics. hydraulics. Classes held in any vacant premises, miles apart, uphill and downhill at 140 paces to the minute, and arms up to shoulder level Passed out L.A.C

One month at Marshalls flying school,had to solo on tiger moth in under ten hours to qualify for further pilot training. Passed and posted to R.A.F Heaton Park A.C.D.C for one month ,with usual training subjects

PHEW. wonder if any one is interested, it's hard going.
This is my first attempt at this sort of thing and I may be flogging a dead horse so will submit this to see what happens. If there is interest, I will try to describe my career via Nova Scotia, Oklahoma. Gulf of Mexico and finally to 150 Sqdn Hemswell. I might even tell the story of being retained on a court of enquiry pending court martial for low flying over a ladies college near Harrogate.
CLIFF.
NILS BASTARDO CARBORUNDUM so if some one will confirm that the system is working I will try to relate my progress from A.C 2 to Warrant officer, and after "cessation of hostilities" how I remustered as W.O/AC1 equipment assistant. Don't expect any tales of derring do, there weren't any. I was lucky.
Cliff

Last edited by cliffnemo; 21st Jun 2008 at 12:35.
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29th Dec 2023, 14:32
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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: to Germany aboard a 101 Squadron Lancaster, August 1944

THIS old crewroom is cold and damp, its Crittal metal windows are corroding, the single-skin brickwork has more damp patches than dry, alas many of its occupants have made their final takeoffs. But to celebrate the New Year, let’s stoke up the old stove until its cast-iron chimney goes red, pull up the old chairs, and gather round for a tale which surely deserves an honoured place in this immortal ‘Brevet’ thread.

When my father was posted from India to Binbrook in 1948 the young Australians of 460 Sqn were still fondly remembered by the villagers. The young men who survived had flown their Lancasters home to rebuild their own air force, and were replaced by the Lincolns of 9, 12, 101 and 617 Sqns. While the gallant deeds of these squadrons were well known, even as a youngster I noticed that people in the closely-knit RAF community spoke of 101 Sqn almost in hushed tones.

The squadron had been based 1943-45 at Ludford Magna only four miles away and had, we were told, flown the most sorties and had the highest casualty rate in Bomber Command. Nobody could explain why, and some put it down to inexperience, some to bad luck, some to finger trouble. It was long after the war until the nation learned about the top secret electronic battles that raged high in the night skies over Germany.

The 40-plus Lancaster aircraft of 101 Sqn carried eight men instead of seven, the eighth being a Special Operator whose task was to block and disrupt enemy radio communications with powerful transmitters to broadcast a variety of jamming tones and even give false instructions to German night fighters. The Special spoke fluent German and nobody mentioned his role in the aircraft, even the pilot, and he did not appear in crew photographs. Many served under a changed identity, especially if they had Jewish-sounding names.


B for Baker of 101 Sqn releases a 4000lb cookie blast bomb and hundreds of incendiaries over Duisberg, 1944. Note the jammer transmitter aerials between cockpit and mid-upper turret.

Each aircraft carried six tons of bombs as well as half a ton of extra equipment, plus three long transmitter aerials to create extra drag. The squadron proved so effective that they flew on most major raids after 1943. Each aircraft was spaced along the bomber stream for maximum disruption, and obviously their high-powered transmitters turned every 101 Sqn Lancaster into an electronic lighthouse for the German pilots, who soon learned to pick them off. Until recently I had read very little from the crews until I encountered a totally gripping account written 80 years ago by Pilot Officer Ronald Homes.

He describes the banalities of daily life one moment, then the formal exchanges of his sortie, course changes, fuel states and so on, mixed with moments of sheer terror:

“What a strange noise… WE’VE BEEN HIT! A brilliant yellow-orange light fills the cockpit. “Starboard outer’s on fire skipper” shouts the engineer, “There’s a bloody great flame going past the tailplane” shouts the mid upper. “OK chaps, settle down. Pilot to engineer, feather the starboard outer and push the fire extinguisher”. “OK skip ... Fire’s still burning skip” ... “****! ... What the hell is happening engineer? “Starboard inner’s feathered skipper!” “So has the bloody port inner, I’ve only one engine left!”

And more besides, it’s like being aboard the Lancaster listening to the intercom. P/Off Homes’s superbly told story has appeared elsewhere, but I can’t find any trace of his post-war career among the broken links and unanswered emails. So I acknowledge all sources for his account which I propose to post over the next couple of weeks.

May it form a fitting tribute to the 1,176 airmen of 101 Sqn who never returned to base.
Old 5th Jun 2008, 15:04
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Excellent stuff Cliff
The thing works, I'm sure there's plenty of us who want to hear more!
That college for ladies? Not Queen Ethelburga's was it?
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 15:31
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St Ethelbuga's Ladies

It certainly was, in a Tiger Moth. Luckily my oppo a Belgian pilot had signed as pilot for the trip and me as navigator . But more later. We had previously been billeted in the Majestic Hotel. and he had "met" one of the young ladies.
Cliff.
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 18:00
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Fascinating, please tell us more Cliff!

KDY
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 19:54
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Cheers Cliff, keep it up
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 20:09
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You can't stop there Cliff - let's have the rest!

Would be fascinated to hear more about the solo in under 10 hrs and other similar criteria for continuing in trg - you might have thought that given the need for aircrews at the time things might have been relaxed a little more. Or was it the case that we need to get you through in 10 hrs because there are another bunch of trainees waiting to go through the system behind you and we don't want you clogging it up?
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 20:19
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A real Cliff hangar !! Give us more.
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 20:43
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Wonderful stuff, Cliff, and it looks as if you have a keen audience already. Keep going. Can we have more detail in future posts as so far you've covered about a year and a half of your life in just a few sentences?
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 10:00
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Relaxed???, just before my final check ride at Marshals flying school, I was a "bag of nerves"(the reason why it was of monumental importance to me may be explained later)
. My instructor (an ex R.F.C pilot) said I should have a cigarette, I have been smoking ever since.Disgusting. No nothing was rushed or skimped. plenty of aspiring spitfire pilots to choose from. The Air Ministry obtained a lot of navigators, and bomb aimers from those who didn't solo, however many did volunteer for navigator or bomb aimer direct. Our main aim AT THAT TIME, was to stop our relatives being killed and our homes being wrecked The training system had improved radically by the time i joined. I hope to tell you about my friend who went to the recruiting office with me. He started training straight away. His training period must have been very short as he was K.I.A on beaufighters before I had finished I.T.W I have nothing but admiration for the education section. IT was PERFECT.

Will now try to find time to continue,when I hope most questions will be answered. starting with my safe journey through U boat alley to Halifax, Nova Scotia anD R.A.F Moncton.
Cliff.
Must be tea, coffee is three h'apence. (NAAFI)

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Old 6th Jun 2008, 10:08
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Fantastic stuff Cliff, please, please, please keep it coming!!
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 15:13
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Thumbs up

Please keep it coming. I think we can learn a lot from history. Did you keep flying after the war, have met a couple of WWII pilots who never flew again after cessation of hostilities.
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 15:19
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WWII pilots who never flew again after cessation of hostilities
I have a friend who was a Halifax pilot, I asked him once, had he considerd a flying career after the war.
'Good God no old chap' he replied, 'far too dangerous'!
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 15:45
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Flying After The War

No. Happy to be home with plenty of birds;backy, and beer.My best friend who trained with me in Ponca City decided to become a weekend R.A.F flyer after the war. On his first flight in a Harvard, he took off from St Athan ,his engine cut and he "landed" in the drink. Being well trained in "dingy dingy prepare for ditching " made a perfect "landing"., released his harness, inflated his Mae West and floated out as the Harvard sank. As he didn't like getting wet he decided to stay ashore.
Cliff.
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 19:12
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Harrogate To Moncton New Brunswick

Before I start, if any one is expecting thrilling tales such as "there I was upside down, and nothing on the clock but the makers name" then this will not interest you . But if you are interested in what happened to me that's fine.

O.K so we have now arrived at Heaton Park plenty of classes and drill and P.T (now P.E). We are now getting somewhere, we can drill for fifteen minutes without a word of command and going through the complete drill book, also march for miles at 140 to the minute, the army marched at 120 with the exception of the Durham light infantry.

After a month we pack our worldly posessions into kit bag, side pack, and big pack, but minus, gas mask;gas cape, and gloves and take the train to Liverpool.
As we board the ship over the Tannoy we hear Frank Sinatra singing his latest song Nice and easy does it.
The captain then announces that he is ordered to maintain a minimum of twenty nine knots until we reach Halifax , so that Uboats can't catch us , and that if anyone falls overboard, all they can do is throw us a life belt( some comedian said "don't worry he will pick you up on the way back"). There were about eight thousand of us on board including German P.O.Ws, nurses, wounded Americans, and us. We were all allocated duties eight hours off, and four on, mine being to stand on the stern with a .303 S.M.L.E . I never found out why. The holds were scaffolded out to form bunks with about three feet (sorry we didn't have metres then) headroom, which were occupied night and day in shifts. We were really enjoying the cruise until we reached the Atlantic, when a storm blew up. Steaming at twenty nine knots into a gale was quite exciting, with the waves going over the bridge and even sailors being sea sick. I was later offered a commission in the fleet air arm but refused as I never wanted to go to sea again.

After four and half days we landed at Halifax and took the train to R.A.F Moncton, New Brunswick. More classes and drill. After a month we left for The Darr School of Aeronautics .Ponca City , Oklahoma.
Will describe the seven day train journey, and the flying training in my next contribution.
Sorry to be so long winded but, think I am bit annoyed that a certain gentleman received the coveted wings in four months, and forty hours flying. I had to do forty hours "under the hood on the Link trainer"
Cliff.

Last edited by cliffnemo; 19th Jun 2008 at 15:58.
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 19:18
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Top stuff Cliff. Keep it coming!
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 19:55
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Quite humbling.
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 20:45
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Cliff, more please.
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Old 6th Jun 2008, 21:37
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More, more, more!
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Old 7th Jun 2008, 08:18
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A REPLY TO THE DOMINANT MALE
Only birds and fools fly, and birds don't fly at night (Confusius)

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Old 7th Jun 2008, 11:11
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Well done

More please. J.F.B.
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