Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

The Battle of Britain

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

The Battle of Britain

Old 16th Sep 2017, 14:42
  #81 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
Posts: 7,642
Treble one (#68),

I have always made clear that I'm not to be regarded as any form of authority. Let's throw it open - has anyone seen or heard of a Spitfire ground - looping ? They were awkward to taxi any distance without the coolant "coming to the boil", until you learned the special technique *, and then you could "go for miles". Generally speaking, and IMHO, all taildraggers will ground-loop if they get half a chance.

Note *: details in "Pilot's Brevet" Thread, Page 123, #2452.


Snippet of info: I believe that the labourers building the airfields were paid more than the junior pilots fighting the battle - and certainly more than the lasses and lads who worked tirelessly in all weathers to keep the aircraft servicable.

megan (#75),

Can of worms (or Hornet's Nest) here, and no mistake ! I have squeezed the pips of this a few years back - go to "Pilot's Brevet" Thread, read Page 312, #6238 and Page 369, #7329, and you'll know as much as is humanly possible. It is all LONG AGO, and nobody is bothered about it now.

Cheers all, Danny.
Danny42C is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 15:27
  #82 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ireland
Age: 72
Posts: 221
Danny (and megan)
"go to "Pilot's Brevet" Thread, read Page 312, #6238 and Page 369, #7329,"

The page 369 post is in fact no. 7379.

(Easy enough to misread a 2 for a 7).

Ian BB
Ian Burgess-Barber is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 15:41
  #83 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 85
Until my late father was posted overseas to India, he wrote often to his parents and - thankfully - my grandmother kept many of these letters, the contents of which provide a fascinating commentary on life as an RAF pilot in the first half of WWII.

One of these letters, written in 1940 (at the height of the BoB) reads as follows:

Sunday. 15/9

Dear Mother & Dad,

I nearly got a Junkers 88 long range bomber yesterday!!!! We have a Hurricane we keep ready for Station defence and 3 of us are allowed to fly it. Very occasionally as we waste petrol!! Any way the Junkers came over the camp at about 5000' and as I was doing nothing at the time I grabbed my bike and pedalled off to the Hurricane with my brolly over my shoulder. Leaped in and started up and off. I chased away the way he had gone with my electric sights on and my guns ready. Of course I didn't catch him. He had had too good a start. I flew around at 12000 for a bit in case there was another and then saw another Hurricane going fast towards Swindon. I followed him in case he knew of something but there wasn't anything there. So I came back. Maybe I get one some day.

The Hurricane is grand. Cruising at 200 and climbing at 160. I dived, quite gently, and got 360. No effort at all."

My father had joined the RAF some three years before the war started and was posted to Egypt to learn to become a fighter pilot with No 64 Squadron flying Demons, which is why he became one of only a handful of pilots at RAF Hullavington, No 9 Service Flying Training School, where he was an instructor, to be allowed to fly Hurricanes kept for defending the Station. Research in the National Archives has taught me that Hullavington got regular pastings throughout 1940, but mostly at night. The official history of the BoB records two Junkers 88 flights entered British airspace on the day my father describes, either of which might have been the one that he followed as both headed well inland: both were seen to depart unscathed.

The flight described above by my father (in a 'Boys Own' style of dash and courage, I rather think) lasted 30 minutes and was only the second time he had flown the Hurricane, the previous flight three days beforehand made similarly for Station defence also lasted 30 minutes.

Although I can always say that my father flew fighters on authorised missions in the BoB, like some 14 or so other pilots based at various other stations in Britain, I acknowledge that he (and they) were not amongst 'The Few'. This accolade is reserved for those who flew specific types between the 10th of July and the 31st of October 1940 under the control of Fighter Command. My father also flew Defiants within this period, but only for 'air tests' or training air gunners, and none of these sorties are listed as 'operational' in his pilots flying log book (although the Hurricane sortie described above was confirmed to have been 'operational' by his Flight Commander).

As tomorrow, Sunday, is BoB Sunday I shall once again be in Westminster Abbey for the Memorial Service. In preparation for this I have been polishing his medals - that include four 'Stars' with more besides - that I shall wear with pride on my right lapel.

'Lest we forget', as my Australian colleagues (from an RAF/RAAF exchange tour I enjoyed in the mid 1960s) would say.

Last edited by Nugget90; 16th Sep 2017 at 15:44. Reason: Typo
Nugget90 is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 18:40
  #84 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
Posts: 7,642
Ian B-B (#82),

Oops ! - thanks, Ian. As you say, an easy mistake to make (particulaly by an old duffer half-blind anyway !)

Danny42C is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 19:29
  #85 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ireland
Age: 72
Posts: 221
Danny - you say

"by an old duffer half-blind anyway !)"

No way to describe yerself, a veteran of 95 summers at all at all!

I will, if I'm spared, 'till thursday, make the big 70, and I already have bifocals (even for my sunglasses) and a special pair of specs for spending too much time looking at this addictive computer thingie.

A couple of quotes are running in the back of my mind at this time;

"And at my back I always hear, time's winged chariot hurrying near"

"The days of our years are threescore and ten"

Kind of worrying for me - but it's great to see someone like you beating the odds.
Continue to do so Danny!

Ian BB
Ian Burgess-Barber is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 19:48
  #86 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Japan
Posts: 612
The weather should be good for the Abbey, and for whatever flies over afterwards.
jolihokistix is online now  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 20:08
  #87 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
Posts: 7,642
Ian BB,

Roaming about enjoyably n the "Pilot's Brevet" Posts of those days (2014 and 2015) when the question of the Arnold Washouts was being kicked-about ad nauseam, I now realise the value of your sage contributions to the mix (and Chugalug's and many other's).

Several other "Why"s will never get an answer now: e.g. Why did the USAAC not notice that their Pilot Training syllabus (of 200 hours in three phases) was half as long (and therfore expensive) again as ours (on which, I believe, the BFTS was modelled ?) notwithstanding that our OTUs could see no innate superiority in the finished (Arnold) product?

The USAAC specified that 10% of the BFTS intake should be US Cadets. Clearly that was to evaluate the British system. What was learned from that ?

Why did they think it necessary to introduce an intermediate type (in my case the Vultee BT-13, of unhappy memory), between "Primary" (our EFTS) and "Advanced" (SFTS), when we could demonstrate that the average pupil could make the leap beteen a TM or Stearman and the Harvard without undue difficulty ?

Now we'll never know. Perhaps there was an element of "Not Invented Here".

Danny .

Edit: Doesn't the Good Book add: "Or Four Score by Reason of Strength" ? I may "do the ton" - but I wouldn't put money on it !

Last edited by Danny42C; 16th Sep 2017 at 20:23. Reason: Addn.
Danny42C is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 20:17
  #88 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dark Side of West Wales
Age: 80
Posts: 96
Danny your snippet of info regarding pay was bang on. The civilian labourers filling in bomb holes etc. at Kenley were reputed to be being paid 1 per day. This was more than double the usual rate due to the dangers of UXB and other nasty things. Whilst an LAC flight rigger or engine mechanic was being paid 5 shillings per day and a Sergeant pilot was on 12 shillings and 6 pence per day. Certainly makes you wonder does it not.

On another tack. The numbers of ground crew/support staff killed on the BB airfields during the battle has never been accurately established as no specific account was kept of them. It could be as many as 300 but this may also include those that died of more natural causes. Counting graves in cemeteries close to the airfields can give some indication but is certainly not an accurate one.

Just like the chaps fighting in the sky they too gave their lives for the cause but are sadly rarely remembered.
DODGYOLDFART is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 21:37
  #89 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Llandudno
Age: 95
Posts: 113
I was on 18 and 19 Courses at 1 BFTS at Terrell, Texas in 1943/44. Put back a course due to mumps!! We had 20 per cent American Cadets. Virtually the same percentage British/American cadets were eliminated. Several American cadets with whom I corresponded after returning to U.K. Went to their Ferry Command. We were appalled at their tales of Pre Flight hazing etc. There is a Museum of 1 BFTS at Terrell which is very active. I have just met the Directors of the Museum who were on holiday in U.K. They keep the Museum very active and for those interested, worth contacting. Lots seem to be happening and they are very keen after all these years.
Ormeside28 is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2017, 23:47
  #90 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: White eagle land
Posts: 298
Originally Posted by Mogwi View Post
It transpired that he had been flying FW 190s from the Pas de Calais in September 1940 but couldn't remember a battle! A different aspect!
The manufacturing of the Fw-190 A-0 pre-production series started later than that, near the end of 1940. Possible reason of his memory problems?

ARRAKIS is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 02:09
  #91 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hostage to geographical fortune.
Posts: 89
notwithstanding that chap's rather inelegant appearance, he is at least helping to maintain the airmindedness of today's yoof.
One can only hope that today's airminded yoof has sufficient acumen to steer clear of this sort of nonsense. Cult of Churchill. BoB myth.
cvg2iln is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 06:59
  #92 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: over the rainbow
Age: 70
Posts: 561
Mutatis mutandis!

Originally Posted by Aluminium shuffler View Post
cvg2iln, incredible how you managed to turn a positive news thread about a US carrier into a petty rant about a completely unrelated topic while managing to add nothing in that post to the discussion. Chip on one shoulder or both?
Some may consider that anything which inspires national pride at this very difficult time, is to be applauded..
roving is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 07:49
  #93 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: over the rainbow
Age: 70
Posts: 561
Paul Farnes, Tom Neill and Geoffrey Wellum are still alive.



roving is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 10:26
  #94 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: SW England
Age: 72
Posts: 3,731
Cult of Churchill. BoB myth.
So Operation Sealion wasn't cancelled and Britain was invaded and occupied? We are still part of the Third Reich. When do we wake up from the dream?
Tankertrashnav is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 10:57
  #95 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: over the rainbow
Age: 70
Posts: 561
The late Mark & Ray Hanna flew the Spitfires in the 1988 TV Mini Series "Piece of Cake".

Ray and Mark Hanna : The Old Flying Machine Company

This is the episode focussing on the Battle in August & September 1940.

roving is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 14:11
  #96 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
Posts: 7,642
"Off we went, into the Wide Blue Yonder ..."

Ormeside28 (# 89),
..."I was on 18 and 19 Courses at 1 BFTS at Terrell, Texas in 1943/44. Put back a course due to mumps!! We had 20 per cent American Cadets. Virtually the same percentage British/American cadets were eliminated. Several American cadets with whom I corresponded after returning to U.K. Went to their Ferry Command. We were appalled at their tales of Pre Flight hazing etc"...
The Thread Opener of the "Pilot's Brevet" Thread (Clifford Leach [RIP], aka "cliffnemo", was at Darr Field BFTS (Miami or Ponca City [?] both ALA). He had an American buddy "Hank Olbers" (?). So it was 20%, not 10% (my mistake). Hank went on to ferry B-17s all over the world.

I've written about "hazing", but of course it could take place only on Class42A, when they followed the last Class of US "Kay-Dets" through the Arnold system. There was no particular animus against us: they would have treated their own chaps just the same. The legend was that at Carlstrom Field (FLA), our 42A rebelled in a body, fell upon their tormentors in unarmed combat, prevailed and threw them and all their kit into the Camp swimming pool.

They could hardly send them all back to Canada (it would provoke a Diplomatic Incident), so hazing was quietly abandoned on the spot. When 42A became "top dogs" in their turn, they were followed by a RAF 42B, and hazing became a distant memory.

Curiously, I have never been able to find any evidence to back this up. Any hope now ?

Danny42C is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 14:43
  #97 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: London UK
Posts: 487
Shortage of pilots

Nave question from a civilian here. When volunteers were being sought from FAA, coastal command etc, was any consideration given to using ATA pilots?
Dr Jekyll is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 14:47
  #98 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
Posts: 7,642
roving (#95),

The late Ray Hanna parked a Spitfire at Leeming one day in midsummer of the late-sixties in readiness for a display at Teesside that afternoon. Seeing me gazing on it from afar in unconcealed, hopeless envy, he guessed I had flown them before (I had, 20 Sqn, Valley, 1950-51) having trained on them in '42.

He invited me to sit in the cockpit again (all the AFS studes had been warned, on pain of death, to look but not to touch the thing). I gladly accepted: it was just like old times, it even smelt the same. After a few minutes of glorious nostalgia, I climbed out and gratefully thanked a real gentleman.

I was the ATC Watch boss that afternoon, and was able to reciprocate. We kept our direct line to Teesside ATC open after he took off, and gave him radar surveillance (he was not all that familiar with the geography of N. Yorkshire). In that way we were able to time his run-in to the display to the split second. Thanking us, he went on his way.

Of course, all this was after he'd left the Service, in which he'd been one of the better known leaders of the Red Arrows.

Danny42C is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 15:16
  #99 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ireland
Age: 72
Posts: 221
Danny yr no.96

I agree with Ormeside28 - approx 20% U.S. content was the norm at my father's Alma Mater (No. 5 B.F.T.S. Clewiston).
His course (12) was the first of the "blended" courses with 17 U.S. and 83 U.K. cadets.
Same figures for courses 14, 15, and 16. Course 13 had 17 U.S. but only 70 U.K. cadets.
Courses 17 and 18 (the final of the 7 completed "blended courses) had 20 U.S. and 90 U.K
All of the U.S. graduates served in Air Transport Command. My post no. 5554 Page 278 (Pilot's Brevet Thread) refers.

Ian BB

Last edited by Ian Burgess-Barber; 17th Sep 2017 at 15:23. Reason: Delete surplus word
Ian Burgess-Barber is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2017, 16:13
  #100 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: AndyCappLand
Age: 97
Posts: 7,642
Dr Jekyll (#97),

Don't think so: From Wiki:

..."The ATA recruited pilots who were considered to be unsuitable for either the Royal Air Force or the Fleet Air Arm by reason of age, fitness or gender. A unique feature of the ATA was that physical handicaps were ignored if the pilot could do the job"...

In the flower of my youth (aged 20), and after 200 hours of military flying training to "wings" standard, I had to do another 100 hours and four month's RAF training to be acceptable as a fighter squadron new boy (in 1942, I should add). The Battle only lasted three months in 1940.

Both sides were brought to their knees by attrition of pilots. Aircraft production kept pace on either side (with production lines set up, you can produce Spitfires or Messerscmitds like family cars) But nobody then or since can take a lad off the street and turn him into a military pilot in less than 12 months. In the words of the Iron Duke at Waterloo: "Hard pounding, Gentlemen - we shall see who can pound the longest". In 1940 it was us !

The "or gender" is a hot potato now - but not then. As Kipling said: "The Female of the Species is More Deadly Than the Male" (the poem is worth a read). The women were 14% of the ATA, they did sterling work (and lost their lives) in ferrying repairs and replacements back to the fighting squadrons (who would otherwise have to divert their own pilots for the job).

All honour to the ATA !

Danny42C is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.