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Master Pilot Norman Gunnel

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Master Pilot Norman Gunnel

Old 14th Oct 2018, 08:39
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Master Pilot Norman Gunnel

Read old post from 5aday enquiringly about Norm.He was my flying instructor at Cranwell and saved me from the chop!!I have been out of UK for 40 years enjoying a successful career in aviation due to Norm.I visited his grave yesterday at St Andrews Church in Cranwell village.He died age 62

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 3rd Jul 2020 at 11:50. Reason: Add hyperlink to 5aday’s post
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Old 25th Oct 2018, 19:04
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Originally Posted by Diesel8F View Post
Read old post from 5aday enquiringly about Norm.He was my flying instructor at Cranwell and saved me from the chop!!I have been out of UK for 40 years enjoying a successful career in aviation due to Norm.I visited his grave yesterday at St Andrews Church in Cranwell village.He died age 62
Remember Norman well Diesel. D Sqn at the College of Knowledge. He once went up with Dudley Carvell and came into the crew room and announced that "somebody learned something from that trip and it wasn't Carvell" Maybe that's you? Think not because DC was NEVER for the chop!
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Old 25th Oct 2018, 19:47
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Norm did my FNT at the Towers summer 1968 in a JP4
. Cs was “Zulu 22”. The mouthful nightmare was calling Holme on Spalding Moor for a true bearing. The answer came back from HoSM that our true bearing was 222. In trying to read that back to HoSMM I had Norm in fits of laughter!! (“222 true, Zulu 222”). He gave me a good mark!
Great QFI and man.
Cheers,
mcdhu
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Old 26th Oct 2018, 16:30
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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The three Master Pilots that I remember were Norman, 'Dad' Saxby, and '-ve G Jackson' (with a missing upper earlobe reputedly from a brush with a FW190)
Those guys were a legend and awesome to a 19 year old cadet. I walked in their shadow and tried to remember every word or nuance. They were rightly held in far more esteem than their commissioned colleagues. A great shame to die so young having given so much.
DC
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Old 27th Oct 2018, 09:07
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Remember Jacko well. My late and lamented mate Iain A-R was scheduled to fly his final nav test with Jacko at the Towers. A-R pitches up with immaculate chart and flight planning form, to have Jacko promptly take them and give A-R his grubby tea-stained version from deep in a flying suit pocket. "Here", says Jacko, "see how you get on with that" A-R asks why, to the rejoinder (and a grin) "Your father bollocked me for being late on a pay parade in 1948....". AR flies the sortie, and on landing gets a one-line debrief, along the lines of "That was OK", and (ISTR) 98%
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Old 27th Oct 2018, 16:54
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I kept in touch with Norm' for a number of years after he left the RAF. He settled in the West Midlands and worked for the British Tourist Board (or similar). We exchanged Christmas cards but eventually the replies stopped and I assumed the worst. I was quite surprised to find his grave in Cranwell churchyard some years later.

There a great many of us who owe him much.

YS
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 12:34
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Join Date: Jun 2020
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Master Pilot Norman Gunnell

Master Pilot Norman Gunnell was my Dad, I am his daughter posting to anyone out there who was either a student or fellow instructor with my Dad. I have just finished (no doubt 1st draft!) writing a book on my Dad's full life history including his RAF career from 1939-1975.

I did for a short while have my Dad's flying log books and scribbled notes down/photocopied pages. I used old letters & cards, official papers etc. Dad was certainly meticulous with his paperwork and filing!

Writing this book was extremely poignant yet so very proud to read the respect he gained during his RAF career. Please, anyone out there who knew my Dad and would be kind to share any snippet/golden nugget of information - I would be very much appreciative to hear from you so I may add to the story of my Dad, thank you.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 08:02
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Master Pilot Norman Gunnell was my Dad - I have just finished the 1st draft of writing a book all about his life and RAF history. I had for a short while his full flying log books that I quickly made notes and photocopied pages - he was meticulous in his paperwork and filing. At home Dad was a humble private man and rarely spoke of his achievements within the RAF, poignant to learn of them today but so proud to read of them today.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 10:16
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Don't forget 'Uckers' Gunnel! - "Chesty six!" "Suckback" "Sif on your donk". Great guy.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 20:43
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I, as a young lad in the 1970s knew a number of Master Aircrew, pilots, navigators, AEOs and flight engineers most of whom were either WW2 veterans or national service. I always thought that they must have the best rank in the RAF because they were held in such awe by their younger colleagues and they terrified most of the senior officers.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 21:38
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I always thought that they must have the best rank in the RAF because they were held in such awe by their younger colleagues and they terrified most of the senior officers.
I'd agree with that. Master Pilot. Best rank and best job in the Air Force.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 22:25
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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I also remember Master Pilot Jack Meakin, an ex-Javelin pilot. I was led to believe that he could walk on water.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 09:02
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Please advise me when your book is published.I owe your father a lot,he had faith in me when a lot of others did not.I think he would have been proud if he knew that I eventually achieved an above average flying assessment.I don't think I would have been able to carry on flying if I had faced the chop at Cranwell.My son is an examiner on the A380 and my grandson is a first officer on the A320-all this would never have happened without your father,s efforts on my behalf
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 09:33
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thrusts a must.
I flew with "Pop" (?) Saxby back in the 70s when we instructed at Oxford Air Training School. He seemed to have flown all the good stuff - Liberator, Shackleton, Mosquito, Hornet, even Spit XXl !
All round good bloke.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 11:09
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Diesel8F - Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a great deal to me. Was your original flying instructor Noel Steel? and then you became one of Dad's students? Growing up in early teens when Dad was at Cranwell (back to back posting 1964 - 1969) it was nothing unusual for Dad to say a student was coming to the house for 'extra tuition' - I know my Dad kept in touch with many of his students after they graduated, his students were his extended family and would always go the extra mile to support them all to obtain their wings. I know on graduation this was always a proud day to Dad for his students - his dress uniform had to be just so, I would be allowed to brasso one button knowing my Dad would do it again.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 14:14
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...and let's not forget Master Pilot Jock Naismith at Syerston in the early 60's.
I was handed over to Jock having had problems with one instructor (in name only). I only received one briefing from Jock and never even got airborne as he was moved to standards the next day.
In that one long briefing he taught me more about flying than the other person had in several hours of ground and airborne time.
I would like to think that I was able to emulate Jock's attitude and abilities with students when it was my turn to teach.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 22:31
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Uncle,do you have your fathers full Service Records,(not just LogBooks),as you are entitled to them ,free, on the `gov.uk` website..search for `Military Service Records`,fill in forms ,wait a month ,parcel will arrive; maybe re-write book..!

Lou Scannon, Jock was my main instructor r wasat Syerston on the last NCO pilot course in `63-4;sadly he passed away probably 10-15 yrs ago,as I recall seeing it posted in RAF News,or RAFA Magazine.......
I believe he was `Fixed Cross`s` instructor when he won all the trophies as well; I only managed the `Ground School `one....Another was Bob `Horse` Innes,whom I took flying with his wife in a Rapide about 3-4 yrs ago,sort of a bit of a `Thank You` for his efforts.... Great times,great place,great instructors......
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 07:09
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Sycamore - You are a complete star! My appreciation on your information - the items I have are the papers/memos/certificates/letters/uniforms/flying suit etc that my Dad had kept, I had to make many phonecalls/emails/letters etc to obtain what I have for the first draft. I then saw this site and have trawled looking for more.

My next port of call was Hendon to see if they could help? I had no idea I could obtain from Gov.uk - my task today thanks to you - thank you so much, writing this book means so much to me - even after 36 years when he died suddenly.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 19:44
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Originally Posted by uncle norman gunnell View Post
Master Pilot Norman Gunnell was my Dad - I have just finished the 1st draft of writing a book all about his life and RAF history. I had for a short while his full flying log books that I quickly made notes and photocopied pages - he was meticulous in his paperwork and filing. At home Dad was a humble private man and rarely spoke of his achievements within the RAF, poignant to learn of them today but so proud to read of them today.
Hi,
You sent me a Private Message(PM) but I am unable to respond as you are unable to receive PMs. Could you check your message settings; although I think it's proably to do with having made insufficient posts; and send me another PM but include in it an email address for me to contact you.

Best regards,
YS
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 18:48
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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I knew 'Mr' Gunnell incredibly well and we were almost next door neighbours in the Mess in Luqa.

It was Norman who was on 'Malta Zone' duty (giving the IFR departures clearances) when I was due to return to the UK at the end of my tour. My then girl friend, now my wife of 46yrs, was a Hostess and on the flight returning to Heathrow and only knew that I was going to meet her in the Luqa Terminal for a coffee. I had secretly planned to come out with the passengers and surprise her. I rang the tower to speak to Norman from the Whisper night club to ask how the Trident was progressing coming into land but he told me I'd got my timings wrong and they were now just about to depart - except Norman wouldn't let them. He would not give them their departure clearance until I managed to get on board. My wife kept telling the ground handlers to take away the steps to close door 1 left as she thought I had stood her up. Anyway, it was a record speed drive from Mosta to the airport and thrust a load of Maltese pounds at the BA desk and they 'ran' me out to the aeroplane. They closed the door and taxied almost before I had a seat to sit it. Norman saved my day - the Captain was so curious as to who the hell I was delaying his aeroplane.

Anyway, a short story long, we had three daughters and six grandchildren and live in Marlow. I exchanged PPRuNe messages with Yellow Sun who advised you Dad is buried at Cranwell which made me desperately sad. My Dad was also a Master Pilot and would probably have known Norman. It really was quite a priviledge rank and all Master Pilots had a special status in the RAF. My email is [email protected].

I left the service and did my ATPL (Pilots Licence) at Oxford Air Training School and flew for most of my course with Dad Saxby who was also mentioned in some of the replies to your email. I ended my days as a skipper in BA and I guess if I had been faced with making the same decision and faced with a Zone Controller like Norman I would have waited as well. He was a brilliant man.

Dave M
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