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IBob

Old Log Book

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At Christmas, I was given an old log book, purchased online.

 

Considering what is written on the first page, what is on the (almost) last page is an affront, it seems to me:

 

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  • Informative 1

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Why ... he only has 600 hours, albeit in 1927. I don't know of any pilot that could be better than average with so little time in the air. Though I do know of a lot of 'sky-gods' that think they're invincible with even fewer hours. Or am I missing something?

 

 

  • Agree 1

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Why ... he only has 600 hours, albeit in 1927. I don't know of any pilot that could be better than average with so little time in the air. Though I do know of a lot of 'sky-gods' that think they're invincible with even fewer hours. Or am I missing something?

I have no wish to engage in some idea of equivalence between hours and degrees of ability, and certainly not with the experts here. I am sure that, by that metric, you are absolutely correct.

 

My thought was more that the poor b*****d clearly survived what in those times and machines were significant hours in WW1. How you measure that against anything here and now, I have no idea.

 

 

  • Agree 2

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Ah, I see, then yes I had missed something. I didn't note the aircraft types so I assumed his flying was nearer to 1927 and not WW1. In that case yes, he must have been quite a flyer, not many survived 50hrs, let alone 600.

 

 

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The 622 hours was brought forward from his No 2 logbook, and gained mainly on fighters and bombers (almost half in Sopwith Camels). By 1927, he presumably had quite a few more hours up. Pretty impressive.

 

rgmwa

 

 

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A significant portion of this log book, which runs from May1923 to May 1928 seems to be short hops associated maintenance and wireless testing.

 

The final entry is 30mins in DH9a #HR3545 with 45(B) Squadron in Helwan, Egypt. At that point he was approx 850hrs. No entires or totals after that.

 

I found #HR3545 on the net. It was one of the last, if not the last DH9a built.

 

There is a (copyright) pic of her in the air towards the bottom of this collection: Flickriver: Most interesting photos tagged with dh9a

 

It would be interesting to put together more of this story.

 

 

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In his autobiography "an air fighters scrapbook" Ww1 ace Ira Jones describes how offended he was at being rated "Average - on Avros" after a similar amount of combat experience. It is a great book, available as a Kindle download.

 

 

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In his autobiography "an air fighters scrapbook" Ww1 ace Ira Jones describes how offended he was at being rated "Average - on Avros" after a similar amount of combat experience. It is a great book, available as a Kindle download.

Yes, this is the first such assessment in this log book, and dated Dec 1927. Entries end May 1928. I wonder if the RAF used these rating to thin the ranks???

 

 

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Few Pilots had more than 400 hours at the end of the war (WW2) unless they did lots of ferrying or instruction, or flew before the war. Nev

 

 

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It would be interesting to put together more of this story.

And it would be a most worthwhile thing to do. So many heroic stories are in danger of being lost to the sands of time.

 

I have just completed a fairly intensive two year research project to discover more of the story of my uncle's life. As kids we knew that he had been killed in WW2, was a pilot and there was some suggestion that his death was an accident where his plane was hit by a bomb jettisoned from his friend's plane following an aborted bombing mission. I'd also gleaned from my mother that he had been trained as a fighter pilot but she was intensely saddened by the loss of her big brother and found it impossible to talk about it much.

 

As was normal procedure, my uncle's logbooks were delivered to his parents (my grandparents) in due course and they were left to me when they passed away. My brother had them in storage for a while because I was overseas, they were in a shed and got wet and he didn't realise the value of them, so he disposed of them, I never did get to see them.

 

My research journey began out of idle curiosity about four years ago when I discovered the existence of the Runnymede Memorial, and his mention on one of the plaques. From there I was able to discover his Service Number, medals awarded and his Squadron and airbase. It turned out that there is a preservation society protecting and renovating the airfield and surrounds, and they had a lot of information that included mentions of my uncle.

 

It was then that the confusion about bombers and fighters was cleared up. After he returned from Florida, where he was sent for his Primary and Basic training on Stearmans, Vultees and Harvards, he went to 59 Operational Training Unit at Milford where he was trained on Hurricanes and then Typhoon fighter-bombers before being posted to 193 Squadron at RAF Harrowbeer, Yelverton, Devon.

 

With the assistance of the Preservation Society I gained access to the microfiched Operational Record Books (Forms 540 and 541) from the National Archives, which detail the daily operations and missions and I was then able to find many other of his Squadron Pilots' logbooks online and was even put in touch with members of the Squadron who knew him well, and the nephew of the pilot who feared it was his errant ordnance which struck his friend, my uncle's, aircraft and hence piece together most of his life and the details of his final mission and resting place. Though his body was never recovered, he went down in the English Channel near the Channel Island of Alderney. To be clear, the unfortunate event was no-one else's fault, my uncle was out of formation to the rear and 700ft below the rest, for reasons unknown.

 

Although sad at times it was a fascinating research project and has its rewards in terms of the preservation of another story of our wartime heroes. A new Allied Aircrew Memorial has been constructed at the entrance to Guernsey Airport featuring information about the 153 aircrew thus far known to have been lost in the Bailiwick waters, and for whom there is no gravesite.

 

Additionally, since the story is newly revealed and a little unusual, the Channel Island Occupation Society (CIOS - the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans during most of WW2) produce a 'Review' each year featuring academic and general interest stories like this, and my uncle's is to be published this May.

 

Some links that may help your quest -

 

Royal Air Force - Operational Records, WWI - (Military)

 

If he was in the RAAF, as opposed to RAF - Tips for Researching RAAF Personnel and Operational Records

 

The National Archives

 

You'd also want to search for RFC (Royal Flying Corps) records, since they led up to the RAF which was formed in 1918, and I think the National Archives begins at RAF formation, but not certain about that.

 

Also, you may need to search French records because many of the early flyers joined French Escadrilles (Squadrons) rather than fly as part of the RFC. Finding his Service Number will be Key.

 

 

  • Winner 1

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Few Pilots had more than 400 hours at the end of the war (WW2) unless they did lots of ferrying or instruction, or flew before the war. Nev

It is intriguing that the entry at the start for Sop Camel has been altered from 184hrs to 284, and the total from 522hrs to 622.

 

The book starts at May1923, but this looks to have been done at or after March 1924, as all totals up until then have been similarly altered.

 

Also the cover says Fl Lieut R Halley, but this has been crossed out and amended to Flying Officer S C Black. This is the only personal info (apart from squadron numbers and signatures where monthly totals have been signed off). Most pilot entries are simply labelled 'Self' though one section has 'F/O Black'.

 

 

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Thank you HIC. That is an intriguing story. I have spent a short while on the net with what details I have, but will look further, with the links and info you have given here.

 

I am not a military 'enthusiast': like so many, my family lost sons in both world wars, and of those who came back, many were damaged for life. Still, I believe we need to know how it was.

 

I recently read Sagittarius rising and it seemed honest to me.

 

As for the trenches, I would recommend Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (he went on to write I Claudius, which some here might remember. He wrote of the grotesque difference, even then, between the war as it was, and as it was being presented 'at home'.

 

 

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Thanks for posting, IBob. I've found this discussion very interesting as one of the things I collect is logbooks. Some of them are real gems, and it's a nice exercise to immerse yourself in the story that you can piece together from a close examination of the logs. Sometimes we read these things quickly, brush over them and take them for granted, but if we go down the rabbit hole a bit, there are incredible stories there that should be preserved for the future.

 

 

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