Download E-books A Very Unusual Air War: From Dunkirk to AFDU: The Diary and Log Book of Test Pilot Leonard Thorne 1940-45 PDF

By Leonard Thorne

The 20-year-old Len Thorne joined the RAF in may possibly 1940. After traumatic excursions of operational accountability as a fighter pilot (including a few desperately risky low-level flying at Dunkirk) he was once published to AFDU (Air scuffling with improvement Unit) and remained there as a try pilot for the remainder of the conflict. He flew either Allied plane and captured enemy planes and used to be a colleague of a number of the fighter "aces." thankfully for us, Len saved an insightful diary, which, set along his log booklet, tells the original tale of a member of the AFDU, tasked with constructing operational strategies and checking out captured enemy airplane. Len presents not just an perception into education and the fantastic paintings performed via the attempt pilots but in addition into essentially the most recognized flyers of the RAF, with whom he labored, together with Wing Commander Al Deere and Spitfire Aces SL "Paddy" Finucane, Ernie Ryder, and so forth. Len’s diary for September 21 1942 files the 1st sighting of the dreaded FW190: "The pilot played a sequence of quickly rolls . . . metaphorically sticking up the proverbial fingers." In might 1943 Len will be try out flying a similar sort after pilot Heinz Erhardt mistakenly landed one at Marston!

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A few mornings we might wake up very early to observe the survivors coming domestic. Later we occasionally attended the de-briefings through the Intelligence officials, and talked to the very drained crews. On days whilst there have been no operations shall we stopover at neighborhood locations of curiosity; while at Waddington or Scampton, Lincoln used to be consistently a well-liked spot. eleven July: On this sort of visits I met a best officer, the station commander at Scampton, workforce Captain Augustus Walker, generally called ‘Gus’ Walker. during operations, a Lancaster crashed on take-off with an entire load of bombs on board. Gus led an try and rescue the group. As he reached the afflicted computer one in all its bombs exploded, and he suffered critical accidents together with the lack of an arm. He recovered and resumed his tasks, last within the RAF after the battle, achieving excessive rank and plenty of undefined. 12 July: a trip to the previous squadron (602), again at Kenley after a quick leisure up north, hardly ever any of the outdated lot left; the hot boys a bit of subdued. i didn't repeat the stopover at. 21 July: Squadron chief Haywood (always for a few cause often called Scruffy) used to be hooked up to AFDU as a relaxation from operations. He used to be a member of excessive Society, married to a titled woman who, i think, was once the pre-war ‘Health and sweetness Girl’. in the course of his remain they lived in a caravan, parked in a delightful meadow close to a move. One night they invited Estelle and me for a meal, trout freshly stuck from the circulate. They have been beautiful humans and made us think completely at domestic, treating us, in each method, as equals. As a leisure from operations, officials as much as the rank of Wing Commander have been frequently published to AFDU. Like me, as much as the time of becoming a member of the unit, many had now not flown multi-engined plane. accordingly I occasionally chanced on myself within the position of teacher and it used to be my nice excitement to teach Squadron chief Haywood, who proved an capable scholar. 23 July: On a number of the association flights the Spitfires operated singly, both at various instances or over a special quarter. frequently no more than 4 bombers might participate in every one sortie, taking it in turns to be the objective airplane. The fighter may perform mock assaults on every one in flip. during this method lots of the bomber crews bought their probability to education taking evasive motion, fairly by way of ‘corkscrewing’. 29 July: precis for:- July 1942 Spitfire 26–30 Unit:- AFDU Duxford Defiant 2–50 Date:- 3/8/42 Oxford 9–40 Signature:- H. L. Thorne H. S. Sewell Flt Lt For O/C Flying AFDU in this month Wing Commander Campbell-Orde and Squadron chief Ted Smith have been despatched over to the united states on a flag-waving exposure travel, to assist the conflict attempt. in the course of their transitority absence, F/Lt H. S. (Bert) Sewell took over as appearing O/C Flying, and in that means signed my logbook. F/Lt Sewell, identified to us all as Susie, grew to become my closest pal in the course of our time jointly. He used to be the appropriate instance of a fighter pilot: younger, good-looking, debonair, well known. He performed an average online game of snooker and had an inexhaustible shop of songs and tales.

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