July 2nd 1942 Back in the UK, posted to No 5. (Pilot) A.F.U. (Advanced flying Unit) Ternhill, Shropshire with G Flight for familiarization and advanced training on Miles Master (1) and (111).
August 1942, posted to RAF Madley in Herefordshire and more flying hours on the Miles Master and Percival Procter as second pilot finishing instructors course.
September 1942 through April 1943 and many hours piloting W/T (Wireless Telegraphy) trainees. For future service in bomber command.
My father tells of one occurrence of his aircraft being nearly wiped out by a near miss!!
Total No. flying hrs. RAF Madley 809.20 day, 20.55 night. This could comprise of up to six flights per day.
April 1943 posted to 52 OTU (Operational Training Unit) Aston Down, Gloucestershire. Starting with two evaluation flight on the Miles Master 111 before first solo flight and experience on Supermarine Spitfire Mk 11 April 20th 1943.
Flying continued on the Spitfire 11 at Aston Down April 1943 through June 1943. Experience gained in dog fighting using cine camera to evaluate flying when back on ground. Air to air firing, air to ground firing and low flying, formation flying at altitude, dummy rhubarb, air to air combat with cine camera, spinning and aerobatics and air to air firing at X squadron. Gunnery practice.
30 mins. into exercise (air combat) on June 20th 1943, aircraft engine started to exhibit signs of malfunction and eventual piston / engine censure. A forced landing ensued, wheels up, in farmers field. A stone wall finally brought the aircraft to an abrupt halt. Despite having the safety harness fastened, the impact with the stone wall resulted in Eric Clegg being taken to hospital in Evesham. He was in an unconscious condition for a several weeks
While convalescing patients were allowed to stroll round the town of Evesham in the afternoons. Locals treated patients like hero’s recognised by ‘hospital blues’ as the uniforms were called.. My father’s memory of the period is of a long hot summer.
Location of Crash and Aircraft I. D.
P7903 IIa CBAF MXII 39MU 4-2-41 152S 3-3-41 FACB 20-6-41 Westland 53OTU 10-11-42 FACB 21-2-43 AST 3-3-43 engine failed wheels up landing Beckwell Farm Framcote Glos CE 20-6-43
These aircraft types used for training had been in service since the Battle of Britain and so had not been flown with the respect they deserved, probably full throttle on a cold engine causing premature wear in cylinders leading to oil loss and engine censured.