hi and help

Discussion in 'Basic' started by dampspark, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    hi everyone

    I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction to some information I'm after. You see I'm a writer ( OK all together Oh JEZZ not another one-good job I've a sense of humour!) I'm after photo's/layouts of RAF Coningsby c 1943 may 22/23 rd to be exact.

    it's the date of a raid on Dortmund 826 aircraft dispatched. 38 never came home-at lot of good guys down.

    I've been offered a chance to write an outline plot which could go out as a TV mini series ( if I'm lucky-we'll see) I've got about an inch of paper print outs now which should give the enough for chapter 1. I won't know if what I've got is enough until i start to write it. BUT, for example I want to start off with a WAAF batwoman waking up a Lanc crew. Did she walk down the corridor of a wooden hut or were they all brick built? I want that sort of detail. I don't know about you guys but I get racked off when I read something written by someone one who dosen't know/can't be bothered to find out.

    If someone could tell me where to go ( been there-the thermostats stuck too high!) to find some photos etc I'd be very grateful.

    maybe I'm not the worlds best Author but if I can stick it back into the publics face what these guys did for us all it'll be something?

    regards
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Hi mate, I might not be able to help that much, but let's see what I can do.
    First, as far as I know, Conningsby was/is an 'expansion period' airfield, with 'permanent' accommodation. Certainly the main site buidlings were, and are today of course. I visited the Station a few times in the '80's, during the course of producing an AV programme, and much of the site was original.
    I have a sketch of the airfield layout, which won't be tremendous help for your requirements, but I can e-mail it if you think it will help. (PM an address).
    Second. If you contact the archives section at the RAF Museum, they can provide copies of the original plans of all, or at least most, WW2 RAF bases on mainland Britain, for a small fee; they might also be able to provide any other material they might have on file.
    Meanwhile, I'll look through my references, and see what I can come up with.
    Sounds an interesting project. It might help you to contact/visit the museum at East Kirkby, Lincs. Not only do they have a taxiable Lanc, as you probably know, but they have also restored some of the buildings to WW2 configuaration, including the Watch Office (tower). YAM, at Elvington, near York, also have some restored buildings.
    Cheers,
    Terry.
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Here is from our "This Day in Europe" thread -

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ww2-general/day-war-europe-65-years-ago-6116-60.html

    After a 9 day break in major operations, Bomber Command despatched 826 aircraft on this raid to Dortmund, 343 Lancasters, 199 Halifaxes, 151 Wellingtons, 120 Stirlings and 13 Mosquitoes. 38 aircraft were lost. This raid involved the greatest number in a "non-1000" force so far in the war and the largest raid of the Battle of the Ruhr. The Pathfinders marked the target accurately in clear weather conditions and the ensuing attack proceeded according to plan. It was a very successful raid. Large areas in the centre, the north and the east of Dortmund were devastated. Mearly 2,000 buildings were completely destroyed. Many industrial premises were hit, particularly the large Hoesch steelworks which ceased production. 599 people were killed, 1275 were injured and the bodies of about 25 other people were never found. Dortmund was not attacked in strength again by Bomber Command until exactly 1 year after this raid. There is an interesting story to tell about a Wellington of 431 Squadron which took part in this raid.
    ....Just after leaving the target the Wellington was coned by searchlights and hit several times by fragments of flak. The rear gunner reported that he thought the aircraft was on fire. The pilot twice put the aircraft into a steep dive to evade the searchlights but was not able to do so. There was some confusion over whether an order to bale out was given by the pilot and the pilot actually did leave the aircraft. The bomb aimer, Sergeant S.N. Sloan, an Englishman, took over the controls and eventually was able to shake off the searchlights. The navigator and wireless operator were still aboard and Sergeant Sloan flew the aircraft back to England and made a perfect landing at Cranwell. He was immediately awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, commissioned and posted to a pilot training course. The wireless operator, Flying Officer J.B.G. Bailey and the navigator, Sergeant G.C.W. Parslow received immediate awards of the DFC and the DFM respectively. They later became part of the crew of Wing Commander J. Coverdale, the squadron commander but were killed with Coverdale on the night of 21/22 June 1943 on a raid to Krefeld. Sergeant (later Flight Lieutenant) Sloan came back to Bomber Command as a Halifax pilot with 158 Squadron and flew on operations from January 1945 until the end of the war. In the post-war years he served with the King's Flight.

    Another interesting event that day was this - might be a neat way to open the story-line. Don't know how close Conningsby was to Bournemouth but I believe Bournemouth was a R&R for UK personnel.

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/bournemouth-raid-1943-a-11371.html
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Interesting stuff Chris, and probably useful for our new friend's research.
    Bournemouth is on the south (Channel) coast, whilst Coningsby is in Lincolnshire, to the north and east. In a straight line, the distance between the two is about 180 miles, and considearbly more by road of course. Even today, Lincolnshire is sparsely populated, and relatively short journeys, once off the main motorways (Freeways) and main trunk routes, can take hours! During WW2, on public transport, generally a disrupted train service, it would take about a day to get from one to the other, with lots of luck. However, that's not to say that rest centres such as the one at Bournemouth were not used, as, obviously, they were. But, AFAIK, other quiet areas, such as the Lake District, the Cotswolds etc, would be utilised where possible. Great idea though, I agree, for a possible opening.
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks Terry. I'm an out-of-work, unpublished, dreaming author myself, so I know what obstacles one can face. Always fancied myself a Lord Dunsany or maybe Clive Cussler....:)

    Slowly I'm learning UK geographics!
     
  7. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    I'd still be very grateful for all the efforts you guys are putting in not only for a newbie but aslo for someone who's first love is classic anything. Cars, planes, trains etc. I'm not a Luddite but a lot of modern stuff leaves me cold. I can't see the beauty in it the same as say a spitfire or a flying fortress, an Mg TA car, A steam engine etc.

    This book-so far-had been the hardest project I've undertaken. I'm now 2.5K words in on the first chapter. Even after 6-7 solid hours on sunday researching and hours before that I'm still looking up stuff. Silly detail but to those who were there it was real. ( like who was the 'film star' of the day!)

    The only bloke who could ask about a lot of this stuff-he was there-got his wings last year. Knowing Len, ( my old mate ) he's now doing engine changes on lancs and mossies with a grin from ear to ear! He was an engineer down to his fingertips and still doing a days work when he got his final posting. The stuff he had in his head was unreal. A lot of information, facts, history all gone. We'd actually discussed me ghost writing his biography just before he went as well.

    What I'll do-if it's ok with you all-and for anyone else intrested-is post up here when I've got that section done. It won't be complete. It'll just be the bare bones, rough draft etc. I'm willing to send it over to as many people who are intrested to pick over and tell me just how far I've got it wrong. Obviously This site will have to go into the acknowledgements section but praise where praise is due!

    And Chris the guy who's unemployed and fancies himself as an author? Pick up that pen mate and start. That's exactly how I started! It's taken me years to finally get there but I was out of work and bored out of my head and I had an idea. Go for it mate-you'll never know if you don't at least have a go! if you want any help pm me. ok?
     
  8. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    I don't know about Britain, but doing anything WWII that is historically accurate is a very tough sell here in America. Band of Brothers is one of the very few exceptions.

    I sure wish you luck. WWII is getting to be nearly a forgotten war in our education system on both sides of the pond.

    Almost all I have learned about WWII has been on my own. Yet, it is worth nothing to a college.

    Bill G.
     
  9. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    Hi Bill

    yep it's about the same here as well. There is more emphasis on ancient Egypt historically than WW2. There are other subjects that really get my back up-one of them being religious education. Nuf said!! needless to say my step kids know a lot about every religion-except the Christian ones!

    To be honest I'm glad I'm well out of going to school now. I'd be the disruptive one at the back demanding why we need to know this ( I was at school anyway!-but I was given better answers why instead of the curriculum says so) So our kids come out of school with bits of paper that are worthless-hell some of them can't even read!

    I feel this book-and the TV series, ( if it gets that far ) needs to be written so I'm having a go. I'm not dictated to about what I want to write. Everything I do stands and falls on it's own merits. If people like it they will buy it-if not then it bombs. But I'd have had a go at it!
     
  10. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great stuff, and I agree entirely. Like yourself and Chris, I too am a 'writer', of sorts. I recently finished a full-length novel, and I'm four chapters into the sequel. A few years ago, I started on a 'factional' novel, centred around a young Luftwaffe pilot, from the fall of France, to the end of the war in Europe, so I understand what you mean about getting all the little bits and pieces right, and as authentic as possible. That one I haven't done anything about, but the first one mentioned was very well received by a publisher, but unfortunately not the right publisher! How the h*ll anyone gets published in the UK is beyond me!
    Anyway, as the period, and service you are covering is one of my pet 'loves', and I have, or have had, a number of friends and/or others who served in Bomber Command, and have experience of many of the former (or still operational) RAF bases, and a little knowledge on the Lanc, having been in two,flown in one, if I can help in any way, just shout. Meanwhile, I'm still chipping away at the info I promised you, and hope to have something in the mail by the weekend.
    Terry.
     
  11. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    Thanks Terry

    that's really good of you. I'm looking forward to receiving it. I've spent most of the night now finding out more info. It's only when you start to put things together that you realise just how little you know. I was fortunate to have known Len. I've got some of the slang of the period-it was never the air force. It was the air works! and there was 'chucking up a bunch of fives' ie a salute!

    After I've got the first chapter roughed I've got a lot of location work to do. I want to go to each town I've used and try ( Ha ha) to find actual streets/locations. I've yet to put my head into a lanc. I've seen them both fly and on the deck. Again small details but one's that matter.

    I knocked out the last 3 books ( 22K, 90k and 170K) in the last 4-5 months. But then the research for them took no time. I got the hang of 1 small section of brain surgery in about 3 hours. not that I can do it but understand it enough to describe the process. I have got an ( aborted ) book on the first century ad. There are 4 main references for that period-one is the roman emperor Tiberious himself. One aspect was the 'religio druidorum' the mass slaying of the druids in Angleseey. Was it ad 49, 51 or 53? Another thing I found out was how long we in Britain have had rabbits. 2000 years-the romans brought them over from spain! And you can't use the hare for food-it's sacred to the goddess Andresa! I don't suppose that 1 person in 1000 will know that-but odds on cert that 1 person will be the one that matters!

    This ones going to take months to put together!

    publishing in this country is a b*****d! I've had lots of rejections but it's a matter of keep pluging away-or publish yourself ( LULU.com ) That way you keep total control of the lot BUT you have to sell it.

    If I can ever help in any way to return the favour just shout or PM. I'll do the best I can for you-or any other guys on here

    regards

    ron
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Ron, I'm plugging away allright! I know it's near the top of the 'Most Hated by Publishers' list, but the novel I mentioned has been devoured by a number of very critical and avid readers, and the Publisher (who would have published on an author contibutory package, but thought they weren't big enough to do the book justice if published outright) thought it was excellent, and a potential big hit. But, as you know, it's getting your foot in the door that matters, regardless what potential the MS has.
    I have the feeling that there could be some close cooperation here, and I don't mind helping/advising etc, if you need it. I'm only guessing, but I think I could at least point you in some of the right directions. I'll try to get as much as possible together initially, then take it from there. I'll PM you my e-mail address, as it might be more convenient , in this instance, than 'snail mail'. If required at some stage in the future, we could meet up, as I get down your way occasionally - well, within about 15 or 20 miles anyway!
    Cheers,
    Terry.
     
  13. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks Damps!

    I have several stories, novels,etc. started and a box of ideas but once I get a draft done I see something I have to re-do and it all starts again. Frustrating. Check out the "Get Lucky" thread. I started with an idea and after a few months I tanked. It'll pick up soon.

    Hope yours is going well and a few words here and there won't hurt. Love that stuff! I'll check alittle on that date from here although my main interest is Luftwaffe. Don't know how that would play for you.

    Good Luck!
     
  14. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    Hi Chris

    That's about how it goes for most of us writers. I 'slash' down the first draft ( this is how I work ) if the words are coming think 'n fast I haven't got time to stop the flow. So I smash 'em down in print. When I stop that section I go back over and spell check. ( I thank the Gods-any of them-on a daily basis-for a spell checker-can't spell for crap!) correct most of the grammer. When I've finished the chapter I will go back over for more grammar and then put in bit's I've missed ( you will always forget something ) or alter it around.

    When the books finished I go back and forwards over it for typos grammar etc. again. By now It's been through the printer twice-three times. I always write double spaced until I'm ready to send it off. so there's heaps of paper-but I don't throw anything away. I find -perhaps it's just me, but I know I'm not alone with it-checking and double checking takes twice as long at least to do as did writing it.

    If I'm not happy it will go round the loop again. You've got to watch you don't overwork the thing though. I'll redo something 2, 3 times. If I've got to do it 4 times then I've got it badly wrong.I'll put it aside and write something else. Never throw part finished work/research away. Put it in a shoe box or something but keep hold of it all.

    Pick one of your ideas out of the box and start writing. I'll give you a tip here. Once you start don't stop with the story. Stick with the one-and finish it. That's the bl**dy hard bit. Everyone will tell you that they've started to write a book-just ask them if they ever finished. Once you've finished it reread it correct it once and once only. Save both the MS and a copy down to stick/disc or what ever. Then start the next. You will find that once you've had the guts to stick at the slog-and it is hard work-to finish one the second one will be easier to finish.

    Then compare the first and second pieces of work. If your getting the hang of it you will see an improvement. And away you should go. the next should be easier still. As I've said you want any more advice just PM. But pick up the WP/pen or whatever and start-and finish-your story

    regards

    ron
     
  15. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    The sad part is soon, all we are going to have for our history will be books like yours. All the living vets will be dead before long.

    My Dad fought in WWII in France and Germany with the 95th Infantry Division. He was wounded December 4th near Saarlautern, Germany. One Soldier in his squad was killed not following his orders. My Dad died just over two years ago.

    2005, I was asked to teach a class during my National Guard two week summer camp. The last point in the book on the topic I was teaching was, "Follow the orders of Leadership". I told my Dad's story of how he got wounded and another soldier was killed DISOBEYING Dad's order on staying put.

    While I was teaching the last class, it was hot and everyone was getting tired. We were outside and I had told the students at the start to grab some shade. I had taught the class enough that while I was telling my Dad's story, I paid a lot more attention to what the class was doing. I was pleasantly surprised that all were sitting up and you could tell they were taking it in.

    I got a bunch of praise for the class. It was just on hasty or temporary fighting positions. I added a lot to the class based on my experiences in Iraq and Dad's story.

    I guess this is a very long way of saying, if well done, people beyond this circle will listen. I was afraid telling Dad's story would put the Soldiers to sleep. It didn't. Many told me later that it added to the class because it was a very personal story and that was reflected in how I used it in class.

    I'll end this by saying any story written or told has to have that certain something that makes you feel you are next to what is going on. Don't go too deeply into detail. But tell enough and let the readers imagination fill in the rest.

    Bill G.
     
  16. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    Hi Bill

    Yep your right in leave some bits out for the reader to fill in. But nowadays a lot of the kids have been hooked into computer games. They haven't got an imagination. I do know what you mean though but I have to try to put enough in to try to kick start that bit of their brain that they've never used.

    To try to explain lets say ' got in the car and drove down to the shops/store' Shops for those in the UK, store for my American buddies. We all know how to drive a car. It's second nature to us. It's automatic. Suppose now you have never been in a car. Does the above sentence make sense to you?

    I don't suppose that it would. Ok you'd fathom out the steering wheel but the clutch on a manual drive car? What do the gauges say? What about the hand/parking brake? I have to try to give some clues for that imagination to fire up into life. If they don't know what is going on I've lost them. If they can start to 'see' things I've a chance. OK maybe they won't like my book-but they might like someone else's if they can 'see' what is going on-and understand.

    It's one of the first thing I realised when I started writing. I know what's going on-but my readers don't. If I point out things maybe something will stick. If they can start to understand what's going on then I've got their interest. Like your story. Story telling is the same as writing one. you've got to grab their interest. You've obviously got the knack!

    I really feel sorry for kids of today. A lot of them have been put off reading for pleasure because of the cr*p they are dished up at school and then there's TV, the internet, computer games. They don't have to think and that's sad.

    regards

    ron
     
  17. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    Ron:

    "They don't have to think and that's sad." I couldn't agree with you more!

    I grew up on a farm. For fun I had to imagine a bunch. I had plenty of land and barns to explore. Looking back, it was amazing what something simple could become in my mind.

    In 7th grade I met Gary. He taught me how to build models. We built them for "flight". That is the landing gear was up and the props blades were removed. We would put he model in our hands and "fly" them in combat. We would do this together and alone. We could be in any part of the war, on any side, and fly and fight. We did this for the next 6 years. I still have a great many of these models.

    To fill in the huge blanks, we read about anything we could find. We would watch the war movies of that era. And for kids, that was enough. Now if you and I were to do the same thing today in a big city park, how long would it be until we were hauled off to a funny farm?

    I am not a big game player on the computer. I have just retired from the Michigan Army National Guard. I have served in Iraq. I just don't want to play a graphic war game on the computer. I do play Risk on my computer from time to time. Back in the 70s and early 80s, I would play the Avalon Hill board war games. I so enjoyed these games. I still have them and would still enjoy playing them IF I could find someone that would be willing to learn how.

    Ron, I thank you for the compliment on my "yarn telling". You can find a few that I have posted here under "military humor" on this board. The biggest problem is my best stories get a tad long! There is just so much to tell.

    Ron, I have a question for you. Have you ever read any of the Dale Brown "Flight of the Old Dog" series? I so enjoy his books. And since I served for 12+ years in the Active Air Force, I understand so much of what he is writing. That is because what I lived back then fills in all the blank spots in his details. My imagination is the color to the black and white pages.

    Good luck on the writing! It is hard work. And I hope to read your work someday.

    Bill G.
     
  18. dampspark

    dampspark New Member

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    hi Bill

    Know what you mean about imagining things. Half of my games were made up as a kid. To my disgust I had 2 younger sisters-and they didn't want my games! The bulk of my friends at school lived miles away. So I alternated between reading for pleasure and making something up by myself. As a kid I've been to the moon, sailed the seas as a pirate. flown any amount of aircraft. Stuff that any normal kid of -I'll say our age-I'm 54 would have done. I still find it easy to live in my head now-as a writer I'm always thinking what if..? I like to think I've still got that inquisitive attitude of a kid-and the old imagination as well

    The TV-we had one as and when my dad could afford one, and always second hand for years-didn't have wall to wall kids programmes on. Nowadays there's nothing on that I want to watch. I can't switch off and let it flow in one ear and out the other.

    I don't play computer games period. I like to think about things a bit and by that time I'm dead! it's to fast. I'd be crap as a soldier!

    No I haven't read Dale Brown. I'll have to look something out. By the sounds of things I'm missing out on a good read. By the same token I'll also look up some of your stuff on here later tonight.

    I've told Terry and Chris on here that I've now got so much stuff that I'll have to write another story. I won't waste effort-mine or someone else's who's gone out of their way for me. I've got an idea for a short story based on the work I'm doing now.

    Bill, I'd be honoured if you'll have a read of it when it's done.

    regards

    ron
     
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