Manual RAF Fighter Pilots Over Burma: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

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They included six Canadians: David K. Banks retired from the RAF, , A. Besides these men, nine other Canadians would secure short-service commissions that year. In the figure was 70; in it was , and in He acted as an informal recruiting office, advised men about documentation and medical examinations, provided letters of reference, and loaned passage money to a few. Enlistment was not always swift or happy.

Apart from the west coast efforts of Seymour-Biggs, authorities in Canada attempted some medical checks and interviews, but there was no guarantee that an applicant, arriving by cattle boat, would necessarily be accepted swiftly. Complaints were made that some men, with no friends or family to help them, ended up living hand-to-mouth, even pawning their clothes. A possible culprit may have been the well-meaning Seymour-Biggs, but persons without his expertise may have been more responsible.

They invariably expect to be able to get into the RAF immediately with, at the most, a maximum delay of a week. Instead, the minimum delay is usually six weeks, although, by persistent effort, we can sometimes get this reduced. Rarely, if ever, do we get a case which is completely documented and here is where the first delay occurs, for before candidates can be placed before the [Selection] Board, they must have their birth certificate, educational certificate and at least two recent and full references as to character.

Young men and women stranded by circumstance in the UK or in the Empire enlisted.

British plane enthusiast wins right to dig up buried Spitfires in Burma

Douglas Rose Stonewall, Manitoba was playing professional hockey in Britain when the war broke out. Initially, he worked in an aircraft factory, but in , he enlisted in the RAF, crossed the Atlantic to train as a pilot in Canada, then returned to Britain to fly Lancasters and be awarded a DFC. There is a tendency to think of these men and women as youngsters, but many were mature when they signed up. Ahead lay more night bombing, the campaign in Norway, and the Battle of France, before the commencement of the Battle of Britain.

Recounting their story is complicated by the frequent repetition of errors relating to Battle of Britain personnel. This author takes responsibility for some of them. Generally speaking, my list was used by Arthur Bishop in his book The Splendid Hundred , and I can hereby confess that errors in his book most likely began with me.

Griffiths and H. That said, they represented a diversity of experiences.

He was subsequently posted to No. He was credited with a Bayerische Flugzeugwerke Bf.

Although his body was recovered, the family chose that he be buried at sea. An unusual example of the latter was William Henry Nelson of Montreal. As a result of sorties flown during the winter and spring, including raids on Norwegian targets, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross at the end of May When Fighter Command sought reinforcements from other commands, Nelson volunteered. He attended No. He was the highest-scoring Canadian Spitfire pilot of the Battle. For all that, Brown was undoubtedly one of the two most successful Canadian fighter pilots of , his only rival being William Lidstone McKnight Calgary, No.

He took command of No. In the autumn of , an enterprising Australian, Sydney Cotton, had undertaken to experiment with aerial reconnaissance using unarmed, high-speed Spitfires.

BURMA -March 5, 1944:

As the war progressed, RAF combat reports became increasingly detailed, but the narrative standards in were much less demanding. I followed, and saw through an opening of the clouds a [Junkers] JU. I immediately stalled, turned, and got on its tail, giving him short bursts on the starboard engine which began to emit black smoke.

Eventually I caught him up in a clear patch and put his port engine on fire and he dived straight into the sea. I could see a small motor boat rushing towards the wreck. While I was looking at the wreck I was surprised by a ME. I immediately did steep climbing turn to reach the clouds, which I did, and headed south for a few minutes thinking that I would not be followed there. Then I came back again through the clouds to find the ME. Although he had described his first victim as a JU. Two fighter pilots had made the same mistake—allowing themselves to be distracted by the wreckage of the first victim.

He was credited with two enemy destroyed in this action and another Bf. Two days later, again near Portland, he destroyed two Bf.

Former air ace Bill Taylor opens shire archive

His body was never recovered; his name is listed on the Runnymede Memorial, west of London. Arthur, who had wanted to become a bush pilot, found himself flying Boulton-Paul Defiants with No. Following the war, he stayed with the RAF, reverting from wing commander to squadron leader. He retired from the force on medical grounds in November , returned to Canada and died in Richmond, British Columbia, in October Howard Blatchford had an equally distinguished career—but one cut short. His one Battle of Britain victory was a Dornier Do. He was also one of the few who wrote a memoir.

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On 26 October , he became Commanding Officer of No. Charles was granted a short-service commission. He flew eight sorties on Spitfires, which made him eligible for the Battle of Britain clasp.

BURMA -March 5, 1944:

However, the squadron had been moved north for rest and recuperation; he saw no combat and claimed no victories during the Battle. Anyone who survived the Battle of Britain undoubtedly regarded it as the high point of their careers. He retired from the RAF in and returned to British Columbia, where he was noted as a sports fisherman.

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About ASM - Library | Air & Space Magazine

Hugh Halliday is a former member of the RCAF, a historian and author with numerous books and articles to his credit. One of his more recent works, entitled Valour Reconsidered: Inquiries into the Victoria Cross and Other Awards for Bravery , examines how major gallantry awards were bestowed. In late and early , RAF authorities compiled extensive lists of Canadians who had enlisted in that force; these appear to have been assembled with a view to finding as many Canadians as possible to serve in No. See W. His extraordinary services in Burma, —, are described by Robert H.

Wing Commander A. This is the first instalment of a story that ran in the magazine through to February Ogilvie and A. Ogilvie is generally credited with shooting down a Do. Alexander John Nicholson Windsor, Ontario was 26 when he first tried to enlist and 28 when he finally succeeded; he served in Coastal Command. Hugh A. His service was prolonged and honourable, but exaggerated descriptions of his career, whatever their source, do him a disservice.


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A visiting Ferry Pilot made copies of this Ode on the Squadron typewriter, leaving one on our notice board and making off the rest. One of which, we heard, ended up under the nose of the 14th Army Commander.

Norman Franks

On June 10th I flew No 2 to our C. As soon as the C. Some days later the C. BUT, he forgot to lock his straps and his face was smashed on the gun-sight! He was taken to a Field Hospital where, stricken with tetanus, he died. On July 1st , the Squadron moved to this Strip at the northern end of the valley. Major Harry Hoffe S. Mike Jones became B Flight's new Leader. This move was a complete shambles. The plan was that we would relieve a Squadron going out of the Valley for some rest. Our aircraft to go first, followed by Bodies and Gear a day or so later.

The Out-goers were told to leave everything in place for us, so our pilots need only take their small-kit.