News

The Association's Annual General Meeting was on Friday 28th...
More...

COMING EVENT 74th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION SERVICE BATTLE OF...
More...

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra once again reneges on...
More...
DECEMBER 2001


No. 25 Beaufighter Course - 5 OTU

COURSE No. 5 RAAF WAGGA WAGGA

Back Row: F/Sgt C Wein - F/O E Marron - F/Sgt C Hook - ? -
Standing: W\O B. Gollan - ? - F/O J McRobbie - F/Lt P White - F/O F King
- F/O K Wilson - ? - F/O C Cooke.
Front Row: F/Lt J Tyrell - ? - W/Cdr. D Calhoughn - F/Lt A Thomson
- F/Lt M Burroughs - F/O P Shaw - F/O A Burgoyne

There are some members of this course not identified. If you can supply even one name, please contact one of the people listed on page 3. To those members who are on the net, there will soon be photos of about 15 course photos available on the AWM Photographic database.

 

December 2001   The Whisperer

 


  • Patron Raymond Smith and his wife Judith have
    moved into a retirement village on the Gold Coast. Ray tells me Judith is not very well, and he himself is battling on. Our best wishes goes to both of you.
  • 31 Squadron fitter, George Clough, moved into
    Trinder Retirement Village some months ago. Stan
    Curran and I visited him recently and found him in good spirits. Had an enjoyable visit. He has himself pretty well set up, with a large Tele, Video, and DVD, with a great supply of movie disks. Keep going well George.
  • Associate member Steve Kemp put his hand into
    a place where it should not have been. Steve is a butcher by trade, and was busy using a special machine for tenderizing meat. His hand slipped and the fingers of his right hand were caught under the blades of the machine which attempted to make tender meat of them. Steve stopped the machine quickly, and he and the machine were taken to hospital, where surgeons separated Steve and the machine.
  • After lengthy surgery the doctors saved all of his
    fingers except the ring finger, which had to be
    amputated. Keep going the way you are Steve and you will soon be driving that utility and back to flying.

A NEW BOOK FOR 31 SQUADRON.

Ex- Squadron Commander of 31 Squadron ,W\CDR Bill Mann has published his memoirs in a book Search and Destroy. His book will be of great interest to ex-members of 31 Squadron, and to all who served in the Beaufighter Squadrons.

Copies of the book can be obtained from Hon. Sec. 31 Squadron Association, Jack Anderson, for $24.50 (inc.postage &GST). Jack’s address is 5 Huddart Avenue Normanhurst 2076 (Phone 02 9489 6372).

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The AGM will be held at the home of President Ralph on Friday 13th January 2002, at 1100 hours.

It will take the usual form of a barbecue. The ladies are asked to contact Joan and arrange some sweets etc. There will be a charge of $10 per person. ]

Please make an effort to be there, as this event has been one of our most successful. It would be appreciated if you could get in touch with me if you intend to attend.

ANNUAL TROPHY PRESENTATION AT RAAF
AMBERLEY

A final reminder: the day starts 0930 hours on Tuesday 4th December, cost $13.95 each for morning tea and lunch.

If you intend to come please RSP before Monday 3rd December. Bookings so far indicate this will be one of our largest get togethers for some time.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all, may the New Year bring you happiness and joy.

 


VALE

CECIL CORBETT, better known to his 22 Squadron mates as Corb, passed away on 21st November 2001, after a lengthy illness. He was almost 88 years of age, his birthday was a week or so away. Corb was a fitterwelder in the Squadron, and served at Morotai. His funeral service was held on Monday 26th November 2001, at The Great Southern Gardenof Remembrance, at Carbrook

President Ralph attended the service, representing our Association and 22 Squadron. Our sympathies go to Corb’s wife Daphne and family on their sad loss.

 

COMMITTEE
Patron
Raymond Smith 3263 1274
President
Ralph Ind 5538 5439
V. President
William O’Connor 3286 1067
Secretary
Peter White 3287 5488
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Committee
Stan Curran 3388 6053
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jack Chamberlain 3848 2184
Les Turnbull 5537 7965
The Whisperer 2 December 2001

 


PRESIDENT’S CORNER

At the time of writing Peter is in Hospital again but should be on deck again shortly. On behalf of all of us I wish him a speedy recovery.

On the 21/10/01 Joan & I attended the Annual Commemoration Service of the Canberra-Shropshire Assoc. At the luncheon I sat next to an Air Cadet David Windle of 222 Sqdn. AIRTC stationed at The Southport School. David was one of a crew of Cadets under the command their C.O. who were flying a Cessna prop-jet seaplane from Canberra to the Solomon Islands to re-enact the first Pacific Airmail, which was flown by the RAAF in 1924.

It appears that the support of the Commonwealth Govt. for the project had been withdrawn causing the Sqdn. to seek financial support from the public particularly towards the cost of fuel to complete the flight. In view of the valuable experience to be gained by the Cadets from the venture, I committed our Assoc. to a donation $100.

In return we received 5 replica 1st Day Postage Covers in each of which is embedded a coin bearing the RAAF crest. Peter has presented these covers to the C.O. of 219 Sqdn. AIRTC for him to distribute among his Cadets as he sees fit.

The C.O. has assured us that the covers will be used to good effect amongst those who assist us on Anzac Day etc.

Stan Curran, Peter & I attended the RAAF Memorial Service at the St. Lucia R.C.Church conducted by W/C Paul Goodland, RAAF Chaplain. Later, as usual, we were served with copious quantities of sandwiches at morning tea.

On the 22/11/01 I had the pleasure of being invited to our Patron Ray Smith’s home to witness the presentation to him of a framed photograph of the Amberley Wall of Remembrance by W/C Rob Lawson and W/C Paul Goodland. Peter was unable to attend, being in hospital.

The presentation was to honour Ray’s great contribution to the concept of the Wall initially and his dogged pursuit of the matter culminating in the erection of the Wall.

Congratulations Ray, on your quiet but very impressive achievement.

Don’t forget the AGM & BBQ will be held at 13 Inga Ave, Bundall on Friday 18th January at 11am. Joan and I look forward to seeing you all again.

Regards

RALPH

RAAF No 5 OTU
Wagga Photos

Some time ago one of our members gave me fifteen original 10”X 8” photographs of Beaufighter courses that were completed at Wagga Wagga.

Recently I gave these photos to The Australian War Memorial for safe keeping. The photos are now being prepared to be put into the photographic database of the AWM’s internet website. It will be a few weeks before they will be available to be downloaded.

Whilst making arrangements concerning the photos I was asked if it would be possible to obtain some names of crews who had completed their conversion courses at Wagga, as this would enhance the photos on the net. Information such as rank, number, Squadron posted to, awards or whether they were wounded or killed in action would be appreciated. This could be a pretty difficult task, and will require good memories from our members.

Starting with this issue of the Whisperer I will publish at least two of these photos and would appreciate your help. I have found that the Director Mr Ian Affleck and his assistant Mr Paul Copping extremely co-operative and keen to be helpful.

I ask members to contact me, the director Mr Ian Affleck, or Mr Paul Coping with any names or information they can give.This can be done by letter, phone or e-mail as under:


AWM Photographic Database:
Mr I Affleck Phone 02 6243 4211
E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr P Copping Phone 02 6243 4211
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mail address
Australian War Memorial
GPO Box 345
CANBERRA ACT 2601

PETER WHITE

December 2001 3 The Whisperer

 


Continued from June 2001 Edition

Stan’s Page
Per Ardua Ad Astra

THE RECOVERY PARTY

The group went to Wave Hill where the recovery party was to operate from.

The ground party consisted of Eaton, Douglas, and Mr Moray a supervisor from Wave Hill, three aboriginal stockmen and 26 horses to carry supplies.

Moray made his 1927 Buick tourer available, the white men went ahead in the tourer with the stockmen and horses following. A system of signals had been devised to send messages from the ground to the air of their progress. The DH 9As was to drop food and supplies to the ground party.

They set out on 24 April and made good progress to a water hole Junjiminji where they had agreed to meet the stockmen.

The party then travelled to-gether another 16 km before making camp.

It was obvious the Buick wasn’t going much further due to a hole in the radiator, two flat tyres and the terrain getting rougher.

Flying Officer Ryan appeared overhead and signalled to where the nearest water was, the ground party signalled for him to bring back a soldering iron. The temporary repair to the car soon failed so they decided to abandon the car and proceed with the horses.

The aborigines located water so they made camp. They left the car in the care of one of the stockmen. Strange thing to do I don’t think anyone would steal it. The other two stockmen Sambo and Daylight guided the party. The stockmen amazed the white men they knew every horse by hoof marks that were almost invisible and at times their sense of direction was uncanny.

The greatest concern was water for the horses, although Moray said the horses could go 50 hours without water.

Soon an aircraft appeared and signalled that the blow hole their first objective was only 3 kilometres ahead. They reached it and pressed on another 8 kilometres where they knew their goal was only another 21 kilometres further.

Next morning they forged ahead but were unable to locate the aircraft. The horses were very thirsty. They were forced to backtrack they were nearly back at the blowhole when Ryan appeared.

Ryan was unaware that the party had nearly reached the aircraft and backtracked he couldn’t understand why they were not pressing ahead.

The white men camped at the blowhole 36 hours while the stockmen took the horses back to the billabong for water.

Moray burnt off a patch of grass to make the camp more visible from the air.

The only way the ground party could send a detailed message to the aircraft was by rigging a weighted cord between two poles. It was a known method for pilots to pick up messages with the tail skid. They pointed out the poles to the pilot. Ryan flew too low on the first attempt and hit the ground with his tail skid. Seeing how dangerous it was Eaton waved him off still he tried again and was successful, of course Ryan had to land back at Wave Hill to read the message.

Sambo and Daylight returned with the horses and reported that their mate was delighted to see them after his lonely vigil.

Next morning Sambo remained at the blowhole while the other men and a few horses made another attempt to locate the Kookaburra.

At 11 am a DH 9A appeared overhead and pointed out the direction for them and dropped a message saying they were only 1-½ miles from the Kookaburra.

They buried Hitchcock where he lay. The aboriginal stockman Daylight tracked Anderson he said he had walked in a half circle then crawled and was very sick before he died. They buried Anderson and marked his grave with a rough pole cut from the scrub.

Anderson had started a diary on the fabric covering the rudder ,he wrote:

‘DIARY 10/4/29 to-/4/29.Force landed here 2.35 pm 10 th April 1929 thru push-rod loosening No 2 cylinder cutting out (as at Algebuckina SA on 9/4/29 but temporarily fixed K.V.A.) exhaust valve and 25% h.p. Cleared bit of a runway here which turned out just insufficient or engine coincidentally lost power. Since 11/4/29 all efforts of course came next to nil, thru having no water to drink, except solutions of urine (with oil, petrol, methylate ( spirits) from compass) directed on
obtaining sufficient power from engine to permit successful take-off, No take-off able to be attempted since 11/4/29 due increased debility from thirst, heat, flies and dust. Left Stuart (Alice Springs) 7.15 am local time and followed telegraph line for 100 miles which was intention. Cut off then direct for point between Wave Hill and Ord River Downs. On a/c cross winds and inaccurate compass and having only sun for guidance as large map showed featureless desert determined to above or nor’rard of course which am sure have done. As was in the air 7 hours and am. Pretty

 

The Whisperer 4 December 2001

 


confidant had “duckpond” on my starboard. I figure position now to be ……’

Note: “duckpond” is a large saltpan marked on the map.

They had been to keen take-off the Kookaburra but time became critical the horses needed water. Leaving the site at 5.30 PM they asked Daylight to lead the party through the night. They were amazed when he led them on a direct course to the blowhole it was uncanny. Continuing on they reached the billabong just before lunch.

The horses had been 52 hours without water and had covered 144 kilometres. It is obvious why the party were unable to spend more time trying to take off the Kookaburra. Daylight continued his amazing navigation by leading them direct to the Buick.

The radiator was repaired and the white men went back to Wave Hill in the Buick. The stockmen followed with the horses.

RECOVERING THE BODIES

After the bodies were found the responsibility of the bodies passed over to The Minister for Home Affairs and Territories Mr Abbott.

Abbott chartered the Canberra piloted by Les Holden they flew over the crash site. The Prime Minister decided that the Commonwealth would reclaim the bodies.

When the announcement was made Mr J.O.Johnson director of Thornycroft Australia made a decision which
would prove to be a brilliant piece of advertising. He offered to make available to the Government a brand new A3 Thornycroft truck. The only condition was that the Government would pay the expenses of the South Australian representative and a driver/mechanic.

The truck was unique especially for that time. It had a four wheel drive gearbox, twin rear axles, six wheels and a special low gear range for difficult terrain. Of course people travelled for miles to see such a novelty.

The truck went to Alice Springs on a special flat top railway carriage. Then overland to Newcastle Waters I suppose that there was a rough track there following the overland telegraph line.

The Commonwealth had appointed Constable Murray to be expedition leader he joined the party at Alice Springs in his model T Ford. It says a lot for model T Fords it followed in the tracks of the Thornycroft all the way.

The original plan was to go to the crash site via Wave Hill but it was realised at Newcastle Waters that a direct route from there would cut off considerable distance.

They left Newcastle Waters the party consisted of Frank Nottle Thornycroft SA representative, Les Mills driver/mechanic, William Berg writer/photographer, Constable George Murray, Stan Cawood son of the

Government Resident at Newcastle Waters who volunteered as cook and four aboriginal guides.

Going direct from Newcastle Waters meant that they had to plot a new course. After five days of heavy going through dense scrub they crossed horse tracks. The aboriginals picked them up but the white men couldn’t see them. They lost a lot of time and distance following wrong tracks. After eight days the aborigines who were riding on top of the truck sighted the Kookaburra.

The Thornycroft had been steadily chugging along in low gear all the time. The petrol supplies were starting to be of some concern.

The bodies were exhumed and put in lead lined coffins, which they had brought from Adelaide. The aborigines hadn’t been told the reason for the expedition, when they saw the bodies come out of the ground they were horrified and were about to flee the scene and go bush. Constable Murray had to threaten them with his pistol to contain them.

Sufficient petrol for the return trip was solved by draining 140 litres from the aircraft. The return to Newcastle Waters was much easier as they were able to return on a blazed trail.

It is believed that that was the last time the Kookaburra was seen until 1961.

There was an inquiry after the event. Two National heroes had perished in the most awful circumstances. The affair had cost heaps of money donated by the public who wanted some answers. The Government had made a large contribution and the RAAF had lost two DH 9A aircraft.

During the inquiry there were some very heated arguments Kingsford-Smith was very scathing about the innuendos from the newspapers which stirred up so much anger . The outcome was that all the aircrew were exonerated.

It was in 1961 that Vern O’Brien a surveyor was working south of Wave Hill cattle station and accidentally discovered the Kookaburra. He removed the instrument
panel and engine data plate then photographed the remains of the aircraft, the elements had been unkind over the 40 years or more.

It was customary at RAAF Darwin Officer’s Mess to enjoy a happy hour on Friday evenings. I don’t know when it first started but I expect it still goes on. An open invitation is extended to all the dignataries of Darwin.


Possibly it was at one of those occasions in 1972 that the Administrator suggested to the Officer Commanding that as the Kookaburra was so historically important that it would be nice if the RAAF could organise a small exercise and recover it.

The suggestion was received with great enthusiasm.

TO BE CONTINUED

December 2001 5 The Whisperer

 


From Harry’s Memorabilia

As we know that old warrior Boston “Jessica” which the Japs, and “Young” Harry Rowell did their very best to send to a watery grave just south of Gasmata in New Britain, now fully restored stands in all her glory at the RAAF Museum at Point Cook. Recently Harry’s wife Sylvia, found an original record of this scary incident, and he was good enough to let me have a copy. The picture quite clearly shows what the Japs and Harry did to this magnificent aeroplane. I wonder what Harry is smiling about? Jessica is surely badly bent. It must have been a real hairy trip back over the Solomon sea after getting a hammering from the Japs at Gasmata to the safety ofGoodenough Island.

It appears that this photo, an official American Signal Corps photo,was sent to the dear old USA, and appeared in a newspaper in Washington D.C., because of the name similarity.

The letter (shown) from the American Army Corporal, Harry Rowell, to our Harry Rowell is pretty self explanatory. What is that American saying “the mails must get through”.It looks that is true enough, regardless of the huge distances they may travel. I hope the West Aust papers did the right thing and published this much travelled photo.

The topless figure greeting Harry is his Commanding Officer at that time, WCDR Charlie Learmonth DFC and Bar. I wonder if such a state of dress, would be appreciated in another well known 22 Squadron Commander?

Jessica’s partner in restoration at RAAF Amberley “Hel’n Pelican”, still sits in a corner of a hanger at RAAF Amberley. A great example of the restoration work done there. It seems unlikely to be sent to its designated area, after being officially handed over three years ago. It is time that the original destination, which is most unlikely to take delivery of this WWII icon, be changed and the aircraft displayed where it will take it’s honoured place. I hear from the Warrant Officer who put such a fine effort in the work, that there is hope that a Museum proposed and supported by the Ipswich City Council will make efforts to have the Boston remain close to RAAF Amberley.

 

The Whisperer 6 December 2001

 


Shut down procedure as
per PO Prune.

Sqn/Ldr Arthur Thomson D.F.C.

I was a junior instructor at the Aero Club, which, like other civil flying schools was engaged in the training of intakes for the Empire Air Training Scheme, in late 1939.

It was a club rule that if any students were flying solo, an instructor was to remain on duty till the last one was home. Being a new boy, I was to remain that evening, while my seniors left for the pub.

It was getting late, and all the aircraft except one had been put in the hanger, the doors were left wide open awaiting this last one. I was inside the office, and was pleased to hear the familiar sound of a Gipsy engine on the tarmac in front of the hanger-at last.

When shutting down the drill was to switch off magnetos, then throttle wide open without delay, before the engine comes to rest. This ensures a weak mixture, and prevents “running on” of a hot engine.

I was alarmed to hear a characteristic back fire caused by a throttle being roughly advanced, then a full throttle roar, plus some shouting and thumping noises. On entering the hanger, by the side door, I saw the aircraft had ploughed into the hanger, it’s propeller reduced to the hub. The first aircraft that it had rammed was badly damaged, several others behind and around were made un-serviceable.

The only other employee present was an aircraft mechanic awaiting the aircraft to manually “walk” it into the hanger, with my help. He had made a valiant effort to stop the runaway on the tarmac apron and was standing speechless inside, gazing at the damage, and the now silent aircraft. The last thing we wanted was prying outsiders, so we quickly closed the hanger doors, and mutually agreed to immediately head off home. After all, we had complied with the requirement to see the last aircraft put away—had we not?

To those who remember: yes, the shut down procedure slightly modified:- “First turn off the fuel supply, when the engine starts to die, then the Switch/ Throttle bit”: this looks after a faulty mag. Switch, and those that get the Switch/Throttle bit out of sequence !!!!!

ARTHUR THOMSON.

A True Story

Sqn/Ldr George Robertson D.F.C.

Generally when George gets to his feet after sitting in one position for a half an hour or more, he loosens up his arthritic knees by standing on one foot, and drawing the knee of the other leg up towards his chest, as far as possible several times. He then repeats the exercise by standing on the other foot.

Early in July 2001, after a drive of over an hour from north of Aramac to Barcaldine, George alighted from his vehicle and began his knee exercise. An elderly gentleman standing besides his NSW registered camping vehicle nearby, and having witnessed George’s antics, commented to George “Arthritis problems?” To this George replied “When one gets to 82 years of age, arthritic knees are more often par for the course than not” The elderly NSW gentleman then made a further comment to which George, complete with hearing aids, asked “ What sort of manure, cow manure, horse manure or elephant manure?

Ashley, one of George’s sons-in-law, having also just alighted from the vehicle, gave George a quizzical look that seemed to say, “I think the old boy has flipped his lid”. The elderly NSW gentleman then remarked, “I said your knees are older than you are”. “Oh” said George, still complete with his hearing aids, “I thought you said you need to roll in manure”.

All of which proves that George’s mother was right when she remarked to him, “You cannot believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see”.

George left Barcaldine, a disappointed man. Having spent hundreds of dollars over the years on unsuccessful cures for his arthritic knees, he thought for a few moments he had found a cheap sure cure for his knee problem. But then if cure required elephant manure it might not have been cheap.

As a last resort perhaps George could get a job in a circus with the elephants.

GEORGE ROBERTSON.

December 2001 7 The Whisperer

 


NOMINAL ROLL 2001

The Whisperer 8 December 2001

 


NOMINAL ROLL 2001

219 (AIRTC) SQUADRON FORMAL DINING IN NIGHT

President Ralph and members were invited by the Squadron Commanding Officer, F/Lt (AIRTC) Bob Haiduczok to this formal function, which was held on Saturday 8 April 2001, at the Jim O’Sullivan recreation room at the Queensland Police Services Academy Oxley..

It was good to see quite a number of our members had responded to the invitation.The night was conducted in a most suitable manner, introducing the young men and women of the Squadron to one of the fine traditions of RAAF Service.The Colour Party carried out the introduction of the colours with skill and precision. I felt that the absence of a Piper to lead them in, made the task a little more difficult for them. Perhaps next

time the Police Pipe Band could be persuaded to provide a piper. The function was conducted in a very happy atmosphere, with representatives from many organizations and lots of parents present.


Appropriate speeches were made by, S/Ldr Barry Lorrigan, Staff Officer Ground Training, from 2 Wing (AIRTC), F/Lt Bob Haiduczok (AIRTC) 219 Squadron Commander, F/Lt Ralph Ind for our Association.

I feel that joint participation of the Squadron and the Association in functions like this, our earlier combined visit and barbecue at Archerfield, and Annual Memorial Parades are of mutual benefit

PETER WHITE

December 2001 9 The Whisperer

 


COURSE No 4 - WAGGA WAGGA

If you can help with any names and information please contact AWM Photographic Database
as per page 3.

Beaufighter Night Fighters over Germany

The moon was high and the night beautifully clear, when at about 1115 hours we heard the rumbling of many aero engines passing over. We could faintly make out ten Lancasters or Halifaxes a few thousand feet up and still climbing on their easterly course towards Germany’s arsenal, the Ruhr. Hundreds more of these machines loaded with destruction would meet them over the North Sea and the stream of aircraft would stretch in a seemingly endless line for about 100 miles. Those who straggled off to one side, because of faulty navigation would be easy targets for enemy fighters.

I checked my watch, “OK let’s go”. Sticks and I climbed aboard our Beau. Once cleared by the control tower we were to maintain radio silence until our return to England. As we climbed, Sticks watched his A1(radar), for signs of the masses of bombers that must be in our vicinity. Soon he told me over the intercom that he had many contacts all around us. We decided to level of at 12,000 feet because the information we had from Bomber Command Headquarters was that the enemy tended to hit the lower flying bombers hardest.

We droned slowly over the North Sea and below us I could see the moon shimmering on the unfriendly waters. Thirty minutes later the faint outline of the Dutch Islands at the mouth of the Scheldt river hove into view. We were bang on course. As usual Stick’s navigation was perfect.

The countryside below us was completely blacked out, although on a night like this it was easy for us to find our way. Up ahead I could see the beams of a few searchlights, but nothing else that looked hostile. Yet we knew that on the ground Lutwaffe defence centres were issuing orders to night fighter airfields to scramble squadrons of night fighters. At this moment ME110s and Ju88s would be roaring off the landing fields throughout Holland Belgium, and Western Germany to meet their hated adversaries, the bombers. Only this time, unknown to them, six Beaufighters were lurking in the stream.

Sticks was now continually scanning the Serrate and the A1 scopes. “I’ve got a number of indications of night fighters, Bob. I’m taking the strongest looking signal.

The Whisperer 10 December 2001

 


Turn starboard 10 degrees and let’s see if we can get this one.” We were now flying towards the signals from a German night fighter’s A1. The technical limitations of the Serrate gave us no idea how close or how far the aircraft was until we picked up contact on our A1, but we could tell his relative position to us in space. Flak appeared in the distance and the bombers ahead of us were now under attack “Sorry Bob that signal has disappeared, but I have another. Turn port 20 degrees” I banked the Beau round to our new course and the aircraft rocked suddenly as we hit the prop wash of another aircraft in front of us. I couldn’t see anything, but it probably was one of our own bombers. Again after a short chase, no luck. The Serrate signal disappeared, but always there were others indicating the presence of large numbers of enemy night fighters. It seemed the enemy left their A1 on for only short periods.

By now we were approaching the Ruhr and the flak ahead of us was becoming intense as the bombers started to unload. Fires and explosions could be seen for many miles away as the town of Oberhusen received mortal blows. But this wasn’t a one sided battle. Off to the right there was a vivid flash in the sky, then a flaming comet streaked earthwards. I noted the position and cursed. It was probably one of our bombers. “Keep a good check on the equipment, Sticks. There are plenty of Huns about”. Up ahead there was another fire in the sky, gradually sinking slower and slower to crash in a sheet of flame, marking the grave of another aircraft. Things were getting hot.

We were close to the flaming ruins of Oberhausen and the sky above us was filled with bursting anti aircraft shells and the flares released by the Pathfinders to show the main force where the bombs should be dropped. There were so many bombers over the city that the German gunners couldn’t hope to aim at individual aircraft. They threw up a curtain of steel in the hope of driving off their tormentors. It was in vain. The attack continued.

By now the leading bombers were turning away from the target, and setting course cialis pharmacie for home. So skirting the flaming city, we headed back among their tracks. So far, I had seen only flaming glimpses of dark shadows as we turned close to one of our bombers, although we flew through the prop wash of many as we criss crossed the stream in what seemed a fruitless search for the many German fighters.

Then there was excitement in Stick’s voice as he called “Bob, I’ve got another signal, turn gently to port.” As I maneuvered the Beau I counted three other aircraft on fire in the air within the range of my vision. I knew our bombers rarely shot down a German night fighter, so I could only assume the enemy was exacting vengeance for the raid.

“Bob, I think this one is behind us, the signal is strong”

“Have you anything on the A1 yet?”

“No, but keep turning”

It was an eerie feeling, knowing that we were playing
a deadly game of hide and seek with an unseen foe.

“Bob, I have an A1 contact 2000 yards behind. Hard
as possible port.”

“Are you sure it’s not one of our bombers?”.

“Yes it isn’t. The Serrate and A1 signals match up. Keep turning, he’s only about 1,000 yards and 20 degrees to your port, and a little above. Now ease the turn a little, and watch it. You’re closing fast, you should see him in a second. He’s only 600 hundred yards and still
well over to port”.

“I’ve got him, I’ve got him,” I yelled excitedly.

In the moonlight I caught the glimpse of an aircraft on my port beam. At that moment he straightened out, heading south at 10,000 feet. An Me110. Perhaps he had lost me on his A1. At 400 hundred yard’s range I opened fire, gradually easing off the deflection so that as I rolled in astern of him the dot on my electric gun sight was centered on his fuselage. Explosions appeared all over the Me. Burning brightly he dived steeply towards the earth. By now Sticks had his head out of his “office” and was shouting encouragement as he watched our enemy crash in a mighty flash of flame. This was no time to relax. “Keep a look out on your set, Sticks. There are lots of the blighters about.” Checking the position of our fight, I noted that the Me110 had crashed on the north east shore of the Zuider Zee.

Wing Commander Bob Braham DSO DFC AFC CD.


The Pilot’s Toast

Here’s to me in my sober mood
As I ponder sit and think.
And here’s to me in my drunken mood
As I gamble, sin and drink’
When my flying days are over
and from this world I pass.
I hope they bury me upside down
So the world can kiss my ass.

LOOK AT ME I’M FLYING

A young freshly minted lieutenant was sent to Bosnia, as part of the Peace Keeping Mission.

During a briefing on land mines, the Captain asked for questions’ The Lieutenant raised his hand and asked “If we happen to stand on a mine Sir, what do we do?”

The normal procedure Lieutenant is to jump 200 feet into the air and scatter oneself over a wide area.

 

December 2001 11 The Whisperer

 


Beaufughter’s Triumph

Destroyed Bomber; Defied Zeros

For Publication not before 22nd October 1943.

MORNING PRESS RELEASE
Department of Air
Melbourne
22.10.43.

Directorate of
Public Relations

Bulletin No. 2826.

Within three days, Flight Lieutenant Arthur Thomson. of Gladstone S.A., and his Observer Flying Officer Peter White, of Bardon Brisbane, have encountered Japanese aircraft from different view points, they have “dished it out” and they taken it.

They are members of a famous Beaufighter Squadron, (No 30 RAAF). A few days ago they shared in the shooting down of an enemy bomber in flames. Two days later they were chased and hit by Zeros.

Some days ago Thomson and White were out on a barge sweep along the coast of New Britain in company with another Beaufighter when they encountered a Japanese medium bomber, Pilot Officer Edward Marron whose observer was SGT.C.V. (Bunny) Gollan Coraki, N.S.W., also sighted the bomber.

Here Marron tells the storyof how the bomber went down in flames-the first confirmed “kill” in the air for the Squadron, though they have destroyed or damaged nearly 50 on the ground.

“We both saw him at the same time, and attacked from each side,” said Marron. “He started to take violent evasive action, and fired on us in a panicky fashion. He fired when we were well out of range, but ceased as we closed in. I could see the cannons in the tail turret, puff. Puff. Puff, and determined to silence him. On my second pass I finished off the tail gunner and Arthur Thomson closed in to 150 yards to fire.

The concentrated fire of the Beaufighter’s four cannons and six machine guns,bored pieces out of him, flames shot from his petrol tanks and he plunged into the sea, and exploded as he hit the water.”

“Some of the enemy’s tracer was coming a bit close” said Flying Officer Peter White, (Thomson’s Observer), but I had the thrill of my life when I saw the aircraft explode. It was the first time I had seen an enemy aircraft crash; I want to see it again.

On a Sweep of the south coast of New Britain two days later, Thomson and White attacked a barge

anchored in Wide Bay, within fifty miles of Rabaul. The barge burst into flames and the column of black smoke from it’s petrol cargo attracted four Zeros which were escorting two bombers.

“The first two of the Zeros peeled off and came straight down on us”.said White. “One of them made three passes and in his first burst tore away about a foot of the port aileron,.two feet of the port wingtip, and opened up the main port furl tank

He came in again, I watched him drawing closer. Then he fired. Canon shells tore through our tail into my compartment, which was filled with smoke and flying fragments. Shrapnel tore my trousers, and punctured my “Mae West, leaving two bullets embedded in the kapok of the “Mae West. Some shells passed between my legs, shattering the footrest, but I was unhurt. Arthur was flying magnificently, skidding and turning as the tracer went whizzing past us.The Zero made another pass, then his partner gave us an ineffectual burst, but by that time Arthur had the Beau flat out and we managed to draw away”.

“After Peter warned me , the first thing I noticed was tracers flying past, said shy , modest Arthur Thomson. “I remember thinking somebody’s shooting and it’s not me.”Peter was magnificent. On the intercom he was telling me: “He’s coming up on the port on the port side, but he’s not firing yet. Hold it. He must be about ready to fire - now-turn” He sat there, watching the flame and smoke belching from the Zero’s cannons quietly giving me a running commentary taking photographs of the Jap at the same time.”

I remembered the Jap bomber I shot down. I new then just how the Jap pilot must have felt when I was attacking him.The Zeros had caught us at a disadvantage. For we flying at a comparatively slow speed, but once the old Beau began to build up speed, despite the damage we had, she was able to pull away from the Zeros.”

In five days Thomson and White had destroyed four barges, destroyed an enemy bomber, outwitted four Zeros, and brought a badly damaged Beaufighter back to Base.

Authorised by,,,,,,DPR,

The Whisperer 12 December 2001