D to G
To navigate the Personnel section, all veterans are grouped alphabeticaly by the first letter of their last name. Click on the links listed above to take you to the correct alphabetical group. Using the scroll bar on the left, scroll down through the list of names contained within this left border then click on the one you wish to see. Alternatively, you can use the scroll bar on the right and scroll down through all the personnel listed on this page.
F/Lt (S/Ldr) John Walter Dallamore
F/Lt John Walter Dallamore, 36074, Age 27, Squadron Leader (Pilot). Killed with 45 Sqd 02/10/1940, Son of John Hugh and P. R. Dallamore; husband of Margaret Morrison Dallamore, of Hoeys Bridge, Kenya. B.Sc. Mining Engineering, University of Alberta. (NOTE: CWGC lists F/Lt Dallamore as British, but it is believed he was Canadian)
Canadian attached to RAF, Flight Commander from about 1938 to March 1940 when he was posted as CO of 45 Squadron. He was KIA in North Africa shot down by CR42's on 02/10/1940 Buried in the Asmara War Cemetery Eritrea. Unbelievably, F/Lt John Dallamore was killed exactly a year to the very day he survived the firey crash of L8442
S/Ldr John (Ian) Blair, at the time Corporal, stated that F/Lt Dallamore was a very good officer and very well oranized. He has advised he has photos of F/Lt Dallamore.
October 2, 1939 ( 02/10/1939 ) The Squadron trashes another Blenheim L8442 at Heliopolis when an engine cut on takeoff at Heliopolis causing it to crash. The aircraft was destroyed by fire but F/Lt Dallamore and crew escaped uninjured.
Listed in S/Ldr Keilys log June 1939, and again April 1940
SOURCES: Corp (S/Ldr) Ian Blair, Corp Stan Harrison
CLICK ON NAME
F/Sgt Arthur F E Davis, Observer. 113 Sqd from Sept 1940 to May 1941. Did two full tours, served on 107, 113, 178 Squadrons and 70 OTU in Kenya as instructor.
NOTE: The following is greatly abbreviated please see F/Sgt Davis's personal page here for full details, notes and many excellent rare photographs.
In August 1940. I was with 107 Squadron at Watisham. I had been on several daylight formation raids into Europe, and several individual raids. Late September 1940, I navigated a brand-new Blenheim (long nose) to the Middle East. We were posted to 113 Squadron at the end of September 1940 and then went up the desert to Sidi Barrani and started to fly operationally immediately. The following people were on the Squadron as I remember.
P/O Jones, F/O Grumbley, P/O Glaistor, W/C Bateson,
Sgt Bourne, Sgt Bush Barry, Sgt Gingell ?, Sgt Lee, Sgt Rogers, Sgt Plummer, Sgt Hawkins, Sgt Cater & Cater (brothers), Roberts, Flemming, Keeley, Elkengton, Morel ?, Cannon, Durrant
On the declaration of war ( 11/06/1940 ) against Italy the Squadron flew to Benghazi, dropped bombs on the hangars and individually flew low-level up and down the runway shooting up the grounded aircraft. Two days on, the Squadron in flights of three, 12 in all, attacked an aerodrome south of El Adem. The first flight was led by the CO who was shot down. ( NOTE: C/O Keily was shot down Sept 18, 1940 18/09/1940. All flights finished the attack and we were chased by fighters but there were no other casualties that day. NOTE: I believe F/Sgt Davis has these operations reversed, on the first raid against the Italians to ElAdem three aircraft failed to return one of which was 113 squadron L4823 MkIV. Beauclair, Owen and Dobson survived but were captured) On a later operation to Benghazi C/O Keily was shot down.
Other targets included, An Italian warship in Tobruk harbour, Dromes at Derna & El Adem, Benghazi harbour night after night, Rece for the Army.
On one flight to bomb Benghazi we flew well south (150 mi.) of the target and landed at an aerodrome prepared by the long range desert group. We had to top of our fuel tanks by hand, Heavy work The idea I think was to try and fool the Italians that we were well established in the desert. (NOTE: This is very interesting and has never been mentioned elsewhere yet. This stunt of operating behind enemy lines also ocurred late in 1941 after the squadron had returned from Greece and gone back to the desert.) On another we attacked a target just south of El Adem at dusk but it was dark when we arrived as there was no moon this night. Whilst attacking the target we were met by fighters who chased us all, we lost two or three aircraft that night. Those who got away from the fighters had a very difficult job to get home, two crews ran short of fuel and they baled out. We lost the aircraft but they picked up the crews.
After the push up the desert into Libya and the first defeat of the Italians, the Squadron was told to pack up for a move to Greece. Here we began immediately to fly Recon trips over the neighbouring countries to Greece, as well we carried out one or two Mock raids. One raid of note was attacking the Italian Fleet which was running from the British Navy for home. The Squadron then moved to a landing ground just North of Larisa at the foot of Mount Olympus. It was a very small field and we operated from it but not without incidents. The pilots found that upon returning from flights that it was difficult to keep within the field area and we lost 3 or 4 aircraft that way.
INSERT PHOTO HERE OF CRASHES
Early one morning a single aircraft flew across the landing strip but no one seemed to know whether it was friend or foe. We didn't have to wait a long time as a flight of ME109's appeared and shot up all aircraft
INSERT PHOTO HERE OF BURNING AIRCRAFT
The Me's fired amongst the squadron tents but luckily there were no casualties. ( This ocurred 15/04/1941 ) Following this we then climbed into our Lorries and made our way to the main aerodrome in Athens being straffed and bombed along the way. Upon arrival we were crammed into Blenheims and flown to Crete. We stayed in Crete three days then we got back into the overloaded Blenheims and were flown back to Heliopolis. Here we stayed but rumours circulated that we were going to Palestine to reform. Later I was told that I was not rejoining the squadron as I had completed 50 Ops, not counting those in England and thus ended of my time on the 113.
I was then posted to 70 OTU in Kenya as an instructor.
SOURCE: F/Sgt Arthur Davis UK. Relayed to Charlie Walker UK, Transcribed by Kevin Crawford Can.
P/O ? Davies DFC
P/O ? Davies, Observer, Awarded DFC -
Reference Awards 1945 Farewell dinner booklet.
NOTE: The above Davies is listed as an Observer.
A Sgt. Davies was recorded as pilot of Blenheim 1823 Dec 1941 in Sgt Lister Walkers log book. George Checketts also noted a pilot Sgt Davies during the detachment to Crete and the photo below from his collection was titled Sgt Bob Davies.
Sgt Bob Davies
SOURCE: Sgt George Checketts
Sgt David Davies
Sgt David Davies, 1381324 RAF Wop/Ag. Age 22. KIA 11/10/1942 at Asansol. Buried in the Delhi War Cemetery
Pilot Harry Peters, Obo Bowyer Pearce and Wop/Ag Sgt David Davies were killed in a flying accident 11/10/1942 at Asansol. The accident occured when their Blenheim Z9598 hit a tree during low flying maneouvers which were being carried out to give the ground gunners (RAF Regt) practice at experiencing lead off on low flying aircraft. All the crew were killed. Source: Correspondence / Research material of F/Lt Tony Day and excerpts of Air War Over The Arakan. copyright.
There was also A Sgt Davies that went on detachment to Loiwing China but is not known if this is the same Davies. Details as follows:
On April 10, 16, 21 1942 flights were detached and sent to Loiwing China. On the 21st a flight of six Blenheims led by W/Cdr Grey were sent, these listed in order of pilot, Obs, Wop/Ag were (Wcdr Grey, Sgt Barry, Sgt Tollett) & (F/O Hammond, P/O Evans, Sgt Lord) & (P/O Griffiths, Sgt Davies, Sgt Dicketts) & (F/Sgt Hinds, F/Sgt Aitken, Sgt Bailes) & (F/Sgt Symondson, Sgt Birley, Sgt Woodcock) & (Sgt Webster, Sgt Whyte, Sgt Cheshire) SOURCE: Sgt Alan Bailes
Corp ?? Daycock
Corp ?? Daycock,
Listed in S/Ldr Keily log as having flown with him July 1940
Sgt John Berry Dewar
Sgt John Berry Dewar, 1167368, Obs. Age 20, Son of James and Margaret Dewar, of Edinburgh. Grave 15. F. 1. HALFAYA SOLLUM WAR CEMETERY Killed 19/11/1941 when Blenheim Z5866 Mk IV crashed just after take off at Giarabub - Egypt cause unknown.
Sgt John Hemus pilot and crew, Sgt John Dewar Obs., Sgt William Lee WOp/Ag had recently arrived on the Squadron and were killed on 19/11/1941 in a tragic accident while at Giarabub when their Blenheim crashed on takeoff killing all onboard. Sgt Hansen states: while at Giarabub a Blenheim with a recently arrived Canadian crew on board crashed on takeoff. Sgt Hansen recalls "they had a motor failure and just managed to climb over the escarpment and crashed into a gully. The aircraft was on fire when we reached it but there was no chance of any rescue". (This crash described by Sgt Hansen is certainly Z5866 piloted by Sgt John Hemus, however only Sgt Lee was RCAF. Sgt Hansen thought the crew were all Canadian) Sgt George Checketts also confirms this crash.
SOURCE: CWGC web site, Sgt Keith Hansen, Sgt George Checketts
Note: This aircraft had been on attachment to Malta with Sgt Baker, Sgt Checketts & crew per Checketts log.
See people photo album 2 for gravesite photos.
Sgt ?? Dicketts
Identified by Chapman as being one of the original 18 crews that came out from the Middle East to Burma. Crew on Ops reported to be Sgt F Thornton, Sgt Charnley
It is known Sgt Dicketts that was on detachment to Loiwing China. Details as follows:
On April 10, 16, 21 1942 flights were detached and sent to Loewing China. On the 21st a flight of six Blenheims led by W/Cdr Grey were sent, these listed in order of pilot, Obs, Wop/Ag were (Wcdr Grey, Sgt Barry, Sgt Tollett) & (F/O Hammond, P/O Evans, Sgt Lord) & (P/O Griffiths, Sgt Davies, Sgt Dicketts) & (F/Sgt Hinds, F/Sgt Aitken, Sgt Bailes) & (F/Sgt Symondson, Sgt Birley, Sgt Woodcock) & (Sgt Webster, Sgt Whyte, Sgt Cheshire) SOURCE: Sgt Alan Bailes
Sgt A M Dingle
Sgt A M Dingle NZ born Hamilton, 7 Nov 1917; farmer; killed on operations 24/01/1942. Z7582 MKIV FTR from a raid on Bangkok, Sgt P Keeley - pilot, Sgt Dingle - Obo, Sgt Douglas Briggs - WOp/Ag all KIA, buried in the Kanchanburi Cemetery Coll, Gr. 10, M, 10-12.
On 24 January another of several night raids was made on Bangkok, all serviceable aircraft participating. The Blenheims attacked singly at ten-minute intervals, bombing from 2000 feet with a war load of four 250 lb. bombs and four 25 lb. incendiaries. Large explosions and several fires resulted. An intense anti-aircraft barrage was again encountered over the target area, and two aircraft, including one navigated by Sergeant Dingle, failed to return.
Sgt J E Chapman stated to Tony Day as follows. "they were killed on the second raid on Bangkok on the 27th. Hit by fire from a Jap gunboat, the aircraft burst into flames as it hit the ground killing the crew instantly. Note: date discrepancy and how the aircraft was brought down, it is not certain yet which is correct.
(One of the original 18 crews that came out from the Middle East to Burma.)
The following notice was found in F/Sgt Brooking's files by his son Craig Brooking and would appear to suggest that Sgt dingle survived the downing of his plane and died on the Burma railway. The clipping is undated but looks to be from the Auckland star which is no longer published.
Source: Craig - F/Sgt Ewan Brooking
Note that during ops this date the squadron had a detachment at Zat & Johnny Walker satellites of Rangoon. Rangoon and Kanchanaburi Cemetery and the target Bangkok are almost in a straight line. Nearby Kanchanaburi Cemetery was the jap base where the POWs were cleared and shipped off to their horrible deaths on the Burma Railway. It is therefore difficult to say if he died as a POW or in the plane crash as either way he would have ended up in Kanchanaburi Cemetery.
Sgt William W Drake
Sgt WILLIAM W DRAKE, 946468 United Kingdom, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 113 Sqdn. Age:21 Died 06/06/1942 Son of Capt. William Drake, M.C., and Rosina Drake, of Anstey, Leicestershire. Grave/Memorial Reference: Commonwealth War Dead SINGAPORE MEMORIAL Column 414.
The 113 after suffering horrific lossers and having been driven out of Burma by the Japs, had only just re-equipped with new aircraft and personnel. Following a short period of re-training, they had by early June resummed operations and were based in Assansol.
Sgt Drake was the wireless operator/air gunner in Blenheim Z7758 piloted by Sgt Fred Banks (Freddy) which took off from base at 8.46 a.m. on 6th. june 1942 (06/06/1942) as one of a formation, detailed to carry out an attack on shipping at Akyab, Burma. This flight of four Blenheims was to be one of the first operations against a shipping target in the Akyab docks and consisted of three 113 Squadron aircraft and one from 60 Squadron carrying 4 X 250 lb bombs. The specific target being a supply ship.
Enroute to the target one aircraft returned to base with a problem. (This returning aircraft wrongly listed by others as McGlashan) The remaining three aircraft continued on to the target whereupon the leader of the formation signalled to prepare to attack.
The formation with the exception of Sgt Drakes aircraft then reduced speed and made the attack with bombs falling on both the Jetty and Sampans in the harbour. At some point on the bombing run in on the target Sgt Drakes Blenheim was hit by AA fire and seen to fall into the sea in flames. Sgt Keys (RNZAF) although also hit and damaged, was able to return to base as did the 60 Squadron aircraft.
Sgt John Reid, although not on this particular raid, was a 113 Squadron pilot and knew the crews: quote; "I well remember Sgt Keys telling me about Freddie Banks aircraft being on fire and attempting to keep up with them and they trying to keep a respectable distance, untill finally the aircraft blew up and became a total flamer as it went into the sea. The thought of Freddie Banks fate came to me momentarily when I discovered my own aircraft on fire on the 9th of September." Regarding Sgt. William Drake, at first I could not place him but on seeing his photo I remember him well as Freddy Banks’ W/Op Ag. He was on good terms with Len White and they had a number of long conversations together. He was a quietly spoken and likeable person with a quiet but well developed sense of humour.
A followup attack on this vessel was repeated by 60 Squadron the next day and again a week later but by then it had left Akyab. The name of the vessel or damage sustained is unknown.
SOURCE OF ABOVE, Copyright "Air War Over The Arakan" by kind permission of author F/Lt Tony Day.
The dreaded telegram
NOTE Incorrect date
Note the revised date from July 6th to June 6th, 1942. Also note that
this letter was sent an incredible 4 years after William's death. It is
hard to imagine the pain the family suffered for so long not having any
sort of closure. I doubt that this letter afforded the family the slightest
relief from their long suffering. NOTE: Correct date is 06/06/1942
Copy of letter from record office, Royal Air Force, Gloucester
Your Ref. 07/94646,
With reference to my letter of 12th July 1942, I deeply regret to inform you that all efforts to trace your son, No.946468 Sergeant William Drake, Royal Air Force, have proved unavailing.
The aircraft of which your son was the wireless operator/air gunner took off from base at 8.46 a.m. on 6th. june 1942 ,as one of a formation, detailed to carry out an attack on shipping at Akyab, Burma. When reaching the target, the leader of the formation signalled to prepare to attack, and the formation with the exception of your son's aircraft, reduced speed and made the attack. Your son's aircraft appeared to to continue at the same speed and was observed by other members of the formation to fly over the jetty and crash into the sea. Anti-aircraft fire was encountered and it is believed that your son's aircraft had been hit ,thus causing the crash.
In view of the lapse of time, it is felt that there can now be little hope of his being alive, but action to presume that he has lost his life will not be taken until at least six months from the date on which he was reported missing and believed to have lost his life. Such action will then be for official purposes only, and you will be duly informed.
In conveying this information I am to express the profound sympathy of the Royal Air Force with you in your great anxiety and to assure you that all possible enquiries will continue to be made
Your obedient servant,
Note: The above letter was re-typed by Williams brother Frank, and was one of the last things he did before he died suddenly late in 2003. In fact, even though it was over sixty years since his brother was lost, Frank still sought, perhaps hoped, for more information on Williams dissapearance. For certain he weighed heavy on Frank's mind to the very end.
Sgt William Drake on far left.Other names are S. Davy, Gordon Lear,
H Saville, Chawbers (or Chambers), Terence ??
Source & whereabouts of picture unknown but given the lack of
badges and stripes it must be at training early in his service.
Williams brother Frank had only just contacted the site and was looking forward to helping with it, when sadly I recieved word shortly afterward that he had passed away suddenly on November 25th, ( 2003 25/11/1942 ). His son John has very kindly picked up where his dad left off and has forwarded the above documents.
For nearly 60 years a series of errors and vaque documentation by Officials and Researchers in recording the details of Sgt Drakes last flight has prevented the family from finding out further information. Only now in 2004 has some of the mystery been partly solved. The delays and confusion are understandable however, as at this time the entire Burma theater of operations was chaos what with aircrew on loan from one squadron to the other, lost records, breaks in communication and being constantly on the move from one jungle strip to another.
Sgt J Dobson
LAC (Sgt) J Dobson, 11/06/1940 L4823, Mk IV, FTR, shot down by fighters on return from El Adem, F/Lt D (Basher) Beauclair, Sgt Owen, and LAC (Sgt) J Dobson all injured (burns) and became POW's. (NOTE: Graham Warner has Sgt Owen listed as W/O H. Owen)
On the very same day as the incident 11/06/40 AC2 (Sgt) Bernard Shelton (B Flight) records in his diary the following: "We lost one machine the crew being P/O Beauclair, Sgt Owen and L.A.C. Dobson. Their aircraft landed in flames behind the enemy lines, but all escaped injury. We have since learned that they walked all day towards our lines but were captured. They are now lodged in a hotel at Benghazi." (Recorded at actual time of event)
The following is a greatly abbreviated extract from P/O Shekletons diary for this day: Turned out at dawn. We’re to raid Menistir or if there’s nothing there then El Adem. From 4am. till 6.45 pm. we hang around our aircraft. At last we’re off. Menistir is 150 miles. We fly out to sea...... Barney (S/Ldr Keily) is leading. On ETA we turn in and sweep over the coast. There is Menistir but there’s nothing much there...... Barney turns west and we follow......... here’s El Adem. Bob (Bateson) yells: “Lord, look at ‘em!” I clean forget to be scared. John drops a sitck on the hangars. We follow. A crowd of men on the tarmac (apron) is staring up at us stupidly. John’s bombs burst beside the hangars, mine go through the roofs. On the tarmac are about 30 a/c. I’m sure I miss them and my second stick goes on the field. There’s a ghastly racket under our aircraft (blast from leader’s bombs). We circle and return... Everything is covered in smoke. B Flight’s incendiaries are burning everywhere.
Thompson yells “Fighters!” but I’ve still got bombs. Round we go again and I drop my stick on some buildings. Things are hitting our machine. Bursts of ack-ack smoke are filling the sky. We dive with Bob using the front-gun. It’s a circus. We are down to ten or fifteen feet..... We’re off now streaking toward the sea with fighters on our tail. And there’s ‘Basher’ (Beauclair) burning in front of us. Barney’s shouting. “Join up! Join up!” ‘Basher’s’ going down. Two fighters are attached to us. We hear their guns but we are too fast for them. We’re away. ‘Basher’ has belly-landed.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT GIVING THE ITALIAN PERSPECTIVE: ............Two hours later, at around 07:00 seven more CR.32s scrambled to meet another attack directed on El Adem. Six of the aircraft were from the 94a Squadriglia (Capitano Franco Lavelli, Tenente Giovanni Tadini, Sergente Maggiore Alessandro Ruzzene, Sergente Maggiore Billi, Sergente Maggiore Arturo Cardano and Sergente Maggiore Trento Cecchi while the seventh was from the 92a Squadriglia (CO Martino Zannier). The Italian pilots had a slight height advantage over the seven Blenheims and this made it possible to intercept. The Fiat pilots claimed two bombers shot down (one into the sea and one from which the crew was seen to bale out) and four damaged, all shared among the seven pilots. Zannier returned at 07:40 with the engine on his fighter damaged and having expended 500 rounds of ammunition. The pilots of the 94a Squadriglia landed five minutes later, having spent 3770 rounds of ammunition. SOURCE: http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_billi.htm
See also Squadron Story, Crews & Losses, P/O Shekleton diary
Sgt Kenneth Isaac Duffin
Sgt Kenneth Isaac Duffin, 402085 RAAF attached RAF, Lived in Homebush NSW working as a Clerk, born Sydney NSW. Parents Alfred William and Ada Irene Duffin. KIA 20/10/1941 in Middle East in sea as per official record.
This was a joint operation with 55 Squadron. 6 planes from each Squadron led by S/L Blackmore of 55. The target was the enemy airfield of Gambut. The formation was attacked by a strong force of M.E. 109's. The Blenheim of RAAF Sgt Ken Duffin, RNZAF Sgt.Chris Jenkinson Obs., and other unknown was last seen with half the tail shot off, both engines on fire, low down over the sea,and 2 109's circling round for the kill. S/L Blackmores plane was also shot down in flames. Blackmore's Nav/B was Billie Cole RNZAF The 5 planes left from 113 Squadron, suffered damage to varying degrees. One Obs was injured.
This was just prior to the squadrons move up to Giarabub. W.Off. Lister Walker on ops to Gambut piloted by Sgt Young, records in his log this day that two aircraft were lost . One of these is almost certain to have been S/Ldr Blackmore of 55 Squadron & the other of 113 Squadron noted above.
SOURCE: Veteran Affairs Australia, CWGC, Sgt Ewan Brooking
Sgt William (Harry) Duignan
Sgt William (Harry) Duignan, RNZAF, Obs.
Sgt.Harry Duignan along with his good friend Sgt. Ewan Brooking, both observers (Nav/B) of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, were posted to 113 Squadron R.A.F. on 10/03/1941 from the Middle East Pool at Geneifa, to Kabrit were the Squadron was re-equiping for a move to Greece.
They left Kabrit on the 12th by truck convoy , by way of Suez for Cairo enroute to Amiriya. On the 15th they went by train from Amiriya Station, and were taken by rail to the docks in Alexandria. There they boarded the " S.S. Queen Adelaide", a small tramp steamer enroute to Greece.
In Greece the squadron was engaged in both bombing and extensive recon's over enemy territory before being wiped out on 15/04/1941. Ewan recalled his mate Harry Duignan did 5 bombing 'ops', up the Struma Valley in the short time they were operational at Niamata.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: More to follow
F/O Keith Dumas
F/O Keith Dumas 407055 Age 24, RAAF (Flying Officer) Died 16/10/1944. Son of Edmund Russell Dumas and Gertrude Diosma Dumas, of St. Peters, South Australia. TAUKKYAN WAR CEMETERY
It is not absolute certain if the Dumas on the squadron is 407055 as listed above from CWGS. It is not known how he died but it must have been while he served on another squadron because he had been an Obs on Blenheims.
Known to have been on the 10/11/1942 shipping strike on Akyab. Crew on this op was F/O Hanson & Sgt Taylor. Unknown which Taylor.SOURCE: Air War Over The Arakan, Author Tony Day.
Sgt John Reid notes in his log: on 25/05/1942 I flew Asansol - Dum Dum,( with bomb load). (This date Sgt Taylor belly landed short of fuel due to storms) Then Ops to Kalewa and Chindwin River, bombed river craft and back to Dum Dum. Later set course Dum Dum for Asansol with Lt. Bodley but returned Dum Dum due thunderstorms. Two days later (27/05/1942) flew Dum Dum - Asanol with Wilson / White as crew and Dumas and Gerloff as passengers.
Note: It is known that Sgt Keith Dumas and Sgt Tom Barry were close friends.
According to J Chapman, Lt Hookey Russell's original crew on Ops, one of the original 18 crews who left the Middle East for Burma, were Sgt Alan Tillott A/G, and possibly Sgt Keith Dumas Obo. Chapman also reports that Keith later flew with Major Bodley SAAF
PHOTO SOURCE: Jack Barnes, See also crew photo in Photo Section
27/10/1940 T2068, Mk IV, FTR, became lost on return from Benghazi, abandoned in air near Amriya, F/O P. Squires , Sgt Durrant , Sgt Hancorn safe.
ACH ?? Edwards
ACH ?? Edwards,
Listed in S/Ldr Keily log as having flown with him April 1939, again Apr, May 1940. In July 1940 his rank has changed to LAC
(CLICK ON NAME FOR PERSONAL PAGE)
Corp (Sgt) Glyn Edwards, RAFVR, Joined 113 Sqd 17/12/1941 Egypt, Posted out Nov 1942 -173 Wing, R.A.F. Trichinopoly, Southern India. Promoted Sgt.
Following the heavy raids on my city of Coventry, I volunteered for the RAFVR shortly before my 20th birthday - which didn't please dear old mum as my two older brothers had been called up and were serving abroad. Reporting to RAF Padgate for medical tests and training, several of us were sent home on deferred service - until required ! Having joined as a Wop/Ag, I was disappointed being told that probably owing to exploding bombs and gunfire, my right ear was slightly deaf so I would be put on general duties for awhile.
Completing six weeks square bashing at Blackpool in June 1941, I was posted to Lossiemouth for four weeks then posted overseas. Boarding the troopship FRANCONIA at Liverpool, troops discovered that we would be rounding Africa on a ten weeks voyage. Bound for Egypt via Freetown, West Africa, Durban S.Africa and Port Tewfik Egypt.
On the 28th November 1941 we disembarked at Suez and were whisked away in trucks to Kasfareet Ttransit Camp to spend the night under canvas. On the 17th December we travelled 160 miles to Helwan, along with Titch, Jock, Taffy and a few of the others.
Our posting here was to join 113 Squadron, a Blenheim squadron just returned from action in the Western Desert and being prepared in readiness for further action in that war zone. This camp consists entirely of Bell-tents and after reporting to the Orderly-Room, also a tent, earlier today, we have been instructed to erect a few more on the far side of the camp. God knows why they require more ... many of them remain unoccupied.
New Year's Day, reveille was at 6 a.m. and following an early breakfast, kit was packed and the squadron ready for departure to the docks. Later boarding a Free French Troopshop, the FELIX RUOSELL bound for India. Following our disembarkation yesterday, we were whisked away in trucks, arrived at transit camp where we are billeted in brick-built huts. The town of Bombay is a couple of miles away. Next on to Calcutta for a few days where we boarded a ship for Burma arriving at Rangoon 27/01/1942. Here we boarded trucks and were dropped off at Rangoon's Zoological Gardens. On the 28th January we caught a train to Toungoo arriving just in time for an air raid. Our billet is an evacuated school building, situated on the banks of the Sittang River.
Over the next few days there were more attacks. January 30, A queer war is this. We are all wondering where our Blenheims are, as not one of the squadron's planes have been seen, since our arival . At 15.00 hours, this afternoon, the yellow peril was overhead again, so we have come to the conclusion that they know something that we don't !
February 10, The squadron without any aircraft was on the move again ! This time to a place called Magwe. We are billeted in tatti-huts, in the middle of nowhere, and the only water fit to drink, is being brought to the camp by bullock carts. Enemy aircraft have already been overhead, and given frightened locals, a taste of what is probably more to come. It stands out like a sore thumb, that the Japs are being informed of the squadron's movements.
14th. February, Must be expecting a big show here shortly, as remaining British civilians are evacuating the country as fast as they can, by land, sea and air. Singapore has fallen Reports of terrible atrocities by the japs are leaking out day by day.
Rangoon has fallen, and victorious advancing Japanese armies are pushing their way further North. Our squadron is back in India and for awhile we are 'resting' in Fyzabad. Our retreat from Burma came as no surprise. The C.O. called a parade and with a few words of sound advice on what and what not to do, we prepared to evacuate. Time to place our kit neatly beside the beds, as ordered, and with only the clothes we stood up in, men of the squadron left the Magwe billets with possible chances of either flying out, or joining the thousands of civilians in their long walk towards China. On a chance, with Titch, Taffy, and several of the other lads, we made our way to the airfield & boarded a Blenheim from another squadron and flew to Akyab where we spent the night on a concrete floor. Awaiting the arrival of 'our' aircraft the waiting dragged on until early afternoon and then cries of 'Gord, look what they've sent to fetch us in' , echoed out across the airfield, as an ancient Vickers Valentia circled the area and eventually landed quite near us.
Seated on a bench-type seat, ten on each side facing one another. we soon became airborne and settled down to a long and bumpy flight.
27th March, Taken in trucks to the airfield this morning via the 'town' of Asansol; a one-eyed hole which really amounts to a village, and a rather dusty one at that. The place is approximately eighty miles North of Calcutta, and 'Cal' is the nearest major town to us ! The convent where '113' were billeted on arrival at Asansol...the correct name as far as I remember was LORETTO CONVENT, where we stayed for several weeks until moving to a newly-built billet a couple of miles away from the airfield. Fierce fighting took place in the final part of the Burma campaign, although we have been told that a small contingent of allied forces are still resisting in Northern Burma !
12th. May, A little excitement at the billet today although the outcome could have been disastrous. 'Tex', one of our pilots, decided to shoot-up the building on his way back to the airfield, and after one or two 'show-offs' for men at the billet, he misjudged the height and caught the brick-cross on top of the building; the plane veered off as bricks came tumbling down .. a lucky escape for all !
I was watching one of those mirages at the airfield; it was noon and the temperature, so they tell me, was 128 deg in the shade. Suddenly I felt that I was being showered with tiny pieces of glass ... followed by complete oblivion ... and six hours later I recovered consciousness lying in a hospital bed, and packed in ice ! A couple of British nurses, told me later, that the cooling apparatus of the body packs up in serious cases of heat exhaustion, and as I had been through this experience, my life had been saved through them having poured cold water over me, and then packing me in ice chippings. During the last few weeks, many servicemen in the area, have suffered the same way, and some have died.
10th. June, After duties today, several of us jumped off the truck before reaching the billet, in order to have a refreshing 'dip' in the murky pond. Little did we know the tragedy which was about to take place. One of the airmen who had only recently joined the squadron on arriving straight from England, failed to surface after diving from a tree which we used as a diving board. Following numerous attempts to find him, he was eventually released from a thick cluster of weeds, at the bottom of the deep pond. Nearly an hour of artificial respiration by some of us and then a doctor, failed to revive the poor fellow, who was apparently married shortly before leaving England. His blue and puffed-out face with foam running from his mouth, will be a scene I will never forget. The funeral is to take place tomorrow morning.
With the heat becoming unbearable, things are also hotting-up on the political front. The Hindu Congress party, are making it quite clear that they would rather see the Japanese than the British in India. Several skirmishes have taken place recently, in the hope that British subjects will be scared out of the country ... another stone throwing incident here, this evening !
23d. July, 'Joseph' the pilot with the dressing gown of many colours, and two other crew members, are no longer with us ... they were killed when their Blenheim hit a tree when carrying out low-flying practice. Speaking to them shortly before take-off, little did any of us know that within a matter of minutes, I would be gazing down at the joined and mangled bodies of the airgunner and observer, with 'Joseph' seated rigid in the cockpit where he had died; his eyes still staring into space and without a blemish on his face. The aircraft which had cannoned off the top of the tree, turned into a tangled heap of metal as it crashed into the ground; the cockpit being the only identifiable part of the plane. Being first on the scene, I was sickened by the sight, and as the station ambulance and fire-tender sped up, I limped away fom the area ... another horrible memory to stay with me for the rest of my life !
26th.October Good news at last, tomorrow we are off to the Himalayas to go on the Code and Cipher course, and this afternoon the three of us have been getting clearance chits signed. The station M.O. has gven us a 'good' health bill, and this evening has been spent having a farewell drink with some of the other buddies being left behind. We have to report in the morning with full kit, as it is doubtful whether we shall ever return to Asansol, even if the course is failed. A new station is awaiting us whatever the outcome ... so it's goodbye 113 Squadron and farewell Bengal.
(Click on name for Personal Page)
F/O (F/Lt) Colin J Ellis, Born 18 September 1923 London England. Commissioned Officer RAF 1942 to 1946. Pilot Hurricanes, Spitfires and Thunderbolts. Served Palestine, India, Burma, England.
In April 43 I was posted to No.74 OTU at Petah Tiqva in Palestine for Tac/R training flying PRU Hurricanes and Spitfire Vs. On completing the course was posted to 22 PTC in Cairo. Normally, pilots from 74 0TU were sent to the Italian Theatre, but 4, F/Lt Stinger, PO's Proud, Monro and myself were posted to India as urgent replacements for 28 Squadron operating in Burma. On10 June we were flown by Imperial Airways Ensign from Cairo to Karachi nightstopping at Basra.
In true Service fashion no-one in India had any knowledge of our urgent posting so we spent several weeks in transit camps at Karachi and Bombay. In early August we were posted to No.3 RFU at Poona for a refresher course flying Harvards and Hurricanes. From Poona we went to the Low Attack Instruction School (SLAIS) for a course on Hurribombers. On completion the 4 (still together) were posted to Imphal in the Indian State of Manipur, travelling overland via Calcutta and Kohima. At Group Headquarters F/O Munro was posted to 11 Squadron and F/O Slinger, F/O Proud and myself to 113 Squadron.
At the time of our arrival at Palel, Sq/Ld Buck Courtney, having been posted to Group HQ, was handing command of the Squadron to Australian F/Lt Frost. The Pilots were a commonwealth mix of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and the rest from UK. As it was a close support Squadron, Major Teddy Kennington was attached to us to brief on Army targets. After local familiarisation flights I flew on my first operationaI sortie on 8 october 44 to bomb and straff bunker positions north of Tiddim. From then onwards it was close support for the Army carrying out 2 to 3 sorties a day - when on duty.
On 20 November we were briefed to attack INGON, a village east of the Chindwin River, a Japanese base for troops and stores. Approaching Kalewa, we were now over Japanese occupied territory, 'A' Flight Commander ordered the change from Flight formation to line-astern. Nearing completion of the manoeuvre there was an almighty thump behind and the controls went comptetely stack, in fact my tail-ptane had disappeared. After some effort I managed to bale out and landed in the trees of jungle covered razor back hills. My aircraft had crashed and exploded a short distance away. l smartly left the area not knowing if the Japs were about and after a time stopped to check my kit. At the time of briefing back at base, I went to my locker and found that my parachute had been removed for routine repacking, so I borrowed the nearest chute. I was 5'6" tall and the pilot whose parachute I had borrowed must have been over 6'0". Consquently, when I baled out and pulled the rip cord, the shoulder straps fell off and I decended head first. My feet fortunately caught in the lower straps. Being upside down, I watched several items fall away including my escape pouch containing money, maps etc. Using the escape kit issued to all pilots, I planned a route across the range of hills, avoiding paths etc, and after 5 days walking reached the lines of our advancing troops. It was only when the Army Intelligence Officer who debriefed me mentioned that they had been asked to look out for 2 pilots, that the realisation came that a mid-air collision probably resulted in the crash. When I returned to Palel I learned that WO Lofty Ball was the other pilot and to my knowledge the crash site has never been found.
I was sent off to India on survivors leave which should have been for two weeks, destination Puri on the east coast. However, I did not return to the Squadron, now stationed at Onbauk in central Burma until 23 January 45. Before going on leave I had asked the Squadron Doc whether I should continue to take mepacrine, the anti-malarial tablets. He said no, as Puri was not in a malarial area. After 10 days I had a severe attack of malaria and spent Christmas and the New Year in an Army hospital!
The Squadron moved from Onbauk to Ondaw, then to Kwetne where we carried out the last Hurribomber strikes before converting to P47 Thunderbolts. My last Hurricane operation was on 4 April 1945 to B/S bunker positions in the village of legyi.
The conversion to Thunderboits was quite exciting. Exchanging a snug Hurricane cockpit for the huge glasshouse of the Thunderbolt was an experience, one could almost get up and walk around. Being the last Hurricane Squadron to convert, we were allocated the clapped out Mk1 T/Bolts used by the previous converting squadrons, but they were soon replaced by the Mk2 with the bubble canopies. Most things bad doubled up - the Hurricane had 4 2Omm cannon and carried two 25OLb bombs whilst the T/Bolt had 8 - .5 guns and carried two 5OOIb bombs, the Range of the T/BoIt was also double that of the Hurricane. One advantage the Hurricane had over its replacement was that it could take off and land on short 1000yd strips whereas the big boy really needed longer ones. The conversion took place at Wangjing in the Imphal valley.
As the Army rapidly advanced the Squadron moved stations, Kwetne to Myingyan, Kynmagon, then to Meiktila, continuing the close co-operation with the Army. During this time the Monsoon was in full swing making operations very dicey.
My last operational sortie against the Japanese was on 3 August 45 to B/S the village of Shangyaung - then THE BOMB was dropped.
On 18 August 45 the Squadron moved from Meiktila to Zayatkwin just north of Rangoon where I succeeded in overturning my Thunderbolt on landing. The strip was made of bit-hess (similar to roofing felt). To help drainage, ditches had been dug at right angles to the strip. Our arrival coincided with a heavy downpour and we were instructed by the Station Commander to land downwind so that we could taxi straight into the new dispersal area. The wind was actually coming from over the left shoulder and after touchdown on the threshold I drifted to the right and halfway down the runway ran onto the mud, hitting the first ditch at some speed - result, on my back. Fortunately the aircraft did not catch fire and it took those on the ground over half an hour to dig me out as the cockpit was flush with the ground, the fin and rudder having folded over.
Crash of AD-D P47 Thunderbolt at Zayatkin 1945
SOURCE: F/O Colin Ellis
From Zayatkwin we carried out several sorties dropping nichol bombs (pamphlets) on Kyauki and Tavoy etc. mainly to tell the many Japanese stranded in the jungle that the war was over! My last flight in a Thunderbolt was on 4 September 45, an abortive recce of POW camps west of Bangkok.
After 113 was disbanded, those with Spitfire experience were posted to No.3 RFU Bhopal where we had a refresher course on fighter and fighter bomber tactics, flying Spitfire MkV111's. On completion I was posted, together with F/Lt Slinger and F/O Proud to OCTS Poona. In February 46, again with F/O Alan Proud, I was posted to 155 Squadron based at Medan in Sumatra flying Spitfire Mk V111's. It was like joining old friends because 155 were based at Palel when we joined 113 in September 44. Sumatra was largely controlled by Indonesian Nationalists and our tasks were to reconnoitre for road blocks etc - the locals were not friendly. Ironically, the Japanese army, under British control, was keeping order in many parts of the country.
NOTE: The above is an extract from F/O Colin Ellis profile, click on PERSONAL PAGE
for full story, photos and documents.
Reference other: picture F/O Pat Woodward book page 18. Photo of Paddy Reed's crashed Hurricane in Paddy Reed's profile.
P/O (Guy) Evans
P/O Guy Evans,
J Chapman reports that Guy was killed after being repatriated to Australia about Sept 1943 on his first raid out of Moresby. It can not be said for certain Guy was his name or nickname. The CWGC shows several Evans with the RAAF but impossible to identify as he was no longer on 113 at time of death.
On April 10, 16, 21 1942 flights were detached and sent to Loewing China. On the 21st a flight of six Blenheims led by W/Cdr Grey were sent, these listed in order of pilot, Obs, Wop/Ag were (Wcdr Grey, Sgt Barry, Sgt Tollett) & (F/O Hammond, P/O Evans, Sgt Lord) & (P/O Griffiths, Sgt Davies, Sgt Dicketts) & (F/Sgt Hinds, F/Sgt Aitken, Sgt Bailes) & (F/Sgt Symondson, Sgt Birley, Sgt Woodcock) & (Sgt Webster, Sgt Whyte, Sgt Cheshire) SOURCE: Sgt Alan Bailes
Identified by J Chapman as being one of the original 18 crews that came out from the Middle East to Burma. Crew on Ops reported to be Sgt Richardson, & F/O Giles, both Australians.
Corp George (Ronnie) Evans
Corp George (Ronnie) Evans, RAF Ground Crew - Instruments. Served on the squadron from 04/03/1941 to 11/04/1944. Corp Evans died sometime in 2005.
Given the dates, Corp Evans would have joined the Squadron on the desert just in time to be caught up in the fiasco in Greece, immediately following which would have seen him caught up in the fiasco at Giarabub, all within the space of nine months. Having survived these he was then off to the jungles of Burma and remained with the squadron throughout the horrific conditions and chaos of the Burma / India theater. Quite the introduction to the 113 ! When he finally moved on to 62 Squadron in 1944 he must have felt as if he was on holidays.
Corp Evans son David advised: "He was a 113 man through and through and I recall him telling me much of the Squadron history in Greece, Africa, India and Burma, which matches the memories on the 113 site. For your records he was called George 'Ronnie' Evans and he served in the Squadron from 4 Mar 1941 to 11 Apr 1944 when he was then posted to 62 Squadron. He was an Instrument Maker by trade having served his apprenticeship at Cranwell and would have held the rank of Corporal and T/Sgt during his time with 113. I believe that he was posted to 62 Squadron when his T/Sgt rank became substansive."
The family has a video recording of him recalling his time in the Squadron, which he recorded 4 years ago.
Source: David Evans, son of Corp Evans
F/Sgt W Facton
F/Sgt W Facton, Obs
23/06/1943 BA607 Mk V Aircraft hit the sea for reasons unknown and crash landed on beach. FLt G. Brew , (pilot) uninjured. F/Sgt W. Facton (Obs) injured.
Corporal Arthur Fairclough
Corp Arthur Fairclough, service no?, (service details to follow as they become known)
His son Mark passed along the following: "He was born in Crank, St Helens, Lancashire and was one of 7 brothers who all joined the forces. They all survived to tell the tale, however my dad didn't like to talk about the war.
After the war he worked for United Glass, in St. Helens which later became Ravenhead where he was Production Manager. They were the people that designed the original dimple pint glass, so you've probably had a pint out of something my dad designed years ago! Being an international company I do remember my mother being really nervous at the fact that her and my father had to entertain 2 Japanese businessmen! I remember her saying "it was a long time ago Arthur, these people are not responsible for the things that happened to you"
Cpl Fairclough's son Mark has numerous photos which are hoped to be on the site soon and should provide more details of his service years. At the moment all that is known is that he served in the Burma theater and was at Assansol in 1942.
SOURCE: Mark Fairclough
F/O V Firth
F/O V Firth
20/12/1940 T2059, Mk IV, FTR from sortie to LG68 (Waterloo), F/O V. Firth , Sgt E. McKim , Sgt G. Lyle KIA, commemorated on Alamein Memorial.
Recorded in S/Ldr Keily log June 1939
Sgt ?? Fisher
Sgt ?? Fisher,
Listed in S/Ldr Keily log as having flown with him Aug 1940
Sgt ?? Fletcher
Sgt ?? Fletcher,
Listed in S/Ldr Keily log as having flown with him Aug 1940
F/O George Fortad
F/O George Fortad, Hurricane pilot Burma.
Unknown if last name spelling is correct. Friend of F/Lt Stanley Chilton DFC.
See also great photo of George in F/Lt Chilton's profile.
Flt/Sgt Mike ffolliett Foster
Flt/Sgt Mike ffolliett Foster *, Flt/Sgt ffolliett - Foster, an American in the RAF, had two light bombs fall from his Blenheim Z7985 and explode on 12/09/1942 whilst he was taxying out at Argartala prior to a raid on Mandalay. The aircraft was destroyed by fire, he was badly hurt and his Navigator F/Sgt L. Tatton (Obs) was badly burned and later died of injuries. The WOp/Ag was uninjured
Ffolliett has been identified by W/O Jack Barnes and Sgt John Reid as being nicknamed "Tex". This Tex is referenced in the memoirs of Corp Norman Say and others as being a bit of a daredevil. He states: At Asansol we were billeted in a boy’s school, St. Vincent. It consisted of two three-storey buildings at right-angles to each other and about six feet apart. Now we had two pilots, Tapp and Tex, who were always attempting to outdo each other. One day Tex came back after a low level flight across the drome with grass cuttings in his engine nacelle. Tapp was determined not to be beaten and he dived into the square in front of the school, turned the plane on one side and flew between the two buildings. The only problem was that there was a water pipe joining the two buildings. He hit it and damaged the navigation lights, he was lucky that he didn’t crash. The CO immediately put a stop to these antics. (Pilot Sgt John Reid saw Tapp this day and notes the Blenheim did not go between the buildings but rather the lower wing.)
The incident that Tex is most famous for is apparently the boys often beat up the school on return from ops. There was a large cross on top of the school and Tex hit it with the edge of his wing and knocked part of it down. A picture of this taken at the exact moment has been widely published.
Note: The school is often mistakenly refered to as the Loretto Convent which had been requisitioned as a hospital and looked similar, however it was in fact St Vincents boys school.
SOURCE: F/O Pat Woodward book page 11. Woodward states this happened three weeks after 25th Aug 1942 which makes the dates also coincide with info elsewhere. Graham Warner records the pilots name as being F/Sgt M Foster, P Woodward records the name as Ffolliet-Forte. Sgt John Reid advises the correct name is Mike ffolliet Foster.
CLICK ON NAME FOR PERSONAL PAGE
Corp George Thomas Foster, 912497 London, England, DOB 20/07/1920 Served in the Western Desert both tours, Greece and Burma.
Service No# 912497
ACH 2 31/12/1940
NO#1 RQ to 3RTP 30/01/1940
3RTP to Stn Upwood 17/02/1940
STN Upwood to Middle East 03/03/1940
Middle East to 113 Squadron 13/03/1940
Admitted #26 Gen Hosp 22/03/1941
Karachi March 1942
Hospital 02/03/1942 to 04/04/1942
MENTION IN DESPATCHES 01/01/1942 issued 27/07/1942
RAF Cardington 07/05/1945
Giarabub and LG 125
After the evacuation from Greece & Crete we were re-equipped and back on the desert for a further seven months. Toward the end of this period we travelled about 200 miles deep into the desert straight south from the coast road to a place called Giarabub. This had been a fort of the Italians before being driven out by the Australians. It now became occupied by us and millions of flies, this due to the fact the dead had only been buried under a few inches of sand. (While George is correct that the graves were shallow due to the extremely hard earth, Giarabub has been plagued by flies since the beginning of time). Soon after our arrival we were again being bombed by the germans, they seemed to know where we were before we knew ourselves! We lost several killed and wounded due to the escarpment collapsing and they were buried. We tried our best to dig them out but it was too late.
The day after we arrived it was decided to send a detachment of our squadron, about 80 or 90 men with several planes to a place called LG125. Just a stretch of sand suitable for planes to land and take off from. We arrived late evening and bedded down as best we could. The following morning we found that the cook had parked slap in the middle of the landing area. I need not say they were told to move forthwith but before they could, we were attacked by a lone armed reconnaisance plane who decided this obvious group in the middle of the landing area was a target too good to pass up. It was strange as he was flying in a line straight towards where I was standing and it appeared he was towing a string of balls behind him. I then realized they were a stick of bombs getting bigger and bigger. By this stage most of us knew the safest place when bombed in the open was flat on the ground as it would almost take a direct hit to harm you so putting this knowledge to good use, I hit the dirt. Meanwhile, the cooks, obviously "taking to heart" the order to get off the landing area, were by this time mere dots on the horizon. Well almost.......it took ages for them to return.
It was some time around then that Father Cox decided to hold a small service and standing on a folding trestle table began his address. Sadly it was meant to be a short one for out of the low clouds several Junkers 88's began making their dives. After glancing up at them briefly, Father Cox turned back to his flock and cried out "its alright they're just Hurricanes" which was immediately followed by a second voice crying out louder than his, "F___ING BIG HURRICANES, WITH TWO BLOODY ENGINES"! There may have been a sir at the end but I don't think anyone heard it.
Needless to say we had to evacuate this new spot as we were also attacked several more times that day and we finished up back with the main body of the squadron just in time to retreat again from Giarabub, something we were growing accustomed to, but not liking.
George is on the left, photo taken at Heathrow
airport, with Corp Lamb enroute to Greece 2003
The above is only a brief excerpt. See Corporal Fosters personal page for more detailed information on both Desert Tours and Greece. Click on name
S/Ldr Peter Roger Anson Ford DFC
S/Ldr Peter Ford DFC , 40816 Pilot, Egypt. Kensington London. Son of the Revd. Roger Anson Ford, B.A., and Kathleen Orme Ford, of Edinburgh. Age: 27, Killed while with 180 Sqdn. on 20/06/1944. Plot 2. Row B. Grave 13. Cemetery: ST. PIERRE CEMETERY, AMIENS.
Awarded DFC . S/Ldr Fords crew on Ops was Sgt Scott Chard Obo, and Sgt C. Gerloff. He is known to have been on the squadrons detachment to Crete where he was injured and temporarily put out of action.
The following is an excerpt from Sgt Ewan Brookings memoirs who was there at the time: On the 28th. we took off at 0645 in T2252 to search for `E' Boats off the port of Trapani in Sicily, a 3hr 30 flight at low level. We were flying No. 2 to S/L Ford. Off Trapani we met an Italian Destroyer or Cruiser, and circled around it. Naturally it was firing at us, everything it had to let loose. It also fired off a deck gun, and the shell hit the water and burst under S/L Ford's plane. It took some shrapnel, and the Port engine was set on fire. We set out on the return to Malta just off the coast of Sicily. However the enemy was not finished with us yet, and we were attacked by 2 M.E. 109's. It appeared that our Gunner had hit one as they broke off the attack and headed for their base. One was streaming smoke. Good on you Ken. We landed safely back at Luqa and when S/L. Ford took off his flying boot it was full of blood, as he had taken a hit from the shell burst. The plane had also taken hits, so pilot, crew and plane took no further part in our operations. S/Ldr Fords crew at this time were Sgt Scott Chard and Sgt Hodgkinson.
It is reported that Peter was later killed in Italy after he left the Squadron. The following information regarding 180 Sqd losses this day was found as follows: 2nd Tactical Air Force (new edition) page 171 quote 17 Mitchells from No. 180 and 320 Squadron attacked one no-ball target, the former lost one to Flak and one damaged, while the latter lost 2, one shot down by Flak and the other just missing. However the table gives the losses at Mitchell II FV998 of 180 Squadron at estimated 0840, Mitchell II FR151 from 320 Squadron at 0915 at Moyenneville (XI./A/107), and Mitchell II FW161 of 180 Squadron crashlanded at Dunsfold at 1625. The target quoted for the two losses of 180 Squadron is XI./A/60. So there's evidently a mistake somewhere, one loss from No. 320 Squadron is not given in the table, and the time for the crash-landing at Dunsfold must be a typo (probably 1025). SOURCE: Joss Leclercq, posted to http://www.rafcommands.com
Sgt Chapman states this was one of the original 18 crews that left the middle East for Burma.
Some date after Nov 20, 1941 Sqd/Ldr Peter Ford signed Sgt Keith Hanson's log following the return from Giarabub and Lg125.
Note: Film footage exists of S/Ldr Ford with others in the Imperial war museum 22/02/1942
P/O Ford is listed in S/Ldr Keilys log for Aug 1940
F/O Frank Forsyth
F/O Frank Forsyth , RCAF, F/Lt Ex - VCP Pilot Hurricanes, Burma
In a letter to Tony Day (mid - 1980's) Frank wrote the following: I question the use of cab-rank at Imphal.....but in my years with 113 Squadron we never used cab-rank. We had an Army Major as Liason Officer (Teddy Kennington), we were briefed by the L.O and our C.O. and we were on our way to the target. Mostly we bombed on smoke signals laid down by the artillery. Author Tony Day research notes & excerpts from "Air War Over The Arakan"
F/Lt Stan Chilton DFC recalls F/O Forsyth, pilot on Hurricanes in Burma, as being a quiet gentle chap who was very much in love with his fiancee who he subsequently married.
Photo Source: Above Cropped from a picture of F/Lt Chilton DFC & F/O Frank Forsyth in front of a Halifax going on leave 1944, below cropped from group photo of same
F/O ? Fraser
F/O ? Fraser, Observer
S/Ldr Beeston and Obo F/O Fraser, Gunner P/O Mills posted in to 113 Sqd. Ex 45 Sqd. (Beeston resumably to replace S/Ldr Harper) Extract from Orbs. per F/Lt Tony Day:
S/Ldr Ernest Martin Frost DFC
S/Ldr Ernest M Frost, 407420, RAAF awarded DFC 23/01/1945, Gazette page 527, pos 2.
Ern Frost was a clerical officer in the Australian Public Service when he enlisted in the RAAF in early 1940. Called up for basic training in October 1940, he was selected for flying training and went to No 3 Elementary Flying Training School at Essendon, Victoria, and #2 Service Flying Training School at Wagga Wagga, NSW, graduating as a single-engine fighter pilot in June 1941.
Following this he was sent to the Middle East and received further training at an operational training unit at Ismailia, Egypt, until the camp was bombed and he moved further south to Khartoum to complete his training. In October 1941, he joined 238 Squadron RAF flying Hurricanes in the North African campaign but received gunshot wounds to his left leg when he "got into a bit of trouble" during his first mission. He was forced to crash-land and was treated by the squadron's medical officer, who pulled bullet fragments from his leg. Ern rested for a week before returning to active duty.
In October 1942, 238 Squadron was joined by three other Hurricane squadrons to form a strike force of 180 aircraft to take out enemy aircraft on their desert airstrips before fighting on the ground at Tel el Eisa, the lead-in to the main Battle of El Alamein. Ern recalled the mission took place during a freak storm that grounded all enemy aircraft. As part of the strike force, Ern flew out to sea and turned west into enemy territory and then south to dodge the storm. The strike force then flew low over the enemy lines and strafed airstrips, camps, personnel and vehicles, with such success that the enemy's aerial striking power was largely blunted. During the main battle, Ern's squadron patrolled the front-line in an attempt to keep enemy aircraft away from Allied troops.
With his first tour of operations finished, in November 1942 Ern was posted as an instructor to the operational training unit at Ismailia. He taught new pilots about being part of a squadron and shared his experiences of aerial combat so they would learn from the mistakes he made during his first operations.
I joined the 113 squadron at St Thomas Mount Madras on 28/09/1943 when the squadron Blenheims were replaced by Hurricanes. I had one years operations on Hurricanes in North Africa and had one year instructing at a Hurricane OTU.
The C/O when I joined was S/L Aitken who was replaced by S/L Hart on 22/12/1943 when we moved to Dimapur for operations patrolling and straffing the Japs along the Chindwin river.
S/Ldr R. Courtney took over on 07/01/1944 and apart from a period ( Aug to Nov) when he returned to the UK for a special course, he remained untill November 1944 and while he was away this period I was acting C/O untill October when S/Ldr J. Rose took over. We operated from Kangla and Palel from May to November 1944 when I left the squadron and returned to Australia.
Flying conditions in the Far East were often dangerous with monsoonal storms, heavy clouds and steam rising from the jungle. On one occasion while flying through a storm, I had to bail out when my aircraft went into an inverted spin. I came down in a tree in the middle of the jungle and it took a couple of days to walk back to camp with the help of some friendly Burmese villagers.
In April 1944 we had bomb racks fitted and took on the role of close support for the army, bombing and straffing the Japs who occupied the high ground around the Imphal Valley. During the siege of Imphal in late 1944, the British and Indian troops were completely cut off with Japanese forces surrounding them. The squadron operated in fighter-bomber support of the 14th Army during the siege providing fighter cover to protect the troops and undertake bombing and strafing attacks on Japanese positions. For his skilful and courageous leadership, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Our army Liason Officer was Major E. Kennington who provided details of our targets. The Squadron performed very well in this role and recieved a special thank you message from 17 Indian Division for support around Imphal.
For some time after the war I was in touch with some 113 members, but many have since died. Apart from news in BSA Dekho my only contact has been with John Bott.
Awarded DFC - Reference Awards 1945 Farewell dinner booklet. ( With a name like Frost and serving in steamy Burma and the Desert it takes little imagination to appreciate the kidding Ern would have taken.)
On the 20/05/1943 Blenheim BA478 MkV had an engine cut out and crashed in an attempted forced landing 5 miles from Feni. Destroyed by fire. F/Sgt Ferguson , W/O Campbell , F/Sgt Rayner escaped, Obs slightly burned
F/O Gordon Finlayson
F/O Gordon Finlayson, RAF pilot, son of General Robert Gordon Finlayson.
Posted to 113 April 1938 at Grantham and followed them to Heliopolis then on to Mersa Matruh where the squadron had been put on war stations. As the heat went out of the phoney war they then moved back to Heliopolis. On 6 January 1939, Gordon-Finlayson left Heliopolis for Nairobi aboard 216 Squadron's Valentia K3604 flown by S/Ldr Keilly. (S/Ldr Keily was with 216 piloting Valentias prior to his posting to 113) Here F/O Finlayson was temporarily posted as Aide-de-camp to the Governor of Kenya, Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham. Circumstance ended this posting & he returned to 113 Squadron at Heliopolis about mid September. His return was short lived however as he was posted out to 211 Squadron by the end of the month.
P/O John Anthony Galvin
P/O John Anthony Galvin 406104, RAAF. Son of John and Leonorah Galvin of Mundijong, WA. KIA 12/12/1941. Buried in the Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Plot 22 Row A Grave 8. P/O Galvins promotion had probablly not reached him prior to his death.
NOTE: NOTE: The crew is apparently comprised of Sgt Leonard Purve, P/O John Galvin and 2nd Lt Cedric Summersgill, all were all killed same day 12/12/1941. Can not find record of this loss. It is believed the cemetery in the photo is at Giarabub and this fits the timeframe correctly.
PHOTO courtesy of the AWM Gov of Australia
Corp ?? Garbett
Corp ?? Garbett,
Listed in S/Ldr Keily log as having flown with him Nov 1939
Sgt C Gerloff
Sgt C Gerloff, Wop/Ag, RAAF
Known to have been on the 10/11/1942 shipping strike on Akyab. His aircraft was fitted with the camera that took pictures of this operation. Crew on this op was pilot W/Cdr Walter & Sgt Crossley. Sgt Gerloff witnessed Sgt Allen's aircraft roll over inverted and plunge into the harbour.
A chap named C.M. Gerloff Attended RAAF Graduation Dinner No 1 Wireless Air Gunners School Ballarat No 4 Course, Empire Air Scheme, per Graduate Listing on dinner menu of: 3 February 1941 03/02/1941
Signed Farewell dinner menu for the Squadron Feni, August 16, 1943
Sgt John Reid notes in his log: on 25/05/1942 I flew Asansol - Dum Dum,( with bomb load). (This date Sgt Taylor belly landed short of fuel due to storms) Then Ops to Kalewa and Chindwin River, bombed river craft and back to Dum Dum. Later set course Dum Dum for Asansol with Lt. Bodley but returned Dum Dum due thunderstorms. Two days later (27/05/1942) flew Dum Dum - Asansol with Wilson / White as crew and Dumas and Gerloff as passengers.
Sgt Chapman states this was one of the original 18 crews that left the middle East for Burma. Crew on Ops at this time was S/Ldr Peter Ford, and Sgt Scott Chard. It is reported that S/Ldr Peter Ford was later killed in Italy after he left the Squadron.
F/Sgt Joseph Francis Germein
F/Sgt J Germein, 407362 RAAF attached RAF. Age 20, Barmera SA. Clerk, Born Renmark SA. Parents Walter Clifford and Edith Lily Germein. KIA 23/05/1942
Blenheim Z9620 Mk? Missing in bad storm 23/05/1942 while on training flight from Asansol, cause unknown. F/O Eric Pearce , F/O Colin Grigg , F/Sgt Joe Germein all RAAF, KIA
Known to Pilot Sgt John Reid, F/Sgt Germein was on the detachment to Loiwing China.
F/Sgt Ray Alexandra Gilchrist
F/Sgt Ray Alexandra Gilchrist, 411209 RNZAF Navigator, Age 31, KIA 06/06/1943, Son of Ernest Gilchrist and of Emily Gilchrist (nee Henry), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand; husband of Ellen Selina Gilchrist, of Invercargill. MAYNAMATI WAR CEMETERY
06/06/1943 BA916 Mk V Crashed on overshoot near Comilla on return from aborted raid to Kalemyo. F/Sgt Les Ward , F/Sgt Ray Gilchrist , Sgt. Gerry Theobald KIA.
Known to have been on the 10/11/1942 shipping strike on Akyab. Crew on this op was W/O Ron Lockwood and Sgt Courtney flying Blenheim BA592.
According to W/O Jack Barnes the runway was under repairs at the time and that there were hundreds of natives on and around the strip carrying baskets of rubble on their heads. Pilot F/Sgt Ward was forced to go round several times before he could land, as Jack recalled the plane stalled and crashed in flames.
Source: Graham Warner, CWGS, Jack Barnes
Photo: Cropped from group photo of Jack Barnes, see also 2 group photos in Album section.
14/04/1941 T2177, Mk IV damaged by friendly AA fire when attempting to drop unfused bombs for NZ Sappers to destroy a bridge, on returning to Larissa the undercarriage collapsed and they found that the Eastern Wing HQ had been evacuated leaving them stranded there. P/O G. Green, Sgt Gingell, and Sgt Jamieson unhurt. Aircraft was further damaged during air attack on 15/04/41 and abandoned.
See P/O G Green for picture.
Sgt ?? Golder,
Referenced by Peter Duggan Smith in Air War Over The Arakan by Author Tony Day. Page 63. Sgt Smythe was killed and his Navigator Sgt Golder flew the aircraft back.
(POSSIBLY 45 SQUADRON)
F/O Deuchar Forbes - Gordon
F/O Deuchar Forbes - Gordon, 402188 RAAF Observer India, Burma. Awarded DFC - Reference Awards 1945 Farewell dinner booklet. It is reported in the Gazette 35936 09/03/1943 that F/O Gordon won the DFC with 133 squadron, it is unknown if this is a typo meaning 113.
Known to have been on the 10/11/1942 shipping strike on Akyab. Crew on this op was pilot F/L Bassingthwaighte (B-16) and F/L Brew.
F/O Forbes -Gordon was usual crew to B-16. FORBES - GORDON, (hyphenated in Tony Days book), and shown in battle Order at Table 6 - 1 as GORDON (without the Forbes).
SOURCE: Air War Over The Arakan, Author Tony Day. Name Forbes - Gordon per above & confirmed by Sgt John Reid
F/Sgt Stanley Goss
F/Sgt Stanley Goss, RCAF, a US citizen and former member of 45 Sqn attached to 113 Sqn.
On August 20, 1942 Blenheim Mk? serial T2245, piloted by F/Sgt Goss crashed at Kalihah (Kotihar?) during internal security flight. The aircraft was one of two aircraft on an internal security patrol to watch for civil rioting. When the aircraft was found it was discovered that Goss had been killed in the crash but the Navigator and Air Gunner were murdered by the local inhabitants.
The following is an excerpt from the 113 ORB's as stated and recorded in F/O Woodwards book, page 10
NOTE: The date of this crash is recorded by Graham Warner as 18-08-1942
W/Cdr T.F. Grey
W/Cdr T. F. Grey, New C/O March 31, 1942 ( 31/03/1942 )Asansol. Nickname "Dolly."
W/C Stidulph had left the Squadron while at Asansol following the retreat from Burma and W/C Grey then took over briefly.
On the 21st of April, six Blenheims of 113, led by W/C Grey left Asansol on detachment to Loiwing China. His crew on this operation was, Sgt Barry - Obs and Sgt Tollett - WOp/Ag.
W/C Grey was not with the Squadron long enough to become that well known among the crews. His whereabouts after leaving the squadron are unknown.
Corporal J Lightbody states his landing of a Blenheim was a sight to see, he usually bumped his way along the runway until the aircraft came to a halt. One day while landing at Calcutta he bumped the aircraft too hard and crashed, with disastrous results. (It is unknown if he was injured)
Pilot Sgt John Reid recalled W/Cdr Grey: he had been with 60 Squadron in Malaya and was 113 C.O. during Tezpur detachments. He was a popular and well liked person, tubby and balding. I remember an “Emu parade” when 113 Squadron personnel searched Tezpur aerodrome for his Masonic signet ring he had lost. It was found. He carried out a single aircraft experimental night raid on Burma from Tezpur and a large bon fire was lit on the aerodrome to help him locate Tezpur airstrip on his return. The experiment was not repeated.
Sgt Greenless WOp/Ag
09/08/1941 V5990, Mk IV FTR shot down by friendly RAF night fighter off Mersa Matruh in raid on Bardia. Sgt Gordon Woodroffe OBS, Sgt Greenless WOp/ Ag KIA, Sgt Sands the pilot survived.
P/O G. Green
P/O G Green,
14/04/1941 T2177, Mk IV damaged by friendly AA fire when attempting to drop unfused bombs for NZ Sappers to destroy a bridge, on returning to Larissa the undercarriage collapsed and they found that the Eastern Wing HQ had been evacuated leaving them stranded there. P/O G. Green, Sgt Gingell, and Sgt Jamieson unhurt. Aircraft was further damaged during air attack on 15-04-41 and abandoned.
TAKEN AT LARISSA GREECE, Photo taken from captured German. These boys were having a really "bad day", first they get shot at by their own people and their aircraft is damaged, they then limp home but crash when they get back to base, after climbing from the wreck they then find that the whole squadron has up and left "without telling them", then to top off their day they find out they are stranded with no transport on a base about to be over run by the Germans. You can almost hear the curses and wisecracks between the boys this day.
Noel Flannan Green
AC2 Noel Flannan Green, 653463, Aircraftman 2nd Class, Age 20, KIA 15/11/1941 Son of William Green, and of Annie Green, of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. His brother Louis Marcel Andre also died on service.
15/11/1941 One of the Squadrons greatest tragedies, Noel was one of six ground crew killed this day. The cause is unknown but the squadron was known to be at Giarabub or in process of moving to LG125. LG125 was inside Libya about 100 miles west of Giarabub and behind German lines at the time.
Sgt Norman McCleod Gregor
Sgt Norman M Gregor, 999564 RAFVR, United Kingdom. Pilot. KIA 19/08/1941. Age: 20 Son of John Gregor, M.B., Ch.B., J.P., and Jessie Ann McLeod Gregor, of Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire. Reference:XII. B. 10.
Cemetery: EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETERY
Although it is not verified yet that this was Sgt Gregor, there is a Belenheim loss this date as follows: 19/08/1941 T2113 Mk IV, Tail damaged and broke off when it struck rocks recovering from a dive, crashed into the sea near Ras el Kenayis Islands.
NOTE: Ras el Kenayis is in Egypt East of Maaten Baggush near the sea, this was the main camp for the New Zelanders MG division in Sept 1941 in preparation for General Cunninghams offensive.
There is a possibility that this crash was the result of practice low level bombing runs. Apparently where the 113 went swimming there was a shoal off shore that they used to swim out to, one day someone in charge thought to use it as a practice target but after loosing at least two aircraft the practice was stopped. I had believed that there was no casualties associated with these crashes but this was only an assumption. The incidents are described somewhere in Corp Norman Say's memoirs. All this being said the date indicated was the height of the Desert Battle, after getting back from Greece so he could very well have been lost in combat.
See also: AC1 Desmond Arthur McLeish, 641987, UK. KIA 19/08/1941.
F/O Colin Davies Grigg
F/O Colin Davies Grigg, 406382 RAAF attached RAF. Age 28, Civil Engineer in Freemantle. Parents Albert and Caroline Grigg. KIA 23/05/1942
Commemorated on panel 123 AWM
Blenheim Z9620 Mk? Missing in bad storm 23/05/1942 while on training flight from Asansol, cause unknown. F/O Eric Pearse , F/O Colin Grigg , F/Sgt Joe Germein all RAAF, KIA
P/O Eric William Gibson
P/O Eric William Gibson, 410049 RAAF, Awarded DFC 17/10/1944 Gazette page 4752 pos 10.
P/O A.B Giles
P/O A. B Giles, RAAF,
Excerpt from story: The period at Jessore lasted only a month but saw another remarkable demonstration of the fighting quality of 113 when, on 19th. January 1943 ( 19/01/1943 )during an attack on Akyab, a most important supply port for the Japanese, the flight of five aircraft, led by F/O Giles, was intercepted at 15,000ft. by two enemy fighters. During the course of three separate attacks the evasion tactics of the leader, including diving rapidly to a height of 10ft. above the sea, were so successful that all aircraft returned safely and undamaged.
Identified by J Chapman as being one of the original 18 crews that came out from the Middle East to Burma. Crew on Ops reported to be P/O Guy Evans, & Sgt Richardson, both Australians.
(Source PWoodward from Orbs and noted in his book, it is not 100% confirmed this is the correct Giles as pictured)
The above picture is available from the Australian War Memorial Web site. Particulars as follows:
ID Number: SUK13654
Physical description: Black & white
Summary: India. C. 1945-01. Portrait of Flying Officer A. B. Giles RAAF, of No. 113 Squadron RAF, India.
Related subject: Portraits
Related unit: 113 Squadron RAF; Royal Australian Air Force
Related place: India