Winged Heroes

Post Reply
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 06 Feb 2012, 10:32

On 21st December 2007 I started a thread called `Winged Heroes' and posted in it my first picture on the OGFB forums. The thread was archived when this new site replaced the old one and it had received 369 replies in 25 pages and had 41364 views. My intention was to create a place for discussion of all things concerning aircraft, old and new, and those who flew them, now and in the past. My father, now 93, was an armourer in the RAF during WW2, serving on several aerodromes during the Battle of Britain, and spending a few years in South Africa involved in the training of South African pilots. He joined in 1938 and trained at Manby where he heard the outbreak of war announced on the radio while looking out of the barrack room window. On that day the view didn't inspire confidence in our chances of defeating the enemy. Manby was home to many aircraft, but they were biplane bombers with open cockpits and fixed undercarriages, many still being used operationally. On his return to the UK towards the end of the war it was very different and he remembers being at an airfield in southern England in May 1945 when victory in Europe was announced. The airfield was lined with Lancasters and Mosquitoes, all bombed up and ready to fly. It's remarkable too, to think that Meteor jet fighters were already flying at that time, such a short time after the last years of those old bombers. In fact the Fleet Air Arm operated the biplane Swordfish as a torpedo bomber until at least 1946, so it overlapped with the jet fighters.

My Uncle George was also in the RAF in WW2, spending some of the time in India and Burma, and my picture in the old Winged Heroes thread was a postcard that he sent home. I described it as: "Postcard from the 1940s promoting the RAF and its pilots. Nine Hawker Hurricanes in formation. RAF motto `Per Ardua ad Astra'. Message by Patience Strong. (PS16, published by Valentine & Sons Ltd, Dundee & London)" and added "I wanted to put a copy here because (a) it celebrates the great pilots and planes, (b) I like the Hurricane, and (c) Uncle George was a great character and you would have loved him in Barlick! (He was a Blackburn man, but I know you'll forgive him!)".

The old thread can be found here (LINK)


Image
Last edited by Tizer on 25 Apr 2012, 09:26, edited 9 times in total.

User avatar
Doc
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 258
Joined: 03 Jan 2012, 14:32
Location: Barnoldswick
Contact:

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Doc » 06 Feb 2012, 14:58

There's a new film out about US black pilots during WW2 that looks worth a watch. Nolic
[BBvideo 425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpA6TC0T_Lw[/BBvideo]


Post Edited by Doc - Originally Posted by Nolic
Best Regards
Doc
Site Administrator
Chief Stoker - Royal Navy (Retired)

User avatar
PanBiker
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 7605
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 13:07
Location: Barnoldswick - In the West Riding of Yorkshire, always was, always will be.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 06 Feb 2012, 18:44

Thanks for bringing this topic back Tiz, if it's as popular as the last incarnation it will be good.

I hope you caught "Bomber Boys", last night on the BBC. Very well presented and informative. Starring of course City of Lincoln / Phantom of the Ruhr, Avro Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which as you know is one of only two operational Lancaster Bombers, the other airworthy example being based in Canada.

I can recommend a visit to the home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (link above) which is based at R.A.F. Conningsby in Lincolnshire to anyone who has an interest in these aircraft. You can see my visit there which is over on the archive site by following Tizers link in the first post, lots of pictures of the flight and a close up visit to the "Lanc".
Ian

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44806
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 07 Feb 2012, 05:38

Watching 'Bomber Boys' triggered me into reading Len Deighton's 'Bomber' again. Good read time after time..... Bad weather damages walks and work in the shed but encourages reading!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 07 Feb 2012, 10:24

The film looks like stirring stuff Nolic. Was that an Me262 jet fighter that I saw depicted in the video? You couldn't show those in the old days unless you had some old film or a few Airfix kits! Computer graphics open up all sorts of possibilities. I have a book by a British WW2 test pilot who brought back Luftwaffe planes to the UK for testing at the end of the war and it's amazing to read his descriptions of learning to fly the Me262 and the rocket-propelled fighter. A brave man!

Yes Ian, we recorded Bomber Boys for watching later but my Dad was glued to his TV screen and no doubt will have a lot to say from the memories that will come flooding back.

I mentioned the Swordfish biplane in my earlier post and said it was used until 1946. In fact a few of them were used by the Torpedo Development Unit until 1953 and one is still with the RN Historic Flight at Yeovilton and another is a static exhibit (although I think it being made airworthy again). Now here's a puzzle for you, see if you can guess the answer without Googling! In WW2, which aeroplane was known as the `Blackfish'?
Last edited by Tizer on 09 Feb 2012, 16:06, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44806
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 08 Feb 2012, 06:35

I didn't cheat. Beats me. Do tell!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
PanBiker
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 7605
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 13:07
Location: Barnoldswick - In the West Riding of Yorkshire, always was, always will be.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 08 Feb 2012, 09:11

I don't know either, is it a variant of a Swordfish. I'm guessing it could be as how many other aircraft have fish in the name?
Ian

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44806
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 08 Feb 2012, 09:27

Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 09 Feb 2012, 11:40

Good guess Ian. Stanley cheated but I'm not sure the linked page explains the name Blackfish. The Swordfish was originally built by Fairey and went into service in 1936, but in about 1942 production was transferred to Blackburn Aircraft Limited at Sherburn-in-Elmet. These Blackburn aircraft were known by the pilots as Blackfish. Swordfish LS326 shown in Stanley's link is a Blackfish and took part in the Victory fly-past at the end of WW2 and in the film `Sink the Bismarck' (1959). In that linked page the author decided he was better of on the ground than in the Swordfish when he saw the bad weather coming. In that context it's interesting to remember that open-cockpit Swordfish flew from carriers escorting the Arctic convoys in WW2 in the most appalling weather. Imagine an open cockpit in those Arctic temperatures, the fog, snow - and if you ditched in the sea you either drowned or froze to death. I saw a photo in The Times recently of one of the Swordfish taking off from an Arctic carrier and you can hardly see the end of the deck for the fog. The Sea Hurricanes that operated from merchant carriers using a catapult had to ditch alongside the ship on return and be craned back on board. On the Arctic convoys the time between hitting the water and being lifted out defined the difference between life and death for the pilot. And they did it over and over again. Winged heroes.

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44806
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 10 Feb 2012, 06:53

I remember reading accounts of the Murmansk convoys which described gunners being frozen to death at their guns even though they were well-fed, dry and well clothed. It was immobility that killed them. Can't even imagine what it was like. My mate Bob Jacobsen told me about his electrically heated suit failing when he was a rear gunner on a Flying Fortress. We don't know we were born!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Greenfield
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 15 Feb 2012, 10:15

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Greenfield » 15 Feb 2012, 10:41

Good Day Everyone!
I am new to your excellent site and in particular the various forums!
I was scouring the internet for information on an Anson aircraft N4919 that crashed at Wolf Hole Crag on 09/02/1944 and Google directed me this way!
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the whereabouts of the Google reference on the OGFB site.It seems as though there was a post on one of the forums regarding the crash above and another at Warton!
Can anyone help me please!
Thanks!

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 15 Feb 2012, 11:18

Hello Greenfield, welcome to the OG forums! The original forums have been going for many years and there has just been an update to completely new software, with the old forum pages having to be archived. There was an entry in a list of crashed aircraft on one of these old pages:
"Trough of Bowland. Avro Anson N4919. 9th February 1944. Two uninjured I hurt."
in a thread started by our member Thomo. At the moment the search function on the archived site doesn't seem to be working but I was able to get the page with that entry from a Google cache. I don't think there is any more info in the thread but Thomo had said he would fill in details if anyone asked about a specific aircraft. At the moment Thomo may not be looking at this forum because his wife was injured in a motor accident last week. If he does look I'm sure he will reply, and other members who know him might be able to let him know his knowledge is needed. There may well be others here who can help too. I live in Somerset (but come from the north-west) and can't help directly but I'll send Thomo a Personal Message through the forum.

If you are seeing adverts flashing up on the forum pages you can donate £1 which will prevent these for a year. Or you can just put up with the ads if you don't mind!

If it works, this is the link to the cached google page: LINK

Give it time to load, then scroll down to the main text.

Below is a photo of an Avro Anson. I think I'm right in saying this design was an early type, with lots of window glass and a big turret. My dad described flying in them as being "like being in a bus".

Image
Last edited by Tizer on 11 Apr 2012, 09:18, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Whyperion
Senior Member
Posts: 1469
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 22:13
Location: Now in Burnley , After leaving Barnoldswick , except when I am in London

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Whyperion » 15 Feb 2012, 11:51

Might be worth digging out of a Library :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Ground-Wre ... _se_shvl23
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aircraft-Wrecks ... 174&sr=8-2
http://www.amazon.co.uk/North-West-Airc ... 174&sr=8-1
{ This book is a different approach to aviation archaeology, as the author, together with small, but dedicated, team of fellow enthusiasts
explore aircraft crash sites in the North West of England, treating each of the incidents selected to detailed in-depth research and meticulous on-site investigation. Each of the eighteen chapters explores, in previously unpublished detail, the background to an incident, the units, aircraft and airmen involved, as well as the conclusions drawn from piecing together the story and the artefacts uncovered. Emphasis is placed on revealing who these individuals were, their previous service history and subsequent flying career, if they survived, often based on accounts from their friends, comrades and relatives, giving a unique insight into the human story behind each geographical site. Many of the projects have involved major excavations to uncover the remains of these aircraft and this work is described in detail by the author, who actually organised and attended the digs, sharing with the reader the excitement of the discovery of important artefacts that have lain buried and forgotten for some 60 years or more.
These digs and the finds uncovered are illustrated throughout, together with period photographs of pilots and crew members and many `then and now' comparisons of the crash sites themselves. The addition of a comprehensive index and appendices giving outline details of nearly 2000 other incidents also make this work a valuable reference resource in its own right.
About the Author : Nick Wotherspoon has been actively involved in Aviation Archaeology for over 25 years and formed the successful Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team in 1998. He works for Lancashire County Libraries and Lives in Blackburn. } - Customer Review it explores aircraft crash sites in an area that covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and the North West. However having said that there are mentions of crashes in the Peak District, Northumbria and North Yorkshire too.
Looks like it could be worth contacting Mr Wotherspoon anyway if he holds further or better information.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hell-High-Groun ... 209&sr=8-2 ( Crowood , David Earl covers UK )
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hell-High-Groun ... 209&sr=8-4 ( Volume 2 )

User avatar
Twinkletoes
Newbie
Posts: 28
Joined: 24 Jan 2012, 18:31
Location: Barnoldswick

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Twinkletoes » 15 Feb 2012, 12:31

I found this, I don't know if it is of any use to you Click Here - Peak District Air Accident Research
Image

Greenfield
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 15 Feb 2012, 10:15

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Greenfield » 15 Feb 2012, 16:40

Good Afternoon!
Particular thanks to 'Tizer', Whyperion' and 'Twinkletoes' for the information!
I have also been in touch with Alan Clark and Nick Wotherspoon from the PDAAR website and they have also been able to put a bit of meat on the bones of the story!
Thanks again Chaps!

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 15 Feb 2012, 19:48

Greenfield, we're always pleased to hear any further information from people like yourself who are researching a topic.

Nicola, thanks for helping to prove that it's not just men who are interested in flying machines!

User avatar
Twinkletoes
Newbie
Posts: 28
Joined: 24 Jan 2012, 18:31
Location: Barnoldswick

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Twinkletoes » 15 Feb 2012, 22:15

I love flying machines, especially the noise they make that rattle your chest! I don't know why but it always overwhelms me and makes me cry??? I think thats just weird little me :grin:
Image

User avatar
Whyperion
Senior Member
Posts: 1469
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 22:13
Location: Now in Burnley , After leaving Barnoldswick , except when I am in London

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Whyperion » 15 Feb 2012, 23:20

Lets face it , no flying machines = Little less of Barnoldswick then and now.

Greenfield
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 15 Feb 2012, 10:15

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Greenfield » 17 Feb 2012, 11:55

Twinkletoes! Go onto YouTube and search for 'Lancaster over Saddleworth', its a clip about 5 minutes long, was filmed in 2009 on the occassion of the annual 'Yanks' film celebration that is held in the various Saddleworth villages! That brings tears to my eyes as my Dad who crashed the Anson on Wolf Hole Crags in 1944 went on to fly Halifaxs, Lancasters and Fortresses towards the end and after the war!
He spent time in the States during the war learning to fly the Fortress and this and the fact that some of the scenes from the film 'Yanks' were filmed in Dobross in particular are poignant reminders of him. Sadly he passed away just 3 years ago but my Mum (now 87) who met my Dad at RAF Millom is still thriving! As much as anything it is my Mum who, even now, would like to get up to Wolf Hole Crags to see whats left of the wreckage of the Anson! Who knows, whether its by helicopter, quad bike or tractor, we may do it some day!
All the best!

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 17 Feb 2012, 12:39

Greenfield, that's a great bit of history! Your dad got some pretty serious experience flying those machines. The Fortress must have seemed wierd after the Halifaxes and Lancasters, I suppose it would have had much more thermal insulation than the British bombers for a start. My dad was an armourer and started on Blenheims, then was sent to South Africa to train SA armourers. While there they used Ansons a lot, particularly to train gunners in the Anson turret, and he flew with them in case the guns jammed. They also used Ansons to drop depth charges on German and Japanese submarines off the SA coast. Do you have a photo of N4919 by any chance, I tried a Google search but no images of the intact aircraft came up.

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 12 Mar 2012, 12:46

I mentioned the Fairey Swordfish at the beginning of this topic and here is a photo (click on the thumbnail below) that was reproduced in The Times on 11th February 2012. It shows the aircraft on the deck of HMS Victorious in May 1941 before the raid on the Bismarck. I scanned the image from the newspaper which is why the quality is poor, but it shows the conditions under which the air crew and the ground crew (do you call them `ground crew' on a carrier?) worked during the war. The photo accompanied a Times article celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Channel Dash on 11th February 1942 when the German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen made a run from Brest to the German ports in the north.

The British expected it to occur at night but were caught out when the German ships made a daylight dash with cover from over 30 fighter aircraft and an escort of 7 destroyers and many E-boats. Six old Royal Navy destroyers were sent out from Harwich but were no match for the German ships. Motor Torpedo Boats were despatched from Dover but couldn't get close enough to have any effect. Artillery batteries failed too, as did RAF bombing attacks. Finally, Lieutenant-Commander Eugene Esmonde set out with the Fleet Air Arm's 825 Squadron from Manston in six Swordfish (`Stringbags') which had already put three Italian battleships out of action at Taranto and had crippled the Bismarck. The Swordfish, each with a crew of pilot, observer and telegraphist air gunner, circled at Ramsgate waiting for an expected large Spitfire escort but when only 10 arrived Esmonde pressed on with a low level attack. Within 20 minutes of leaving the coast all six Swordfish had been shot down and only 5 of the 18 aircrew survived, only one of the 5 being unwounded. Esmonde was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross and the event is now marked by a monument in Ramsgate unveiled in 2010.

Image
Last edited by Tizer on 11 Apr 2012, 11:18, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44806
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 13 Mar 2012, 07:10

Good pic Tiz. At first glance it looks like an aeronautical scrap yard!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 9181
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 13 Mar 2012, 10:46

Just imagine working out on that flat deck in all weathers, in a big sea and a howling wind, trying to stop the stringbags going over the side. And worst of all, on those Arctic convoys!

User avatar
PanBiker
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 7605
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 13:07
Location: Barnoldswick - In the West Riding of Yorkshire, always was, always will be.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 13 Mar 2012, 17:01

You can just imagine a pilot coming out on deck and saying, "that's mine at the back", and the reply he would get no doubt!
Ian

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 44806
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 14 Mar 2012, 05:22

Image

Am I right in thinking this is one of my mate Bob's 'Little Friends'. The improved Mustang with the Merlin engine?
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “Royal Air Force”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users