Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 26, 2010 22:37:23 GMT 12
Bloody wonderful!! I love it. I had known that Tom's Dad flew the Corsair but didn't realise he was FAA.
That caption mentions R.H. Glading. That is my good mate Bob Glading, who's still alive and well - I went to see him a few weeks ago. He too was on Formidable, along with several kiwis. Bob was in No. 1841 Squadron - the other Corsair squadron on the ship.
Bob was a big golfer after the war, and still plays now at 91. he recently returned from a trip round the world where he took in the US Masters, where he was the oldest golfing professional journalist to cover the event. And he took in several games of gold along the way I believe. He's a terrific chap, really nice. And he has some brilliant stories about flying Corsairs form the carriers. I have filmed him for my Fleet Air Arm film project.
Is John Middleton still alive?? I miss Tom's displays, and he was a hang of a nice chap too.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 26, 2010 22:51:42 GMT 12
If it helps, they didn't seem to have a specific aircraft as such. Here's a rundown of the aircraft that Bob flew on HMS Formidable around this time. These are consecutive flights during different days and it seems like the squadron just issues what was available on the day.
June 1945 KD698 KD797 KO321 (I think it's an 'O' but may be a 'D')
July 1945 - I think the three letter ones are call numbers rather than serials 121 131 124 125 113 127 129 129 KD703 133 129 143 115
I'm pretty sure the two Corsair squadrons on Formidable and other RN carriers, shared any serviceable aircraft to carry out their allotted tasks.
'Hammy' Gray VC was a member of 1841 Squadron at this time, and there has been much discussion on several forums as to the aircraft he was actually flying on his last mission. Much of the evidence points to it being one of 1842's aircraft!
As for John Middleton, sorry, I am unsure if he is still with us, or has passed on. I'll check with Dave Wilson.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 27, 2010 21:52:36 GMT 12
I would agree that the pilots shared aircraft from a central pool. The carriers didn't carry too many aircraft, ie they didn't have oodles of spare aircraft per squadron, so that list that Bob flew would surely have been sheard by both squadrons. And the squadrons in terms of numbers of pilots were not big either, never as big as an RNZAF squadron. Usually about 12 pilots max.
Was Gray the pilot who was shot up and flew his aircraft into a Jap ship kamikase style? or was this a different pilot? I know one of the FAA guys told me about that but can't recall if it was Bob.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 27, 2010 22:14:41 GMT 12
Here is a photo from Bob Glading's collection showing pilots from bon No's 1841 and 1842 Squadrons in September 1944 returning from a strike on the Tirpitz. Left to right are: Alan Maitland; Chris Cartledge; Charlie Butterworth (Canada); Wally Stradwick; Jimmy Ross; Keith Quilter; Alan Howe; James 'Smooth' Blaikee; Mac McKinnon and Donald 'Mac' McLisky.
Don McLisky was Bob's wingman and was also a kiwi. Bob tells some great stories about him, he was a brilliant pilot, apparently no-one in the squadron could ever shake him when they did mock dogfights, and Bob felt very pleased to have him as his wingman. After thw war he went to Britain and became an actor. He appeared in Angels One Five. But sadly his life was cut short after he fell out of a window from about the third floor of a flat in London. Bob thinks the husband came home and he was trying to escape.
What a wonderful collection of photos, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a fan of the Corsair.
Looking at the first one, it is hard to believe there's a war going on.
Andy, thanks for the link to the very interesting story about Lt Gray's final mission.
The thing that annoys me about the Royal Navy involvement in the Pacific theatre is that some senior US commanders tried to exclude them from the whole show, so that the US could have the upperhand in the final surrender of Japan.
Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 6, 2010 17:20:46 GMT 12
I agree with you entirely Craig, these photos that Pete has found are tremendous.
And yes it is very annoying that the US commanders tried to keep the British Pacific Fleet out of the battles, many of the Royal Navy guys were far more experienced than the US Navy counterparts, having flown in Norway, the Med and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans operationally, etc.
I know it irks some of the kiwi FAA veterans a great deal too that most US books and documentaries totally overlook the Royal Navy's part in the Pacific War, including in the Battle of Okinawa. I never knew before I began filming FAA veterans that any british or new Zealand pilots had flown in the battles for Okinawa or over Japanese mainland itself. It's time these things were remembered.
From Admiral King down there was a huge anti British bias among senior USN officers, lesser so in the Army but it did exist there as noted below. There was a deal of support for this from the general US public so it was deeper seated than just trying to keep the Brits out of the beating of Japan. Two outstanding examples of the bias are, firstly the rejection of the idea of using British torpedoes to replace the infinitely inferior US types, although the fact that the commander of USN submarines operating out of Australia had previously been intimately involved in the design of the US torpedoes was probably a factor. Secondly the deliberate holding up of the Merlin engined Mustangs which could have been available up to a year earlier to escort the B-17's and B-24's to Berlin and back. Both these actions were extremely costly in US lives and material.