Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 18, 2011 22:20:39 GMT 12
It's fairly well known that during the Corsairs era, No. 23 (Fighter) Squadron RNZAF were given the nickname "The Ghosts", they carried the ghost symbol on all of their aircraft, and I believe Ghost was their squadron callsign.
However I have just learned of another Corsair squadron had a nickname too.
No. 22 (Fighter) Squadron were called The Katipo Squadron.
A news article I have a copy of, credited to the "RNZAF Official News Service, Bougainville, July 14" (that being 1945) states the following in this extract:
"The Porton battle was the highlight of a very successful tour just completed by this squadron, which flies under the emblem of Katipo, and whose motto is "Patuo Kia Mate" - "Strike To Kill". The commanding officer is Squadron Leader W.R. Court of Auckland. The Katipos were called out to give emergency support to the Australians at Porton when stranded supply barges on unchartered reefs and unexpectedly heavy opposition compelled them to withdraw."
The article should have read J.R. Court for the C.O. but it is most definately No. 22 Squadron it refers to. Sqn Ldr James Ralph Court, known as Ralph, was leading that squadron at the time of this action.
So, we have the Katipos (22 Sqn) and the Ghosts (23 Sqn). I wonder what the other squadron call signs and nicknames were. It's also interesting that they had a motto. I wonder if they had an unofficial squadron badge.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 18, 2011 23:04:01 GMT 12
I just found the same article with a different title on the Papers Past site as it was printed in the Evening Post too. I notice they spell the motto as Patu o Kia Mate, differently from the other paper.
Here it is in full:
Evening Post, Volume CXL, Issue 14, 17 July 1945, Page 4
(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News service.)
BOUGAINVILLE, July 14.
During the Australians' fighting withdrawal from the Porton Plantation last month 10001b bombs from one New Zealand Corsair squadron were bursting only 50 yards from Australian troops. The normal bomb-line for close air support is 300 yards, and even that is a shattering experience.
The Porton battle was a high light of a very successful tour just completed by this squadron, which flies under the emblem of a katipo and whose motto is "Patu o Kia Mate" — "Strike to Kill." The commanding officer is Squadron Leader W. R. Court, Auckland. The Katipos were called out to give emergency support to the Australians at Porton when the strandin gof supply barges on uncharted reefs and unexpectedly heavy opposition compelled them to withdraw. They flew in over the beach with enemy. shells sending spurts of water over them, blasting the Japs along the edge of the plantation to reduce a fierce cross-fire. Other Corsaid squadrons attacked enemy positions inside the plantation.
"The Australians told us afterwards that the blast of the bombs was just terrific, but they knew they were friendly and weren't worried," said Squadron Leader Court. "On their return to Torokina the Australians were almost embarrassing in their gratitude and hospitality."
The squadron leader added that the spirit of co-operation with the Australians throughout the tour has been marvellous. Air support for ground troops was becoming the main work on Bougainville and was proving most effective. The bombed areas were churned and cleared of all undergrowth, while trees were stripped of all foliage and only a few left standing at crazy angles. The Corsairs were now striking well into the heart of Jap defences, which the enemy were taking more and more pains to hide.
On the whole tour thesquadron flew 1660 sorties, dropped 570 tons of bombs, and fired 270,000 rounds of ammunition. They killed 74 Japanese for certain and destroyed 133 buildings and huts, as well as sharing in the destruction of 54. One aircraft was lost through flak, the pilot ditching and swimming ashore. Otherwise not a wing tip was bent. Squadron Leader Court paid a tribute to the team work of his pacts, which he said had been just as high as when our planes were fighting the Japanese in the air. He also spoke of the outstanding work of the ground staff, saying her had never seen such high serviceability.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 19, 2011 21:08:39 GMT 12
Fantastic photo there Mike!!! Many thanks!
Is that writing or a name on the cowl over his left shoulder too?
Out of interest were you aware of the Katipo squadron name/call sign prior to this thread? I had never heard of it till last night.
Allan, there are definately phoots around of the No. 23 Squadron "Ghosts" symbol on Corsairs, See Warren Russell's Corsair book for example. And i think there's a page on Malcolm Laird's Ventura Decals site too about them.
This makes me wonder if the various aircraft that wore the irate Donald Duck were also a waering an actual squadron marking, and not a Servicing Unit marking as has been theorised?
As for squadron badges Allan I have never seen any evidence of any squadrons having a formal badge, whether officially recognised or not. And I've therefore never seen such a badge on an aircraft.
No. 16 Squadron did have their own informal badge however which reminds me of the Wise Owl patches and signs of the modern era, but it's not a squadron badge in the sense of scroll, laurels and crown, etc.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 19, 2011 22:45:53 GMT 12
Another logo of interest seen on several Corsairs and possibly a squadron symbol wasthe white circle with the design which Warren Russell's book says is the "Little Devil" logo. He surmises it belonged to No. 4 SU but he doesn't seem certain.
The Irate Donald Duck was worn by several Corsairs including NZ5248 30 SU, NZ5255 4 SU, and NZ5277 30 SU. The location varied between aircraft 55 and 48 had it just behind the cowl whereas 77 had it below the windscreen.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 30, 2011 20:25:21 GMT 12
The question remains what was behind the Irate Donald Duck emblem? Was it an SU who originally did it and then the aircraft were dispersed tp other SU's? Was it a squadron who did it like the Ghosts and the Katipos? Or was it maybe the markings applied by an individual to whichever aircraft he was allocated to fly/maintain?
I asked David Duxbury a while back and though he was aware of the Donald Ducks even he had no idea why they were there, and remains as curious as us.
Post by Dave Homewood on Nov 15, 2011 14:43:09 GMT 12
I talked with Bryan Cox the other day about Corsair squadron call signs, and though he cannot recall any other squadron's radio call signs, he said that when his squadron, No. 16 Squadron, was operating alongside other Corsairs squadrons as a Wing in attacks (and often two or three, and sometimes even four of the RNZAF's Corsair squadrons would make an attack together) he said No. 16 Squadron was known as Onyx Squadron.
So while flying by themselves radio calls would be for example "Red 3" or "Blue 2" to alert a particular person in a particular section that the call was for them. but as each squadron had a Red, Blue, Green and Yelow section (four aircraft each) the squadron callsign would be used and so it would be "Onyx Red 3" etc.
I would love to know what the call signs were for the other units. So far we know:
Post by scorpiomikey on Nov 22, 2011 13:12:18 GMT 12
Id be interested to know more about the Donald duck symbol as im looking at building NZ 5255 which i believe failed to pull out of a strafing run. (sorry this should be in the modelling section, but you guys were talkin about it lol)
Post by Dave Homewood on Feb 4, 2012 21:13:55 GMT 12
I have to admit that it seems a bit freaky that some RNZAF guy in the 1940's was drawing something like this which would look far more at home on the album cover of a 1970's or 1980's Heavy Metal band, like Iron Maiden.