I realise this info is not exactly New Zealand but it may be of interest. The other day a former RAAF WW2 pilot who became one of the first RAN FAA pilots after the war gave a talk at the RAN FAAA AGM. A PDF of his talk (74Kbs) is at:
Cmdr Nat Gould (rtd) describes his early RAAF training No.1 Pilot Course, training in UK, ops in Russia and Pacific theatres. He does not describe his RAN FAA years because he says his audience knows about that. He became CO of 805 Squadron Sea Fury at end of Korean War.
"Commander Nat Gould delivered a truly inspirational talk on his amazing flying career, which spanned the years before, during and after WWII. During his talk, he noted that in his Log Book there is a total of some forty different aeroplanes flown throughout his spectacular career. This is something which has probably never ever been equalled, and most certainly never will be now."
Last Edit: Nov 20, 2007 20:34:14 GMT 12 by FlyNavy
"A note on New Zealand squadrons in the RAF It is now largely accepted that World War II squadrons of the Royal Air Force manned by pilots of the Royal New Zealand Air Force are recorded by the formulation 488(NZ) Squadron RAF, but some authors (e.g. Bill Gunston) have used the formulation 488 squadron RNZAF. At the time, New Zealand was part of the British Empire, and its citizens simultaneously New Zealanders and British. Contemporaneous documents sometimes refer to the squadron as an RAF squadron and as an RNZAF squadron within the same document, not only because no contradiction was perceived, but because there was no contradiction. Between 1939 and 1941 the RNZAF could be argued to have seen its role as training pilots for the New Zealand squadrons of the RAF, just as New Zealanders prior to the onset of war served not with the Royal New Zealand Navy but with the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy. This changed later in the war when Britain stopped segregating airmen by nationality into 'bracket' squadrons and instead created squadrons of airmen mixed from Commonwealth and other allied nations, while the RNZAF developed a large combat arm equipped under lend lease by the United States controlled by the New Zealand Government and actively fighting in the South Pacific."
FlyCookie: Here's the fella who figured out how to safely and reliably deck-land the Corsair. Only after seeing the RN FAA in the British Pacific Fleet do this was the USN again interested in using them for embarked ops. From memory, I think the USMC proved reluctant to lose any of their Corsair inventory back to the navy, ho ho ho!
Lieutenant-Commander Mike Tritton, who has died aged 83, helped to make the Vought Corsair fighter ready for service at sea in the Second World War, during which he was awarded three DSCs.
Alan Michael Tritton was born at Sunningdale, Berkshire, on July 6 1919. The son of a banker, he was educated at Eton, where he was a "wet bob", rowing in the VIII. After leaving school in 1938 he worked on a tobacco farm in South Africa, where he learned to fly. As soon as war broke out, he returned to England.
Like most wartime volunteer reserve naval pilots, he had to start as a naval rating. Having gained his "wings" on No 8 Naval Pilots' Course, Tritton was commissioned acting sub-lieutenant (Air) RNVR in July 1940. His first appointment was to 800 Squadron in the carrier Ark Royal, flying the Blackburn Skua.
This was a fighter/dive-bomber which had the distinction of being the first British aircraft to shoot down a German plane in the Second World War; it was also the first to sink a major warship, when Skuas of 800 Squadron sank the German cruiser Königsberg. (Nevertheless, it was a poorly performing aircraft, which earned the description "too big, too slow, too late".)
In September 1940, Ark Royal took part in an assault on the French Navy at Dakar, North Africa, and, while covering a Mediterranean convoy in late November, her planes attacked Italian battleships, though without making any hits.
By April 1941 Tritton was flying the Fairey Fulmar, inferior to the modern single-seater fighters, but a reliable, sturdy aircraft with long range which at last provided the Navy with a monoplane fighter. He now took part in escorting the first of 11 convoys, which included carriers ferrying fighter aircraft to Malta; Tritton was in the carrier Furious. Having completed this task, he was based with his flight, No 800 X, on Malta for the next six months.
From Hal Far, on Malta, Tritton flew nearly every night for the next six months, in an anti-intruder role, until 800 X Flight was disbanded. He was awarded the first of his DSCs for general operations in the Mediterranean from Furious and from Malta. Tritton's experience in night-fighting was seen as invaluable, and in order to pass on his skills to younger pilots he was given command of the newly formed 784 Squadron.
In July 1943 Tritton - who was promoted from naval airman second class to lieutenant-commander in just three years - was sent to command 1834 Squadron, which was re-equipping with the new Vought Corsair at Quonset Point, on the East Coast of America.
The Corsair was fitted with the most powerful engine, and the largest propeller, of any naval fighter plane yet. But while it flew beautifully, it was a beast to land - in the United States Navy, after the first deck landings, it had been nicknamed the "Ensign Eliminator".
But Tritton and his squadron successfully completed a series of trials both ashore and on board the American aircraft carrier Charger, even if one pilot remembered sheltering in the hangar during the early trials as shards of broken propeller scythed across the airfield.
In November 1943 the squadron sailed home in the British carrier Khedive, subsequently embarking in the carrier Victorious for Operation Tungsten, the dive-bomb attack in April 1944 which put out of action the German battleship Tirpitz, which was hiding in Kaa Fjord, in the north of Norway.
Although many of the men he had trained were involved in this action, Tritton himself missed it, having been sent to the carrier Illustrious in the Indian Ocean, where he took command of 15 Naval Fighter Wing in April 1944. His men were deeply affected by the death in a flying accident of their previous leader, the air ace Lt-Cdr Dickie Cork, who had been Douglas Bader's wingman in No 242 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.
Tritton rebuilt the morale of the squadron's young pilots, earning their admiration and respect, and he led them on a number of attacks on Japanese-held shore installations at Sabang and at Sourbaya, during which his Corsairs shot down four aircraft.
These were the first combat successes by carrier-based Corsairs, even though the type had by then been in service with the US Navy and Marine Corps for 17 months. For his part in the actions Tritton was awarded a bar to his DSC.
In January 1945 Tritton's 15 Naval Fighter Wing, still embarked in Illustrious, took part in Operation Meridian, a series of raids on the oil-refining complex at Palembang, Indonesia, a vitally important installation in the Japanese war effort. The strike, on January 24, was a complete success. Heavy damage was inflicted on the refinery at Pladjoe, reducing output by a half.
The attack on the refinery at Soengi Gerong on January 29 encountered strong opposition from Japanese fighters, and heavy anti-aircraft fire. But it was pressed home so accurately that production was stopped for two months; at least 11 enemy aircraft were shot down, and more than 30 destroyed on the ground.
For this Tritton was awarded the second bar to his DSC. However, on April 9 1945 Illustrious was damaged by a kamikaze attack and, after temporary repairs at Leyte, she returned to Britain.
After the war Tritton was a director of the brewers Truman Hanbury Buxton for 30 years. He retired when it was taken over by Grand Metropolitan, and devoted the rest of his life to shooting and fishing. Tritton was a charming and modest man who never sought recognition for his achievements, regarding them merely as a job that had had to be done.
He was Master of his livery company, the Worshipful Company of Brewers, in 1966, and, from 1969 to 1975, chairman of the board of the Dame Alice Owen School, successfully masterminding its move from Islington to Potters Bar.
Mike Tritton, who died on July 15, married first, Joanna Round, in 1942; after they divorced he married Margery Maudslay in 1973. Both survive him, as does his son from his first marriage and three stepchildren.
Vice-Admiral Sir 'Gus' Halliday, who has died aged 84, had a first taste of intelligence work as a naval assistant to the Chief of Naval Intelligence in the 1960s, then served as a liaison in Washington before becoming head of Defence Intelligence for 10 years until 1984.
His task, at the height of the Cold War, was to assess Soviet capabilities, using intelligence gleaned from intercepted signals, reports from attachés, spies and aerial photography.
Working closely with the US Navy, Halliday struck up a lasting friendship with Rear-Admiral Bobby Inman, whom President Clinton later wanted to head the CIA. As Inman progressed through the ranks of the US intelligence world, Halliday served as naval attaché and Commander, British Navy Staff, in Washington.
Although his task was outwardly a diplomatic one, he continued his intelligence liaison with the Americans and, uniquely for a foreign national, had an office in the Pentagon.
During this time Halliday escorted the Queen on her State visit during the bicentenary of the War of Independence in 1976. He also arranged a lunch between Admiral Hyman Rickover and Lord Mountbatten where the two men, calling each other Rick and Dickie, interspersed personal insults with an exchange of vital information needed for the British nuclear submarine programme.
Halliday returned to London in 1978 to become Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Intelligence) and a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Then, following one of the MoD's periodic reorganisations, he retired, but was immediately reappointed an under-secretary of state and Director General of Intelligence.
His principal duty was to assess information from a military, economic and political perspective; to make assessments; and to brief Margaret Thatcher on urgent matters. Usually these briefings were made in the Red Book, which went every week to Chequers; but Halliday was regularly summoned to Downing Street for personal meetings.
Roy William Halliday, always known as "Gus", was born on June 27 1923 and educated at William Ellis and University College schools in north London before volunteering for the Royal Navy in 1939.
When his call-up papers were delayed he worked in the Lowestoft trawler Breadwinner, hauling the nets every four hours for six days and spending watches gutting fish on deck - all for 10 shillings a week. His abiding memory was of having to borrow a wooden seat which hung from a hook in the galley and sitting on it over a barrel in the lifeboat.
Halliday then trained as an ordinary seaman at HMS Royal Arthur at Billy Butlin's Skegness camp, before being sent to Gros Ile, Detroit, to learn to fly. The failure rate was 35 per cent, but Halliday attained his solo in 10 hours.
After earning their wings at Pensacola, Florida, his fellow American students were awarded diplomas at an elaborate parade; but the RN liaison officer summoned Halliday to his office, where he produced gold-braid Fleet Air Arm wings from an old Oxo tin.
Shortly afterwards Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and Halliday, who had worn plain clothes throughout his training, was able to don the uniform of a sub-lieutenant, RNVR.
He first flew anti-submarine patrols in Grumman Avengers from the carriers Chaser, Illustrious and Victorious over the Atlantic, and then bombing sorties against the Japanese on Java and Sumatra in support of General Slim's Fourteenth Army in Burma.
On January 24 1945 he was hit in a dogfight by a Japanese Zero over the oil refineries at Palembang, and nursed his burning aircraft over the mountainous jungle to ditch in the Java Sea.
After scrambling into his dinghy, he waited calmly to be rescued by the destroyer Whelp, whose first lieutenant, Prince Philip of Greece, lent him a uniform and then accompanied him on a "run ashore" when they arrived at Fremantle 10 days later.
When Halliday later returned to Victorious he was upset to learn that his cabin mate, sub-lieutenant Ken Burrenston, who had also been shot down over Palembang, was one of nine flyers beheaded by his captors at Changi, Singapore, two days after the Japanese surrender.
While coming back home in the troopship Rangitiki, Halliday turned down an invitation from his squadron commanding officer, the Anglo-American David Foster, to join him "in soap". Instead he accepted a permanent commission in the Navy while Foster went to become president of Colgate-Palmolive.
Halliday became a test pilot at Boscombe Down, then commanded 813 Naval Air Squadron, flying Westland Wyvern torpedo bombers from the carrier Eagle.
He next attended the Army Staff College, where he learnt the broader aspects of naval policy before commanding HMS Diligence, near his parents' home in the New Forest.
From 1961 to 1962 Halliday was senior officer of the 104th Minesweeping Squadron in the Far East, where he swept left-over Japanese mines and chased pirates in the Celebes Sea. The piracy soon stopped when news spread that the culprits, whether Filipino or Indonesian, would be tried on Halliday's evidence and hanged by the judiciary on North Borneo.
He then became naval assistant to the Chief of Naval Information at the Admiralty, and discovered how information reached the press when it was revealed that Colonel Sammy Lohan, secretary of the "D" Notice committee, had been lunching regularly with Chapman Pincher of the Daily Express.
In 1964 Halliday learned to fly helicopters in order to give him status as Commander (Air) amongst the youthful Wessex pilots of the commando carrier Albion. The crews took part in operations in the Radfan and the evacuation of Aden; later they flew supply sorties to British and Commonwealth troops fighting the Indonesian Konfrontasi.
After a spell back at the MoD at a time when the Navy was losing the bitter battle for a new generation of aircraft carriers, he helped to secure as a stopgap, the Phantom fighter from the United States. He was then sent to sea in the frigate Euryalus as Captain, 3rd Destroyer Squadron.
From 1971 to 1973 Halliday commanded UK Amphibious Forces, and took part in Nato exercises in the Caribbean, the Norwegian Sea and the Mediterranean. He also carried out some trials with the prototype Harrier jump jet flown by his old Boscombe Down friend, Bill Bedford.
In retirement Halliday became a do-it-yourself enthusiast and threw himself into parish affairs in the New Forest. He worked with the Mountbatten Centre for International Affairs at Southampton University and was president of the Burma Star Association.
Gus Halliday, who died on November 23, was awarded the DSC in 1944 and mentioned in dispatches twice. He was appointed KBE in 1980.
In 1945 he married "Polly" Meech, who survives him.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 20, 2010 2:14:22 GMT 12
I have been re-reading this old thread with renewed interst as I have recently been very fortunate to meet and interview around 20 ex-Fleet Air Arm pilots and aircrew members. I thought I have better point out for historical accuracy that in Peter Hasselgren's list of FAA pilots who scored air to air kills, the pilot listed as "James Harray" is in fact James Harray Richards, aka Ray Richards, who I have interviewed and who's been very helpful to me in my research so far. He's a great chap, and I discovered too that before the war he lived here in Cambridge.
Ray's cousin Doug Cummack served on aircraft carriers as a radar operator so I interviewed him too and discovered he was born in Cambridge and bred here. Sadly Doug passed away in May but I got a good interview with him before then thankfully.
The constitution of the Commando Helicopter Force (now called Joint Helicopter Force) is very diverse indeed. All the RN Squadrons (Sea King Mk4, Lynx & Gazelle) have pilots from all Services plus International Exchange Pilots. When I served on 845NAS (1995-1998) we had RN, RM, RAF, British Army, RAN, Italian Navy, USMC and RNZAF pilots.
RNZAF Pilot, 845 Naval Air Squadron, Banja Luka, Bosnia, 1996
NVG, Northern Norway, Christmas 1997
USS Saipan, Adriatic, 1997 Royal Navy Sea King but the crew was........ Capt: RNZAF Co-Pilot: British Army Crewman: Royal Marines Medic: RAF
Top-scoring Corsair pilot was Lieutenant(A) Adrian Hugh Churchill. He flew with 1833 Squadron from Illustrious during the attacks on Sumatra early 1945. Shot down and killed by AA 7 April 1945. Total score: 2 destroyed and 2 shared probably destroyed all Tojo fighters over or near Palembang in January 1945.
Adrian Hugh Churchill was my Great-uncle. Was cool to see this pop up.