Post by Dave Homewood on Feb 18, 2015 23:40:17 GMT 12
Here's a great little snippet of kiwi Fleet Air Arm history, from the New Zealand Herald, Volume 82, Issue 25131, 19 February 1945, Page 4 (published 70 years ago today)
NAVAL PILOT'S FEAT
NIGHT CARRIER LANDING
OFFICER FROM AUCKLAND (Special Correspondent) (Recd. 6.30 p.m.) LONDON 7 Feb. 17
What is considered to be the first operational night landing on an aircraft carrier by a night fighter was made by Lieutenant A R. Burgham, R.N.Z.N.V.R.. of Kohimarama, Auckland. during a naval notion when a number of U-boats were routed in the Arctic, while an important convoy was taken safely to Russia and back. Lieutenant Burgham took off from the snow-covered decks of a wildly heaving carrier to. drive off a night attack made by a Junkers 88. "It- was a magnificent piece of work." states the naval report. No further details are available of Lieutenant Burgham's feat, which recalls the fact that a New Zealander was also one of the first pilots to land a fast, modern fighter on an aircraft-carrier in daylight. He was Group-Captain P. G. Jameson, of Lower Hutt. who landed a Hurricane on the deck of H.M.S Glorious off Norway early in the war Lieutenant Burgham was mentioned in despatches in October, 1944, "for services in the air defence of a convoy."
The article would seem to refer to Lt.-Cmdr Allen (not 'R') Burgham, DSC, MiD, RCNVR (Retd) (RNZNVR),
The following (copied and pasted from another site BTW), might be of interest:
'He was Senior Pilot of 835 Squadron,, flight commander of the fighter component of a composite squadron. He shot down a Junkers 290 in early 1944 near the Bay of Biscay during a return to England with a Gibraltar convoy, losing his Number Two in the fight. Later he shot down a Junkers 88 on a Murmansk convoy and set another Junkers 88 on fire, but did not see it crash. Records indicate that it did not get back to Norway
He became the first man in history to land a day fighter at night on the deck of an aircraft carrier after volunteering to repel a night attack on the convoy. That action also resulted in the loss of his Number Two pilot.
The Murmansk actions were flown in Wildcat IVs. The Gibraltar actions were flown in Hurricane IICs.'
The idea of landing a Wildcat on an aircraft carrier at night with a deck rising and falling as it would be doing, would seem to require a certain degree of resolve.