Post by Dave Homewood on May 24, 2020 19:46:06 GMT 12
N.Z. PILOT'S FEAT
NIGHT LANDING ON CARRIER
RUGBY, February 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 action when U-boats were routed in the Arctic Ocean while an important convoy was taken safely to Russia and back recently.
Lieutenant Burgham took off from the snow-covered decks of the wildly heaving carrier to drive off a night attack made by a Junkers 88. "It was a magnificent- piece of work," states a naval report.
No further details are available at present of Lieutenant Burgham's feat, which recalls the fact that a New Zealander was also one of the first pilots ever to land a fast modern fighter on an aircraft-carrier in daylight. He is 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 dispatches in October, 1944, "for services in the air defence of a convoy."—B.O.W.
Post by Dave Homewood on May 24, 2020 19:52:13 GMT 12
The Official History of The Royal New Zealand Navy by S.D. Waters records:
Page 480 "Lieutenant (A) Burgham of HMS Nairana was awarded the DSC and Lieutenant (A) O'Shea of the Campania a mention in despatches for good service with convoys in December 1944. Burgham took off from the snow-covered deck in failing twilight to intercept an unknown number of enemy aircraft, but was unable to find them and landed on the wildly heaving deck in total darkness."
Lieutenant (A) A. R. Burgham, DSC, RNZNVR, m.i d.; born Onehunga, 30 Oct 1920; draughtsman.
Interesting information, in February 1945 HMS Nairana embarked a handful of Fairey Fulmar NF.IIs equipped with air intercetion radar in support of the Arctic convoys. From British Naval Aviation, The Fleet Air Arm, 1917 - 1990 by Ray Sturtivant (Arms and Armour, 1990):
"The first convoy to sail from the Clyde was JW/RA64, also coadenamed Operation Hotbed, which left on 3 February 1945 escorted by Campania and Nairana (both of which revived famous names of First World War Seaplane carriers). Campania was fitted with a new design of air warning radar and both ships carried the latest Swordfish Mk.IIIs as well as Wildcat Mk.VIs. Another innovation was the presense of an obsolescent Fulmar AI-fitted night fighter aboard Campania [and Nairana had a few, too]. The first success came three days later when an 813 Sqn Wildcat from Campania downed a Ju 88 shadower. An attempted attack the next morning by 12 Ju 88 torpedo-bombers [from II/KG 26 out of Bardufoss] was thwarted by the attentions of No.835 Sqn's Wildcats from Nairana, one being shot down by an escorting corvette [the failure of the Ju 88s to cripple the convoy resulted in KG 26 receiving a sharply worded letter berating the unit from the Reichsmarshall of the Luftwaffe himself!] No further such attacks materialised over the next two days, although German aircraft were seen at times, nor did the Swordfish succeed in finding the U-boats, which were assumed to be in the area. The Fulmar was of little help on this occasion, however, its radar giving trouble when it attempted to track a shadower and the aircraft crashing heavily on subsequemntly landing."
HMS Nairana's bell at the FAA Museum at Yeovilton.