Ever wondered what was the Unit establishment of a Hurricane Squadron? How many pilots, Sgt Pilots, airmen, mechanics, warrant offices, fitters, armourers etc was it authorised? or how many Dhobis, Cooks, Sweepers and Mess Waiters it had on strength (only in the far east!). Or how many Motorcycles, trucks, vans and other vehicles it was authorized?
By Hugh Halliday
Letter written by P/O Kenneth McKellar White (RAAF) respecting loss of Hudson AE523, No.62 Squadron, 9 September 1942. Precisely how this came to reach his family (and authorities) is unclear, but a copy ended up in the file of Flight Sergeant Albert Abraham Margolis, RCAF.
The accident led to several operations, over a year of hospitalization and many more of recovery…
No. 607 Squadron (“County of Durham”) was an Auxillary Squadron, raised in 1930. It saw service in the Battle of France, and in the Battle of Britain, before moving overseas to India to fight on the Burma Front. One of the few units to fly the Spitfires over Burma, it took part in the Imphal Siege in 1944 and was finally disbanded after the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
Hidden among the archives in the ORBs of No.28 Squadron is this “Circumstantial report” on the loss of Hurricane II.B BX131 of No.28 Squadron RAF on 26th April 1943, operating in the Mayu Peninsula in Burma. The aircraft was ditched in a river after being hit by small arms fire, and the Pilot, Pilot Officer H R Carmichael miraculously survived after being thrown out and rendered unconcious. Injured and taken captive by a Japanese Army Unit, Carmichael found the opportunity to slip away on May 5th and after a three day trek, arrived in Allied lines after three days. His entire escapade as well as his subsequent hospitalisation is told in the two page report that can be found in the National Archives.
Recently I got a set of photographs purchased from Jim Payne ( http://www.throughtheireyes.co.uk) . Jim had procured the album of an RAF airman K D Griffiths who was posted at No.151 Operational Training Unit at Peshawar. The Album features 24 pages of photographs . Jim had scanned all the album pages, and the photographs (192 individual scans!) and is providing them via DVD through his website. A few of the photographs can be found in the albums.
Among the various lovely photographs, one can find a rare shot of the RAF personnel servicing a Chinese air force Waco trainer (which operated as a Flying School at Lahore). And among others…
A query from 2011 about the loss details of Sunderland EK588 prompted Stephen O’Callaghan to write in with the answers as well as provide photographs and documents from the collection of his father Flying Officer Kevin J. B. O’Callaghan .
Stephen provides photos, Logbook pages relevant to the crash as well as a subsequent operation of a Sunderland against a U-Boat and other documents and papers related to his father’s service.
This is a war time folder showing the Air Routes in India published by 229 Group of Transport Command. The folder has pages providing details of several war time staging airfields in India, starting with Karachi and its surroundings and various other major airfields like Gwalior, Bhuj, Baroda, Dum Dum, Cox Bazar, Chittagong and others. Click the Image on left to see some sample pages from the booklet. Very few folders survive today due to the sensitivity of the information in them. (And note the notice on the cover asking it to be destroyed before it falls into enemy or neutral hands)
Razmak was a treacherous airfield at 5000 feet altitude up a mountain, halfway between Peshawar and Miranshah. It was deeply rutted by flowing waters, and quoted by a pilot as “a pocket handkerchief pasted onto the lower slopes of a mountain”. An aircraft like the Wapiti could only land in one direction – in the upward direction of the slope that ran south to the north. A significant portion of aircraft that attempted landing at Razmak never made the return flight – crashing on the airfield. (A link to the modern day airfield – probably not the same one)
The aircraft accidents summary was initially procured to aid in my Westland Wapiti Book Project. Sharing this with other RAF researchers out there. The report didnt have the details of the fatal Wapiti accident that I was researching, and appears to have not covered all the accidents in the RAF. Click here to view the AIR10/1564 file from the National Archives, Kew