Wapiti IIV J9754 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database] RAFCommands.com
Wapiti IIV J9754
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|353 Squadron Airman||Apologies in bouncing this rather old thread up.. but I thought I would add a little bit more detail to the life of late Sqn Ldr David Lawrence SMALL - 79143
D L Small was one of the few British expats living in India at the time of the war breaking out in 1939. He was probably a civil aviator, for he became one of the five or so core british officers who were commissioned into the RAFVR and were to form the backbone of the newly raised Coastal Defence Flights. He was one of the five British expats commissioned on 15 Feb 1940 (From the Gazette)
David Laurence SMALL (79143); 5 Flight (CD) Cochin, later CO 4 Flight (CD) at Dum Dum and then at Vizag till disbandment
Mervyn Ross Clarenbole THOMAS (79144). 3 Flight (CD) Calcutta, Possibly later to 353 Sqn
Richard Neville ROWSON (79145). 6 Flight (CD) Drigh Road, Karachi
John Girdleston GILL (79146). 4 Flight (Vizag)
Wilfred William RUSSELL (79147) 2 Flight (Juhu)
Small re-raised 2 CDF At Dum Dum (later numbered 4 CD) in Feb 42 as the CO. Equipped with 3 Westland Wapitis, the Flight soon moved to Vizag (Visakhapatnam). The move was completed on 2nd April 1942.
On the morning of 6 April 1942 , Pilot Officer Maurice Barker RIAF took off in Wapiti J9754 with Flt Lt Small as his Observer for a patrol over the Bay of Bengal. One day earlier, The Easter Sunday raid over Colombo in Ceylon was carried out by Japanese carrier borne aircraft. Consequent to the attack the Japanese Fleet forayed into the Bay of Bengal.
Barker and Small took off at 0540 hours from Vizag - At 0555 they came across smoke from ships and later gun flashes - what turned out to be the Japanese Fleet, identifying one Carrier, One battleship, four cruisers, and two destroyers. They shadowed the fleet for an hour, seeing that the flieet was attacking a hapless merchant ship. AT one point three Japanese fighters passed below the Wapiti - but missing seeing them. After a further period of shadowing the fleet, the Wapiti turned back and landed 0740. The sighting of the Fleet was communicated - and Vizag was (presumably) put on alert. A Little later in the day, the Japanese fleet sent aircraft to bomb Vizag and the nearby town of Kakinada. three days later the fleet attacked Trincomalee in Ceylon again. .
Barker rose on to become an Air Marshal in the Indian Air Force. The story of him shadowing the Japanese Fleet was known a bit. I never knew what happened to David Small.. till today atleast.. The Coastal Flights were disbanded in Dec 42, with some personnel from the Flights going on to 353 Squadron. Small may have gone to 353 Squadron during this time.. Sadly he seemed to ahve died within months.. ....Read More.||Jagan on 7th December 2011 11:26:36|
|The Westland Wapiti in the Indian Air Force : A Complete History (1933-1943)||Specifically I would welcome photographs related to the following numbers
If you have photographs in your collection that shows any of the previous aircraft, It would be great to get a look. ....Read More.||Jagan on 27th January 2013 03:22:02|
|New article on the attack on Trincomalee||Rob, Interesting stuff. i couldnt help but read the other article you have out there "20 Ships, Not 23: Ozawa’s Score, 5-6 April 1942"
as a matter of interest - You mention at one point "
It is very probable that Ozawa detached Yura and Yugiri to operate inshore. This may have happened as early as 0602 (0902 JST on Map 2), but possibly it was after 0630, when an unidentified Allied ship or aircraft reported “One aircraft carrier, one battleship [Chokai], two destroyers, one light cruiser” steering 035 degrees at 17.40N, 83.50E, which is about 20 miles east of Vizagapatam. (This report may well have been based on a sighting by an old Wapiti biplane from 6 Coast Defence Flight, Indian Air Force, which was patrolling off Vizagapatam that morning.) "
I wrote about this sortie of the Wapiti in my book. The aircraft J9754, belonged to the 4 CDF, flown by Pilot Officer Marice Barker and Flt Lt David Small , the CO as the Observer. I quote from my book.
[QUOTE]The first operational sortie was flown at 5.30 am on 6 April 1942 in Wapiti J9754. In the very first hour, the pilot, Pilot Officer Maurice Barker, with his CO Flight Lieutenant D L Small in the observer seat identified a Japanese naval force that had snuck into the Bay of Bengal to carry out bombing of the various Indian ports. Barker and Small tailed the Japanese fleet for over two hours; at one point they had three Japanese zeros fly below them without their being noticed. After radioing the position of the fleet, the pair had to return to the airfield at 7.35 am. .[/QUOTE]
Small was later the CO of RAF Vizagapatam, but died in a Hudson crash less than a month into his command. His story is told in one of the threads in this forum. ....Read More.||Jagan on 11th May 2017 11:31:41|