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Thread: Flt/Lt W.H. Hughes 232 Squadron North Africa, Spitfire MJ349

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    Default Flt/Lt W.H. Hughes 232 Squadron North Africa, Spitfire MJ349

    I am researching the RAF service career of Flt/Lt William Hugh (Hughie) Hughes. Flt/Lt Hughes served in North Africa, Italy and Greece with 232, 94 and 73 Squadrons. He survived the war and reached a grand age. I am trying to solve a particular mystery. I have a series of photographs from his collection showing a Spitfire IX Serial MJ349 of 73 Squadron perched on its nose having probably over shot a landing. I believe it was taken at the end of July1946 and was probably at Takali Airfield, Malta though possibly Ramat David in what was Palestine. The aircraft was Struck of Charge I believe in 1948 so must have been repaired. Anyone have any other info on this machine. Thanks

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    Hi Steve,

    The Spitfire Production List gives the SOC date of MJ349 as 30-4-47, at which point in time 73 Sqdn was at Takali, having moved there from Hal Far on 15-7-46.

    a15.
    Last edited by angelsonefive; 18th October 2016 at 00:19.

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    Many thanks for the reply. You are quite correct MJ349 was stuck off charge in 11/9/47 not 48. Flt /Lt Hughes last logged a flight in this machine on 25th July 1946. He does not mention any mishaps in his log so almost certainly he did not prang it. He did not fly it again after this date, hence my assumption that it was damaged shortly after this date. He was based at Takali at this time. I mentioned Ramat David because he did a 'Close Support Course' there in July 1946 and used MJ349 on one occasion from that airfield. At this time his log shows him in several different aircraft.
    Last edited by Steve Hickman; 19th October 2016 at 08:26.

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    Steve,

    Is the aircraft letter visible in your shots of MJ349?

    Col.

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    Steve Hickman, could you please send me a PM with your contact info?? I am very interested in W.H. Hughes.

    John Engelsted

    PS. According to the History of 73 Squadron MJ349 was coded "C".

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    Steve,

    May I ask where you found the reference to Ramat David ? Was it in F/L Hughes' logbook ? It is over a thousand nautical miles from Malta to Israel, and a very long way to send a Spitfire simply to be flown by a pilot, or pilots, attending a course. Especially so as there was a resident Spitfire squadron ( No. 32 ) at Ramat David at the time.

    I think what appears to be Ramat David is actually Rover David, a shortened form of Rover David Cab-rank, a system of directing fighter-bombers to their targets by R/T from the ground. A system of " Close Support " in other words.

    a15
    Last edited by angelsonefive; 19th October 2016 at 22:37.

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    Hello,

    The following from Don Minterne's, "The History of 73 Squadron - Part 3 September 1943 to March 1969 (p.110):

    1 June (1946), saw the arrival of VA Smith DFC, replacing the departing CO Sqn Ldr Furniss. On 2 July, a small detachment set out for Palestine led by (the now), Flt Lt Hughes and comprising WO Collins, F Sgts Readdy and Purchase and Sgt Nettleton.

    Sgt Gordon Nettleton:

    " We took off for Ramat David on 2 July, but were recalled and left again the following day, landing at Benina, El Adem, Aboukir and Heliopolis, arriving at Ramat David on 7 July. We had 90-gallon overload tanks, and flew in formation with a Wellington which did the navigation and carried our kit.
    We were carrying out close support work with the Army for the rest of July and August, while 32 Sqn serviced the Spitfires during our stay. The return journey started on 30 August, and we flew back via Fayid, El Adem and Benina, with two Spits going u/s at El Adem, the remaining three landing at Ta Kali on the 31st, with a Lancaster bringing back our kit. Why we took five days going and two back escapes me at this distance."

    Re: Spitfire IX MJ349 - In the same ref as above (p.1130), there are two photos of a pranged 73 Sqn Spitfire on its nose - the text accompanying, mentions - Spitfire MA484 had its undercarriage collapse on touchdown on 12 August (1946), while F Sgt Readdy overshot in "C" on 19 September and finished up on its nose outside the fence.

    It suggests that the incident took place at TaKali, Malta.

    There is a bit of a mystery about "C". On p.111 of the above ref, are a selection of three photos of "The Ramat David detachment". The captions read; Top. Gordon Nettleton taxies out at Hal Far in MJ341/C, (the serial appears to be "MJ349"!), hmmmm. Middle. The pilots at Ramat David - Hughes, Purchase, Collins, Nettleton and Readdy.Lower. The Lanc leads the depleted formation over TaKali on return.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 20th October 2016 at 06:50.

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    Hello Steve,

    My interest in this post is Hughie Hughes time with 94 sqdn as I am gathering material of this units history. If perchance you have access to his logbook or that some of the photos relate to his time on 94 then I would much appreciate sight of this material. As one of the lesser known RAF squadrons it has little available material available.

    Please respond via a PM or direct to ianDOTsimpson94ATntlworldDOTcom

    Many thanks, Ian

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    Dear Col Bruggy,

    Thanks for the information. I have a series of photos taken by Hughie showing MJ349 on its nose. If I can just work out how to post them here.

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    Dear Col,

    I have series of photographs of this aircraft on its nose. It needs two to confirm the serial No. If you can advise how I get them posted. Thanks

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