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Thread: Help needed with research on 144 MU and 162 MU

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    Default Help needed with research on 144 MU and 162 MU

    Hello,
    My grandfather served in both units as a fitter airframe specialist during 1943-5 and I am interested in finding out anything about these two MUs in North Africa and Italy.

    He passed away in 1989 and my dad only remembers some of his more memorable experiences during the war.

    We have little original material(primary sources) to work with regarding his service in North Africa.My grandma's address book records which unit he belonged to at certain points in the war,but unfortunately it is vague regarding the time he spent in the region.I think he was transferred to 144MU in September 1943 which my gran recorded as being part of the BNAF.I know from my dad's stories and from wartime pictures that he spent a good part of his time in Algeria at Blida and possibly Setif repairing aircraft and regularly went into a park of wrecked Spitfires to salvage useable parts.

    At some point in time,he was transferred to 162 MU while in Africa. Later the notebook states that his unit 162MU was no longer part of the BNAF and instead was now part of the Central Mediterrean Force.


    My father recalls his dad was based around Naples in Italy,but we don't know when he arrived.

    He must have arrived shortly after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1944.He told my dad that he bought a postcard of the volcano and remarked that the skyline he could see did not look like the picture printed on the card.The eruption must have dramatically altered the landscape.He returned to the UK before the war ended and supposedly flew home onboard a Vickers Wellington.

    Any information/ references to books or magazines relating to 144MU and 162MU between 1943-45 would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance
    Last edited by JonF; 30th June 2008 at 19:13.

  2. #2
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    Jon,

    Air-Britain's 'RAF Flying Training and Support Units since 1912' has the following entries:

    No.144 Maintenance Unit
    (1) Formed 20.3.43 ex No.106 R&SU in Eastern Air Command at MAISON BLANCHE to at least 30.9.43 (dett at Catania); Disbanded 1943.
    (2) Reformed 25.10.43 (for repair & overhaul of aircraft, engines & MT, later Single Engined Repair Depot) in NwAAF under NwAASC at MAISON BLANCHE (advanced dett at Catania became No.118 MU 25.10.43; 'A' Dett to Emas 10.4.45); Disbanded 31.12.45 and replaced by No.1 FTLU.

    No.162 Maintenance Unit
    Formed up 5.43 in UK for NwAAF; 26.6.43 disembarked to FORT-DE-L'EAU as ASU for twin engined aircraft plus Spitfires and Hurricanes; 18.7.43 HUSSEIN DEY (temp attached No.351 MU); 3.8.43 SETIF; 1.4.44 to No.218 Group; 1.8.44 BLIDA (dett Setif to 9.44); Disbanded 10.8.45. Aircraft of Communication Flight: Hurricane IIc (KW862).

    Errol

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    Jon
    You can ask MoD for supplying a copy of his evidence sheet, that should provide you with exact details of his postings, awards, etc. Years ago I was briefly in touch with a man who served with 144 MU as an armourer. Possibly his post is somewhere in the archives of this forum.
    While at Maison Blanche, 144 MU was was responsible for deliveries and repairs of Halifaxes for 148 Sqn and 1586 Flt/301 Sqn. There are few accounts of visits there, as well as a photo of some Halifaxes in a hangar. I believe they overhauled Liberators as well.
    Do you have any photos taken there by any chance?

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    Although we know a lot about the various kinds of aircraft my granddad serviced or encountered, there seem to be no photos of them.

    Before he was posted to 144MU,he was at North Front airfield in Gibraltar.There,he helped to uncrate and assemble Spitfires which had been delivered on ships. My dad reckoned that the strenuous work he performed in Gibraltar must have put him under a great strain.He also suffered from the heat and ended up in the sickbay in Gib. Doctors finally diagnosed that he had a heart complaint in the early post war period

    Recently, I found a group photograph which included him in his tropical uniform outside a hut which seemed to be built in the same style as these buildings at Blida.

    http://www.servicepals.com/gallery/data/181/18175/blida2-med.jpg
    http://www.servicepals.com/gallery/data/181/18175/reader-med.jpg

    Also I found some postcards publicising the opening of a new colonial hospital at Setif as well.


    Itís unfortunate that I was so young when my granddad, passed away. I knew very little about WW2 back then.

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    Jon
    If you manage to obtain his service record from MoD, then it will be possible to check what exact shipping of Spitfires he was uncrating. It is possible that it was photographed. As I have mentioned, there is at least one photo taken at 144 MU hangar and hold in vast IWM collections. I guess there could be more in their collection. Drop me your email address on pm, and I will try to find details about this photo.

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