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Thread: S/L M.P.C. "Jacko" Holmes (70320) D.F.C. - a member of the Guinea Pig Club?

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    Default S/L M.P.C. "Jacko" Holmes (70320) D.F.C. - a member of the Guinea Pig Club?

    Hi,

    Could N.P.C. Holmes - a member of the Guinea Pig Club:

    https://www.eastgrinsteadmuseum.org.uk/patients/holmes/

    actually be S/L Melville Percival Conrad "Jacko" Holmes (70320) D.F.C. ?

    https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205451023

    There is his bio on the auction website:

    https://www.invaluable.com/auction-l...-wa-MQPEV81BMJ

    During May 1940 he flew with No. 18 Squadron (Blenheims) in France and was slightly injured:

    The auction website:

    …he was completely blind and knew nothing of his evacuation from France in a Hospital Ship….

    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ls/r/C14502339

    https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/228592

    11.05.1940 18 Sqn Blenheim R3590, WV-?, crash landed near Troyes. Pilot Officer M P C Holmes injured, Sgt F Miller ok, LAC B M Harding ok.
    15.06.1940 18 Sqn ORB: P/O Holmes back to 18 Sqn from 1 depot
    23.07.1940 18 Sqn ORB: P/O Holmes DFC
    16.08.1940 18 Sqn ORB: F/O Holmes from 18 Sqn to 14 SFTS

    The auction website:

    …Back with his Blenheim Squadron, now switched over to day bombing, he made many, many attacks on the French Channel ports where the enemy was gathering his invasion forces….

    But according to the No. 18 Squadron ORB he didn’t fly any op at all!

    Two months without flying?

    The auction website:

    …In September 1940, he was rested from operations and an 18 months spell at a Navigation School in Wales followed. Then, after a course at a Spitfire Operational Training Unit, he was posted to the first Squadron to be equipped with Typhoons. …

    25.10.1942 56 Sqn ORB: F/L Holmes first reported - Typhoon solo Local Flying

    „An 18-month spell“ – cca to February 1942 but he went to 56 Squadron after 26 months - in October 1942… Was he really at any OTU 8 months? Or was he injured (an accident ?) and spent some time in the East Grinstead hospital? Or did his eye and face injured in France need special treatment?

    Regards

    Mojmir

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    Default Re: S/L M.P.C. "Jacko" Holmes (70320) D.F.C. - a member of the Guinea Pig Club?

    Mojmir

    His death was reported in the Western Morning News of January 29th 1944, and the article includes some biographical details about his time in France, his eye injury due to flak and the 18 months he spent at a navigation school.

    A previous article in the same newspaper from July 25th 1940 includes the following:

    He landed his machine safely in a field, and having completed his reconnaissance work he insisted in making his report. Then he was taken to hospital with thrilling memories of his "attentions" by the enemy in the form of a bullet through his ration tin; another garzing his leg; a six inch hole two inches above his head; his brandy flask broken; his plane engine hit by a pom-pom; his undercarriage useless and rear gun out of action; a shell burst theat gave him concussion and blinded him.
    Since this main incident, following a "spot of bombing" he had a crash. Just as he reached the coast, both engines cut out and he had not time to put down the undnercarriage before he crashed into a field. He managed to save the lives of the others in the machine. Later it was found that one of the petrol tanks had not been turned on by a mechanic. Mr. Holmes has been transferred to a fighting [sic] squadron.


    and again in the same newspaper, August 31st 1940:

    He had one of his engines shot away when flying low over German troops in Belgium, and was almost blinded by splinters when a shell burst in front of him, but he landed his machine safely in a field and insisted on making his report before being taken to hospital.
    Two of the hospitals to which he was sent expressed the view that he would not recover his eyesight. He flew for an hour absolutley blinded, and it speaks well for the Moorfields Opthalmic Hospital that within a short while after his operation he was flying again.


    No mention of any burns, but maybe he was treated at East Grinstead for his eye injuries?

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: S/L M.P.C. "Jacko" Holmes (70320) D.F.C. - a member of the Guinea Pig Club?

    Thank you very, very much, Simon.

    He could be treated there. Why, when (1940, 1941 or 1942) - that is the question... After all, is M.P.C. "Jacko" Holmes the patient N.P.C. Holmes?
    Regards

    Mojmir

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    Default Re: S/L M.P.C. "Jacko" Holmes (70320) D.F.C. - a member of the Guinea Pig Club?

    My guess would be the same - but unless someone gets his service record we will not know for sure. I wonder if he had plastic surgery operation as a post-op to Moorlands work on his eyesight or the wounds around his face or another later incident- I suspect the former due to the lack of info on the East Grinstead site and a N and M can be very similar in bad handwriting

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