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Thread: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

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    Default Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Hi guys

    I'm still endeavouring the glean further information regarding the activities of Flt Lt (later Grp Capt) Russell Faulkner AITKEN, a New Zealander from Otago, but known as 'Digger' for some unknown reason.

    He was a flying boat instructor during the early months of the war, and flew a Walrus amphibian on ASR missions, apparently rescuing 35 airmen/seamen from the sea around the Isle of Wight during August-September 1940. In 1941 he was given command of 3 Squadron, flying Hurricanes. He survived the war and died in 1989 in New Zealand.

    Any help very much appreciated.

    Stay safe
    Brian

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    There is a wiki page for him Brian (which you may or may not have seen).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Aitken_(pilot)

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Many thanks ...

    ... but I had seen that.

    I'm hoping that someone has written about the Walrus rescues or may have seen his logbook.

    Here's hoping

    Stay safe
    Brian

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    AITKEN, Russell Faulkner, W/C (39839, Royal Air Force) - No.11 Group - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1943. Citation in Public Record Office Air 2/8871 (courtesy of Steve Brew).

    "Wing Commander Aitken has commanded No.3 Hurricane Squadron for over two years. The spirit and organization of this squadron has been renowned throughout the group and is second to none. Wing Commander Aitken is one of the finest squadron commanders of recent years, and has welded his squadron into a magnificent team, first as a day fighter squadron and later as a night fighter squadron. He has consistently set his pilots and ground crews a fine example of devotion to duty."

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Good to hear from you, Hugh,

    Trust you are well.

    It's his Walrus activities in which I am interested.

    Take care
    Brian

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Hi guys

    Can anyone advise if Digger Aitken is mentioned in the old book "New Zealanders in the Air War" by A.W. Mitchell, please?

    Cheers
    Stay safe
    Brian

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Brian,

    There is a complete chapter (12.),on W/C. R. F. Aitken in Alan W. Mitchell's, New Zealanders in the Air War. It is mainly a rehash of what you have already seen (there might be a snippet here and there of interest). The source has already been mined by Wiki, and others.

    Sorry, no scanner, but others might be able to help.

    See:
    New Zealanders in the Air War.
    Mitchell,Alan W.
    London:George G. Harrop & Co.,1945.
    pp.98-102 (Chapter 12.)

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th November 2020 at 23:58.

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Many thanks once again, Col

    I thought that was the case! I've just located a copy - now ordered.

    Thanks once again, my friend

    Stay safe
    Brian

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Brian, Does this help: "R. F. Aitken, then a flight lieutenant. It was while stationed at Gosport as an instructor in June 1940 that Aitken conceived the idea of employing amphibian aircraft to retrieve pilots from the sea; the suggestion meeting with the approval of his senior officers, he ‘scrounged a Walrus from the Fleet Air Arm’ and began operations in the Channel off the Isle of Wight. Sometimes a German Heinkel float plane landed nearby on a similar mission, and the two aircraft, watching each other suspiciously, would remain floating placidly on the sea until air battles started above. In the few months he was engaged on this air-sea rescue work Aitken picked up 35 British and German airmen."
    http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/schol...-c10.html#n223
    Regards, Terry

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    Default Re: Flt Lt R.F. Digger Aitken & Walrus 1940

    Brian, Does this help: "R. F. Aitken, then a flight lieutenant. It was while stationed at Gosport as an instructor in June 1940 that Aitken conceived the idea of employing amphibian aircraft to retrieve pilots from the sea; the suggestion meeting with the approval of his senior officers, he ‘scrounged a Walrus from the Fleet Air Arm’ and began operations in the Channel off the Isle of Wight. Sometimes a German Heinkel float plane landed nearby on a similar mission, and the two aircraft, watching each other suspiciously, would remain floating placidly on the sea until air battles started above. In the few months he was engaged on this air-sea rescue work Aitken picked up 35 British and German airmen."
    http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/schol...-c10.html#n223
    Regards, Terry
    Apologies for this second post. Please delete.

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