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Thread: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

  1. #11
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    Brian

    If I read the Wiki link correctly the references to the rescue of at least 35 airmen are based on two publications:

    1. Mitchell, Alan W. (1945). New Zealanders in the Air War. London, United Kingdom: George G. Harrap & Co
    and
    2. Pearson, Simon; Gorman, Ed (2020). Battle of Britain: The Pilots and Planes That Made History. London, United Kingdom: Hodder & Stoughton

    In the apparent absence any RAF/Admiralty document on the matter I strongly suspect that Pearson has used Mitchell's 1945 account as his reference. There are a number of copies of this available on the internet for between 5 and 12, for example
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/NEW-ZEALAND.../dp/B0007JAMV6

    While I doubt this will include the names you seek it might provide a reference for Mitchell's claim of 35 rescues.

    Please do not misunderstand me, I am not trying to say the 35 rescues never occurred, I am sure some did, but experience has taught me never to accept statements at face value unless there is a prime reference.

    The link to the 2007 RAF Historical Society Journal (my #5) is https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...Journal-40.pdf. By coincidence I happen to know one of the contributors, Wg Cdr Jeff Jefford (page 34), one of the most meticulous of researchers of official records, as anyone who has read his Observers and Navigators & other non-pilot aircrew in the RFC, RNAS and RAF would testify, and even he appears to have no knowledge of this episode.

    My apologies if you've already gone down this road, but you've given us no indication of what sources you have used and I would hate to be going over ground already covered.

    Brian
    Hello,

    Please read the following:

    http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=43125

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 23rd January 2022 at 22:47.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Hi guys

    Brian - the fact that the latest official ASR publications give no mention to Aitken's exploits, is what I'm complaining about!

    David - I meant Doug Gow is a fellow New Zealander - I thought that you may know him!

    Col - Not much progress since then, so thought I'd try RAF Commands!

    Thanks again
    Stay safe
    Brian

  3. #13
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Brian
    I agree with you that it is highly unlikely that an airman just took a plane back in 1940, and flew it on his own. I would believe such semi official flights could happen later in the war, say in the MTO, but not on the Isles. I assume, perhaps wrongly, that Walruses were at hands of the RN, were not they? Thus it could be one of the FAA Sqns was responsible, but their records were decimated, it seems. As to keeping the records, certainly there were, but lots were destroyed or went missing. It is not unusual that it is problematic to establish combat flights of Wing Commanders, not necessarily mentioned in relevant ORBs. Some records of detachments also went missing, perhaps not returned or attached to parent ORBs.
    I would bet that there is some mention in the paperwork held by TNA, Group ORB perhaps? Some clue might be in the records concerning Isle of Wight airfield - the choice is rather small.
    https://wight.hampshireairfields.co.uk/som.html#
    BTW Have you tried to obtain his personal file from the MoD?
    Franek
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Hi Franek

    Good to hear from you.

    I have now been able to establish that Aitken's unit was simply Gosport Station Flight, but unable to find any record for it during this period (extracted from his personal file ex MoD)

    Take care
    Stay safe
    Brian

  5. #15
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Am I the only one who has doubts on this story ?

  6. #16
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Brian
    Then you need to check if there was any Walrus attached to the Station Flight. I am afraid, that if records of the unit are not attached to the ORB then they are gone.
    Franek
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by brian View Post

    I have now been able to establish that Aitken's unit was simply Gosport Station Flight, but unable to find any record for it during this period (extracted from his personal file ex MoD)
    Have you checked the following records at Kew

    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C4098318
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C4098319
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C4098320

    As an aside the ORB for No.3 Squadron shows F/O R F Aitken 39839 posted to the Squadron from 5 OTU on 18/11/1940

    Chris

  8. #18
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Hello,
    Have been looking through "FAA Aircraft 1939 - 1945 and came across the following Aircraft.

    L2206,
    Station Flight Mildenhall - September 40
    and
    Station Flight Stradishall - November 40

    L2246,
    Station Flight Mount Batten - August 40
    and
    Station Flight Lindholme - September 40

    L2315,
    GCF dett Hooton Park August 40.

    Alex

  9. #19
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Hi guys
    Thanks for further contributions.

    Cozzy - I have a copy of Gosport ORB (useless!) but not the Appendices you mention. Unable to get to TNA and the records referred to have not been digitalised.

    Paul - why??

    "We don't know what we don't know"

    Take care
    Brian

  10. #20
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    Default Re: ASR Walrus 1940 South Coast

    Col,

    My apologies for not acknowledging your #11. I strongly suspect that was taken from Alan Mitchell's, New Zealanders in the Air War, published in 1945 which looks very much like an anecdotal account.

    Brian

    I'm unsure what you mean by the fact that the latest official ASR publications give no mention to Aitken's exploits, is what I'm complaining about!
    in your #12
    . By 'official ASR publications' are you referring to the link I provided to the Royal Air Force Historical Society (https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...urnal-40.pdf)? This is actually a report of a discussion on the history of ''Search and Rescue' held at the RAF Museum, Hendon, on 11 October 2006, not an official ASR publication.

    The reason Atkin's exploits are not recognised is almost certainly that not only was he operating under his own initiative, but at the time there was no Air/Sea Rescue Organisation as you imagine it, but a rather ad hoc system based on pre-war conditions whereby naval and RAF Marine units were alerted to missing airmen and conducted searches as appropriate. It was only when over 220 airmen were posted as missing or killed over the English Channel during the last three weeks of July 1940 that AOC 11 Group and Vice-Admiral Dover organised a local rescue service using light naval craft and RAF launches plus some Lysanders from the Army Co-operation Command. (Since Aitkin had no connection with 11 Group I doubt very much that anyone was aware of his activities.)

    It was the 11 Group/Dover initiative that led to the formation of the Directorate of Air/Sea Rescue Services in February 1941 and, eventually, the addition of seaplanes to the organisation - and ASR as you think of it. I've done a lot of abbreviation here but this is all covered in the first item of the discussion.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 29th January 2022 at 19:01.

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