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Thread: Clostermann meets Beurling ?

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    Default Clostermann meets Beurling ?

    Hi guys

    I expect many of you have a copy of, or at least read, Pierre Clostermann's FLAMES IN THE SKY, which was originally published in 1952, in which he wrote of an encounter with Screwball Beurling at CGS Catfoss in 1944. Closterman was quite specific:

    "I met S/Ldr George Beurling DSO DFC DFM and Bar, for the first time at Catfoss at the end of July 1944."

    Firstly, as far as I am aware, Beurling was in Canada the whole of 1944, and was not a squadron leader. Clostermann goes on to say that Beurling was publicly 'ticked off' in his presence by the station commander Grp Capt Sailor Malan. He also says that he became pals with the US ace Richard Bong while at Catfoss.

    From what I have learned of Beurling's post-Malta movements is that he was at CGS Sutton Bridge in mid 1943 as an instructor, and back in Canada by early 1944.

    So, did Clostermann meet Beurling at Sutton Bridge in mid-1943, not Catfoss in mid-1944? Where does Malan come into the equation? Was he at Sutton Bridge in 1943? Was Bong in the UK at all? Or was Clostermann name-dropping to make a good story?

    Very interesting, don't you think? I would appreciate comments.

    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 12th November 2008 at 17:05.

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    Brian,
    I dont know whether this will help you but I recently read a book called "COMBAT READY!" by Alastair Goodrum, all about air combat and air gunnery training at RAF Sutton Bridge on the borders of Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Alas, I can not remember reading Clostermans name but do recall the following: Station Commander Sailor Malan, Spitfire ace and Central Gunnery School Chief Flying Instructor Allan Wright (who helped Sailor Malan form the CGS), Flying Instructors: Al Deere, "Wimpy" Wade, Bob Dafforn, Jamie Rankin and Canadian "Screwball" Beurling.
    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 12th November 2008 at 16:32. Reason: adding a name

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    Default Buzz Beurling

    G'day Chaps

    Buzz Beurling arrived back in Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia) on the 8th of May, 1944.

    You might be interested in knowing that while at Sutton Bridge, Buzz had three flying accidents.

    Cheers..Chris

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    Default Clostermann meets Beurling?

    Thanks Chris

    Just sent you a PM.

    I wonder if Clostermann and Beurling met prior to May 1944?


    Cheers
    Brian

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    Brian,
    Further to my earlier post. First a correction, Sailor Malan was the CO of the CGS not CO of RAF Sutton Bridge. He was at Sutton Bridge just long enough to set up the CGS from Apr 42 to Jul 42 he then went on to become a Station Commander in the South of England. Screwball Beurling was at Sutton Bridge Apr43 to Jul43 - 3 months or less. Sutton Bridge had a fighter wing and a bomber wing (Wellingtons). The CGS moved out to RAF Catfoss, Yorkshire in Mar44. I have not been able to find any evidence of Clostermann serving at Sutton Bridge though he could easily have flown in for a visit. I understand the former Bull Hotel at Long Sutton was the flyers drinking hole.
    Norman

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    Brian Nolan's "Hero" has some material on this pps 92-93. Don't have time right now, but will transcribe later. But CGS Sutton Bridge possibly as early as around May or June 1943.

    Edit: Following meeting King George VI at Buckingham Palace to receive his various awards won on Malta, he was then posted to the RAF's Central Gunnery School at Sutton Bridge. Only other pilot mentioned is F/Lt Robert Buckham... Had 3 accidents "in as many months".

    Sworn in to RCAF 1 September 1943
    Last edited by AdrianR8; 13th November 2008 at 09:06.
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Hi Brian
    Take a look at http://usfighter.tripod.com/bong.htm which seems to indicate that Bong spent his operational career in the Pacific Theatre and was not put to training until fairly late. It might suggest that the encounter between him and Clostermann at Catfoss was ,at least, unlikely in 1944.
    From your quote of his book it might be interesting to find out where Clostermann met Beurling for the second time!!
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 13th November 2008 at 13:28.

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    Default Screwball!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick View Post
    it might be interesting to find out where Clostermann met Beurling for the second time!!
    Perhaps it was on one of his sorties against the Munsterland ...

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