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Thread: F/Lt Gerald Russell 'Reg' Dickson RNZAF 405261

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    Default F/Lt Gerald Russell 'Reg' Dickson RNZAF 405261

    Hello everyone,
    Could anyone please help with which OTU 'Reg' Dickson trained on in September, 1941 before posting to 124, 609 sqns in the UK. He then went to Malta with 601 sqn.
    He was shot down in Spitfire Vb, BP960 and was taken to hospital,
    In 1943 was with 129 sqn when on 14-7-43 on Ramrod 133/1 was shot down in Spitfire IX, MA596 by the French/Belgian border. He evaded through France/Spain to Gibratar and was MID and promoted for his efforts.
    In 1944 while with 129 sqn on Mustang III's claimed 2 V-1 and damaged 1 Fw190. Does anyone have details of these claims please.
    Thank you,
    Roy

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    Default G.R. Dickson

    Hi Roy

    According to my 'Diver! Diver! Diver! (Grub Street), Dickson was credited with a V-1 shared on 28/7/44 and another on 11/8/44.

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Default GR Dickson

    Hello Brian,
    Thanks for that, Will have to put the book on my wish list.
    Roy

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    hello,

    I have his Evasion report (WO 208/3315 report 1408). In front of the O.T.U. is written "Not at O.T.U.".

    Perhaps Errol could answer.

    He came down "north-west of Rouen", and I wouldn't pin-point that "by the French/Belgian Border"...

    I can add that he was posted to 609 in November 1941, as confirmed by the Squadron ORB :

    November saw the long feared departure of 609 from Biggin Hill and 11 Group - to Digby. It left, not as a tired Squadron of declining morale - as other Squadrons leave - but with the pilots still at the top of their form, and with an aggregate experience which has seldom, if ever, been exceeded. [...] November saw the beginning of Fighter Commands winter programme: the elimination of alcohol distilleries and electrical transformer stations by fighters and fighter-escorted bomber Hurricanes, and 609 took part in several of these missions. The rest of the programme, of course, was training. That began before the Squadron left Biggin, and continued on an intensive scale when it reached Digby, when new pilots began to be sent to it for that very purpose, while older pilots became bolder and bolder at night. During the month the Squadron lost the services of Lt Choron (French), but regained those of Sgt - now Flight Sgt - Hughes-Rees, DFM Two New Zealand pilots, Sgt’s Dickson and McConnell - were added to it. And at last, during November, 609 received its crest, with its motto "Tally Ho!” the occasion being marked by the visit of the Squadron's founder and first CO, Air Commodore Peake. On the eve of the Squadron's departure this same high Officer entertained past and present members of the Squadron to a dinner party at the Savoy. But the Squadron did not much like Digby.

    More precisely : Nov. 20 Continued fog keeps 609 pilots at Biggin, and 411 at Digby. Meanwhile the airmen report their quarters are filthy and overcrowded, the Engineer Officer reports there are practically no facilities for maintenance, the Orderly Room are unable to type such things as P.O.R.s because the typewriters are also coming by air. Two New Zealand pilots choose this moment to be posted to the Squadron (at Biggin) from OTU - Sgt’s Dickson and McConnell.

    So can someone confirm the initial posting to 124 ?

    Posted away in April 1942 :

    April 5 [...] it is learnt later that at 17.44 Sgt’s Blanco and Dickson have been Scrambled from Duxford - 'Bury St Edmunds 10,000 feet.' 'B' Flight has at the moment just 5 pilots, Sgt Dickson being later today sent away to 601 to join his buddy McConnell from NZ - a sacrificial act of charity on the part of the CO. Readiness for 'B' Flight now becomes an all day affair, and even night flying is arranged, but mercifully cancelled - especially as the Adj has gone to Cambridge with the night flying cards in his pocket. Despite the pilot shortage, the usual demands for the morrow roll in from different sources, and it seems 609 is considered a sort of candle, which however much consumed, never wasteth away.

    Hope this helps a little anyway...

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 21st April 2009 at 18:56.

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    Roy/Joss,

    McConnell did not surivive the war and appears in my 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Three: Biographies & Appendices)':

    McCONNELL, Sergeant Jack Nock.
    NZ405293; b Gisborne 5 Jan 21; Gisborne HS; cadet/messenger - P & T Dept, Gisborne. NZ Army/TF 18 mths; RNZAF Levin/GTS as Airman Pilot u/t 22 Dec 40, 1EFTS 8 Feb 41, emb for Canada 29 Apr 41, att RCAF 14 May 41, 34SFTS RAF [did not fly at] 16 May 41, 32SFTS RAF 27 May 41, Pilots Badge & Sgt 8 Aug 41, 1 Y Depôt c.16 Aug 41, att RAF & emb for UK 20 Aug 41, 3PRC 15 Sep 41, 61OTU (Spitfire) 30 Sep 41, 609 Sqn (Spitfire) 12 Nov 41, 601 Sqn (Spitfire) 5 Apr 42, Digby 10 Apr 42, emb with Sqn on escort carrier USS Wasp for Malta c.13 Apr 42, flew a Spitfire off Wasp in Med for Malta 20 Apr 42, c/ldg after combat (uninj) 4 [5?] May 42, wdd in combat 18 May 42, 'to Gibraltar 3 June' 42 [in connection with Spitfires flown off Eagle in Med to Malta on 9 Jun?; also flew with 126 Sqn (Spitfire) on Malta?], kao 15 Jun 42. Malta Memorial - Panel 5, Column 2. Son of Thomas & Irene Nelly McConnell (née Nock), Gisborne. Note: credited with 1 e/a dest, 3 prob, 1 dam & 1 shared dam. [OHT3 - but refer also fate entry footnote FYT1 p124].

    He enlisted on the same day as Dickson and they sailed for Canada and SFTS training on the same day also. It seems highly likely therefore that Dickson also came to 609 Sqn from 61 OTU.

    Could '124' by a corruption of 129 Sqn and in the wrong sequence in Roy's first post?

    Dickson also appears in Colin Hanson's 'By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999':

    DICKSON, Flight Lieutenant George Russell, mid.
    NZ405261; Born Riverton, 2 Mar 1920; RNZAF 22 Dec 1940 to 11 Nov 1945; Pilot.
    Citation Mention in Despatches (14 Jun 1945): For meritorious service. In 1941 operated with 609 Sqn (Spitfire) and during Apr 1942 flew a Spitfire off the deck of USS WASP to Malta. Member of the ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Late Arrivals’ Clubs. On 14 Jul 1943, while serving with 129 Sqn RAF (Spitfire), shot down at Barentin, near the France/Belgium border and, after sheltering with a French family, made his way across France to Gibraltar. He arrived in Gibraltar on 13 Sep 1943. In 1953 the French lady who had given shelter to many British airmen, and who had taken Flt Lt Dickson to Paris to start him on his way through the French Underground, was awarded the George Medal.

    Errol

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    Default GR Dickson

    Hello Errol and Joss,
    Thanks to both of you for the information. I am surprised at his first name being George not Gerald.
    As I also have an interest in Jack McConnell you have given me more leads.
    Thanks gents,
    Roy

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    Hello Roy et al,

    Re:Dickson & Evasion.

    Two Frenchwomen were awarded the George Medal for their Resistance work in WW2.

    Mlle. Jeanette de GAUTHIER, operated from Feb to Sept '44, so can be discounted.

    The details for the other recipient, are as follows:-

    Honorary Awards (of The George Medal) to Foreign Nationals.

    Name and rank/position: Leblanc de Choissay, Capt. Laura.
    Nationality: French.
    Organisation: French Women's Service.
    Action: Resistance work - courier and controller (Imprisoned and tortured).
    Place: France.
    Date of Incident: June '41 to July '44.
    Date of approval: 30 July, 1947.

    See:
    Dragons can be Defeated: A Complete Record of the George Medal's Progress from 1940 to 1983.
    Henderson,D.V. GM. Major (Retd.).
    n.p: Spink & Son Ltd.,1984.
    p.103

    Maybe our 'French Section' could comment?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd April 2009 at 10:39. Reason: minor correction

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    Default GR Dickson

    G'day Digger,
    Thanks for that, every little helps.
    Joss could you please e-mail me regarding Dickson's Evasion Report.
    Thank you all,
    Roy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Nixon View Post
    Hello everyone,
    In 1944 while with 129 sqn on Mustang III's claimed 2 V-1 and damaged 1 Fw190. Does anyone have details of these claims please.
    Hello Roy,

    There are 4 combat reports with Dicksons name on the Nataional Archives DocumentsOnline (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/ww2aircombat.asp). Search for Dickson and 129 Sqn.
    The reports are from following dates 28 July 1944 (2 reports), 11 August 1944 and 25 September 1944. The first 2 dates are the same as Brian mentions for the V-1 claims but the last can be the date for the claim of 1 damaged FW190. If you want to download this document the cost is £3,50.

    Cheers
    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    ,

    Maybe our 'French Section' could comment?

    Col.
    Hello Col,

    Sorry I'm not able to add anything to this, definitively not my research area, and the subject of escaping line can be very dfficult to research properly. For example, the two pages of G.R. DICKSON's are mostly about his first day in France. He made contact with the organisation on the 17th. The last sentence is exactly : "[...] was put in contact with another woman who helped to arrange my subsequent journey for me." He reached Gibraltar on 17th September.

    Joss

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