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Thread: A.O.J. Goldsmith

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    Default A.O.J. Goldsmith

    Can anyone here please tell me any details of a Mr A.O.J. Goldsmith?

    He was British born. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve shortly before the war and went straight in to the RAF when war broke out, to complete his flying training, aged 19. He then went to Bomber Command where he apparently flew 30 missions, some quite hairy, before being posted to Transport Command.

    He initially flew the de Havilland DH95 Flamingo, and later flew the Dakote and the Avro York among other types. In Transport Command he had more scares than Bomber command apparently.

    He was awarded a DFC, and also Africa Star, Europe Star, and Atlantic Star I believe, maybe others too.

    If anyone has further info on this gentleman I'd be keen to hear. I met him today as he lives in my town, but he's not too well at all and so I didn't press him too hard for details and stories as he's 90. But I wonder if there are many Flamingo pilots out there still alive. he reckoned it was a great aircraft to fly only they developed trouble with their tail assemblies he said, and bits used to fall off.

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    Hello,

    I'm quite interested in the DH95 Flamingo, for one of the pilots I'm researching (Squadron Leader Herbert Pilling) flew them in 1939-40, when he was flying with No. 24 Squadron. He was posted away on 5th May and arrived at No. 107 Squadron in June, to be killed in action on the 30th.

    I'm away from my archives, but I recently posted messages on a French discussion board about them, for Général De Gaulle used one to leave France on 17th June 1940.

    In 1940, No. 24 Squadron had four of them. The first one was Flamingo F-AFUE previoulsy belongting to Jersey airways, "impressed" and delivered to No. 24 Squadron at Hendon on 21st October 1939. She initially flew with this civilian code but later on she was known as T5357 (recorded in December 1939, but I still have to find the exact date when the switch was done. She was damaged beyong repair on 4th October 1940.

    The second was X9317 previously G-AFUF, "impressed" in March 1940 et Struck Off Charge on 8th October 1942. But this date quoted from Air-Britain book is probably an administrative date, for I've seen that Flamingo already flying with the Squadron from 23rd January 1940, if I read correctly.

    R2764 arrived on 3rd April 1940 and R2765 arrived on 2nd May 1940 "for the use of the Air Council".

    There's another one, previously used by the King, ex G-AGCC, which became R2766.

    I don't know this machine was posted to No. 24 Squadron, but IMHO it wasn't before July or August 1940. R2766 later served with Metropolitan Communication Squadron, and was eventually transfered to the Admiralty on 10th March 1945.

    I'd be interested in any details you may collect, indeed confirm if he flew with No. 24 Squadron, and the period he flew Flamingos (Flamingoes, plural like Mosquitos/oes ?) ?

    Regards

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,

    Following your reply I decided to give Mr Goldsmith a call this morning. He confirmed that he was in No. 24 Squadron RAF early in the war, and he said that he flew Winston Churchill across to Frane in a Flamingo during the period before the Battle of France. Apparently Churchill had his own personal aircraft on the squadron, he said, which was kitted out with four large leather armchairs and a drinks cabinet for his brandy bottle. I assume this was afetr he became PM (or would First Lord of the Admiralty have been a position that also warrant a personal aircraft?).

    Sadly he said he still has his logbook but has no idea where. He has moved home several times around the world and he said since he moved into his tiny flat, lots of stuff has remained in boxes. He's very frail, and has trouble walking even with a walking frame so I did not press him to go rummaging because I doubt he's up to it. Though he welcomed the interest in his career and especially in the DH Flamingo, he felt he was not up to talking in too much detail about his RAF career. I had hoped to interview him but he declined, which is fine by me.

    Another thing he said was the RAF had a few VIP versions and the rest were troop carriers. And he said later in the war many of the Flamingoes were sold to Egypt.

    I would suggest that if you want to persue this further, email me at dave_daasnz@hotmail.com and I'll pass on his details. You might like to write to him, or phone him, as he will proibably be able to answer questions about your man Herbert Pillling.

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    Hello Dave

    I'll contact you by e-mail as suggested.

    Joss

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    Sounds a very interesting man... If you find out more would love to see it.
    Dee

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    Out of interest, did No. 24 Squadron use its Flamingo transports to help in the evacuation of France in mid-1940? Or were they kept well out of it?

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