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Thread: G/C D.F. Anderson (Ferry Command)

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    Default G/C D.F. Anderson (Ferry Command)

    Trying to locate some biographical details on Group Captain David F. Anderson. He was Ferry Command's CO at Gander, Newfoundland. Only one reference in "Ocean Bridge." Any help/suggestions appreciated. Thanks! Darrell

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    Is this the man ?

    ANDERSON, David Forgham, F/O (15016) - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 11 June 1924 and reported in Aeroplane of 16 July 1924 (which carries a long despatch on operations), "for distinguished service rendered during the operations in Kurdistan between 15th February to 19th June 1923". Born 20 March 1896. Commissioned in RAF as of 1 April 1918. Postwar commission as Flying Officer, 10 April 1921 with seniority from 1 April 1918; posted to School of Technical Training (Men), for instruction, 10 April 1921. To No.1 Squadron, Iraq, 4 October 1921. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 January 1927. Posted to No.2 Wing Headquarters, India, 6 December 1928. As of 24 October 1931 he was posted to No.27 Squadron, Kohut, India; F/L D.F. Anderson, DFC posted to No.22 (Bombing) Squadron, Martlesham Heath, 6 July 1933 to be test pilot. Competing in MacRobertson Air Race of 1934, he was described in Aeroplane, 17 October as having been the personal pilot to the Viceroy of India of India and had flown the Under Secretary of State for Air (Sir Philip Sasson) from India to Singapore and back. Promoted Squadron Leader, 1 February 1936. Promoted from Wing Commander to Group Captain, 1 June 1941. Retired 26 April 1946. Public Record Office Air 30/58 (provided courtesy of Anne Sadler) has the following on his DFC:

    For his keenness and devotion to duty whilst flying during operations. Under very adverse conditions and over difficult country he cooperated successfully with a land column in the Mosul area.

    ANDERSON, David Forgham, F/L, DFC - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 5 April 1929; reported in Aeroplane dated 10 April 1929, "in recognition of distinguished services rendered .during the recent evacuation from Kabul". Invested with award by the King, Buckingham Palace, 27 February 1934. Public Record Officer Air 30/79-1-16 has the following submission:

    Eight evacuation flights were carried out by this officer. Owing to engine trouble he was forced on one occasion to remain at Kabul for five nights. This trouble was overcome by hard work and ingenuity under the most difficult conditions and with a full load he eventually returned to Peshawar. On the second occasion he was forced to remain at Kabul owing to the depth of the snow, and his work in clearing the aerodrome rendered possible the subsequent landing of the Victorias and the continuation next day of the evacuation.

    NOTE: Aeroplane of 9 October 1929 reports publication of Command Paper 3400 dated 7 October 1929. The paper was divided into two sections (1) a copy of a letter from His Excellency the Commander in Chief in India to the Secretary to the Government of India, Army Department, dated Simla, 21 April 1929 and (2) a report by Sir John W.G.H. Salmond, KCB, KCMG, DSO, Air Officer Commanding, RAF (India) on the Kabul Evacuations. These documents covered air operations in Afghanistan, 12 December 1928 to 25 February 1929. Excerpts:

    2. These operations, as will be seen, were carried out with complete success in exceedingly difficult and dangerous conditions. On several occasions the machines flying to or over the British Legation were fired upon, and in one case a machine was compelled to descend. The climate conditions and the nature of the terrain added very greatly to these difficulties and dangers. The whole series of operations were carried out with a skill and gallantry that reflect the utmost credit upon the officers and other ranks of the Royal Air Force engaged in them. They were not, however, strictly speaking, military operations; and I propose therefore that neither the report of the Air Officer Commanding not this letter should be regarded as a military despatch.

    3. I fully concur in the observations of the Air Officer Commanding in paragraphs 2 to 6 and Appendix "A" of Part IV of his report. Of the officers and other ranks mentioned in the Appendix, the services of the following have already been recognized by the grant of the decorations above their names: - The Air Force Cross - Squadron Leader R.S. Maxwell, MC, DFC; Flight Lieutenant D.F. Anderson, DFC; Flight Lieutenant R. Ivelaw-Chapman, DFC; Flying Officer R.H. Anness; Flying Officer C.W.L. Trusk; The Air Force Medal - 358520 Leading Aircraftsman G. Donaldson.

    Where all have done so well it is difficult to single out any further names for special commendation. I desire, however, to record my high appreciation of the services of the Air Officer Commanding, Air Vice-Marshal Sir W.G.H. Salmond, KCB, KCMG, DSO, whose capable administration of the Royal Air Force in India during the last two years is amply demonstrated by the smoothness and efficiency with which the force carried out its strenuous and unprecedented task; and Group Captain Sir R. Brooke-Popham, KCB, CMG, DSO, AFC, Air Officer Commanding Iraq, for the promptitude with which the Victoria aircraft wee mobilized and despatched to this country.

    Aeroplane of 8 February 1953 had a story under the heading "The RAF's First Air Lift" which explains the operation more:

    Twenty-five years ago the first major air lift in the history of aviation took place. Starting on December 23, 1928 and lasting until February 25, 1929, the Royal Air Force evacuated from Kabul, 586 people of various nationalities during the inter-tribal disturbances in Afghanistan. The operation was the first practical demonstration of the use of aircraft for an emergency transport task where no other means could be employed.

    In 1916 the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service had pioneered supply-dropping techniques to support the besieged garrison of Kut, Mesopotamia, and after the first War, the RAF was quick to appreciate the value of large transport aircraft. Bomber-transport squadrons, formed in 1920 for use overseas, did invaluable work in support of various military operations.

    Disturbances in Afghanistan started in November 1928 with a rebellion by the Shinwari tribe. Rebels advanced on Kabul, and by December 14 the British legation as cut off from the city, and shells and bullets were falling in its grounds. Meanwhile, the RAF had reinforced the two-seat bombers stationed at Peshawar with Vickers Victoria troop carriers from the Iraq Command. Between December 18 and 22, reconnaissance flights were made over Kabul, but ground signals from the Legation indicated that all was well.

    On December 22, a message from the British Minister asked for the evacuation of women and children to start the next day. On December 23, one Victoria, a Wapiti and three DH.9s flew to Kabul, returning with 23 women and children from the Legation. On Christmas Eve, 28 more passengers were flown out, and by the end of the month all the women and children from the various Legations had been evacuated.

    As the rebellion developed it was considered advisable for the remaining Legation staffs to leave. The RAF transport force was increased to eight Victorias and one Handley-Page Hinaidi, and by February 25 the operation was complete. The last aircraft carried the British Minister, Sir Francis Humphrey.

    In all, 586 passengers and 24.193 pounds of baggage were flown out of Kabul. The aircraft flew 86 trips, covering 24,000 miles. Other journeys connected with the operation brought the total milage up to 57,438. The aircraft had regularly crossed mountains averaging 10,000 feet during one of the severest winters on record, flying over difficult terrain offering little opportunity for making a successful forced landing. The operation was a remarkable demonstration of RAF mobility.

    One Victoria force-landed in Afghanistan with engine failure caused by ice in the carburettors. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant R. Ivelaw-Chapman, DFC (now Air Chief Marshal Sir Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman, KCB, KBE, DFC, AFC, Vice-Chief of the Air Staff) skilfully landed the aircraft on a small, boulder-strewn plateau about 60 yards square near the village of Sorabi, with only superficial damage.

    It proved impossible to fly the aircraft out again. Local tribesmen proved friendly, and after an adventurous three weeks travelling on horseback, by road (with 22 people in a small van made to carry 12), and finally by air, Flight Lieutenant Ivelaw-Chapman reached the Legation at Kabul.

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    Thanks Mr. Halliday. That's very likely the man in question as I just found a note in my files confirming that the G/C Anderson at Gander was a holder of the AFC and DFC. This info is much appreciated. Darrell

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