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Thread: Long Distance Wellesley Flight

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    Default Long Distance Wellesley Flight

    On the 5/11/38 , the wellesley made history in the above flight , led by S.L KELLETT,
    THE OTHER first pilots were H A V HOGAN, AND AN CROMBIE , did each aircraft carry another pilot if so , does anyone have their names , or the full crew list.
    again i thank all in advance

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    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1938/1938%20-%202030.html?search=Wellesleys&tracked=1
    Flight magazine JULY 14, 1938

    Crews of the four machines were as follows, pilot, navigator and radio operator being given in that order in each case:—
    L.2638.—Sqn. Ldr. R. Kellett, Fit. Lt. R. T. Gething, P/O. M. L. Gaine.
    L.2639.—Fit. Lt. H. A. V. Hogan, F/O. R. G. Musson, Fit. Sgt. T. D. Dixon.
    L.2680.—Fit. Lt. A. N. Combe, Fit. Lt. B. K. Burnett, Sgt. H. B. Gray.
    L.2681.—Fit. Lt. P. H. Dunn, Fit. Lt. A. T. D. Sanders, Sgt. B. N. Phillips.

    Photo of same:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1938/1938%20-%203167.html?search=gaine&tracked=1

    Search for Wellesleys or any of those crew names above for 1938 and 1939 in the Flight archvies:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Also run them through the London Gaette 1938 & 1939
    http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34620/pages/2830
    Gazette Issue 34620 published on the 28 April 1939. Page 8 of 88

    Air Ministry,
    28th April, 1939.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following rewards: —
    (1) to the undermentioned personnel of the Royal Air Force Long Range Development
    Unit in recognition of services rendered as members of the crews of two aircraft which,
    having flown non-stop from Ismailia to Port Darwin on 5th-7th November, 1938, established
    a world's long-distance record: —
    Air Force Cross.
    Squadron Leader Richard KELLETT.
    Squadron Leader Andrew Nicholson COMBE.
    Squadron Leader Brian Kenyon BURNETT.
    Flight Lieutenant Richard Templeton GETHING.
    Pilot Officer Maurice Larwood GAINE.
    Air Force Medal.
    561238.Sergeant Hector Bertram GRAY.
    (2) to the undermentioned officer of the Royal Australian Air Force for services rendered as
    Liaison Officer attached to the Royal Air Force Long Range Development Unit while it was in
    Australia: —
    Air Force Cross.
    Flight Lieutenant Patrick George HEFFERNAN.
    Dennis Burke
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    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Likely names for the others are:


    Rowland Gascoigne MUSSON
    Killed in 1943
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2441692

    Gazette Issue 34978 published on the 25 October 1940. Page 3 of 36
    Squadron Leader Henry Algernon Vickers HOGAN (26181).
    This officer has led his squadron with distinction.
    Sixty-nine hostile aircraft have been destroyed and many others damaged. Three of this number were destroyed by Squadron Leader Hogan personally.

    F/Sgt T D Dixon might be Killed on Active Service in 1940
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2721640
    Thomas David Dixon 562485

    H B Gray was commishioned and died as a POW
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2815228

    http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34903/pages/4531
    Gazette Issue 34903 published on the 23 July 1940. Page 29 of 76
    Sergeants,
    1st Apr. 1940.
    561238 Hector Bertram GRAY (44661).
    Dennis Burke
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    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Patrick Hunter Dunn 34018 is likely to be the other pilot.
    Survived the war.
    Obituary: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article451475.ece

    Arthur Thomas Drake Sanders
    killed 1941
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2940857

    Bernard Norman Phillips migh tbe the last man,
    promoted in 1941
    died 1944
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2709881
    although that airman was piplot grade at that stage.
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 23rd August 2010 at 11:02. Reason: Added Obituary for Dunn
    Dennis Burke
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    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    From data base of interwar awards:

    BURNETT, Brian Kenyon, S/L (36010) - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered as aircrew in connection with the RAF Development Unit which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938; three Vickers Wellesley aircraft flew from Ismailia to Port Darwin. Born 10 March 1913. Promoted to Flying Officer, 27 December 1933. Promoted from Squadron Leader to Wing Commander, 1 June 1941. Awarded DFC, 27 January 1942 as Wing Commander, No.51 Squadron. Confirmed as Wing Commander (War Substantive), 1 February 1942. Attained rank of Air Chief Marshal, 7 October 1967. Retired 1 March 1972.

    * * * * *

    COMBE, Andrew Nicholson, S/L (26258) - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered as aircrew in connection with the RAF Development Unit which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938; three Vickers Wellesley aircraft flew from Ismailia to Port Darwin. Born 7 July 1911. Educated at Rugby and entered Cranwell in 1930. Commissioned 23 July 1932. Posted to Calshot for a flying boat and navigation course and then to No.201 (Flying Boat) Squadron, 19 March 1933 (Pilot Officer at the time). Promoted Flying Officer, 23 January 1934. To No.203 (Flying Boat) Squadron, Basrah, 5 March 1934. Listed in crew of Singapore K4582, one of three flown to Basrah, September 1935 (Aeroplane, 11 September 1935). ; Took an Armament Course at Eastchurch in 1936, then posted to No.11 Flying Training School for Armament duties. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, October 1936. Attained rank of Wing Commander, 1 October 1946. Retired 4 July 1948, reatining rank of Group Captain. For more on his award see entries for Gaine and Kellett. Public Record Office Air 2/4022 has recommendation by W/C O. R. Gayford. 7 February 1939 which read in part:

    "Flight Lieutenant A.N. Combe was the pilot of the third aircraft of the flight which was the second aeroplane to reach Darwin."

    * * * * *

    GAINE, Maurice Larwood, P/O (36120) - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered as aircrew in connection with the RAF Development Unit which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938; three Vickers Wellesley aircraft flew from Ismailia to Port Darwin. Born 24 October 1910 in Grimsby; home there; educated at Wintringham Grammar School. enlisted in RAF in 1926 as an apprentice wireless operator, passing out as a leading aircraftman in 1929. For the next six years he served as a wireless operator mechanic before in 1931 being selected for flying training. From 1932 he specialised in torpedo bombing and spent four years from 1933 with a Vickers Vildebeest squadron, No 36, based at Seletar, Singapore. During this time he also flew on operations on the North West Frontier of India. His nickname “Larry” came about through association with the popular Canadian boxer Larry Gains, who was Commonwealth heavyweight champion from 1931 to 1934. Gaine was himself a keen boxer. Commissioned in 1938. He participated in the remarkable two-day flight of Vickers Wellesley bombers that in 1938 broke the world long-distance record with a non-stop journey of 7,162 miles from Ismailia in Egypt to Darwin, Australia. This beat by 856 miles the previous record, which had been claimed by three Soviet aviators with a flight from Moscow over the polar route to San Jacinto, California, in July 1937. The three single-engined Wellesleys that took off from a specially lengthened runway at RAF Ismailia at 03.55 (GMT)on November 5, 1938, were part of the Long Range Development Flight to which Gaine had been posted the previous year. The first aircraft to feature the revolutionary and robust geodetic construction designed by Barnes Wallis, they were effectively standard machines, though modified to carry much extra fuel and lubricating oil to see them through their mammoth task. From Ismailia they flew across the north of Arabia, the Gulf, India, the Malayan peninsula and Borneo before the No 1 aircraft, of which Gaine was signals officer and relief pilot, touched down at Darwin at 04.00 (GMT) on November 7 after 48 hours and 5 minutes in the air. The No 2 aircraft was compelled to land at Koepang on Timor Island in the Dutch East Indies. For the two successful machines the feat was a tribute to the remarkable Bristol Pegasus engine. During the war he was a noted torpedo-bomber leader and was awarded the DSO. Died 19 April 2003. For more on his AFC award see entry for Kellett.

    * * * * *

    GETHING, Richard Templeton, F/L (05240) - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered as aircrew in connection with the RAF Development Unit which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938; three Vickers Wellesley aircraft flew from Ismailia to Port Darwin. Commissioned in Reserve of Officers as Pilot Officer on Probation, 15 March 1932; confirmed in rank, 15 March 1933. Appointed to a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force, 16 September 1933 (seniority from September 1932). Trained at No.5 Flying Training School, Sealand; then to Calshot (18 February 1934) for courses in navigation and flying boats. Promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer, 16 March 1934. To No.201 (Flying Boat) Squadron, Calshot, 15 September 1934; in May 1936 to School of Air Navigation, Manston; promoted Flight Lieutenant, October 1936. Promoted from Squadron Leader to Wing Commander, 11 March 1941. For more on his AFC see entries for Gaine and Kellett.

    * * * * *

    GRAY, Hector Bertram, Sergeant - Air Force Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered as aircrew in connection with the RAF Development Unit which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938; three Vickers Wellesley aircraft flew from Ismailia to Port Darwin. For more on this award see entries for Gaine and Kellett. Born 1911 at Gillingham, Kent. Enlisted at Cranwell as an apprentice, January 1927. Qualified as a Sergeant Pilot, 1936. Commissioned 1940. He was subsequently awarded a posthumous George Cross, 19 April 1946, for gallantry whilst a prisoner of the Japanese.

    * * * * *

    HEFFERMAN, Patrick George, F/L, Royal Australian Air Force - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered in connection with RAF Wellesley aircraft which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938, flying from Ismailia to Port Darwin; he was RAAF Liaison Officer attached to the RAF unit while it was in Australia. Public Record Office Air 2/4022 has recommendation by W/C O.R. Gayford, 7 February 1939.

    "This officer was the Liaison officer attached to the Unit while in Australia; he also commanded the flight of four Anson aircraft of the RAAF which carried the maintenance personnel of the LRDU [Long Range Development Unit] round Australia. His Unit flew in all an equivalent of two complete circuits of Australia.

    "I would like, if possible, to suggest to the Air Board in Melbourne that a recommendation for an Air Force Cross should be made for this officer."

    This was supported up to the level of Chief of the Air Staff, but on 1 March 1939 the Permanent Under Secretary for Air wrote to the Secretary of State for Air, saying in part:

    "I am a little doubtful about the award of the Air Force Cross to Flight Lieutenant Heffereman of the RAAF. This would be a friendly and acceptable gesture and there is much to be said for it, but the fact remains that his services were performed after the flight. No doubt the CAS is satisfied that this officer’s services required “exceptional devotion to duty”, and that they came up to the standard which has hitherto been set for this honour."

    This evidently led to reconsideration of the proposal, for on 13 March 1939 we find the Air Member fcr Personnel writing to the Chief of the Air Staff:

    "I am sorry that this has been delayed, but I have only just managed to get hold of Gayford, who has been on leave.

    "He tells me that during the eight weeks that the LRDU was in Australia, Hefferman led a unit of four Ansons of the RAAF 15,000 miles carrying the ground personnel of the Unit. This Anson Unit showed remarkable efficiency and never once delayed the departure of the LRDU. During the nine days during which the crew of the forced landed Wellesley were returning to Derby, Hefferman’s aircraft carried out at least one flight a day up to 200 miles radius, guiding the rescue party and dropping food and water for the crew. These flights were made over barren and uninhabited country and the chances of bringing off a successful forced landing in the event of engine failure were very small. Flight Lieutenant Hefferman took the majot share of all this flying himself.

    "Although I agree with Permanent Under Secretary that it is difficult to recommend this award in connection with the record breaking flight, seeing that the record was completed before Hefferman did anything, yet it was undoubtedly excellent work carrying [sic, “carried” ?] out under difficult conditions, and I think Hefferman displayed “exceptional devotion to duty” judged by any standards."

    * * * * *

    KELLETT, Richard, S/L (16177) - Order of the Sacred Treasure, 5th Class (Japan) - awarded as per London Gazette dated 8 June 1937; reported in Aeroplane of 7 July 1937; for services as an instructor to the Japanese Army Air Service. Born 24 October 1905 at East Stonehouse, Devon. Educated at Bedford Grammar School; to RAF College, 1923. Passed out of Cranwell in 1925; commissioned 31 July 1925 and posted that day to No.3 (Fighter) Squadron (Woodcock and Gamecocks, Upavon). Promoted to Flying Officer, 30 January 1927. He specialised in signals and on 30 September 1927 went to No.84 (Bomber) Squadron at Shaibah, Iraq for signals duties (Wapitis). Posted to No.30 (Bomber) Squadron, Mosul, 15 January 1929 as Signals Officer (Wapiti aircraft). On return to England in 1930 he attended the Long Engineering Course at Henlow (5 August 1930). Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 5 November 1930. Returned to Iraq, 4 October 1932 for Engineer duties at Aircraft Depot, Hinaidi. He was there for three years (including six months at Headquarters Iraq, Engineer Section, commencing 15 May 1935). On return to Britain posted to No.32 (Fighter) Squadron, Biggin Hill (1 November 1935, Bulldog and Gauntlet aircraft). Seconded to Japan for service with Imperial Japanese Army, 25 September 1936 to 22 May 1937; promoted Squadron Leader, 1 April 1937; appointed to command No.148 (Bomber) Squadron, Scampton, 9 June 1937. Assigned to Long Range Development Flight, 2 November 1937. To be Group Engineering Staff Officer, No.3 Group, 27 March 1939. Subsequently to command No.149 Squadron, Mildenhall (Wellingtons). He was one of the few to escape when his formation was attacked by Bf.109's during the daylight attack on Wilhelmshaven on 18 December 1939. This attack was one of those which ultimately led to Bomber Command to resort to night bombing. Awarded DFC, 16 January 1940 as Acting Wing Commander. Confirmed as Wing Commander, 1 March 1940. Promoted Group Captain and Acting Air Commodore, 1 March 1942. Awarded CBE, 1 January 1943. Part of the war he was a prisoner in Stalag Luft III. Confirmed in rank of Air Commodore, 1 January 1946. Mentioned in Despatches 7 January 1947. Retired 4 March 1946 on grounds of ill health. Died 3 January 1990.

    KELLETT, Richard, S/L - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 28 April 1939; reported in Aeroplane of 3 May 1939, for services rendered as aircrew in connection with the RAF Development Unit which established the World's Long Distance Record in November 1938; three Vickers Wellesley aircraft flew from Ismailia to Port Darwin, 7,158.7 miles in 48 hours (5-7 November 1938). See entry for Gaine. Public Record Office Air 2/4022 has recommendation by W/C O. R. Gayford. 7 February 1939 which read in part:

    "Squadron Leader Kellett was the leader of the flight; Flight Lieutenant R.T. Gething the senior navigator, and Pilot Officer M.L. Gaine the Signals officer of the Unit as well as Senior W/T operator. They were all the crew of the leading aircraft of the flight."

    The recommendation covered awards of five Air Force Crosses (Kellett, Gething, Gaine, Combe and Hefferman). The Air Member for Personnel wrote (13 February 1939):

    "I think the most equitable arrangement would be to give the AFC to the three occupants of the first aircraft, i.e. to Squadron Leader Kellett (pilot and leader of the flight), Flight Lieutenant Gething (navigator) and Pilot Officer Officer Gaine (wireless operator). I do not think it is possible to award one to Flight Lieutenant Combe without giving awards to each of the occupants of the aircraft, which I think would be rather excessive. Moreover, to pick on Combe for an award would rather look like favouring the officers vis-a-vis the airmen. If it is said that in simply giving awards to the occupants of the first aircraft we are decorating officers only and no airmen, the answer is that Gaine was an airman at the time the flight was formed but has since been commissioned."

    The Chief of the Air Staff wrote a long memo to the Permanent Under Secretary and the Secretary of State for Air (23 February 1939) which read, in part:

    "I have experienced considerable difficulty in this matter in making a recommendation to you which will, on the one hand, reward adequately the personnel of the Long Distance Development Unit and, at the same time, avoid over-doing the number of awards to be given, and possibly creating a precedent which might prove embarrassing on some occasion in the future.

    "I think it is not unfair to eliminate the crew of the aircraft which did not actually reach Australia. This leaves us with the crews of the other two aircraft (three in each).

    "Starting on the least possible basis, one might give a decoration only to the leader of the flight (Squadron Leader Kellett, who of course was the captain of his own particular aircraft, which reached Australia and is thr joint holder of the record according to the adjudication of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

    "As two aircraft actually reached Australia, I think it would be unfair to discriminate against the captain of the second aircraft (Flight Lieutenant Combe).

    "Considering the functions carried out by the other two members of the crew of each of these two aircraft, I find considerable difficulty in recommending that only the captains of these two aircraft should be rewarded, but if more than two flying awards are to be given I cannot see that it is possible to give less than six.

    "There is no doubt that this non-stop flight was a very considerable achievement, showing the highest qualities of skill, endurance and organisation, carried out at considerable risk to the personnel and resulting in added prestige to the Service, British aviation and the aircraft industry.

    "After a careful review of all of the above considerations, I have come to the conclusion that if there is any risk of our “over-doing” it by giving six flying awards, we are justified in doing so having regard to what was achieved, and I can see no alternative to either six or two, and this latter figure would, in my opinion, be “under-doing” it.

    "I therefore recommend that each member of the crew of the two record breaking aircraft should receive a flying award. This will mean five AFCs and one AFM (Sergeant H.B. Greay was the pilot/wireless operator in Flight Lieutenant Combe’s aircraft)."

    This was duly done. A recommendation for a BEM to 340503 Flight Sergeant S.E. Hefferman was supported and yet apparently not approved. Wing Commander Gayford’s submission said that he was:

    "...the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Flight, whose work throughout was extremely conscientious and thorough, and whose efforts contributed to a marked degree in attaining the final aim of the Unit."


    * * * * *

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    Default wellesley long range flight

    thank you so much to everyone who, helped with this , it was brill thanks again
    rgs phill jones

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    Phill,

    I have sent you a PM.

    DaveW

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    Flight-Sergt Thomas David Dixon #562485 was killed in Oxford I N4564 of 3 FTS on 16-1-1940

    Which flew into high ground SE of Wootton Bassett, Wilts.
    Also killed was
    P/O(P) LITTLEWOOD, John A. - 42617 - RAF (Canada)

    I looked him up because I found this death notice..

    Flight-Sergt Thomas David Dixon, aged 27, whose widowed mother lives in Kingsland Road, Plaistow was killed
    when the aeroplane crashed in which he was flying with a pupil. Flight-Sergt. Dixon took part in the R.A.F.'s record-breaking flight to Australia in 1938

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    Paul,

    Amongst the Long Distance Wellesley Flight's fliers you will notice one, 05240 F/L Richard Templeton GETHING. Gething later married Australian aviatrix, Margaret Helen "Mardi" Gepp. You will find First Officer "Mardi" Gething in your ATA Listing.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 23rd July 2013 at 16:08.

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