View Full Version : Report on RAAF experience with Buffalos

22nd August 2013, 16:15
This internet item has recently been highlighted in a thread on Britmodeller.

It is a report written after the end of the War describing the experiences of 21 (RAAF) Sqn and 453 (RAAF) Sqn in Singapore when they were flying Buffalos. Whatever importance you might attach to it, it is well worth reading.

I have friend in research who at particularly black moments can be heard to murmur "...did they know there was a war on..."



David Duxbury
13th September 2013, 22:06
An interesting report written with some hind-sight, although the technical issues with the Buffalos are well-enough known. I have read quite a bit about S/L Harper's command of the Australian squadrons, and he was certainly put in an invidious position, caught betwixt Aussies and the RAF command! The generally poor state of the prepared defences in Malaya (air as well as ground) is also quite well known, but reading of its effects on individual units when the balloon goes up is anough to make you deeply feel for these servicemen who had the responsibility of guarding the area against hopeless odds, and you can see why the Australians felt as they did. Although not highlighted in this report, it came as a surprise to Australian and NZ servicemen fresh to the theatre in 1941 that their very presence seemed to be deeply resented by the expatriate civilian population of Singapore and Malaya, and "other ranks" were made to feel unift to be seen in polite society, although officers were slightly better off in this respect. This last fact alone partially explains the resentment felt by these servicemen to the belief that they should willingly die for this place that appeared to deeply resent their very presence. Something else alluded to was the lack of suitable aerodromes (and the even greater lack of the means to remedy such a situation). You can see why the NZ government was requested to raise and despatch an aerodrome construction squadron to the theatre in mid-1941, and this resulted in the arrival of No. 1 ACS latr that year; unfortunately it was (as usual) too little, too late. As this unit was equipped with about half of the modern (American) heavy construction equipment in New Zealand, the loss of this scarce resource was keenly felt back in Wellington when all this equipment was captured in SIngapore still loaded aboard ships at the dockside in February 1942.
David D

14th September 2013, 10:12
Thanks for your additional, illuminating comments David. These issues are not my specialist subject but I have done quite a lot of research in the files at the National Archives and I find that some of the realities of the attitudes of senior/regular officers between branches and commands etc especially early in the War quite frightening really.

We have another saying in our house "...you could not make it up!"