View Full Version : Biplane claims

Alex Crawford
1st November 2009, 20:50

For the past few years I have been compiling a list of all the claims made by Gladiator pilots from the RAF, FAA, Commonwealth and Foreign air forces. So far this list has details of 476 claims.

With the likes of Fighter Command Claims, Fighter Command Losses, Bomber Command Losses and Ospreys Aces series of book I thought this would be in a similar vein. But the response from the publishers I have tried has been lukewarm shall we say. This is not the kind of book my normal publisher would be interested in.

I have now thought to expand it to include all RAF, FAA and Commonwealth biplane claims, be they pilot or gunner. Obviously the Foreign air force Gladiator claims would be omitted.

Is this the type of book you would have on your shelves?

A short sample of what I intend is below;

26 December 1940

Fly Off W Arthur 3 Sqn RAAF N5753 Cr42 shot down
Fly Off W Arthur 3 Sqn RAAF N5753 Cr42 damaged
Fly Off W Arthur 3 Sqn RAAF N5753 Cr42 damaged
Fly Off W Arthur 3 Sqn RAAF N5753 Cr42 damaged
Fly Off W Arthur 3 Sqn RAAF N5753 Cr42 damaged
Flt Lt G Steege 3 Sqn RAAF Cr42 shot down
Flt Lt G Steege 3 Sqn RAAF Cr42 damaged
Fly Off J Perrin 3 Sqn RAAF Cr42 shot down
Fly Off A Rawlinson 3 Sqn RAAF Cr42 probably shot down

North Africa: On the 26th Sqn RAAF were ordered to escort a Lysander to Bardia. As the Gladiators were waiting for the Lysander they spotted a formation of SM79s over the Gulf of Sollum. The ten bombers were escorted by six CR42s, with a further eighteen flying top cover.

Two Gladiators went for the bombers and the remaining six took on the fighters. The bombers headed west and during the melee with the fighters, two Fiats were seen to fall into the sea. Five more were damaged, with one of these probably destroyed.

Fly Off Arthur, N5753 claimed one shot down and four damaged, while Steege put in a claim for one shot down and one damaged. Fly Off Perrin claimed one shot down and Fly Off Rawlinson claimed a probable. Three of the Gladiators were damaged in return.

The Cr42s were from 23° Gruppo, which had recently arrived in North Africa. The Italians claimed one Gladiator shot down for the loss of Cap Guido Bobba, the CO of 74ª Squadriglia while Magg Falconis Fiat was damaged.

Comments would be appreciated.


1st November 2009, 21:10
G'day Alux

Here's a short piece you might be interested in reading. It was part of a larger newspaper article I did on Canadians during the Battle of Britain.


Cowboy Antics

When you're on the tail of an enemy aircraft in the heat of battle and you find the guns are out of ammunition, what do you do? That is the dilemma that faced Flight Lieutenant Howard Peter 'Cowboy' Blatchford of Edmonton Alberta as he lined up his sights on an Italian Fiat CR.42 ‘Falco’ bi-plane of the Corpo Aero Italiano. Benito Mussolini had convinced Adolf Hitler that the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) could help with the final victory for fascism in Europe, despite the express misgivings of the Luftwaffe's Commander-in-Chief Hermann Goering.

On the 11th of November, 1940, as a retaliatory measure for the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm’s attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, the Regia Aeronautica set out to bomb the English port of Harwich. A small number of Luftwaffe Bf-109s accompanied the formation. They were intercepted by Hurricanes of No.s 17, 46 'Uganda' and 257 'China-British' (F) Squadrons. While 'Cowboy' Blatchford of No.257 'Burma' (F) Squadron was flying Hurricane s/n V6962, he discovered much to his shock that he was out of ammo. He instinctively rammed the CR.42 with his propeller. It subsequently chewed up the enemy's top wing, sending the fabric bi-plane tumbling earthwards.

For his daring escapades, 'Cowboy' was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross on the 6th of December 1940. Sadly, as with so many fine young men, Wing Commander H.P. 'Cowboy' Blatchford DFC MiD and only 31 years old, was killed in action. On the 3rd of May 1943, now the Coltishall Wing Leader, 'Cowboy' was taking part in a Ramrod 16 escorting Royal New Zealand Air Force Lockheed Ventura Mk. II bombers to Ijmuiden, Netherlands. He was engaged by Luftwaffe Fw-190's of JG 1 and was forced to ditch his aircraft in the North Sea. His body was never recovered. 'Cowboy's' record was six destroyed, three probables and two damaged.