View Full Version : DDT Hurricanes in India/Burma

11th October 2010, 17:25
Once more I have before me an RCAF press release, this one dated 27 February 1945. I am hoping that someone may be able to identify the squadron.

Briefly, it states that two RCAF pilots (P/O E.A. Robinson and Warrant Officer George Colwill) were members of a Hurricane squadron from July 1944 onwards, that only months earlier their airfield had been infiltrated by Japanese who planted explosives in "half a dozen planes" before discovery, and that now they were engaged in DDT spraying along the Chindwin River using Hurricanes.

The item describes the method (line abreast, 150 yards apart, using gridded maps) and the technology (spray tanks fitted to bomb racks, a bakelite disc that was blown out with a small detonator, allowing air pressure to blow out the spray - sounds crude).

It would appear that several types of aircraft were employed on these operations, but I am essentially curious about the unit with which I might associate Robinson and Colwill.

11th October 2010, 18:52
The Hurricanes of No.42 Squadron were not only ground attack specialists, they had an additional task of carrying out area anti-malarial sorties. While air and ground crews were taking precautionary measures such as swallowing mepracine tablets and sleeping in anti-mosquito tents, it was the policy to spray DDT to kill off mosquitoes. For this purpose the Hurricanes carried smoke curtain containers from which the insect-killing liquid was sprayed.

Hawker Hurricane. Classic Aircraft No.4:Their history and how to model them.
Robertson,Bruce & Gerald Scarborough.

A little more from Air War for Burma.

July 1944 - General Overview.

In the Arakan meanwhile the line had stabilized by mid-July, mainly due to the monsoon. In this situation there was little call for close support, although tactical reconnaissance sorties continued. However considerable spraying of DDT was carried out by fighter-bomber units in an effort to reduce the impact of the malarial mosquitoes which were present in vast numbers at this time of year, and continued to pose a major health problem to the army.

Saturday, 1 July 1944.

11 Squadron moved across from Lanka to Dimapur, but its detachment at Imphal continued operations unabated. During the night of 1/2 13 Japanese soldiers led by Capt Inoue, avoided sentries and defensive boxes to sneak onto Patel airfield. Here they destroyed two of 152 Squadron's Spitfires and damaged a third, also damaging two of 113 squadron's Hurricanes and destroying a lone Harvard. Their work done, they escaped interception by the defenders and made their way safely back to their own lines.

Air War for Burma.
London:Grub Street,2005.