“Whenever an aircraft was overdue we notified the police and usually, in due course, received a report of an aircraft crashed or force landed in some inaccessible spot, and on the top of the moors they really can be inaccessible.
It was my job, together with the Wing Commander Engineer Officer, to visit the scene of the crash and establish the cause.”
The Officer’s Mess, Hal Far Airfield, Malta. Malta’s strategic position and her good weather conditions permitted all year round training by the Royal Navy fleet. Until the outbreak of war, carrier-borne aircraft deployed at Hal Far also practised torpedo attacks on defended harbours and stationary ships. After the HMS Illustrious was severely hit while escorting a convoy, the Axis made a tremendous effort to damage the carrier in the harbour. But the Anti-Aircraft defences were so effective that the Axis managed to seriously hit the Illustrious only once. The HMS Illustrious left the Island repaired in just 12 days. The remaining flying units of 815 and 819 Naval Air Squadron Swordfish remained at Hal Far. These famous flying units were the ones that raided the Taranto harbour raid with success. (www.halfarairfieldmalta.com)
The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod was a single-seater biplane with an open cockpit, fixed undercarriage and twin machine guns using interrupter gear to fire through the propeller. It had a a top speed of 193 mph and was the standard Fleet fighter from 1931 to 1939. In 1933 it entered service with No.s 801, 802 and and 803 Squadrons RAF of the Fleet Air Arm.
F/Sgt Crandell’s Beaufighter showing the results of meeting two Me. 109’s during a reconnaissance of the Norwegian coast. With the undercarriage out of action the he had to make a wheels up landing which did the aircraft no good. Fortunately neither of the crew were hurt.