A WW2 R.A.F. pilot's survival story…

Author Archive

Cook Has A Lucky Escape

Cook has a lucky escape

Cook has a lucky escape

“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.”

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Officer’s Mess – Hal Far

Officer's Mess

Officer's Mess - Hal Far

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)


Me and My ‘Nimrod’

Me and My 'Nimrod'

Me and My 'Nimrod'

Quote from ‘One Life Left’ when Wg. Cdr. Garlick took one of these to 20,000 feet without oxygen – “With an official limit of ten thousand feet for flights without oxygen the C.O. called for volunteers for this trip, which was just about as high as a Nimrod would go and, because of the almost continuous talking required, would be comparable to a greater height than the twenty thousand feet asked for. To my surprise I found myself to be the only volunteer; for a flight that proved to be completely without incident.”


Swordfish Landing-On

'Swordfish' Landing On

'Swordfish' Landing On

A Swordfish making a carrier landing. The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber built by the Fairey Aviation Company and used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Affectionately known as the “Stringbag” by its crews, it was outdated by 1939, but achieved some spectacular successes during the war, notably the sinking of one and damaging two battleships of the Regia Marina (the Italian Navy) in the Battle of Taranto and the famous crippling of the Bismarck. (Wikipedia)


Dekheila Airport

Fleet Air Arm Camp - Dekheila Airport

Fleet Air Arm Camp - Dekheila Airport

Situated about ten miles West of Alexandria, Egypt, Dekheila was the civilian airport that was a shore base for aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm. At the outbreak of World War II it was taken over by the Royal Egyptian Air Force, but was retained for use by the FAA. The author of ‘One Life Left’ embarked there from HMS ‘Glorious’ just prior to the war.


The Siddeley Hawker Nimrod

Hawker Nimrod

Hawker Nimrod

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.


The Result of Meeting Two Me. 109’s

Flt/Sgt Crandell's Damaged Beaufighter

Flt/Sgt Crandell's Damaged Beaufighter

Damage from two Me. 109's
Damage from two Me. 109’s

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.