Due Respects for Aussie Flyers

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by P-Popsie, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. P-Popsie

    P-Popsie Member

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    Greetings all,
    Firstly I would like to introduce myself. A.P.Stacey here pleased to meet you, since my childhood experiences of listening to my elder's tales of war I have had a fascination with this subject. I myself served in the Australian army and among my relatives. number veterans of The Somme’ Dunkirk, The Bomber Offensive 39-45. , Korea.

    Through research I have been doing recently on Bomber Command it has come to my attention that no Australian Prime Minister has laid wreaths at any of the war memorials that contain some 7200 of my fellow Australians.

    I feel this is a grave oversight by our politicians. Especially when you consider that of all the men who left this country and fought in combat during WWII only 2% of them actually flew in the hostile skies of Fortress Europe. Yet from that 2% came 20% of the fatalities our Nation sacrificed.

    I believe that our current Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd is approachable enough to petition on this subject. I would be looking to get an agreement on from him on setting an agenda for a visitation to one of the Memorials,

    As The Prime Minister is my local member and I am told I went to high school with him {I don’t remember him} I feel it is my obligation to get this issue attended to.

    At this point I am merely seeking support from interested parties who would like to contribute their input and possibly, when the time arrives circulate petitions supporting this proposal.

    Thank you for listening and I hope to hear from you soon
    Cheers. A.P.Stacey
     
  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  3. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Yeah interesting point P-Popsie.

    I just finished an article on Aussies In Bomber Command and the recognition is shite to be really frank.

    You have my full support, if you would like anything written (Im a writer) let me know.

    Cheers, Alex
     
  4. phas3e

    phas3e Member

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    Its somethings thats for sure worth a try

    Airforces tend to get a little less attention in memorials and bomber command especially, most people dont want to be seen to honour the area bombing of German civies
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Popsie, if this is the case I think it is a good idea. High time these men were recognised!
    BTW is there any memorials in Oz to the men of BC?
     
  6. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    Good Luck on this endeavor, gentlemen! Keep us appraised of the progress.
     
  7. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    ditto
     
  8. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I agree with the guys.

    It's a good point, and I strongly doubt a New Zealand politician has ever been to honour the fallen kiwis who served in the RAF either, whether they served in Bomber command, Coastal command or Fighter command.

    I think Phas3e hit the nail on the head with his comment, I would only add that the Navies involved tend to get even less recognition than the Air Forces, although they also played a major role in the conflict.

    Thanks for bringing the subject to light, A.P

    Evan
     
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    More good points Evan.
     
  10. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I think it is a great cause! Good Luck! I'm sure your PM will be happy to honor all those who have fallen and served!
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very cool! :cool: :salute:
     
  12. P-Popsie

    P-Popsie Member

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    Sep 15th 1943

    Low over enemy territory in a loose box formation of a pair of fours the Lancaster’s of 617Sqdn RAF approach a small Dutch town in the darkness only 150ft above the pre midnight landscape. In the gloom a Church steeple reaches skyward. Most of the pilots are survivors of the Dams raid and well experienced to the dangers of crossing hostile skies at such low level.

    Commander Sqn. Ldr George Holden though a Veteran of Bomber command had only participated in two previous “Ice Cream” trips with the low level specialists and these were standard high level Op’s on board G-George ED 932 was Gibson’s Dams Raid crew.

    As the small town looms up fast the tall steeple splits the formation. P-Popsie ED 909
    F/L H.B.“Mickey” Martin DFC breaks right and Plt. Of. Les Knight N-Nuts ED 912 and Plt. Of. Wilson’s do the same on the left. Holden errors and climbs over the steeple a single gun in the Town opens up only five tracer rounds come up before Plt. Of. Toby Foxlee is returning fire from Martins Lancaster and silences the ground gunners. A lucky shot catches Holden’s Lancaster in the inner Starboard and sets the engine on fire. The Lancaster swerves to port right under Plt. Of. Les Knight and Plt. Of. Wilson’s A/C who are already pulling away as they hear in their headsets the voice of Martin calling them over the R/T “Break outwards”.

    The 12’000Lbs Blockbuster on board Holden’s G-George detonates on impact. Martin waits and calls the other two who are ok but Gibsons crew are gone. Plt. Of. Spam Spafford (B/Aim) from Australia Flt. Lt. R.E.G. “Bob”Hutchinson (W.Op) formerly of Gibsons 106Sqdn. ,The Two Canadians P/O Harlo Taerum (Nav) and F.Sgt. George Deering.All men who the other crews knew well some before even coming to “Squadron X”. Holden chose duty over his birthday that very morning. He visited the wife of another of the Squadrons veterans Flt. Lt. D.H. Maltby informing her that her husband had crashed the previous night and been lost at sea.

    Dortmund Ems Canal
    The remaining Seven A/C arrived at the target but at two miles out a wall of fog cuts visibility 150 to yards they climb a little to see above the soup. Searchlights probe through the murk as the the Flak stationed at the locks along the canal, streams up in a deadly web. Mosquitoes plunge in and out of the murk ducking past the Lancaster’s, hunting the ground gunners watching for the tell tale flash of 20 37mm Flak.

    Sgt. Bob Kellow RAAF (W. Op) in fellow Aussie Les Knights A/C N-Nuts ED 912 hears over the R/T the voice of Flt. Lt. H.S. Wilson “I’m Going in leader”

    Flt. Of. E. C. Johnson in the bomb aimers position of Knights A/C looks over as the flak screams out of the murk the wings of Wilson’s A/C catch alight the Lancaster overshoots the Canal and piles into the marshy farmland beyond leaving a crater 200 ft wide.

    One of the Mosquito Pilots Sqn. Ldr. Harold Lisson of looks out to see Plt. Of. Allesbrook peeling into the fog with engines on fire. The flames stream out past the tail of the A/C as it disappears into the fog.

    Bob Kellow hears Plt. Of. Divall over the R/T. “Leader I can see the canal I’m going to have a crack at it hold on.”

    Bob Kellow listens but there is no further transmissions from Divall. Les Knight calls “I can see the water; on approach”. F/O Johnson calls from his position in the nose blister. “Jesus skipper there’s tree’s above us”

    Les Knight yanks on the control stick of the bomber and pulls the Lancaster up sharply. The sounds of crashing tearing Aluminum and splintering timber fills the A/C. Branches smash through the bottom of the fuselage and foliage and timber fill the radiators of the two port engines. The tops of the trees are striped by the thundering engines causing N-Nuts to climb slowly. Both Port engines run rough for a moment, cough, then choke and stop.

    Les Knight calls Martin on the R/T “Two port engine gone. May I have permission to jettison the bomb sir.”

    Martin replies quickly, shocked by the other Pilot's formality “For gods sake Les yes.”

    The Bomb, once released drops to earth and flashes on the ground. The shockwave from the blast throws the A/C around. Les Knight fights to control the kite as the crew begin to throw out the ammo trays and machine guns from the turrets and anything else they can find to lighten the load as best they can. The Lancaster climbs slowly at 110mph up to 1400ft. Harry O’Brien the huge bear Canadian rear gunner has come forward and is in front of the pilots station holding one of the cables that control the rudder which had snapped.

    Les Knight calls to his crew over the intercom “I can’t hold her, right boys she’s had it, everybody out.”

    Johnson knocks the forward escape hatch out and the cold wind buffets him. He sits on the edge with his feet out of the plane grabs his chute ring and with the other hand shoves himself out. “Hobby” Hobday scrambles past the pilot as Grayston the Engineer vacates his position lowers himself into the forward hold. Les Knight calls to his friend as he passes. “All the best Hobby”

    Hobday looks back at his quiet polite friend. “Same to you Skipper” Then he lowers himself into the forward hold.

    Bob Kellow stands up from his navigation table and looking aft sees the rear gunner Sutherland at the main door who then disappears into the night. Kellow mounts the platform next to the pilot Looks at their young skipper checking him to make sure that Knight has his parachute on Les looks up for an instant and gives his fellow Aussie the thumbs up Kellow returns the gesture then heads forward into the nose. O’Brien is still there and Kellow yells at him. “Righto Harry no more stuffing about lets get out of here”

    The big Canadian lets go of the wire he had been holding and in response the Lancaster begins to Yaw over to port O’Brien dives out of the escape hatch and Bob Kellow follows suit. Pulling the Harness ring as the tail of the Bomber whizzes past in the dark. Kellow’s parachute opens and he find himself swinging in the air watching the N-Nuts Flies on slowly rolling further to port. Once the Plane is hard over to port she spears into the ground and bursts into flame. Les Knight the young pilot whose skills helped break the Eder Dam was gone. Kellow floats to the ground rolls on the wet grass stands and looks around.


    Plt. Of. Geoff Rice H-Harry ED 936 tries to bomb for an hour but A/C finally too badly holed to be airworthy so he jettisons the ordanance and heads home


    F/Lt. David Shannon L-London ED 929 is over target for 75 min when finally Len Sumpter calls he can see the canal “Bombs Gone” 11 seconds later a flash and a thud, the Tow Path on one side of the canal is wrecked but the canal itself still holds water.

    “Mickey” Martin with his all Aussie crew is an hour and a half over the target Flak and fog foil their efforts. Tammy Simpson the rear gunner calls his skipper to tell him he is running low on ammo. Martin replies “ Save it Tammy you’ll never get the flak we might get a chance to fight our way home yet”

    Bob Hay the bomb aimer spots it on the 13th pass and Martin holds a steady 360 degree turn out of the fog to find the silver water of the canal again. No flak could see them and Bob Hay has time to direct the bombing run “Left, left, right a shade ok. Bombs Gone” IvanWhittaker slams throttles forward and Martin pulls P-Popsie in hard turn as the Flak at next lock see them and open up. Martin dives his A/C back into the relative safety of the fog, only the thud of the bomb tells of what they had just done. Martin drives Popsie out of the soup at full throttle on an oblique line back over where they had just bombed.
    The water in the canal is boiling but the earth works is still intact. They bolt back into the murk and home.

    David Shannon is first to land and is greeted in the Ops. Room by Ralph Cochrane CinC of 5Group. Geoff Rice lands his Kite shortly after, some time later Martin finally lands, the third and last to land of the eight which departed.

    Bob Kellow walks along a quiet country road lined on either side by a short rock wall, above him the sky greys heralding the dawns approach. Over his right shoulder in a paddock, on the other side of the stone wall he sees a man milking a cow in the lee of a barn. He jumps the wall and approaches the man signaling that he was thirsty. The farmer looks past Kellow to see he is alone, then hands him the bucket.

    Kellow manages to evade for nearly four months, in time he walks through a guard post at Spanish / Gibraltar Border.

    Every year the survivors of N-Nuts, six of them gathered on the Birthday of Les Knight to celebrate the Quiet Skipper who sacrificed all.

    This is a synopsis of part of one of the projects I am working on and it well illustrates an idea I am exploring in “Due respects for Aussie Flyers” thread. Cheers for any input or ideas any of you may have both on this thread and the other. Hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to add info corrections.

    Thanks to all for the encouragement and i look forward to our colaboration on this proposal.
     
  13. P-Popsie

    P-Popsie Member

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    Ok i seem to have to go through the advanced edit mode if i want to paste biger documents and pictures still seem to be thumbnails only but i'm getting there. If any of the Admin folk whish to remove this and the following post feel free as they are redundant.
     
  14. P-Popsie

    P-Popsie Member

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    I cant work out why my posts arent working properly but thank you all i'll be in touch
     
  15. P-Popsie

    P-Popsie Member

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    Alex first where do i find your article i would love to read it, as a side note i beleive that the RAAF POW veterans / Widows from the ETO have somehow been neglected in legislation that allocates pensions. Don't suppose you have heard this or would know how one would look into this. I have included this inquiry in my letter to the RSL.

    When the time comes your writting skills and contacts will be invaluable Alex

    To the other folk I'm sure Mr. 707/747 will be more than happy to head on yet another fact finder. Lets hope so, as you can see in this post there may be something concrete the remaining vets and their surviving loved ones can gain from this. If anyone is an expert at wading through Australian Government Hansards Or wherever it is that you find pension / War compensation legislation then good hunting and let us know what you find.
    Cheers
    Stacey
     
  16. P-Popsie

    P-Popsie Member

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    Just did a quick search and found this one but i notice that the then Prime Minister "Little Johnny" was to busy to attend i wonder if he thought about the fact that his hero Bob Menzies at least had the good grace to visit our boys during his time in the UK smoozing Churchill, ah history is such a fickle thing.
    Dedication of Bomber Command Memorial, Canberra
    AK4 here's one that was right under her nose could prove usefull. Tried the link and you can get it but you have to doctor it so here's the article I hope !

    (10 November 2008)

    10 NOVEMBER 2008 - Auckland War Memorial Museum and New Zealand Bomber Command Association have reached an agreement on the unveiling and display of a memorial designed to honour New Zealand's service and contribution to the World War II RAF Command.

    At the heart of the agreement is a decision to site the memorial in a special dedicatory location, appropriate for it to be unveiled in the presence of a full Colour Guard and a large group of invited dignitaries and guests from around the country and abroad. The date for this ceremony will be set shortly, but will take place prior to ANZAC Day, 2009.

    The Museum will also be working closely with the Association to create a longer term strategy for siting the memorial. Details of this plan will be announced as it is developed.

    "The Trust Board of the Auckland War Memorial Museum is pleased to be able to announce this positive outcome," says Trust Board Chair David Hill. "It was always our desire to find an appropriate and suitable home for the memorial, and now we feel sure that, together with Bomber Command, we will develop a plan that is both high-quality and respectful to all parties."

    Bill Simpson of NZ Bomber Command Association echoes this sentiment. "We are happy to be moving forward with the Trust Board. It has always been a high priority for us to have a formal dedication ceremony within the Museum as soon as feasible, and now that this can be scheduled we can start to plan for it. We also look forward to working with the Museum to find a permanent home and feel very confident that something first-rate will be found."

    Then i found this one for you AK4 this is right under our noses and presents a golden opportunity i will be contacting the NZ Bomber Command Assosiation as soon as i can.

    http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/auck...ce-joint-resolution-memorial/5/5190Dedication of Bomber Command Memorial, Canberra[/url]
     
  17. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair Member

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    Hi All,

    Wing Commander Peter Isaacson DFC, AFC, DFM was one of those Australians of bomber command. He went on to have a very distinguished career in writing and publishing here in Australia. A recent piece on Bomber Command by Mr. Isaacson in Flightpath magazine was one of the best I've ever read. He should know, he was there.

    His website offers some further insight.

    Bomber Command

    Regards,

    Owen
     
  18. Heinz

    Heinz Active Member

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    Hi Owen,

    I read that and thought the same thing about his piece. Thanks for link!

    Cheers,

    Alex
     
  19. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that info Stacey. Better late than never with the memorial...
    (I wasn't able to open that url for some reason, btw)

    Cheers, Evan
     
  20. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Harrowing bomber story, you would never usually read something like that from the "Mighty Eighth", because their bomber generally flew high up.

    But flying a Lancaster that low sounds like suicide to me. I know now that a tree can kill a bomber, but those Aussies really shouldn't have been trying something that perilous on the deck.

    :salute: They definitely deserve it in my opinion.
     
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