Flight Sergeant Middleton RAAF and his Stirling VC

Discussion in 'Stories' started by trackend, May 23, 2005.

  1. trackend

    trackend Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    4,039
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Retired tech support railway engineer
    Location:
    Ipswich, Suffolk
    On the 28th/29th Nov 1942 flight sergeant Rawdon Middleton piloting a Stirling was sent to attack the FIAT works in Turin. Lacking power Middleton had great difficulty in gaining the 12000 ft required to clear the alps this lead to using excessive amounts of fuel requiring a go or no go decision, he pressed on.
    Requiring to identify the target he dived too 2000 ft even though he knew regaining height would be extremely difficult passing over Turin three times in all before the target was confirmed..
    Suddenly the aircraft came under intense light flak a large hole appeared in the port main plane and made lateral control very hard to maintain more flak was poured at the Stirling there was a loud explosion as an ack ack round detonated inside the cockpit. Middleton had the side of his face smashed open by shrapnel loosing his right eye and exposing his skull also shrapnel had entered his lower body and legs..
    His co-pilot also received head and leg wounds that poured blood over the flooring of the plane, the wireless operator suffered leg wounds ,Middleton lost consciousness
    The aircraft plummeted too 800ft before the co-pilot managed to arrest the dive and climbed back too 1500ft and drop the bomb load the flak continuing to be poured at their plane.
    The three gunners onboard replied continuously until the tail turret was put out of action. Middleton had now regained consciousness and told his co-pilot to go back and receive first aid he returned to the cockpit before this was completed. Middleton could see very little and only speak with the loss of blood and great pain. The plane set course for home this meant crossing the alps in a damaged aircraft with insufficient fuel, thoughts of a forced landing in France where put to one side as Middleton decided to make for the English coast enabling his crew to bailout over home ground. He also realised that due to his own state of health it would not be an option for himself, crossing the French coast at 6000ft the battered Stirling came once again under heavy light anti aircraft fire and was struck many times. Middleton battled with the controls to maintain attitude and take what evasive action he could to protect his craft.
    The English coast passed beneath the tattered bomber that was now down to five minutes of fuel, Middleton bank and ran parallel to the shore ordering the crew to jump five did but two remained with the plane. The Stirling plunged into the sea a few minutes later the bodies of the flight engineer and the front gunner where recovered the next day Middleton was lost with his aircraft.
     
  2. mosquitoman

    mosquitoman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    student
    Location:
    Saffron Walden/Sheffield
    Home Page:
    One very brave man, he deserved the VC but after that struggle he deserved to have survived more
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    19,419
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    Home Page:
    Agreed, MM. Sounds like one hell of a flight.
     
  4. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    20,349
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    WSM, England
    Exposed skull...thats gotta hurt. He deserved that VC.
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    8,851
    Likes Received:
    375
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Workin' for the man....
    Location:
    South East Queensland
    Must have been one tough bloke! Too bad he didn't make it home.
     
Loading...

Share This Page