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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Horror Story


alex revell

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Reading of Smithmaps adventures in trying to trace the Dolphins reminded me of a story told me by Col. Galley some years ago now. After the war he was given the task of flying to public schools in the UK to instil in the boys interest in flying and the RAF . He was given a Snipe for this. During one flight he had engine failure and had to force land in a field, luckily with no damage to the Snipe. The farmer turned up and Galley went back to his farmhouse to telephone  the  people who had given him the duty. While doing so, he told them that the Snipe was unsuitable for the job -  he couldn't get all his personal gear into it -   and requested another type of aeroplane. They agreed that he could use a Bristol Fighter and told him the location of the  nearest aerodrome where he could pick one up. He spent the night with the farmer and left the next morning, after wheeling the Snipe into the  one of the farmer's sheds.   At this point I asked him if he knew what had ultimately happened to the Snipe. He shrugged, said he had no idea, adding that it was probably still there. People were casual about such things after the war. Needless to say, he couldn't remember the location of the farm, only that he thought that it was 'somewhere in Wiltshire' but he couldn't be sure.

However, worse was to come. When he reported to the CO of the aerodrome where he was to pick up the Bristol Fighter, the CO asked him if he would like a game of tennis, he had had a tennis court constructed on the far side of the aerodrome.  Galley said he would be delighted.  On the way to the court they passed a hangar and the CO took him inside. The whole hangar was chock a block, full to the roof, packed with dozens of DH4 or 9s. The fuselages were upended along the walls, with the wings both above them and in every available space.  The CO explained that the aerodrome was mainly a storage facility for war surplus and that he was bloody bored with  his command.

Galley and the CO then made their way to the court and started their game. Sometime into the game, which was hotly contested, an erk arrived, panting out of breath, having run all the way from the main part of the 'drome, waving his arms, and stopping the game, much to the annoyance of the CO. When he got his breath, the erk blurted out that the hangar containing the DH4s and 9s was on fire, blazing furiously,  and it couldn't be bought under control.  The CO was absolutely furious, threw down his racket and said 'Do you mean to tell me that you have stopped our game just to tell me that? Let the bloody things burn, they're all scrap anyway.'

Galley, of course, thought it was an hilariously funny story, but I thought of all those DH4s and 9s

 

Edited by alex revell
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Reminds me too of stories about DH Mosquitos, set alight at more than one station's bonfire night celebrations.

 

One can only dream of a Dolphin barn find though.

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One of my fathers first jobs in the Royal Air Force was at an MU, St.Athan I believe. He was to supervise and certify the destruction of a large batch of fully serviceable, newly overhauled and modded Mosquitos. The teams were equipped with cranes with a large wrecking ball on a chain. The aiming point was just aft of the cockpit. Sacrilege! 

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1 minute ago, yossarian said:

One of my fathers first jobs in the Royal Air Force was at an MU, St.Athan I believe. He was to supervise and certify the destruction of a large batch of fully serviceable, newly overhauled and modded Mosquitos. The teams were equipped with cranes with a large wrecking ball on a chain. The aiming point was just aft of the cockpit. Sacrilege! 

He didn't by any chance bury any Spits when he was on did he ? Someone has to know where the ruddy things are.

Craig

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LOL , Sadly no, but I removed the rocker-box cover from an abandoned Griffon (Shackleton) and carried it around for a while. 

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10 minutes ago, yossarian said:

LOL , Sadly no, but I removed the rocker-box cover from an abandoned Griffon (Shackleton) and carried it around for a while. 

We can settle for a B25 ?

The Shackleton would be good for air-shows but I don't think there's any still flying.

Craig

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are a few repair and salvage unit files dating to the interwar years. Wouldn't be surprised if certain obsolescent aircraft accidentally became unserviceable etc.

 

Can't think of a specific unit, but the files would appear to be buried in the Avia-15 series at Kew:

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/browse/r/h/C2595

 

(They'd precede 41 and 43 Groups, or the more orderly-maintained Aircraft Disposal Book records of the post-WWII era).

 

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