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Dave Homewood

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About Dave Homewood

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  1. I think many people here will be interested in the considerations that go into painting real historical aircraft. The Wings Over New Zealand Show's latest episode, 213, features a really interesting talk given by Nathan Bosher, the Safety And Surface Technician at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, about historical paint schemes on museum and warbird aircraft. This is a great episode for museum and warbird enthusiasts and modellers alike Here is the link to the free episode: http://www.cambridgeairforce.org.nz/WONZShow/2020/01/nathan-bosher/
  2. And another WONZ Show episode with an interview I did with No. 36 Squadron Vildebeest pilot Ron Reid. http://www.cambridgeairforce.org.nz/WONZShow/2017/01/ron-reid/
  3. For those interested in the Vildebeest I have published an older interview I did with the late Don Mackenzie who's photos I published earlier in this thread some while back. It is the latest Wings Over New Zealand Show episode, which you can listen to and download for free. In this episode I have delved into my archive and pulled out one of my earlier interviews from back in September 2009 with the late Flight Lieutenant Donald Malcolm Mackenzie AFC, mid, RNZAF, retired (NZ401776) of Hamilton. Don joined the RNZAF on the 2nd of July 1940, and was on the third pilot’s War Course, learning to fly on Tiger Moths and Vildebeest, before he was posted to No. 100 Squadron RAF in Singapore in early 1941. Following several months there he was then posted to Ceylon in July 1941 where he tells his exotic tales of flying Vildebeests, Seals, Fulmars, Hudsons and Swordfish on patrols over the Indian Ocean protecting Ceylon. He talks about the huge attack on Ceylon on the 25th of April 1942 when the aircraft of five Japanese aircraft carriers attacked the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force bases. He was later posted to No. 22 Ferry Control Unit as a test pilot for aircraft following major servicing and repairs, and as a ferry pilot, which took him all over India and Burma. Later Don was posted to London, England, and joined the Metropolitan Communications Flight of No. 510 Squadron based at Hendon, which was a VIP transport unit. Here is the link to the recording which you can listen to and download for free http://www.cambridgeairforce.org.nz/WONZShow/2016/07/don-mackenzie/
  4. I don't know if that Blenheim crew member is RAF or maybe RNZAF, and I don't know if the UK had this, but here in NZ there was a group called Air Force Relations which was groups in every town across NZ of mothers, wives, girlfriends and sisters of RNZAF airmen who were supplied wool by the AFR heirachy who raised money for it, and they knitted clothing for airmen to specific RNZAF patterns. These included mittens, scarves, balaclavas, sleeveless pullovers, socks, and aran knit jumpers. They used to bundle them up into wool bales and ship them overseas to be dished out to our airmen. It's possible this guy was a beneficiary of the Air Force Relations ladies.
  5. Don't forget that the Vildebeest had open cockpits and almost all the raids they flew in the Battle of Singapore/Malaysia were night raids. They would not have been in shorts for those raids due to the Malaria regulations as well as the cold air. Here in NZ even in summer the Vilde crews seem to have always worn the leather Irving jackets with uniform or flying overalls and in winter leather pants too. Don't forget the battle in Singapore Dec 1941-Feb 1942 was in winter and it would have been damned cold at night in an open cockpit with air rushing over you at 100mph I would imagine. Edit: I just looked up climate data in Singapore on Wikipedia and it seems winter is just as hot as summer there, with an average low of 23 degrees C in Jan-Feb. So not as cold as I was thinking. I'd guess just the leather jacket then with uniform or flying suit.
  6. Thanks for the replies everyone. One problem with trying to search the Gazette for decorations is I simply cannot find a reference with the names of all the aircrew who took part. Can anyone recomend a book? All I know apart from the two men i have met are the New Zealanders who were killed in the raid. There names I take from Errol Martyn's 'For Your Tomorrow' Volune One: 100 Sqn Pilot - NZ401769 Flight Sergeant David Bruce Smaill Lee, RNZAF, Aged 29 - Vildebeest III K6386 36 Sqn Pilot - NZ40965 Sergeant Andrew Martin Hearn Fleming, RNZAF, Aged 30 - Albacore I T9135 36 Sqn Pilot - NZ41503 Sergeant Thomas Steele Tanner, RNZAF, Aged 23 - Vildebeest III K6392 Lest We Forget
  7. Thanks for that. I forgot about the Hurricanes, sorry for the mix up. I do not think Colin Gardner was awarded anything, and Ron Reid does not seem to have been awarded anything, and his gallantry continued when he was in the Dutch East Indies, He attacked another ship with his Albacore and hit it. He was captured and endured more than three years as a POW, building a railway - as the lead striker with one of the most physical jobs. To me he is a true hero.
  8. Something that makes me think: 12 February 1942 Six Swordfish of No. 825 Squadron head out from their England into the Channel They have Spitfire fighter cover Their mission was to stop German battleships that broke out from Brest and were making a Channel Dash The mission was a last ditch effort after lots of other problems, and it failed, and the ships got through Six Swordfish were lost Five of the 18 aircrew survived and were all awarded medals of bravery - four of them officers who received the Distinguished Service Order, and the lone other ranks survivor was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde who lead the raid and was killed in it was awarded the Victoria Cross The mission becomes legendary and the heroes involved famous and won't ever be forgotten 26 January 1942 Vildebeest and Albacores of of No's 100 and 36 Squadrons flew TWO missions, plus one Hudson on the first of the raids They flew much further to thier targets The mission was to attack the Japanese ships landing their troops at Endau Their fighter cover was not Spitfires, ir was merely Buffalo (though they did have the Master, Geoff Fisken, with them) These men actually succeeded in hitting some of the ships and doing a fair bit of damage The ultimate goal of the mission failed and the landing succeeded Nine Vildebeest, an Albacore, and a Buffalo were lost, many to fighters on the way back 27 of the 72 Vilde crew were lost The No. 100 Squadron commander was killed in the attack Within weeks many of the survivors were POW's of the Japanese and remained so for the next three years, or died in captivity Were any bravery awards dished out for this incredibly brave two-mission attack on the fleet at Endau? All I can find is the survivors were commended for their job by the Air Vice Marshal. Hmmm
  9. That should read No. 811 Squadron on HMS Furious, not No. 817 Sqn as I'd written. Mark I definately was not able to get such detail from Colin, his memory is pretty shot and I really only got basic outlines from him. Though Ron's memory is better, I don't recall him talking about directions. I PM'd you his address, if you write a letter to him specifically asking about it and proiding a map he may be able to mark their route on there for you. But it has been 70 years so he may not recall either.
  10. I just wanted to let you all know that yesterday I visited Colin Gardner at his home in Tauranga. Colin was a pilot with No. 100 Squadron during the siege of Singapore and he flew on the ill fated Endau raid - I think perhaps other then Ron Reid who also lives in Tauranga, Colin may be the last survivor of the raid. Am I right? Colin is 94, and lives in a retirement village with carers, and sadly his memory is very sketchy so I do not have any more detail to add to this thread in terms of the colours of the aeroplanes. He let me look at his photo albumbs and though there were a few wartime shots of him in uniform, there were none of aeroplanes apart from a Moth at Taieri, Dunedin where he learned to fly in 1937. He did tell me he saw an advert in the newspaper for men to join the RAF, and heard that they preferred people with A Licences already so he did his basic flight training at Taieri before getting a job as a waiter ona ship and working his passage to London around 1937-38. He stayed there with friends from NZ who had a flat in london while he went through the recruitment process. He was accepted for a Short Service Commission with the RAF and was sent to Montrose, Scotland where he trained in Tiger Moths. When they considered hi trained, the RAF sent him to London to buy a uniform (I have heard of other pre-war kiwis doing their training in civvies and only kitted out when they passed the course, so this seems to all ring true). Once he'd got his wings he said the RAF decided to post him to the Fleet Air Arm and he found himself about the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, flying Swordfish. I think he said he thought the squadron was No. 817 Squadron. He told me the ship seemed to go all round the world but he wasn't specific as to where and when. He said the ship then docked at Singapore and he was offloaded and continued flying Swordfish from Seletar there with the FAA. I don't know if it was the same squadron. This posting to Singapore was all before the war there began. At some point, and he is not specific as to when, he then joined No. 100 Squadron. He seemed to think the war was a bit of a doddle and they had little part in it, but he did talk about the fact that he'd been flying in Singapore for about 2 to 3 years before the Japanese began to attack and he knew every little landing field and geographical location and so felt he had a strong home team advantage. He talked about making several night raids on Japanese troops and airfields they were triyng to establish on the Malayan Peninsular, and he also talked about the Endau Raid, but in very little detail compared to what Ron Reid had told me sadly, as he simply was very vague on it all. Unlike Ron who escaped Singapore to Indonesia and was captured, Colin escaped all the way to Australia, he says, eventually making it to Fremantle or Perth, he couldn't remember which, and then he went from there to India and he said he continued to fly Vildebeests in India. He was in India for the rest of his war I believe but he was really vague on that. Unfortunately he didn't know where his logbiik is, but he suspects it is at his other house in Dunedin, along with other Air Force papaers and maybe photos. So as I say, little to add, and it was sad to see his memory is not in good health at all, but it was a great privilege to meet such a hero, perhaps a forgotten hero at that.
  11. Just a reminder that the Vildebeest photos I have put up of the No. 36 Squadron aircraft dropping torpedoes, in camouflage, they would all have been taken before Japan entered the war, because Don who I got them from was posted to Ceylon well before the attacks on Singapore began. So your informant was probably referring to 1939 as the start of the war.
  12. The colours on the Vincent are definately the normal Dark Earth/Dark Green camo. That first photo is affected by the green coloured skylights that are in that hangar. They always affect the camera which picks up the green light in the hangar much more than the naked eye does when you're in there. Note the white Fletcher in the background also looks green! As does the floor and the bare aluminum on the Hind. As for the colour of the red and blue on the markings, it's just the light I think. So yes, you make a good point about trting to interpret colours from old black and white photos when we may not be aware of the lighting conditions in real life.
  13. If you do save those pennies up Mark, let me know. I know Don and the gang thre and would be happy to accompany you. You have to save enough to go to Christchurch and see the Vildebeest too though!
  14. I thought you all might like to see the progress on the Subritzky family's Vickers Vincent. The tailplane horizontal stabilisers are not on and ready to cover. Great stuff: http://rnzaf.proboards.com/index.cgi?actio...4174&page=4
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