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tonyot

Fleet Air Arm in Battle of Britain- Forgotten?

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.......judging from what I`ve read in a few books,... the Navy in general (not the FAA I may add) were not very nice to the RAF, especially aboard the carriers!

Tony

Tony

Judging from what I have read the regular RN has not always been nice to the FAA either!

Great work on the school front

John

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Judging from what I have read the regular RN has not always been nice to the FAA either!

That's certainly true - but 99% (in my experience, anyway) based on jealousy of flying pay. And I speak as an ex-General List (i.e. Seaman trained as well as aircrew) officer. I had my fair share of "you're just a weapon system" insults, but the usually stopped when I pointed out that Sea Skua had a far greater range than Seawolf, so if it came to a fair fight I could sink a frigate without being touched!

On the original topic, we are now getting close to the 75th anniversary of Taranto (yes, ladies & gentlemen of the press & RAF PR, other notable victories did take place during 1940, besides the BoB!)

I trust that the Air Force contribution to Taranto - Warburton's reconnaissance sorties in a Maryland, for instance - will be acknowledged amidst the celebration of those insanely brave young men who flew into a hornet's nest in an obsolescent biplane. To be fair, in my experience of Taranto nights, the Crabs do often get a mention.

I think my point is that everyone does it; we all have "our" famous battles which tend to become mythologised & this simplified, thus missing out contributions that don't match the simple myth. The Crabs are no more prone to it than anyone else - though their PR machine has always been more adept than the Navy's. For a maritime, island nation which is still heavily reliant on the sea for its prosperity, the general ignorance of the Navy is staggering.

The Army don't escape, either; how often do you hear the Junglies or Baggers mentioned in Afghanisan? The latter especially were a serious asset to the effort ; I recently met a US General who raved about the ASaC7 contribution to the war.

Inter-Service rivalry is great fun as long as it sticks to banter and jokes. It would be a huge mistake to take it too seriously.

(After all, I've at least one Crab who was a decent bloke...)

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(After all, I've at least one Crab who was a decent bloke...)

Rumour also has it that there once was a Fish-Head who was half-decent...but I'm not sure I believe it! :)

(And, yes, I'm a former Crab!)

Edited by mhaselden

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Rumour also has it that there once was a Fish-Head who was half-decent...but I'm not sure I believe it! :)

(And, yes, I'm a former Crab!)

I think we're loosing the meaning of fish-head here. A fish-head, is someone form the Royal Navy, general service branches, where as a WAFU is a member of the Fleet Air Arm and wel above instanding than anyone to ware the paler blue uniform. It's not uncommon for the crabs toget confused though...

A former carb he says, where as we WAFU's will always be WAFU's.

Colin. A WAFU through and through.

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But the prior poster also identified himself as Seaman Trained...that's Fish-Head in my book. But let's not play semantics with all this childish name-calling! :)

In truth, I got to work with FAA personnel a fair bit towards the end of my career and, despite the inter-service banter, we had a great time.

Edited by mhaselden

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That's certainly true - but 99% (in my experience, anyway) based on jealousy of flying pay. And I speak as an ex-General List (i.e. Seaman trained as well as aircrew) officer. I had my fair share of "you're just a weapon system" insults, but the usually stopped when I pointed out that Sea Skua had a far greater range than Seawolf, so if it came to a fair fight I could sink a frigate without being touched!

On the original topic, we are now getting close to the 75th anniversary of Taranto (yes, ladies & gentlemen of the press & RAF PR, other notable victories did take place during 1940, besides the BoB!)

I trust that the Air Force contribution to Taranto - Warburton's reconnaissance sorties in a Maryland, for instance - will be acknowledged amidst the celebration of those insanely brave young men who flew into a hornet's nest in an obsolescent biplane. To be fair, in my experience of Taranto nights, the Crabs do often get a mention.

I think my point is that everyone does it; we all have "our" famous battles which tend to become mythologised & this simplified, thus missing out contributions that don't match the simple myth. The Crabs are no more prone to it than anyone else - though their PR machine has always been more adept than the Navy's. For a maritime, island nation which is still heavily reliant on the sea for its prosperity, the general ignorance of the Navy is staggering.

The Army don't escape, either; how often do you hear the Junglies or Baggers mentioned in Afghanisan? The latter especially were a serious asset to the effort ; I recently met a US General who raved about the ASaC7 contribution to the war.

Inter-Service rivalry is great fun as long as it sticks to banter and jokes. It would be a huge mistake to take it too seriously.

(After all, I've at least one Crab who was a decent bloke...)

In my experience (RAF) the Serious rivalry was at senior officer level, I believe the anti RAF position of one certain Falklands Carrier Captain has been well documented.

Below the heady exec levels we all worked together pretty well with light hearted service banter thrown in as a bonus. Non service types I find don't understand the "Banter" aspect, and believe servicemen all spend days thinking up new ways to insult and offend our sister service compatriots.

I remember I had a chap one day told me he was very surprised that in the Falklands war The RAF and RN Harrier groundcrew were able to work together on a carrier. I pointed out that most of the Shar crews had spent a lot of time with us at RAF Wittering working on the OCU and 1(f) gaining hands on experience, before the Shar's were delivered to the FAA (the Shar was basically very similar to a GR3 from the cockpit backwards) and when on ship it wasn't "them and us" but guys meeting up with a bunch of old mates!

One of the most overlooked and in my experience most valuable inter service activities happened in a bar. Wether it was the NAAFI, Sgts Mess, or Officers Mess or elsewhere didn't matter. A few hours attitude adjustment over a few "Herbal Tonics" would ease any doubts and tensions and ensure the job got done together, done well, and in the most efficient way. Unfortunately this lesson sometimes seems to have been forgotten at General officer level. Maybe an ego thing?

Selwyn

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I think we're loosing the meaning of fish-head here. A fish-head, is someone form the Royal Navy, general service branches, where as a WAFU is a member of the Fleet Air Arm and wel above instanding than anyone to ware the paler blue uniform. It's not uncommon for the crabs toget confused though...

A former carb he says, where as we WAFU's will always be WAFU's.

Colin. A WAFU through and through.

Does that make you wet through !!

Still a fish-head to this crab !!!

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Wel put Tony and yes the Crabs will always deny the FAA any credence whenever the opportunity arrises.

Revenge will be sweet...

Colin

Aaargh yes, it was the nasty crabs that did it :rolleyes:

Are you Sharky in disguise ? ;)

Rumour also has it that there once was a Fish-Head who was half-decent...but I'm not sure I believe it! :)

(And, yes, I'm a former Crab!)

Nelson was a good egg I believe, well, good at beating the Frogs anyway...

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Nelson was a good egg I believe, well, good at beating the Frogs anyway...

One of my favourite pictures in the Mess at Portland was (a copy of) the well-known National Portrait Gallery painting of Nelson, which had been adapted to give him a pair of pilot's wings. It used to enrage the Fish-heads, but if ever there was a Naval man from history with a FAA attitude, it was Nelson...

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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Nelson was a good egg I believe, well, good at beating the Frogs anyway...

Yeah..but who isn't?

To quote the immortal Reuben from Ocean's Eleven:

Reuben: I know more about casino security than any man alive, I invented it, and it cannot be beaten. They got cameras, they got locks, they got watchers, they got timers, they got vaults, they got enough armed personnel to occupy Paris!

[pause]

Reuben: Okay, bad example.

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But the prior poster also identified himself as Seaman Trained...that's Fish-Head in my book.

Seaman trained, yes (I even drove a Minesweeper between flying jobs). Fish-Head? Never! Look at the name I post under; does that say Ex-Pondlife to you?

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In my experience (RAF) the Serious rivalry was at senior officer level, I believe the anti RAF position of one certain Falklands Carrier Captain has been well documented.

Assuming you mean Hermes, he was more anti-aviator than anti-Crab; the contrast between the atmosphere in Hernes and that in Invincible was astonishing (I visited both at one stage). Given the fact that the Captain in question was himself an ex-Sea Hawk and Vixen pilot, all the more odd. After all, who'd expect to meet any WAFUs in a flat-top?

Arrogant bugger, regardless of his background.

It cuts both ways, though; I encountered all sorts of open hostility at times from light blue when they spotted that the wings on my overalls were gold rather than silver (as you say, invariably from senior officers - the boys would just buy you a beer).

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Are you Sharky in disguise ?

Wash your mouth out. One Sharky is more than enough (though his son, also a WAFU, certainly got his gobby attitude from his Pa).

Every family has the occasional idiot cousin that they'd like to pretend isn't really one of them. Ours is Sharky - but then ask yourself why he didn't get very far up the tree...

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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Perhaps this will lighten the mood a bit...

Fly Navy!!

david

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I saw a documentary about the wildcat and hellcat recently and it was mentioned that the first killings during the Battle of Britain was made by two FAA Grumman Martlets that shot down an Ju 88... :popcorn:

//André B.

Edited by Andre B

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Jerry Pook in his book RAF Harrier Ground Attack Falklands has quite a bit to say about the attitudes of certain naval persons regarding the RAF squadron aboard their ship.

I do agree that the rest of the Navy does have a tendency to treat the Fleet Air Arm like an inconvenience. Even after the Second World War, with the eclipse of the battleship by the aircraft carrier, while the US Navy was building up its carrier fleet and forging ahead with advanced aircraft, the Admiralty remained wedded to the viewpoint that seapower was embodied by a big battleship with big guns. By the time the FAA had its first 'proper' jet, the Sea Hawk, the USN was accepting the swept wing Cougar and was preparing to receive the F11F Tiger supersonic aircraft. The FAA did not get a supersonic aircraft until the Phantom in 1968.

Much has also been written about the misuse and ignorance of airpower among the Flag Officer's staff during the Falklands war, and it is one of the few subjects I am minded to agree on with Sharkey Ward.

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Hi Grey Beema

IN reply to your question re S/Lt Gardner's Hurricane.

I have been trying to track this down for years. Last year I got over

to London and went to the PRO to go through the 242 Sqn ORB.

From the time he joined the Squadron in July he flew various aircraft

but it seemed his regular mount which he flew numerous times was

LE+V P2884 this corresponds with the camoflarge pattern in the photo as well.

Although he did fly LE+ T on a couple of occasions. So my model is going to depict LE+V

Hope this helps a bit

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Scooby, on 23 Sept 2015 - 03:14 AM, said:

My parents grew up in England during the BoB. They always mention the RAF and not the FAA. I think it is fair to say that most of the recognition does go the the RAF due to how the defense of Britain during that period of the War was reported over the years. Canadians, Poles, and Czechs were recognized for their contributions as they themselves made sure they were recognized.

I think that has far more to do with it than any inter-service rivalry or 75 year old plot to deny the FAA its due recognition. Unless it's an RAF plot to also deny recognition to its own Blenheim, Defiant, Anson and (as mentioned above) bomber crews who also took part but are never mentioned.

Even the Hurricane's contribution often gets paraphrased as "Everyone knows the Spitfire won the battle even if most of them were really Hurricanes". But then it's not surprising that the poor old DM gets it so wrong when the RAF's own BBMF has a Lanc in it ...

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...I do agree that the rest of the Navy does have a tendency to treat the Fleet Air Arm like an inconvenience...

So very true.

They make you sail in to the wind instead of getting the best of the sunshine.

Taking up space on the hockey field, sometimes even locking the gates!

Inconveniencing you by insisting on working outside normal hours.

...and I'm sure there's a host of others.(but lets all stay friendly so I'll finish with:

I'll admit they do make half decent posties - assuming the mail is there to meet them (Oman/Amman..oops!)

Edited by dpm1did1

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Much has also been written about the misuse and ignorance of airpower among the Flag Officer's staff during the Falklands war, and it is one of the few subjects I am minded to agree on with Sharkey Ward.

By no means all the staff during Corporate were ignorant of air power. Commodore Amphibious Warfare, Mike Clapp (in command of the assault - which after all was kind of why we were there!) was an ex-Buccaneer Observer. I think he might even have commanded 809 earlier in his career. He certainly knew all about counteracting maritime strike aircraft. He also had a most excellent tame Crab on his staff, Tony White, who was also a Brick back seater. Alas, Tony was killed not many years later in a crash.

Besides, if you think the Admiral's staff (and, indeed, the Admiral) were not very savvy about air power, then you don't even want to think about how much they knew about amphibious warfare. If in doubt, read Euan Southby-Tailyour's excellent "Reasons In Writing", which was the only one io the books written soon after the war which bore any resemblance to the war I witnessed (from Fearless, in my case - and indeed Euan's for most of the time). That and Hugh Bicheno's "Razor's Edge" (written 25 years later, and for my money the definitive account of the conflict) both have some interesting observations about having a submariner Admiral with zero people skills in charge of assault ships and aircraft carriers...

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Hi Grey BeemaIN reply to your question re S/Lt Gardner's Hurricane.I have been trying to track this down for years. Last year I got overto London and went to the PRO to go through the 242 Sqn ORB.From the time he joined the Squadron in July he flew various aircraftbut it seemed his regular mount which he flew numerous times wasLE+V P2884 this corresponds with the camoflarge pattern in the photo as well.Although he did fly LE+ T on a couple of occasions. So my model is going to depict LE+VHope this helps a bit

Is LE-V therefore the one with the Nelsonian flags?

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a submariner Admiral with zero people skills in charge of assault ships and aircraft carriers...

Never understood that one myself. And I agree with you entirely about Mike Clapp.

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Hi Grey BeemaIN reply to your question re S/Lt Gardner's Hurricane.I have been trying to track this down for years. Last year I got overto London and went to the PRO to go through the 242 Sqn ORB.From the time he joined the Squadron in July he flew various aircraftbut it seemed his regular mount which he flew numerous times wasLE+V P2884 this corresponds with the camoflarge pattern in the photo as well.Although he did fly LE+ T on a couple of occasions. So my model is going to depict LE+VHope this helps a bit

That is BRILLIANT Thank you... Mind if I make my model the same?

Whilst I'm here I'll be dead cheeky - you don't have the same info re SLT Blake in 19 Sqn do you? Most people have him in QV*Y but that's the aeroplane he died in. I want to do his Spitfire R 6991 which he flew on 15/09 (two victories). I have looked at the ORB (downloaded from NA) and it only gives serials not aircraft letters. I want to know the Aeroplane I'd letter - any ideas?

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Hi 85sqn and Grey Beema,

Well from my research I conclude that P2884 LE+V was the one with the Nelson signal.

The photo with the flags matches a B camoflarge scheme with the even serial, this aircraft

seems to be his regular a/c as he flew it more often than any other. I don't mind if you model it,

but here is a bit more info - in the photo it had a rotol (blunt) spinner and no boot kicking Hitler

motif on the nose (I remember reading many moons ago that this wasn't applied until September 1940)

I have checked photos of other Gloster aircraft with serials close to this aircraft and it appears

that they all have a 49" fuselarge roundel and a fin flash with the full forward fin red so I presume

this one will also. I am not sure about the flags on the Starboard side but it makes a point of interest.

Re S/Lt Blake sorry I don't have much info on him. Spitfire R6991 might be a problem I can't find an a/c letter

But it may not have had one!!. It was delivered to 19 Sqn on 12/9/1940 and was damaged in combat with me109's

on 15/9/1940 then shipped of to be repaired and didn't return to the Sqn. Spitfire 2a P7423 QV+Y seems to have

been his a/c in October 1940. But I will keep looking in case I find something.

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