Wednesday, May 30, 2012

G/Capt 'Hamish' Thomas Gilbert Mahaddie DSO DFC AFC 1911-1997

Born in Leith in March 1911, Thomas Gilbert Mahaddie joined the RAF on 9th January 1928 training as a metal rigger. He then was then able to volunteer for pilot training and gained his wings in 1935. It was during this period he gained the nickname "Hamish" which was to stick for the rest of his life. Hamish Mahaddie was a bomber pilot and took part in many bombing operations between September 1939 and July 1940 when he was rested and commissioned as an officer. Mahaddie was an instructor until August 1942 when he returned to operations with the elite Pathfinder force, the RAF's target finders for night bombing operations. Hamish was taken off operations in March 1943 with the rank of Group Captain and given the task of recruiting aircrew for the Pathfinder force, and this was followed in July 1944 with the appointment of command of RAF Warboys, where the Pathfinder Force training unit was. This unit trained aircrew on the Avro Lancaster and the De Haviland Mosquito. Hamish Mahaddie continued his post war career in the RAF until March 1958 when he retired with the rank of Group Captain and the DSO, DFC and AFC to his credit.

Bgen Paul W Tibbets 1915-2007

 Paul Tibbets was a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force and is best known for piloting the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb Little Boy on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing tens of thousands of people and forcing the surrender of Japan. Little Boy was the first atomic bomb to be used in the history of warfare

Tibbets, Jr. was born on February 23, 1915, in Quincy, Illinois, the son of Enola Gay and Paul Warfield Tibbets. He was at the controls of the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb known as “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Tens of thousands of people were instantly killed. Japan surrendered nine days later, ending World War II.In 1937, Tibbets enlisted as a flying cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Fort Thomas, Kentuck . He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1938 and received his wings at Kelly Air Force Base in Kelly Field, Texas.

During World War II, Tibbets was named commanding officer of the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th Heavy Bomb Group flying B-17 Flying Fortresses He flew more than 25 combat missions over occupied Europe and led the first bombardment missions in support of the North African invasion in Algeria.

Tibbetts returned to the U.S. in March 1943 to test the combat capability of Boeing's new B-29 Super Fortress. In September 1944, he was placed in command of the newly form 509th Composite Group, whose mission was to drop the atomic bomb. He chose Wendover Air Base in Utah for the training.In March 1945, the 509th moved overseas to Tinian Island in the Marianas chain. On the afternoon of August 5, 1945, U.S. President Harry Truman gave his approval to use the weapons against Japan. At 2:45 a.m. on August 6, the Enola Gay, named after Tibbetts's mother, and its crew of 14 lifted off North Field en route to Hiroshima.

At exactly 8:15:15 a.m. the world's first atomic bomb exploded. The blast killed 70,000 to 100,000 people and wounded countless others. The course of history and the nature of warfare was changed forever. When the Enola Gay and her crew landed at Tinian at 2:58 p.m., they were greeted by General Carl Spaatz, a large contingent of brass, and a crowd of GIs. Spaatz decorated Tibbets with the Distinguished Service Cross and the other crew members with Air Medals.

Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing an estimated 40,000 people. The Japanese surrendered six days later, ending World War II. In 1959, Col. Tibbets was promoted to Brigadier General. He retired from the U.S. Air Force on August 31, 1966.

In the 1960s, Tibbets was posted as military attaché in India, but this posting was rescinded after all political parties in India protested his presence. In 1976, he and his wife, Andrea,;moved to Columbus, where he was president of Executive Jet Aviation, an air taxi company, until he retired in 1985.

Paul Tibbets, pilot and commander of the B-29 that dropped the first atomic weapon used in war, died on November 1, 2007.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

W/Cdr Maurice A. Smith DFC* 1920-2009

W/Cdr Maurice A. Smith who during the war gained the D.F.C. and bar for his exploits as a master
bomber. His flying career started while at Wadham College, Oxford, when, in 1933, he trained as a pilot with the University Air Squadron. He was subsequently commissioned in the R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve, and also received practical engineering training in the aircraft-engine production shops of Rolls-Royce, Derby, before joining the editorial staff of Flight, and later assisting in launching the sister journal Aircraft Production. Serving throughout the war in the R.A.F. he flew nearly every training type as well as several four-engined and fighter aircraft before operating on Lancasters and Mosquitoes. He returned to Flight on his release and was appointed Assistant Editor.
His log shows appreciably over 3,000 hours' flying, and he has flown many different types of civil and military aircraft, including jet fighters. He was an Associate of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a member of the Royal Aero Club, he was elected in April to the Freedom and Livery of the Coachmakers and Coach Harness
Makers Company.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hptm Heinz Martin Hadeball 1921-1996

Hptm Heinz Martin Hadeball was a Luftwaffe fighter ace who downed 33 planes between 1943 and 1944. He received the Knights Cross in 1944

Norman Francis Williams CGM DFM* 1914-2007

-->Norman Williams was a man of extraordinary courage. After the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted as an air gunner in bombers.

In March, 1942, the then Sgt Williams embarked for the UK, joining 10Sqn RAF as a tail-gunner in Halifax heavy bombers. One night in September, his aircraft was bounced by a Junkers JU-88 nightfighter. Sgt Williams coolly directed the aircraft’s evading actions by radio warnings to the pilot. Then, when an opportunity arose, he shot down the nightfighter. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal and later received a Bar to the medal.

In March, 1943, F/Sgt Williams posted to 35Sqn RAF, as one of the elite Pathfinder Force. One night, his aircraft was attacked by two enemy fighters. His turret was hit and badly damaged, while he suffered several bullet wounds. Despite his wounds, he directed the evading manoeuvres and shot down both aircraft. He made light of his injuries but when the aircraft landed, his turret had to be cut away before he could be extricated.

He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross. He was commissioned in recognition of his award.

Norman Williams was an outstanding gunner and shot down another five enemy aircraft.

In April 1944, he returned to Australia, and in early 1945, posted to 23Sqn, flying B-24 Liberators against Japanese targets until the end of the war. In February 1947, he posted to 81WG Headquarters in Japan, and then demobilised in May, 1948.

In April 1952, he accepted a short-service commission as an air traffic controller. He was posted to 38Sqn at Changi, Singapore, and then to 1Sqn (Bomber) at Tengah; the following June to 91WG HQ in Iwakuni, Japan. His posting included time in Korea.

F/lt Williams returned to Australia in April 1954