SUMMARY for DECEMBER
|TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY||9H10M|
|TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT||13H35M|
|TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS||13H00M|
Monthly Archives: December 2013
On what would have been his 98th birthday, today seems like a fitting day to write a post about Broody’s regular pilot. John Hancock Scott, known on the Squadron as Jack was born on 30th December 1915 in Invercargill, New Zealand. Jack enlisted at RNZAF Station Levin on 5th / 6th July 1941. I can’t find a definitive date of his arrival at 488(NZ) Squadron.
As explained by Broody “[Jack] was famous on the squadron for taking every opportunity that came along (and some that he skillfully generated) to get into the air” and was a popular and dedicated pilot.
As Broody’s regular pilot, he and Jack flew many Operational Flights together until Jack left the Squadron on September 19th 1944 on a posting to 315 Maintenance Unit in India as a test pilot. From there, he went to No4 (Coastal) OTU as a Staff Pilot until he left the RNZAF in February 1946.
In 1945, Jack was Mentioned in Dispatches “In recognition of distinguished service and devotion to duty.” 1
I think Broody and Jack lost contact after the war. I believe that Jack returned to Invercargill, and passed away on 15th March 2010. I would love to make contact with any of Jack relatives in New Zealand, and would ask my Kiwi readers if they are able to put me in touch.
1 Source: Colin Hanson’s “By Such Deeds – Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999”
24th December 14:15
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: P/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
BASE ~ HATFIELD
Going to collect spares, but clouds of smoke from A/I – Carbon Pote[?] Regulator burnt out – so returned forthwith for another aeroplane.
DH Mosquito XIII HK420 ME-B (A/I Mk.VIII)
BASE ~ HATFIELD
OK this time. Particularly poor visibility
HATFIELD ~ BASE & NFT
Short & very bumpy airfield for takeoff, but OK. NFT on way home on formation of Fortresses & a Beaufighter
I recently made contact with Ronnie Olsthoorn through a DH Mosquito Facebook group. After exchanging messages about Chris Vlotman, Ronnie mentioned that he wanted to produce an artwork of HK365 being flown by Vlotman on the night of 21/iii/44 when he shot down 2 JU-88s. Ronnie produces some of the most amazing 3d aviation artwork you will ever see. I have desire to see this project come to fruition, as Broody also flew in HK365 on a number of occasions, so the thought of seeing her “come back to life” is an exciting prospect.
The problem we had was that the tail code for HK365 was unknown. It was not on the list I have compiled, and was unknown to Graham Clayton who has a large amount of information on 488(NZ) Squadron aircraft. There was a supposition on various forums that she was coded ME-Z, but the main source of this appeared to be a set of modelling decals made by Dutch Decals. Fortunately, Ronnie is a Dutchman and contacted Dutch Decals who explained that “In the Military Aviation Museum there was a model of Vlotman’s Mossie, and they did manage to consult him personally. And there is a photo of Vlotman and his Nav in front of the tail of the Mosquito. Possibly information was taken from his log books as well.”
This didn’t give either Ronnie or myself 100% confidence. I was determined to find the answer to our question…
Shortly afterwards, I was researching 488(NZ) Squadron at Bradwell Bay when I came across a post at http://rnzaf.proboards.com/thread/16603/raf-bradwell-bay. Hidden in the thread were a number of photos I had not seen before, including this one:
I flipped the image, to reveal this:
The photo seemed to show that this aircraft was HK365, with tail code ME-T. Hardly believing my good fortune, I looked at it closer and then thought that perhaps I was not going to be so lucky, and it was actually HK385.
I satisfied myself that this was not the case by referencing the Squadron’s Operations Record Book and checking that HK385 was not an aircraft used by 488(NZ) Squadron. I also referenced the de Havilland production lists available online that seemed to suggest that HK385 was not a serial used by de Havilland. I shared the good news with Ronnie (but failed to mention the findings of my research). We both revelled in the good news, until Ronnie took a closer a look, and was sure that the serial was HK385. This is the blown up image he sent me:
You can certainly see his point! When the image was posted on Facebook, opinion was divided. Some were sure it was a 6, others an 8…. Was it possible that my research was flawed? Well maybe, if 2 assumptions are made:
1) The production lists for DH Mosquitos are incomplete and HK385 WAS built
2) Assuming the above, HK385 WAS issued to 488(NZ) Squadron, but was crashed / damaged / disposed of before she flew operationally, or only used as a training aircraft, and therefore never had a recorded flight in the ORB.
All doubt was finally put to bed when Dave Homewood posted a crop of the scan he took from the original image in a higher resolution:
Definitely HK365! I think enough research has gone into this, with enough evidence available to be sure that HK365 was coded ME-T. This has been another valuable lesson in carrying out sufficient research before committing gut-feel or supposition to print as fact! On this occasion, I was right in my convictions, but I wonder how much “historical fact” is wrong because sources and evidence are not properly checked and double checked. Both Ronnie & I desperately wanted this aircraft to be HK365, and it would have been so easy to have taken a 95% chance – and been wrong!
I now wait to see what magic Ronnie can work to reproduce an image of an event in one of 488(NZ) Squadron’s most successful nights of the war. You can see examples of Ronnie’s artwork on his website www.aviationart.aero. I thoroughly recommend you take time to visit!