Tag Archives: Rod Bourke

488 (NZ) Squadron camera gun footage

The Imperial War Museum has added some web-accessible RAF Camera Gun footage to it’s online collection. The video, which can be found by following this link, has over 250 clips of 16mm cine “camera gun” film showing successful combats.

The collection includes 7 clips of 488(NZ) Squadron kills. The quality of the footage is understandably poor, and nothing like the shocking combat footage that we have been shown of more recent war zones. However, we must take into account the quality of the film itself; and the fact that all these combats were filmed in the dark. I believe that they do all add to the story of the Squadron.

For ease, I have listed the combats below, and referenced the time stamp on the video so that you can easily find the clip you are interested in. I should point out that the dates on the clips refer to the actual date of the combat which may differ to the dates quoted on this site. This is because my reference is the Squadron’s ORB which will record a victory on the day the pilot took off – therefore flights that span midnight may be a day out.

Timestamp Pilot Date
07:48 Sqn Ldr Bunting 14/iii/44
10:02 Fg Off Vlotman 22/iii/44
10:10 Flt Lt J Hall 22/iii/44
10:16 Sqn Ldr Bunting 22/iii/44
21:41 WO Bourke 19/iv/44
21:48 Flt Lt J Hall 19/iv/44
38:22 Flt Lt J Hall 15/v/44



Summary for April 1944



Another busy month for Broody, with 4 more Operational hours flown than in March.

The ORB summary for the month states:

“A quiet month with very little enemy activity in our Sector. The destruction of two Huns on the only night of a large scale raid reflect great credit on the Squadron, and the first success of an all New Zealand aircrew acted as a tonic to the Squadron.

Practices in formation flying have resulted in a high standard and the exercise ‘London’ proved our ability to cope in this unaccustomed role”

The victories referred to were a JU.88 apiece on 18/iv/44 for Johnny Hall (his 4th victory to date, putting him at the top of the Squadron’s leader board at the end of the month), and the all Kiwi crew of WO Rod Bourke and Fg Off Irwin Skudder. (See entries 17 & 18 on the Squadron Victories page)

Other interesting snippets from the ORB for the month include:

“The Squadron aircrew plus the Adjutant and M.O moved into tents today. Quite a Boy Scout air and a good deal of ‘scrounging’ apparent” (08/iv/44)

“B Flight visited Westcliffe Baths for a Dinghy Drill and a good time was had by all” (21/iv/44)

“We maintained a continuous patrol over a Walrus which was taxying in with an overload of rescued American aircrew” (22/iv/44)

The overloading of the Supermarine Walrus, a  single-engine amphibious biplane does not appear to be an unusual occurrence. An article from the Alton Evening Telegraph from 26/iv/44 tells this particular story.

“An RAF Walrus seaplane rescued eight survivors of a Flying Fortress which crashed in the North Sea but the Walrus was so overloaded it had to taxi 70 miles home — an all-night job in stormy waters which threatened to sink the plane—it was disclosed today. At the start of the long journey — just off an enemy-occupied coast – the British craft was under attack by a German Ju-88, but a couple of fighters from a Germany-bound air armada swooped down and drove the big Nazi plane away. The Fortress itself had been on a mercy trip scanning choppy seas for another crew reported forced down. Flames enveloped the cockpit of the big bomber, which crashed into a wave and quickly settled. Two gunners went down with the ship, but the pilot and 7 crewmen clambered into a dingy. For 12 hours the airmen wallowed in the seas, vainly signalling with flares to the planes rumbling overhead. It was almost dusk when the Walrus spotted the American airmen. The British plane came down and picked up all eight and began the long wet trip home. The men bailed with hats, boots and bare hands through the night to keep the plane from sinking. At dawn a British patrol boat came alongside and took the Americans aboard. They were treated for exposure and sunburn and sent back to their base.”