292 Sqn RAF 'Sea Otter' aircraft - any photos?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by airlana, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. airlana

    airlana Member

    My father, Roy King, flew with Barney on a couple of occasions as a Wireless Opp/Air Gunner in 292 Squadron E Flight aircraft JM771 and JM767. Dad's regular pilot in 292 was a New Zealander called Charles Beale, known as Chas Beale, who was also in 136 Squadron may be remembered by Barney. The attached photo shows a skinny youth, Dad, standing alongside the cockpit of JM772 which according to his log book was one of the aircraft in E Flight 292 squadron. Additionally attached is a copy of photos taken from a book which described the operations of Spitfires and Hurricanes in Burma. Chas Beale, top right; Dudley Barnett, bottom right. If this is the same Barnett then your may now have a photo of Barney in his Spitfire days that you didn't previously have.

    John


    Hi John,

    I passed your message on to Barney and was sure I had posted his reply here back in April, but it seems I had somehow completely overlooked it. My sincere apologises.


    "Dear Ashley,very amazed and appreciative your 292 Squadron. Quick search of log book does not disclose Roy King but there are quite a few entries with "crew" rather than actual names of nav. or Wop/AG. If young King was to advise dates, from his father's log book, this would be very conclusive and I'd like to relate same to my wartime diary which could also be of interest. Chas Beale was my main war-time friend, he is gone now sadly as the other two 136 pilots. I enclose a "E Flight" 292 Sqdn. photo young King may not have seen and I would think his father would be amongst the standing crew. I can't pick Beale, probably down with malaria. which hit him badly. I am standing 4th from left with my crew Barlow and Low. Re the 3 Otter numbers, of a total of some 135 flights, 25 would have been in JM771, 6 in JM767, and 2 with Beale in JM772!! You are incredible Ashley ever Barney and our regards to Sue"

    Thank you for the photos of Dudley Barnett and yes that is "Barney".
    There's quite a bit about Charles Beale in Norman Franks "Spitfires Over the Arakan" which I think you may have. Also "The Woodpecker Story" by Viv Jacobs which is the unofficial history of 136 sqd.

    We'll keep trying for more information on your Dad, Roy King.

    regards Ash
    airlana
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    Might be worth contact Errol Martyn on rafcommands.com/forum to see whether there is a picture of Chas Beales a/c. Errol has contacts at the Air Force Museum at Wigram (NZ) and is a star reference NZ guys.
    Dee
     
  3. airlana

    airlana Member

    Hi everyone, I’m new here, and would also be interested in any photos of Sea Otters from 292 Squadron.

    My Great Uncle, John Horan (RNZAF), who was an Air Gunner with Pilot F/Lt Peter Almack with 292, was killed in operations on 9 January 1945 in Akyab. They took off from Cox's Bazaar and were supposed to be undergoing ASR readiness and experimental water landings when 8 Oscars attacked them. There was also a second Otter on operations that day, piloted by F/O Barnett, who had just delivered a Wing Commander and Brigadier to Akyab. On board both Otters were photographers from the Air Ministry film unit.

    Uncle Johnny was the only one killed that day, his body found washed up on a beach by members of No 3205 Royal Air Force Servicing Commando.

    I would also like to get photos of a Spitfire named “Kiwi’s Revenge”, which was named after Johnny and which flew with 292 after he was killed.

    SE Asia was Johnny’s 4th tour, so if anyone knows of any other stories of Johnny during his first three tours these would be greatly appreciated (264 and 277 Squadrons).

    Cheers
    Wendy

    Hi Wendy and welcome to the forum. 'Barney' Barnett has told me about this Sea Otter incident several times and we discussed it again last week following your post.

    Barney also very kindly loaned me his Log Book and war diary which I was going to transcribe and post here, but I'm 'stuck' on a few words and phrases (and I thought I had terrible writing). Rather than taking a guess, I'll check with Barney that I've got it correct and then post the details.

    Regarding the film unit guys, I've not being able to established exactly who they were and where from. Perhaps Air Ministry is correct. Assuming the filming was abandoned following the incident, one would think they would have at least taken some still photos of the Sea Otters. I've searched the Nat Archives and IWM but to no avail. Previously Barney was with 136sqd Hurricanes and Spitfires and his official photos at that time were done by the "Interservices Public Relations Directorate, India". I wonder where all their photos finished up after the war.

    I've no record of 292 sqd operating Spitfires, although Barney does mention Peter Almack of having an impressive record of types flown. Barney recalls that later Peter did take a Spitfire from another squadron based at Akyab for a spin, and perhaps this is the one named "Kiwi's Revenge".

    All being well I'll have Barneys notes for you shortly

    regards Ashley
    airlana
     
  4. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Might be worth contact Errol Martyn on rafcommands.com/forum to see whether there is a picture of Chas Beales a/c. Errol has contacts at the Air Force Museum at Wigram (NZ) and is a star reference NZ guys.
    Dee


    Good contact at Air Force Museum is Darren Hammond, who is curator for archives. Address is Private Bag 4739, Christchurch, NZ 8140. Air Force Museum | Visitor Attraction | Christchurch New Zealand
     
  5. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Hi Ashley

    Would be extremely interested in Barney's information, please thank him for me. Air Ministry film unit I assume is correct, as the details came from Peter Almack's official report of the incident that killed Johnny. At this stage I am unsure if 292 actually operated the spitfires, but the documents I have here show they were flown with the squadron to try and stop the attacks on the Otters, so perhaps it was another squadron that flew with them. I still have a long way to go with my research, but slowly trying to piece things together.

    Cheers
    Wendy
     
  6. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Most of the film is about the catapult launch of a Walrus, but this Royal Navy film has footage of a Sea Otter landing in choppy seas at about 3 minutes 20 to 3 minutes 30.

    How those pilots dont break their neck I dont know!

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsBGPjc8DFE&feature=player_embedded#![/YOUTUBE]
     
  7. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Hi Ash
    Hope Barney is well. Thought both you and he would be interested in Peter's report from the Akyab incident.
    WG
     

    Attached Files:

  8. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Newspaper article mentioning the spitfire that was named after Johnny.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. airlana

    airlana Member

    Hi Ash
    Hope Barney is well. Thought both you and he would be interested in Peter's report from the Akyab incident.
    WG

    Hi Wendy
    I seem to have 'dropped the ball' with this, a case of trying to do too many things all at the same time with too little time. As a result it's been a while since getting back to the forum, and now discover rather embarassingly that I hadn't posted the details as promised, after Barney very kindly spent some time with me, transcribing his diary. There's always something special about hearing first hand of past events from veterans, in Barney's case some 65 years ago, and trying to imagine how things were for them, in their youth, in battle, and how they saw and felt about things at the time. Even the writing is different page by page, a pencil here and an ink pen there, guess they were lucky to find anything to write with. Anyway here's Barney's record from all those years ago.

    "9.1.45 Jeldi trip to Chittagong with boys to bring down remainder of transport. Following, set off for Akyab self with Winco Murray (ops) Brig ?? and film unit L.C.O. Mac had another film unit type (Dennis Taylor, grand chap)
    Think we got some good shots going and landed on Akyab ‘drome, dropped off brigadier then landed on harbour after Mac.
    I taxied in close to Sea Plane Base. Couldn’t make examination, too many L.Craft operating from it. Had a scratch lunch, fun just lying at anchor in the sun, the sea absolutely glistening. Peaceful with a grand feeling of well being, and that false as hell ! Mac started up and took off, we dawdled a little having arranged to pick up the Brig at 1400 hrs. Mac cruised round waiting to photograph our take off. We taxied out when Roy who was at the forward hatch, yelled out “the Japs are here”. It took his second shout to penetrate my brain. Murray said make a dash for it but thank goodness I knew enough to cut the engines. A light bomb fell some 20 yards to port stern quarter and about a hundred from the nearest ship. We mounted guns but I gave the order that if they made a run at us to get as far below the water as possible. There were white areas where other bombs had fallen and I realised for the first time that we were not a stationary a/c well out from the shore but one amongst a considerable amount of shipping, more valuable targets by far than ourselves to an enemy pressing home an attack. I could only see 4 Japs (fighter bombers). Suddenly all hell broke loose from the ships. Mac I last saw whistling north with the Sea Otter’s nose down. Two of the Japs made a pass at (as I thought) the ‘drome and a bit later a column of black smoke rose upwards. Probably a Spit or the U.S. Vengeance on the strip. The Japs formed up and I did a bit of long range squirting at the ships. Roy said bullets 0.5 in rippled across the water behind us. We were drifting into a ship, the Japs made east weaving violently amongst the ack ack puffs. The Japs distanced away, firing ceased. We were about to start up when firing opened up again. An unfortunate lone Spit. He got away with it. We were close to colliding with our friendly ship when we finally got started.
    I did a hit or miss take off from the word go. I headed north, across the ‘drome. Could now see the smoke was from the shore line
    and closer still suddenly saw the biplane wings of an a/c – a Sea Otter. Mac was down and all but burnt out and the Nip pass at the ‘drome was actually a pass at JM882. We flew over it low, I reckoned there was no ghost of a chance for them (no self sealing tanks, no armour plate) I circled against my better judgement, there was very little left of the Sea Otter and to our relief saw Mac and three others on the beach staring at the a/c. They did not look up or wave to us. I banged the a/c down on the strip and we all hot footed it to the shore and the crash. Kiwi Horan had bought it, had manned the back guns, coolly and determinedly, got away two bursts, reported he was hit. Billy Downing went to his help, the tanks were blazing by this time and the hull badly shot up. By a miracle no one else was hit. Mac did a superb job getting the a/c down – she was really on fire. Kiwi could not be got out. Mac, near broken, brought Kiwi out with him, was best man at later’s wedding a few weeks before leaving UK. Only 5 weeks ago we were drinking to the birth of Kiwis son. Bloody business. Kiwi had two tours to his credit already, turned down repat. while we were at Drigh Rd.
    Murray and the Brig. got us all away. Very fine of them both. Kiwi hopelessly burned. Learnt later he must have been dead before the fire really had him. Were all about to fly back in my a/c when Beaufighter search down south came up. I let Mac take a/c and a job the best thing for him. Returned Cox’s in a badly shot up Dakota, the only thing the navy hit that day. That Dak should have bought it. All a bit rattled"

    And thank you so much for Almack's report. I'll take a copy over to Barney later this week.

    I think this incident must rank as one of the most 'unequal' ........ 2 Sea Otters verses 6 Oscars.

    Ash
    airlana
     
  10. airlana

    airlana Member

    Christopher Shores 3rd vol in the Bloody Shambles series, "Air War for Burma" also mentions the incident, see attached below.

    Wendy, the above mentions a "R W 'Bob' Day" but there is also an unpublished work by an A F 'Tony' Day

    The Air War over the Arakan 1942 to 1945 - Tony Day
    The most comprehensive study of Air Operations in this Far East Theater ever undertaken. A book which now, 65 years gone by, will forever remain the authoritative work, and reference on the subject for future generations. NOTE: No published volume exists but is available for study from the Imperial War Museum and the RAF Museum in London England, the Australian National Library, the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa and the RNZAF Archives located at the Wigram Air Base. Note: Some preparatory research material remains, letters, photos, etc., most was destroyed. Some material has been forwarded to the Aircrew Association. The letters of Wal McLellan are bundled with the manuscript in the AWM library.

    I've tried getting a copy/photocopy from our Aust Nat Library/Aust War Memorial but no luck. Perhaps you may like to follow up with the RNZAF Archives. I understand it is in two parts and in addition to the narrative there are photos, maps, etc

    regards Ash
    airlana
     

    Attached Files:

    • day.jpg
      day.jpg
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  11. airlana

    airlana Member

    Interesting map dated Dec.1944 made in preparation for the capture of Akyab [operation Talon] the following month. As it turned out there was basically no resistance, the Japanese having deserted a few days before the allies took over Akyab.

    The map shows a number of jetties on the Kaladan River shoreline and the BOAC Seaplane jetty marked next to the red circled 3. Presumably this is jetty referred to in the previous reports. The map also shows part of the Akyab airstrip.

    The map also aligns perfectly when overlayed on Google Earth, where the remains of the BOAC Jetty can be seen.

    And lastly, part of typographical map for the Akyab area again showing the seaplane base and airstrip

    Ash
    airlana
     

    Attached Files:

  12. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Ash, thank you so much for that info, it's great. I will be at Wigram next week so will follow up on the Day story.

    I have several more newspaper clippings about Johnny. Please let me know if Barney wishes to see them.

    Best wishes
    Wendy
     
  13. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Hi Ash

    I have seen Day's unpublished book! Unfortunately didn't have time to photograph the whole thing (will need a couple of days at the archives for that), but I have pictures of Sea Otters from 292 sqdn! I am not allowed to "publicly" show anything from the book, but if you PM me your email address I will send you what I have.

    Regards
    Wendy
     
  14. Invader26

    Invader26 Junior Member

    Had the pleasure of hosting Barney and his delightful wife Peg today looking at my Spitfire XIV project.
     
  15. JimLow

    JimLow Junior Member

    Hi there. Just discovered this forum looking for photos of 292 Sqn Sea Otters. Interesting to read at post 21 mention of Barney's crew "Low". That would be my father, John (Jock) Low. He's still alive and well living in Edzell, Scotland. He often flew with Barney as WOP/AG and I have copies of his logs during that time, including for 17th Jan 1945 carrying "Supremo" and Lt Gen Christeson in JM771. He was also with Barney on 9th Jan 1945 in JM771 when they were bounced by the Oscars at Akyab. Sadly there are no photos of his time in the Sea Otters with 292, only some on his earlier exploits with 82 Sqn Blenheims and 159 Sqn Liberators. I'd be very interested in any 292 Sqn photos as I'd like to do a 1/72 model of one for him while he's still around.
     
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Jim welcome to the forum

    please post any info or photos you have if not deemed to personal.
    Forum members will be most interested
     
  17. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Hi Jim, welcome to the forum. Have sent you a PM regarding the 292 Sea Otters.
    WG
     
  18. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hi Jim,

    Welcome to the forum, any info, pics, would be most welcome.

    Regards
    Peter
     
  19. JimLow

    JimLow Junior Member

    Hi Wendy and welcome to the forum. 'Barney' Barnett has told me about this Sea Otter incident several times and we discussed it again last week following your post.

    Barney also very kindly loaned me his Log Book and war diary which I was going to transcribe and post here, but I'm 'stuck' on a few words and phrases (and I thought I had terrible writing). Rather than taking a guess, I'll check with Barney that I've got it correct and then post the details.

    Regarding the film unit guys, I've not being able to established exactly who they were and where from. Perhaps Air Ministry is correct. Assuming the filming was abandoned following the incident, one would think they would have at least taken some still photos of the Sea Otters. I've searched the Nat Archives and IWM but to no avail. Previously Barney was with 136sqd Hurricanes and Spitfires and his official photos at that time were done by the "Interservices Public Relations Directorate, India". I wonder where all their photos finished up after the war.

    I've no record of 292 sqd operating Spitfires, although Barney does mention Peter Almack of having an impressive record of types flown. Barney recalls that later Peter did take a Spitfire from another squadron based at Akyab for a spin, and perhaps this is the one named "Kiwi's Revenge".

    All being well I'll have Barneys notes for you shortly

    regards Ashley
    airlana
    Thanks for the warm welcome. THere's a bit more information available about the film unit escapade. Have a look at AMPHIBIOUS AIRCRAFT OF THE RAF AIR SEA RESCUE SERVICE IN BURMA (9/1/1945) | colonialfilm. It would be interesting to have a view of this footage
     
  20. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

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