Beaufort Memoirs / Strain

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Markyboy, May 7, 2019.

  1. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    I've had a bit of a binge recently on some memoirs by Beaufort aircrew. Patrick Gibbs books Not Peace but a Sword and Torpedo Leader, Last of the Torpedo Flyers by Arthur Aldridge and Down but Not Out by Maurice Mayne. It's heartbreaking to note the truly awful casualty statistics and that of the above, Gibbs broke down through strain later in the war and Mayne had his first pilot go LMF after the channel dash and another squadron member did the same after hearing that Mayne had been shot down. I think it's an area of the RAF war that could do with a bit more attention as joe public only really hears about the sacrifices made in the Battle of Britain and Bomber Command.
    Waddell and canuck like this.
  2. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Roy Conyers Nesbit was in Beauforts and has written a few books about them.
    The third man in the Wooden Horse was a Beaufort man too!
    Markyboy and CL1 like this.
  3. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Stolen Journey by Philpott is also in my collection! The Nesbit autobiography is sitting in my amazon basket by chance so I’ll get that at some stage. Any other memoir suggestions are always welcome!
  4. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Ever hear the one about the captured Beaufort crew who made their guards prisoners, stole the Cant they were being transported in, and flew back to Malta in it?
    Waddell likes this.
  5. Waddell

    Waddell Well-Known Member

    That story is mentioned in Gibb's Torpedo Leader. The crew were that of Flight Lieutenant Ted Strever. His story is here-

    BBC - WW2 People's War - The World's First Air Hijack!

    Getting back to Markyboy's original post, having also recently read two Beaufort books I agree with his thoughts regarding the high casualty rate and the stress it must have wrought upon the crews.

    The very nature of the attack- coming in very low directly at the ships and releasing torpedoes very late obviously made them sitting ducks as they closed in and the later attacks involved Beaufighters and the like drawing away fire from the Beauforts prior to their approach. Reading of their actions it occurred to me that the German Navy planned very well for defense against these attacks by placing protective ships effectively and employing flak ships. Neither of the memoirs goes into any details about the flak ships and I wonder how effective they were? Can anyone add more.

    I have 'Song of the Beauforts' in my reading pile, which covers 100 Squadron RAAF operation in the south west pacific. I am interested in seeing how well the RAAF Beauforts performed against Japanese shipping, and whether the Japanese had effective defense systems in place to combat torpedo attack.

    It would be very interesting to see some figures as to the losses of Beauforts compared with other types of aircraft carrying out similar operations.


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