Bristol Blenheim equipped Squadrons in Burma, Dec. 1941- May 1942

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I am trying to identify two R.A.F. ground crew by the names of Sharpe and Gowers as I have a photograph of them with a cryptic message on the reverse.

    Sharpe & Gowers. They were evacuated to China after keeping our Blenheims flying in Burma. They rejoined at Cholavarum. (There is also a pencilled squiggle that may say 45 Sqn).

    "Keeping our Blenheims flying" would seem to indicate ground crew. "Evacuated to China" would seem to suggest that their Squadron was dispersed north eastwards from Burma with some personnel making it to India whilst those unable to fly out crossed into China before being flown to India.

    Unfortunately there are no 45 Squadron summary of events files for early 1942 in the Air 27 series. There is however, an Appendices File (Air 27/458) that gives later movements between airfields with nominal rolls of the squadron's ground crew. I have found a passing reference to a Sgt Sharpe with no mention of his initials or service number, but he does not appear in the movement orders. There is no mention of Gowers anywhere in the file.

    It is possible that both men transferred to other squadrons on their return to India. It is also possible that neither man served with 45 Squadron.

    I am aware that 113 Squadron also flew Blenheims in Burma and have not yet checked their squadron records but will do so.

    If anyone knows of other Blenheim squadrons active in Burma during this period, or has any thoughts on how to take this search further, I would be pleased to hear your thoughts.

    Blen 003.JPG
  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have managed to find them both in earlier 45 Squadron movement orders. Unfortunately there are no initials stated.

    14/09/1941 Habbaniya to Egypt. 578850 AC2 Gowers.

    Two possibilities for Sharpe.
    542066 Cpl Sharpe, later Sgt Sharpe
    522445 L.A.C. Sharpe. Flight Mechanic.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  3. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    You may see if you can get your hands on a copy of this book through interlibrary loan as it's a history of 45 Squadron. I may be able to get my hands on a copy to look in and if I do, I will see if there's anything about Sharpe and Gowers.
  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the heads up, I will see if I can locate a copy.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Neither Sharpe or Gowers appear in movement orders after the 45 Squadron converted to the Vultee Vengeance after flying Bristol Blenheims. I am not sure how squadron mechanics operate but, I wonder if they specialise in an individual aircraft type and either move squadron or retrain for a new type if the squadron refits.
  6. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I handle a number of things for 230 Sqn's Assoc and have associated personnel in 33 and 72, due to common "rotary" links... most of the active Sqn's have Associations... 45 has an FB page and it would not hurt to drop them a line...?
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thanks Ken,

    I am not sure that these two men were very different from the other members of 45 Squadron ground crew who made their way to India via China in 1942. It just so happens that a photograph of them was annotated by a squadron member who kept a photograph album.
    45lists 006.JPG
  8. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    45lists 001.JPG
    45lists 002.JPG

    45lists 003.JPG
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Gowers. His service number is difficult to make out.

    45lists 004.JPG
  10. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

  11. Jagan

    Jagan Junior Member

  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    many thanks for the update and the link to the Military Forces site. It looks as if I am going to need yet another subscription as I have quite a few RAF personnel to look up.

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    No one has mentioned 113 Squadron. An old family friend, "Tiny" Little, was a navigator in 113 Squadron. His war stories were about being bombed on the ground in Greece, Libya and then sent to Burma. The history of 113 Squadrons says the survivors were evacuated to Calcutta, but Little and his crew ended up in China as the aircrew of Chiang Kai Shek's personal Ju52. These are my recollections from fifty years ago of the war stories of a long dead man.
    Is it possible that there was some transfer of personnel between squadrons? It seems to have happened with air crew.
  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    See post 1 for a mention of 113 Squadron.
    Sheldrake likes this.
  15. Jagan

    Jagan Junior Member

    Hi Simon, it seems the data comes from the AIR78 air men index from the NA. Purchasing a full account may not add value beyond the mere mention that it exists in the AIR 78 index cards. I would advise to verify with a trial membership first.

    The database 'mostly' works - i would say 80% succesful hit rate in whatever i have tried..

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