Desert Airforce

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Mike L, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    After posting on Lofty1’s thread:
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/barracks/44464-house-clearance-ephemera-again.html.
    I found myself getting intrigued by the Desert Airforce, something I know very little about.
    Whilst Lofty’s thread only really covers 239 Wing, 53 RSU (repair and servicing unit) and the 6 Squadrons attached (112, 250 and 260 RAF, 3 and 450 RAAF and 5 SAAF) the Desert Airforce included other Wings and units and a wide variety of aircraft.
    One thing I found to my great interest was that Harry Broadhurst, CO of Hornchurch Airfield for two years, later went on to command 239 Wing. I live in Hornchurch and have heard his name spoken in almost reverential tones such was the respect he was held in.
    239 Wing, after the desert battles, went on to serve in Crete, Greece, Italy and Northern Europe. The other Wings must have had a similar experience. The movements and operations of the Wings and Squadrons illustrates a huge logistical involvement (including constructing PSP runways at several locations).
    Can any members provide further information not already covered in Lofty’s thread?

    Mike
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mike L
    There is no question that Harry Broadhurst was held in high regard- as when Tedder - Conningham and the US Brereton left the Desert at Medenine for Algiers - both he and Monty designed the Cab Rank support for the Armies- and it was first used at the battle of El Hamma with great success - then again at the final battle for Tunis - then on to support us all through Italy where just a phone call brought three aircraft to our support

    Cheers
     
  3. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Hi Tom, thanks for that confirmation. What aircraft would the Cab Rank have used at El Hamma and later onwards to Tunis?
    Did you see much medium bomber (eg Blenheim) or heavies (eg Wellington) in use?

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    MikeL
    would say that they were mostly Hurricanes and US fighter bombers but once they sent three spitfires who strafed us at breakfast- but apologized by sending a crate of Scotch to the Officer's Mess - nowt for the lads -often saw the Wellingtons but mainly Liberators in central and Northern Italy

    Cheers
     
  5. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

    Thoght this might be of use Mike as the book was next to me.

    In ,43 232 wing had Baltimores, 3 Saaf wing had Bostons and Baltimore's.244 ha Spit V Hurrican IIC (night in truders 73 Squadron) 239 had Kittyhawks and so did 7Saaf wing .

    37,40,70.104 Squadrons had Wellingtons.

    12 BG USAAF B25s

    57 and 79th Fghter groups had warhwaks.
     
  6. bradley947691

    bradley947691 Junior Member

    Hi,

    I have just put my first ever post on a forum regarding Loftys house clearance.
    Dad was in 53 RSU (Repair and Salvage Unit) and told me many tales, and left me many small items and my knowledge of the Desert Airforce is by no means expert, I do know quite a bit about it. I am happy to share anything I know,

    Howard
     
  7. rafdac

    rafdac Junior Member

    Hi,

    I have just put my first ever post on a forum regarding Loftys house clearance.
    Dad was in 53 RSU (Repair and Salvage Unit) and told me many tales, and left me many small items and my knowledge of the Desert Airforce is by no means expert, I do know quite a bit about it. I am happy to share anything I know,

    Howard
    I think my father was with 53 RSU in North Africa before ending up in Italy perhaps at San Severo. He was a LAC mechanic called Stuart Jeffreys. I remember his stories involving tripoli, Cairo and how his troop ship (that was taking them home) was diverted to Italy! He saw Vesuvius errupt but sadly had his camera stolen with all his pictures! My mother has sent for his RAF record of service but of course his units are mentioned but without their location! If you have info about 53 RSU I would be interested.:confused:
     
  8. Michael Ogden

    Michael Ogden New Member

    Hi, my father, arrived in Egypt, on 16th Feb1942 and joined 272 Sqdn at Edku, which was a Beaufighter squadron. He had arrived via Portreath, Gib, and Malta. In his log book, he records flying a Hurricane 1c on an air test, 4 times in March 1942, each of 30 minutes at 53 RSU. He had never flown a Hurricane before, but had flown the Hawker Fury on which the Hurricane was based.

    [QUOTafdac, post: 525517, member: 35124"]Hi,

    I have just put my first ever post on a forum regarding Loftys house clearance.
    Dad was in 53 RSU (Repair and Salvage Unit) and told me many tales, and left me many small items and my knowledge of the Desert Airforce is by no means expert, I do know quite a bit about it. I am happy to share anything I know,

    Howard
    I think my father was with 53 RSU in North Africa before ending up in Italy perhaps at San Severo. He was a LAC mechanic called Stuart Jeffreys. I remember his stories involving tripoli, Cairo and how his troop ship (that was taking them home) was diverted to Italy! He saw Vesuvius errupt but sadly had his camera stolen with all his pictures! My mother has sent for his RAF record of service but of course his units are mentioned but without their location! If you have info about 53 RSU I would be interested.:confused:[/QUOTE]
     
  9. Michael Ogden

    Michael Ogden New Member

    Hi, my father, arrived in Egypt, on 16th Feb1942 and joined 272 Sqdn at Edku, which was a Beaufighter squadron. He had arrived via Portreath, Gib, and Malta. In his log book, he records flying a Hurricane 1c on an air test, 4 times in March 1942, each of 30 minutes at 53 RSU. He had never flown a Hurricane before, but had flown the Hawker Fury on which the Hurricane was based.
     
    Chris C likes this.
  10. ramerry

    ramerry Member

    My father Harry Charles Merry was in 601 Sqd which was part of 244 Wing. Always reminded me that it was the D.A.F. that he had been in. Joined in 1940 As R.A.F.V.R Ended in D.M.T. had his own crane for aircraft recovery. Went all the way from Nth Africa, Sicily, Italy etc and was demobbed as Sergeant in 1946 in Italy. Known for carrying his own portable toilet on top of his cab & it was commandeered for the use of the King when he visited in !944. Actually have a few good Photo's of the King's visit, not to sure where my Father got his film or how he got them developed but he seemed to have carried his camera with him most of the time. Have some nice photo's with recovered Aircraft, he always said there was always plenty of work. 29.3 King George 1944.jpg 36 Trevisio copy.jpg 45.jpg 158 BellariaFeb1945.jpg 06.2 Sousse 1943.jpg 32 Trevisio copy.jpg 48.jpg
     
    Bernhart and Tricky Dicky like this.

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