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jensenpark
01-29-2004, 02:21 PM
VICTORIA -- Fred Gardiner was a Battle of Britain pilot who escaped from a burning Spitfire, lived to tell the tale but was forever listed as killed in action. Last fall, after a life of adventure, he died in Victoria at age 86.
His flying career included untold close calls and near misses, both as a civilian and a military pilot.
At 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 25, 1940, Flight Officer Gardiner was fighting in his fourth engagement of the day. He was flying north of Dover when attacked by a German fighter he never saw. "The engine stopped and everything in front of me was on fire," he wrote in an unpublished memoir. "Needless to say, I was in a hurry to get out."
He baled from his Spitfire and landed in a stubble field in Kent. Two soldiers took him to a farmhouse, where he was picked up by an ambulance. Despite the drama, the flight officer's log entry was an exercise in brevity. "Shot down near Deal," he wrote, "parachute descent, aircraft destroyed."
Mr. Gardiner, who was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, spent a month in hospital recuperating from injuries, which included burns to his hands. Curiously, he has been listed as killed in action during the Battle of Britain on the official Web site of the Royal Air Force. The error was discovered only after his death.
Frederick Thomas Gardiner, who was born in Belfast on Sept. 24, 1917, grew up in Northern Ireland. He studied engineering at Cambridge, where he joined the university air squadron. He was flying a trainer one summer day when the engine seized, forcing him to make an unscheduled landing in a field.
A member of the air reserves, he was mobilized at the outbreak of war. He found the training a breeze, except for one practice that he found disturbing.
"One thing we did was firing the machine gun through the propeller," he wrote, "which I found very unnerving, because if you got it wrong you were liable to chop your propeller to pieces."
Attached to No. 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill, Kent, Mr. Gardiner lost his first Spitfire during heavy fighting over the English Channel on July 25, 1940. A dogfight with a German resulted in his plane being shot up. Despite a wound to his arm, Mr. Gardiner landed his plane safely. The aircraft was a writeoff.
In the month before he parachuted from his burning fighter, Mr. Gardiner would shoot down an enemy airplane and once again be injured himself.
In an exchange with a Bf 109 on Aug. 12, his Spitfire was hit by cannon shell, damaging the left aileron and wing. The gas tank was also hit. Mr. Gardiner suffered a shrapnel wound to his left leg.
Six days later, he joined 13 other Spitfires from his base in attacking 50 German bombers and 50 escorting fighters. According to the squadron's operations diary, Mr. Gardiner "fired a continuous burst -- 8-10 seconds -- port engine of e/a [enemy aircraft] started to smoking heavily, large pieces falling off as e/a appeared to catch fire." He was credited with destroying a Bf-110, a long-range fighter.
After one dawn operation, Mr. Gardiner returned to base to eat breakfast before falling asleep in a chair. While he dozed, Winston Churchill made a surprise visit to the base. The British Prime Minister noted the sleeping airman. "Churchill saw me, but I never saw Churchill," he liked to say.
After recovering from his burns, Mr. Gardiner was posted to a glider training school in preparation for the invasion of Europe. The assignment was monotonous, enlivened only by near disaster. One day, he flew Air Vice-Marshall Keith Park in a demonstration. "We were waiting for the tractor to tow us back when there was a big bang. The tow plane had landed on top of us, narrowly missing the air vice-marshal's head -- and mine -- and demolishing one of the glider's wings."
Mr. Gardiner was attached to Coastal Command in May, 1943, serving as squadron leader of No. 254 at North Coates. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross on March 10, 1944, a month before being named wing commander at Shalufa, a base adjacent to the Suez Canal in Egypt. He then commanded a squadron at Aden.

In 1948, unhappy with Britain's economic prospects, Mr. Gardiner immigrated to Canada with his new bride and stepdaughter. He worked for several seasons as a deckhand on B.C. fishing boats before opening an engineering firm in Victoria.

http://images.ucomics.com/images/doonesbury/strip/thecast/duke2.jpg

"Death before unconsciousness" - Uncle Duke

jensenpark
01-29-2004, 02:21 PM
VICTORIA -- Fred Gardiner was a Battle of Britain pilot who escaped from a burning Spitfire, lived to tell the tale but was forever listed as killed in action. Last fall, after a life of adventure, he died in Victoria at age 86.
His flying career included untold close calls and near misses, both as a civilian and a military pilot.
At 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 25, 1940, Flight Officer Gardiner was fighting in his fourth engagement of the day. He was flying north of Dover when attacked by a German fighter he never saw. "The engine stopped and everything in front of me was on fire," he wrote in an unpublished memoir. "Needless to say, I was in a hurry to get out."
He baled from his Spitfire and landed in a stubble field in Kent. Two soldiers took him to a farmhouse, where he was picked up by an ambulance. Despite the drama, the flight officer's log entry was an exercise in brevity. "Shot down near Deal," he wrote, "parachute descent, aircraft destroyed."
Mr. Gardiner, who was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, spent a month in hospital recuperating from injuries, which included burns to his hands. Curiously, he has been listed as killed in action during the Battle of Britain on the official Web site of the Royal Air Force. The error was discovered only after his death.
Frederick Thomas Gardiner, who was born in Belfast on Sept. 24, 1917, grew up in Northern Ireland. He studied engineering at Cambridge, where he joined the university air squadron. He was flying a trainer one summer day when the engine seized, forcing him to make an unscheduled landing in a field.
A member of the air reserves, he was mobilized at the outbreak of war. He found the training a breeze, except for one practice that he found disturbing.
"One thing we did was firing the machine gun through the propeller," he wrote, "which I found very unnerving, because if you got it wrong you were liable to chop your propeller to pieces."
Attached to No. 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill, Kent, Mr. Gardiner lost his first Spitfire during heavy fighting over the English Channel on July 25, 1940. A dogfight with a German resulted in his plane being shot up. Despite a wound to his arm, Mr. Gardiner landed his plane safely. The aircraft was a writeoff.
In the month before he parachuted from his burning fighter, Mr. Gardiner would shoot down an enemy airplane and once again be injured himself.
In an exchange with a Bf 109 on Aug. 12, his Spitfire was hit by cannon shell, damaging the left aileron and wing. The gas tank was also hit. Mr. Gardiner suffered a shrapnel wound to his left leg.
Six days later, he joined 13 other Spitfires from his base in attacking 50 German bombers and 50 escorting fighters. According to the squadron's operations diary, Mr. Gardiner "fired a continuous burst -- 8-10 seconds -- port engine of e/a [enemy aircraft] started to smoking heavily, large pieces falling off as e/a appeared to catch fire." He was credited with destroying a Bf-110, a long-range fighter.
After one dawn operation, Mr. Gardiner returned to base to eat breakfast before falling asleep in a chair. While he dozed, Winston Churchill made a surprise visit to the base. The British Prime Minister noted the sleeping airman. "Churchill saw me, but I never saw Churchill," he liked to say.
After recovering from his burns, Mr. Gardiner was posted to a glider training school in preparation for the invasion of Europe. The assignment was monotonous, enlivened only by near disaster. One day, he flew Air Vice-Marshall Keith Park in a demonstration. "We were waiting for the tractor to tow us back when there was a big bang. The tow plane had landed on top of us, narrowly missing the air vice-marshal's head -- and mine -- and demolishing one of the glider's wings."
Mr. Gardiner was attached to Coastal Command in May, 1943, serving as squadron leader of No. 254 at North Coates. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross on March 10, 1944, a month before being named wing commander at Shalufa, a base adjacent to the Suez Canal in Egypt. He then commanded a squadron at Aden.

In 1948, unhappy with Britain's economic prospects, Mr. Gardiner immigrated to Canada with his new bride and stepdaughter. He worked for several seasons as a deckhand on B.C. fishing boats before opening an engineering firm in Victoria.

http://images.ucomics.com/images/doonesbury/strip/thecast/duke2.jpg

"Death before unconsciousness" - Uncle Duke

Covino
01-29-2004, 03:07 PM
Wow, with that many close calls, I'm surprised he was only declared dead once. RIP.

SeaFireLIV
01-29-2004, 03:48 PM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

GR142_Astro
01-29-2004, 04:06 PM
Salute, Frederick Thomas Gardiner.

MB_Avro
01-29-2004, 05:30 PM
He and his Squadron of 12 pilots attacked 100 enemy aircraft including 50 bf109s...makes me feel glad to be behind a pc !!

Thanks for the post.

Regards
MB_Avro

Chivas
01-29-2004, 06:09 PM
Just finished reading some combat reports that mention Gardners name repeatedly. He must of been a very agressive pilot.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/images/f541_610.gif

~Salute~

necrobaron
01-29-2004, 06:34 PM
Salute to a great man..... http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

"Not all who wander are lost."

XyZspineZyX
01-29-2004, 06:41 PM
Frederick Thomas Gardiner, Salute and Rest In Peace.



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