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MB_Avro_UK
05-20-2007, 05:37 PM
Hi all,

Found out yesterday that my uncle-in-law was a WW2 Royal Navy Swordfish Pilot.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/MB_Avro/250px-Fairey_Swordfish_on_Airfield.jpg

He is now 85 years old. A couple of years ago he published a book named,'Achtung, Stringbag!'.

His name is Stanley Brand.

Here's a quote relating to one of his many mid-Atlantic experience. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

'On our first crossing of the Atlantic we had an incident which was a great help in binding together our already stable 3 crew in the Swordfish. We were nearing the limit of a patrol.

We were about seventy miles ahead of the convoy and about an hour before dusk when I altered my focus from scanning the horizon ahead to scanning my instruments in readiness for a turn for home'.

In passing I noticed to my horror that the locking handle which held the starboard folding wing in the spread position was no longer held tightly against the leading inboard strut.

We were in imminent danger of the wing collapsing to the folded position where it would cover the cockpits, trapping us so we couldn't bale out.

Without any discussion or hesitation, Bill (The Observer) said "I'll attend to it. Keep her steady".

Divesting himself of his encumbering parachute, within a few seconds he was clambering over my cockpit, hanging on to anything within reach.

Bill had to cut holes in the fuselage fabric where it was backed up by a longeron or other metal strong enough to take his weight.

Calmly and coolly, though doing what he was doing would cause a lesser mortal to sweat even in a seventy knot wintry slipstream, Bill inched his way to the strut on which the locking arm was mounted and kicked the handle into the down position.

He then commenced his carefully calculated return to the comparative safety of his cockpit where he fastened his safety G-string' and clipped on his parachute again.

While all this went on, I kept on flying straight and level, holding my course away from the convoy, reluctant to impose any stress on man or machine until the wing bolt was secure. The last thing wanted by a Convoy Commodore, with the probability of U-boats lurking around, would be a string of bright lights like Blackpool illuminations to welcome home an errant aircraft.

The Royal Navy had always practised the principle of sacrificing the few to avoid risking the many and Bill the Observer, who had a fortnight's seniority over me suggested that we must be prepared to ditch near to HMS Alexia and trust that we would be picked up, but we would wait and see what provision our skipper made for us to land-on.

In fact, as soon as our engine was heard , Alexia turned into wind and turned on the dim but lifesaving deck-lights and Bats brought us safely in.

HMS Alexia was a converted oil-tanker that had a 100 yard landing deck with three Swordfish to cover a 40 ship Atlantic convoy http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Radio silence was absolute. To transmit a radio message when on convoy duty was equal to treason,even if the aircrew was facing death..'The Royal Navy had always practised the principle of sacrificing the few to avoid risking the many'.


Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

MB_Avro_UK
05-20-2007, 05:37 PM
Hi all,

Found out yesterday that my uncle-in-law was a WW2 Royal Navy Swordfish Pilot.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/MB_Avro/250px-Fairey_Swordfish_on_Airfield.jpg

He is now 85 years old. A couple of years ago he published a book named,'Achtung, Stringbag!'.

His name is Stanley Brand.

Here's a quote relating to one of his many mid-Atlantic experience. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

'On our first crossing of the Atlantic we had an incident which was a great help in binding together our already stable 3 crew in the Swordfish. We were nearing the limit of a patrol.

We were about seventy miles ahead of the convoy and about an hour before dusk when I altered my focus from scanning the horizon ahead to scanning my instruments in readiness for a turn for home'.

In passing I noticed to my horror that the locking handle which held the starboard folding wing in the spread position was no longer held tightly against the leading inboard strut.

We were in imminent danger of the wing collapsing to the folded position where it would cover the cockpits, trapping us so we couldn't bale out.

Without any discussion or hesitation, Bill (The Observer) said "I'll attend to it. Keep her steady".

Divesting himself of his encumbering parachute, within a few seconds he was clambering over my cockpit, hanging on to anything within reach.

Bill had to cut holes in the fuselage fabric where it was backed up by a longeron or other metal strong enough to take his weight.

Calmly and coolly, though doing what he was doing would cause a lesser mortal to sweat even in a seventy knot wintry slipstream, Bill inched his way to the strut on which the locking arm was mounted and kicked the handle into the down position.

He then commenced his carefully calculated return to the comparative safety of his cockpit where he fastened his safety G-string' and clipped on his parachute again.

While all this went on, I kept on flying straight and level, holding my course away from the convoy, reluctant to impose any stress on man or machine until the wing bolt was secure. The last thing wanted by a Convoy Commodore, with the probability of U-boats lurking around, would be a string of bright lights like Blackpool illuminations to welcome home an errant aircraft.

The Royal Navy had always practised the principle of sacrificing the few to avoid risking the many and Bill the Observer, who had a fortnight's seniority over me suggested that we must be prepared to ditch near to HMS Alexia and trust that we would be picked up, but we would wait and see what provision our skipper made for us to land-on.

In fact, as soon as our engine was heard , Alexia turned into wind and turned on the dim but lifesaving deck-lights and Bats brought us safely in.

HMS Alexia was a converted oil-tanker that had a 100 yard landing deck with three Swordfish to cover a 40 ship Atlantic convoy http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Radio silence was absolute. To transmit a radio message when on convoy duty was equal to treason,even if the aircrew was facing death..'The Royal Navy had always practised the principle of sacrificing the few to avoid risking the many'.


Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Zeus-cat
05-20-2007, 07:06 PM
Please pass on my respects to a brave man. S!

A few month ago I read "War in a Stringbag" by Charles Lamb. The crews of those aircraft loved them.

leitmotiv
05-21-2007, 12:20 AM
Most people don't know it was the world's most advanced carrier strike bomber from 1941 until the end of 1942. Its 18" torpedo worked, unlike the USN 22" aerial torpedo, and it carried radar which allowed it to drop out of the clouds on top of its targets causing surprise and dismay---as it did with the BISMARCK. Not only that, RN Swordfish crews were night trained, capable of striking at night as well as by day, unlike American and Japanese torpedo plane crews. Until the radar-equipped Avengers entered service at the end of 1942 (non-radar-fitted ones were in service earlier), the humble Swordfish was tops.

Dtools4fools
05-21-2007, 12:55 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">it was the world's most advanced carrier strike bomber from 1941 until the end of 1942. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Uhh, maybe the carrier torp plane/bomber with the most advanced weapons/equipment...
Sure not the most advanced plane...

****

leitmotiv
05-21-2007, 01:07 AM
It is the total weapon system that counts. The B-29 was the most advanced heavy bomber in the world in early 1945, but over Japan, at high altitude, it was worthless. Given incendiary bombs, and sent in at low altitude it was devastating, given the atom bomb it was devastating, given the Eagle radar and making low altitude attacks it was devastating, but as a high altitude bomb truck over Japan it was worthless. The weapon system and tactics are what matters, not the airplane. The Avenger was a far hotter torpedo bomber than the Swordfish, but, when some tried to go straight in at high speed at Midway, they were annihilated. Of course, any torpedo bombers trying to penetrate a fleet fighter screen without escort, as was the Midway USN situation, would have been annihilated.

ake109
05-21-2007, 01:16 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Dtools4fools:
Uhh, maybe the carrier torp plane/bomber with the most advanced weapons/equipment...
Sure not the most advanced plane...
**** </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, at least it can land on a 100yard deck! try that with a Kate or Avenger!

leitmotiv
05-21-2007, 01:39 AM
The most interesting fact, to me, about the two torpedo attacks on BISMARCK, one by VICTORIOUS and one by ARK ROYAL Swordfish, both led by radar 'fish, both attacks dropped out of low cloud on top of the BIS, was that the bristling basteed was unable to shoot down a single one of the cleverly flown biplanes. Furthermore, the hit on the battleship's stern was not a lucky hit. The 'fish crews were following doctrine and aiming to hit in the region of screws and rudders. They were not wasting torpedoes trying to sink the behemoth. There weren't enough of them to to sink her. Their job was to cripple her so the dreadnoughts could gun her to the bottom. The ARK's 'fish strike was far cleverer than most realize.

djetz
05-21-2007, 03:23 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Taranto

A huge victory for the allies. The Stringbag wasn't glamorous, but it was a vitally important plane and did an amazing job, considering it was "obsolete" before the war even began.

The Charles Lamb book is great, too. A classic. Highly recommended.

Hanglands
05-21-2007, 03:32 AM
Amazing. Im sure you are one very proud man http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

http://www.royalnavyhistoricflight.org.uk/shop.htm

I know there are some Swordfish prints somewhere bearing his autograph.

Regards.

Hanglands
05-21-2007, 03:38 AM
Yep, here it is.

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/OperationCareless_lrg.jpg
The Channel Dash (officially known as Operation Cerberus) was one of three operations during the Second World War for which the Swordfish was to become the most famous. Heavily outgunned in the Straits of Dover on this day in February 1942 by the German warships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, with their accompanying flotilla of destroyers and motor torpedo boats, and with top cover provided by deadly fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe, all six Fleet Air Arm Swordfish were shot down. Only five of the eighteen aircrew survived. Here we see the Swordfish flown by Sub. Lt. Kingsmill and Sub. Lt. Samples with PO Bunce in the rear, fighting for their lives with his machine gun.
The bravery of the Swordfish aircrew in this and all other operations is a matter of history and must never be forgotten.
* Signed by C.P.O. Donald Bunce (Shot down in the attack.)

** Signed by: Capt. AWF Sutton DSC*; Lt. Cdr. Edgar Lee (also shot down during the Channel Dash); Lieut. NC Gillis; Sub. Lt. Stanley Brand; (4 signatures)

*** Signed by: Capt. AWF Sutton DSC*; Lt. Cdr. Edgar Lee; Lieut. NC Gillis; Sub. Lt. Stanley Brand; C.P.O. Donald Bunce; P.O. Leslie Sayer DSM. (6 signatures)


Thats from http://www.swafineart.com/pages/New_aug06.html

And Amazon have the book too : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Achtung-Swordfish-Stanley-Brand...id=1179740040&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Achtung-Swordfish-Stanley-Brand/dp/1860298052/ref=sr_1_1/202-7927762-2562233?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179740040&sr=8-1)

(Edted to Add)

Heres another : Operation Judgement The Taranto Raid

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/operation_judgement_med.jpg

Its from the same site as the above, but also has his photo :

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/Brand.jpg

Regards.

Dtools4fools
05-21-2007, 02:11 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The weapon system and tactics are what matters, not the airplane. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Indeed. That's why I said:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Uhh, maybe the carrier torp plane/bomber with the most advanced weapons/equipment... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> The Avenger was a far hotter torpedo bomber than the Swordfish, but, when some tried to go straight in at high speed at Midway, they were annihilated. Of course, any torpedo bombers trying to penetrate a fleet fighter screen without escort, as was the Midway USN situation, would have been annihilated. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> and with top cover provided by deadly fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe, all six Fleet Air Arm Swordfish were shot down. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

All this seems to agree that the plane itself was sure not better than Avenger or Kate.

It was it's equipment that made the cr@p plane more effective than better planes. It's a better weapons system, yes, and therfore more effective, yes, but not a better plane per se...

If you give a soldier a shotgun and nigth vision goggles he will be more effective in pitch black night than the soldier with an assault rifle - but that doesn't mean that hte shotgun is superior to the assault rifle. My opinion.

Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but the expression 'the best plane' sends a shhihihiver down my back in this forum...

Sorry for that.

It's a lovely plane btw, a real cr@p plane (I love'm all), but was put well into use.

****

ploughman
05-21-2007, 02:22 PM
Bit of a revelation that mate, you must be pretty proud. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

leitmotiv
05-21-2007, 02:24 PM
Best carrier strike torp bomber weapon system 1941-1942---esp if you wanted to hit the target in inclement weather (BISMARCK) or at night (Taranto). No torpedo bomber ever did well against stiff aerial opposition (cf. Midway, Marianas June 1944, Channel Dash, and many other examples).

Dtools4fools
05-21-2007, 02:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Best carrier strike torp bomber weapon system 1941-1942 </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

With the 'best' (or 'most efficient') in front and 'weapon system' at the end I will easily agree.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

It's the 'advanced carrier bomber' that made me feel uncomfy...

No back to the drawing board...someone has to make a nice 3D model and a cockpit for it otherwise we will most probably never be able to fly it in SoW...
And I sure would love to fly it.

Oh, how about a Fairey Battle, would love that one too... hehehehe...

Back to topic, Swordfish is kind of amazing as it was longer in service than the plane that was supposed to replace it.
And I loved this story about a Swordfish landing somewhere and the pilot unstrapping a bicycle from the torpedo mount and cycling off the base and into town (probalby to the pub for a few ales or to see his sweetie...)

****

MB_Avro_UK
05-21-2007, 05:07 PM
Thanks for the replies guys http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

I forgot to mention that the Observer in my original post who climbed out onto the wing was recommended for a medal.

This was refused by the Royal Navy Admiralty as they regarded his actions as merely 'self preservation'. When it was pointed out that RAF aircrew received medals for similar acts of bravery the response was....

'You are welcome to transfer to the RAF if that is your attitude and we will support your transfer'.

Nelson would have been proud http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
05-21-2007, 06:50 PM
Brave men all. Tip of the hat.

jensenpark
05-21-2007, 07:11 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Zeus-cat:
Please pass on my respects to a brave man. S!

A few month ago I read "War in a Stringbag" by Charles Lamb. The crews of those aircraft loved them. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Excellent book all. Highly, highly recommended. One of the best I've read...