“The flash of her close range weapons stabbed at us, as first one and then another along her length opened up… We were in the centre of an incredible mass of crossfire from the cruisers and battleships and shore batteries.” Lt F. Torrens-Spence, 819 Naval Air Squadron at Taranto
On 27 July 1940, HMS Wren and Montrose raced to aid two stricken minesweepers under attack by German dive-bombers. It was to cost the Wren dear; at least three bombs struck the Wren and she sank soon thereafter. 37 of her crew lost their lives when she went down, fortunately my grandfather wasn’t among them.
Like most disasters in conflicts, the catalogue of mistakes that led to the outcome is easily viewed in hindsight. What happened at Port Pleasant on 8th June 1982 was no exception…
…instead, it is modelled in the markings of one of its victors, one whose sacrifice in defeating the evil represented and defended by these aircraft and those who flew them, was without limit of effort or self-sacrifice. It is that above all else which is “cool” and we would do well to remember that.
Operation “Judgement”, carried out exactly 77 years ago on the 4th May 1945, was the final offensive operation mounted by the Royal Navy in World War Two’s European theatre. It resulted in the sinking of two German surface vessels and a submarine for the loss of two FAA aircraft. The war in Europe ended three days later.
On 16 May 1969 SAS Patrol 15, a four-man team of Australia’s 1ATF’s elite SAS Regiment in Vietnam, came into contact a large enemy force near the Courntenay Plantation on the northern border of Phouc Tuy Province to the west of the Song Rai river and was in danger of being overrun. The plan was simple, while the Albatross flight were picking up the SAS team with ropes the Bushrangers were to maintain constant suppression fire on the enemy positions.
On the 25th of September the Battle of Britain was entering its third month. While there may never be complete agreement on the specific the win/loss ratios, it is nevertheless true to say that through August and early September the RAF had barely managed to replace its losses in aircrew and aircraft. Aircraft production had been heavily targeted by the Luftwaffe and the RAF’s operational aircrew losses were only just matched by the training unit output; the exhaustion of both its physical and material reserves was a real and present danger.
UPDATED to include information on F/O James M. Cartmell DFC, pilot of the featured Mosquito MM312.
In just 37 days between 1 May and 6 June 1944, No.140 Squadron, RAF flew 143 PR sorties over France. The foresight they helped provide saved countless lives on D-Day and after. This is the story of how they did it.
“They’re such fighters, if only they can get the stuff to fight with…” spoken by the BBC’s Stanley Maxted at Arnhem – the Tenth Bridge of Operation Market Garden.
Updated October 2021 – explaining a hitherto unexplained lack of activity on Making-History…