Grunman Avenger

#1
Grandad's Grumman Avenger, 4th May 1945



He landed, looked up & pegged it into the coning tower about 20 seconds before a Zero hit his plane and went on into the flight deck.

Got the DSM, shrapnel and a loathing for Nips
Seriously I have often wondered what that mangled wreck was. Pondered it might be a Corsair or Firefly but I see the wreckage is a bit big for either. Famous photo. I have it in the maritime books FAA in ww2 in my loo at the moment. Do you have a before pic of the aircraft I would be quite interested. Next time I take a dump I will think of your grandad.
 
#2
Grandad's Grumman Avenger, 4th May 1945



He landed, looked up & pegged it into the coning tower about 20 seconds before a Zero hit his plane and went on into the flight deck.

Got the DSM, shrapnel and a loathing for Nips
 
#5
Grandad's Grumman Avenger, 4th May 1945



He landed, looked up & pegged it into the coning tower about 20 seconds before a Zero hit his plane and went on into the flight deck.

Got the DSM, shrapnel and a loathing for Nips
Grandad certainly kept a lot of firefighters busy.

Good to know he survived though, very rarely see this sort of information in the captions to photos.
 
#6
Thanks for that.

He was flying with a chap called Gillie Potter and was out of the shot of the photo at the time, giving him a blood transfusion just inside the blast doors

The Formidable was in the same carrier group as the Indomitable and I gather they had just returned from a BDA mission following airfield bombing the previous night / day

It's testimony to the Formidable crew that they were back in action in just under an hour

Something like 6 Corsiars and one Avenger were destroyed and if I'm perfectly honest with you, we've only assumed it to be his plane 'P for Peter' because his citation stated that they were fortunate to have stopped directly next to the tower

My grandad was clearing the gun whilst Gillie was shutting down the engines, & hence manged to see the kamikaze and get them both away in time

Gillie lost his leg(s?) and my grandad was relatively unscathed*

I've got some pictures of the crew and plane and will post as soon as can :)


(* edited: paralysed)
 
#7
Photos were taken on every take-off

'P for Peter' on HMS Formidible



Grandad in centre, Gillie to his left



They once crashed on takeoff and the carrier drove through the plane, leaving the crew standing on broken wings and going into the water. He recalls passing under the hull and watching the props above him before coming to the surface and getting picked up by a US Frigate*

Unfortunately they lost the very first plane mounted radar the British Pacific Fleet :(




(* wrong HMS Quality)
 
#11
Photos were taken on every take-off

'P for Peter' on HMS Formidible



Grandad in centre, Gillie to his left



They once crashed on takeoff and the carrier drove through the plane, leaving the crew standing on broken wings and going into the water. He recalls passing under the hull and watching the props above him before coming to the surface and getting picked up by a US Frigate

Unfortunately they lost the very first plane mounted radar the British Pacific Fleet :(

A piece of vandalism any Squaddie can be proud of. Seriously, your Gramps and his muckers were nails
 
#13
If you look closely at the pic you can see some poor sod climbing the mast with the radar on. IIRC whiplash had tripped circuit breakers and he had to get up there pretty quick as it was the principal air warning for the task force.
True She was back in action pretty quick albiet with a concrete patch over the dent in the armoured deck. Yanks were very impressed with the design as their carriers only had a load bearing deck covered in wood. Sadly the armoured deck and low hanger height (along with structural damage caused by kamikazi hits) precluded rebuilding after the war to operate more modern and heavy aircraft.
 
#14
He was with 848 Squadron and got some of the very first bombs onto Japanese soil.

His biggest raid was on Okinawa in support of the US Marine advance and then did BDA flights over the cloud at Nagasaki approximately Day+5. He recalls flying his plane 'covered in carpet' - which I can only assume was some sort of radiation protection?

Either way, they had all dental fillings removed prior to the flight and had the whole plane thrown overboard when he retuned, getting washed down with 'orange foam' and handing over the roll of camera film to the Slime entirely butt naked whilst the flying gear was burnt!

My dad has some BDA imagery stashed away so I'll get out the scanner out when I can.
 
#17
Was there more to the story that your Granddad didn't tell you, I wonder. You mentioned that Gillie lost his legs, but the Avenger was crewed by three, a pilot, turret gunner and radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner*, and there are three officers in the photo.

There are some more photos of the kamikazi damage here: http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/formidable.htm




*info courtesy of Wiki
 
#19
I'm no expert on the structural design of aircraft carriers, but the report you linked to is quite clearly biased. After stating that British carriers have their armoured defence on the flight deck and further stating that they had to be scrapped after the war because they sufferred irreparable damage, it then gives two examples of irreparable hull damage. Both of the examples relate to non-hostile accidents that occured below the armoured deck.

I wonder how many of the cases of "irreparable" damage would have been more accurately described as "beyond economic repair", a major distinction when you're dealing with a country that's not only skint but needs scrap metal for rebuilding more than an excess of warships.
 
#20
Yes I am no expert and I will suggest neither are you.
If you can find a more informed write up, by an expert, then please publish.

john
 

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