Browsing some photos the other day, I had a look through my father's wartime snaps. He had a rather unusual war, in that he was a fighter pilot in the Fleet Air Arm but his first job was with the RAF during the Battle of Britain; 213 Squadron, flying Hurricanes from Exeter and then Tangmere. The reason this happened was that the RAF were so short of pilots, they borrowed sixty from the Navy for a short time. He then moved on to 888 Squadron flying Martlets from HMS Formidable. Some of his photos have always puzzled me - see if you can see why:
|The flight deck of HMS Formidable with SeaFires and Albacores|
|My Fathers Mk IV Martlet about to launch from Formidable|
The story is that this was Operation Torch, November 1942, the first time the US and British had cooperated in an assault on a foreign country, in this case the Vichy French held territories in Northern Africa. It was thought for some reason that it would 'lessen the Vichy French reaction' if they they were only being invaded by the Yanks!
It was also the time that father shot down his fifth aircraft, making him an official 'Ace'. It was a French reconnaissance machine and when he got back I remember him telling me that he wasn't sure whether the rules of engagement allowed it, so 'didn't know whether he was in for a bollocking or a medal'. He was awarded a Mention in Despatches.
|Lieutenant D M Jeram RN after landing after his fifth kill.|