Friday, 28 December 2012

Another war, a long time ago

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
I have to say it took me some time to wonder why British aircraft were painted in US Navy markings!
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.
He joined up in 1939 as a Sub Lieutenant and commanded his first squadron - (1839) as a Lieutenant Commander in 1944.   I joined in 1970 and it took me fifteen years to reach the same rank!!!



  1. Er, he was better looking than you and 'wars ain't wot they used to be'.
    Happy New Year.

  2. Your father may be in this youtube video numbers are the same, CV is likely Formidable, my best guess is its from Sept 1943.

    Thought you might like to have a look