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 Post subject: Curtiss P-40 "Tomahawk"
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2016, 12:50 
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Joined: 14 Mar 2007, 16:57
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Location: ILS RWY19, FACT (Cape Town)
On the 3rd June 1942, whilst operating from the landing ground at Gambut Satelite N°2 (L.G.143), two of N°5 sqdn's Tomahawks were destroyed during a take-off accident. 11 Tomahawks were tasked for an offensive sweep over El Adem, Bir Hacheim and Gazala. The squadron took off in formation just after noon. Lt. Robert Cecil 'Robby' Hirst, flying GL-O (AK366), found his vision obscured by the dust kicked up during the formation take off. He stopped his aircraft, turned around to back-track on the landing ground, and intended to make another take-off run. In the dust and with no visiblity, his aircraft collided head on with Lt. P.C. Grobler's Tomahwak. Grobler who was flying GL-S (AN431), was just about to get airborne, when the two collided. Both pilots survived the collision, with Lt. Grobler suffering head injuries. The aircraft were however, extensivley damaged.

Due to his injuries, Lt. P.C. Grobbler was grounded on the 18th June. In addition to the head injury he sustained, he also developed ear trouble. The head injury and the subsequent loss of hearing, resulted in him being found medically unfit for further flying, and was returned to the Union in July 1942.

Lt. 'Robby' Hirst (103518V), who had been with N°5 squadron since the 6th Nov 1941, carried on with operations and ended his tour on the 14th December 1942. He spent some time during 1943 and early 1944, with 11 O.T.U., before starting on the 14th August 1944, second operational tour. This second tour was with N°250 sqdn (RAF). Here he flew Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk.IV's in the fighter bomber role, and was awarded the D.F.C. on the 23rd Jan 1945. His tour with N°250 sqdn RAF, ended on the 17th February 1945. He survived the war, but at the age of 24, was sadly killed in an aircraft accident two years later. On the 17th April 1947, he was a passenger in a 60 squadron Ventura, when the aircraft crashed some sixty miles South West of Khartoum in the Sudan. The Lockheed PV-1 Ventura, JS-P, serial 6501, was on a ferry flight from Pretoria to Cairo, and was taking ferry pilots to Cairo to collect Spitfire aircraft that were to be flown back to the Union. The four crew and eleven passengers were all killed in the crash. They were originally buried in a communal grave at Shugeig in the Sudan, but the bodies were relocated to the Khartoum War Cemetery in Sudan, on the 7 February 1949, where they now rest in a collective grave.

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Tomahawk Mk IIb, GL-O, AK366, N° 5 Squadron, L.G.143, June 1942.

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2016, 13:09 
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=D>

Great to see you have the mojo (and time!) back. :smt023

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PostPosted: 26 Oct 2016, 18:05 
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Joined: 31 Aug 2010, 15:01
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Location: Centurion, Pretoria, SA
As always a beautiful work of art :smt023


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