Somewhere between August 2nd and 8th 1944, Dad moved from 132 A.F. Tangmere (T.A.F.) to No. 3 T.E.U. Aston Down. I know that T.E.U. stands for Tactical Exercise Unit but I had to search Dr Google for information on Aston Down, which is in Gloucestershire (South West England). This airfield has its own Wikipedia entry so I can tell you that No.55 O.T.U. was renamed No.3 T.E.U. around 1944 I think. In December, 1944, the unit was redesignated and flew Hawker Typhoons.
And so we arrive at August 9th 1944 and Dad’s first solo flight in a Typhoon 1B. Looking at his logbook, I am wondering if this unit specialised in training on ground attack techniques. Over to the experts who might know more about No. 3 T.E.U.
I remember Albie Gotze SAAF (Brig Gen. Retd), who contacted me in 2012, saying that he and Dad had to convert pretty quickly from the Hurricane to the Spitfire. Going back through the logbook, I’m pretty sure that Dad had not flown a Typhoon before. Up to August, 1944 he had flown:
- Tiger Moth (for most of 1941)
- Harvard IIA
- Hurricane II, Hurricane IIA, Hurricane IIB, Hurricane IIC, Hurricane IID
- Baltimore III
- Spitfire IVC, Spitfire VC, Spitfire IX
- Kittyhawk III
The Spitfire IX he’d been flying since March 1944 and, on moving to Aston Down, Dad started flying a Typhoon IB. I guess this is the Hawker Typhoon Mk. 1b. His first flight was on August 9th and he flew solo. Up to this point, Dad had 663 hours and 05 mins flying experience. The experts will really have to help me out here – can a pilot easily convert from a Spitfire to a Typhoon? I don’t see any mention in Dad’s logbook of specific training in the Typhoon.
From August 9th-23rd 1944, Dad was gaining experience with this aircraft by doing low-flying; cross-country at 7,000ft; pairs formation; aerobatics; formation – fours; battle climb 20,000 ft; and cab rank exercises. Not sure what the latter is but presumably a flying reserve of aircraft that could be called on for air support, sort of like you call a cab to take you somewhere.
On August 18 is the first mention of rockets – “Rocket – 15 °”. Is this the angle the rocket is fired at? Again, over to the experts. Dad also undertook dive bombing on August 23. He made no comments in this section of his logbook, so I get the impression that he was at Aston Down to come up to speed in the Typhoon before……well, next post!
In the last post, we saw that Dad was recommended for Flight Commander duties at an early date and the logbook for August 9th-23rd has Dad writing “O.C. “B” Flight” – I wonder if this means he was the officer in charge of B flight (whatever B flight is!).
Click on photos below to enlarge.