Clobbered

Clobbered was a word Dad used often, usually referring to some rugby match where the team he didn’t support lost. But during June 1943, we find clobbered has a much darker meaning – because another squadron clobbered an enemy aircraft and a New Zealand pilot was injured. I initially thought this pilot had died but some research proves otherwise.

June 1943 was Dad’s third month with the 127 Squadron, having joined on April 7, and we find him buzzing around in a Hurricane IIB, as the sole pilot. Logbook entries for June 1-16, 1943 show him undertaking more convoy patrols. I have to admit I don’t know what these convoys were all about but I guess they were Allied ships coming to the North African theatre of war with fresh troops and supplies. And so the 127 Squadron was providing air defense and I think night defence of Egypt. I know my dedicated readers will help me out here.

On June 6, during a scramble, Dad’s Hurricane IIB was overheating. Thanks to blog reader, John, I now know that fighter pilots in the 127 Squadron predominately flew Hurricanes during this period of WWII, so it’s the law of averages –  Hurricane aircraft problems were bound to occur. On June 10, Dad encountered wheel trouble and could not land at Gaza (due to fog) so had to fly on to Lydda.

The sad thing is to read about another pilot – Owen Hooker. The logbook entry for June 6 says:

Overheating. 46 Sqd.Det clobbered a “Cant 1007”. Owen Hooker got it! NZer.

I’d love Dad to be sitting next to me right now because I’d be complaining: couldn’t you write more clearly in your logbook! I have no idea about the Cant 1007 reference, so a spot of research was needed and I think he is referring to the Italian bomber aircraft known as the CANT Z.1007 Alcione. If this is correct, then the pilots of No 46 Squadron beat up (as Dad would also say) the enemy aircraft – it was either destroyed or limped back to its base.

No 46 Squadron RAF I know was operating in St Jean, Palestine where the 127 Squadron was based. And I presume the Squadron also provided air defense for convoys. I’m not confident about 46 Sqd. Det – not sure what the Det stands for. Could it be Detachment or Detached? Help please!

Dad records that Owen Hooker got it and I initially thought this meant the chap had died. More research reveals nope, he returned to New Zealand on December 4, 1944. I found an entry for Cecil Owen Hooker (NZ41) in Wings Over Cambridge and it shows he was known as Owen Hooker.

Because Dad remarked that Owen Hooker was injured it had me intrigued. Did they know each other or serve together? Interestingly, Owen Hooker trained in Christchurch and later completed his operational training in the UK. Dad started his pilot training at No. 3 E.F.T.S. Harewood (May 1941), which I now know was located where Christchurch airport is now. So I wonder if this is how they met. Hooker departed New Zealand in 1941 – I think around mid-July according to the entry on Hooker and an article published in the Waikato Independent. So they were both in Christchurch at the same time.

Because both squadrons were also based in St Jean, Palestine or operated in the area, perhaps they met during flying missions or socially at the base of either squadron. Another mystery.

For June 13, Dad notes that he landed at Beirut on detachment. I’m not sure if this refers to him being detached temporarily to another squadron. For June 15, there is an interesting comment. Dad was once more involved in a scramble – he refers to Max. Angels and then makes the comment: Wouldn’t it????

I guess the scramble happened at a very early hour and so Dad wasn’t too impressed. But what on earth does Max. Angels mean?

Click on photos below to enlarge.

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9 Comments

Filed under 127 Squadron RAF, Aircraft flown, Log entries, WWII pilot log

9 responses to “Clobbered

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    Max Angels… Maximum altitude.

  2. John Engelsted

    When I wrote about the use of Hurricanes I meant 127 Squadron – not fighter pilots in general during that period.

  3. Reference to “Owen Hooker got it!” I think is simply that he shot down the Cant as opposed to being wounded in the action. They could easily have bumped into each other in theatre as seeing a “New Zealand” shoulder flash on a uniform would have made either man approach the other to introduce themselves (assuming they hadn’t met previously of course!).

  4. Yes, Andy’s right. I’m coming in late to the discussion here, but my Dad, Bryan Wild, was a great friend of Owen Hooker and served with him in 46 Squadron. Owen Hooker in a 46 Squadron Beaufighter definitely shot it down – with Sgt E H Chambers in V8505/E, 6th June 1943: “E/a [enemy aircraft] sighted below. Our aircraft at 9,000 feet, e/a/ at 700 – 800 feet. Identified as Z.1007bis. He took no evasive action. We opened fire at 300 yards closing to 200 feet. Four or five bursts. The first missed but others found strikes, blowing off port fin and port motor was put out of action. E/a did a slow turn to port and pulled up his nose as our aircraft passed. He side-slipped into the sea. There was a lot of wreckage but no survivors were seen. Our aircraft received two hits in starboard motor”. The crew of the e/a were all killed. With thanks to Brian Cull: “Fighters over the Aegean: Hurricanes over Crete, Spitfires over Kos, Beaufighters over the Aegean, 1943 – 44” – great reference source. I’ve just finished compiling and editing my father’s own memoirs, and Owen Hooker features a lot in it, together with a couple of photos and the story of what he did after the war – no room to put it all down here : “Flying Blind: The Story of a Second World War Night-Fighter Pilot”, published by Fonthill Media. Owen was a great guy, great fun, a good leader. My Dad looked up to him a lot. He returned to NZ and I am in touch with his family.
    Really enjoy your blog, by the way. Elizabeth Halls

  5. Reblogged this on Where They Served and commented:
    A mention of Squadron Leader Owen Hooker in this blog about Flt Lt James Evans Jenkins

  6. Thanks, Elizabeth. Interesting reading and a great connection. Would like to chat to you about your book if that’s okay. Please email me aircrewbooks@iinet.net.au
    Cheers and Merry Christmas everyone.
    Andy

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