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Thread: Pilots who flew in both WW1 and WW2

  1. #1
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    Pilots who flew in both WW1 and WW2

    Several years ago on the telly was a documentary about an English pilot, though with a French surname, which I can't remember, who had flown DH4's in the Great War, got badly injured, enlisted in the RAF in 1939, was constantly airsick but got into a fighter squadron after lying about his age and health.
    He was only found out during a routine medical examination and relegated to support duties.
    However his superior knowledge of a/c caused him to be sent to India where he was instrumental into sorting out the glue problems with Mosquitoes. I recall he was given his own Spitfire to roar about in to sort out problems and promoted to quite a high rank.
    I recall that shortly after the programme was made, he died, but I think he was about 100 years old at the time of the programme, but very lucid and amusing.
    Does anyone out there know of this character and whether there are any books about him, I remember my ex, who despaired of my interest in aviation, thought he was one of the greatest characters she had ever seen.
    Hopefully the BBC ? still has a copy of this programme in their vaults.
    Similarly, how many pilots did actually fly in combat during both wars, did this happen or was it only my forgotten pilot.

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    Not sure if this is who you are thinking of, but Louis Arbon Strange flew in both wars, earning the DFC in both. He wrote a book himself "Recollections of an airman" and I have a book about him, out of print I would imagine, by Peter Hearn, called "Flying Rebel" (ISBN 0-11-290500-5).
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    I don't think he was the only one but there weren't that many others as far as I know.
    The mind once expanded by a new idea never returns to its original size.

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    The first one to come into my mind is Theo Osterkamp who flew fighters in WWI and led a Jagdgeschwader during the Battle of Britain.
    Cheers
    ...chris

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    Aha! I thought I was right now how many more can we think of? Saint-Ex for another I believe
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    Quote Originally Posted by ...starfire
    The first one to come into my mind is Theo Osterkamp who flew fighters in WWI and led a Jagdgeschwader during the Battle of Britain.
    Correct, Onkel Theo actually just achieved 'ace' status by the start of the Battle of Britain, but he only led a Jagdgeschwader briefly in the early part of the Battle of Britain before being promoted to a staff position.

    The other famous pilot to have scored a victory in both wars was his opposite number, then Group Captain Stanley Vincent who was station commander of RAF Northolt during the Battle of Britain, and after the war could be regarded as the 'father' of the BBMF.
    I was with it all the way until letting the brakes off..........

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    I'm sure that we can come up with a few more if we put our collective thinking caps on. How about Milch, Goering and (I think) the younger brother of the Red Baron. OK so they weren't combat pilots in WWII but I believe they flew if only for a short while.
    Last edited by mike currill; 4th December 2005 at 15:22.
    The mind once expanded by a new idea never returns to its original size.

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    Eddie Rickenbacher was an ace with 26 kills in WWi, and managed to get into combat again in WWII but in what capacity I do not know....but he WAS in both wars...

    M

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike currill
    I'm sure that we can come up with a few more if we put our collective thinking caps on. How about Milch, Goering and (I think) the younger brother of the Red Baron. OK so they weren't combat pilots in WWII but I believe they flew if only for a short while.
    I regard Milch and Goering "only" as Pencil-Pushers, scince they did not take part on active flying. The younger brother of v.R., Lothar, died during a plane crash in the 1920s, their cousin Wolfram v.R. was too young to have fought in WWI.
    Cheers
    ...chris

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    Sydney Cotton flew with the RNAS in WW1, and went on to develop PR techniques with the RAF at the start of WW2. He was certainly flying after the conflict ended.

    Best wishes
    Steve P

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    Was'nt it Henry Labouchere.........Royal Aero Club certificate of merit for an East-West transatlantic flight in a DH Dragonfly !! Fascinating documentary..remember it well, clearly an extraordinary man.

  12. #12
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    The late Bert van Sloten fought on both sides, we had a thread about him recently.

    http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/sho...light=obituary

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/otherlives...574057,00.html
    Cheers
    ...chris

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    The documentary was on a chap called Charles Chabot and I have it all on vid somewhere.

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    AVM Keith Park flew in both wars, though I am unsure if he actually took part in any combat in WW2.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corsair166b
    Eddie Rickenbacher was an ace with 26 kills in WWi, and managed to get into combat again in WWII but in what capacity I do not know....but he WAS in both wars...
    I'm not sure Rickenbacker saw combat as such.

    "In 1938, Rickenbacker joined with several associates and purchased Eastern Airlines. He was elected president and general manager. The new Eastern Airlines worked to develop a weather reporting and analysis system. It also reduced fares. And Eastern became the first airline to become a bonded carrier, meaning it could transport goods into the United States. It also operated free of government subsidies, for some time the only airline to do so.
    By 1942, Eastern was serving 40 cities with a fleet of 40 DC-3s. But World War II meant big changes for the company. Eastern now had to give half its fleet to the government for military use. Many pilots also left to serve in the Army Air Corps. Rickenbacker volunteered to serve his country again—this time as a non-military observer for Secretary of War Henry Stinson. On a salary of a dollar a year and retaining his title of captain, Rickenbacker toured air bases around the world to evaluate their operations and build morale.
    During a late 1942 tour of bases in the Pacific, the B-17 Rickenbacker was flying in ran out of fuel. The crew ditched the plane in the ocean, but in the confusion forgot the emergency rations. The eight men then spent 22 days on three rafts without food or water. Wearing his business suit and fedora, Rickenbacker took over leadership of the group--yelling and insulting the men to keep them in order. He made them pray every night, convinced that God had a purpose in keeping them alive. He used his fedora to collect the rainwater wrung out of clothes. The salt water corroded the few weapons they had, so they lived on fish, until one day a seagull landed on Rickenbacker’s head. He reached up, twisted its neck, and the crew shared it for dinner.
    Three weeks later, a Navy patrol plane found the crew. Eddie Rickenbacker was back in the news, his luck having gotten him through another adventure. Yet he refused to go home to recover; he wanted to finish his mission. Later, he returned to Washington to brief Secretary Stinson on recommendations for survival equipment to be added to all Air Corps planes immediately. Among the recommendations were a rubber sheet to protect the crew from the sun and catch water, and seawater distilling kits. Both items are still standard issue on U.S. military lifeboats and airplane life rafts."
    I was with it all the way until letting the brakes off..........

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    What about good old "Taffy' Jones of 74 Squadron fame in WW1 and sneaking across with the Tigers in a Spit now and then WW2 escapades. OTU commander at the time I think

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    'Taffy' Jones commanded No. 53 OTU in 1940 I believe, if that helps.

    Keith Park did see combat in Malta, when he was flying in a Beaufighter as co-pilot on his way somewhere and they were attacked. So he probably counts.

    The original story reminds me of Arnold Ridley OBE who was wounded three times in the trenches in WWI, but still volunteered in 1939 despite disguising the fact he'd lost the use of his left arm and had been gassed. He went to France as a Major and ended up fighting in France again in 1940, and was wounded and shellshocked when being evacuated. It was only on return to England they discovered he shouldn't have ever been back in the the army. He was discharged and went on to join the Home Guard. In 1944 he was badly wounded again by a V1 and lost his speech for 6 months among other things! Nevertheless at the age of 73 he rejoined the Home Guard again in 1968, as Private Godfrey in Dad's Army. He lived to the age of 88. Quite a guy.

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    Not a pilot in both wars but worth a mention is Sydney Carlin.He won a MC and lost his leg in the First,before joining the RFC.He claimed 4 German aircraft and 5 balloons before being shot down and made prisoner.In the Second he joined the RAF as an Air Gunner. While with 151 squadron on Defiants, the airfield was attacked by German aircraft.While running to man his turret, Carlin was killed.
    .....When a man is tired of Duxford he's tired of life

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    New Zealander Gill Watson flew with the AFC in WWI and became an ace, and rejoined the RAAF in WWII.
    http://www.nzfpm.co.nz/aces/watson.htm

    I'm also wondering whether New Zealanders Arthur Coningham and Forster Maynard who both became aces in WWI and went on to lead from on high in WWII ever flew in that war (Coningham with the Desert Air Force and Maynard leading the fight to defend Malta before Keith Park took over)

    Keith Park also got into a combat situation in his Hurricane according to a small newspaper report but I don't know the circumstances or outcome (whether he was jumped by Me109's or whatever, and whether he hit any).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Homewood
    I'm also wondering whether New Zealanders Arthur Coningham and Forster Maynard who both became aces in WWI and went on to lead from on high in WWII ever flew in that war (Coningham with the Desert Air Force and Maynard leading the fight to defend Malta before Keith Park took over)
    I'm about to start reading Coningham's biography. I'll let you know!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ...starfire
    I regard Milch and Goering "only" as Pencil-Pushers, scince they did not take part on active flying. The younger brother of v.R., Lothar, died during a plane crash in the 1920s, their cousin Wolfram v.R. was too young to have fought in WWI.
    Ah I see. I was ready to be proved wrong there, I blame it on the failing grey matter It would appear there are more then I thought.
    Last edited by mike currill; 5th December 2005 at 19:41.
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    A question for Dave Homewood, Was that a modified Beaufighter? I reckon it would be a bit difficult to be of any assistance to the pilot in a Beau's narrow cockpit.

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    Discussion of the same topic on another forum.

    http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showthread.php?t=87

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    Quote Originally Posted by grounded
    A question for Dave Homewood, Was that a modified Beaufighter? I reckon it would be a bit difficult to be of any assistance to the pilot in a Beau's narrow cockpit.
    I was thinking after I posted that "Did I write co-pilot?"and meant to go back and check. I of course meant passenger. Sorry for the confusion. He was merely riding behind the pilot when they were attacked by German fighters, and was not flying the plane in any capacity. Cheers.

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    I just found the article I got the Keith Park Malta combat info from. It is in the RNZAF Contact magazine (a wartime social magazine for the Air Force) dated May 1943. It reads:

    Dogfight

    New Zealander Air-Marshall Sir Keith Park, Air Commander of Malta, was recently in an aerial dog-fight. Second-pilot in a Beaufighter, he was attacked by five Focke Wulfs 190, and a battle commenced with two of the enemy planes. The Beaufighter pumped lots of lead at them, but it's engine was set on fire.

    The engagement was broken off, however, and the Beaufighter returned to its base, 160 miles over the sea. "I was only a back-seat driver," said Air-Marshall Park, "but I told the pilot to climb before the engine nurned out. We got to 3000 feet - just altitude enough to get the Malta."

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    Lots of spin on that one. Second pilot on a Beaufighter? There is no second pilot position. AVM Park was down the back yelling rather than advising the pilot. This is reporterese, not truth. Don't blame AVM Park but I doubt it happened as written.

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    Yep, I had worked that one out, but was trying to use it in my defence for accidentally saying co-pilot in my original post - this crap implanted it in my mind.

    I wonder, does anyone have Park's biography? I think it was by Vincent Orange. I'd like to know if the event is detailed.

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    Recently I read "Hurricanes over Tobruk". It mentions the AOC in Egypt, Raymond Colishaw, former leader of the "black flight". During the first days of fighting against the Italians, he piloted a Vicers Valentia on a night sortie to El Adem.

    He had a very interesting career in the RAF until he was finally retired in 1943. I never knew about that. I always thought at the end of WWI he went back into civil life, like many others ...

    http://www.constable.ca/colishaw.htm
    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by ...starfire
    Recently I read "Hurricanes over Tobruk". It mentions the AOC in Egypt, Raymond Colishaw, former leader of the "black flight". During the first days of fighting against the Italians, he piloted a Vicers Valentia on a night sortie to El Adem.

    He had a very interesting career in the RAF until he was finally retired in 1943. I never knew about that. I always thought at the end of WWI he went back into civil life, like many others ...

    http://www.constable.ca/colishaw.htm
    One very noted World War one historian tells of how Collishaw's victory total seemed to go up over the years. Apparently he was claiming more before he died than he did just after the war!

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    This chap was not a pilot but is notable - as reported in Contact in June 1943 - in WWII a Leading Aircraftman in the RNZAF, 72 year old W.G. Coleman, was serving in his third war. Hed sereved in the Indian North-West Frontier in 1897-98, then fought with distinction in the Boer War, He fought again with distinction in WWI and by WWII was serving in the RNZAF.

    There were many men in WWII who'd served in three wars, but most were by WWII in the Home Guard for their third, not in regular Arme Forces.

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