The unique and revealing story of a modest man who made a major contribution.

Beaufighters - page 67

"In wartime an aircraft is just a gun platform. If you cannot situate that aircraft in precisely the right position at precisely the right second, thereby allowing you to use your weaponry to inflict the maximum damage on the enemy, you may as well have stayed at home. This would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money and your instructors a lot of effort. Not to mention you risking bodily harm or even losing your life for no real benefit."

Hearing these words from one of his instructors left a deep and lasting impression inspiring Dad,
"to really bear down."
Beaufighter demonstrating rocket firing just off Davidstow Moor near Tintagel, and the castle of King Arthur.


At last Dad was flying an aircraft he considered a most outstanding war machine - a real fighter aircraft!

When describing the 'Beaufighter' he would quote a reference of their description attributed to the 'Japanese.'

"They called them 'Whispering Death.' Beaufighters were so quiet and fast in their approach on a target, if not seen coming in on the attack, by the time you heard them it was already too late!"

"I loved the Beaufighter. They were a wonderful aircraft and were quite the weapon to go against the shipping.

A total of 3500 horsepower provided by the two 1750 hp Hercules engines. All metal, with 650 gallons of fuel on board and weighing 13 tons 'all up', fully armed with four 20mm. cannon, 8 rockets (four on each wing) and 1 'torbeau' (torpedo on the belly).

Good for 1200 miles in economical cruising allowing for 6 hours flight time with luck, if you didn't run into any 'bandits' and had to go into 'rich mixture'. "

(For readers not conversant with 'war lingo', 'bandits' is a reference to 'enemy aircraft'. 'Rich mixture' means increasing the flow of gas and oil to the engines, thereby obtaining maximum power from them, while increasing airspeed to evade an enemy. The negative result, of using this setting, is a rapid reduction in the overall flight time remaining: compared with the 'Lean Mixture' setting used for 'economical cruising', that, by reducing the amount of fuel used, has the positive result of lengthening the flight time available.)

"When I started out at Crosby on Eden my navigator was Art Livemore, an English lad. But he froze up whenever I did real evasive action. He was just like nobody in the back to tell me who was on my tail or in what position they were in.

During mock dog fights with George Acock, I felt sorry for his navigator who was John Stoddart.

I would let George get on my tail and say 'go.' Before he realized anything I was around on his tail and had him right in the sights of the old red ring with a bead right up his tail. Right up following every move he made because he again - like a lot of them - they didn't fly more or less by the seat of their pants, they watched the instuments. And that was no way for doing any evasive action.

I could hear John relating to George my position at all times. I thought poor old George and John would be sitting ducks if this was for real.

George just couldn't fly that way. With me, no matter what manoeuver I had that aircraft in I felt part of that aircraft. And I could relate to John my airspeed within five knots whatever manoeuver I was in or whatever attitude the aircraft was at. That's what John later, in the letter he wrote to Stan Paget, related about my flying skills."

Note: Attitude is the relationship between the wings and nose of the airplane and the horizon of the earth.)

April 28th, 1943 they started with No. 2 Torpedo Training Unit Castle Kennedy, Nr. Stranraer, Scotland.

On April 30th, with Dad acting as 1st Pilot, he and SGT/Livemore were accompanied by F/L Kellows for 'Dem. L.T.A. Lady Isle' for one hour and fifty-five minutes and then let loose on their own for further practise during two more flights that day; the first for one hour and fifty minutes and the second for one hour and forty-five minutes. The training was over by May 24th but in the meantime they had even had, ....

"practice dropping torpedos with dummy war heads against our own ships in the north Irish Sea and the Mull of Galloway in southwest Scotland."

Picture of the old Beaufighter flown by Howard Wainman, with a torpedo on the bottom.
Photo #39 "This is a picture taken of me, with a torpedo on the old Beaufighter, from one of the other lads that was also doing the practising.
Here's where I had completed conversion over to Beaufighters. I requested Beaufighters and managed to get it. Here we're on the exercise with some of the British ships up in the Mull of Galloway north of Ireland. We were practising dropping torpedos with the dummy war heads on them. This gave the ships practice doing evasive action too - from planes coming in to drop a torpedo."

A picture of another Beaufighter carrying a torpedo.
Photo #40 "Another Beaufighter carrying a torpedo. This brings back memories."