David Knights' Weblog

June 8, 2017

Book review: The Life of Maverick Ace Adrian Warburton

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 9:12 am
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Book review: The Life of Maverick Ace Adrian Warburton
Author: Tony Spooner
208 Pgs
ISBN 978 0907 579434

Adrian Warburton was one of the most unusual personalities of WWII. He was an average pilot at best.  He never seemed to master the concept of torque generated by piston engines on takeoff.  He took a bride early in the war and then abandoned her and never looked back.  He was a reconnaissance pilot, who at one time was the highest scoring pilot on the island of Malta.  Adrian Warburton was all this and much more.

The author, Tony Spooner, served briefly with Warburton during his time on Malta.  He left such an impression on the author that he felt compelled to write a book chronicling Warburton’s life.  It is good for us readers that he did as this book provides an insight into one of the most unusual personalities of WWII.

The son of an RN officer, Warburton grew up in relative privilege. When WWII came, he became an RAF pilot, though he was only rated as average, due in large part to his poor takeoffs and landings.  He served without distinction in the UK and his personal life there was a mess, with a marriage that seemed to be motivated more by a desire that someone should benefit from his eventual death, rather than from undying love. He also ran up debts he could not pay, a nearly unpardonable sin for an RAF officer, even in wartime.

In order to avoid embarrassment to Warburton, his commanding officer arranged to transfer him to Malta to get him away from his problems.  This had a profound effect on Warburton’s life.  Once in Malta, Warburton became synonymous with the resistance of the island thru his exploits.  Flying a twin engine Martin Maryland, he began flying recon missions all over Sicily, Italy and North Africa.  In the process he shot down numerous enemy aircraft and gained a reputation for always coming back with the photos that were needed.

After the Allies drove the Axis from North Africa and invaded Sicily and then Italy, the pressure on Malta was relieved.  In many ways this had a profound effect on Warburton and once the pressure of constant danger was off the nerves that would have long ago gotten to lessor men finally seemed to catch up with Warby as he was known to all associated with him.

Flying from Europe in preparation for D-Day, Warby disappeared over Europe while Flying a F-5E (the recon version of the P-38) When the author wrote this book, Warburton’s ultimate fate was unknown.  However, party inspired by this book a number of people teamed up and in 2002 the crash site of Warburton’s aircraft was located and some of his remains recovered.  Those remains were buried in England shortly thereafter in a ceremony attended by high ranking RAF officials and Warburton’s wife.

This short review fails to do justice to this book and all of the detail it provides on this most interesting of WWII personalities.  I highly recommend picking up a copy.  You won’t regret it.

May 10, 2017

Chinese people in Roman Britain

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:26 pm
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This is interesting.  If correct, it would indicate that ethnic Chinese were in Britain at the time of the Romans.  It is known that the Romans and Chinese traded, mostly thru intermediaries, but this would indicate more than that.  Very interesting.

January 24, 2017

Luftwaffe blog

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:45 am
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Thanks to friend of the blog, Jeff Groves, I found this website.  I’d never seen it before, but if you are a Luftwaffe modeler, this site is a must visit.

January 22, 2017

Arawasi

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:47 pm
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If you like Japanese WWII aircraft, like I do, this is a website you should visit regularly.

December 5, 2016

Book review: Operation Archery, Commandos and the Vaagso Raid 1941

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:49 pm
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archery-coverBook review: Operation Archery, Commandos and the Vaagso Raid 1941
By Ken Ford
80 Pages
ISBN978-1-84908-372-0

Review by D.M. Knights

After the British were driven from continental Europe in 1940, Winston Churchill realized that the British Army would not be strong enough to return for years, yet he saw the need for attacks on the continent in order to maintain a credible threat to Germany and to give hope to the occupied countries.  Churchill had an obsessive focus on Norway ever sense the outbreak of WWII, with disastrous consequences in the Norwegian campaign of April-May 1940.  Now however, Norway made sense as an area where the hit and run raids contemplated by Churchill could be implemented.

The raid on Vaagso seems a bit weird at first blush as the target wasn’t a radar, gun emplacement or airfield, but rather the target were several fish oil plants.  While fish oil plants don’t seem particularly military, the fish oil was used to make vitamin supplements which U-boat crews needed due to the lack of sunlight exposure.  Also the fish oil was used to make glycerin, a vital component of explosives.

The town of South Vaagso on Vaagso Island had 4 or 5 fish oil plans.  The island was just off the mainland of Norway and was guarded by a small infantry detachment of the Wehrmacht 181st Inf. Div. as well as some naval troops.  There were also 6 ancient 10.5cm WWI era German guns on the Island of Maaloy which lay next to the town of South Vaagso and protected its harbor.

This book does an excellent job, in its 80 pages of telling the story of the preparation for the raid, the raid itself and its aftermath.  It is an exciting tale well worth devoting an hour or two reading the book.  In addition to a well told story the book is illustrated with maps which help make the story clear, as well as many photos most taken during the raid as the British sent along combat photographers so they could exploit the propaganda value of the raid.

I particularly enjoy small unit action stories.  This makes this particular book even more enjoyable.  If you enjoy the story, you can also read the old Bantam War Book, The Vaagso Raid by Jospeh H. Devins, Jr. which was first published back in 1968.  It makes a nice companion to the Osprey Operation Archery book.

November 19, 2016

Sad news

Filed under: General — dknights @ 10:53 pm
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Who would do such a thing?

October 9, 2016

The Civil War isn’t ever over

Filed under: General — dknights @ 10:09 pm
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At least not with cannonballs showing up 150+ years later.

October 4, 2016

Touring a pre-dreadnought battleship

Filed under: Modeling,Technology — dknights @ 11:34 pm
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A neat virtual tour.  (H/T Jeff Groves)

October 2, 2016

A hero unhonored

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:09 am
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It is a shame that, even with a letter from his opponent, the Australian government won’t honor this hero.

September 15, 2016

Alton Frazer’s FG-1D

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:43 am
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Amazingly this WWII pilot was able to get back home in this heavily damaged aircraft.  Anyone know of any other photos of the plane?

 

fg-1d-corsair-of-2nd-lt-alton-frazer-after-an-engagement-with-an-n1k2-j-shiden-kais

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