Nicky Barr, 3 Sqn RAAF
I would evade being shot at accurately by pulling so much g-force ... that you could feel the blood leaving the head and coming down over your eyes... And you would fly like that for as long as you could, knowing that if anyone was trying to get on your tail they were going through the same bleary vision that you had and you might get away. I had deliberately decided that any deficiency the Kittyhawk had was offset by aggression. And I'd done a little bit of boxing – I beat much better opponents simply by going for [them]. And I decided to use that in the air. And it paid off.
Source: Hawkins, Belinda. 'The Quiet Man'. Australian Story via ABC-TV, 2002.
Profile 00: Tomahawk liB AM386 SWEET FA of No 3 Sqn RAAF, flown by Flt Lt Alan Rawlinson, Lydda, Palestine, June 1941. Alan Rawlinson had several claims from flying Gladiators and Hurricanes in the desert. and he 'made ace' on 28 June when, in an exceptional combat flying Tomahawk AK446, he downed three Vichy Martin 167s. He first flew this aircraft. which bore the sobriquet SWEET FA. in early July, but it com¬pleted only seven sorties during the brief Syria campaign, flown by Rawlinson and fellow ace Peter Turnbull. On 22 August, while Rawlinson was practising aerobatics, AM386's starboard tailplane and elevator came adrift, and he was able to land the aircraft only thanks to considerable flying skill. This aircraft was struck off charge on 1 February 1944.
Profile 00: Tomahawk Mk I or II, 3 Squadron RAAF 1941. This Australian unit was the second to be equipped with this type of aircraft in North Africa, after 250 Squadron RAF who received them in May 1941.
Profile 0A: Tomahawk llB AN343 of No 3 Sqn RAAF, flown by Sgt Rex Wilson, LG 110, Egypt, November 1941. Sgt Rex Wilson flew this aircraft with No 3 Sqn during the early part of November 1941, although he made no claims with it. He had scored one victory during the Syrian campaign, but did not claim again until late November when, between the 25th and 30th, he was credited with three destroyed and six damaged. AN343 was lost in combat whilst being flown by Flg Off Evans on the 25th. Wilson became an ace on 1 December, but his was a brief glory - on 9 December he was shot down and killed.
Profile 0B: Tomahawk Mk IIB, 3 Squadron RAF flown by Flight Sergeant R. Wilson, November 1941. The fourth batch of 300 Tomahawk Mk IIBs out of a total of 930 machines bought by the RAF were numbered AN218 to AN517.
Photo: Squadron-Leader R H M Gibbes, Officer Commanding No. 3 Squadron RAAF, at LG 91, Egypt, shortly after being awarded the DFC for his leadership of the unit in the Western Desert. After initial service with Nos. 23 and 450 Squadrons RAAF, Gibbes transferred to No.3 Squadron RAAF intime to see action during the Syrian Campaign in June 1941. He was rapidly promoted during his subsequent service in the Western Desert and took command of the Squadron in February 1942. Despite being shot down twice he continued to lead 3 Squadron through the Battle of Alamein and the Tunisian campaign before his tour finished in April 1943 with a victory score of 12 enemy aircraft shot down. Gibbes then returned to Australia to lead No. 80 Wing RAAF in the South-West Pacific from October 1944 to April 1945, and to serve thereafter with the Air Board in Melbourne until the end of the War.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 3112 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212125
Photo: Personnel of No. 3 Squadron RAAF carry their baggage to the train for Ismailia, after disembarking at Port Tewfik, Egypt. No. 3 Squadron was the first RAAF unit to leave Australia for a war zone, its 21 officers and 271 airmen, under the command of Squadron Leader I D McLachlan, sailing from Fremantle for Egypt on board the SS ORONTES on 24 July 1940.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 64 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211925
Curtiss Kittyhawk MkIa RAAF 3Sqn lined up at LG91 Egypt IWM CNA3527
Photo: Curtiss Kittyhawk Mark IAs of No. 3 Squadron RAAF lined up with engines running at LG 91, Egypt.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CNA 3527 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211945
Photo: Flying Officer P St.G B Turnbull and Flying Officer J H W Saunders of No. 3 Squadron RAAF walking away from one of the Squadron's Curtiss Tomahawk Mark IIBs at Rosh Pinna, Palestine.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 1037 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211930
Photo: Curtiss Tomahawk Mark IIBs of No.3 Squadron RAAF, being refuelled at Rayak, Lebanon.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 1519 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211931
Photo: Squadron Leader R H M "Bobby" Gibbes, Commanding Officer of No. 3 Squadron RAAF, sitting in the cockpit of his Curtiss Kittyhawk, shortly after rescuing one of his pilots who had been brought down by anti-aircraft fire while the Squadron was attacking an enemy airfield on 21 December 1942. Gibbes landed his aircraft by the wreckage and took the pilot into his own cockpit. Although a wheel was knocked off on take-off, they got airborne safely and returned to base at Marble Arch, Libya, where he managed a successful landing on one wheel. The award of a DSO followed.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 5074 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211932
Photo: Flying Officer A C Rawlinson, Flight Lieutenant B R Pelly and Flying Officer A H Boyd of No. 3 Squadron RAAF, walk away from Gloster Gladiator Mark II, N5752 'NW-G', at LG 10/Gerawala, Egypt, on the day following their major engagement with 17 Italian fighters over Bir Enba, Libya, during which a fourth pilot, Squadron Leader P R Heath, was shot down and killed. Boyd scored three victories in N5752 before it was shot down by Italian fighters near Sollum on 13 December 1940.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 245 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211933
Photo: Curtiss Tomahawk Mark IIBs of No. 3 Squadron RAAF based at Rayak, in flight over Syria.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 1034 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211969
Photo: Curtiss Tomahawk Mark IIBs of No.3 Squadron RAAF, lined up at Rayak, Lebanon.
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM CM 1520 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211968
Photo: Curtiss Tomahawks of No. 3 Squadron RAAF, lined up at Rayak, Lebanon
Source: Imperial War Museum IWM ME(RAF) 1888 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212055
Photo: The mobile radio unit of No. 3 Squadron RAAF operating at Rosh Pinna, Palestine.
Source: IWM IWM CM 1009 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211929
Photo: Gladiator Mark II, N5786, of No. 3 Squadron RAAF, airborne from their landing ground near Sollum, Egypt, during the last stages of the British assault on Bardia (Operation COMPASS).
Source: IWM IWM CM 358 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211928
Photo: Pilots of No. 3 Squadron RAAF study a map on the tailplane of one of their Gloster Gladiators at their landing ground near Sollum, Egypt, before an operation over Bardia during the closing stages of Operation COMPASS. Left to right: Flying Officers J R Perrin, J McD Davidson (squatting), W S Arthur and P St G Turnbull, Flight Lieutenants G H Steege and A C Rawlinson, Flying Officer V East, (unknown), Squadron Leader I D McLachlan (Commanding Officer) and Flying Officer A H Boyd.
Source: IWM IWM CM 355 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211927
Photo: Seven Gloster Gladiators of No. 3 Squadron RAAF make a low pass in loose line abreast formation over the Squadron's mobile operations room at their landing ground near Sollum, Egypt, from which they operated during Operation COMPASS.
Source: IWM IWM CM 354 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211926
RAAF 3Sqn attacking Vichy French bombers 28th June 1941 artwork by Osprey
EARLY RAAF TOMAHAWK COMBAT, JUNE 28, 1941
Artwork: What is likely the first air combat of World War II pitting American-built aircraft on both sides took place during Operation Exporter, the Allied invasion of Vichy French-controlled Syria and Lebanon in June and July 1941. No. 3 Sqn RAAF, recently re-equipped with some of the first Curtiss Tomahawk IIBs to reach the Middle East, took part from the first day of the campaign, June 8, to its end. On June 28, nine 3 Sqn Tomahawks led by Flight Lieutenant Alan Rawlinson flew from Palestine up to Damascus-Mezze and refueled, taking off again at 10:15 to escort Blenheims on a bombing raid. Meanwhile, at 10:10 six Martin M-167F twin-engine bombers of Aeronavale Flotille 4F had taken off to bomb Allied troops in the vicinity of Palmyra. The Blenheims completed their attack, and then the Australians spotted the explosions of bombs dropped by the Aeronavale aircraft, all six seen bombing in pairs. Rawlinson immediately attacked, and within a few moments all the Martins were shot down, four of them crashing with total loss of life. The Tomahawks returned to Damascus without damage, three victories being credited to Rawlinson, two to Flying Officer Peter Turnbull, and one to Sergeant Rex Wilson.
Source: AIR VANGUARD 8 CURTISS P-40 Long-nosed Tomahawks written by CARL MOLESWORTH Osprey Publishing www.ospreypublishing.com
Rayak, Lebanon Map
Port Tewfik Egypt Map
- Baugher, Joe. 'Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Tomahawk, Kittyhawk.' American Military Aircraft.
- Planes and Pilots: Curtiss P40 Vol 3 From 1939 to 1945. ISBN: 2913903479 Author: Anis Elbied Publisher: Histoire & Collections Paperback Pages: 84
- Osprey - P-40 Warhawk Aces of the CBI (Aircraft of the Aces 35) ISBN: 184176079X Author: Carl Molesworth Publisher: Osprey Paperback Pages: 96.
- Osprey - P-40 Warhawk Aces of the Pacific (Aircraft of the Aces 55) ISBN: 1841765368 Author: Carl Molesworth Publisher: Osprey Paperback Pages: 96.
- RAAF Camouflage & Markings 1939-45 Vol 1 ISBN: 0858800365 Author: Geoffrey Pentland Publisher: Kookaburra Hard Cover Pages: 144
- RAAF Camouflage & Markings 1939-45 Vol 2 ISBN: 0858800373 Author: Geoffrey Pentland Publisher: Kookaburra Hard Cover Pages: 144
- Jane's - Fighting Aircraft of World War II ISBN: 1851701990 Author: Bill Gunston Publisher: Janes Hard Cover Pages: 320
- Airfix Magazines (English) - http://www.airfix.com/
- Avions (French) - http://www.aerostories.org/~aerobiblio/rubrique10.html
- FlyPast (English) - http://www.flypast.com/
- Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) - http://vdmedien.com/flugzeug-publikations-gmbh-hersteller_verlag-vdm-heinz-nickel-33.html
- Flugzeug Classic (German) - http://www.flugzeugclassic.de/
- Klassiker (German) - http://shop.flugrevue.de/abo/klassiker-der-luftfahrt
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://boutique.editions-lariviere.fr/site/abonnement-le-fana-de-l-aviation-626-4-6.html
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://www.pdfmagazines.org/tags/Le+Fana+De+L+Aviation/
- Osprey (English) - http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
- Revi Magazines (Czech) - http://www.revi.cz/
Web References: +
- Wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_109
- Wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_109_variants#cite_ref-100
- Wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_109_operational_history
- Flickr.com - https://www.flickr.com/photos/farinihouseoflove/2209839419/in/photostream
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