"Jonah in the air"

Discussions on the Allies and the Neutral States in general and the countries that does not have sections of their own.
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17488
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

"Jonah in the air"

Post by phylo_roadking » 11 Jul 2007 17:04

Wavell was known as "a Jonah in the air" because of the number of times his personal air transport fell out of the sky LMAO he experienced a whole series of emergencies in the air when travelling around his command, from engine failures to crashlandings! Does anyone have a full list of these emergencies and the decrepit aircraft being flown at the time?

Jon G.
Member
Posts: 6647
Joined: 17 Feb 2004 01:12
Location: Europe

Post by Jon G. » 19 Jul 2007 18:53

I would be interested in hearing more about Wavell's aerial mishaps. I think he flew in a Lockheed Electra when visiting troops in East Africa. Otherwise, the liaison aircraft of choice in the Middle East appears to have been the Bristol Bombay - which wasn't particularly decrepit.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17488
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Post by phylo_roadking » 19 Jul 2007 20:17

There's a couple of mentions in Macdonald's "The Lost Battle" about this, but nothing specific. But constant mention of the unavailability of aircraft in general, and spare parts. The same problem is what in the end did for "Jumbo" Wilson....

User avatar
edward_n_kelly
Member
Posts: 1154
Joined: 26 Nov 2004 04:48
Location: Australia

Post by edward_n_kelly » 20 Jul 2007 01:21

phylo_roadking wrote:The same problem is what in the end did for "Jumbo" Wilson....
Eh?

Edward

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17488
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Post by phylo_roadking » 20 Jul 2007 20:59

Oops, getting this mixed up with "Strafer" Gott - HIS Bristol Bombay personal transport was plagued by engine troubles, particularly on his last eventful day.

Jon G.
Member
Posts: 6647
Joined: 17 Feb 2004 01:12
Location: Europe

Re: "Jonah in the air"

Post by Jon G. » 18 Jul 2009 12:35

I recently aquired Adrian Fort's Wavell biography. I am hesitant about recommending this book, but Fort does give a few more details about Wavell's seemingly long string of aerial mishaps:

In December 1939 Wavell went by plane from Cairo to Baghdad to confer with the Turks and the Iraqis. According to Fort (p. 117), two of Wavell's aircraft broke down, one crashed (I read that as crash landed), one had to turn back due to darkness, and the final aircraft succeeded at flying Wavell back to Egypt.

In October 1941 Wavell's flying boat from Britain to India suffered an unspecified accident at Gibraltar and began to take in water.

The final accident mentioned by Fort happened on February 25 1942 when Wavell was flying back to India after he had handed back command of Java to the Dutch, his aircraft (a Liberator according to Fort, I wonder if that can be correct?) caught fire while Wavell was asleep aboard. When the crew woke him up to inform him of this unfortunate development, Wavell asked them if there was anything he could do - and when the crew informed him that there wasn't, he simply went back to sleep.

As befits his image, Wavell wasn't perturbed in the slightest by any of these incidents - they certainly didn't keep him from flying, but then his commands in the Middle and Far East were both so geographically big that flying was the only realistic mode of travel, although Lord Linlithgow, his predecessor as Viceroy, apparently preferred to travel by train :)

Two of Wavell's daughters acquired flying certificates for what it is worth.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 10157
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: "Jonah in the air"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Aug 2023 12:59

As Jon G, notes above, while C-in-C India over 1941-43 Wavell used the Maharaja of Jodhpur's Lockheed Electra without noticeable incident.

Sid.

Return to “The Allies and the Neutral States in general”