Tiger Moth bombing missions?

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Graham Clayton
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Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Graham Clayton » 27 May 2008 11:04

On the 9th of February 1942, the RAF flew its final sortie from the Kallang airfield, in the eastern part of Singapore City.
This sortie featured Flight Lieutenant Harry Dane and another unknown pilot from the Malayan Volunteer Air Force, who flew their Tiger Moths fitted with 8 twenty pound fragmentation bombs on the lower wing of the biplanes, which were released by a lever in the cockpit. Amazingly the two planes and pilots survived their mission bombing the advancing Japanese forces, and evacuated Singapore to travel to Sumatra the next day.

Is this the only recorded example in WW2 of a RAAF Tiger Moth being used on a bombing mission?

Source: Colin Smith "Singapore is Burning" Viking Books 2005
"Air superiority is a condition for all operations, at sea, in land, and in the air." - Air Marshal Arthur Tedder.

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Sitzkrieg
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Sitzkrieg » 27 May 2008 19:23

The RAF had armed a number of Tiger Moths with light series bomb carriers under the fuselage during the 1940 invasion panic, but this is the first I've heard about operational use of that jury-rigged bomber.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by phylo_roadking » 27 May 2008 23:43

Yes, among the training and communication aircraft armed for Operation Banquet in July 1940, 350 Tiger Moths were fitted with prefabricated bombracks for frag and gas bombs, and an unidentified number of others were fitted with spraying gear for "Paris Green" insecticide - but I would doubt the Banquet prefab'd racks/kits were sent to Singapore - more likely this would be a local conversion by the hobbyist flyers of the Malayan Volunteer Air Force, one of the great unsung military formations of WWII!

http://www.malayanvolunteersgroup.org.u ... rForce.asp

After all, the RAF abroad in various locations in the Empire has spent the last twenty years dropping light frag from two-seater biplanes on various recalcitrant natives! So the ordnance and multi-fitment racks were probably available onsite for years :lol:

Graham, unfortunately there's no mention of Harry Dane's bombing raid on the site :( Although he survived to fly with the RAAF and win the DSO posthumously in December 1942. I don't know if THIS means it's spurious, or whoever had the squadron records to build the page just didn't know about it.

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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by JonS » 28 May 2008 02:19

The other most likely place that could reasonably have seen T-Moths used in combat ops is Habbaniyah, but the air OoB there is reasonably well known and I don't recall it including Moths

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Sitzkrieg
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Sitzkrieg » 28 May 2008 09:22

JonS wrote:The other most likely place that could reasonably have seen T-Moths used in combat ops is Habbaniyah, but the air OoB there is reasonably well known and I don't recall it including Moths
Even if there were T-Moths in Habbaniyah, there were lots of other more potent aircraft available for combat.

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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 15 Jun 2008 22:52

Graham Clayton wrote:On the 9th of February 1942, the RAF flew its final sortie from the Kallang airfield, in the eastern part of Singapore City.
This sortie featured Flight Lieutenant Harry Dane and another unknown pilot from the Malayan Volunteer Air Force, who flew their Tiger Moths fitted with 8 twenty pound fragmentation bombs on the lower wing of the biplanes, which were released by a lever in the cockpit. Amazingly the two planes and pilots survived their mission bombing the advancing Japanese forces, and evacuated Singapore to travel to Sumatra the next day.
Hi,

Bloody Shambles vol I by Shores, Cull and Izawa mention the case as been taken place 10th February:
...The MVAF carried out its last sorties from Singapore during the morning, Flt Dane and Sgt Nathan flying their Tiger Moths, each carrying 20 lb fragamention bombs, over the front line...
...Following this final defiant action, the two Tiger Moths and the single Cadet of Dane's flight would depart Singapore early on the morrow, joining the survivors of 2 Detached Flight at Pakan Baroe, whilst the ground crews would travel by the stemer Jala Retna to Batavia. To date, the MVAF pilots in their odd assortment of light aircraft had flown hundreds of sorties: they had maintained sea patrols, dropped messages to isolated pockets af Allied troops behind enemy lines, carried medical supplies and personel, searched for missing aircraft and crews, made reconnaissance flights, and had carried out bombing sorties..."
Regards, Juha

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Graham Clayton
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Graham Clayton » 24 Jun 2008 03:21

Hi Juha,

Thanks for clarifying the date of the Tiger Moth missions over Singapore. "Singapore is Burning" did not clearly spell out the date, so I had to guess.
"Air superiority is a condition for all operations, at sea, in land, and in the air." - Air Marshal Arthur Tedder.

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Graham Clayton
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Graham Clayton » 11 Mar 2011 03:40

According to the following website, the Uruguayan Air Force used Tiger Moths in bombing missions to quell an uprising in the north-east of the country in January 1935:

http://www.pilotoviejo.com/htm05en.htm
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Andy H
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Andy H » 13 Mar 2011 12:49

This story is by Ben French, an aircraft ground engineer at No 1 Elementary Flying Training School, Hatfield 1940.

Banquet Lights’ ‘Tiger Moth Bombers’

By June 1940 Europe had been overrun by German troops, the remnants of the British Army had been evacuated from Dunkirk and most of their arms had been left in France.
Desperate measures were required to fend off an invasion of Britain. This became so serious that it was decided to fit bomb racks to De Havilland ‘Tiger Moth’ training aircraft and an operation, code name ‘Banquet Lights’, was planned.
The proposed scheme was that the Tiger Moths would fly to an advanced landing ground near the coast where eight 20lb bombs would be loaded, then fly to the beaches and bomb the invading troops. As one can imagine this was considered a suicide mission and no one was in any doubt about it, especially the pilots.
Volunteers from among the civilian ground engineers of No 1 Elementary Flying Training School, Hatfield were asked to go on this operation to service and load the bombs at the A.L.G.

A parachute, flying suit, service gas mask, tin helmet and gas cape were issued and stored in a metal locker with the engineer’s name on the door. At home an attaché case was packed with washing equipment, tooth brush, etc ready for immediate departure, they were also reminded of the ‘Official Secrets Act’ which forbade them to mention this operation to anyone.

Instruction how to load and fuse the eight 20lb anti-personnel bombs carried on the racks was given by the flying school armourer. The pilot flew from the front cockpit and released the bombs via a Bowden cable.

It was rumoured at the time that bombs which had been used on the prototype racks in the Experimental Department were live and not dummies, it was made sure that those used for practice loading and dropping onto a mat on the hangar floor were filled with sand. Some of the flying instructors practised their low flying skills at the designated low-flying area near Wheathampstead.

Major Hereward de Havilland was very much involved in this project and could often be seen on the far side of the aerodrome flying and dropping practice bombs from the first Tiger Moth fitted with bomb racks.

How near was this operation before coming into practice?

It was at the ‘Red Alert’ stage where an engineer was given a list of names and addresses and told to contact the names and addresses on the list, he was to say “Banquet Lights” and not enter into any further conversation. If the person was not at home the engineer was to leave a message for them to phone the Chief Engineer as soon as possible.

At that time everyone was expecting an invasion, fortunately ‘Banquet Lights’ was not required and after a year all the kit was returned to the stores.

1500 bomb racks were made and distributed to Flying Schools around the country
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stor ... 7573.shtml

Regards

Andy H

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by phylo_roadking » 13 Mar 2011 16:31

1500 bomb racks were made and distributed to Flying Schools around the country
According to an article in The Classic Motorcycle many years ago now, these kits were manufactured by Brough Engineering, as in George Brough, as in Brough Superior motorcycles....as in Lawrence of Arabia :wink: Apparently there were also kits made for Ansons, Oxfords, Miles - prefabricated and labelled for most common types of RAF trainer at the time.

Andy, somewhere on the BBC archive there's an account from one of these pilots, then a student pilot, who actually on one single occasion got as far as being rounded up by truck with his case of kit; possibly during the September CROMWELL false alarm...
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Oct 2018 17:40

Hi Guys,

The raid is described elsewhere by a witness on the ground, but not with Dane's name attached to it.

Dane distinguished himself by flying an unarmed reconnaissance flight over the mainland in search of a cut off infantry brigade. He found them and some 2,000 men were evacuated by the navy. Dane was decorated for this post-war.

Cheers,

Sid

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Andy H
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Re: Tiger Moth bombing missions?

Post by Andy H » 13 Oct 2018 23:48

Hi

There's further information about the bomb racks being fitted to other CW Tiger Moths here:-
http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/09288.php

Regards

Andy H

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