Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

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Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Kenny » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:59 pm

Howdy all

A brief introduction and a nailing of my colours to the rudder - I've been researching this subject, off and on, since I discovered my late father was flown out on one of these Sunderlands, probably "Gert", otherwise known as "O" Orange/DP180 - I'm getting to a point now where it's becoming, dare I say... obsessive...? :D

One of your regular contributers, Alex Norton, has been most helpful (I passed on your message from your mum that is reciprocated from the Squadron Command, btw) in my research...

As I'm a newbie here I thought I'd post the obvious question first - how much has been posted here before and how much do you know - I have lots of facts and lots of questions to ask...

How many have seen the IWM footage...? I have some of it but have yet to commit to purchasing the rest of it... I have been speaking to one still living Chindit that was flown out but know very little of the crew, excluding Alex' father and a press article emanating from Ray Guertin RCAF - names I have, but little in the way of bios...

Ultimately I intend to try and get published; there will be no money in this for me as I intend to donate anything I might make to a Hebridean hospice where my father spent his last days - I also intend to be awkward as I am going to ask for any potential publisher to donate an equal or better amount to Macmillan Cancer Support - I lost both my parents to cancer and my wife's mother is in the last stages of lung cancer... This started as a bio on my father from his rough manuscripts, written in '97-'98, that were scheduled to be worked into book form by a chap called Norman MacDonald, a Scottish writer (mostly Gaelic language) and life-long family friend but unfortunately cancer took him before he could get past the drafts; the 1st three chapters were published in Scotland in '99, but this since grew into research on the Cameronians and a place codenamed "Blackpool", which grew again and went on to become detailing on 111th Indian Infantry Division and 230's involvement - my present research files sit at 23gb of data and many millions of words...
I'm also an associate member of the Squadron; after all, they're the only reason I'm here writing this...

I look forward to a long association with this forum and also look forward to any assistance that may be offered, regardless of how small or large it may be... ;)
Last edited by Kenny on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby AlexNortonesq » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:11 pm

Kenny: I just came across an article in the August 2012 issue of Britain at War (Issue 64) entitled "Sunderlands in the Jungle" by Tom Doherty describing Operation RIver. If you haven't seen it, yet, I recommend it. I haven't compared it to teh material in his book no No. 230 Squadron.
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Kenny » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:25 am

Cheers Alex... how recent was it out...? Their site has back-issue options but not obviously titled...

I was talking to Guy Warner (230's biographer) earlier in the week and he recommended another title I think you also mentioned "Kid Glove Pilot" by Alan Deller, and a copy dropped through the door this morning, so presently studying...
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby AlexNortonesq » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:21 pm

Ken: Sorry I didn't include the date. It is the August 2012 issue.

I have Deller's book. He wasn't involved in Operation River; but, he did supervise a job, transporting cargo, into northern Burma in about February 1945 that my Dad took part in.
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Kenny » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:41 pm

I'll get that ordered, thanks Alex...

Deller's book has a couple of mini-gems for my task: a reference to the "line-book" on page 143, and some notes around page 139, albeit with some errors - cross referencing items... colour for the characters involved... and it's a good read...
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Pondskater » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:52 pm

Kenny

Looks like you've got all the main bases covered. I must get the magazine artcile as well.

I take it you have the pics from IWM as well? I have one or two more, including what I think is the W/O of DP180 and a photo of her in flight - not high quality but nice enough.

There was a write up in Dundas Bednall's book - Sun on my Wings - http://www.rquirk.com/bednall.htm which has mention of the Chindit evacuation. I made some detailed notes from the squadron operation record book some years ago which I could dig out and type up for you. Alternatively, if you can wait a bit, I'll copy the pages when I'm next at the National Archives.

Good luck with the research. I'd be keen to know your view on the names Gert and Daisy. My suspicion is that they were created by the PR men for the publicity around the mission rather than by the crews themselves, but you might have found something more than me!

I'm away from my files but I'll try to post the pics when I get back to my archive

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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Kenny » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:37 pm

Hi Allan and thanks for the offers and info...

Your mention of the records at Kew intrigues me... I'm presuming you are ex 230 or associated with the squadron...? I have reasonably easy access to Kew living about 10 miles from there and have a copy of the relevant squadron files and "clean" copies courtesy of Alex Norton but anything you have, no matter how trivial, would be welcome...

I attended the (daytime portion) of the most recent reunion at Benson - all records from that era are now archived at the historic branch and the new WCo has offered assistance in accessing them - I am most interested in seeing the "day-book" for any personal comments made by the crews from that time...

"Gert and Daisy" - curiously, considering who's sisters they were, my dad was known as, "The real life Reg Dixon" and was the Met's last Station Sergeant when he retired in 1977... As far as I have found out (still trawling) the names came from 3rd Indian Division, ie command - My most recent visit to the Archives (two days last month) has me a significant portion of the way through copying the command diaries (WO172 series) of which I now have 4261 thru 4269 - series runs to 4277 - 1800+ uncropped images so far.
I was previously aware (from the 111th Indian Infantry Div diaries) that Gert and Daisy were not the original names chosen, those being Cheesecake and Walnut - I came across the order changing this to Gert and Daisy on the last visit so I have this from both diaries now...
I am satisfied that the only names known to the crews were O-Orange and Q-Queenie - by that, I have found nothing to lead me to believe otherwise...

I'll contact DB's family re his book - cheers for the heads-up...

Pictures... I have a significant amount of them (courtesy of AWM and Alex) but at my level of minutiae you can never have too many... ;)

I'll PM my home email addy to you and/or await your posting them...
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Pondskater » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:14 pm

Really good research Kenny. Not sure how much I can add but here are a few of the more unusual photos in my files.

I'm not former crew, sad to say. Just a humble researcher trying to piece together some of these stories as well so they can be told. Happy to offer what I have since you're clearly going to have the most complete telling of this tale.

I'm indebted to you solving the Gert and Daisy origin. Not having got into the army records for it, it hadn't occurred that the names might have come from their side. I'd not come across anything in the RAF records where the names were used which is why I wondered if it was the work of the propaganda specialists. Glad you cleared that up!

From the IWM, because it is a lovely scene setting photo, on the Brahmaputra
Image

DP180 loading Chindits in Burma - photo courtesy of John Evans.
Image

Poor image, but DP180 in flight
Image

And an earlier photo of DP180 before the mostly white camouflage was applied
Image

The above photo came in a set of three from a well known on-line auction site, but sadly had been detached from their history. No indication of who took them, when or any other details. However, these are the other two photos and it is reasonable to assume this is the wireless operator from DP180. And unfortunately the aircraft was flown by at least two or three different crews that I'm aware of. Still some detective work to establish who this gentleman is and whether he was on Operation River.
Image

Image

I've had a look through my notes - I have a printed set of the pages from the ORB for Operation River. I suspect you have them but if not, let me know and I can scan them for you.

All the best

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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Kenny » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:29 am

Cheers Allan, hopefully you've had a good day...

First two I've seen but not the latter images... There is a crew image (standing on the wing) I am aware of from the time period but he does not look like any of them...

If the ORB images you have are from the "original" book then I would like to have a copy if I may - I have what is on file at Kew and a "clean" print-out from Alex Norton - I am hopeful that I may get to see the paper "originals" if assistance from a "higher authority" comes good... but that is still pending...

Your mention of the camoflage is worthy of further comment - does anyone know if either of these aircraft were completely white, or was the upper surfaces camo'd...?
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Re: Gert & Daisy - 230 Squadron and the Chindits

Postby Pondskater » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:09 am

I'm trying to remember if they were photocopies from the book or the microfilm. It was a long time ago just as the microfilms were coming in and I know I did all the printed books first. I can send them anyway - and I'll certainly send those photos if they are likely to be of use.

All the best

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