Gliding into battle.
#1

My research on Operation Husky (Sicily 1943) and RAF Blakehill Farm (1943-1952) led me recently, on a bright April morning to RAF Shawbury near Shrewsbury in the UK. I was here at the invitation of the curator of the Assault Glider Trust, Rachael Abbiss to visit the organisation based in space in two hangers at this active RAF station. My guide for this visit was one of the trustees Martin Locke and I am very grateful for the informative and interesting tour he gave me.

I was extremely impressed by the attention to detail and workmanship of the volunteers building new parts and repairing old Horsa Gliders and associated aircraft and equipment. This is a very specialised area of restoration requiring good woodworking skills amongst others and the result is there to see.

I took many pictures during my visit but have decided that the Trust's website offers much more detail, so here is the link:

 

www.assaultglidertrust.co.uk

 

You will see there is a tie-up with Lubbock, Texas and Waco Gliders.

I join in the hope that one day there will be a museum housing all the fruits of the work of this very worthwhile organisation.

 

Colin.

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#2

Cool. Sounds like you had a great day at the museum. It's great to see more people getting interested in WWII, no matter what the subject matter, and keeping the spirit alive.

 

Thanks for your thoughts and for posting the web link, which I visited this morning.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#3

WWII Assault Gliders.

 

Further to my post above, can I recommend this book if anyone interested in the subject has not already read it.

 

THE GLIDER GANG. by: MILTON DANK. pub by: CASSELL Ltd.(1977)

 

It is a well written, comprehensive description of assault glider use in WWII including Eben Emael Fort, Norway, Crete, Sicily, Normandy, Burma and the Rhine Crossing. By a US glider pilot with the 439th Troop Carrier Group in Europe 1944-1945.

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#4

Coincidentaly , there was a story in today`s local paper ( Kalamazoo Gazette ) on a Detroit veteren who was a WWII glider pilot visiting the Air Zoo here in town that has a restored glider on display.

The whole story is here: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/05/wwii_vet_remembers_the_memory.html

 

post-304-1272760663.jpg

Jef Rietsma / Special to the Gazette

Revisiting an era: Hal Holden, a World War II veteran from the Detroit area, co-piloted a combat glider identical to the one on display behind him at the Air Zoo. Holden on Friday spent more than an hour examining the artifact, only the third he has seen in the past 65 years.

 

Homepage of the Air Zoo: http://www.airzoo.org/



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#5

WWII Assault Gliders.

 

Further to my post above, can I recommend this book if anyone interested in the subject has not already read it.

 

THE GLIDER GANG. by: MILTON DANK. pub by: CASSELL Ltd.(1977)

 

It is a well written, comprehensive description of assault glider use in WWII including Eben Emael Fort, Norway, Crete, Sicily, Normandy, Burma and the Rhine Crossing. By a US glider pilot with the 439th Troop Carrier Group in Europe 1944-1945.

 

Thanks for the reading recommendation Colin, I've always been intrigued by the glider assault forces.

 

Randy

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#6

Found this most interesting older thread posted by Colin. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was an article I had read a number of years back in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I was unaware that gliders had been manufactured in St. Louis during the war. According to Wikipedia the Robertson Aircraft Corporation produced 170 Waco CG-4 gliders for the war effort.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robertson_Aircraft_Corporation

 

However the focus of the newspaper article was not on glider production in St. Louis but the tragedy that unfolded on August 1st, 1943. On that Sunday an airshow was held at Lambert Field in St. Louis, a demonstration flight by one the Robertson built gliders was to be included in the show. On board the Waco along with the pilot and copilot was St. Louis Mayor William D. Becker and seven other dignitaries. Shortly after detachment from the C-47 tow plane at 2000 feet, the right wing of the Waco snapped off, sending all ten aboard to their deaths before 5000 horrified onlookers. Most sad.

 

http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/this-week-in-south-side-history-glider-crash-killed-st/article_7bca324c-8b2c-5a75-b9a0-b6ae6f2dbe92.html

 

Randy

 

 

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#7

Randy,

 

Thank you for reviving my post with the information about the glider crash. I had never heard of this!

 

Colin.

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#8

I had never heard of this either. Makes you wonder what the failure rate was when they had hundreds dropped in combat during the war. Those guys never got the jump pay that airborne guys did either. Seems like I'd rather take my chances with a parachute than a rickety glider that, once released, has a controlled crash at the end of its flight.

Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#9

I had never heard of this either. Makes you wonder what the failure rate was when they had hundreds dropped in combat during the war. Those guys never got the jump pay that airborne guys did either. Seems like I'd rather take my chances with a parachute than a rickety glider that, once released, has a controlled crash at the end of its flight.

 

That's a great question CaptO, one I don't readily have an answer for. The failure in this incident was traced to a wing strut component made by a subcontractor, one that in a bad bit of irony, that normally built caskets. It was determined that the metal was manufactured too thin for this component, I'm with you, your odds of survival would seem to be a little better in a chute than a glider.

 

Randy

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#10

I had heard of the coffin maker making gliders (or at least parts). Here is an interesting article on the subject of gliders with another Vet's remembrances.

 

https://www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/aerospace-defense/the-flying-coffins-of-world-war-ii

Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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