Mosquito Squadron Attacks

F/O KM Jackson

I'd like to pay tribute to a much-loved family friend and my mother's last companion. Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Jackson served with the RAAF, attached to RAF 235 Squadron as part of Banff Strike Wing.

With pilot Harry Parkinson, flying the excellent DH Mosquito, the pair took part in numerous perilous raids against shipping, U-Boats and ground targets flying at tree-top level to avoid German radar, often returning to base with tree branches and telegraph wire caught in the undercarriage.

He was reluctant to talk about his experiences and never marched in ANZAC parades.It took all my life to get him to reveal some of the hairy moments, but clearly one stuck in his mind.

Late in the war, the aircraft were fitted with long-range 'drop tanks', giving the planes several hundred extra kilometres of range. As such they were able to surprise U-Boats approaching ports, thinking they were home safe. On one occasion (I think this was U-251, 19 April 1945) the boat was on the surface in the Kattegat (between Denmark and Sweden) heading for home after four gruelling months at sea. The sailors were relaxing on deck, smoking, reading and hanging their washing.

The whole squadron swooped, unleashing salvos of deadly 30kg rockets. Ken's eyes misted at the recollection and he stared blankly into thin air.

A Mosquito of 235 Squadron attacks U-251 with rockets and cannon

"The poor bastards on deck jumped into the freezing water, the rest never had a chance ... Harry was very good with rockets." U-251 sank in 30m of water with only four survivors, including the captain.

"There were extra rounds of drinks that night in the mess," Ken recalled, shaking his head.

Despite losing many friends on these dangerous missions, Ken considered his service fortunate. The "Mozzie" was a brilliant aircraft, fast and capable, and enjoyed a success (and survival) rate few other planes could match.

Knowing he would have been subject to interception by German fighters, particularly over Norway, I asked curiously, "What happened when the Focke Wulfs came up to attack you?"

"Oh, we just put the nose down, opened the throttles and got the hell out of there," Ken recalled calmly, "they weren't going to catch us."

By comparison, a school chum's father served in Bomber Command flying Lancasters. He earned a DFC, but at an enormous cost. Of his entire squadron who left Australia to fly with the RAF, only two returned - his pilot and himself. #Lestweforget.


Heroes of the Solomons: Lofton R. Henderson

Every time you land at Honiara’s Henderson Field, you are arriving at a place in history.

In August 1942, US Marines landed in force to capture the almost complete airfield that the Japanese had been constructing since early July, setting off the six month Guadalcanal Campaign that continued until February 1943.

Soon after the capture of the airfield at Lunga Point, it was renamed Henderson Field and began operations as an airbase to attack the Japanese forces that were still in strength on the island of Guadalcanal as well as the naval and supply vessels in the surrounding waters.

The naming of the airfield was in honour of Major Lofton Russell Henderson who was already a seasoned naval aviator at the outset of war having been appointed as Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1926. His career as an aviator began in 1928 when he was “detailed to duty involving flying as a Student Naval Aviator” in California.

Henderson’s military career did not begin auspiciously, but by perseverance of character and more than a little charm, he endeared himself to both classmates and superiors as well as developing a reputation as a heartthrob and the nickname “Joe Schmaltz”

“In the course of his extensive experiments to determine the least possible seconds that could be spent in dressing and reaching formation on time, Joe hung up the record of thirteen ‘Lates To Formation in one week,” recorded his 1926 yearbook biography. “But, all joking aside, despite the fact that he’ll keep you waiting three minutes for every two that you spend in his company, still he does make a good roommate.”

After postings at overseas bases prior to 1941, Henderson was moved to Midway Island in April 1942 and relieved Captain Leo Smith, the commander of VMSB-241 bombing squadron and immediately set about training his pilots and crews for the hazardous task of dive-bombing ships.

Henderson began this task with obsolete aircraft. His Vought SB2U Vindicators were the first monoplanes developed to be a carrier-based dive bomber for the United States Navy in the 1930s and still had fabric wing coverings that were not faring well in the tropical conditions. To allow for the aircraft’s inadequacies and poor state of repair, Henderson developed a tactic of ‘glide bombing’ where the aircraft would approach the target faster, at a much shallower angle and releasing bombs at a lower altitude.

He noted:  “Practice is to dive with wheels up instead of down, as has been practised heretofore. Diving wheels up gives much-improved control due to lessened stick forces, and shortens the required arc of pull out, but builds up speeds in excess of 300 knots which has proved to be too great a strain for our tattered, battered ships. “

Fortunately, some of the brand new and much tougher Douglas SBD Dauntless aircraft arrived in time for their big test in June of that year: the Battle of Midway, just six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the opening phase of the intense battle around the mid-Pacific atoll, Henderson’s plan of ‘glide bombing’  was put to the test on June 4, 1942, when he led his flight of dive bombers into action against the Japanese carrier Hiryu. As his flight began their shallow 30-degree dive, defending Japanese planes identified Henderson’s bomber as the command aircraft and began working their way down the line of closely-formed, slow-moving bombers.

A report from one of the few surviving aircraft stated: 

“The first enemy fighter attacks were directed at the squadron leader in an attempt to put him down. After about two passes, one of the enemy put several shots through his plane and the left wing began to burn. It was apparent that he was hit and out of action.”

Even though one parachute was seen to come from Henderson’s plane, neither he nor his gunner, PFC Reninger, were found. The two become the first crew to be lost in the battle that would go down in history as "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare."

Henderson, aged 39, was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross for his actions and apart from naming of the new airfield on Guadalcanal, a US Navy destroyer was named in his honour in 1945.

His Navy Cross citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Major Lofton Russell Henderson (MCSN: 0-4084), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as Squadron Commander and a Pilot in Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE (VMSB-241), Marine Air Group TWENTY-TWO (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway, during operations of the U.S. Naval and Marine Forces against the invading Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. With utter disregard for his own personal safety, Major Henderson, with keen judgment and courageous aggressiveness in the face of strong enemy fighter opposition, led his squadron in an attack which contributed materially to the defeat of the enemy. He was subsequently reported as missing in action. It is believed he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.

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Lieutenant Colonel Harold Bauer: The Legend of ‘Indian Joe’

Vanuatu's Bauer Field in Vila was named after a charismatic hero, Medal of Honor recipient and US Marine Corps fighter ace. Roderick Eime remembers the man.

United States Marine Corps Captain (CPT) Harold William Bauer. Official Portrait. By November of 1942, Captain Bauer was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

It’s easy to forget the ferocious battles that took place across the Pacific region from 1942 to 1945. Every nation in the region was embroiled in a fight to the death, caught between the giant protagonists, the USA and Japan.


ATE Exhibitors 2019

ATE 2019 Exhibitors by on Scribd

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Did an Australian adventurer and spy forewarn of the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Battleship USS West Virginia sunk and burning at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In background is the battleship USS Tennessee.

by Roderick Eime

The story begins aboard the 1929 round-the-world flight of the German airship, LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin.

A truly international contingent of media and privileged guests are enjoying the lavish facilities of Germany’s luxury airship as they complete their ground-breaking three week journey around the planet.


Amelia Earhart Mystery: the theory that just won’t go away

Amelia Earhart, who served as a consultant in the Department of the Study of Careers for Women at Purdue from 1935 to 1937, strides past her Lockheed Electra. Purdue Libraries' Earhart collection. (File photo)

The Amelia Earhart mystery has gripped the imagination for almost 80 years and despite numerous searches and millions of dollars, no conclusive evidence has yet been found.

Many theories have been put forward over the years and just as many discounted, but one just keeps coming back. The idea that Earhart was forced down and captured by the Japanese in the Marshall Islands is as unpalatable as it is incredulous. But one researcher, Mike Campbell, makes a compelling case for this proposition.


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<p "="">I hope we can work together to enable you to make the most of the system. <p "="">Getting started is easy. Email me now and you'll get your first prospects within just a few days. <p "="">Cheers <p "="">Roderick Eime

Roderick Eime 0418 214 028


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TravelBrochures advertising and marketing service.


Winning share of market starts with winning share of mind

Whether you sell direct or through the trade, only you can build your brand out there in the real world.

And in the real world, 87% of consumers are researching their travel options online before going to an agent or booking elsewhere. is a success-based online advertising channel that lets you reach these potential customers at the perfect time to influence their choice: 

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The True Story behind JFK’s PT-109

Former U.S. President and then U.S. Navy Lt. John F. Kennedy is seen aboard the Patrol Torpedo boat PT-109 boat during World War II in the Pacific theatre, in this handout photograph taken on March 4, 1942. (REUTERS/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library/Handout)

David Ellis and Roderick Eime

Only the more adventurous travellers make it to remote Gizo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. It's a magical place with some of the world's best fishing as well as wreck and reef diving.

From Gizo you can venture a further 10 kilometres to a minuscule dot shown on most charts as either Kasolo Atoll or Plum Pudding Island. This sandy speck is better known in popular mythology as Kennedy Island – the place where a then 26 year old US Navy Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, commander of the motor torpedo boat PT109 and future President of the United States, together with ten of his crew, waded ashore in pitch-blackness after their boat was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri on the night of 2 August 1943.


Lifting the Shame of Savo Island

Heroes of the Solomons: Captain Frank Getting RAN

One of Australia’s most experienced and capable naval commanders was struck down in his prime during one of the most ferocious naval engagements of WWII. Was he later a cruel victim of a historical cover-up? Roderick Eime investigates.

The US involvement in the many battles of the Solomon Islands campaign are well documented through movies, documentaries and books. Yet, the substantial participation of Australian naval forces in that campaign is far less acknowledged.

When the Allied Forces began their landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi on 7 August 1942, they were supported by a massive combined naval force which included the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warships Canberra, Hobart and Australia.

HMAS Canberra proudly in Sydney Harbour pre-war

HMAS Canberra was a British-built County class heavy cruiser of the Kent sub-class commissioned in 1928. At 10,000 tons and 180m in length, she was slightly larger than the more famous HMAS Sydney which had already been lost during her mutually destructive engagement with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran on 19 November 1941. Sydney’s sister ship, the light cruiser, HMAS Perth was lost in the Battle of Sunda Strait in March 1942.