View Full Version : Kenya - Mau Mau Emergency 1950's - Air Operations

3rd Sep 2014, 11:50
Kenya - Mau Mau Emergency 1950's - Air Operations

Am aware of 1354 Flight (Harvards) and rotational Lincoln's being used against Mau Mau, but has anyone heard of Anson's being used? (in offensive operations)

Reason for asking, a long time friend has stated that Anson's were used - quoting his Mother as source;
in most cases I would have just poo-poo'ed this, but I knew and respected his Mother and know that she knew her Anson's (from her wartime Nursing service)

Still doubtful but feel I must at least ask the question of others more knowledgeable than !

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

Robert Cooper
4th Sep 2014, 01:42
IIRC East African Comm. Flight operated with one Valetta (VX 214) two Ansons (later replaced by two Pembrokes) and two Auster aircraft. CO was Fly Lt. Angus McVitie. One Helicopter was added to the unit for 'trials' and Army Co-op.Auster were used for Psyops (Aerial Broadcasts) and leaflet drops. these were not offensive operations though.

Bob C

4th Sep 2014, 06:42
From sources I have to hand 49, 110 and 214 Squadrons operated Lincolns, No. 1340 Flight operated Harvards, the Middle East Air Force supplied a few Vampires and photo recon Meteors. Ground support was supplied by a mix of Valetta, Pembroke, Auster AOP and Sycamore helos.

Can find no specific mention of the Anson, though Robert seems assured of their use. Perhaps they were used as a comms or hack aircraft. Ability to carry eight 20 pound, or two 250 pound bombs, may have been put to use as well if they had been available.

Have a photo of an armourer rearming a Harvard during the campaign with what look like 20 pound fragmentation bombs.

The RAF paid off the last Anson in 1968.

5th Sep 2014, 13:24
Only one Sycamore operated in Kenya XE 309...........


8th Sep 2014, 15:35
And here she is at RAF Eastleigh in 1956 or 57.


XE309 was eventually shipped back to the UK in a Beverley and my father had the dubious task of preparing the Sycamore for its journey. There were no jigs, trestles or cranes available for this process. So the helicopter was hoisted aloft in one of the hangars using a rope tied around the rotor head and secured to one of the roof trestles. The undercarriage legs were then removed rather gingerly before the aircraft was lowered onto some car tyres carefully arranged on the hangar floor. This highly unorthodox procedure had to be carried on a Sunday to avoid any of the top brass finding out how it was being done. Had the Sycamore been damaged it would have resulted in a career limiting step for my father. Luckily all went according to plan but he never found out how they got the helicopter out of the hangar and onto the Beverley.


Robert Cooper
9th Sep 2014, 19:16
megan (#3)

Yes, they were used as comms aircraft.

Bob C

11th Sep 2014, 14:07
Might be worth your while looking at 'RAF and Small Wars' Pt2 published by Centre For Air Power Studies and available electronically from Big River enterprises. Think it was either free or less than a quid anyway.

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11th Sep 2014, 15:36

Thanks for suggestion, but no luck could you kindly pass on a 'link'

Thanks to others as well

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

11th Sep 2014, 19:09
This may have to wait a bit as I'm working off a small tablet at the moment. Tried Googling. it to no avail but only just finished reading it myself a few days ago so it does exist. You !might try Centre for Air Power Studies who also published a volume on the inter war years.

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blind pew
11th Sep 2014, 20:46
Had the honour of going on safari with David Drummond GC +++ in the late 80s. Sat around the campfire he described how he had the wing fall off a Tripacer IIRC around 2000ft agl and how he played with the rudder before he crashed. Found 100 yds from the wreck still strapped in and rebuilt in East Grinstead.
He had been spotting for Lancasters before dawn (heat trail from campfire rising through the early morning mist). I borrowed his biography from the public library - Bwana Drum...excellent Boys Own story...ran his own gang of turned terrorists whilst wearing a wig and having dyed his skin with potassium permanganate...police medal for gallantry. Nice bloke as well.

Agaricus bisporus
13th Sep 2014, 11:41
Seconded. Bwana Drum is a fascinating book, an was Bwana Drum a fascinating man.