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Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC DFC DSO

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Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC DFC DSO

Old 21st Sep 2004, 14:23
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Jacko

Ah! So in accepting that there was 'no doubt earned respect', then 's a third of the way there. And if we can presume that was generally obeyed without question (reluctant obedience does not necessarily follow 'refused advice'), then 's two-thirds the way there. If your analysis that wasn't generally liked holds water, then so what? It would desirable to be liked, but it's not essential - whereas I suggest your first two criteria probably are.

Did any of your interviewees reveal a different side to the man, or did you not travel that road?

I've no doubt there are those of us that could recall tales of 'revered' peacetime RAF leaders which would similarly and severely dim the odd halo. Most choose not to (in public): it would be pointless, and potentially hurtful to others.

Mod

Why ---?????

Last edited by jindabyne; 21st Sep 2004 at 14:35.
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Old 21st Sep 2004, 15:31
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Jindy,

Thought we'd gone from the specific (Gibson) to the general. I was just pointing out that while being liked isn't a prerequisite to leadership, nor is being disliked.

My list of negatives wasn't specifically referring to Gibson.

I don't think Gibson was obnoxious, for starters.

I think that professional competence, flexibility and the ability to get the best from one's team (and the ability to listen to and take advice) is an inherent part in ensuring point 2.

I am not a great Gibson fan, despite his undoubted achievements, since I think that he was a bit of a self-publicist and a bit of a braggart, whose trumpeting of his own achievements (and their subsequent trumpeting by others) have distorted history and have led to the achievements of others having been diminished, forgotten or under-stated.

Everyone has heard of Gibson and the Dams Raid, when Searby, Slee, and Operation Robinson and the raid on Peenemunde are perhaps equally worth remembering and celebrating, though they are virtually unknown today. Or if we are only to celebrate heroic sacrifice, then Nettleton and Augsburg should surely be as well remembered as Gibson and Operation Chastise?

Richard Todd and 'Enemy Coast Ahead' are perhaps a poor reason for determining the historical significance of different parts of Bomber Command's mid-war operations.
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Old 21st Sep 2004, 15:45
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Points accepted Jacko. Can't understand the censorship though, can you?
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Old 21st Sep 2004, 15:54
  #44 (permalink)  

Yes, Him
 
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Jinda,
Don't think its censorship, it seems to be a glitch occuring in numerous threads. Spoils the flow though.
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Old 21st Sep 2004, 22:40
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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I wouldn't call it censorship. More like whim moderation.
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 19:06
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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One further thing about Guy Gibson, we think of him as a Wing Commander, but I would suggest we are used to Wing Commanders nowadays being in their thirties and forties and with the maturity and judgement that age brings. Guy Gibson was 19 when he was flying Hampdens at the outbreak of war in 1939, he was 23 when he won the VC leading the Dams Raid, and 24 when he died. When I was that age I knew nothing, but thought I knew everything and I hadnt won the Victoria Cross. I think that we should not sit in judgement on a young man sixty years after his death no matter what his "faults" or perceived chracter defects.

Tony Fallows,
Swanwick ATC Centre
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 21:13
  #47 (permalink)  
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A very good point, and well made Tony.

The Telegraph carried today the obituary of Flt Lt David Rodger DFC, tail gunner for Flt Lt McCarthy on 617. It's here
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Old 22nd Sep 2004, 21:53
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Note that he played his last game of ice hockey aged 84...
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Old 24th Sep 2004, 17:34
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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It's one of the least attractive features of our modern, celebrity obsessed, society that undoubtedly brave men, who fought hard for their country, are subjected to attempted character assassination many years after the events.

There are probably few left alive who are qualified to stand in judgement on men like Gibson, Bader and Johnson. One who was perhaps better qualified than most (Gp Capt Sir Hugh (Cocky) Dundas) wrote the following about Bader:`he showed quite clearly by his example the way in which a man should behave in time of war and his spirit buoyed me up through many dark days...'

Nuff said?
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Old 24th Sep 2004, 18:14
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Another of the Few has sadly passed away. Probably not a name that would be familiar to the public at large, but his exploits speak for themselves and he was a pioneer of innovative areas of air power that are nowadays firmly established nowadays - fighter control, tactical fighter and bomber forces, air-ground co-operation, joint/combined operations. And a well-earned retirement in Australia!

Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan
(Filed: 24/09/2004)

Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan, who has died in Australia aged 87, was one of the RAF's most distinguished Battle of Britain fighter pilots; he later achieved considerable success during the German night attacks on Glasgow before playing a prominent role in co-ordinating fighter operations for the D-Day landings.

Dalton-Morgan had virtually no experience as a fighter pilot when he was appointed a flight commander of No 43 Squadron - "The Fighting Cocks" - in June 1940. The squadron was flying Hurricanes from Tangmere, near Chichester, and together with others in No 11 Group, bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe attacks.

He quickly established himself as a fearless leader. On July 12, he shared in the destruction of a Heinkel bomber; but he was forced to bale out the following day when he destroyed another and then was hit by crossfire. With no badges of rank in evidence - he was wearing pyjamas under his flying suit - he was "captured" by a bobby who placed him in the cells along with the German bomber crew he had just shot down.

Despite being slightly wounded, Dalton-Morgan was soon back in action, accounting for four more enemy aircraft in the next three weeks. In early September, he shot down three Messerschmitt fighters. After one engagement he was wounded in the face and knee, and had to crash-land. His DFC praised him for "displaying great courage when his behaviour in action has been an inspiration to his flight".

Despite his wounds, Dalton-Morgan returned to take command of the depleted squadron after the death of the CO, and took it to Northumberland to train replacement pilots.

A descendant of the buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan and the Cromwellian general Sir Thomas Morgan, Thomas Frederick Dalton-Morgan was born on March 23 1917 at Cardiff and educated at Taunton School. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in 1935, and trained as a pilot.

Following service with No 22 Squadron, flying the Wildebeeste torpedo bomber, he joined the training staff at the Air Ministry. In April 1940 he applied to return to flying, and was appointed to No 43.

After the Battle of Britain, Dalton-Morgan's primary task was to train new pilots for service with the squadrons in the south. He was also required to establish a night-fighting capability with the Hurricane; a task he achieved with great success. Few enemy night bombers fell victim to single-seat fighter pilots, but Dalton-Morgan, hunting alone, destroyed no fewer than six.

Three of his victims went down in successive nights on May 6-7 1941, when the Luftwaffe embarked on a major offensive against the Clydesdale ports and Glasgow. On June 8, Dalton-Morgan achieved a remarkable interception when he shot down a Junkers bomber, having made initial contact by spotting its shadow on the moonlit sea. After two more successes at night, he was carrying out a practice interception on July 24 with a fellow pilot when he saw another Junkers.

Dalton-Morgan gave chase and intercepted it off May Island. Despite his engine failing and fumes filling the cockpit, he attacked the bomber three times. He had just watched it hit the sea when his engine stopped. Too low to bale out, he made a masterly landing on the water, but lost two front teeth when his face hit the gun sight. He clambered into his dinghy before being rescued by the Navy.

His station commander, Wing Commander H Eeles, commented: "I consider this to be a classic example of how a first-class fighter pilot can attack an enemy while his engine is failing, shoot it down, force land on the sea, and get away with it." Dalton-Morgan was awarded a Bar to his DFC "for his exceptional skill". He scored another night victory on October 2, off Berwick-on-Tweed. Finally, in February 1942, after 18 months in command, the longest spell by any of No 43's wartime commanding officers, Dalton-Morgan was rested, having shot down at least 14 aircraft and damaged others.

After a spell as a fighter controller at Turnhouse, near Edinburgh, he returned to operations in late 1942 to become leader of the Ibsley Wing. Here he had eight fighter squadrons under him, with the task of mounting long-range offensive sorties over northern France and providing scouts for the tactical bomber squadrons. After damaging an Me 109 in December, he shot down a Focke Wulf 190 fighter and damaged another during a sweep over Brest. He was awarded the DSO in May 1943, which recorded his victories at the time as 17.

His experience of escort operations led to his being attached to the 4th Fighter Group of the US 8th Air Force, which was just beginning long-range bomber escort work. He flew more than 70 combat sorties with the group. Promoted group captain early in 1944, he served as operations officer with the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

For a period he worked on an air-to-ground fighter control system with Major John Profumo, whom he rated as the most capable and generous Army officer he had met.

Dalton-Morgan engaged in planning fighter and ground attack operations in support of the campaign in Normandy, then moved to the mainland with his organisation after the invasion. Years after, his CO at the time (later Air Marshal Sir Fred Rosier) commented: "It would be impossible to overstate Tom D-M's importance and influence on the conduct of fighter operations for and beyond D-Day".

A month before the end of the war in Europe, Dalton-Morgan learned that his only brother, John, who also had the DFC, had been shot down and killed flying a Mosquito. Dalton-Morgan remained in Germany with 2nd Tactical Air Force after the war before attending the RAF Staff College, and becoming a senior instructor at the School of Land/Air Warfare. Later he commanded the Gutersloh Wing, flying Vampire jets, before taking command of RAF Wunsdorf.

On leaving the service in 1952, Dalton-Morgan joined the UK/Australian Joint Project, at Woomera, where he managed the weapons range for the next 30 years before retiring in Australia.

He made regular trips home to visit the missile testing range at Aberporth, to see his family and to attend service reunions. He was a vice-president of the Hawker Hurricane Society.

Dalton-Morgan was recognised as one of the RAF's finest fighter leaders. Slightly scarred by his wounds, he had the dashing good looks of the archetypal fighter pilot, and always attracted the greatest admiration from his air and ground crews. In an article on leadership written after the war, one of Dalton-Morgan's former pilots wrote: "He had an awesome charisma; some sort of special aura seemed to surround him. He was the epitome of leadership, he was a born leader."

He was appointed OBE in 1945 and mentioned in dispatches in 1946, the year President Harry Truman awarded him the US Bronze Star.

Tom Dalton-Morgan died on September 18, the eve of the annual Battle of Britain Anniversary service at Westminster Abbey, which he had hoped to attend.
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Old 25th Sep 2004, 21:30
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Huw Roberts.

Well said and, for the greater part, I agree with you. However, with the exception of such 'natural' leaders like Tom Dalton-Morgan, our heros are alas usually, depending on one's perspective, rather tainted individuals; the only criterion one can rely on was that they gave the enemy a much harder time than they gave their colleagues; although some that might be considered a close-run thing!(Bader).

As regards Johnson, I was once ordered (!!) to host him when he came to give an evening, informal, talk at the Staff College. For reasons I don't wish to expand on, I found him a singulary unpleasant individual. Nevertheless, I greatly admired his exploits, his courage and, mostly, the bloody-mindedness which drove him, and ultimately the, by inclination peace-loving, British nation on. Ultimately, where would we have been without such egregiously bullish individuals; alas, in PC-Britain I suspect such people would be viewed as being mad enough to warrant a spot of 'care in the community'.
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Old 27th Sep 2004, 05:43
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I'm very glad Jacko mentioned Mickey Martin some posts ago. He was SASO at Episcopi when I was a very junior Sqn Ldr on his staff. As well as having the obvious reputation one would expect as one of the Dambusters, and having more medals after his name than anyone I had met before, he was a delightful gentleman, with none of the pomposity and self importance one got a bit used to now and again. I'm inclined to think it may have been because he was an Aussie, which is one reason I so enjoy living here in my declining years!

One of his dinner party tricks, which no doubt has been done often enough, but I'd never seen it before, involved lighting the dregs of Keo brandy in the bottom of the bottle, and placing a peeled banana in the neck of the bottle, so it was gradually sucked down into the bottle. Looked pretty disgusting, but very funny, and not what might happen at most SASOs dinner parties!

One of the good ones in all respects.
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