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Brit Mil Pilot - India - Crash - Maggots saved the chap!

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Brit Mil Pilot - India - Crash - Maggots saved the chap!

Old 10th Aug 2020, 17:49
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Brit Mil Pilot - India - Crash - Maggots saved the chap!

Several thousand years ago, I suspect in an Aviation Survival briefing, or an article in Air Clues or somesuch, I (with my failing memory) recall a story of an RN (Sea Vixen) or RAF (Javelin) jockey either crashing (doubt it) or banging out in or over India and then being faced with some nasty infected injuries that led him to interject maggots into the injuries to counter the infection.
I'm all about no citation without confirmation but I can't find a bloody thing online.

I'm I finally slipping beyond the bounds of reality into dreams or can somebody help me out before I owe her a pretty expensive meal...

Simon the Hat
SilkyusMaximus is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2020, 21:30
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Can't help with the original story but maggots still have a place in nibbling out dead bits in certain circumstances. Mostly chronic ulcers rather than traumatic wounds. They come in a sort of teabag you bung on.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 22:40
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The story of Juliane Koepcke also features maggots - she was the sole survivor of a crash of LANSA 508 in the early 1970s. She sustained a couple of gashes in her leg and arms, and the maggots took a fancy to them. Her father was an eminent biologist who'd set up a jungle research station; he'd taught her some jungle survival techniques and she found her way to a fishing shelter where the maggots, having done their job of cleaning her wounds, were thanked by being doused in petrol used by the small boat which was at the shelter to get rid of them. She was found by the fishermen who took her back to their village and she was then transported to hospital.

Anyway - Javelin XH791 went down over the Ganges Delta in 1961; Master Navigator Tony Melton survived (his pilot, Flt Lt Ted Owens did not) but spent three days in the jungle before being recovered by a Pakistani AF Grumman Goose which landed on the river to recover him. He did sustain injuries, but whether he used maggots as part of his treatment for them, I don't know. There was a thread about him, or the incident (or possibly both) a while back. He died a couple of years ago, and there was an obit in the Telegraph, but that's almost certainly wedged behind their paywall.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 22:42
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I think that you may be referring to Master Navigator Tony Melton who ejected from his Javelin over E. Pakistan in Aug 1961. He survived in the jungle for 3 days before being rescued. I think that he may have taught Survival skills at RAF Mountbatten after this incident.
I don't know about the maggots but seems plausible.
More info if you Google.
DeanoP is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2020, 23:53
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Burn surgeon/Ame/longtime pilot here...

maggots generally are fairly inoffensive in wounds, but with the exception of “medical maggots” of some sort (most commonly Phaenicia Sericata larvae) they tend to mature at different rates and spread flies all over the place.

Had a guy that came in a couple of days ago a week out from a very deep burn on his mid chest that was so infested, and the critters he picked up in the field did a very nice job of keeping things clean. Sorta felt sorry to have to kill them to let him into the burn unit....

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Old 11th Aug 2020, 03:44
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Met a bloke in the '60s who had been wounded during WW II - Balikpapan, I think. He lost one testicle, but kept the other due to maggots keeping infection away from it.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 03:51
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Geordie Lilico 22 SAS was shot up in Borneo during the confrontation. He survived by allowing maggots to feed on the necrosis whilst he dodged the enemy over many days.

It was always said “ no flys on Geordie” forever more.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 07:26
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Here is the Telegraph obit, nothing about maggots I'm afraid.

"Master Navigator (Warrant Officer) Tony Melton, who has died aged 91, was forced to eject from his stricken fighter over East Pakistan, surviving in the jungle for three days before being rescued; he later turned rescuer with the RAF’s search and rescue helicopter force.

Melton and his pilot (Flight Lieutenant Owens) were leading five Javelin night fighters on a ferry flight from their base in East Anglia to Singapore in August 1961. They had taken off from Calcutta and were heading for Rangoon when one of the two engines of their aircraft exploded at 32,000ft.

The long-legged Melton damaged both knees as he ejected from the aircraft and he lost his survival pack during the descent. He landed in tall trees, where his parachute became snagged. After cutting himself free he was unable to recover it so was left with just his Mae West life jacket and a crude knife as survival aids. He had seen his pilot in his parachute and tried to find him, unaware that he had been killed leaving the aircraft.

Over the next two days he walked along small river tributaries hoping they would lead to a larger river. Water was plentiful but he had no food. On the third day an RAF Shackleton aircraft based in Singapore appeared in the area and Melton started his survivor locator beacon. He continued his walk until he arrived at a bigger river, where he discovered a large survival pack dropped by the Shackleton. The food did not attract him but, he recalled, “the cigarettes took a caning”.

As he unpacked the survival aids, which included pyrotechnics, the Shackleton returned and Melton fired a flare, which allowed the rescue aircraft to pinpoint his position. He expected a helicopter to pick him up and was surprised when a Grumman Goose amphibious aircraft landed on the narrow river and immediately disappeared around a bend of the tree-lined river. The civilian pilot, Dudley Crisp (ex-RAF), skilfully manoeuvred the Goose in the confined area and Melton swam out to the aircraft before Crisp made a hazardous take off. The official report of the rescue described his flying as “a wonderful feat”.

After a celebration in Dacca with all his rescuers, Melton was flown to Singapore where he made a quick recovery.

The son of a soldier of the Seaforth Highlanders, Anthony David Melton was born in Staines on October 12 1924. He joined the RAF when he was 18 years old and trained as a navigator but the war finished shortly after he qualified. He left the RAF for a brief period before rejoining in 1947.

For the next 10 years Melton flew in night fighters, the Mosquito being his favourite. He saw service in the UK, Egypt, Malta and Cyprus. With the reduction in the RAF’s fighter force in 1957 he transferred to the Canberra light bomber, but his real love was the night fighter business and he was able to return to the force and join No 46 Squadron operating the Javelin.

After recovering from his jungle adventure, he became an instructor at the RAF’s Combat Survival and Rescue School based at Plymouth.

He returned to flying when he joined No 152 Squadron, flying the Twin Pioneer in the Persian Gulf. After another spell as a survival instructor he began a 16-year association with helicopters, initially in the Far East, but then in July 1971 he joined the RAF’s search and rescue helicopter force in the UK.

On the night of April 2 1973, his crew and one other were scrambled from Coltishall in north Norfolk. Despite a gale of 60 knots, which was the extreme limit for the Whirlwind helicopter, the two aircraft reached the small collier MV Amberley, which was foundering. Two more helicopters arrived on the scene, where the conditions were described as “horrendous”, but 16 men were plucked to safety in an operation that was considered to be an “epic” at the time, resulting in seven awards for bravery and a number of international awards to the squadron. The laconic Melton merely recorded in his flying logbook: “MV Amberley – Rescue. Airborne 1 hour 50 minutes”.

Melton continued with the RAF’s helicopter force for another 11 years and was involved in many rescues. When he retired at 60 he was the oldest RAF aircrew to be flying on a front-line squadron. He was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air and on his retirement from the RAF in 1984 was appointed MBE.

He settled in Kent and became engrossed in the Kent Wildlife Trust, the environment and his allotment. He was a devoted member of the Sandwich Cricket Club and became unelected leader of a group of elderly reprobates who would gather on the veranda of the pavilion to offer free advice to the players .

With his trademark handlebar moustache he was a great raconteur, who was happiest among people, often with a glass in his hand.

Tony Melton married Pat Norman in 1949; she died in 2013 and their daughter survives him.

Master Navigator (Warrant Officer) Tony Melton, born October 12 1924, died November 20 2015"
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 09:47
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Fascinating obit. I remember the ejection very well - we were called in to the office in Bangkok when the news came out but there was nothing we could do to help. Some time later we night-stopped at a N.Burmese (Myanmar) Airfield, Myktila, and parked next to a Grumman Goose. This was the aircraft , and pilot, used to pick up Tony. Aircraft operation was, to say the least, unconventional !
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 16:21
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I met MNav Tony Melton at the FEAF Jungle Survival School in Oct 1963, where I was on a course, before my Canberra tour. He gave a presentation on his experiences and did not mention maggots. He was at that time an Instructor at RAF Mountbatten on a visit to the school at Changi.
I met him again, at the Sea Survival School at RAF Mountbatten, in April 1966 when I was on a Sea Survival course prior to joining the Victor AAR Force. He was an instructor on the course and gave his presentation, again without mentioning maggots.

However, during the FEAF course, we were told of a couple of occasions when maggots, cleaning infected wounds, had saved the lives of Army Air Corps pilots who had crashed Auster AOP or helicopters in the Malayan Jungle in the 1950s.

The story of MNav Meltons rescue was in an issue of Air Clues sometime in the 1960s.

As an aside, was he the last MNav in the RAF in 1984?. If not he had to be the most senior.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 17:05
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IIRC on the 103 Sqn SAR flight he would be the captain and some Flg Off pilot would fly it.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 20:53
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We still use maggots plus leaches and for a nice grotty wound manuka honey.
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Old 12th Aug 2020, 08:29
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Tengah Type - definitely not the last M Nav and probably not the most senior. When I PVR'd in '89, one of my Console Ops was M.Nav. 'Ness' Edwards. We had previously served together on Beverleys in the 60's.
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Old 12th Aug 2020, 14:27
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An amazing story of survival with or without maggots, bailing out over the jungle must be wonderful until you reach the trees. When I was 16 I did a stint working as a laborer for a Warrington based construction company to save up some money for college and met an old paratrooper who was working as a joiner, he still had a splinter of Malayan jungle hardwood embedded in his kneecap, he said it never bothered him.

On a side note is “Master Navigator” something that ordinary Navs aspire to become ?
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Old 14th Aug 2020, 10:13
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Fonsini - No! - Master Aircrew is the generic title for Warrant Officer equivalent ranking in specified aircrew categories. Generally considered (when I was serving) to be the best rank attainable - 'Frogs and Puddles'!
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Old 14th Aug 2020, 20:32
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I have my late fathers Army Medical Records which includes details of his injuries from machine gun wounds to his legs and hand sustained in Burma when deployed as a Chindit. Those records are quite detailed and one of the observation reports in it mentions maggots seen in the wounds, it would appear that this was acceptable and assisted in the healing process of those wounds.
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 09:09
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
Fonsini - No! - Master Aircrew is the generic title for Warrant Officer equivalent ranking in specified aircrew categories. Generally considered (when I was serving) to be the best rank attainable - 'Frogs and Puddles'!
Thanks Jack, it’s an impressive sounding rank !
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