Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The "rockets" of 20 Squadron


I have now been through two more files from the National Archives of Australia, looking for possible  "Foo-Fighters" like sightings.

The first file was NAA file series A9652 control symbol box 15, barcode 13057971, titled "RAAF squadron narrative reports - 18 squadron" based in Australia. Its date range was January 1944 to May 1945. I found nothing of interest.

The second file was NAA file series A9652 control symbol box 16, barcode 13057972, titled "RAAF squadron narrative reports - 20, 21 and 22 squadrons" with a date range of October 1943 to May 1945. I found the following.

(1) 16 June 1943.

a. An aircraft of 20 squadron was on its way to Langgoer at night.

"On way to target rockets observed Mandek Is, Banda Is, SE tip Ceram. Over Laha 16/1300z - 1415 z. Cloud too thick and ASV u/s. Nil visibility at Langgoer..." Pilot was F/l Read.

b. A second aircraft on its way to Langgoer at night.

"Rocket observed 60 miles SE of Banda Is. Burst at 2000 feet & red stars emerged..." Pilot was F/l Weaver.

c. A third aircraft on its way to Langgoer at night.

"3/10 cloud base 2500. Visibility good. ASV u/s. 16/1145z observed rocket + possible navigation lights of a/c west of Tanimbar islands. Some minutes later rocket observed to port again." Pilot was w/c Stilling.

I note that the reports were careful to use terms such as verey light; unidentified aircraft; searchlight etc. when describing what they were seeing. Out of 851 pages on this file, with several hundred action reports, I located only the three above and the one below which used the term "rocket."

(2) 15 October 1944.

A 20 squadron aircraft on its way at night, reported:

"White rocket sighted from position half way along North coast Madoera Island 1400z."

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