Friday, 24 June 2011

My Brother's War

One of my earliest memories is what my elder brother told me to say if anyone should ask where he had gone.

At the start of WWII I was only two and Arthur would have been eighteen or nineteen. He had signed up for 22 years service in the Fleet Air Arm.

I don’t know which year it was, but probably 1940, when I told the wife of Air Vice Marshal Sir John Baldwin what Arthur said. At the age of three it would have been difficult for me to see over the top of the gate to the drive of our cottage. But I did as I was told and explained to the lady, “Arthur has gone to stick a bayonet up Hitler’s arse.”


My niece recently sent me a video containing over 120 frames of Arthur’s wartime photographs. I am converting them back to individual photos. This is the first:

George Arthur Scotney
Amongst the rest are a series of photos of planes which I think meet this week’s theme.

Landing on Aircraft Carrier(My sepia effect)
 No problem apparently with this one’s engine, but perhaps the engine of the next was too heavy for the plane.

Nose Down
The engine on the flying boat below is plain to see, but perhaps the aircraft should have landed on the sea.

Flying Boat 'grounded'

I am still trying to identify the type of planes and the name of the aircraft carrier. What follows is at this stage conjecture on my part.

Another of Arthur's photos is an aerial view of a port under attack from the air. I’m reasonably sure that it is the Italian port of Taranto which was attacked by Swordfish aircraft from HMS Illustrious on the night of 11 November 1940. This successful attack is said to have been used as a model for the later Japanese attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbour.

I know that Arthur served on the Illustrious and visited Malta as part of his service when the carrier protected convoys supplying the island. Was he aboard when the Illustrious was bombed by German planes?  On 10 January 1941 HMS Illustrious made it to Valetta’s Grand Harbour with 196 of its crew killed and 91 injured – the convoy arrived safely.

I have a lot more detective work to do.

Arthur died in 1977, aged just 56.

This is a Sepia Saturday post; there's more at Sepia Saturday 80


Little Nell said...

Made me laugh out loud Bob, I wasn’t expecting that! He was obviously very funny as well as brave. You must be proud of him. said...

Great post. Good luck with the continued research. Love the picture of the flying boat.

tony said...

That's Why Hitler Walked So Funny In Those Old Newsreels! He Had Albert's bayonet up his arse!

Pat transplanted to MN said...

What a treasure of history in these photos....lots of work ahead to keep you seriously entertained..the last one, "flying boat" surely doesn't look like it could get airborne!

Christine H. said...

That Albert...getting you to say that. I bet he didn't know you would have the opportunity to repeat his words to high-ranking people. I wonder if she was amused.
So sorry that Albert died so young. A man with a sense of humor like that should live longer.

Brett Payne said...

Very funny Bob. One of those stories that get told again and again, I'm sure. The whole idea of aircraft taking off from and landing on carriers rather disturbs me - it just doesn't seem as though it should work, so I can't say I'm particularly surprised when I see evidence of such mishaps.

Tattered and Lost said...

I imagine you stunned quite a few people and had them laughing. What a wonderful image. Pride in his older brother.

Jinksy said...

Nose diving planes are usually in the air! LOL

Rosalind Adam said...

My Dad died in 1977. He was only 55. What wonderful memories you have there. That photograph of the air attack must surely be valuable... I'm still smiling to myself about the Hitler instructions.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I detect a similar sense of humour in the two brothers. What a tragedy he died so young.

Postcardy said...

Those are very nice plane photos. Good luck on identifying the planes.

Your brother's instructions reminded me of some anti-Hitler comic postcards I have. They are funny, but not very nice.


looking forward to seeing more of those 120 pics.
he did have a sense of humore, didn't he?!?

Mike Brubaker said...

A wonderful start to a big project. I like the seaplane photo. I had a boat that had the same problem once, the tide went out.

Howard said...

Brilliant stuff Bob. 22 years is a long time to sign up for anything.

shelly said...

What a nice blog about your brother.

L. D. Burgus said...

It is an interesting blog. We had four healthy boys in the family and the smallest, oldest guy is the only one who was drafted. I am glad you received this new set of photos. It will be tough to know that your brother could explain some of the more unexplainable photos.