Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Australia's Greatest Fighter Pilot (WWII)

Australia had many men who signed up to become pilots and air crew in WWII. Among them was Clive Caldwell. Propaganda during the 40s gave him the additional name of Clive 'Killer' Caldwell. Turns out a name he wasn't that happy with. I learnt a lot from this book like how Clive mastered aerial combat accuracy by shooting his aircraft's shadows on the ground, and how he was heavily involved in pioneering strapping bombs to Kittyhawks in North Africa. It is interesting the difference described between a German pilot and an Allied pilots rotation through North Africa was huge. Turns out Allied pilots had a rotation scheme but German Pilots didn't. This accounts for the differences in number of aircraft shot down by these pilots.
I picked this book up because Clive was based around Darwin (I live there) in the Northern Territory of Australia after the bombing of Darwin started. This book is a good read on a subject I don't know that much about. Up til I read this I knew more about the American Heavy Bombers in Australia's North than Aussie fighters in the Top End.
Clive went on to have a major breakdown in relations with seat polishing superiors. In a traditional Australian enterprising manner Clive had a hand in moving contraband around (liquor) with RAAF aircraft (and some times US bombers) but this came unstuck when it came to the attention of authority's. This led to a Court Martial. When Clive passed away the only official mention he got was in the Northern Territory parliament. To me it seems that Australia, to it's shame overlooked his contribution in our war efforts despite the illegal smuggling. A trade that actually contributed to helping situations such as trading for US Engineers to improve Island landing strips etc. Well worth a read I reckon. Covers a lot of geography in this book. From shooting down Stukas to dog fights with Zeros and putting down Japanese Dinah recon planes over the skies of Darwin.

Cheers from The Kiwi (Brendon)

No comments:

Post a Comment