Devotion to a Calling : Far-East Flying and Survival with 62 by Harley Boxall,Joe Bamford

By Harley Boxall,Joe Bamford

Harley Boxall was once offered his RAF wings on three October 1936 and was once published to forty Squadron flying Hawker Hinds. On 1 April 1937 he used to be published to Bircham Newton in Norfolk to coach with 206 Squadron which used to be a normal Reconnaissance and coaching unit built with the Avro Anson. He then joined sixty two Squadron presently after it used to be shaped and bought its first Blenheim in February 1938. through the summer time of 1939 and thanks to expanding political pressure in Europe, a call was once taken to enhance the a long way East Air strength with squadrons of Blenheims. The urgency of the location required that the plane, from 34 and sixty two Squadrons, be flown out to their ultimate vacation spot at Tengah in Singapore. It took a complete fifty flying hours to arrive

On Thursday four April 1940 a sign got here via from Air Headquarters that plane have been to make a reconnaissance of Sabang Harbour and picture any delivery therein. 5 Blenheims took-off from Alor megastar at 1030 and on leaving Sabang in the back of at 1300 hours, Boxall climbed to achieve top for the lengthy go back sea crossing. He had won an altitude of 9,000 toes. whilst, a few 40 miles from the coast of Sumatra, the oil strain of his starboard engine fell to 0. inside of a minute or so, the port engine seized and he used to be flying in silence. After a winning crash touchdown at the sea the team waded during the coral, heedless of the cuts inflicted, and fell exhausted at the seashore. The island used to be approximately miles lengthy by way of one mile throughout, emerging steeply from the shore to a top of approximately 400 ft and lined with thick jungle all the way down to the water’s aspect. by way of the morning of the 3rd day that they had been forty-eight hours with no nutrients. They puzzled alongside the seashore and picked up extra wooden and ate unripe ‘plums’. It used to be now not till the 6th day small local boat got here silently around the fringe of the mangrove heading for the seashore, finally rescuing the workforce.

In September 1940 Harley was once promoted to flight lieutenant and given command of the RAF Station at Alor superstar in Malaya. sixty two Squadron flew on what Harley later defined, because the first and in simple terms operation that it conducted as a unit, whilst he lead 11 Blenheims to bomb the japanese invasion fleet. opposed to the chances, all of sixty two Squadron’s airplane and crews back to Alor big name correctly yet nearly half-an-hour once they had landed and whereas the Blenhiems have been nonetheless being rearmed and refuelled, the japanese attacked the airfield. A strength of approximately twenty-seven enemy plane bombed Alor superstar thoroughly destroying at the very least 3 Blenheims and rendering one other 3 broken and unserviceable. because the jap invasion unfold Harley ultimately escaped from Java on 2 March aboard the ‘Tung music’ , it used to be one of many final ships to leave.

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