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Other titles:ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
Summary: RAF Republic Thunderbolt Mk II fighter-bombers are seen operating from an airstrip at Meiktila, central Burma.
Description: Thunderbolt Mk II AW:H (RAF 42 Squadron) revving up at dispersal. A bomb train in front of a Thunberbolt Mk II of RAF 79 Squadron. An armourer loads a belt of 0.50-inch machine gun ammunition into one of the Thunderbolt's starboard magazines. A group of men fit a bomb to an underwing hardpoint. Man at work beneath a Thunderbolt. An armourer checks a link in a belt of ammunition. A man with a fuel hose passes the nose of a Thunderbolt. A pilot is helped into his cockpit. A timber-built air traffic control tower at Meiktila airstrip. A pilot, a Squadron Leader, gives a thumbs up and a ground crewman does likewise. Engine starts up. Thunderbolt KL223 AD:B of RAF 113 Squadron (named 'Tanja') taxis from dispersal past camera. Thunderbolt KL839 AD:A takes off past camera. Thunderbolt taxiing. 'Tanja' taxiing. 'Tanja' in flight; she banks away from the camera. Bombs dropping from a Thunderbolt. The pilot at the controls. A Thunderbolt lands at Meiktila with parked aircraft in the background. View from the air traffic control tower; a man speaks on a radio as Thunderbolt EG:S (RAF 34 Squadron) passes. Thunderbolt KJ245 AW:J taxis to dispersal and parks next to AW:K.
Production Details: Air Ministry, Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor)
Royal Air Force Film Production Unit (Production company)
Lang, T W (Production individual)
Clot, Dennis Francis Emile1919-07-04 (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Air Force, 42 Squadron (regiment/service)
Royal Air Force, 79 Squadron (regiment/service)
Royal Air Force, 113 Squadron (regiment/service)
Royal Air Force, 34 Squadron (regiment/service)
Keywords: Meiktila, Burma (geography)
Fighter operations, Air operations over Burma, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event)
Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (theme)
Burma 1942-1945 (theme)
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 284 ft; Running time: 4 minutes
Notes: Given the presence of RAF 34 Squadron, RAF 42 Squadron, RAF 79 Squadron and RAF 113 Squadron, the date of this piece is June or July 1945.
Other activities at Meiktila airstrip can be seen in the IWM film referenced below.
The pilot of AD:A was Flight Lieutenant Ted Slinger, A Flight commander and acting squadron commander. He died in 2008. In a letter to the Film Archive Pat Woodward (formerly of 113 Squadron) states that this film was not an operational sortie but simply a staged sequence for the camera, and that he had flown KL223 and KL839 in June and July 1945 on airborne searches for downed aircraft. KL839 is also described as Ted Slinger's personal aircraft, and the most advanced Thunderbolt that the squadron had.
This film gives a good impression of the huge physical size and great firepower of these aircraft. For comparison, the Thunderbolt's maximum take-off weight was approximately double that of the Hawker Hurricane from which these four squadrons had re-equipped.