Jim Wallwork: WWII Glider Pilot




 
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September 1st, 2004  
Trevor
 

Topic: Jim Wallwork: WWII Glider Pilot


Today I had the privilage of talking to Jim Wallwork, a man who lives in my grandma's friend's building and is a WWII glider pilot. Since I am a glider pilot myself, I was very interested in meeting him. This guy flew the giant WACO gliders into Normandy on D-Day. His claim to fame was that he, and the troops in his glider were the very first souls to hit Normandy for the invasion. The glider he flew was so large it could carry a light tank, artillary or up to 15 troops. His landing--mere feet from the bridge they had to capture, was unofficially declared the greatest flying feat of the war.

This is his story:

We had just hit the coast of France, and the tug pilot said, "Weather's good, the clouds are at 600 feet, a couple of minutes before we cast off. And we all wish you the best of luck." Alter course, air speed right, John Ainsworth with the stopwatch, I'm checking the compass, he's checking the air speed. We cruise along and then 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . bingo, right turn to starboard onto course. Halfway down the crosswind leg, I could see it. I could see the river and the canallike strips of silver and I could see the bridges; visibility was awfully good. So then, to hell with the course. I knew my height; I knew how far away I was, so it was a case of by guess and by God from then on. I didn't complete the crosswind leg, so I bowled down and landed rather quickly.

There was a feeling of the land rushing up and I landed probably at about 95 instead of at 85, and 10 miles per hour in the dark looks like a lot. I hit the field and caught the first bit of wire and so I called "Stream," and by golly, it [the parachute] lifted the tail and forced the nose down. It drew us back and knocked the speed down tremendously. It was only on for two seconds, and "jettison," and Ainsworth pressed the tit and jettisoned the parachute, and then we were going along only about 60, which was ample to take me right into the corner. We got right into the corner of the field, the nose wheel had gone, the cockpit collapsed, and Ainsworth and I went right through the cockpit. I went over headfirst and landed flat on my stomach. I was stunned, as was Ainsworth; I came around and he seemed to be in bad shape. I said, "Can you crawl?" and he said, "No," and then I asked if I lifted, could he crawl out and he said, "I'll try." I lifted the thing and I felt that I lifted the whole bloody glider when probably all I lifted was a small spar, but I felt like 30 men when I picked this thing up and he did manage to crawl out.

Then number 2 arrived with a great ball of great bloody crashing sounds and broke apart, and I started trucking ammunition up toward Howard.

I and sixteen other glider pilots were posted to the aerodrome at Tarrent Rushton, where there were two Halifax squadrons and a glider pilot squadron flying Horsas. The O-in-C there was Major Dickey Dale, and he really didn't know why the hell these sixteen glider pilots had come but said we'll know in a couple of days, so in a couple of days we were told what we were going to do, no mention of France, of course. About then we were introduced to our tug crews, and at the same time we had two fellows join us--one was a Flight Lieutenant Grant, and a New Zealander named Miller, and it seems that they had been involved in glider development over a long period. Obviously, they were as near to two experts as we were going to get, and they took direct charge of the whole training program.

We started the game with the usual daylight hour-and-a-half or so tow, then landed at Tarrent Rushton. Then we changed and began flying into a little place that was a hell of a place to choose--a small L-shaped wood about four hundred yards down the long side of the Land a couple of hundred yards down the short side. And we were told then that we were going to land three up the L and three on the blind side of the L. We did this in normal free-flying conditions just a couple of times--no problem. Then it became a little more technical, as we were then given times and courses. After about a week or so, we started this time-and-course trials. That wasn't so bad in broad daylight, and we became fairly proficient until they decided to do this with night goggles. This would be toward the end of April. You could always whip the night goggles off if you were going to overshoot or whatever, but we began to play it fairly square, realizing that whoever thought of the goggles must have had a reason. Then we graduated to night flying, starting with just a quarter moon and finished with it almost full.

We were casting off at night by a green light, and my course was after castoff at six thousand feet for about six and a half or seven miles. By then we were flying on the courses, and by then I would have brought the air speed down to about eighty and turned onto the course for three and a half minutes, and a right turn, again at the same constant air speed, for a minute and a half, and another right turn so I'm coming back from where I set off. Generally it was a constant. This was operation Deadstick, and the weather was never too bad not to fly Deadstick.
September 1st, 2004  
GuyontheRight
 
Thanks for sharing
September 1st, 2004  
Trevor
 
There is more on the story at http://www.thehistorynet.com/wwii/b...our/index1.html
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September 5th, 2004  
VEK
 

Topic: Re: Jim Wallwork: WWII Glider Pilot


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor
Today I had the privilage of talking to Jim Wallwork, a man who lives in my grandma's friend's building and is a WWII glider pilot. Since I am a glider pilot myself, I was very interested in meeting him. This guy flew the giant WACO gliders into Normandy on D-Day. His claim to fame was that he, and the troops in his glider were the very first souls to hit Normandy for the invasion. The glider he flew was so large it could carry a light tank, artillary or up to 15 troops. His landing--mere feet from the bridge they had to capture, was unofficially declared the greatest flying feat of the war.

This is his story:

We had just hit the coast of France, and the tug pilot said, "Weather's good, the clouds are at 600 feet, a couple of minutes before we cast off. And we all wish you the best of luck." Alter course, air speed right, John Ainsworth with the stopwatch, I'm checking the compass, he's checking the air speed. We cruise along and then 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . bingo, right turn to starboard onto course. Halfway down the crosswind leg, I could see it. I could see the river and the canallike strips of silver and I could see the bridges; visibility was awfully good. So then, to h**l with the course. I knew my height; I knew how far away I was, so it was a case of by guess and by God from then on. I didn't complete the crosswind leg, so I bowled down and landed rather quickly.

There was a feeling of the land rushing up and I landed probably at about 95 instead of at 85, and 10 miles per hour in the dark looks like a lot. I hit the field and caught the first bit of wire and so I called "Stream," and by golly, it [the parachute] lifted the tail and forced the nose down. It drew us back and knocked the speed down tremendously. It was only on for two seconds, and "jettison," and Ainsworth pressed the tit and jettisoned the parachute, and then we were going along only about 60, which was ample to take me right into the corner. We got right into the corner of the field, the nose wheel had gone, the cockpit collapsed, and Ainsworth and I went right through the cockpit. I went over headfirst and landed flat on my stomach. I was stunned, as was Ainsworth; I came around and he seemed to be in bad shape. I said, "Can you crawl?" and he said, "No," and then I asked if I lifted, could he crawl out and he said, "I'll try." I lifted the thing and I felt that I lifted the whole bloody glider when probably all I lifted was a small spar, but I felt like 30 men when I picked this thing up and he did manage to crawl out.

Then number 2 arrived with a great ball of great bloody crashing sounds and broke apart, and I started trucking ammunition up toward Howard.

I and sixteen other glider pilots were posted to the aerodrome at Tarrent Rushton, where there were two Halifax squadrons and a glider pilot squadron flying Horsas. The O-in-C there was Major Dickey Dale, and he really didn't know why the h**l these sixteen glider pilots had come but said we'll know in a couple of days, so in a couple of days we were told what we were going to do, no mention of France, of course. About then we were introduced to our tug crews, and at the same time we had two fellows join us--one was a Flight Lieutenant Grant, and a New Zealander named Miller, and it seems that they had been involved in glider development over a long period. Obviously, they were as near to two experts as we were going to get, and they took direct charge of the whole training program.

We started the game with the usual daylight hour-and-a-half or so tow, then landed at Tarrent Rushton. Then we changed and began flying into a little place that was a h**l of a place to choose--a small L-shaped wood about four hundred yards down the long side of the Land a couple of hundred yards down the short side. And we were told then that we were going to land three up the L and three on the blind side of the L. We did this in normal free-flying conditions just a couple of times--no problem. Then it became a little more technical, as we were then given times and courses. After about a week or so, we started this time-and-course trials. That wasn't so bad in broad daylight, and we became fairly proficient until they decided to do this with night goggles. This would be toward the end of April. You could always whip the night goggles off if you were going to overshoot or whatever, but we began to play it fairly square, realizing that whoever thought of the goggles must have had a reason. Then we graduated to night flying, starting with just a quarter moon and finished with it almost full.

We were casting off at night by a green light, and my course was after castoff at six thousand feet for about six and a half or seven miles. By then we were flying on the courses, and by then I would have brought the air speed down to about eighty and turned onto the course for three and a half minutes, and a right turn, again at the same constant air speed, for a minute and a half, and another right turn so I'm coming back from where I set off. Generally it was a constant. This was operation Deadstick, and the weather was never too bad not to fly Deadstick.
I read "Pegasus Bridge". Great book. I once had the privilege of meeting Maj. Howard some time ago, and I tell you, what a guy.

Although greatly aged, the guy looked as fit as he'd ever been.
September 5th, 2004  
Trevor
 
Jim gave me that book to read, I have yet o start it. Jim looked like he was in really good shape. My DAD's hair was greyer than his!
September 6th, 2004  
panzer
 
 
Excellent post Trevor,

Jim Wallwork one of many hero's from that era.
September 6th, 2004  
AFSteliga
 
 
Wow. That's an impressive story, Trevor.