The following story is of a humerous incident that occurred in 1943 in Livingstone in the Northern Territory in 1943.
The Squadron was returning to base, Livingston, and as usual, most of us Echelon blokes had wandered to the edge of the strip near our area to watch the good, the bad and other types of landings. On this occasion, most of our aircraft had landed, when a late-comer began lining up his approach nicely, but with wheels up. Four or five of us ventured further out, vigorously motioning “Up, Up, Up” but to no avail. The throttle was cut, the horn began blowing and the Sergeant Pilot poked his hand out of the cockpit giving us the two finger sign and mouthing, “Up you all, too”.
After the dust had settled, we lifted the aircraft up one wing at a time, until we could select ‘Down’, lowered the undercart and pushed it into Echelon. The CO had a word with the pilot after Squadron Leader Peter “Doc” Watson, the Flight Commander, had said his piece (which was pretty rough), but the pilot soldiered on, and survived the war intact.
One Anzac Day in the early 50s, we gathered at a Sydney city pub, that our careless friend, the pilot, was leasing and managing. One of the fellows brought up the incident of the wheels up landing. Much laughter ensued and there were some ribald comments, but that is another story.
The photo is of the author.
The Spitfire Association