Kirk, Edward “Ted Gladstone Gilchrist

Edward, or Ted as he was known to his friends, was born on the 6th February 1924 in Gayndah, Queensland. He was accepted into the ranks of the RAAF on the 31st July 1942 when he enlisted in Brisbane.

He embarked for England, and served with the RAF and 451 Squadron RAAF in the UK and the Middle East, flying Hurricane 11s and Spitfire Mk Vs and Mk. V111s. The Mark V Spit was, in his humble opinion, the nearest thing to a perfect aircraft from a pilot’s point of view, due to its effortless response to controls.

Ted then flew Hawker Typhoons with 198 Squadron in Europe and at times acted as “Pick-up man” with an Auster V. In January 1944, 198 Squadron had become part of the Second Tactical Air Force’s (2TAF) 123 Airfield, which was later known as 123 Wing. The Squadron was deployed to Wunstof near Hanover in May 1945 when the War ended, and when it was disbanded a few months later in September, Ted was transferred back to 451 Squadron, which had just been deployed to the same airfield at the same time. The Squadron was attached to 123 Wing under the command of British Airforces of Occupation (BAFO) and then the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). While he was with the Squadron, he flew Mk X1V Spitfires. In Ted’s opinion, the Griffon powered aircraft, despite their superior speed, were not as pleasant to fly  as earlier Marks. Kirk Edward G.G. Pic 3

(Web Master: The former RAF Second Tactical Air Force (2TAF) was one of three tactical air forces within the RAF during and after the Second World War. It was made up of squadrons and personnel from the RAF, the air forces of the British Commonwealth and exiles from German occupied Europe. 2TAF did not last long after the war before redesignation, as it was renamed the British Air Forces of Occupation on the 15th July 1945. The (second) British Army of the Rhine was formed on the 25 August 1945 from the 21st Army Group. Its original function was to control the corps districts, which were running the military government of the British zone of occupied Germany. After the assumption of government by civilians, it became the command formation for the troops in Germany only, rather than being responsible for administration as well). 

451 Squadron and Ted then moved to Gatow Airfield in Berlin, via the narrow air corridor over Russian held territory. Gatow had become part of the British sector of West Berlin in early July 1945. At the time, there were reports of Russian Ack Ack opening up on Allied aircraft that strayed outside of the corridor. Other reports indicate that the Russians were extremely hostile at all times.

Next, the Squadron moved back to Wunstorf before returning to Coleme in the UK. There, Ted began the process of returning to Australia on the aircraft carrier “Victorious”.  At Colombo, the Navy loaded aboard many Corsair aircraft, which were later dumped in the sea under the US Lend Lease agreement.

The photo of the pilots was taken in May 1944 in Poretta, Corsica, France, when Ted was with 451 Squadron. He is second from the left. The other one is of the Squadron’s aircraft and some of its personnel.Kirk Edward G.G. Pic 6

Ted finished his service on the 6th June 1946 and returned to civilian life on the land in Queensland.

Thanks to Wikipedia and Ted Kirk
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association