On Thursday 20th October Jim Dooley from Living Pictures was invited by Navy Wings to visit the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton Somerset together with his 101 year old father in law John Quince, who was a special guest of honour. Former Petty Officer John (pictured on left) stands next to the other special guest of honour that day, former RN Captain Tony Ditcham DSC who is 100 years old.
John and Tony clearly had much catching up to do since hostilities ceased over 77 years ago.
The weather improved sufficiently well by the afternoon that this special lady was allowed out of the hanger so her engines could be started up, much to the delight of onlookers.
Here is John patting the main weapon of the Fairey Swordfish - 1,670lbs (760kg) torpedo.
Don’t pat too hard John!
The Fairey Swordfish was built by the Fairey Aviation Company and went operational with the Royal Navy in 1936. Affectingly nicknamed ‘the string bag’ by its three man crew, it was comparatively slow with a maximum speed of 139mph. It’s main armament being a single 18’’ torpedo.
The Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber was also responsible for disabling the fearsome German flagship Bismarck, in May 1941.
After Bismarck had sunk the Royal Navy flagship HMS Hood with the loss of all hands (bar 3 souls) a concerted effort was made by the Admiralty to find and sink the Bismarck before she could slip away and make for safety and repairs in the Atlantic port of Brest in German occupied France.
Thanks to their low speed the Bismarck’s guns struggled to get a bearing on her attackers and a lucky strike by an 18” torpedo from a Fairey Swordfish disabled her rudder enabling the Royal Navy to gain on the Bismarck and finish her off before reaching safety.
The three man configuration of the Fairey Swordfish.