Issue 2, Autumn 2003


Newsletter of the 14 Squadron Association

Mike Napier

Marauder Bit!

Joe tells me that the aircraft wreckage located in the Bay of Tunis (Tunisia) has now been identified as a USAAF one - not one of ours after all. He is also waiting to hear back from Peter Dawson who visited Mataro, Spain earlier this year. I hope that I will be able to publish more details of the unfortunate incident off Mataro in March 1944 which cost the lives of a 14 Squadron Marauder crew, in a future newsletter - it's an interesting story.

Hunter Book

I have been sent details of a book called "RAF Hunters in Germany" which tells of the role of the Hawker Hunter in service in Germany with 2TAF in the '50s. It's by Gunther Kipp & Roger Lindsay, ISBN 0-9544069-0-7, cost £14.95, obtainable from: The Aviation Bookshop, 656 Holloway Rd, London N19 3PD (020 7272 3630)


Mediterranean Safari

Many thanks to Dick Maydwell DSO DFC (who commanded 14 Squadron during 1942/43) for sending me the following excellent "Boys Own" story in response to my plea in the last newsletter:

Nowadays sportsmen spend a fortune in running a trip to South Africa to shoot lion, kudu and impala. But in 1943, when our Squadron was stationed at Protville in Tunisia, my Marauder crew enjoyed a splendid safari in the Med, with transport, accommodation, guns and ammunition for free - but watch out for Me109s!

Our first trophy was a large three-engined Savoia Marchetti 82 Kangaroo transport. Shortly after that we shot down a four-engined Junkers 90. But one late evening with the setting sun, as we sped low over the sea, we became the hunted. We were attacked by 2 Me109 fighters at sea-level. After a short gun battle, my tail gunner, Gil Graham, managed to hit one of them and severely damage it. It departed in a plume of white smoke from a glycol leak. Now there was only one. Then disaster - the electrical power to the top gun turret fused! We were now virtually defenceless. As the second Me109 pressed home his attack, I kept the Marauder flying into the sun, moving this way and that, never on the same course for more than three seconds. The tail gunner reported on three occasions that the sea was churned up with a "whoosh" of cannon fire, exactly where we had been just a second before. Eventually, the second Me109 ran out of ammunition and left us to make our escape.

A few days later we were happy to be back on our Med safari. We were flying at sea-level close to Cape Corse at the tip of Corsica, when we saw the most enormous aircraft flying towards us. It was a six-engined Me 323. I knew it had two formidable cannons firing aft so I manoeuvred in front of the enemy aircraft and fired back at him. Soon three engines were out of action. The huge aircraft lumbered on towards the Corsican coast, where it crash- landed in a cloud of dust. Luckily for the crew, it didn't catch fire and no-one was injured as the gun crews and tractor drivers had all gone to the rear of the aeroplane. We did not shoot them up on the ground. I have been friends with the pilot of the Me323 for the last 21 years, but that is another story!

Today I am 90 years old, but I remember all those incidents as clear as a bell.