Presentation by Robert Hardiman to members of the Australian Historical Aviation Society about his experiences as a pilot with Royal Air Force (RAF) Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons during the Second World War

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Accession Number S02137
Collection type Sound
Measurement Duration: 1 Hour 34 Minutes
Object type Talk
Physical description cassette
Maker Hardiman, Robert
Date made 26 January 2000
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

SIDE A: Robert Hardiman (referred to as Richard on the tape) discusses: his first flight as a boy in 1928; early life in 1920s and 1930s; recalls examining an Avro Anson Reconnaissance bomber at Exeter Aerodrome in Devonshire in 1936; joins the British Auxiliary Territorials as a gunner in the Artillery; noted role of Hawker Hectors in range finding; applies to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1938; interview and selection process to join the RAF; sent to Preswick, Ayrshire a grass field to learn to fly Tiger Moths; sent to Oxbridge for Officer training, appointed to RAF as a Pilot Officer and posted to No.4 Flying Training School in the Middle East; spent four and half years flying in the desert; spoke of learning to do a forced landing by his Flight Instructor Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Barrow; flying in Egypt; night flying; at Mersa Matruh before the war watched flight of Blenheims land; posted to Lysander Reconnaissance Squadron; radio problems in desert; armaments on aircraft; explains how to pick up messages using a hook under the belly of the aircraft; photographic reconnaissance; conditions in desert; crash landing on a salt pan; reconnaissance to check the massing of Italian Forces on the Libyan border; incident with Arabs; quotes from the RAF Pocketbook 1937 for regulations covering meeting with local population; use of Hawker Hurricane for reconnaissance; leave in Cairo; sent to Greece; injured; air attack on hospital train at Larisa Greece. SIDE B: evauation from Greece; separated from ground crew; escape in an British Imperial Airways flying boat; sent to Crete re-routed to Alexandria, Egypt; posted to No. 6 Squadron RAF flying Hurricanes; crash land in desert, strafed by Germans on the ground, rescued by Indian Army troops near Sidi Barrani; sent on leave by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Medical Officer (MO), Wing Commander Reid; travel on troop train, train attacked by 115 Me110's; on patrol locates 25 Australians sailing from Crete to North Africa; reconnaissance of Tobruk; fighting Vichy French; flights over Taranto Harbour Italy; return to Britain in 1943; describes how a photographic reconnaisance was done; flies Mustangs; posted to training squadron; reconnaissance over France; ends war as a Wing Commander. END TAPE
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  • Listen to Presentation by Robert Hardiman to members of the Australian Historical Aviation Society about his experiences as a pilot with Royal Air Force (RAF) Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons during the Second World War
  • Listen to Part 2 of Presentation by Robert Hardiman to members of the Australian Historical Aviation Society about his experiences as a pilot with Royal Air Force (RAF) Photographic Reconnaissance Squadrons during the Second World War