Air Vice Marshal William Henry Simmonds AO (Rtd) as a pilot No 77 Fighter Squadron RAAF, Korea 1952, interviewed by Dr Chris Clark

Accession Number S02689
Collection type Sound
Measurement 1 hr 22 min
Object type Oral history
Physical description 1/4 inch sound tape reel; BASF SM 468; 15 ips/38 cm.s; two track mono; 10 inch NAB
Maker Australian War Memorial
Date made 16 May 2002
Access Open
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
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

Air Vice Marshal Simmonds talks about the lack of relevance of basic flying training to combat mission flying in Korea; being posted to 78 Wing, RAAF Base Williamtown after graduation from Point Cook; the transition from flying Wirraways to flying Vampire jets through flying Mustangs; his notification of being posted to No.77 Squadron, Korea; his first being posted to Iwakuni, Japan to undertake the Meteor conversion course; a comparison of the Meteor with the Mig-15; inadequacies in the retraining of experienced air-to-ground Mustang pilots as air defence jet pilots; shooting down a Mig-15 on 8 May 1952; discrimination against Point Cook graduates in general and against Simmonds in particular; a one-third attrition rate for 77 Squadron pilots; USAF organization at Iwakuni; 77 Squadron's assignment to the United States 5th Air Force; relationships with the Americans; accommodation at Kimpo and efforts to improve it; an embellished Tent 3; daily operational routine; drop tank usage; winter conditions and ground crew; a comparison with Korea's summer; good American catering; R & R opportunities at Iwakuni; visiting Nagoya; operations from Kimpo; receiving usually good intelligence for targeting; occasional doubts about targets; missing a potential second Mig-15 target because of low fuel; the need for the RAAF to develop air combat tactics; the failure of the RAAF to use Simmond's Sabre experience from his secondment to 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, Germany on his return to Australia; the American system of awards and decorations compared to Australian practice; Simmond's Mentioned in Despatches award and lessons learned from Korea, particularly with respect to fighter operations and training.

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