On This Day…March 5th
The USS Seal (SS-183) during her trials, off Provincetown, United States, 5th March, 1938.
Seal left for her fifth (of a final count of twelve war patrols) tour on 24 Oct heading for the Palau Islands. On 16 Nov, she intercepted a convoy of five cargo ships in two columns with only one destroyer escort for protection. Just as she launched her torpedoes, Seal collided with, or was rammed, by a Japanese ship, 3,300 ton freighter Boston Maru.
Boston Mari at Guadalcanal –
The Seal’s periscope juddered, went dark and then the ship rose to 55 feet, hung suspended for some time and dove just as the escort ship started a depth charge attack.
She surfaced four hours later to find the periscope and radar antenna broken off. Oddly, the deck was littered with Japanese issue beans and rice. Post-war records detailed the sinking of the Boston Maru on that date in exactly that location, so the Seal either sank her with her torpedoes or she was the ship that collided with Seal and sank due to collision damage. Either way, it was an extraordinary incident, possibly the only unintentional and unclaimed sub ‘kill’ of the war.
Today in 1943 saw the first flight of the Gloster Meteor. Gloster’s chief test pilot Neil ‘Michael’ Daunt was at the controls of Meteor number DG206/G, which was the fifth of eight F9/40 Meteor prototypes.
Although DG206/G has been lost to us, the first Meteor built, DG202/G (first flight in July, 1943) is now housed in the RAF Museum at Cosford, UK.
Although RAF Meteors never saw action against Luftwaffe aircraft, they were used against the German V1 flying bombs.
WAVES Aviation ‘Machinist’s Mates’ working on a SNJ training aircraft, Naval Air Station, Florida, United States, 5th March, 1944.
B-25 Mitchell bombers of the 13th Air Force over the Japanese forward base at Simpson Harbor, Rabaul, New Britain, March 5th, 1944.
Lovely photo of the USS Iowa (BB-61) – note the newly-equipped SC-1 Seahawk aircraft on the catapult- 5th March, 1945.
Rarely modelled but great looking Humber Light Reconnaissance Car(s) – Mk II of 29th Independent Squadron of British Reconnaissance On the Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom, 5th March, 1942.
B-58 bomber refuels from a Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker over Kansas during ‘Operation Heat Rise’, 5th March 1962.
Before I forget, today, on March 5th, 1936 (4:35 p.m Thursday afternoon) Vickers Aviation Ltd.’s Chief Test Pilot, Captain Joseph (“Mutt”) Summers, took off on the first flight of the Vickers-Supermarine Type 300, K5054, prototype of a certain Supermarine Spitfire, at Eastleigh Aerodrome, Southampton, England. Landing after only 8 minutes, Summers is supposed to have said the immortal words, “Don’t change a thing!”
(No apologies for the ‘Spitfire porn’, she’s beautiful)