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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…April 29th.

April 29, 2019 · in Photo Collections · · 24 · 2.5K

Me 262 A-1a of JG/2 flown by Franz Holzinger, captured at Lechfeld, Germany on 29th April, 1945.

Allied air forces making food drops on Netherlands, April 29th, 1945. ‘Operation Manna’ and ‘Operation Chowhound’ were humanitarian food drops, carried out to relieve what was essentially a famine in previously German-occupied Holland. Compared to their sorties over the previous two years and more, one can only imagine how the change in mission must have felt for crews flyIng on these runs.

Russian il-2s flying over Berlin, April 29th, 1945.

Beautifully colourised photo of ground crew refuelling a Short Stirling Mk I from an AEC ‘Matador’ in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, April 29th, 1942

Photo (above) shows John J. Caulton’s Spitfire after crash landing in a field in Holland on the 29th April 1944. The German crew of the Bf110 who shot him down inspect the Spitfire. Major Jabs is seated in the cockpit. Below, Major Jabs (far left) is seen talking to Caulton who’s head was injured on the gunsight during the landing.

John Caulton saw these photographs for the first time in 1972. Below is a photo of Caulton (left) and Jabs during a ‘reunion’ in 1988.

USS Nassau (CV-E 16) seen here wearing Measure 33/2A at Mare Island, California, On 29th April, 1944.

Bf 109 G-6 of JG/11 (‘black 11’ - named ‘Hjordis’) flown by Lt. Andreas Trockels. Photos were taken early 1944, Trockels was shot down and killed on April 29th, 1944.

Japanese Carrier ‘Hiryu’ during speed trials off Tateyama, Japan, April 29th 1939. This was two months before her commissioning (minus guns and several other details).

F4U-4 Corsairs of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-323, the ‘Death Rattlers’, at an airfield at Seoul, Korea, 29th April, 1951.

The squadron was re-designated Marine Attack Squadron 323 (VMA-323) in June, 1952. The Death Rattlers (see nose art, below) left Korea in July 1953 and once back stateside they began flying the F9F Panther.

The USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) On 29th April, 1961. Even the military got the ‘60’s vibe...

...until Vietnam. Operation ‘Frequent Wind’ was the last stage of evacuation of American personnel and civilians from Saigon, April 29/30, 1975.

Erich Leie’s Bf 109E of JG/2 (WNr 1420) in France - 29th April 1941. Leie was a recipient the ‘Knight's Cross’ and was officially credited with 118 victories from over 500 combat missions.

And if I may, 29th of April (1993) saw the birth of my firstborn, Connor. Here seen with a bald fat guy on his graduation day...

Reader reactions:
24  Awesome

24 responses

  1. look at you...sipping champagne beside your pride and joy

  2. Ah, Bob. That photo was a 'day of days'. As was the day he was born.


  3. What a wonderful memory for you and your family!

    By the way, David; you are Rockin' that bow tie, my friend! What school did your Son attend?

  4. Hi Jeff, that’s Royal Holloway University London, aka ‘Hogwarts’ - quite an impressive pile.


  5. Three cheers for the unassuming father figure with the champagne always takes some magic to get the fledglings out of the nest and ready for the real world. Although, as hard as I tried I couldn't find any wands or any Hermione types floating about the campus photo. Must of been a dry campus.

    Congratulations to the both of you, David and Son.

  6. Thanks, Stephen. Still have two at home to work some magic on, then it’ll be time to buy that boat and off to the Med.

  7. Congratulations! Happy birthday to your son. Nice to see this compilation as - if I may - this is my birthday too (happened in 1977 - wow...). So, cheers! 🙂

  8. Boldog Születésnapot!

    Happy birthday Gàbor! My plan, an ‘old fashioned’ (maybe even two...), some birthday cake, and latest ‘Game of Thrones’ on the projector. Hope you are having a great day.


  9. Happy Birthday Connor and congratulations Dad!
    A nice set of photos again David 'liked the operation manna one-my father in laws family lived through that experience.

  10. Very nice shot of you and the boy, David.

    I will never forget watching the TV in 1975 and seeing those crews push copter after copter into the sea, and my dad insisting we watch and take note: The United States of America was losing a war, and we shouldn't ever forget it.

  11. I remember watching the Vietnam footage as a kid, thinking, “do people really hate each other this much?” - seriously - my exact thought.

    Thanks, David.

    • My dad's telling remarks would always be either, "Watch this, this is historic and significant," or he would mutter, "Poor souls, poor souls..." when disaster struck and people suffered. I guess I wasn't mature enough to understand the hate thing at the time. Vietnam was more of a "kick of the draw" thing for people we knew--like the neighbors' son who was unloading ammo from a truck when it was struck by a Vietcong rocket, and tragically survived for a while. I just couldn't relate to that kind of suffering.

      I also remember him with tears in his eyes on July 4, 1976, America's Bicentennial, watching the fireworks over the Statue of Liberty and recalling how he returned to the US in 1946 after his service in Europe.

      • It seems like that I grew up with that war, I was nine in 1965, In 1975 I was 4 months out of boot camp. I remember the body count, ordinance dropped, 6 o'clock news, page 2 KIA report in the local paper, the POWs, what a waste. Thank God I missed it.

  12. Happy birthday wishes for Connor. The day of all days indeed. I too remember watching the Vietnam War on TV as a kid.

    Another excellent post David.

  13. Love the Stirling photo and the one of the proud father.

  14. I also appreciate your private reminder of "on this day...". Like it.

  15. Cheers to the birthday man and his proud father! Many, many more!

  16. A day late, but happy birthday to Connor and cheers to the proud dad! I certainly wouldn't describe you as either bold or fat.
    Keep on rockin'

  17. Aleks, thank you for the vote of confidence. Made my night!

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