Post by Jim Wilkins
Thanks, I didn't know that.
Norman Hanson who as a carrier pilot flew Corsairs off RN carriers in
the Pacific during the invasion of Okinawa was actually in training on
the Brewster Buffalo at Pensacola NAS on Dec 7 1941. After a period
flying Fairey Fulmars he was sent back to the USA in 1943 where he
learned to fly the Corsair at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
He was one of the first pilots to fly a Corsair off a carrier as the USN
only used them from land bases until much later.
He was onboard HMS illustrious off Okinawa when she was hit by a
Kamikaze. While casualties were thankfully small in number and the
carrier was able to resume operations the damage proved to be more
severe when surveyed in port. as it occurred at almost the same point
that had been damaged when she was hit by 6 bombs off Malta at least 2
of which were 500kg SAP and the others 250kg. She was a tough old cookie
who had a long hard war and was hit harder than many ships that went to
Norman had a long and interesting war. I heard him speak once and recall
him telling the group that such was the performance and firepower of the
Corair that when he shot down a Zero he felt like a murderer. The IJN
pilot never even saw him as he dived down out of the sun at almost 500
mph and when he opened fire a short burst turned the once dreaded zero
into a burning ball of confetti.
If you can find his book 'Carrier Pilot' give it a read. Amazon UK have
it available so its still in print and its one of the best books about
the air war off Okinawa you can get.