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12. Gladiator Collision

* "During the war a number of films were made ... by various government and military film units…  Gladiators K7927 and K8045 were involved in making such a film when they collided. It has been suggested that the film in question was entitled, "Signed with their Honour" or, "The Air War in Greece”.

Flt Lt R.G. Kleinmeyer, a New Zealander, and Flt Lt K. Baghe, instructors at RAF Rednal were to fly Gladiators K7927 and K8045 for some air-to-air photography. After the necessary filming and whilst changing formation from echelon to line-astern they collided and both pilots quickly baled out, suffering only slight injuries. The aircraft crashed just a few hundred yards apart, near the village of Penrhos."

*This extract is a summary from part of the full story as it appears in 'Down In Wales 2' by Terence R Hill.

K8045 in the background & K7927 in the foreground

Can you put names to the faces?

What film was being made?

Please

E-MAIL US

JULY 2013 brought this email from Prof Ian Acworth

Dear Rob, While roaming the net I came across your picture of the team filming "Signed with their honour" in Shropshire.  I can put a name to the small guy directly under the cockpit of the gladiator. It was my father Richard Alvin Acworth.
Best wishes Ian

We have received the following information from Mr PHILL JONES, which we reproduce here with grateful thanks

With regard to the Gladiator collision in Nov 1943 , I can add the following which I hope will be of interest to you ..

SIGNED  WITH THEIR HONOUR,

 A BOOK WAS PUBLISHED IN 1942 BY THE SAME TITLE , THE BOOK WAS WRITEN BY

An Australian war correspondent JAMES ALDRIDGE ..

I have a copy of the book which states that the it was first published in October 1942 , a second impression before publication and then a third impression in November 1942 .

It goes on to say “ TO SQUADRON LEADER PAT PATTLE,& SQUADRON LEADER T.S HICKEY both killed in Greece.

 

It would appear that in October 1943 a film production company INDEPENDANT PRODUCERS , Arrived at RAF REDNAL ,to make a film dedicated to the RAF OPERATIONS in GREECE 1940-41.

The film was to be based on a book the above book ..

Members of the production team were VERNON SEWELL(DIR),PAUL SOSKIN(PRO),OSMAND BORRADAILE(LIGHTING CAMERA),GEORGE STRETTON(LIGHTING CAMERA),GRANT MCCLEAN(CAMERA OPERATOR),JIM BODY(CAMERA ASSISTANT),DOUGLAS WOOLSEY(SPECAIL EFFECTS),CLIVE DONNER(EDITOR),AND GERALD HAMBLING(EDITOR).

 From around the middle of October several Gladiators arrived into Rednal.

And reports suggest that around 9 -12 , were involved , some 10 have been identified including the ones that collided , (another gladiator belonging to the unit crashed on the 4th November 43 after it hit cables during a f/l in fog at park hall farm oswestry ).

A wellington was also used to act as a camera plane .. the flight was to be known as “Q FLT”, And to be attached to 61 OTU at Rednal.

 

1 pilot was was involved as we know was that of lt KNUT BACHE of the NORWEGAIN AIR FORCE, who escaped from Norway  to fly with the RAF , he flew initially with No 331 sqd and indeed claimed at least 5 aerial victories , being tour expired he was sent to 61 OTU probably as an Instructor , but played his part in the Filming and indeed the collision on 24 NOVEMBER.

 

On the 30th Dec 1943 , a parade was held when he was awarded the DFC , BY the A.O.C No 9 Group.

He then went back to 331 squadron , He then failed to return from a RAMROD 843, AN evening sortie , while flying SPITFIRE 1X MK 182 , HE was attacking targets in France when Flak hit his aircraft and he crashed nr an airfield at MOORSEELE.

Other names associated to the flight are FLT/LT KLEINMEYER RNZAF, S/LDR RICHARD ALVIN ACWORTH,DFC, F/L HUGH DUDLEY WANKLYN TWINSTEAD FLOWER .

A recent book appeared on the role of the GLADIATOR , where the story of the filming is mentioned in some detail also showing your photo and another ISBN -978-83-89450-59-3

You may have this gen already but it is my hope you have not and I hope it is useful

I visited the site of the gladiator several yrs ago , that came down close to the village school at Penrhos in the verge on the right of the school several pieces were located mainly airframe and I Modification plate , an interesting story .

 I enjoyed looking at your site , I have been visiting researching and logging crash sites all over Wales and the borders for around 20 yrs now , if I can be of any further assistance please let me know

Very best wishes PHILL JONES