Michael Welchman photographs

These photographs originate from the private albums of ww2 SAAF  pilot Michael Welchman. It was kindly made available by him. I scanned and placed the photographs on this web site in order to share these gems to enthusiasts and the wider public. Please respect the copy rights of these photographs and contact me to obtain the necessary permission if you want to duplicate some of this material in other web sites or printed matter.

Thanks

Tinus le Roux

August 2012


Edit: many captions provided by Yuri Maree...thanks Yuri!

 

1.

 

2.

 

3. Michael sitting on his bedding pack.

 

4. Peeking through a German flare parachute.

 

5. Hurricane Mk II with the "WR" identification code for SAAF No. 40 squadron. Mike flew most sorties with the Hurricane but also did a few with the sluggish Tomahawk. 

 

6. Hurricane mk II  with exhaust glare suppressor plates  fixed 

 

7. a Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk of 40 squadron. The Tomahawk was not a preferred aircraft by squadron members

 

8. Hurricane.

 

9. Hurricane.

 

10.

 

11. Hurricane Mk II cockpit

 

12. Hurricane Mk II cockpit

 

13. Hurricane

 

13aa Hurricanes taking off

 

13a

 

14. Tomahawk

 

15. Tomahawk

 

16. Pic of the Tomahawk that Michael flew where the U/C collapsed while landing.

 

17.

 

18. Murray Gardner made this accident upon his first flight in a Tomahawk. He swung from the strip and hit a truck killing the driver. Murray was the newly appointed squadron OC at that time.

 

 

19.

 

20. 40 Sqdn Hurricanes with the gremlin logo's painted on the engine cowls at El Fridan. Jack Orpen was the artist.

 

21 Going up North: From Kenia Michael flew to Egypt with Bombay transports

 

22  Douglas Boston bomber, used by the SAAF to great effect in the western desert

 

23 Hurricane

 

24 Hurricane

 

25

 

26

 

27 Michael took these pictures that were painted on their squadron  aircraft.

 

28

 

29

 

30

 

31

 

32

 

33

 

34

 

35 Michael took these pictures that were painted on their squadron  aircraft.

 

36

 

37

 

37a  I'm 99% sure it's a Spitfire Mk 5b flown by Wing Commander Ian R Gleed, leader of 244 Wing RAF in Tunisia. You can just make out the tops of the I and R on the fuselage. Also the wing commander's pennant in front of the cockpit (small triangle).  Wing Commanders had the privilege of putting their initials on their planes, his was IR-G. the outlined letters were a feature of 601 Squadron (code UF) whom he mainly flew with. see the attached photo at bottom. This photo would have been taken around April 1943 and the location is CASTEL BENITO areodrome in Tripoli, Libya. (info Yuri Maree..thx Yuri)

 


Gleed

Gleed's AC


37b

 

37c

 

37d SAAF No. 1 squadron Spitfire of Lt. Lipawsky, top pic taken in the morning, bottom pic taken in afternoon. Lipawsky was  injured ahd had a long spell in hospital after this incident. Lippy eventually became the 1 squadron commander 1944/45.

 

38 Typical well dispersed squadron camp area in the WD. During June/July 1942 the forward detachment of 40 sqdn experienced regular bombing but with negligible damage effects mainly due to the vast dispersal of tents, equipment and aircraft. The reconnaissance units usually operated from LG's closest to the bomb line and were quite vulnerable  to enemy activity.

 

39 Typical well dispersed squadron camp area in the WD. During June/July 1942 the forward detachment of 40 sqdn experienced regular bombing but with negligible damage effects mainly due to the vast dispersal of tents, equipment and aircraft. The reconnaissance units usually operated from LG's closest to the bomb line and were quite vulnerable  to enemy activity.

 

40 El Fridan

 

41 Flooding at Burg-El-Arab, 15 December 1941

 

42 Michael and Denis's tent being washed down at Bur-El-Arab. Italian POW/batman featuring in this pic

 

43 Typical well dispersed squadron camp area in the WD. During June/July 1942 the forward detachment of 40 sqdn experienced regular bombing but with negligible damage effects mainly due to the vast dispersal of tents, equipment and aircraft. The reconnaissance units usually operated from LG's closest to the bomb line and were quite vulnerable  to enemy activity.

 

44 Marble Arch built by the Italians in occupied Libya. No.40 squadron was stationed here for a quite a while at the end of 1942

 

45 Marble Arch built by the Italians in occupied Libya. No.40 squadron was stationed here for a quite a while at the end of 1942

 

46 Somewhere near the Alamein line 1942.

 

47 Pulling stuck vehicle out with locomotive at Wadi Natrum.

 

48

 

49 Typical well dispersed squadron camp area in the WD. During June/July 1942 the forward detachment of 40 sqdn experienced regular bombing but with negligible damage effects mainly due to the vast dispersal of tents, equipment and aircraft. The reconnaissance units usually operated from LG's closest to the bomb line and were quite vulnerable  to enemy activity. Tunisia somewhere, judging by the terrain.

 

50  70 OTU Ismailia

 

51 70 OTU Ismailia

 

52 Artillery co-op course

 

53 On a leasure trip to Palestine (Israel)  L.t.R.  Dudley Cobbledick, Johannes "Gamat"  Gouws, Dennis Waugh

 

54 On a leasure trip to Palestine (Israel)  L.t.R.  Dudley Cobbledick, Johannes "Gamat"  Gouws, Dennis Waugh

 

55 Michael's friend and tent mate: Dennis Waugh,  badly wounded near Tobruk in July 1942 but recovered and eventually killed in action during his second tour.

 

56 Dennis Waugh shared this tent with Michael

 

57 Artillery co-op course; Dennis Waugh with head set doing the spotting and target laying work

 

58 Dennis Waugh

 

59 According to Michael their Italian POW batman had absolutely no desire to escape! He made all the "furniture" displayed in the photo

 

60

 

61

 

62

 

63 Officer's mess tent:  Jack Webb reading, Barry Acutt standing looking left.

 

64

 

65

 

66

 

67

 

68 

Officer's mess tent:  Barry Acutt on the right

 

69 Dudley killed not very long after this pic was taken

 

70

 

71

 

72

 

73

 

74 Gouws became a POW at Luft Stalag III and was murdered by the Gestapo when he was caught after " The "Great Escape" 1944

 

 

75 Going for a swim. In this little group:  Nicol KIA,, Flekser POW, Waugh KIA, Heald KIFA

 

76 Jack Heald killed soon after this pic was taken, Denis Acutt, family of the Acutt property group in Durban.

 

77

 

78

 

79 Ross McDonald, joker of the sqdn, stayed friends with Michael long after the war.

 

80 Jannie Blaauw became 7 sqdn OC and also OC of 2 sqdn Korea 1951

 

81

 

82

 

83

 

84

 

85  Arrival and distribution of squadron post.

 

86  a Squadron member using the "desert lily" 

 

87 Cobbledick in middle with various ground staff

 

88 Jack Webb very popular member of the sqdn, DFC recipient, 3 times walk back to sqdn, KIA when he force landed in a minefield

 

89 Jack Webb

 

90 Jack Webb, KIA. According to Michael these pics were taken 1 day before his death

 

91

 

92

 

93 Jack Orpen

 

94

 

95 Popular officer of the sqdn, member of the ground staff, intelligence

 

96

 

97

 

99

 

100 Pilots at an occupied German aerodrome waiting for the squadron transport to arrive.

 

101 Their LG being bombed. According to Mike this bomb caused no damage to the truck except for a small dent at the back!

 

102 Bomb crater at LG

 

103

 

104

 

105

 

106

 

107 Squadron arrives in Ismailia; day visit to Port Said

 

108

 

109

 

110

 

111

 

112

 

113  Jack Orpen, the creator and painter of the" gremlin" characters. "Gremlins"  were the imaginary creatures that caused failures in the aircraft.  Here Jack  poses in a German flare parachute.

 

114 Squadron arrives in Ismailia; day visit to Port Said

 

115 Natie Flekser posing with a Lewis AA gun

 

116 On a steamer in the Nile;  Dennis Waugh, Kleynhans and Natie Flekser

 

117  Going up north from South Africa: Mombasa railway station Kenia.

 

118 German aircraft left intact at captured enemy  LG's. Staff were warned to be careful for booby traps on captured enemy equipment

 

119 Jack Webb, Goldy Scott (army) and Barry Acutt  Sailing on the Nile

 

120 Barry Acutt, Goldy Scott and Michae

 

121 Jack Webb, E Sturgeon and Barry Acutt

 

122

 

123 Abandoned Axis aircraft

 

124 Abandoned Axis aircraft

 

 

125 Abandoned Axis aircraft

 

 

126 Abandoned Axis aircraft

 

 

127 Abandoned Axis aircraft

 

 

128 Abandoned Axis aircraft

 

 

129 Macchi Mc 202 Folgore (Italian high-performance fighter)

 

130 Macchi Mc 202 Folgore (Italian high-performance fighter)

 

131 Heinkel He 111

 

132 Captured Stuka Ju-87, possibly the one owned by RAF 260 Squadron

 

133  Castel Benito airfield in tripoli, Libya after the 8th Army and RAF captured it

 

134 Castel Benito airfield in tripoli, Libya after the 8th Army and RAF captured it

 

135 Castel Benito airfield in tripoli, Libya after the 8th Army and RAF captured it

 

136  A captured FIAT G.50  note the RAF roundel painted on.(Italian fighter)

 

137 A captured FIAT G.50  note the RAF roundel painted on.(Italian fighter)

 

138 A captured FIAT G.50  note the RAF roundel painted on.(Italian fighter)

 

139  Caproni Ca.164 light communications plane

 

140  Fiat CR.42

 

141 SM.79

 

142 Macchi C.200 Saetta  (very similar looking to the Fiat G.50, but woth distinctive differences)

 

143  Castel Benito airfield

 

144 German teller mines.

 

145 Castel Benito airfield

 

146

 

147

 

148 Wrecked Junkers Ju 52 transport 

 

149 Captured Italian tank.

 

150

 

151

 

152 Boston

 

153 Boston

 

154 Boston

 

155 Vickers Wellington

 

156  Martin Baltimore, also used by SAAF

 

157 Martin Baltimore, also used by SAAF

 

158 A visitor Halifax bomber having a wheel repair.

 

159

 

160 A visitor Halifax bomber having a wheel repair.

 

161 Visitor Wellington bomber.

 

162 Vickers Vildebeest (pre-war torpedo and attack plane, obsolete by the time desert war broke out)

 

163 Vickers Vildebeest (pre-war torpedo and attack plane, obsolete by the time desert war broke out)

 

164 Lysander reconnaissance aircraft, briefly flown by Mike during training at No.70 OTU

 

165 A 112 Squadron RAF Kittyhawk at Castel Benito airfield.

 

166  Catalina amphibian

 

167 Catalina amphibian

 

168  Lockheed Loadstar, also used by the SAAF as a shuttle transport.

 

169  Lockheed Loadstar, also used by the SAAF as a shuttle transport.

 

170 Lockheed P-38 Lightning

 

171 Lockheed P-38 Lightning

 

172 De Havilland Mosquito

 

173 De Havilland Mosquito SAAF 60 squadron

 

174 Lockheed P-38 Lightning

 

175 Bristol Beaufighter

 

176 Catalina amphibian

 

 

177  Westland Lysander

 

178 Martin Maryland bomber visitor  as also used by the SAAF bomber squadrons

 

179  Bardia, Libya    see attached colour photo...amazing hey)

 

180  possibly Mersa Matruh     (everywhere else, buildings were destroyed)

 

181

 

182 Sollum, just inside Egypt on the border with Libya.     

 

183 Sollum, just inside Egypt on the border with Libya.     

 

184 Sollum, just inside Egypt on the border with Libya.    

 

185 Sollum, just inside Egypt on the border with Libya.  

 

186 Mersa Matruh, Egypt

 

187

 

188 German and Italian POEs

 

189 German and Italian POEs

 

190  British 25-pounder artillery

 

191 Dead Italians

 

192 8th Army M3 Grant tanks, with a M4 Sherman at right

 

193 8th Army infantry with a dead German soldier

 

194 German and Italian POWs

 

195

 

196

 

197 M3 Grant tank     (btw, Mongomery rode around in one of these at times, it's in the Imperial War Museum in London today)

 

198 British Crusader tank

 

199 Captured German film

 

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