Charles H Matthews, CV6 1GJ
KEEPING IN TOUCH.
No.3 ADU/FU North Africa 1943-1945.
I have been smitten with the writing bug, and have a book published, based on my time at Oujda and Blida, with the above units, when we moved so many air craft up to the forward areas.
I have given it a simple title of Charlie’s War and dedicated it to the lads who flew so many hours with me, to move the new aeroplanes to where they were needed.
We did no heroics, just played out the game that the top brass wanted doing.
I was a Flight Sergeant pilot, flying with the Canadian wireless op. Frankie Al- laire, and first with Denis Cooke as Navigator, then Big (Mac) McKenzie, the Aussie.
When we converted to Marauders and Liberators, my Flight Engineer was Ken Nolte from Port Elizabeth in S. Africa.
You may remember that in the summer of 1945 we began ferry flights back to UK, bringing home Liberators, with crews, made up of guys due for home leave or repatriation. We landed at Melton Mowbray, Lichfield, Tempsford etc. during July to September.
Later in October 1945 I was commissioned and left for 4 FU at Naples.
By December I was time expired, and sent home for leave. Then in February 1946, I went to RAF Membrey, flying with No. 525 Squadron on Dakotas. They were trooping to India, through our old routes, and also transporting in Europe, freight, troops, VIPs etc.
I was demobbed in July 1946 and returned to Civvy Street, a lost soul.
Whilst serving in the RAFVR during 1951, I was called back to full time service for a Reserve Refresher course at RAF Finningley in Yorkshire to fly on Wellington T10s. The course lasted three months and we gained our Master Instrument Ratings. The RAFVR folded in 1953 and with it any more piloting.
On a further note, in my career with SPS Aerospace, I was able to maintain an interest in aviation. I was a member of various National and International Aerospace Committees, such as those of the British Standards Institute, the European AECMA, and the International Standards Organisation and advised on the use of and design of high-grade fasteners for many of the post war aircraft.
To all of my friends wherever you are, Good luck and God bless you.