Sunderland Over Far-Eastern Seas


An RAF Flying Boat Navigator's Story

By: Group Captain Derek Empson
Supplied by: Pen and Sword

Format: Hardback
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781848841635
Published: 6th April 2010
RRP / Print Price: £25.00

Current purchase price:
£25.00

Sunderland Over Far-Eastern Seas

This is the first book to give a detailed, first-hand account of post-World War II RAF Short Sunderland operations in the Far East. The author was a navigator with 88 Squadron and later 205 Squadron, flying operations during the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency and many other operations. He was based at Seletar in Singapore, Kaitak in Hong Kong, Iwakuni near Hiroshima and various other operational bases throughout his two and a half year tour.

The Sunderland flying boat was a unique aircraft in that each crew was allotted an aircraft which became their floating and airborne home. The author describes the Sunderland's performance and flying boat operating techniques, including taking-off from and landing on the open sea. It includes a tour of the aircraft's interior and the equipment used by the ten-man crew, all well illustrated by photographs. The task of long distance navigation in the Far East during the early 1950s relied on the conventional methods of astro navigation and dead reckoning, a difficult task when crossing hundreds of miles of open ocean and encountering monsoon and tropical storm conditions.

Amongst the noteworthy events included is a return flight from Singapore to Hong Kong across 1,400 miles of ocean with a VIP passenger, his first operational flight as a 21 year old Pilot Officer navigator. He then undertakes an operation involving a return trip to Scotland which took three months. On moving to Kaitak the Sunderlands provided air cover for search and rescue operations, taking off and landing amongst the port's many small and erratically steered shipping craft. He flew sixty-one missions in support of the United Nations forces fighting in and around Korea, enduring the threat of Chinese fighters over the Yellow Sea. In one operation an engine fire caused the crew to ditch in the Tsushima Strait with serious structural failure and they were rescued by the USS De Haven, a US destroyer.

This is a worthy record of some of the legendary Short Sunderland's final roles in the RAF.

 




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