Jim Raymond remembers flying Hawker Tempest II in Pakistan.
I trained in the USA in 1948. On returning to Pakistan I underwent a 'British Fighter' conversion at RPAF (Royal Pakistan Air Force) College Risalpur. The Conversion unit was Commanded by Squadron Leader Kacyzmerick, ex Polish Air Force, who also commanded No. 301 RAF Squadron in World War 2. We were flying two brand new Sea Fury and one Tempest II Squadron at Peshawar. I later flew the Tempest in No.9 RPAF (we weer still a dominion then) for about 100 hours, and was one of 10 pilots who ferried Tempests fron Seleter in Singapore to Peshawar. I drew the Tempest these were, old aircraft inherited from the RIAF. Ten Tempests, long parked at RAF Seleter in Singapore were purchased. Seven had already been flown back to Peshawar, with 6 reaching there. Our first night stop was scheduld at Mingladon (Rangoon). On Peel-off, my engine quit, I was #3 and called a May Day. The forced landing was a piece of cake on the long runway. The other two left next morning, but I had to wait eight days for parts etc.
On departure my routing was a stop at the RIAF airport in Dum Dum. Enroute I ran into a serious vertical build up. Being young and brash I penetrated it at 17.000 feet, but soon ran into turbulence, certainly beyond my and probably the aircrafts capacity. I made a ninety degree beeline for the ocean, and on a DR basis let down at an estimate of beach + 10 NM. My let-down was as careful as I could make it, and I was shocked to discover at 500 ft or so that I was already in the clear, but staring at murky waters that looked the same as the clouds I departed. Without even an ADF, I looked around and spotted an airport, where I landed to refuel. I was tickled to death to find I had made it to Imphal, of WW2 notoriety.
The rest was Dum Dum- Palam-Lahore and Peshawar. I loved flying the Tempest, and when bounced by four Sea fury's we weer amazed to find ourselves on their tails. It was the Tempests 42lbs/sq ft wing loading compared to the Fur's 48lbs/sq ft we unfortunately discovered, and not our skill.
Tempest II of the Pakistani Air Force, 1950.
James V Raymond