WW2 Service Record of RAF Pilot Allan Gent (1079136)

OPERATIONAL SERVICE at 273 Squadron, Ratmalana (Columbo), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)

On the 7th December 1942, Allan arrived at Worli, the main Reception Centre at Bombay.

Here is an Indian Pipe Band at Worli:

Sometime just after that in December 1942, Allan moved to Ratmalana airport, Ceylon to join 273 Squadron.

Here is the Airforce Club at Colombo. Not bad eh? :

Here are 2 pictures of the men relaxing at the Colombo Swimming Club built in 1938:

Here is that same Swimming Club today.:

Here is the swimming 'Lido' at Colombo (I think this doesn't exist today).  Photo courtesy of Jan Baker:

Some of the men at the Lido. Photo courtesy of Jan Baker:

Here is the RAF GHQ at Colombo:

Here is the Post Office at Colombo. Not like my High Street in England! :

Here is one of Allan's friends, Ronald Bray, on the beach at Colombo:

Here is another friend, Earle Baker, on the same beach:

Here are some of the lads on the beach. Allan is on the left:

OPERATIONAL SERVICE at Mauripur, Karachi, India (now Pakistan)

On the 28th January 1943, Allan was transferred to the Aircrew Reception Centre at RAF Mauripur, Karachi.

Here is Allan (on the left) and his friends L/R Jack Barnes, Warren Bennett, Ronald Bray and 'Woody' on the ferry between Ceylon and India:

Here is Allan again (on the left) and his friends L/R Jack Barnes and Warren Bennett:

Here are some views of the Goat Mountains near Poonha taken from the train on his way to Karachi:

On the 1st March 1943, he became part of the "Main Ferry Crew Pool" at RAF Mauripur, Karachi.

Here is the entrance to Karachi airport:

Here is Allans' Billets at Karachi. Very luxurious...... :

Here is Ron Bray at the Billets:

and Woody:

and Allan:

Here is a group of Hurricane 2Bs being refueled at Karachi:

Here is the remains of Ron Derricks' Hurricane 2B after the undercarraige failed:

On the 10th April 1943, he was assigned to the Jodhpur Attachment, presumbly based from Jodhpur.

On the 1st May 1943, Allan was promoted to "T. F/Sgt" ('Under training' F/Sgt?).

Here is an Indian town in the Sind desert:

Here is Jodhpur taken at night. The description written by Allan was 'Wedding of Maharajahs' son at Jodhpur'. I assume the group of lights in the distance is maybe a wedding procession? If this was a wedding, it must be the wedding of Hanwant Singh and Krishna Kumari. Hanwant became Maharaja in 1947 until his death during the elections in 1952.

OPERATIONAL SERVICE at "23 Ferry Control", Santa Cruz, Bombay, India

On the 31st May 1943, he was assigned to "23 Ferry Control" at Santa Cruz, Bombay.

Here is Allans' Billet in Carter Road, Andheri, Santa Cruz, Bombay on 1st June 1943:

Here is Allan with 'The Shower' (as he called them) on the 3rd August 1943 at Ahmedabad standing in front of a Hudsen A28A. They were (L-R) Jack Barnes, ? Joseph, Dave Gates, Jackie Biddle, Ronnie Iles, F/S Johnny Cooper, Cled Gauthier, George Stent, Allan and Eric Julian:

Here is 'The Shower' again on 3rd August 1943 in Ahmedabad standing in front of a Hurricane 2B. Allan is second from Right:

Here they are again. Allan is on the right, middle row:

And again. Allan is on the left, back row:

Below is Allan in a Hurricane IIc registration KZ371 (obviously taken by a fellow pilot) approaching Bhopal from Ahmedabad on 17th September 1943.
Note the 'overload' 40 gallon fuel tanks below the wing because of the large distances they covered delivering these aircraft.
I believe in the event of undercarraige failure, these tanks acted as excellent landing ski's !!:

Here is an Indian village near Madras:

On 31st December 1943, he was promoted to "F/Sgt".

On 1st May 1944, he was promoted to "T. W/O" ('Under training' W/O?), and on the 31st October 1944, he was promoted to "W/O".

On the 10th June, 1944, Allan went back to RAF Mauripaur, Karachi, for 3 weeks to do some Spitfire testing.

I can't be sure, but I think it was at this time that a friend had asked Allan to 'take his flight' for him in the afternoon as he had a 'previous engagement'.  Allan was happy to do this as I think the pilots did that sort of thing occasionally.  Anyway, the commanding officer found out about this and said Allan could not take this flight as he had already done his hours in the morning.

His friend did the test in the afternoon.  During the flight, the canopy unexpectedly flew off and the Spitfire crashed.  Allan's friend died in the crash.

They recovered the canopy, and someone in the squadron made a small Spitfire model from the canopy material (Perspex I think).  Below is the model.  It is now missing its tailplane:

On 30th June, he returned to Santa Cruz.

Here are 3 more of Allan's friends in 1944: L/R William Wood, Malcolm White, Phil Williams.

OPERATIONAL SERVICE at 202 Staging Post, RAF Drigh Road, Karachi, India (now Pakistan)

On the 11th October 1945, was transferred to 202SP at RAF Drigh Road, Karachi.

Allan spent a just a month at Karachi before being transferred again.

OPERATIONAL SERVICE at 1334 Transport Support Conversion Unit at Baroda, near Bombay

On the 25th November 1945, Allan was tranferred to 1334 TSCU.

According to Allans' flight log, on the 27th November 1945, he flew from RAF Drigh Road in an Expiditer to his new unit at Baroda.

According to Bill Woods's account of this time, he wrote "On 27th November, four of us were posted to a Dakota conversion unit of Transport Command at Baroda, 200nm north of Bombay." Maybe Allan joined Bill Wood, Malcolm White and Phil Williams again at Baroda.

On the 21st January 1946, he flew as 2nd pilot in a Dakota IV on a cross-country flight from Baroda to Palam, to Lahore, to Palam again and back to Baroda, Bombay. This was to be the last flight of Allans' RAF career.

On the 8th March 1946, he set sail for England on the M.V. Circassia, for his demobilisation.

Next Page -> Demobilization

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