LAC. Wallace Jackson in North Africa and Italy with 70 Squadron, RAF, 1941-1944


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 LAC John George Walker  535122     (2)

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Contributed by his son,  John Walker

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Here are a few photos of a Valentia that either had to make a forced landing in the desert or crashed killing its crew. Jack is seated at the camp stove with Valentia K 2797 behind him, the other person remains unknown. Matthew Loughlin then changed places with Jack for the second photo. Sometime later the same aircraft crashed in the desert killing all aboard. ‘Shorty’ Martin is seen guarding the wreckage in one photo and B.Power in another.







When he returned from Bahrain Jack caught up with the squadron which had now moved to Helwan, Egypt. Here are two photos of a Bristol Bombay Troop Carrier of 216 B – T Squadron visiting Helwan.  In the second photo Jack is standing by the undercarriage with LAC. Rossiter.


Xmas 1939 was spent at Helwan.  Here is the Camp Commander’s Xmas message to the squadron and what their Xmas lunch would be.
Next are four photos of Xmas in the billet suitably decorated for the occasion. In the first photo Jack is standing second left, first left is Power, and seated middle row first left is Matthew Loughlin.  In the second photo Danny Hanton is seated at the table with a bottle



  Here is a photo of RAF Helwan taken from a Valentia in December,1939.  From Helwan they could see the Great Pyramids in the evening silhouetted against the setting sun.

The pyramids had to be visited and here he is with B.Power.


A photo annotated by Jack ‘Taken returning from the Pyramids of Giza to Cairo by tram. November,1939’.  He said these trams were reputed to be the fastest in the world and would travel at about 60 mph. with the non-paying locals hanging on to the outside and rear.
A photo of B.Power taken at Helwan Gardens. He later suffered from tuberculosis and left the squadron.


Three photos taken in February,1940 at Helwan, of ground crews. The first is of Jack, B.Power and Sutton, notice C 70 on the front of Power’s overall; the second of Jack, Sutton, unknown and Shorty Martin; the third of an unknown ground crew.


June, 1940 saw 70 Squadron transferring from Helwan to Heliopolis, a base about three or four miles outside Cairo.  This meant weekend leave could be spent in the city.  Jack saw his first colour film at Cairo – Judy Garland in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.  See photo of the Regent cinema which he recalls had a retractable roof allowing views of the night sky


He had a fortnight’s leave from Heliopolis which he spent at Tel Aviv, Palestine (Israel). He was photographed in a bar there with his friends, see photo. Jack is standing next to Sgt. Hardisty, and Jim Baldwin is seated first left.  Whilst in Palestine he was able to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem and see the Holy sites.

The RAF used many temporary landing bases which they called Advance Landing Grounds ALGs and which were numbered. Some were no more than fuel dumps; 70 Squadron ferried fuel to these ALGs.  One such trip to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, involved conveying cans full of aviation fuel to an ALG situated 60 to 70 miles inland, for planes returning from raids in southern Sudan – Italian Somaliland.  On 14th July,1940, on a flight from Heliopolis to Khartoum, Sudan, they stopped halfway at Wadi Halfa, on the Nile. Upon inspecting the aircraft after landing, he discovered one of the fuel pumps was leaking. He had to ground the aircraft for 24 hours for the jointing compound to set before continuing the journey.  


He and Sutton (rigger) stayed overnight on a Nile Steamer – see photo – whilst the two pilots stayed at a hotel.  The pilots however did invite them to dine with them at the hotel. He recalls they had Nile salmon.  He was to spend six days at Khartoum, time enough to explore the area – see one of the postcards he bought there.  Whilst at Khartoum the Italians bombed the airfield, the one and only time they did so in the entire war.  He bought there two beautifully carved ivory elephants. ( I now have them).  They returned to Heliopolis on 24th July.


I don’t know when or where this photo was taken. It was obviously taken whilst the squadron had Valentias. Dad said he thought it was a captured German aircraft but he was unsure. 

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