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Flying on Fumes

Heroes Remember

And I really liked the Typhoon, and I had a bit of a problem on one flight. When you get up to about eleven or twelve thousand feet, the high speed blower cuts in and that cuts down on the quantity of gasoline, fuel that you are using, and for some reason or another we went after this one installation, coming back the blower wasn't cutting in and I was getting short of gas, and I began to wonder whether I was going to make it back to Tangmere. So when we hit the coast and I couldn't, there is a strip there called Beachy Head and the end of it goes right down into the sea, the civilians in peacetime called it "Lovers-Leap". That's were they used to commit suicide, jump of the cliff. But their was a strip, an aircraft that just got back to England or were able to make it back then, they would land there, I couldn't see it, so I called up to, and said, "Where the hell is that Beachy Head?" and CO Walter During said, "Get your GD head out of the cockpit and look." My flight commander, a fellow by the name of Mitchell, very quiet voice, he said, "Just turn, just turn at Brighton, you can't miss it." So I turned at Brighton, right in front of me, and I was going to go in and land but I was going in downwind and it was just a short strip. So I just went down, pulled over, and did a stall turn and came back in and landed and turned around to taxi and then the engine cut out on me so I walked in. But there was a Halifax that had landed the night before on the strip, but the strip was too short and it ran off the end of the strip but it didn't go right down. It was sticking right up in the air. And while I was waiting to get re-fuelled, a Mosquito, twin-engine Mosquito came in with two Czechoslovakian squadron leaders on, on one engine, well, they made a beautiful landing but they didn't have a hope because the runway was too short, they came in pretty fast, so they just collapsed the wheel, sat down a spell and slid to a stop. So I got fuelled up and then I got back to base.

Mr. Sproule recalls a mission during which his Typhoon suffered a mechanical failure, placing him in quite a predicament.

Frederick Howard Sproule

Mr. Sproule was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 22, 1918. He first served as a cadet with the Seaforth Highlanders before joining the regular service. He switched to the air force as soon as he was able, first being accepted as a gunner, and then into pilot training. After serving as a flight instructor on Harvards, Mr Sproule was shipped to Great Britain where he trained on a Hurricane. Eventually, he piloted a Typhoon as a bomber in the Burma Campaign, helping to drive back the Japanese. His tour finished as the Japanese were completely driven out of Burma.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Frederick Howard Sproule
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
186 Squadron
Supernumerary Flight Lieutenant

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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