Picture Post – 002 – The Honolulu Detachment – Sep 1956

Hastings TG 582 Xmas Island Aug 1956

Hastings TG 582 Xmas Island Aug 1956

Unloading US Pacific Air Force Band Piano, Xmas Isle

Unloading US Pacific Air Force Band Piano, Xmas Isle

and the prize for the second submission to our Picture and a Post campaign goes to Dennis “Bluie” Hobbs. Many thanks Dennis for sharing this with us.

The Honolulu Detachment – 17th June – 5th September 1956.

 Two crews with Flt Lts’ Hampson & King were detached to Honolulu to act as a “Mail and Grocery delivery service” to Christmas Island, during the preparatory construction for the H-Bomb Tests in 1957.

I, Bluie Hobbs was a Navigator on one of the crews. There was one Hastings Mk1 TG582 and each crew alternated a weekly trip to Christmas Island out on Thursday and back on Friday spending a night in Tents.

If you know your History, Hawaii was originally the “Sandwich Islands” discovered by Captain Cook. We had ample time on our hands and took part in many local events. There was a Royal Hawaiian Cricket Club and with 15 of us managed to make up a team. Through television we were challenged by “Pepeekeo” a sugar plantation on the main island of Hawaii to a match, so flew to Hilo where we were picked up. I cannot recall the results of these matches but we all enjoyed the trips.

There were no Nav Aids on Christmas Island and I was pleased to be able to use tactical navigation methods & techniques, using the Sun and square searches to find the Island. The runway was from WW2 being a cleared coral base, when landing and taking –off the aircraft would disappear in a cloud of white Coral dust.

The Photos show unloading on Christmas Island. My skipper Flt Lt Hampson is standing back to the “white” Naval Officer. The other Photo shows us unloading the Piano of the USAF pacific band who had agreed to come with us to entertain the Engineers etc working on the island. This had been arranged through Patsy Hagan, Flt Engineer, who had struck up an acquaintance with the Band Liaison Officer. We went out through Brisbane,Fiji, Canton Island to Hickham AFB.  We had no charts or maps for Brisbane onwards and I had to construct a Mecators chart to get to Fiji, where we were lucky to scrounge some charts etc from a BOAC crew for the remaining legs.

We still did our weekly “continuation Training”, trips around the Islands (eg  Hilo, Kauai, Maui, etc)  On one occasion the skipper decided to practice asymmetric landings at Honolulu International, caused mayhem, with emergency vehicles chasing us down the runway!! This was followed by a rebuke from Airfield control.

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