RK 1937-39 LRDU Ishmalia to Darwin

 

1937 UK SCAMPTON

Posted to Scampton in charge of 2nd Squadron
New aircraft, the Vickers Wellesley (mono planes)
Station commander, John Russell of Upavon Days
Specialised in Long Distance Flight within the UK
RK approached Russell to ask if they could expand distance and go further. Russell negotiated with Wilfred (thick since Upavon days once again) and got the go ahead.

Long Range Distance Unit (LRDU) Formed

Upper Heyford, near Oxford
Wing Commander Oswald Gayford, DFC, AFC to command flight
RK to lead flight in formation
All practice flights to be through UK territory: Cranwell to Malta / Cranwell to Egypt
The threat of war almost put an end to the project as there was to be no official flying outside territory. But Newell kept them intact at Upper Heyford. Lost one plane with Australian crew in Scotland. (Lock Ness?)

1938 Long Distance Flight, Ismalia to Darwin

November 8th
On November 8th 1938 the RAF launched an attempt on the Soviet Union’s non-stop long-distance record of 6,306 miles.

Crews
CREW1 Squadron Leader Richard Kellett (33) Ft Lt T Gething (27) Pilot Officer ML Gaine (28)
CREW 2 Flt Lt H Hogan (29) Ft Lt RG Musson (25) Sergeant TD Dixon (26)
CREW 3 Flt Lt AN Combe (27) Ft Lt BK Burnett (25) Sergeant HB Grey (26)

The two nonstop aircraft had been in the air for just over 48 hours and covered 7,158.5 miles, a record that would stand until 1945. It’s just one more line in his Pilots log.

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Richard’s Pilots log

Reports of the flights as follows:

Australian Newspaper report

Echos of the Distance Record – contains Richard’s official report of the flight, with such understatements as ‘For the next 1,200 miles flying conditions were exceedingly unpleasant: cloud , heavy rain and lightening.’ And praising the planes: ‘The engines and aircraft behaved faultlessly throughout the flight’.

Flight Global archive

King awards

RK 1937 LDU0935-01-1-2

RK 1939 Portrait

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RK 1937 LDU0935-01-1-2

RK 1937L2639_leading_withL2681_on_its_right_L2639

RK 1937Vickers Wellesley

 

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RK 1939 RK Cigargette Card

RK 1938 LRDU – Lost in the Bush