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