RE: mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, in trip

SDW@qld.mim.com.au
04 Dec 95 07:42:00 EST

On the subject of pilots not claiming, Bill says:
>I gotta be a little sceptical on this 'un - I mean, a pilot isn't doing
>his job if he doesn't 'claim' victories. He's supposed to be writing up
>a flight report after each flight, including those which include combat,
>saying exactly what occured. I suppose a pilot that 'didn't care about
>being a hero' could write "fired on enemy pursuit which disappeared into
>clouds" while one 'tooting his own horn' could write "hit enemy pursuit
>with 20 rds of MG which promptly spiralled into clouds out of control."
>
>But, if a pilot sees the e/a catch fire or crash or come apart in
mid-air,
>that's supposed to be in the report and an 'official' victory should
>follow. Maybe what Collishaw was saying was that, unlike some other
>nameless individuals, Dallas was not prone to claim that every aircraft
>he shot at and then lost sight of was an OOC? Maybe he was claiming
only
>'real' victories?

..and he could well be quite right. I can only report Collishaws' words
without comments, since I don't have the full text or any idea what was
in his mind at the time.

The only supporting information I have is from the Queensland Museums
collection, including Dallas' log book and some letters, medal citations
etc. There is (as far as I know) only one combat report at the museum -
he was RNAS so the official record is/was in the UK, not Australia - I
was allowed (under supervision) to read his log book and take a few
notes. I can't recall any claims other than flamers and "seen to crash",
which accords with Bills' view, however the log entries are cryptic at
best and could include a multitude of sins or omissions. After all, the
log was a personal document, not a claim register.

Finally, regarding combat reports, and the value of these as historical
records, I can never read one without thinking of a line in "Winged
Victory" in which the central figure, Tom, characterises one for which
his memory of the flight was less than perfect as "making bullock out of
beef stock"

Regards

Shane