The Airmen's Stories - Lt.(FAA) R H P Carver
Rodney Harold Power Carver was born on 8th June 1916. He joined the Navy in 1935 and entered the Royal Naval College Dartmouth. In the 1930s the RAF supplied pilots for the Fleet Air Arm and occasionally trained Naval pilots. Carver was granted a temporary RAF commission on 12th September 1937 as a Flying Officer. He relinquished this commission on 26th July 1939.
Carver joined 804 Squadron at Hatston on 30th November 1939 and was appointed 'A' Flight Commander on 29th March 1940. He embarked on the carrier HMS Glorious with a detachment of 804 Squadron Gladiators on 22nd April and they transferred to HMS Furious on 9th May.
The pilots of the detachment ferried 263 Squadron Gladiators from Prestwick to Furious on 12th May.
The detachment flew off Furious on 23rd May and returned to Hatston, where 804 re-assembled and was put under Fighter Command control. The Gladiators operated from Hatston on dockyard defence.
On 5th September 1940 'A' Flight of 804 embarked by air on to Furious, disembarked three days later and returned to Hatston. Carver again embarked on Furious, with one section of 'A' Flight, on 11th October 1940 for operations against Tromso, Norway. Bad weather prevented flying and the section returned to Hatston on the 19th.
On Christmas Day 1940, a little after 2pm, six Grumman Martlets of 804 Squadron were scrambled over Orkney in pursuit of a Ju88 engaged on a photo-reconnaisance mission off the North Scottish islands. The raider was intercepted by Carver and Sub/Lt. Parke and several hits were made on the machine damaging the starboard radiator, port engine oil pipe and the tailplane. The Ju88 crash landed with an air gunner badly wounded.
Above: Ju88A-5 4N+AL of 3.(F)/22
The crew were prevented from setting fire to the aircraft by armed local farmers, Thomas Harcus and his son Leslie, both in the Home Guard. The crew were later transferred to the mainland for interogation and treatment for the wounded gunner.
The Ju88 crew were:
Lt K Schipp (pilot), Fw. H Schreiber, Uffz. H Sportl, Obgefr. K Rotter.
On 29th June 1942 Carver was given command of 885 Squadron, operating in defence of Malta convoys with Hurricanes from HMS Victorious. He was awarded the DSC (gazetted 10th November 1942) for his service during Operation Pedestal, the resupply of Malta with vital supplies, especially aviation fuel. During this deployment he shot down at least two Ju88's.
In 1945 he was Air Group Commander in the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron in the Indian Ocean and received a Mention in Despatches for an air strike on Sumatra from HMS Khedive on 30th June.
He was made a CBE (gazetted 13th June 1959) and was at that time on loan to the Government of India. Carver was ADC to the Queen in the late 1950s. He retired on 1st March 1966 as a Captain.
Carver died on 23rd December 1983.