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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. P G Jameson


Patrick Geraint Jameson was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 10th November 1912.

After leaving Hutt Valley High School he was employed as a clerk with Colonial Mutual Life and learned to fly privately at the Wellington Aero Club, Rongotai. On 7th January 1936 he took passage for Britain at his own expense on the SS Aorongi and was granted an RAF short service commission.

He began his elementary flying on 12th March at No. 1 E&RFTS at Hatfield, moved on to 8 FTS Montrose on 28th May and with his training completed joined 46 Squadron at Kenley in January 1937. He became a Flight Commander in March 1939.



In April 1940 the squadron prepared to go to France but was suddenly issued with Arctic clothing and sent to Scotland. Its Hurricanes were loaded on to the carrier HMS Glorious and they sailed for Norway on 18th May in company with HMS Furious, carrying 263 Squadron. The airfield at Skaanland was not able to take the Hurricanes until the 26th, so 46 Squadron returned in the carrier to Scapa Flow. On 24th May it sailed again and on the 26th the first flight took off but the surface at Skaanland was still too soft and two aircraft crashed on landing. Already airborne, Jameson was ordered to lead the rest of the squadron to Bardufoss.

On 28th May he shared in destroying two Do26's moored in Rombaks Fiord and on the 29th he destroyed a Ju88. On 7th June 263 Squadron flew its Gladiators on to the Glorious. It was considered impossible for the Hurricanes to land on without arrester gear and they were ordered to be destroyed. Having obtained naval permission three Hurricanes, with sandbags fixed under their tailplanes, were led by Jameson and made successful deck landings. The squadron's other seven aircraft followed and landed safely.

The following day the Glorious met the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and was sunk by shell fire. Only 39 men survived out of a complement of more than 1500.

Jameson and 46's CO, S/Ldr. KBB Cross, found themselves on a Carley float with thirty other survivors. Jameson rigged a rough square sail from discarded shirts and took out his miniature escape compass to keep track of their progress. However after three days only seven survivors remamed. They were rescued by a small Norwegian ship and landed on the Faroes, where two more died.

After a week they returned to the UK in a destroyer. Jameson spent six weeks at the Gleneagles Hotel, then a wartime hospital, followed by six weeks sick leave, some of which he spent with relatives in Ireland. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 19th July 1940). He was given command of 266 Squadron at Wittering on 17th September 1940.

Jameson destroyed a He111 over Coventry during the night of 8th April 1941, another He111 at night on 11th May and a Ju88 on the 16th. In early June he was made Wing Commander Flying at Wittering, destroyed a Me109 on 23rd June, damaged a Me109 on 12th August and destroyed a Me110 on 5th September.

He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 7th October 1941) and received a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 1st January 1942).

He destroyed a Fw190 over Dieppe on 19th August 1942. In December Jameson was posted to North Weald to lead the Norwegian Spitfire Wing. On 3rd February he damaged a Fw190, destroyed two Fw190's on the 15th and on 10th March probably destroyed another.

He was awarded the DSO (gazetted 10th March 1943) and in May was posted to HQ 11 Group, as Wing Commander Training.

He was awarded the Norwegian War Cross (gazetted 1st October 1943) and in November became Group Captain Plans at 11 Group.

In late July 1944 Jameson took command of 122 Wing, 83 Group in Normandy. He led it until its disbandment at Flensburg on 7th September 1945. He was made Station Commander at Schleswigland and later Wunsdorf. In March 1946 Jameson went to the RAF Staff College, Haifa.

He stayed in the RAF postwar and in 1959 joined the headquarters staff of Operation Grapple - the codename for the RAF’s megaton nuclear bomb trials at Christmas Island.

After being treated for tuberculosis, almost certainly a consequence of his debilitating wartime service, Jameson retired on 6th August 1960 as a Group Captain, retaining the rank of Air Commodore.

He returned to New Zealand to live.

As well as his other wartime awards, Jameson received the Silver Star and the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Jameson died on 1st October 1996.


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