Kenneth Holmes - Flying Instructor and Communications / Transport Pilot

Holmes completed his elementary flying training under the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, flying the dh82c Tiger Moth at No 33 Elementary Flying Training School at Caron, Canada between October and December 1942.

Multi-engine training on Airspeed Oxfords with 39 FTS at Swift Current, Saskatchewan followed between January and May 1943, before Holmes was posted to No 2 Flying Instructor School at Pearce, Alberta, where he flew the Fairchild Cornell and Cessna Crane.  Between 30 July and 23 December, he served as a flying instructor at 35 Service Flying Training School at North Battleford, Saskatchewan, flying the Airspeed Oxford.

Airpeed Oxford over Saskatchewan 1942

Airspeed Oxford over Saskatchewan, 1942

Returning to the UK in early 1944, Holmes did a short course at No 26 EFTS at Theale in Berkshire between 11-26 April.  His first trip in BB697 was a dual-to-solo with Flt Lt Sharland on 17 April.  He flew a further two trips in BB697 with Sgt Wright on 20 Apr, and a solo on 21 April. 

 IMG 1260 CropDR

Holmes flies Tiger Moth BB697, April 1944

Early May to early June saw Flt Sgt Holmes flying Ansons and Wellingtons at GSU Llandow before joining 24 Sqn at Hendon on 10 June.  He remained with 24 Sqn until 24 March 1945, flying Ansons, Oxfords and Dragon Rapides on communications and ambulance duties within the UK.  His first overseas trip was on 10 September 1944, when he flew an Anson to Le Bourget, his passengers including Lady Tedder, whose husband, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, was Deputy Supreme Allied Commander.

Between late April and mid Jul 1945, Homes was a student at 105 (Transport) Operational Training Unit at RAF Bramcote, flying the Vickers Wellington.  He then travelled to India, where he trained on the Douglas Dakota at 1334 Transport Support Conversion Unit at Baroda, near Bombay, before joining 267 Sqn at Rangoon, where he remained until the Squadron disbanded on 30 June 1946.

 267 Sqn Dakotas IWM

267 Sqn Dakotas (IWM)

On 15 December 1945, Homes was the second pilot on Dakota KJ842, when it suffered a double engine failure, probably caused by fuel contamination, resulting in a forced landing on northern Phuket, Thailand.  By 14 May 1946, Holmes was flying as first pilot and attempting to fly from Saigon to Rangoon, when poor weather caused him to attempt to divert to Bangkok.  Cut off by a line squall, Holmes force landed his Dakota at Sahn Suke, flying out of his landing site to Bangkok the following day.

 IMG 1263 CropDR

Dakota Forecd Landing, May 1946

The final entries in Holmes’ logbook show him flying Tiger Moths and Chipmunks as a reservist with No 5 Reserve Flying School (RFS) at Castle Bromwich from July 1950 until February 1954, when 5 RFS disbanded.

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