RE: mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, in trip
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
>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
>'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"