Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

Bug Patrol

Near the end of the war, things were winding down.  We, as few of the RAF pilots,  were sent to northern India beyond Burma.

Our mission was to find the spot where the locusts were.  Locust were terrible for the farmers – they could raze entire crops in hours.  If the farmers could be warned as to where the locust were, the farmers would be able to thwart their advance.  I guess they had their own war waging outside of World War II.

We approached the locusts and dropped  flags from our planes.  The flags indicated whether we had see the locust in air, on the ground or on crawling.  If they were moving on the ground, the farmers would fill them with kerosene and burn them. The locusts were hated by the farmers. They ate everything and were a constant pest.

One day,  while on locust patrol,  we flew into a swarm and they filled the engines. They clogged up the air intakes and stalled the engines.  We were low on fuel and our crew had to dump everything – guns, cameras, anything that we could jettison to reduce our weight. Jokingly we told the navigator that he was the next to go.  I don’t know whether he thought that was funny or not.  The reduced weight was enough to allow us to successfully return to base for an emergency land.

I often wondered what happened to the “material” we had dumped overboard.

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