A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Edward MASLEN-JONES MC DFC for ARMY AIR OBSERVATION POST SQUADRONS with himself representing the invaluable role of Artillery Spotting in the fierce fighting in BURMA of 656th AOP Sqn RAF/RA for the whole of the 14th ARMY and the 20th INDIAN DIVISION from 1943 to 1945, and then for Malaya and Java.
656 had three lights of five AUSTERS – A and C Flights were in the ARAKAN and the ADMIN BOX battle in February 1943, B Flight were at KOHIMA in March 1943 later joined by Sqn HQ and C Flt. The advance down the TIDDIM road, the advance to and crossing of the IRRAWADDY and to RANGOON was reliant on their 6,712 sorties in 5,170 flying hours flown between October 1944 and May 1945 with important ARTILLERY DIRECTION and this not always in the easiest of weather for flying and difficult conditions on the ground to service and supply the aircraft.
Ted had originally been in 119 Field Regiment in Northern Ireland before starting flying training at the Elementary FTS at Hatfield and then for operational training at Old Sarum before being posted to 656 Sqn after Wings in February 1943. The squadron under Major Denis Coyle embarked in August from Liverpool and reached Bombay 34 days later. 656 AOP Squadron’s story is ably told by Ted in his book “Fire by Order” (Leo Cooper 1997).