St Lo Shimpu

Shimpu Special Attack Corps: First aviation unit formed specifically for suicide operations

Lt. Yukio Seki

The Shimpu Special Attack Corps, a group of 24 volunteer pilots commanded by Lt. Yukio Seki was formed within the 201st (fighter) Air Group, Imperial Japanese Navy, during the third week of October 1944. The unit, equipped with Mitsubishi Zero-Sen single-seat fighters, was formed for the task of diving into the flight decks of American aircraft carriers in the Philippines area, with a 250kg bomb beneath the fuselage of each fighter. (Shimpu is an alternative pronunciation of the Japanese ideographs which also represent kamikaze, “Divine Wind”, the name applied more generally to Japanese suicide operations.)

Continue reading “Shimpu Special Attack Corps: First aviation unit formed specifically for suicide operations”


Dean Ivan Lamb and Phil Rader: First dogfight

Sometimes war can pit brother against brother, friend against friend. But when the fighting occurs 4 miles in the air, that is a different story. When Dean Ivan Lamb and Phil Rader met in the skies over Mexico, they were ordered to shoot and by doing so participated in the first aerial battle between aeroplanes.

Continue reading “Dean Ivan Lamb and Phil Rader: First dogfight”

Imperial airways

Imperial Airways: First British national airline

Imperial airways, was formed on 1st April 1924. This was the manifestation of the British government’s determination to develop air transport, and the company was to receive $1 million in preferential air subsidies over ten years. Having acquired the businesses of British Marine Air Navigation Co., Daimler Airways, Handley Page Transport and Instone Air Lines, the British government created some order in the multitude of startup airline and mail carriers. Based in Croydon, a center for early aviation, the airlines undertook scheduled flights to Paris Le Bourget beginning in 3rd of May 1924. The first scheduled flight on this route had begun in 1919. The Chairman to head the company was Rt Hon Sir Eric Geddes GCB, GBE. He had accomplished much as the head of military transportation in WW1 and had a reputation for getting things done.

Continue reading “Imperial Airways: First British national airline”

The first and only Oxford verses Cambridge University air race

Returning from the Great War, some young men from Oxford and Cambridge Universities felt confined within their universities. Besides, they has just a few years ago faced German biplanes in nerve wracking (but adrenaline inducing) encounters in fragile aircraft 4 miles over the battlefield. One student, a former test pilot by the name of A. R. Boree, from Oxford had a thrilling idea which he believed would rival the Oxford-Cambridge boat race. He proposed a air race over a circuit at the London Aerodrome, Hendon with a total distance of 129 miles.

Continue reading “The first and only Oxford verses Cambridge University air race”