Richard Kukura and
Richard Kukura and Tommy Hulme 1943 - 1945
December 4, 2005
MEMOIRS – RICHARD KUKURA
After our Irish adventure, I took a couple of weeks to recover somewhat from my injuries. I was then sent to Bristol to the Beaufighter factory to pick up a new aircraft and then took it back to Islay. A few days later I had carried out the necessary tests and flew down to Portreath in Cornwall where, overnight, the wing machine guns were removed and extra fuel tanks were fitted in their place. The guns were stored in the fuselage along with a heavy load of spare parts for the Middle East. My cannons were allowed only twenty rounds each. It took us five and three-quarter hours to reach Gibraltar.
The following morning we set course for Algiers and had a trouble free flight, reaching there by eleven o’clock. After having lunch, we took off again, this time south over the Atlas Mountains into the Sahara to avoid the fighting in Tunisia, then east to Castel Benito in Libya. Quite clearly next morning we were flying not far from the sea toward Marble Arch and reached it in the middle of a sandstorm. The storm blew itself out over night leaving everything covered in a thick layer of red dust. In a short time we were on our way again and at about mid-day we landed on an aerodrome outside Cairo. Here we were separated from our aeroplane and trucked to Al Maza, a transit camp where we would be accommodated until we were posted to a Squadron. A few days later, while visiting the City, I met Olga at an afternoon dance and two weeks later we were engaged to be married. With a good slice of luck we were married a month later.
Meanwhile, Tommy and I were posted to a Beaufighter Squadron on Malta and were flying regular sorties against the enemy.
In July 1943 the Squadron was posted temporarily to the desert at Gardabia to provide long-range escort for the allied invasion of Sicily. As the invasion progressed northward, we also progressed to the north to a permanent aerodrome at Catania right next to the Mt Etna volcano.
In September we were moved to the west coast of Sicily, to a landing strip called Borizzo. From this Base we began attacks on enemy shipping off the French and Spanish coasts.
Quite suddenly, the whole Squadron was moved to Gibraltar to fly long-range escort for the Battleships bringing Churchill and Roosevelt to their conference at Casablanca. We then returned to Base. In January 1944 we were posted to Alghero on the northwest coast of Sardinia from where we continued to attack enemy shipping.
July of 1944 saw Tommy and I posted to Cyprus as instructors. We stayed there until January 1945. Then Tommy was posted back to the UK and I was posted to Cairo. In February 1945 I was posted, and accompanied by Olga, back to Australia by ship. I was discharged in the following year.
Written by Richard Kukura
© Richard Kukura December 2005
This is Richard's own account completely as written and with no edits or alterations.
Australian Service record
|Service||Royal Australian Air Force|
|Date of Birth||14 May 1917|
|Place of Birth||BOULDER CITY, WA|
|Date of Enlistment||21 July 1941|
|Locality on Enlistment||Unknown|
|Place of Enlistment||PERTH, WA|
|Next of Kin||KUKURA, OLGA|
|Date of Discharge||1 July 1947|
|Posting at Discharge||HQME|
|WW2 Honours and Gallantry||None for display|
|Prisoner of War No||Not applicable|
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