Fleet Air Arm

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December 13, 2016

Farewell to a real Swordfish pilot

I heard on the news today that Lt Cdr John “Jock” Moffat had died. You probably don’t recognize the name but it has significance for the Human Legion. Moffat was a Royal Navy pilot during the Second World War, and it was his torpedo launch from a Swordfish biplane that crippled the Bismark, a German battleship that was wreaking havoc with British shipping [Edit: Nov. 2017. Or maybe not. The BBC report claimed this, but Rodney Pattisson has kindly commented with a correction. See comments below]. This was in 1941, at at time when lumbering biplanes were long obsolete. But as Moffat himself said, the fabric-over-metal-frame construction used on these older and slower aircraft meant that the aircraft could take a lot of incoming fire while lining up for the torpedo strike, because the bullets and shells went straight through the fabric. Of […]