Arthur Geater

 Tribute site: WW2 Beaufighter Pilot Arthur Geater


Hi and welcome to this site;

I met Julie Geater who is the granddaughter of  Maj. Arthur Geater. I obtained Julie's contact detail via fellow pilot Steve Stevens.  Julie was so kind to forward copies of her late grandfather's war photographs and memorabilia to me and also allowed me to copy the flying log book.  Julie did a lot of effort to collect and preserve the memorabilia of her grandfather over the past years.  We subsequently decided to construct this tribute page in memory of Arthur Geater.


 Reginald Arthur Geater joined the SAAF in the early forties, qualified as a twin engine pilot and  served for a long period as instructor. He subsequently served in 27 transport/maritime squadron, flying Venturas and Dakotas. 

He was eventually sent to Italy in mid 1944 for operational service with 19 squadron, flying the rocket firing Bristol Beaufighter.

During his operational service he flew  mostly sorties to targets in the Balkans. Missions consisted of  rocket attacks against enemy shipping, -motorised transports,  -gun emplacements, -buildings and rolling stock. 

His operational tour was eventful. On his very first sortie Arthur was shot down over the sea. He managed to survive the  ditch landing and returned to the squadron after a short ordeal behind enemy lines staying with locals on Greek Islands. 

Arthur also participated in a daring raid where a German mine layer ship was sunk. 

Arthur was awarded an immediate Distinguished Flying Cross for his exceptional service. 

After the war Arthur was demobilised. He then had a long and successful career in the printing industry.

Arthur passed away on 3 November 1992. 

Recently, divers found Arthur's ditched Beaufighter wreck off a Greek island. The underwater aircraft is surprisingly still in a fair condition.




 

 


This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Arthur, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. 

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during WW2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

January 2015

 

 a SAAF Beaufighter mk X with distinctive high resolution nose camera.


Beaufighter rocket attack.

 

 

 

Underwater photographs of Arthur's ditched Beaufighter recently discovered.

 

 MILITARY CAREER


01/09/1941    No.75 Air School Lyttleton, ground training

31/01/1942    No.4 Air School Benoni, elementary flying training , 70 hours on Tiger Moths

21/02/1942    Solo after  15:10 hours flying

11/04/1942    No. 21 Air School Kimberley, Service Flying training , 166 hours on Airspeed Oxfords

25/09/1942    Qualified for SAAF wings

22/10/1942    No.42 Air School Port Elizabeth, Avro Ansons

22/11/1942    No.43 Air School Port Alfred, Staff pilot course, Ansons, Oxfords

17/12/1942    No.42 Air School Port Elizabeth, Avro Ansons, pupil instruction

23/05/1943    No.61 Air School George, GR course, Ansons

13/08/1943    No.24 Air School Nigel (29 OTU) , Ventura course

24/10/1943    27 Squadron Walvis Bay

01/11/1943    27 Squadron Phesanthe Kraal, transport, Ventura, Ju52, Dakota

29/05/1944    79 OTU Cyprus, Bisleys, Beaufighters

11/08/1944    19 Squadron (Beaufighters), Bifirno, Italy

12/09/1944    First operational sortie, shot down by enemy ship, ditched in the sea off Greek coast, spent time in enemy territory with partisans.

21/02/1945    Force landed at Zara, engine overheating.

23/01/1945    Promoted to Captain

22/02/1945    Promoted to Major

24/02/1945    Participated with the sinking of German mine layer ship "Kuck-Kuck"

02/04/1945    Immediate DFC award

06/04/1945    Hit in port engine with 20mm flak

18/05/1945    End of operational tour, 48 operational sorties, 159 ops hours.

27/08/1945    10 Wing Pietersburg

 

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ARTHUR'S FLYING LOG BOOK

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ARTHUR'S PHOTOGRAPHS

CLICK HERE  TO VIEW ARTHUR'S WAR DIARY WHEN HE WAS SHOT DOWN

CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW HIS DITCHED BEAUFIGHTER WAS FOUND


 

 Wings parade  25/09/1942, 21 Air School Kimberley, Arthur getting his SAAF flying badge.


 

 

 DFC award congratulations.


 

Arthur married to Rhoda Elizabeth Kennedy on 20 June 1945 in Kimberley. They were married for 23 years. Rhoda died in 1965.


     Rhoda served as an officer.



TRAINING 

Training was done at Benoni and Kimberley. Arthur was trained as a twin-engine aircraft pilot.


 Tiger Moths were used for elementary flying training at 4 Air School Benoni.


 Photograph of his advance flying school course class at Kimberley upon qualification for the SA flying badge. Note the foreign nationals also on the course.



INSTRUCTOR

Arthur was trained as an instructor and trained pupil pilots in 1943.


Arthur did many flights with Avro Ansons when pupil pilots were trained.

 


OPERATIONAL SERVICE WITH 19 SQUADRON  IN ITALY


 A SAAF Beaufighter over the Med.


SAAF Beaufighters were fitted with a high resolution nose camera. Photographs could be taken by the pilot either independently-  or synchronized with firing of weapons. Photographs were used to evaluate the success of missions.


The two SAAF Beaufighter squadrons (19 & 16) were based at Biferno near the small town of Termoli. Missions were mostly flown to targets in the Balkans  crossing the Adriatic sea.


 A group of 19 squadron pilots/navigators. Arthur is standing 5th from the left. 


Photographs believed to be the SAAF base at Biferno where 19- and 16 squadrons were stationed.


During December/January 1944/45 harsh weather were experienced which resulted in limited flying.

 


 OPERATIONS

 

12/09/1944    Shipping sweep around    islands, shot down by Siebel  ferry

21/10/1944   Shipping sweep Fiume area, strafed  M.T.B.  M.L. ship in Olib harbour. The target  was not an enemy ship as stated in sortie report?

24/10/1944    Attack enemy barracks at Bjelovar  

31/10/1944    Shipping sweep in Planinski channel, Attacked  harbour of Novi  with RP rockets

05/11/1944    Attack on barracks at Tirana

08/11/1944    Photo recce of bridges

15/11/1944    R.P. Attack on barracks at Tarana

18/11/1944    R.P. Attack on Ostrozag village

20/11/1944    Attack bridges at Podgoriga

22/11/1044    Attack marshalling yards at Kutina

02/12/1944    Attack barracks at Bjelovar

02/12/1944    Attack gun emplacements Lussino Island

06/12/1944    Attack village at Gracac

15/12/1944    Strafed MT north of Podgorica

17/12/1944    Attack naval guns Lussino island

18/12/1944    Attack a ship (400 ton Schooner) in Karlabag harbour.

22/12/1944    Attack MTB human torpedo shelter and barracks

04/01/1945    Attack gun emplacements Lussino Island

11/01/1945    Attack gun emplacements Lussino Island

15/01/1945    Attack gun emplacements Lussino Island

20/01/1945    Special duty dropping pigeons Tidalwave (Austria)

24/01/1945     Attack enemy barracks on Lussino Island

01/02/1945    Enemy town Zuzemberk: returned due to bad weather

02/02/1945    Attack enemy held town of Zuzemberk

03/02/1945    Attack marshalling yards at Novska

07/02/1945    Attack marshalling yards at Karlovac

10/02/1945    Attack the Village of Sadinta Vas near Zuzemberg

14/02/1945    Attack rolling at Slovenj Gradec

15/02/1945    Attack M.T base and H.Q barracks at Novo Mesto

21/02/1945    Attack enemy H.Q. and barracks at Zolla

24/02/1945    Attack and sink German mine layer ship "Kuck-Kuck" in Fiume

27/02/1945   Attack enemy held buildings in Domzale

06/03/1945    RP and cannon attack on Zolla (Italy)

11/03/1945    Enemy H.Q at Novo Mesto destroyed 

12/03/1945    Barracks at Skofjaloka attacked

15/03/1945    Attack town of Gargaro enemy occupied – destroyed double storey house  

17/03/1945    Attack naval guns on island

20/03/1945    Attack castle at Gernik

22/03/1945    RP and cannon attack on Zolla (Italy)

30/03/1945    Attack castle south of Novo Mesto

03/04/1945    Attack 2 villages near Zuzemberk     

06/04/1945    Attack town of Bosovaga, hit in engine

09/04/1945    Shipping sweep, no sighting   

16/04/1945      RP and cannon attack on Zolla (Italy) 

18/04/1945      Attack enemy town of Jastrebarsko 

21/04/1945     Attack pontoon bridge at Bos Gradiska  

27/04/1945     Attack on Zolla aborted due to bad weather 

  

Typical nose camera shots. Here a photograph from Arthur's machine showing an attack on enemy rolling stock. See the Beaufighter flying and the explosions on the  train .


 Typical nose camera image of a rocket attack on the enemy held town of Zolla. Notice the high explosive rockets rushing towards the target.


Attack on trains.

 


 SHOT DOWN 12/09/1944 

Arthur was shot down on his very first sortie when they did a shipping sweep over Greek territory. While attempting to strafe an armed German ferry ship,  Arthur's aircraft was hit and a safe ditch landing maneuver was performed in the sea. He was rescued by locals and stayed on the islands until being picked up by Allied forces. See Arthur's detailed diary of his experience with the ditch landing and time on the island HERE.

Recently Arthur's Beaufighter wreck was found by Greek divers. The wreck is still in a good condition. See Julie Geater's writing and a video showing underwater images of the Beaufighter HERE

   

 

"My first op – going down in flames after being hacked by Siebel Ferry which is also in the picture. photo by S/Ldr M.Moir"


 “ Another view – climbing on port engine just before ditching – close! ”

 

 

 

 Under water image of  Arthur's Beaufighter.



 SINKING OF THE KUCK-KUCK 24/02/1945

19 Squadron was tasked to attack a moored German mine layer ship being refurbished with extra AA gun installations in the harbour of Fiume. Four aircraft took part in this raid under command of the experienced  Lt. Col. Don Tilley. Arthur was part of this group. The ship was successfully sunk with the rocket attack. 


 

The Kuck Kuck was attacked with the four aircraft line astern.  Tilley's aircraft did the first strike with a perfect salvo hitting the ship just under the water line. The other aircraft made hits on other parts of the ship.


 

 

Crews that participated with the "Kuck-Kuck" attack, LtR: Capt. Dickson (killed soon after), F/O Craven, Lt. Col Don Tilley, Lt. Geater,  Lt. Widdicombe,  F/O Brace. (Lt Stevens and navigator were  also participating in the attack but not present  in this photo)


 

Map of the Fiume area:   Arthur's memorabilia

 

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