Guest Blog: An Me 262 Personal Connection
After reading your comments about the Me 262 in your review of Adolf Galland’s book earlier this week, I thought you would be interested in the history of a surviving example of an Me 262. This unique example is a night fighter version displayed at the South African National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg. How did it end up there?
My father, Roly (Roland) Falk flew the Me 262 from Germany (Schleswig) to Farnborough in May 1945. He was chief test pilot at Farnborough during World War II and the Me 262 was one of the many captured German aircraft he flew during the war. He is better known as the “pin stripe test pilot” in the 1950’s due to him wearing immaculate suits while flying and first-flighting the Avro Vulcan, displaying it a few days later at Farnborough in 1952 and rolling it at Farnborough in 1955. See a film of that here.
Back to the Me 262. After being used for trials by the RAF for a couple of years, a number of aircraft including the Me 262 were offered to a South African senior pilot to take back to his country to show South Africans what their countrymen and allies had been facing in Europe. Allegedly, he agreed to this and the costs of the shipment without authorization from his seniors in South Africa. Something he had to face up to on his return to South Africa!
I had the privilege of visiting the museum in Johannesburg a few years ago and was very happy to give a copy of my father’s logbook entry for the flight from Germany to Farnborough to the museum curator to prove its provenance. I highly recommend a visit to the museum. It is full of many interesting military items.
John Falk, having both a father as a test pilot and a grandfather, Bill Thorn, on his mother’s side, is the black sheep who did not follow the family tradition. He is trying to make up for this by learning to be a glider pilot now that he is approaching retirement.