Tuesday September 20th 2016Tim
World War II a British biplane torpedo bomber which was
made for the Royal Navy by the Fairey Aviation Company
in an around London, England, was given the nickname
"Stringbag" by those who had an intimacy with it.
Sometimes it was referred to as a "Dear Old Stringbag."
The more official name was The Fairey Swordfish. By the
mid to late 1930's the biplane design was generally
considered obsolete and old fashioned. The Swordfish's
nickname had to do with the rigging that gave additional
structure to the wings of biplanes and like a string bag
a Swordfish could carry a whole bunch of different loads
all at the same time. And, just in case, The Swordfish
sunk more tonnage than any other Allied plane through
the course of World War II.
"To War in a
Stringbag" and "Bring Back My Stringbag" are the titles of
two books written by men who flew the Fairey Swordfish
during World War II. It was a relatively slow airplane and
according to Crabtree it "wallowed in the air" it was a
"sitting duck" it didn't "like diving" it didn't like
to "spin" and apparently a person had to be "gung-ho" to fly
a Dear Old Stringbag. The Fairey Swordfish had three crew, a
pilot who sat at the front behind the single engine, an
observer in the middle and a radio operator who was
also a rear gunner at the back. When Crabtree first had to
leap out of the pilot seat of a Swordfish, the plane was in
a "spin" spiraling down toward the sea and somehow the
centrifugal forces of the spin briefly trapped him in the
rear gunner's seat. Our hero has his doubts.