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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth March1911Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Date of Death 16 January 1997
Birth NameThomas Gilbert Mahaddie
Nickname Hamish

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Leith in March 1911 in Leith in Scotland, Thomas Gilbert Mahaddie joined the British Royal Air Force (RAF) on 9th January 1928 training as a metal rigger. He then was then able to volunteer for pilot training and gained his wings in 1935. It was during this period he gained the nickname "Hamish" which was to stick for the rest of his life. Hamish Mahaddie was a bomber pilot and took part in many bombing operations between September 1939 and July 1940 when he was rested and commissioned as an officer. Mahaddie was an instructor until August 1942 when he returned to operations with the elite Pathfinder force, the RAF's target finders for night bombing operations. Hamish was taken off operations in March 1943 with the rank of Group Captain and given the task of recruiting aircrew for the Pathfinder force, and this was followed in July 1944 with the appointment of command of RAF Warboys, where the Pathfinder Force training unit was. This unit trained aircrew on the Avro Lancaster and the De Haviland Mosquito. Hamish Mahaddie continued his post war career in the RAF until March 1958 when he retired with the rank of Group Captain and the DSO, DFC and AFC to his credit. However Mahaddie found that he could no longer keep his family in the manor to which they had been accustomed and became a consultant to the film industry. His memoirs "Hamish" published in 1989 only give vague details of which films he was involved in, but the first was the 1964 Mirisch release "633 Squadron" about an RAF Mosquito squadron launching a suicidal raid on a Nazi installation in Norway. Mahaddie with his Mosquito experience was well placed to advise the producers. The film used some recently retired target tug Mosquito's, and one example B35, serial number RS712 was bought by Mahaddie on completion of filming. He is thought to have used the aircraft as a personal transport between film sets. "633 Squadron" credits Mahaddie with his real name of T.G Mahaddie, which causes confusion on the IMDB as he is billed as Hamish Mahaddie on the credits of 1969's "Battle Of Britain". In his memoirs Mahaddie recalls he was involved with the 1965 Michael Anderson film "Operation Crossbow" and he was definitely the aviation consultant to the James Bond series, albeit uncredited. It was Mahaddie who recruited Wing Commander Ken Wallis and his auto gyro to the Bond film "You Only Live Twice", and the source for this is Wing Commander Wallis himself who remains to this day a delightful raconteur. Wallis recalled that he took his auto gyro to Pinewood Studios and took off from a small piece of land in front of Messrs Broccoli and Saltzman. Hamish Mahaddie told Wallis after wards that when he took off from that restricted area he was instantly in a James Bond film ! Mahaddie's finest hour came in 1968 when he was recruited by Harry Saltzman to find as many second world war vintage aircraft as possible for the aviation epic "Battle Of Britain". The producers had realised that with the film being made in colour, using wartime footage and models was not acceptable. Hamish Mahaddie managed to persuade the RAF to lend many of its aircraft as static airfield dressing and in addition to this found 9 airworthy Spitfires and 3 airworthy Hurricanes. Mahaddie's big coup was finding the Spanish air force were still using licence built Heinkel 111 bombers and Messerschmitt 109 fighters, ironically with Rolls-Royce engines. He persuaded the Spanish air force to co-operate in the filming of "Battle Of Britain". This enabled the film to have its spectacular dogfight sequences, using real aircraft in a real sky, something that CGI effects cannot match. During the filming of "Battle Of Britain", Mahaddie lent his Mosquito bomber to Mirisch for their film "Mosquito Squadron", a lame "sequel" to "633 Squadron" that re-used many scenes from the earlier film. The Mosquito RS712 was eventually sold by Mahaddie in 1972 and now resides in Florida, its flying days apparently over. Mahaddie was also advisor to the short lived British TV series "The Pathfinders". After this the trail goes cold, as related earlier Mahaddie did not detail the films he was involved with in his memoirs. Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie died on 16th January 1997.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ian Nicholls

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