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Snell Tony

Snell Tony
Author: dmjc66
Time Stamp:
09:36:46 12 April 2005
Post:
whilst perusing Chris shores" "those other Eagles" I noticed it lists Anthony Edward Snell a Spitfire pilot who served in Sicily in WW2

Odd thing is I met a certain Tony Snell recently and exchanged phone numbers .

Said he flew Spitfires in Sicily .... etc .. etc

Whats going on because if I"m to believe Shores book he "was seen to crash into the sea 25 miles off Augusta , pouring smoke etc - The body of the 22 year old pilot was picked up by a ship...buried at sea etc "

Now before I ring Mr Snell and inform him of the sad news , that hes pulling my leg . Did he resurect himself ..or ..in fact is it another major error in this epic work

Or...is he really Vivian (one of the few)

Any help before I ring him and decide would be great

Dave


RE: Snell Tony
Author: Lorraine Luke (Guest)
Time Stamp:
14:14:32 12 April 2005
Post:
Hi Dave,

From "No 43 'Fighting Cocks' Squadron" (Andy Saunders) Page 120

"31/08/1943 Flg Off Anthony Edward Snell. Dived into sea from high altitude in Spitfire IX MA572 FT-9, possibly due to oxygen failure. He is commemorated on the Alamein memorial".

Page 87 of this book mentions a Lloyd Snell, a Canadian groundcrew member with 43 Squadron.

Tony Snell's demise was also mentioned in Jim Beedles "43 Squadron" and J Norby King's "Green Kiwi versus German Eagle".

Bill Bullen's unpublished story of 43 Sqn member F/O Norman Craig states "On the last day of the month four Spitfire Mk IX's were scrambled to intercept a JU 88 which was reported to be 15 miles north of Catania and flying south at 33,000 feet. The weather was fine and the Spit formation climbed to the height that the JU 88 was said to have been flying at and following given vectors between Catania and Augusta the pilots saw nothing. Ten miles east of Augusta the formation became split when F/O A E Snell (who was leading one section) was seen by his number 2 to dive down from 25,000 ft to 15,000 ft. He climbed again to 25,000 ft and then peeled off and finally went down in a spiral-dive, with smoke coming from his aircraft and pieces falling off. The aircraft crashed into the sea approximately 25 miles east of Augusta. The pilot was seen apparently dead, on the surface near the spot where the aircraft went in". The Squadron's "suspected" explanation for the disaster was "Oxygen failure".

The CWGC lists: SNELL, ANTHONY EDWARD Flying Officer 126717 31/08/1943 22 Royal Air Force United Kingdom

Column 269. ALAMEIN MEMORIAL

Cheers

Lorraine


RE: Snell Tony
Author: Harry Jamieson (Guest)
Time Stamp:
16:01:47 12 April 2005
Post:
Dave,

'Escape or Die' by Paul Brickhill has 22 pages and two photo's on a Tony Snell who survived the war and became an actor. The item dealing with him is entitled 'The man who would not die' This is probably your bird. He had quite an eventful career, winning the DSO for his escape and being one of the first to fly the Meteor.

Harry.


RE: Snell Tony
Author: Dave (Guest)
Time Stamp:
16:35:04 12 April 2005
Post:
Harry and Luke

Thanks very much . The Snell I encountered only recently evidently is not a phoney

Seemed more like a thesbian

cheers Dave


RE: Snell Tony
Author: HughAHalliday
Time Stamp:
18:00:38 12 April 2005
Post:
From ongoing DSO data base:

SNELL, Anthony Noel, F/L (119146, Royal Air Force) - No.242 Squadron - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 July 1946. Born 1922 at Tunbridge Wells. Enlisted 1940. Trained in Canada and United States. Commissioned January 1942. Shot down while flying Spitfire ER856, LE-S (crash-landed on beach); probably downed by Lieutenant Alfred Hammer of 4/JG 53.

"On July 10th, 1943, this officer's aircraft was shot down during a patrol over the beach head in Sicily, where Allied landings were taking place. He was then engaged in attacking a force of Messerschmitts. The crash landing took place in territory controlled by the enemy, but Flight Lieutenant Snell was able to avoid capture and, after dark, endeavoured to return to the beach head. He first encountered a number of Italians whom he bluffed into thinking him a Vichy Frenchman. On escaping from the Italians, he eventually found a road which he recognized from his map. Whilst following this road he was challenged by some Germans, who ordered him to put his hands up. Without warning they rolled a grenade at him along the ground. Just in time he jumped aside and ran back, followed by more grenades; he escaped by taking cover in the scrub. Shortly after this, he found himself in a minefield through which he picked his way for half an hour before reaching a track. Following this track, Flight Lieutenant Snell blundered on to a German airfield, very near the battle area, where he was captured. The Germans decided to execute him as a spy. He was marched out to a small open space and ordered to kneel down. Realizing that he was about to be shot in cold blood, he did not obey the order but sprang away as the Germans fired. He was wounded in several places, his right shoulder being smashed. Despite this, Flight Lieutenant Snell evaded his captors and hit for a time amongst boulders before making a last attempt to reach the British lines. Owing to the extreme weakness and pain caused by his wounds, this attempt was not successful. Flight Lieutenant Snell was recaptured at dawn after collapsing from exhaustion. He was again threatened with execution for spying on the airfield, but finally managed to prove his identity to the satisfaction of the Germans. He was taken to a field hospital where his wounds received attention. Later he was transferred to Catania and thence to Lucca by sea. Here he was in hospital for about two months, until the Germans who controlled the prisoners decided to move them by train to Germany.

"Although not fully recovered from his wounds, Flight Lieutenant Snell determined to escape during the journey and made all possible preparations for this. In company with an American officer, he jumped from the train while it was passing through a junction, afterwards discovered to be Mantova. For the next week they travelled south. During this journey they had several narrow escapes from the Germans and were assisted by a number of anti-Fascist Italians. With this help the officers were able to reach Modena, where they were sheltered by various friendly Italians for several months. While in Modena, Flight Lieutenant Snell was informed of various projects which Partisan forces were planning and he undertook a long trip into the mountains in disguise to inspect a plateau which the Partisans considered to be a possible site for a secret airfield. He found the site to be unsuitable as an airfield but a useful place for the dropping of arms and ammunition. He drew up a detailed plan and map with this project in view, giving two copies to other prisoners for transmission as opportunity occurred. A third copy he carried on him and handed over to the correct authorities when he finally escaped. It was eventually decided that Flight Lieutenant Snell and his companion should attempt to escape over the Alps to Switzerland. They made a long and risky train journey, accompanied by several of their Italian friends, to a small village near the frontier. There they were introduced to two guides who took them over the mountains. After a long and steep climb, the frontier was reached and crossed. In Switzerland he was interned until October 1944, when the American advance reached the Swiss border."


RE: Snell Tony
Author: Dave (Guest)
Time Stamp:
10:56:16 13 April 2005
Post:
Dear Hugh

Amazing chap !

If this is the gentleman I spoke to recently it will be even more of a pleasure (and honour) to talk to him knowing what he"s been through .

He surprised me when he told me his age because easily he could have passed for a man in his late sixties .

Thanks once again , Dave


RE: Snell Tony
Author: Gus
Time Stamp:
17:17:10 13 April 2005
Post:
I was put in touch with Tony Snell via John Folian and have yet to meet up but have spoken a couple of times and he was very willing to help with his memories which I understood to include an escape following capture. Understand he lives in Brighton and has described himself as ex 242 Squadron. Seemed to be quite a character.

Have also been in touch with the Lloyd Snell referred to above as one of the groundcrew for 43 Squadron. He is still very much alive and well and living in Canada and has been absolutely marvellous in sharing his written memories and photographs with me for my own book about my grandfather R R Barnfather and their time together in 324 Wing in Sicily and Italy.

Gus



RE: Snell Tony
Author: Dave (Guest)
Time Stamp:
11:05:08 14 April 2005
Post:
Cheers Gus

Probably you"re not terribly distant . My encounter with the old boy was while recently calling on some locals in relation to local history .

It was mere coincidence I had the honour and privilege of meeting a Spitfire pilot

Dave