|Crew of AN529, 90 Sqn, force landed 8 Nov 1941||I have conflicting information about this aircraft's letter code and crew and am looking for clarification.
Per "Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean, Vol 1, 1939-1942":
8 Nov 1941
90 Sqn, Fortress I AN529 X
F/O Swanson, crew
Took off Shallufa to attack Benghazi harbour and shipping. Ran out of fuel and force-landed 128km W of Fort Maddelena.
From Air Classics magazine article, Dec 1994:
On 26 October, four Fortresses each with two bomb bay tanks flew to Shaluffa, Egypt as 90 Squadron detachment, leaving five in England. Operations began on 8 November, when "C-Charlie." flown by Flying Off. Stevenson and Flt. Sgt. Ken Brailsford, bombed Benghazi in daylight from 20,000 ft. As the bomb bay doors were open throughout the bombing run, the vented hydraulic fluid from the operation of the autopilot swirled up into the bomb bay and froze the lower bomb releases. Tony Barwood. who was on board to experience high-altitude operations during desert conditions, recalls,
"It was the passenger's job to be ready with two screwdrivers to manually operate the lower releases if the bombs failed to come off. On this occasion manual release under the direction of the bomb aimer over the intercom was necessary. It did not contribute to the accuracy of the bombing!
"There was some flak, which was a shock as we weren't expecting any. Shortly after turning for home the aircraft progressively ran out of fuel; engines 1, 2 and 3 being feathered in turn. The crew prepared to bail out but a convenient wadi came up and Stevenson effectively crash-landed. Apart from some sand in the eyes, nobody was injured." The crew were later picked up by an armored unit of the Long Range Desert Group.
Was AN529 coded "X" or "C"? Was the pilot F/O SWANSON or F/O STEVENSON? If the latter is true, then other crew members included 2nd pilot Ken BRAILSFORD and Tony BARWOOD.
I just heard from the daughter of Colin BARBER regarding 159 Sqn matters in India, and she mentioned, by chance, that Colin was involved in a Fortress crash in the desert that I think was AN529...but his logbook is missing. He is alive in Ontario, Canada (having emigrated from the UK years ago) and just told his daughter that Canadian Bill STRUTHERS was among those aboard. I have three photos of the prang (no injuries, all rescued), and there were at least eight aboard. It's early in my communication with Colin's daughter, so possibly Colin will be able to provide his own further take on what happened and who was with him.
Are there two separate Fortress prangs involved here? I don't think so, based on info found on Joe Baugher's US serial numbers database, on-line.
If a 90 Sqn expert, or another, can provide a crew list, I'll be delighted.
Some other tidbits to share: STRUTHERS later died with STEVENSON aboard 159 Sqn's Liberator AL526 "G" on 6/7 April 1943 during an op to the Arakan coast, Burma. BRAILSFORD did a tou ....Read More.||Matt Poole on 12th April 2009 07:48:07|