|No.204 Squadron, Sunderland ML845||If I am going to ask a question I had better share some information first. J23053 Flight Lieutenant Albert Mallam Berrey (Mentioned in Despatches, 1 January 1946) had flown a tour of anti-submarine duties in Canada with No.117 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron, 18 July 1942 to 28 November 1943. He was posted overseas, took a captain's course at No.4 (Coastal) OTU and was then sent to No.204 Squadron.
On 23 July 1944 he was ferrying Sunderland ML845 from Gibraltar to Bathurst (West Africa) when he force-landed at sea, 27.58 North, 12.51 West (i.e. near the Canaries). The crew were himself (133 hours on type, 1,733 hours all types) plus J26033 F/L N.L. Webb (second pilot, 86 hours on type, 1,280 hours on all types), Aus 421076 F/O A.C. Pike (navigator), J41347 P/O R.G. Parsons (WOP), NZ417250 Flight Sergeant R.V. Whittle (WOP), J22320 F/O R. Griffiths (WOM), R63581 Flight Sergeant F.A. Longthorne (first engineer), R70408 Sergeant H.J. Sykes (second engineer), R177916 Sergeant S.O. Ogilvie (air gunner) and 183957 Sergeant G.R. Pepper (air gunner). there were no injuries. The initial report (and the only one in his file) stated:
"During the initial stages of this flight all four engines operated perfectly. The first indication of any trouble was on the starboard outer engine. The oil pressure guage on this engine dropped from 80 lbs per square inch to 0 lbs per square inch in a matter of seconds. I immediately cut the throttles to this engine to see if it was a faulty gauge or not. Before any more could be done, the gunner in the mid-upper turret reported oil gushing from beneath the port outer mainplane. My second engineer, in the galley, reported oil pouring out of the breather pipe of the port outer engine. I then cut the port outer and prepared the crew for a forced landing. The eventual towing by rescue craft in very high seas necessitated the abandonment of the aircraft and its eventual destruction by gunfire at 1200Z on 27 July 1944 in position 29.38N and 13.38W."
Since he was forced down on 23 July 1944 and the aircraft was sunk by gunfire on 27 July 1944, there is probably a story of what happened between his being forced down and the arrival of a rescue craft - but what ? Did the crew stick with the Sunderland ? Did some take to dinghies but remain near the aircraft ? Why the lapse of time from forced-landing to rescue ? How were they found ? Doubtless, answers will lead to more questions, but I shall be satisfied with any tips or leads that might flesh out this account. ....Read More.||HughAHalliday on 19th October 2011 05:42:03|