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Thread: 400812 - Unaccounted airmen - 12-8-1940

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    Default Unaccounted airmen - 12-8-1940

    What caused the death of following airmen, killed on active service (Flight Global), probably most of them - if not all - killed in an air raid:

    Cpl Arthur R.O. BARRELL - 864073 - 933 (Balloon) Sqn, buried Gosport (Ann's Hill) Cem., Hampshire (UK4826);
    LAC Charles H. CHILCOTT - 654152 - 930 (Balloon) Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL;
    Cpl Sydney A. CROKER - 864272 - 933 Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL;
    AC1 Albert E. GRANT - 861990 - 930 Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL;
    AC2 Harold W. HALE - 954410 - 930 Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL (not listed Flight archives);
    AC2 Ronald F. HILL - 956396 - 930 Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL;
    Cpl Reginald W. HOLLISTER - 511553 - 912 (Balloon) Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL;
    LAC Gerald McELREA - 548268 - 930 Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL;
    AC1 Harry REED - 630523 - 930 Sqn, same cemetery as BARRELL,
    AC1 Alex J. SMITH - 743465 - 930 Sqn, buried Woodston Cem., Old Fletton, Huntingdonshire (UK2396), and

    LAC Sydney H. BELL - 342519 - not listed Flight archives, buried Lympne (St.Stephan) Churchyard, Kent (UK4011);

    AC1 Eric S. GINNS - 540014 - not listed Flight archives, buried Higham Ferrers Cem., Northamptonshire (UK2286);

    AC1 Arthur M. LANGDON - 630191 - died of wounds or injuries received on active service (Flight archives), buried Manchestern Southern Cem., Lancashire (UK717);

    Cpl Edward B. McCOLL - 523177 - killed on active service (Flight archives), buried Glasgow (Eastwood) Cem. (UK7492), and finally

    AC2 Norman H.M. SYME - 574864 - killed on active service (Flight archives), buried Highweek (All Saints) Churchyard Ext., Newton, Abbot, Devonshire (UK5686).

    Just one proposed aircraft loss for this day:
    Blenheim I - L1406 - 25 Sqn - overshot landing at night, Martlesham Heath.

    Regards and thanks for your help.
    Henk.

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    No injuries on L1406.

    A

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    A number of men were killed when a parachute mine landed on their position. Gerald McElrea is named specifically on this link, with a picture:

    http://www.downmemorylane.me.uk/Antrim%20R14.htm


    More details:

    http://www.gosport.info/History/Anns_Hill_Cemetery_War_Graves_/Anns_Hill_Cemetery_War_Graves_/anns_hill_cemetery_war_graves_4.html

    "Corporal ARTHUR REGINALD OWEN BARRELL R.A.F. 864073, Corporal, Aux Royal Air Force, No. 933 Barrage Balloon Squadron. Age 33 Died 12.8.40

    Barrage Balloon Site Disaster - H.M.S. St. Vincent Sports Field St. Vincent Sports Ground had a barrage balloon site situated within its boundary, this was Positioned next to the railway lines which ran from Gosport to Fareham and formed part of the Anti-aircraft defences of the town. On the 12th of August 1940 a heavy German air-raid commenced over the area, what happened next, caused the largest number of R.A.F. casualties for a single incident, to occur in Gosport. One of the two who survived then A/C2 A.W. Kemp, recalled at the Remembrance Service held at Ann's Hill Cemetery on the corresponding date 57 years later:

    “The day was fine one with plenty of sun and we were out most of the time, drilling and getting used to our webbing equipment. The powers that be had decided that we were to be trained as much as possible for a line of defence should the German army invade. It was tiring but well worth while as we got used to our rifles and equipment very quickly. Just before midday, we had two corporals who were instructors to help us with our training. They had been with us only a short while when the red alert was sounded, as the sirens blared out. This usually happened well before a raid, but this time it was almost immediately that the guns opened up and we could hear the noise of the planes diving. Our NCO quickly ordered us all to retire to our air raid shelter. After a short while Frank Offord and I decided to go outside and find out what all the noise was about. We went around the back of the shelter into a slit trench, which was about 4 foot deep. The noise was deafening; we saw a parachute come down and then another - it was very exciting to watch at the time because it all seemed so far away. Frank and I spotted the Hun planes coming from the back of the site and one was dive bombing. The next thing I remember was a terrific explosion and we both lost consciousness. We must have been out for quite a while because as I came to Frank was shouting "I'm drowning!" I could see he was up to his waist in soil, his face was covered in blood, his nose was bleeding and he was in great pain. All this of course had also happened to me, and I felt terrible. We managed to struggle out of the trench and Frank said we'd better get to the sick bay as soon as we could. As we stood up ready to go, we looked at the shelter in front of us and all we could see was a great big hole. I said to Frank "We'd better get help quickly as the others may be buried and badly injured". As we passed the balloon winch we saw it was on fire, and the house opposite had been hit. When we entered the Naval sick bay they had their hands full as there were casualties everywhere, and all they could do for us was to bathe out wounds and tell us that our centre at Titchfield was coming to collect us. We told them about the air raid shelter and they sent someone to investigate. Meanwhile the air raid sirens started again and we were sent to the air raid shelter were we saw civilians from the row of houses on the edge of the site. The mums did their best to comfort us, because they realised there was no hope for the rest of our crew. We were in so much pain; all we wanted was treatment to ease it. Eventually our R.A.F. ambulance turned up and took us to Titchfield where we were given drugs and treatment. When they had made us more comfortable we were sent off on sick leave, after which Frank and I separated and we went to different sites until Frank and I re-mustered to a different trade and went overseas till the end of the war.”

    Those that were killed in the air raid were: BARRELL, Arthur Reginald Owen, 864073 Corporal, 933 B.B. Squadron CHILCOTT, Charles Henry , 654152 Leading Aircraftsman, 930 B.B. Squadron CROKER, Sidney Albert Edward, 864272 Corporal, 930 B.B. Squadron GRANT, Albert Edward, 861990 Aircraftsman 1st class, 930 B.B. Squadron HALE Horace William, 954410 Aircraftsman 2nd class, 930 B.B. Squadron HILL, Ronald Fergus, 956396 Aircraftsman 2nd class, all of 930 B.B. Squadron HOLLISTER, Reginald Walter, 511553 Corporal, 912 B.B. Squadron McELREA, Gerald, 548268 Leading Aircraftman, 930 B.B. Squadron REED, Harry, 630523 Aircraftsman 1st class, 930 B.B. Squadron SMITH, Alex James, 743463 Aircraftsman 1st class, 930 B.B. Squadron All except A/C1 A.J. Smith (originally buried there but exhumed and re-interred at his home town) are buried at Ann's Hill Cemetery, Gosport in the War Graves Section at positions: Cpl Hollister 189 grave 2; LAC Chilcott plot 188 grave 27; LAC McElrea plot188 grave 43; A/C1 Reed plot 188 grave 59; A/C1 Grant plot 188 grave 28; A/C2 Hale plot 188 grave 30; A/C2 Hill plot 188 grave 30; Cpl Barrell plot 189 grave 34; Cpl Croker plot 189 grave 18, all are commemorated by Commonwealth War Grave headstone's. "

    A
    Last edited by Amrit; 26th February 2008 at 16:54. Reason: new info

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    I would check the death location and registration of the others to see if near Manston in Kent

    http://www.raf.mod.uk/Bob1940/august12.html


    Manston Aerodrome was also visited by the enemy when two hangars were damaged and the aerodrome rendered temporarily unserviceable by a number of craters. Workshops were also damaged and it was reported that various offices and quarters were affected. Casualties are said to be four dead killed and eight injured



    Gosport district was also bombed and although details of the full extent of the damage are lacking, casualties are reported to amount to fifteen killed and twenty-four injured, including twelve RAF personnel killed.

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    Thanks Amrit for this excellent info.

    Henk.

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    Thanks Paul for additional info.

    Amrit: CWGC has for Barrell and Croker "933" Squadron.

    Henk.

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    Hi Henk
    Warner's Blenheim has L1406 as you describe but both crewmen uninjured.Following from Paul's suggestion I would expect Deaths at Manston to be registered in Ramsgate and none seem to be, but 4 are registered in Kent. Bell, McColl and Syme are registered at Elham which is close to Hawkinge and Langdon is registered at Canterbury. Ginns is registered at Cambridge. From Flying Training and Support Units since 1912- Ray Sturtivant and John Hamlin, 933(Balloon) Sqn was based at Portsmouth and Southsea which might bring the raid at Gosport into play.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 26th February 2008 at 21:27.

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    Hi Henk
    Sturtivant's book on Support Units has Balloon Sqns 930-933 as Hampshire units so their personnel could well have been dispersed around targets like Portsmouth and Gosport. The deaths of Barrell and Croker are both registered at Gosport.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Thanks Dick, info much appreciated. Next thread will be casualties 13-8-1940 and again many names supposed all being killed in air raids. Again your help is very welcome.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Full list of casualities - In cluding civilians killed in this explosion


    http://www.bbrclub.org/Tragic%20Loss%20of%20Life%20at%20933%20Barrage%20B alloon%20Squadron%20at%20Gosport%2012th%20August%2 01940.htm

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