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Thread: Air Sea Rescue launches

  1. #31
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    Good day,

    I came across your post on the RAF Commands forum, so I thought I'd give you what little information I have on your late uncle.

    He was one of twenty personnel from 12 Balloon Centre who were attached to the Naval force taking part in the Dieppe raid. These men were deployed in teams of two onboard ten Landing Craft Tanks (LCT), these were to land on the main beach of Dieppe and the balloon teams would then deploy their balloons to assist in the air defence of the beachhead during the raid.

    Unfortunately like many parts of the raid, the planned operations were not successful; of the ten LCT's, four were sunk/stranded on the beach and others were badly damaged. From your uncles party, six men were killed and at least three more taken prisoner. I've not been able to identify which LCT he was on.

    He was one of four men from his unit who ended up buried at Oostduinkerke. It is not clear why they are buried here, but it is possible that they were carried by the tide, the tide was heading easterly during the raid, with bodies carried all the way to Holland by it.

    I hope this information is of some interest.

    Regards,

    Steve

  2. #32
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    Default AIR 29/67 ORB 12 Balloon Centre

    Quote Originally Posted by CarolMags View Post
    Thank you so much for both your posts. I have read up on the battle and was shocked to discover what a disaster it was. Do you have any idea why, if my Uncle Hugh died at DIEPPE, how his grave is in Belgium? If it wasn't for the date of his death I would never have connected him to dieppe. Carol
    Hello Carol

    There is an ORB Operations Record Book for 12 Balloon Centre at The National Archves, Kew Catalogue Ref: AIR 29/67.

    Whether it covers their exploits on the Dieppe Raid is unknown, occasionly ORBs mention casualties. The part I saw for 1940 was poor in detail, but you never know, without looking.

    What I suggest is finding it on The NA website catalogue and asking for a copying price incl postage for the dates you want, it can't be more than one or couple of A3 pages. It may / may not cover the raid or casualty?

    You will need to apply for a Readers Ticket to see the ORB in person and need to take official photographic Drivers Licence plus several recently posted printed correspondence with both your name and address on, such as Tax Notice, C/Tax, phone bill, telephone before going if in doubt.

    Mak
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 17th December 2014 at 19:43.

  3. #33
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    Regarding AIR 29/67; unfortunately the No12 Balloon Centre ORB contains very little information on the Dieppe Raid.

    It mentions the fact that 20 men deployed away on the raid and of these one was killed and another nine were missing. It doesn't identify the 20 men and gives no indication what they were used for.

    Regards,

    Steve

  4. #34
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    1 Casualty buried UK AC1 Albert George Windle (646834) buried Brookwood Military Cem. (Family have his service record)

    Naval-history web site gives the following LCTs lost at Dieppe 121, 124, 126, 145, 159.
    CWGC has naval losses on the following LCTs (not lost) 122, 125, 127, 163. Many have no known grave but there is a casualty in Terschelling from LCT 122, Abbeville from 124, Haslar from 126 & 127 and Oldham & Brookwood from 163

  5. #35
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    Thank you very much steve49. This information about my uncle Hugh is very interesting. A relation told my sister that Hugh was shot on the beach and was getting carried off when he was shot again and killed. No more detail after that. Regards carol

  6. #36
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    Default Hugh McKinnon and Dieppe Raid LCT 12 Balloon Centre crew

    Hi Carol,
    I've only just joined this site, so forgive my late arrival in the thread, and apologies if you have gathered more information in the interim than I am now able to add. I have been researching the 2nd LCT Flotilla at Dieppe for the past few years, and hope to get the book published later this year. Its been one of the neglected subjects of the Dieppe Raid, which is as a shame as a surprise since their story is quite a remarkable one that resulted in the tragic destruction of this naval flotilla and the heavy loss of life and equipment. It’s a tale of planning mistakes and intelligence blunders, but one that includes individual acts of incredible self-sacrifice and heroism. The previous absence of a detailed history for what happen to the Flotilla's craft is perhaps explained by the scattered nature of the archive, the large casualty list, and the evolving LCT role in the early days of Combined Operations. Even though Tank Landing Craft (LCT) were categorized as ships, they didn’t have names, only numbers. The crews were quite temporary in many cases, especially in the early days, and very few ship’s crew lists, or logs exist, and none for the LCT at Dieppe. In short, there is very little coordinated documentation for the early LCT Flotillas. 2nd LCT Flotilla, was actually the first to land tanks on an enemy held beach. The craft were markII type and had an official complement of 2 officers and 10 ratings, although for Dieppe many LCT had supernumaries - including additional Telegraphists, Sick Berth Attendants (the LCT were to act as casualties stations after landing the tanks, men and equipment), and additional AA gunners from HMS Excellent. There were also command personnel, liaison officers, and 'observers' (mainly officers from other LCT not selected for Operation Jubilee who wanted to experience some action. They were not to be disappointed. In total there were approximately 200 naval crew on board the 10 LCTs. There were also about 45 Royal Navy Commando 'Beach Party' teams scattered about the craft too. Each ship had three Churchill tanks and some had an armoured car, Jeeps, or bulldozers as well. In addition, each LCT carried 90-100 Canadian military personnel. A large number of these 'extras' and passengers joined the ships on the evening of the 18th August, including the two RAF Balloon crews, so it is not surprising that they ‘disappeared’ of all the other new faces on each ship. The ten LCTs carried a barrage balloon and gas canisters. The idea was that during re-embarkation, the RAF Balloon personnel would inflate the barrage balloons from within the craft to provide cover. This never happened, although I have one eyewitness who suggests they tried to inflate the balloon on one craft, but were either unable to or were prevented from completing the task due to damage to equipment. The landings were a disaster for everyone concerned, but from a naval point of view, particularly for the 2nd LCT Flotilla. As someone below has already commented, five of the ten LCTs of the 2nd Flotilla were lost. They also suffered about 60-65% casualties (130 LCT crewmen were either killed, wounded or captured). The experience for most of the LCT crew and craft was chaos, destruction and loss.

    As for the RAF men and which craft your uncle was on, I can perhaps narrow down the options. Five of the craft made it back to England. All had taken damage, and three of them needed extensive repairs after the battle. All had suffered some casualties, but in none of the reports, or over 600 hundred eye witness accounts, I have read thus far, are any RAF casualties mentioned on board any of these craft. That doesn't mean we can rule these out completely, as the battle was extremely confused and the large number of casualties mean that much information about events and individuals remain missing or blurred. But these craft are probably the least likely to have suffered RAF fatalities. Of the five lost LCT I have gathered a great deal of information about the naval crews and what happened to the ships. LCT145 (renumbered no.1 for the operation) landed in the centre of the beach c.0523, and was badly hit and disabled almost immediately. It was to receive at least forty-five artillery and mortar rounds over the next six hours, and remained wrecked on the beach after the battle. I believe at least one of the two RAF Balloon men on board escaped onto LCT163 (no.6) at about 0620. It is highly likely that the other man was killed. LCT159 (no.3) hit the beach at full speed after the skipper was killed just before landing. As a consequence, it too was stranded and remained on the beach for the rest of the battle. Although this craft suffered 95% naval casualties (in killed, wounded and captured), remarkably the two RAF Balloon men both survived (Birtle and Rawlinson) to be taken prisoner. LCT126 (no.4) was badly hit on leaving the beach. It sank about 800 metres off shore after all the crew and men left on board, which should have included the RAF crew, had been taken off by a couple of LCAs. The survivors were taken to HMS Calpe at about 0700-0730hrs, where they stayed for the rest of the battle. It is fairly unlikely that the RAF men on LCT126 no.4 were killed. LCT121 (no.5) - my grandfather Stan Pilling, was a crewman on board this LCT - landed c.0533 near the casino (its the famous photo of a burning LCT on the beaches of Dieppe). After unloading the tanks and men the engines were knocked out and fourteen out of the 24 naval crew were killed. Seven of the remainder were wounded and only three escaped injury - Stan, being one of them. He was one of only five of the crew to make in back to England - always claiming to be the last man successfully evacuated, having swum for it as the Germans came onto the beach. It is highly likely that the two RAF on board this craft were either killed or taken prisoner. The only other RAF Balloon man I know that was taken prisoner (beyond Birtle and Rawlinson) was called Kite. I have no explicit evidence, but believe it is highly likely that Kite was on board LCT121 (no.5). The other man may well have been killed. LCT124 (no.7) had a very good initial landing at 0605 and withdrew with little damage and few casualties. But it was ordered back to the beaches to take-off the infantry during the withdrawal. At about 1110 it was approaching White Beach when it was hit by two heavy calibre shells and sank quite quickly with some casualties. It is possible that two of the RAF Balloon men, such as HARDING, PRIOR, MACKINNON, and Joseph McKINNEY, if they were indeed on LCTs may have been killed on LCT124 no.7.

    As for Hugh McKinnon: if your family story is correct and he was wounded on the beach and later mortally wounded or killed whilst being evacuated, then, it is highly likely that he was on LCT145 no.1, or LCT121 no.5. If you have anymore details about the story, of how he was wounded, or who passed this story onto the family, I may be able to narrow down the options even more closely.

    Apologies for such a long explanation, but there is a lot to say about the LCT at Dieppe, and I wanted to give at least a taste of the information available and the fog surrounding this particular naval action. There is a lot more to think about (why four RAF Balloon men ended up on in the same cemetery? - over 80% and the LCT naval men killed have no known grave – bodies washed away, or burned, etc), bur many washed up up and down the coast of France, Belgium and even Holland. I’m happy to discuss any of the craft in more detail, should anyone which to hear more, and would be very interested to hear more about any of the Balloon men that are thought to b=have been on LCT at Dieppe.

  7. #37
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    Don't know how up to date the website is but Oxfam has all 5 books for sale at £150.00

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