A few years ago I did some research on the crash of Wellington HX748 in 1943. It was on the strength of the Aircraft Delivery Unit, 4 Ferry Control Unit, Middle East Command.
On 13 February 1943, it landed at the Staging Post, RAF Sharjah, and on 14 February 1943, took off for Karachi. Some 30 minutes later, when over the sea, the pilot noticed oil on the reduction gear casing of the port engine. This coupled with a visibility of only 2 miles made him decide to return to Sharjah. After about 7 minutes the port propeller flew off . The pilot was forced to land on a rocky strip of coast at Rul Dhadnah, now in the UAE: the aircraft was badly damaged and the navigator killed.
On 17 February, an aircraft (I presume a Bisley) from 244 Squadron Sharjah took off to drop supplies. This aircraft reported that four members of the crew were apparently uninjured.
On 22 February three of the crew, rescued by the Royal Navy, reached Sharjah, the fourth survivor, the passenger, remaining on board HMS Capetown in order to continue his journey to Karachi.
The crew and passenger were as follows: Sgt. G. Chadwick (pilot); Sgt. W.H (Billy) Donnelly (navigator); Sgt. G.A. Wharton (wireless operator); Sgt. W.J. Brown (wireless operator); Lt.-Col. De Watteville (passenger).
Billy Donnelly was buried by the crew near the aircraft. A month later someone photographed the grave, and I was sent a copy of the photo by a member of Billy's family. Apparently it was labelled 244 Sqd on the back. Over the last couple of years some colleagues in the UAE managed to find the crash site, and a year ago a memorial to Billy was erected close to it and his grave-site, in the presence of his surving family.
Questions are:
Does anyone have any way of contacting the surviving crew members?
Why was Billy killed while the other crew members survived? After all, the nav's seat in the Wellington was relatively protected by the wing and the bomb bay below. Unless Billy had moved to the bomb aimer's position in the nose. But why would he have done that knowing that a crash was inevitable?
Why was he buried on the spot instead of being taken back to Sharajah, where the wreckage went I believe?
Why was Lt.-Col. De Watteville aboard?
Thanks for any ideas.