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Thread: Missing Wellington 04FEB43

  1. #1
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    Default Missing Wellington 04FEB43

    Dear all

    Back online again a month after moving and changing ISPs!! Good to be 'back in action'!

    Wondering if one of you chaps - or chapesses - can help identify the likely contender for a missing Wellington on 4 February 1943.

    The 41 Squadron ORB notes on this day that A Flight’s Red Section was sent on a patrol of Cornwall Bay to search for a missing Wellington at 09:22. At 10:32, Yellow Section took over the search and they, in turn, were replaced by Red Section again, accompanied by White Section, at 11:57. These four aircraft returned at 12:41, all patrols having been unsuccessful in their search.

    Strangely, I'm even having trouble locating "Cornwall Bay" with Googlemaps and Multimap...

    Can anyone help please?

    Thanks
    Steve

    PS. 41 Squadron were based at Llanbedr, Wales, at the time, if that's any help.
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Could it be BK303 of 300 Squadron which was lost at sea after a gardening mission to L'orient (Lorient)? Seems like the Cornwall area maybe a plausable place to look if the aircraft had radioed to say that they had been hit and were making for the nearest landfall.

    http://www.geocities.com/skrzydla/300/300_losses.html

    A

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    Hi Steve
    It seems an awful long way to send Spitfires on a search to the Cornwall area from LLanbedr. One would have expected longer range a/c or a/c based in Devon or Cornwall. 300 were a Polish Sqn from Hemswell in Lincolnshire. A landfall along the Cornish coast could have been feasible if the a/c was briefed to go round the Brest Peninsula or under the circumstances set out by Amrit, but it would be useful to find out how a search area ,apparently off Cornwall, was decided upon.Does anyone have access to the Mountbatten Rescue Centre ORB?
    Regards
    Dick

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    1943 - the golden age of crude iron nibs, ink-wells and blotting-paper; I would venture to suggest that maybe what was recorded was "Conwy Bay" (Conway), which would fit rather better with a search from Llanbedr

    dg

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    Hi Steve,

    I agree with Litcham Lad on the location and suggest that the following aircraft was the subject of the search.

    At 13:05 hrs on the 3rd Feb Wellington HX596 took off from Chivenor to ferry the aircraft to Tain.

    Signalled at 14:30 hrs that they had engine trouble immediately followed this message with an SOS. Believed to have ditched 20 miles south of Penrhos, Caernarvonshire.

    All, including P/O Hann of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Sgt Karena from Opapa, Hawke's Bay, are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial to the Missing.

    Regards
    Ross

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    Thanks Gents

    The ORB is typewritten and clearly states "Cornwall Bay", but based on what you're saying, this is obviously incorrect. Ross' suggested location, 20 miles south of Penrhos, puts the loss in Cardigan Bay, which would fit both 41 Squadron's range and a misspelling/misreading/mis-interpretation, resulting in "Cornwall Bay".

    However, whilst this looks like a good fit in many ways, there still exists a problem, which is that Wellington HX596 did not signal radio trouble until 14:30. However, 41 Squadron's ORB reports that search parties were up from 09:22, and the eight search sorties were flown and completed by 12:41, which is before Wellington HX596 was even airborne.

    Is there any other likely candidate for a loss on this day in this general area, please? Based on the "Cornwall Bay" error, I'm now concerned it may even not have been a Wellington, but I have no doubt the loss was off the west coast of Wales, owing to 41's base location (Llanbedr) and range, which was raised as a valid point by Dick.

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Sorry Steve you have misread my post.

    The Wellington sent the SOS on the 3rd.

    The Spitfires were searching the next morning.

    Regards
    Ross

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    Arrggghhh! Doh! Thanks for the clarification Ross; I appreciate it. In that case, it looks like your suggested Wellington loss suits the timings, location and circumstances.

    A final question, if I may... is there an indication of the Squadron the aircraft was being ferried from or to, or which unit it was being flown by?

    Thanks very much.

    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Brew; 8th March 2008 at 10:50.
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    hello Steve,

    Ross mentioned that Sgt KARENA was from Hawke's Bay which is in New-Zealand and there's an entry in Errol Martyn's "For your Tomorrow" volume 2, page 59.
    I quote :
    Ferry flight to Tain (from Chivenor, Devonshire ?)
    547 Squadron, RAF (Tain, Ross & Cromarty - 18 Group)
    Wellington VIII HX596 - took off at 1305 captained by Sgt F.L. AYLEY RAF. While flying over Cardigan Bay 20 miles south of Penrhos, Caernarvonshire, signalled at 1430 that it was experiencing engine trouble, following this immediatly with an SOS. Nothing further was heard or seen of HX596 and its three crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. It is thought that the flight began at Chivenor, where the Squadron had been base until late the previous month, when it proceeded to Tain.
    WOpAG : NZ411793 Sgt Peeti Rotana KARENA, RNZAF, age 23, 219 hours, 1 op.

    Joss

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    Cher Joss

    Thanks for this additional information.

    Salutations
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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