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Thread: 462 Squadron Loss - May 1943

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    Default 462 Squadron Loss - May 1943

    I have a very rare printed Goldfish Club badge, awarded to A16655 Sergeant Clifton Donald Curnow of 462 Squadron, for a ditching in May 1943. It seems he was awarded a DFM for his actions that night, along with a DFC and DFM for two other members of the crew. Although I have found a lot on Curnow, including full service record, I have scant on the action that night, aircraft, crew, what happened to the remainder of the crew etc. Can anyone help?

    I know it was a 462 Squadron Halifax, operating over Italy (at least that was the target), and after ditching the three crew (maybe the rest too) spent almost 11 days in a dinghy.

    Any other details would be appreciated.

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    Hello,

    6/7-5-1943
    No.462 Sqn RAAF
    Halifax II DT501:J

    Took off Gardabia Main aerodrome 2256 to bomb enemy MT and troop concentrations in Tunisia. Engines developed glycol leaks, and the aircraft ditched 70m NNW of Tripoli

    565380 W/O (Pilot) Harold 'Mickey' VERTICAN DFC RAF
    1270886 Sgt (2nd Pilot) William Stanley 'Ace' ALLARD RAFVR
    122516 F/O (Nav.) John Lawson 'Timmy' TEMPEST RAFVR
    1381481 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Frederick Benjamin 'Ben' WARD RAFVR
    AUS16655 (Flt. Egnr.) Clifton Donald CURNOW RAAF
    1057611 Sgt (Air Gnr.[MUG]) James Roberts 'Jock' GORDON RAFVR
    1314419 Sgt (Air Gnr.[Tail]) George 'Taffy' SMITH RAFVR

    All survived the ditching and were adrift 10 and-a-half days before the dinghy drifted ashore about 25m W. of Homs. They were looked after by local Arabs and reached Homs on the 18th May. Vertican awarded a CGM (and an immediate commission), Tempest received a DFC, Curnow and Gordon DFM's, and Smith was MiD.

    A good account of this incident can be found in:

    In Action with the Enemy:The Holders of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying).
    Cooper,Alan W.
    London:Kimber,1986.
    pp.115-18

    and...

    To See the Dawn Again:A History of 462 Squadron, RAAF 1942-2008.
    Lax,Mark & Leon Kane-Maguire.
    Wanniassa:Authors,2008.
    pp.65-70

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 9th August 2011 at 19:52.

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    Another good account is from "Down in the Drink" ....Ralph Barker
    Alan
    Last edited by AlanW; 9th August 2011 at 18:30.

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    Thank you Col and Alan, much appreciated.

    I had had the badge for a couple of years, a friend has his other identical one, with the name on the envelope it had come in. I only got the name a day or two ago, and within 10 minutes had tracked down photos, his service record and a few other details, but not full details of the action that night. Excuse my laziness, but as it wasnt a full on research project I thought I'd ask here first, knowing what a knowledgible bunch we all are! Thanks again.

    Alan, have PM'd you.

    Regards

    Alex

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    Default 462 Squadron Loss - May 1943

    Hello

    I stumbled across this forum whilst researching more of my family history.

    122516 F/O (Nav.) John Lawson 'Timmy' TEMPEST was my uncle John, who died in 1993. The story of his being adrift in the Med was one that was told to me throughout my childhood. I have recently obtained a copy of Ralf Barker's "Down in the Drink" to reacquaint myself with the details told in the "Mediterranean Cruise" chapter and its photo of the crew after their rescue.

    After being born and brought up in Leeds, he spent most of his later life near Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire close to RAF High Wycombe. My aunt, Barbara Tempest is still living in the area.

    By pure co-incidence, I have another link to the old bombers, in one of my closest old school friends, Neil "Ernie" Taylor is now one of the Lancaster pilots for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. He piloted over Buckingham Palace for the Royal wedding last year.
    http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/thecrews/bomberpilots.cfm

    It was interesting to see you researching this story here.

    With best regards

    Paul

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    Col,
    Re your msg # 2. Don't know the source but also have as a surviving crewmember Sgt (Airgunner) Albert J. ('Bert') GREEN - 1282525.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Hello Henk,

    Yes, 1282525 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Albert John 'Bert' GREEN RAFVR, was the regular W.Op./Air Gnr., but he had given up his position on the flight to enable a new W.Op./Air Gnr. (Ward) to gain experience. Green was not aboard DT501.

    Source:

    To See the Dawn Again:A History of 462 Squadron,RAAF 1942-2008
    Lax,Mark & Leon Kane-Maguire.
    Wanniassa:Authors,2008.
    pp.65-70

    See also:

    http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=1359214

    pp.281-287 of 818 (start at p.287).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 18th February 2012 at 15:03.

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