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Thread: Ditched Stirling EF256

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    Default Ditched Stirling EF256

    Can anyone help on this one please.
    A French researcher and I are trying to pinpoint the precise location where 620 Sqn Stirling IV EF256 hit by flak ditched the night of 9/10 August 1944 while carrying French paras. We know the a/c went down within a radius of about 60km of Cherbourg and that an HSL picked up NZ pilot Bill Bell, his crew and most of the paras and delivered them back to Cherbourg. ASR files in the PRO note only the HSLs number, pickup time and that the journey took an hour each way. No position given. Were guessing the a/cs distress call and position would have been picked up in England, logged by RAF listeners and onpassed to ASR in Cherbourg. Can anyone say if a record of such calls throughout the war survives. A record might give us map co-ordinates.
    Thanks - Max Lambert, Wellington, NZ

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    Default

    According to Air Britain Serials,
    EF256 of 620 Sqn, Hit by flak on Supply drop and crashed in the channel 10.08.1944

    a lot less than you already have.

    Chris

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    Default

    Chris -
    Thanks for your message. Appreciated.
    You're correct in what you say but many thanks for taking the trouble to respond.

    Max

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    Dennis Williams superb book "Stirlings in action with the airborne forces" by Pen and Sword includes the following.............620 squadron sent four Stirlings to the Saone-et-Loire area carrying French paratroopers of 3 SAS, possibly as part of the effort to set up Operation "Barker" and "Harrod". The DZ arrangements were made by "Ditcher", an SOE circuit operating north west of Lyon. It has been suggested that Bells Stirling EF256/C was a victim of friendly fire from US forces but perhaps not surprisingly there is nothing in official records to confirm this. EF237/W was also hit by flak.
    After being shot down somewhere between Jersey and the French mainland, Bill" Dinger" Bell and his crew got "Purple Hearts" because they spent the night in one of the US hospitals under observation. They tried to forgo the pleasure of wearing the decoration and only did so under orders." Dinger" and his Aussie bomb aimer," Ace" Tod, were very large sheep farmers who pulled the aircraft out of its dive by brute strength. Two of the paratroopers were drowned. While some sources give the date as 12th August, it is clear from the handwritten entries in the RAF Fairford Watchkeepers Log that EF256 was lost on the night of 9/10 August. In addition the following message was received at Fairford from 32 Air Sea Rescue Unit at Calshot, late in the evening of 11 August...

    All the crew are safe, F/O Bell, F/O Bradshaw, F/Sgt Bridges and Sgt Northfield and dispatcher Sgt Brown are at RAF Calshot near Southampton. F/Sgt Tod flew home from Cherbourg today and is "somewhere in England".The rear gunner, F/sgt Dutton is in hospital in Cherbourg. Three French paratroopers brought back to Calshot. Two paratroopers (Selles and Dastis) were killed at time of ditching.

    This excellent book also has a photo of Bell several weeks after the ditching and another of Stan Dutton

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    Default Lambert

    Peter - Many thanks for that. Very useful. Much Appreciated.

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