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Thread: Essen Raid - post June 1943

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    Default Essen Raid - post June 1943

    Can anyone help with information on a Wellington bomber attacked by an Me 110 during a raid on Essen (cannot give exact date as this is unclear) some time after June 1943. Squadron not known, however, two of the crew were air gunner John Arbutt (wounded in legs) and co-pilot Tom 'Sandy' Sands. Front gunner (un-named) fired on and may have hit the 110.

    Possible dates for Essen raid:

    25/26 July 43

    Wellington coded G- George.

    Who, when, which sqn?

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    Hi Tom,

    If you consider a Wellington taking part in a Bomber Command raid from the UK then it would need to take place before the last main force Wellington raid begining of Oct 1943. After that date only OTU and RCM Wellingtons were used.

    So your window is June 43 to 1st week Oct 1943.

    As you say the only Essen raid in this window is 25/26 July 1943 but I suspect that this is too early for the bods and would suggest opening up your search to any Wellington on ops between start of Aug 43 to start of Oct 43.

    Anyone care to suggest as to which main force Group/Squadrons were still operating Wellingtons between these dates to narrow down Tom's search?

    Bomber Command War Diaries will also suggest the dates that these squadrons carried out main force ops to futher reduce the search.

    Regards
    Ross
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    Tom / Ross

    Expanding the dates slightly from the beginning of June to the end of October 1943, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt’s book : The Bomber Command War Diaries only record the 25-26 July 1943 operation to Essen and there would appear to have been no other operations to Essen during that timescale. So if your information about the target, the incident being sometime after June 1943 and that the crew were flying an operational Squadron Wellington is accurate, this would appear to be the only valid date.

    From Wellington Squadrons in Focus by Paul Freer and Simon Parry, the following Squadrons are recorded as flying Wellingtons in Bomber Command during 1943 : -

    115 Squadron until March 1943
    166 Squadron until September 1943
    196 Squadron until July 1943
    199 Squadron until July 1943
    300 Squadron throughout 1943
    301 Squadron until April 1943
    305 Squadron until September 1943
    420 Squadron : January – June 1943 and October – December 1943 : during the period between these dates, 420 Squadron were in the Middle East.
    421 Squadron : January – May 1943 and October – November 1943 : during the period between these dates, 421 Squadron were in the Middle East.
    425 Squadron : January – May 1943 and September – December 1943 : during the period between these dates, 425 Squadron were in the Middle East.
    426 Squadron until June 1943
    427 Squadron until May 1943
    428 Squadron until June 1943
    429 Squadron until August 1943
    431 Squadron until July 1943
    432 Squadron until September 1943

    Based on the 25-26 July 1943 date, this would definitely rule out 115, 301, 420, 421 and 425-428 inclusive. 199 can also be ruled out as during the month of July, the Squadron were in the process of transferring to Stirlings. This process is also possibly appropriate to 196 whereas 431 Squadron may also have passing through a similar process in July transferring to Halifaxes.

    This leaves the possible Squadrons as 166, 300, 305, 429 and 432 for this date. 300 and 305 Squadrons were Polish Squadrons but I am not sure if non-Poles operated in the Squadrons.

    However, if the 25-26 July 1943 date is not correct, then …………….

    Best wishes

    Douglas

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    Nobody of those names in 166sqdn ORB, in their Wellington period.

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    Cheers Douglas and Alan,

    Thats been a great help in reducing it to a managable search.

    Douglas - I had No.466 Sqn as another possible operator of Wellington at the start of the period.

    Since the bulk of the names mentioned in the account are not Polish derivatives I think we can tentatively eliminate 300, 301 and 305.

    Leaves a couple of units from No.4 Group and the remaining in No.6 RCAF Group.

    Regards
    Ross
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    Ross

    The Wellington Squadrons in Focus book has 466 flying Wellingtons until December 1942 when they re-equipped with Halifaxes. However and now cross checking with Chorley 1943, 466 lost a crew on the Essen raid of 25-26 July 1943 in a Wellington X aircraft. So you are correct re 466 operating Wellingtons at this time.

    Regards

    Douglas

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    No aircrew by those names in 466sqdn ORB for time period June to September 43 on Wellingtons, September they were changing to Hali's.

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    Default Essen raid

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post
    Hi Tom,

    If you consider a Wellington taking part in a Bomber Command raid from the UK then it would need to take place before the last main force Wellington raid begining of Oct 1943. After that date only OTU and RCM Wellingtons were used.

    So your window is June 43 to 1st week Oct 1943.

    As you say the only Essen raid in this window is 25/26 July 1943 but I suspect that this is too early for the bods and would suggest opening up your search to any Wellington on ops between start of Aug 43 to start of Oct 43.

    Anyone care to suggest as to which main force Group/Squadrons were still operating Wellingtons between these dates to narrow down Tom's search?

    Bomber Command War Diaries will also suggest the dates that these squadrons carried out main force ops to futher reduce the search.

    Regards
    Ross
    Hi Ross,

    I used the BC War diaries to narrow the search period and only that one date shows a full raid on Essen. Following that the diaries do not list Wellingtons in the figures for types despatched and there are no other Essen raids following this during the period the Wellington was still being used by the main force.

    Thanks

    Tom

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    Default Essen raid Wellington units

    Hi Douglas,

    Thanks for the Wellington Sqn info. It certainly narrows the possibilites and like you I doubt that the Polish squadrons had many British pilots and crews, though I do know of one Lanc gunner named Dixon (who may have been Polish and changed his name later) on a Polish sqn.

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    Default Essen raid

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanW View Post
    Nobody of those names in 166sqdn ORB, in their Wellington period.
    Thanks Alan.

    Yours

    Tom

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