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Thread: Coastal Command Halifax, 9/4/1945, and one lucky b******

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    Default Coastal Command Halifax, 9/4/1945, and one lucky b******

    Hi all

    Just wonder if anyone could point me towards the i/d or possible i/d of the following a/c.

    On 9/4/1945 a Coastal Command Halifax made a FIDO landing at Woodbridge, without flaps and severely damaged, whereupon the M/U Gunner was discovered - alive - hanging by his parachute harness just beneath the a/c.

    He had apparently fallen through a hole in the floor of the a/c (flak damage I assume, the M/U turret had also been blown off) and the crew believed him to have been lost. However his harness had snagged on part of the damaged a/c and he survived the three and a half hour flight home and the subsequent landing, suffering from no more than "shock and exposure" and with his oxygen mask and goggles having been "scraped by the runway surface"!!!

    Any pointers to the i/d of this a/c and the associated details? I don't have much stuff on Halifaxes, even less on CC, to work out which Sqn it may have been from, to even start looking.

    Where's Ross's 'Coastal Command Losses Vol 2' when you need it?!... :-)

    Many thanks for any assistance.

    Ian

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    Default The damage Halifax with one cold aircrew

    Hello Ian

    I think (though perhaps this happened more than once) the Halifax you are talking about was a 58 squadron aeroplane and had flown from Stornoway on an anti shipping patrol. at the moment I don't have the details to hand but I think ( though someone will point me in the right direction if I'm wrong.) there was a full account of this in a book called "guns in the sky" by Chaz Bowyer which I can't at the moment find either! Come on Carsten help me out please?

    Regards to all Anthony

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    Default

    Ian.
    It would'nt be in C.C. Losses, as it made it back to land without being written off. But Ant is correct in saying it was a 58sqdd a/c, and the a/g in question was Flt/Sgt Francis Smith. Not flak damage, and M/U turret not blown off, the explosion was caused by the photo flash going off prematurely.

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    Default

    Hello,

    Aircraft was Halifax B.III PN425 of No.58 Sqn. Photoflash exploded in bomb-bay during A/S patrol; landed OK but declared DBR 9-4-1945. The (rear) gunner involved was Flt Sgt Francis Smith

    See:The Halifax File p.114 and Guns in the Sky/Bowyer pp.99-102.

    Brilli-"Ant".

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 26th September 2011 at 08:29.

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    Default 58 Sqn Hali

    Thanks chaps for that info.

    So the report I saw wasn't very accurate then! The flak damage bit was my assumption (pending further clarification), but it definitely said a CC Halifax, flaps u/s, M/U turret blown off, and that it was the M/UG who went out for a breath of fresh air.

    I guess that if the photoflash went off that certainly would've made a mess of the nearby bits of the a/c (including quite probably the flaps and the top turret located just above the back-end of the bomb bay) so I do still wonder whether it was in fact the M/U who fell out. I'll try to look at the entry in the Sqn ORB for any extra info that there might be in there. Whoever it was, I imagine he needed a very stiff drink and a change of underwear afterwards. I wonder if he flew again after this incident. Doesn't bear thinking about what would have happened had the undercarriage been damaged!

    But at least I've got a pointer now for further investigation.

    Thanks again

    Ian

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    Ian,
    Flt/Sgt Smith was the rear gunner, he asked the Mu/Gnr to swap places so he could stretch his legs, and was on his way to the M/upper position, when he went down the hole made by the photo flash.

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    Frank Smith made a return visit to Stornoway with his wife about ten years ago. He has now passed on but enjoyed many happy years after his fortunate escape from death's clutches!

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    Default Pn425

    Thanks again chaps.

    I've now got hold of a copy of the Sqn ORB entry for this flight and will try to copy it out in detail on here sometime over the next few days in case it's of interest, but it does contain some differences from these notes.

    I'd be interested in seeing what the entry in 'Guns in the Sky' says as I don't have that one. (Are we allowed to ask for a scan?). Have got the A-B 'Halifax File'.

    Anyway, more anon.

    "Fortunate escape" is certainly true: the explosion, the fall-out, then the landing!

    Ian


    ps. The ORB lists a crew of 9. Not being 'up' on Coastal Command, who would the 2 extra crew members have been? A second pilot and second navigator perhaps? Or an extra radio / radar operator?
    Last edited by ianh; 28th September 2011 at 12:46. Reason: 'ps' added

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    Default

    It'll be on the way as soon as i get it scanned

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    Default

    Most kind, thanks Alan

    Ian

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