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

  1. #11
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    Default Halifax 9 April 1945

    I went through the 58 Sqn ORB (AIR 27/545) back in 2000; I noted several losses were omitted and this is one of them, though PN425/E is noted as undertaking a sortie on 8th April (i.e/ night departure). Other losses have full crew details and some of circumstances. Puzzled at ianh's reference to the ORB reference to this flight - maybe there is an ORB annexe that I missed?

    Keith

  2. #12
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    Default Pn425

    Hi guys

    Here's what the Sqn ORB says:

    8.4.1945

    Halifax PN425 / (E)
    58 Sqn from RAF Stornoway

    Crew:
    F/L R N Lawson
    F/S J Ricketts
    P/O C H Kohler (Aus)
    F/S W L Magness
    W/O R E Blades
    F/S F C Yeandle
    F/O W Smith
    F/S J F Smith
    F/O V Jones
    [per my earlier post - why 9 crew?]

    A/S Patrol [Area?] L.6

    Up 21.15 / Down 06.20

    Details:
    "02.58 hrs attacked in position 5848N-09.40E a cargo type passenger M/V of approximately 3,000 tons, releasing 7 x 500lb M.C. bombs from 3,800 feet. The last bomb scored a direct hit, causing a cloud of smoke from forward of amid-ships. Flames could still be seen when aircraft 20-25 miles away. No flak experienced. Photography was attempted, but the photoflash became detached from the carrier and was caught up in the lanyards from the flares released, unbeknown to the crew - so when it released, it exploded, causing extensive damage to the aircraft to such an extent that air-speed was reduced, and due to lack of fuel, captain set course for Carnaby. It was revealed after the aircraft had landed that the mid-upper gunner [sic] had been blown out of the aircraft and was found to be hanging by his parachute harness to jagged parts of the damage[d] fuselage."

    The captain may have set course for 'Carnaby', but it appears that he in fact landed at Woodbridge (hence my interest). It's not listed in the Woodbridge Station ORB, but there is a small booklet held up at Kew called a "Short History of RAF Woodbridge" which does refer to this arrival. Position "5848N / 0940E" plots as off the SE Coast of Norway, and the distance from there to Carnaby or Woodbridge is almost the same. Plotting the details on one of the internet sites gives Woodbridge as being about 50 miles further.

    Hope this helps, and thanks again Alan for the copy from the book. Is Bowyer generally a reliable writer? I'd have thought so although, for example, he does say that this Halifax had attacked a "German coastal base".

    Any more thoughts gratefully received.

    Regards

    Ian

  3. #13
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    Default

    Hi Ian,

    According to the undigitised A705 of AUS416769 F/Sgt Colin Henry Kohler RAAF, 1528259 Sgt J F Smith was involved in another incident, on 27-4-1944, when No.58 Sqn Halifax II JD176, had to ditch, short of fuel, 10m NE of Scilly Isles. Seven of the eight man crew were rescued. Unfortunately, 1317894 Sgt Thomas Howell Brian GRIFFITHS RAFVR was not recovered, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Could you check the ORB please?

    PRIVATE CASUALTY ADVICES.
    Mrs C. H. Kohler, of Grandview Grove, Toorak Gardens (South Australia), has received advice that her husband Flt-Sgt C. H. Kohler, previously reported seriously injured has now been removed from the seriously injured list, and is making normal progress. Flt-Sgt Kohler was a member of the crew of a Halifax bomber which crashed west of the Scilly Islands[sic]. He is the only son of Mr and Mrs J. G. Kohler, of Young Street, Parkside.

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43207602



    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st October 2011 at 10:35.

  4. #14
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    Default Kohler

    Hi Col

    Sorry but I don't think I can help you with that one. Not in the near future anyway. I only took a copy of this particular page from the ORB, and I don't know when I'll next be able to get to Kew.

    Maybe someone else will be able to assist.

    Regards

    Ian

  5. #15
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    Default

    Ian,

    That's OK. Thanks.

    Col.

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    Default One really lucky B!

    Hi all

    One little additional detail, provided by those nice people at the YAM, Elvington, who kindly accommodated my unusual request. Thanks guys! :-)

    They tell me that the ground clearance on a Halifax from the underside of the fuselage at the back-end of the bomb bay is only about 3 ft 10 ins.

    Take a tape measure and see how small that is. That's the space that F/S Smith was hanging in!!!!

    Ian

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