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Thread: 271 Squadron 30 November 1943

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    Default 271 Squadron 30 November 1943

    A long shot as it's not really a 'glamorous' squadron, but has anyone researched 271 Squadron, or have its ORB? I'd like to determine if one of its aircraft flew from Portreath to North Africa (or Gibraltar) on 30 November 1943.

    TIA

    Brian

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    Could you be 'fishing', by any chance, for info about a 511 Sqn Dakota FL515 which crashed into the sea off Portreath on 30 Nov 43?

    The crew and passengers were RAF and all were killed.

    If this is the right incident, please let me know and I'll post the details.

    Colin Cummings

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    Many thanks for the offer Colin,

    I'm trying to sort out the movements of Group Captain J M Stagg, COSSAC (later/SHAEF)'s Chief Met Advisor, at the end of November 1943. Although the first chapter of his book "Forecast for Overlord" decribes him as visiting North Africa during November before joining COSSAC at the end of the month, entries in his personal file in the NA are quite clear that this is incorrect. It is almost certain that he flew to North Africa on 30 November and didn't join COSSAC until Christmas.

    In asking about 271 Squadron I'm hoping my assumption (fatal I know) that he flew from Portreath on 30 November is correct. It was my hope that I could identify details of the flight from the ORB - although I appreciate passnger details might not be listed.

    That said the fact that another aeroplane bound for Gibraltar crashed the same day would certainly add another element to Stagg's story ("What if ..... ?") and I'd be grateful for details.

    Brian

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    The aircraft to which I referred has nothing to do with Stagg. However, the details are.

    The aircraft took off just after midnight but entered a spin from which it did not recover. There was a dispute as to whether the aircraft had been correctly loaded, if it was overweight and whether the trim had been wrongly set. The situation was exacerbated by the prevailing weather, which included strong vertical air currents.

    All on board were killed and they were:
    W/O J H GILLIES 26 Pilot
    F/S J BENNETT 25 Co-Pilot
    F/L S PATALON Nav Polish Air Force
    F/S T W PEARMAN 32 W/Op
    Sgt W BROWN 30
    LAC P G HODGKINS
    A/C2s A E WORT 19, D SHAW 19, H R AVES, R HURLEY 19, W KENNEDY 19 and J D HAMES

    There are very strong similiarities between this loss and that of a Dakota at RAF Kai Tak in Oct 46

    Colin Cummings

    As a PS for those who like war stories. A Beverely of 34 Sqn was to carry a load of ammunition from Labuan to Tawau in Borneo. The Army supplied the ammo and the details of the weights of the consignment. The RAF accepted the documentation without check weighing the ammo (anybody play Liar Dice???) and it was loaded to the aircraft. The Beverely took longer to accelerate than normal and finally became airborne at the 'piano keys' at the far end of a 6600 feet runway. It would not climb above 7500 feet and with a 13000 feet mountain in the way and cloud cover, the captain decided he would fly the long way round the coast. At Tawau, following a journey which I can best describe as 'likely to induce the need for the loo fairly frequently' an overweight landing was made. On carrying out a check weigh, the ammo was 8000 lbs more than the maximum permitted take-off weight of the Beverley.

    Moral of the Story: Always check the load weights and always compile a trim sheet carefully. On the Sycamore helicopter we always carried a set of bathroom scales to weigh soldiers and their kit, when operating hot and high.

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    Much obliged Colin. I hadn't intended to suggest that Stagg was in any way connected with the aircraft, but I take your point.

    The reference to the strong vertical currents intrigues me; I guess they were probably caused by a strong W-WNW wind hitting the cliffs.

    Brian

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    The Accident Card makes no detailed reference as to the source of the 'strong vertical winds' but your suggestion is the most likely. Turbulence is a funny thing and although there are 'classic manifestations' of it, there are also some unusual occasions when it occurs unexpectedly. The Met experts will be able to explain it all!

    Colin Cummings

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    Colin,

    I have just stumbled on this forum and am researching the crash of FL515. My grandfather's brother was Harry Aves, one of the passengers on board.

    I have a few accounts of the incident and am trying to find the the anticipated destination of the flight, although I think it may have been Gibraltar. I am also trying to locate any photos of the 511 sqn Dakotas from the time.

    No remains or debris was ever found, as far as I am aware. Having spoken to a respected local diver, there are several wrecks in the area, but no known aircraft. There is however, an "obstruction" in the area which was picked up in a survey. It measures 3.5 x 2.5 x 1.5m in size. the diver is in the area in the next three weeks and will be "pinging" it from his boat for me as he passes.

    I have also contacted a local marine surveyor, who has given me some further places to try and get information from. The RNLI report from the time says that the aircraft was seen to be on fire, so it could be that the only surviving parts will be engines, as aluminium is so flimsy.

    The water in the area is around 30m deep, so I am hopeful that one of the earlier surveys may have a blip on it. The marine surveyor has said that if I can find anything out and might have a possibility, he and his colleagues would love to dive on the aircraft.

    I will keep you informed of any developments.

    Regards

    Marts

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    Brian

    Have you tried the national archives? The squadron ops books are available. Came up trumps for me.

    Cheers

    Marts

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    Thanks Marshy, I'd downloaded a page yesterday evening, but it didn't quite give the info I was after.

    Sorry about the PM box being full, 'tis empty now.

    Brian

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