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Thread: Short Stirling Lk171 WES " Shooting Star

  1. #1
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    Default Short Stirling Lk171 WES " Shooting Star

    Hi!
    I`m looking for information about Group Commander Surplice, P/O Kenneth Bolton, Robert Lynwood Chapin, Bob Dalton and Micheal Hicks. I know that their Stirling went down on the night 2/3 November 1944 and that the four last persons were helped out of Norway by the local resistance. Does anyone know about their pre history and what happened after they were returned home to England?

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    Default Wilfred Edward SURPLICE DSO DFC

    I can only tell you about Surplice.

    His DFC was for Waziristan pre-war and his DSO was awarded after the Dieppe attack in August 1942 when he served on 226 Sqn.

    He was the station commander at Rivenhall and WES was his 'personal' aircraft and the code letters were his initials.

    On the night of 3 Nov, he was delivering supplies to resistance units near Oslo in poor weather. No signal was received and the pilot climbed the aircraft to clear the poor visibility but the aircraft then encountered severe icing and the crew was ordered to abandon the aircraft. Lt Michael Hicks (an army liaison officer) plus five RAF left the aircraft but the F/E Flt Sgt Mesley and the B/A Fg Off Morrow were captured. Surplice did not leave the aircraft and was killed. The others escaped and were sheltered by the Norwegians before getting back to UK.

    Hope this gets you started.

    Colin Cummings

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    Default

    Espin,

    There is a New Zealand connection with Surplice and his award of the DFC. The following from Colin Hansonís 'By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999' explains:

    RUTHERFORD, Flight Lieutenant Renton Stewart, DFC.
    NZ404573; Born Edinburgh, Scotland, 16 May 1909; RNZAF 23 Nov 1940 to 31 Jan 1946; Navigator.
    Citation Distinguished Flying Cross (Imm) (17 Sep 1942): [226 Sqn RAF (Boston)]
    also DSO - Wg Cdr W E Surplice, DFC, RAF
    On 19th August, 1942, Wing Commander Surplice and Flying Officer Rutherford were pilot and navigator respectively of the leading aircraft of a formation of bombers detailed to release smoke bombs to screen the landing of troops on the beaches near Dieppe. On the accuracy of this, the first smoke sortie, depended not only the success of the subsequent smoke laying operations by following aircraft but, in a great measure, the safety of the entire combined operation. Fully aware of the importance of his mission Wing Commander Surplice, skilfully guided by Flying Officer Rutherford, flew in to the target at a low level and, defying an intense barrage from the unhampered ground defences, dropped his smoke bombs with precise accuracy. Both these officers displayed the highest standard of courage, skill and devotion to duty in the successful accomplishment of a most vital and dangerous task. Wing Commander Surplice planned the details of all the smoke laying operations allotted to the squadron.
    Flt Lt Rutherford flew with 82 Sqn RAF (Blenheim) Nov 1941-Apr 1942, before joining 226 Sqn. He also instructed on 13 OTU RAF for 14 months. Died Whangarei, 18 May 1973.

    Errol

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    Default

    There is a photograph of this aircraft in Stirling In Combat page 241. It is pictured returning from Arnhem.

    John

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    Default Thanks Errol

    Thank you very much for the information. I knew about the resistance bit since my grandfather has told me about this. I have some pictures of the four during their brief stay in 1944. A month ago I started to look for information about Lk171 "shooting star" and got in contact with a person who knew P/O Kenneth Bolton. And he told me that Mr. Bolton had parachuted to safety in 1943 during the Pilzen raid (102 Squadron) Halifax Hr663 and had evaded captured through the Comet line. I therefore got curious about the other members of the crew. My grandfather told me that Robert Lynwood Chapin went down with an aircraft in the Pacific in 1945, but I can`t find any war grave on him (Commonwealth war grave society). I hope that he survieved the war and that it is possible to find out more about him. I have some old letters from Bolton, Hicks and Dalton, which says that they did not know what had happened to him.

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    Default Thank you Oldduffer

    Thank you for the information.

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    Default Thank you DCRanger

    Thank you for the information

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