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Thread: 614 Sqdn Halifax JP 225 or JP 282

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    Default 614 Sqdn Halifax JP 225 or JP 282

    Hello

    I am researching my wife’s late uncle, Flight Sergeant J W Clarke (Rear Gunner) 1684098. I know he is buried in Bucharest War Cemetery and was killed on the 09th August 1944 and that he was in 614 Sqdn. I assume that the rest of the crew are those also buried in Bucharest that were killed on that day and lay in graves close by : Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) R D Langton, Pilot Officer (Air Bomber) W J Martyn, Flight Sergeant (Flt Engr.) H G Jones, Flying Officer (Nav.) T J R Turner, Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) P Brunton, Warrant Officer (Nav.) H Bath (Assuming 7 was the usual crew of a Halifax). From the date and squadron I assume they were flying in a Halifax and they were based at Amendola in Italy. From several books I think I can narrow down their mission to an attack on the oil refinery at Ploesti, Romania. Two Halifax’s from 614 Sqdn. appear to have been lost around this date, JP 225 and JP 282 but I have been unable to establish if one of these was the aircraft of Flight Sergeant J W Clarke. Could anyone cast any further light on this or point me to relevant further research, I am particularly interested in whether they were acting in a pathfinder role and any details of the incident that lead to the loss of the aircraft, or any further information on other crew members. We are hoping to visit the grave of Flight Sergeant J W Clarke later this year (I understand no one from his family has ever done so in the past) and would like to have as much information as possible for the trip.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon.

    614 Squadron was indeed a pathfinder unit, the only one in 205 Group. Three 614 Sqn aircraft were lost or written off that night, when they were detailed to find and illuminate the Romana Americana oil refinery at Ploesti. One, JP225, made it back severely damaged, and was written off, and two (JP110 and JP282) were shot down, the former by a JU 88 night fighter and the latter by flak over the target.. W/O Bath was the only casualty from JP110, all the others being taken POW, while from your wife’s uncle’s crew, only one survived to be taken POW, W/O R R Poyton RCAF. The aircraft crashed at Corbi Mari, 40 km west of Bucharest.

    The crew was thus

    F/Lt R D Langton
    F/O T J R Turner
    P/O W J Martyn
    F/Sgt P Brunton
    W/O R R Poyton RCAF
    F/Sgt H G Jones
    F/Sgt J W Clarke

    It may be that in RCAF files there is debriefing report by Poyton that explains precisely how the aircraft was lost.

    Losses were heavy that night, and any time Ploesti was attacked. Beside the three 614 Sqn Halifaxes, there were losses of one 178 Sqn Liberator, and eight Wellingtons (two from 37 Sqn, two from 70, three from 142, and one from 150). This from a force totaling 81, a loss rate of almost 15%. Yet, ironically, crews in 205 Group were required to fly a tour of approximately 37 ops, as opposed to 30 on a first tour with Bomber Command, because the opposition was lighter!

    Three books will help. One is

    Patrick Macdonald’s Through Darkness to Light (Pentland Press, Edinburgh, 1990). is dedicated to the 205 Group assault on Romania. ISBN 0 946270 10 2. There is a lot here about the raid, with much survivor narrative, and even a mention of ‘Nobby Clarke’.

    Tom Scotland’s A Voice from the Stars (1st ed 1990, 2nd 1991), was self-published by T and L Scotland, P O Box 531, Cannington, Western Australia 6107. Tom flew a full tour as a pilot on 614 Sqn. ISBN 1 875317 09 0

    And Alan Granfield has just had a full history of 205 Group published by Pen and Sword, Bombers Over Sand and Snow. Currently on sale price at Pen and Sword (see website) for £20. I am just about to buy a copy. I saw the text in an earlier phase and it is very detailed operationally, though light on survivor narrative.

    Hope this helps.

    Re your trip to Romania. From my own experience of visiting my father’s grave in Prague, I know how rich an experience seeing the grave of a loved one can be. I also know how rewarding it can be to visit the crash site. I did so in 1992, and was lucky enough to meet the eyewitness who was interviewed by the RAF casualty research unit post-war. He even gave me a small piece of geodetic he took from the wreckage, having ‘wondered while he had always kept it’.

    David

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    Default Many Thanks for the Info

    David
    I am very grateful for the extremely interesting information and will be ordering a copy of the books you have recommended, again thank you for taking the time to assist me in my research.
    Regards
    Simon

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    A pleasure, Simon. Do visit the crash site!

    David

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    Default Moving Visit

    Hi Simon

    I do hope you don't mind me posting on your thread. I'm an Engineer presently working on a Project north of Bucharest, not far from Ciolpani. I first visited the site we are now working at back in 2008. It was then that myself & colleague were told of the English Cemetary opposite and the history behind it. I felt compelled to visit the Cemetary but did not get the chance back then, nor on a subsequent last October. However the Project started a few weeks ago, and I did finally get a chance to finally visit the Cemetary last Saturday morning (06/07/13) just before beginning work. A very sunny, warm and quiet morning, myself and two colleagues had a slow strole around the Cemetary, paying our respects. There was however only one grave in the Cemetary which had anything next to it; a card, next to the grave of a J W Clarke. That card was the one left by yourself and your family for your wifes late Uncle, a very moving read. Even more surprising was the discovery from the words on your card that your wifes late Uncle came from my home town of Hull. A very moving coincidence.

    Regards
    Darren Linley

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    Default Moving Visit

    I do hope you don't mind me posting on your thread. I'm an Engineer presently working on a Project north of Bucharest, not far from Ciolpani. I first visited the site we are now working at back in 2008. It was then that myself & colleague were told of the English Cemetary opposite, and the history behind it. I felt compelled to visit the Cemetary but did not get the chance back then, nor on a subsequent last October. However the Project started a few weeks ago, and I did finally get a chance to visit the Cemetary last Saturday morning (06/07/13) just before beginning work. A very sunny, warm and quiet morning, myself and two colleagues had a slow strole around the Cemetary, paying our respects. There was however only one grave in the Cemetary which had anything next to it; a card, next to that grave of a J W Clarke. That card was the one left by yourself and your family for your wifes late Uncle, very moving. But even more surprising was seeing from your card that your wifes late Uncle came from my home town of Hull. A very moving coincidence.

    Regards
    Darren Linley

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