Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: 'Heston' call sign

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northumberland
    Posts
    354
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 'Heston' call sign

    Hi All,

    I am currently working on the story of the crash of H P Hampden L4054 and in the AVIA 5 it is reported that the aircraft was heard twice throughout the night 'calling Heston for call signs'.

    Could anyone clarify what this means, I presume 'Heston' is RAF Heston although the Hampden was from 83 sqdn., Scampton.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    TIA,

    Russ

  2. #2
    Chris Scott Guest

    Default

    Hi Russ,

    I can't be the only one who's been scratching his/her head over your puzzle. Can't find out any particular significance of Heston in WW2 from the Comms angle. Wasn't it just a RAF fighter station? I presume the Hampden carried an R/O, and that "calling" would be a reference to W/T rather than R/T? Where did the A/C crash, eventually?

    I wonder if there are any WW2 R/Os on this forum. The only ones I knew personally are now dead, I regret to say. The quote you provide - "...calling ... for callsigns" - doesn't make sense to me. Not when out of context, anyway.

    Well, at least this gets your post to the top of the pile... Good luck,

    Chris

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northumberland
    Posts
    354
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 'Heston' call sign

    Thanks Chris,

    The aircraft crashed just inland of St. Mary's Island, Whitley Bay. It seems that Denis Sharpe (the Wop/Ag) was either badly injured or dead but certainly unable to operate the wireless on the return journey from Sylt, the request being made just prior (about 15 minutes) to the aircraft being over the target (another a/c saw what is thought to have been L4054 coned over the target and being fired at by tracer). It seems therefore that the request was not for any homing signal as they had not yet reached the target and there were as yet no radio bombing aids so it is a mystery.

    This quote was from the RAF's official investigation of the crash and like you I cannot make any sense of it.

    Russ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    2,210
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Russ
    Your mystery deepens a little as Chorley reports this loss on the 6/7 Apr 40 as being from a patrol (no target specified) when the a/c ran out of fuel and was abandonned at 0415 over Whitley Bay with the Hampden as "crashed into the sea in the vicinity of St. Mary's Lighthouse". The bodies of the pilot P/O W Roberts, the Observer P/O K Brooke-Taylor, and one of the W/op-AGs Sgt A McNicol, were recovered and are buried in UK but the body of the other W/op-AG LAC D W Sharpe clearly wasn't and he is on the Runnymede Memorial. There is no mention of W/T Communication and it would be interesting to know how anyone knew that Sharpe was unable to communicate if they all died, unless 1 was found living but died of injuries later and reported it.Like Chris I haven't heard of Heston in connection with Radio Comms but given the Frequencies in use and the vagaries of Wireless propagation on those Frequencies it can't be ruled out. Post war in the 50's and 60's the RAF had long range comms at both Uxbridge and Gloucester among other places to provide world-wide communication.
    Regards
    Dick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    East Sussex
    Posts
    526
    Thanks
    7
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 'Heston' call sign

    Hi Russ
    "Hampden File" p90
    lists the
    cause as: "Abandoned over Whitley Bay out of fuel" and
    duty as: "Security Patrol"

    p152
    "L4054 was the only case of a complete crew known to have perished after bailing out, but others may have suffered the same fate"

    p152
    "L4054 was the first Hampden to be abandoned on return from operations. It had taken off from its base at Scampton at 1915hrs on 6 April 1940 for a "Security Partol" of German seaplane bases; nine hours later the crew abandoned their aircraft because of fuel shortage near Whitley Bay on the Northumbrian coast. A matter of two or three minutes flying time and they would have floated down to earth; instead they splashed down in the cold waters of the North Sea. In the darkness they would first of all had to release their parachute harness before struggling free from the encumbrance of parachute rigging lines and canopies, then inflate their Mae West life jackets which in those early days had to be orally inflated. The final opponent in their fight for survival would have been the deadly enemy - hypothermia. At that time of year, the sea temperature would not be above 40 degrees F and even assuming that no injury had been sustained, that the weather was good and the sea state smooth, their life expectancy was at most, two hours. The crew of L4054 lost their fight for survival; three bodies were picked up next day; that of the wireless operator was never found."


    Re Heston

    My great uncle Tony Parsons was pilot of AE191 also of 83 Squadron when he ditched on 8/12/41
    His gunner George Wiscombe later wrote:
    "When trouble was first noted P/O Jacobs on instructions from the skipper sent out an S.O.S. and received a “fix” from Heston which I overheard through the inter-com."

    I have recently heard from the AHB that "at 05.30 hrs the aircraft requested position fix which was calculated and given by Heston as 5137N 0228E"

    another not of Heston I have found is listed below:

    27/2/41 Hampden X3124 ‘H’ Wing Commander WW Stainthorpe AFC Buried Scampton (St John) The Baptist Churchyard Lincolnshire. PO A McMelville Buried Chesham Burial Ground, Buckinghamshire. Sgt L Emmerson Buried Acklam Cemetery, Middlesborough. Sgt DV Weaving Buried St Marylebone Cemetery, Finchley, Middlesex. Crashed Derrington Cross Nr Stafford. Nine aircraft on operation to Cologne, aircraft lost, navigational error fixed over Birmingham by Heston.
    (P200 83 Squadron 1917-1969, Ronald G Low and Frank E Harper)

    Hope this is of help
    James

    PS Are you only looking at L4054 or are your searches wider?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    England
    Posts
    667
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Russ, a bit off topic, but Wilfred Roberts was quite badly injured on the 11th May 1938 while training at 10 FTS, Tern Hill. He was a pupil pilot (but on this occasion undergoing some Navigation training) on Anson K8722 when it crashed on take off at Ternhill.

    He "received shock, severe contusions of chest, severe contusions of the lumbar spine and possible fracture of ribs or compression fracture spine not yet diagnosed". There is a photo of him on the Auckland Museum website:

    http://muse.aucklandmuseum.com/databases/general/RecordDetail.aspx?dataset=Cenotaph&SearchID=129118 1&Ordinal=2&OriginalID=31321

    You may already have that, but if not i hope its of use!

    Cheers, Tom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,603
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

    Default

    Might not this be connected to the "Darkie" system whereby returning a/c were given their ground position from a series of triangulating a/g stations. Don't know whether this system was VHF, or HF, or both. Up to others to investigate. Be interested in the outcome
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    2,501
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Might be an idea to look at the NA archives. AIR2/2249 "Heston adcock direction finding station: use of Hounslow Heath" might be of use as it suggests there was an RDF station there, although the file refers to 1935-39. There's also the Heston ORB at AIR28/346. I tried searching the NA catalogue using 'radio direction finding' and although that brought 63 hits, none seemed to list RDF stations perse.

    Brian

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,011
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default

    A number of lists of RDF stations in the UK, at different dates, can be found at the PRO. Since they are sometimes part of a report, or an appendix to a larger file, they are not in the digital catalogue index, so therefore you can’t find them with the digital search facility: you have to trawl through the hard copy files and see what is inside.

    However, some of them are conveniently titled. Two files that came to hand from my notes are…

    WO 33/1708: Location and Frequencies of GL and CD/CHL Sets in Great Britain, 1942

    AVIA 7/801: R.D.F. stations: communications system, 1941-1942

    Besides what the title promises, the WO33 file gives the station number (M.6, M.14 etc. These are administrative identifiers, I don’t think these numbers were used in operations) and the type of equipment on site.

    By the way, I was under the impression that the ‘DARKY’ r/t plan came into being after the event in this thread. AIR16/1018: History of No. 16 Group would seem to nail it down to the 12th October 1942, but it is possible that it was a little bit earlier than that.

    Hope this helps,
    Bruce
    Last edited by bruce dennis; 20th November 2008 at 21:47.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,011
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Default

    Further thoughts: Heston had a four-gun AA site, named ZW16, during the BoB, controlled by GL radar. I am as yet unaware of any other radar sited there at that time, but it was very possible. If anything turns up, I will post it.

    Bruce

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •