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Thread: Whitley P5045 Date - Was aircraft in the Sea Twice?

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    Default Whitley P5045 Date - Was aircraft in the Sea Twice?

    Ross I wondered please, if you can clarify Whitley V P5045 11th March 1941 and base Aldergrove.

    The Whitley V Aircraft Card, Contractor Armstrong Whitworth with Merlin X Engines for "Write Off or Strike Off Details" states:-
    Date 21.10.40 FB. O.(3) In Sea. [in bold ink, the remainder below on the Card reverse about the 12/3 and strike off 1.4.4 Authority F149 March 41 has been added in lighter handwriting].
    12/3 SK 1/4
    Date 1.4.4
    Authority F149 March 41
    Unit RAF Stn Limavady
    Total Flying Hours 198.35

    This Whitley was Taken on Charge by:-
    6MU 21/6/40
    502 Sqdn 3/9/40.
    [The 5 in 502 Sqn almost appears to be joined, almost a 6]

    According to the Aircraft Card Whitley P5045 was in the sea on 21.10.40. Although Nicholas Roberts Log also gives 12/3/1941, 3 crew missing.

    Had this Whitley been in the sea before and salvaged?

    I tried to email you direct, but email was returned.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 19th February 2012 at 10:48. Reason: added square brackets about part on reverse being in lighter hand

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    Hi Mark,

    Crash was 11th March only as confirmed by the Auth date.

    Regards
    Ross
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    'morning all, Irish sources put the time of 2.32 am 12 March 1941 as circling Galway City then moving west into the bay. It was operating from Limavady.
    HTH
    Tony K

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    Default Whitley P5045 Mislead by a false bearing.

    Found an interesting paragraph in Flight International 26 September 1963 under Military Aviation in Ireland about P5045:-

    "Time and time again the defences were alerted as an unidentified aircraft approached Eire, but each time it was inadvertent infringement of neutral territory. The crew of Whitley V P5045, apparently mislead by a false bearing, abandoned their aircraft over Galway. It came down in the bay, where three of the crew perished in the water."

    Regards Mark

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    Hallo all,

    I believe the date problem arose in the F.541 of the 502 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/1958) which records this Whitley taking off at 1658 hours on March 11th, 1941. However as Tony has already mentioned P5045 definitely crashed at 0230-0240 hours on the 12th. The F.540 records it lost on the 12th.

    The CWGC show the 12th as the date of death for all three fatalities. The November 1943 debriefing interviews (WO 208/3347, Kew) with the two survivors mention or indicate the 12th. Critically all the contemporary Irish Army reports on this crash and its aftermath quote the 12th (G2/X/0686, Irish Military Archives in Dublin). The F.1180 Aircraft Accident Card for P5045 clearly states it was the 12th. The RN Western Approaches War Diary for January-May 1941 (ADM 199/658, Kew) records it crashed at 0230 hours on the 12th.

    Mind you I do have one other document (AIR 2/4734, Kew) which gives the 11th but this is almost certainly a misinterpretation of the 502 Sqn. ORB based on the take-off time.

    To address Mark's original question, the 21 October 1940 entry for 'F.B.O (3) In Sea' is almost certainly a clerical error. In my opinion this particular entry/fate should have been written on the F.78 of P5095, not P5045. The former was ditched in the sea off the Mersey river during the early hours of 21 October 1940 by a crew - all rescued - from 51 Squadron returning from a raid to Italy.

    Hope this helps,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    More generally, aircraft that have been submerged in salt water suffer corrosion that renders them unsuitable to be made airworthy again. Aircraft that undergo regular exposure to salt water are required to be washed regularly, and often. Ideally after every flight.

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    Thanks Ross, Martin, Graham and Tony

    Martin, I'll have a look in one of those files to see if it might cover something else.

    Agreed, salt water is no good for aircraft.

    They either picked out two Forms quickly (being fairly new) and put the Oct 1940 date on the back, or they simply pulled the wrong Form and when the 1941 strike off was recorded, the previous 1940 "In Sea" date was not struck out.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 19th February 2012 at 23:37.

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