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Thread: 204 Sqn. Loss of Sunderland DV991, 13th July 1944, Bathurst.

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    Default 204 Sqn. Loss of Sunderland DV991, 13th July 1944, Bathurst.

    Dear all
    My Bomber Command research has taken a slight detour in to the world of Coastal Command and I would be grateful for any information on the loss of DV991 or its crew, supplementary to what Ive found so far.
    The reason for my interest is that one of those killed, Sgt RPG Allen, was a friend of one of my BC subjects, Sgt FB Dean (625 Sqn).
    Following an article published in a Dorset newspaper last year, I was put in contact with a gentleman who knew Reg Allen and Bert Dean. Tragically they lost their lives within a month of each other; Bert succumbing to wounds in a Strasbourg hospital on the 12th of August.

    I had a quick check of 204 Sqns ORB the last time I was at Kew. Here is the summary:
    At 09:03 hours on the 13th of July 1944, G/204 (Captain) F/O A.G. Staffiere crashed whilst taking off on an operational sortie from Bathurst. There was a considerable swell running at the time, the aircraft lost a float and came to rest with the mainplane awash and began to sink rapidly. Some of the crew were seen to get out on the wing but then the depth charges exploded and all the crew were killed.
    The bodies of F/Sgt. Cox and F/Sgt. Wheatley were not recovered. The other seven members of the crew were buried with full military honours at Fajara Cemetery on the 14th of July 1944 at 17:30 hours.

    The file for Pilot Officer Symons has now been digitised by the National Archives of Australia and contains another summary of the accident:
    "Aircraft commenced take-off run, which was long and took it in to rough water bounced three times and after last bounce aircraft was observed t be in an attitude with the nose ??? 45˚ above the horizon. Aircraft then stalled onto the water, nose and one wing down and broke up. Aircraft sank in a matter of seconds and immediately it was submerged there was a very heavy explosion which is presumed to be the depth charges. This was followed by fire on the water for about two minutes."

    The following information about the crew comes from the ORB and the CWGC:-
    F/O A.G. Staffiere (124941) G.D. Pilot from Gayton, Merseyside.
    F/Sgt. B.H.A. Puig (1390937) Pilot from West Norwood, London.
    P/O F.L. Symons (Aus.409241) G.D. (Nav.B) from Victoria, Australia.
    F/Sgt. I.F. Wheatley (1389362) Wop/Air from Reigate, Surrey.
    F/Sgt. J.W.R. Cox (638241) FMA/AG possibly from Birmingham.
    Sgt. J.B. Parkin (1605334) F/Eng. from Ilford, London.
    Sgt. Allen R.P.G. (1605613) FME/AG from Stalbridge, Dorset.
    Sgt. Stillwell E.C. (1286652) WOM/AG from Hillingdon, London.
    Sgt. Beanland H (1508774) Wop/AG from Leeds, West Yorkshire.

    Many thanks

    Mike

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    Hello,

    Very brief mention of 1st pilot, 124941 F/L Anthony Greig STAFFIERE RAFVR, here:

    http://liverpoolremembrance.weebly.com/liverpool-institute.html

    Incidentally, the service number of Frederick Lloyd SYMONS RAAF was, AUS409251, and Ivor Frank WHEATLEY RAFVR, 1389382.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd February 2012 at 21:22.

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    Thanks for the reply and keen eye Col.

    Service numbers were taken from the ORB.
    Symon's was an error in the book and Wheatley's sits on a line so is partially obscured.

    Mike

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    Hi Mike,

    Just a little more on SYMONS RAAF:

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11353891

    and sadly...

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11360020

    Thanks for the information from the ORB.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd February 2012 at 21:38.

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    I've downloaded the 204 Sqn ORB for July 44.
    It could be that Sgt Reg Allen died on his first, attempted, sortie with the squadron as I can't find his name on any crew lists prior to the 13th.
    I've been told that during a leave period at home, Reg mentioned something about the 'Desert Air Force'.
    I'm not sure if this term would have included 204 Sqn in 1944 or not.

    Mike

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