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Thread: Stirling shot down 18 August 1940

  1. #11
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    Mark,

    I still find this a very strange incident; Charlton lies northwest of Southampton, but so far as I can determine only one squadron was associated with the type in 1940, 7 Squadron at Oakington - source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Stirling. See also Ashworth's "RAF Bomber Command". 7 Sqn had been disbanded in April 1940 and reformed on 1 August 1940 and didn't become operational until Jan 1941, so it must have been working up at the time of the incident.

    Why didn't the aircraft fly NE towards its Cambridgeshire base? Even if it was flying on a NW course why, if the aircraft was sufficiently damaged to have to force-land, didn't it do so at Boscombe Down which it would have over-flown?

    The real question is what a Stirling was doing over Southampton, in daylight, at the height of the Battle of Britain?

    Does anyone have access to the 7 Sqn ORB?

    Could have been a development aircraft I suppose.

    Brian

  2. #12
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    Default 7 Squadron

    According to Bill Chorley "Squadron Bases 1939/1940 and Wing Commander Jefford's RAF Squadrons

    7 Squadron reformed Leeming, Yorks 1st August 1940.
    Oakington from 29th October 1940.

    I agree, 7 Squadron probably were 'working up' and in training.

    According to Chorley, the friendly Manx A.A. fire incident with Stirling N3640 on 29 September 1940 indicated they were 'Training'.

    Unfortunately, the official A.A. Signal (quoted from photocopy, below) and Admiralty War Diary do not state who held the aircraft on charge, or the purpose of the flight, only that Southampton Site 26 were claiming it and it had turned out to be a Stirling and crashed U 5576!

    Stamped "ARMY SIGNALS 23 VIII 1940" (folio marked "A53")
    "TO ANTACOR"
    "FROM GENERAL READING"
    "23"
    "AIRCRAFT SHOT DOWN AND CONFIRMED BY AA FIRE FOR THE 18/8/40 IS NOW AS FOLLOWS SOUTHAMPTON 26 1318 HRS 1 STIRLING CRASHED U 5576."

    Mark

  3. #13
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    As it seems possible that the aircraft 'shot down' was not a Stirling but some other four-engined type and perhaps force-landed rather than crashing perhaps an expert on the the history of BOAC AW Ensigns and their war prize FW200 ondor G-AGAY should be summoned.
    Or then again, perhaps the gunners saw a Sunderland or C Class flying boat.
    Ian Macdonald

  4. #14
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    Default Stirling 18th August 1940

    Ian

    I had the Royal Marines August 1940 "B" Battery War Diary pages photocopied. Royal Marines "B" Bty had two battery sites at Southampton in August 1940, one A.A. site at Winslowe and the other site at Bishopstoke. Later I found the corresponding A.A. Teleprinted confirmation Signal in the A.A. War Diary file covering that area of England including Southampton dated 23rd August 1940 for the 18th August 1940 firing incident against the Stirling aircraft.

    Many of these instances lay undiscovered and I only found the 18th August 1940 Stirling friendly fire incident, as I was looking to see if there was a reference to a balloon collision on 15th August near the Royal Marines A.A. Winslowe site in Quobb Lane (off Allington Lane), West End, Southampton. There were numerous War Diaries for other A.A. Sites of the R.A. in the Anti Aircraft Site Layout for the 35th A.A. Brigade (HQ at Fareham), for the Southampton to IOW area.

    A Royal Marines A.A. site at Bishopstoke, Southampton opened fire on an aircraft overhead which they initially (first) claimed as an FW Condor, followed by a sentence in their War Diary that it was later discovered to be a Stirling.

    The A.A. claim on the 18th August would be checked and later verified and the 23rd August 1940 Signal was the confirmation reply to the A.A. Division that one of the aircraft shot at on the 18th August 1940 was indeed a Stirling.

    There are numerous incidents in official files, diaries, that never appear to have been published. When I saw the file and enclosures a few years back (opened in the 1990s), it was stored in such a way that it was impossible to even read the pages properly due to them being long narrow A.A. Intelligence and other Signals (some several feet long) and being folded up prior to being tagged and placed in a folder, so I asked the copying counter at TNA, Kew to photocopy between certain dates in August 1940, the Copying Dept removed the security tag, unfolded the long and shorter Signals and pages flat for photocopying. It appeared that nobody could have even read the A.A. file properly, since it was folded, tagged and placed in a folder, when the file was originally closed and stamped Open in 2041, but it was opened early in the 1990s.

    Although it would be interesting to find the 18th August 1940 Stirling aircraft incident in a book, you can appreciate Ian, that quite an amount of information remains unpublished, from the many tens of thousands of AIR, AVIA, ADM, WO, DSIR, DEFE, PREM, BT, DR, CAB, MT, PIN and Treasury Solicitor files, a few of which remain closed.

    I have photocopies from the original PRO / TNA documents and the aircraft was definitely confirmed finally to be a Stirling and recorded as such in the "B" Battery War Diary and the later A.A. confirmation Signal.

    Who held the Stirling on charge is the mystery, whether the Directorate Technical Development (DTD) under the Air Ministry, a Training Unit, Delivery Flight, or Squadron, is the mystery we were hoping to solve?

    Regards Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 12th April 2012 at 00:21.

  5. #15
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    Default Stirling 29th September 1940

    My father in law was in 7 squadron in 1940 and based at Leeming, Yorks we always believed that he was in the first Stirling to come down on the above date. He was the navigator and survived. We know few details of this incident as we only have earlier log books. He came down at Hodder Bridge, Bardon but we are not sure of the exact reference. Has anyone got an idea of where we can get further information.
    If you look at the history of the Stirling 7 squadron were the first to have them in 1940 but didn't seem to be fully operational with them unitl 1941.
    Does anyone know where I can get further information?

    Thanks

    Janette

  6. #16
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    Default Boscombe Down (A & AEE) had Stirlings on Charge

    Hello Janette

    According to Bill Chorley, the friendly Manx A.A. fire incident with Stirling N3640 on 29 September 1940 indicated they were 'Training'. If a 'Flying Accident Card' survives, you could write or email the RAF Museum, at Hendon, Department of Research (D.O.R.I.S.) Archive and they will probably be able to send you a photocopy of the card.

    The ORB of No. 7 Squadron which cover 1940 is held at The National Archives (TNA), Kew, catalogue reference AIR 27/98 (AIR 27/98/1 to February 1941) and you can purchase online the 1940 pages as a pdf download for 3.36 apparently.

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details?Uri=D8407240

    If you wish to research in detail you could also try the RAF Station ORBs of where he was stationed which come under the AIR 28 Catalogue series of ORBs, to see these you will need current photographic (Passport / Driving Licence) and several current printed proof of address I.Ds. to go into the Reading Room at TNA, Kew.

    A & AEE BOSCOMBE DOWN
    According to the August 1940 ORB of the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A & AEE) at Boscombe Down they have alloted two Stirlings on the following dates:-

    19.8.40 "Stirling L7605 to Ringway"
    20.8.40 "Stirling N3637 allotted to Worthy Down"

    the A & AEE ORB also states 3.8.40 "S/L. P.I. Harris, P/O. A.E. Cooper, P/O. R.W. Cox and personnel of Stirling flight proceeded to R.A.F. Station, Leeming for formation of No.7 Squadron."

    So the 18th August 1940 Stirling (friendly fire incident at Southampton) could have been an aircraft from Boscombe Down or under Air Ministry on charge with the D.T.D. (Director of Technical Development).

    According to an AIR 16 file regarding aircraft not under Fighter Command Control, Dowding was saying that there were some Units and also the DTD at Boscombe Down who had many types of aircraft flying under Air Ministry control, which were not under the defence control of his Command.

    Regards Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 5th October 2012 at 11:16. Reason: added reference to the "Stirling Flight"

  7. #17
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    The F1180 card for N3640 is the first card stored for 1940 on the microfilm reel.

    It records Engine failure in flight with subsequent wheels up forced landing during Petrol Consumption tests.

    Location given as Hodge Branding 2 miles north west Barton Westmorland.

    No.7 Squadron

    Pilot F/O T P A Bardley

    Regards
    Ross
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  8. #18
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    We now have two entirely different locations and circumstances for this incident. Can someone finally resolve this ?

  9. #19
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    Hello

    The Squadron ORB confirms the form 1180 location given by Ross in message #17 :

    "Leeming 29th September 1940 Stirling I, No. N.3640, while on a cross country flight captained by F/O T.P.A. Bradley (D.F.C.) crashed on forced-landing at Hodge Branding, Lancs, hitting a wall. All the crew escaped serious injury, although the aircraft was a "write-off"."

    That's on the first page of the form 540 of the Squadron ORB after its reformation. No form 541 so no crew composition.

    Has someone checked in AVIA 5/19 ?

    Joss

  10. #20
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    Many thanks Joss & Ross. That discounts the AA damage story. Now can anybody resolve the exact location ?

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