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Thread: Expert on 277 Sqd for rescue operation June 23rd 1943

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    Default Expert on 277 Sqd for rescue operation June 23rd 1943

    Who can help me where Flt Sgt G. S. Honey and crew were picked up by Walruss aircraft of 277 Squadron on 23 June 1943? Is there any data in Norman Frank's book?

    F/S Honey and his crew set off on June 22 1943 in Halifax JD206 from Pocklington, Yorkshire. It was bound for Mulheim, the raid of 22/23 June 1943. On the way in, while flying over Overflakke, the bomber was hit by flak. Three engines were put out of action and, with only the starboard outer running, Honey had to put the aircraft into a dive to avoid stalling. As parachuting into the sea was not the best option, after jettisoning the bomb load Honey elected to ditch. This was accomplished successfully in the bright moonlight and the crew took to the dinghy. At first light a drogue was raised and was seen by low-flying Mustangs at 06 25hrs. Later in the day Typhoons flew over.

    Eventually two No 277 Squadron Walrus amphibians arrived. One boarded Honey and another member of the crew and took off for Martlesham. The other Walrus, too heavily loaded, was unable to become airborne and proceeded to taxi towards England. The situation was relieved when the Halifax crew were transferred to a motor gunboat from Felixstowe. (IWM CHI0776)

    Question is: where were they when tey were picked up: near the coast of Holland? Other sources say near Le Havre....We (foundation WO2GO) want to re-tell there story as part of the history of the war in the air above Goeree-Overflakkee

    Kees

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    Kees, Hi,
    Iím no expert on 277 Sqn, but letís see if we can narrow it down a bit.
    I can find 2 Overflakkee in the Netherlands! One is in the Noordoostpolder (which was not even drained until late 1942??!), and the other is in Utrecht. Which is the right one?
    In any case it does not really matter. I think you can rule out the Le Havre area as a possible pick-up point. The weather that night was anticyclonic over the N Sea and there would have been light winds. I suspect that a Halifax on 1 engine flies like a brick!! The first pick-up Walrus took off for Martlesham Heath (a 277 Sqn Detachment was based there at the time). The radius of action of a Walrus is about 300 nm. A pick-up near Le Havre would probably have gone to the nearest land Ė which, in this case, would have been the S coast of UK, or the Isle of Wight, but not Martlesham.
    If you can get the route of the raid (and we know he was on his way to the target) that should tell you where, and at what height, he was hit. Plot a track direct from there to the sea (little wind, so no drift). The Halifax experts will tell you roughly how far he could possibly have flown. That should give you the ditching location to within a few nautical miles!
    Good luck
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi Peter

    The Overflakkee is the island Goeree-Overflakkkee, in the SW of The Netherlands. As it was relatively safe, they often flew over this area. They were hit above our island by FLAK, that we know. They were on their way to the target (Mulheim in the Ruhr area) and must have turned back after they were hit. I too believe they would not be able to fly as far as Le Havre not that they drifted as far as Le Havre...

    If we can find the 277 Sqd ORB of the book of Norman Frank that perhaps this riddle is solved and I can work out the story

    Kees

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    "T.
    Target not attacked.
    A/c hit by flak near Overflakkee on way to target.
    Engine trouble developed leaving only starboard outer.
    Pilot turned jettisoned and ditched up moon.
    Crew took to dinghy.
    Drogue put out to stop easterly drift.
    Seen by Mustangs at 06:35 and later by Typhoons at 15:30.
    At 19:00 saw 2 Walrus's 277 Squadron attracted attention by cartridge.
    Honey and 2 others got in 1 and 4 others in the other Walrus first Walrus landed at Martlesham and the second taxied and transferred to MGB and put into Felixstowe.
    All crew safe."
    AIR27/809

    "Walrus X9526, X9563, 277 Sqn (Martlesham): Crew of 102 Sqn Halifax (JD206) ditched after a raid on Krefeld. Came down off Dutch coast. One Walrus took off but the other had to taxi back. Air battle was taking place overhead. 18:37-21:00. Second Walrus abandoned, it later beached itself."
    (Source: Another Kind of Courage, N Franks, ISBN 1 85260 441 7)

    In the past I have had much trouble relating Franks to actual ORB details as is shown above. I would be reluctant to take as gospel without further research.- Ross

    Route
    To Mulheim:-

    Noordwijk - Bocholt - Mulheim - turn wide right - 5125N 0630E - Noordwijk
    AIR 14/3375


    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Thanks Ross, it seems I have another item to study next time when I'm at Kew......

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    Something not quite right here!
    If he was on a course from Pocklington to Noordwijk (etc) then to be hit by flak over one of the Overflakkee's means he was either 40 nm off track, to the N Overflakkee, or 30 nm off track to the S Goeree-Overflakkee. It don't compute!
    Pocklington to Noordwijk is c.210 nm. I would have thought that an error (apparently) of +/- 35 nm off-track would have been excessive after 210 nm, even in those days, especially as the winds may have been fairly light at Track Height - which we do not, at this stage, know. I doubt of the Nav's Log survived it's dip in the 'Oggin - but it would have made interesting reading! Before I put this problem in front of Leaders In The Field (to get an estimate of the Track Winds) can we be assured that all the data are, so far, accurate (particularly from which 'Overflakkee' the Flak came?).
    Good 'ere innit?
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Lots not quite right Peter,

    I've only responded to direct questions up until now as I do not wish to get drawn into extensive replies.

    However the fundamental question is the date of loss.

    So far two targets have been put forward Krefeld and Mulheim. Krefeld was attacked on the night 21/22 June and Mulheim 22/23 June

    For the Mulheim raid wind at 18/20,000 ft 260/270 degrees 30 m.p.h.

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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