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Thread: Lancaster JA708

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    Default Lancaster JA708

    Lancaster JA708 was lost 23 September 1943. I would like confirmation as to whether this aircrafts's Squadron identification was OF Z or OF P.

    Regards, David Layne

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    According to AB Lancaster File it was OF Z.

    Ian

    PS. just looked in Chorley's BC losses 1943 and see it listed as OF-P so see your issue !
    Last edited by ian94avenge; 20th May 2012 at 22:23. Reason: PS added

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    Hi David,

    Bruce Robertson's book Lancaster-The Story of A Famous Bomber has JA708 as OF-Z

    Wayne.

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    Just a general observation based on research of 6 Group aircraft: this Lanc could have been both OF-Z and OF-P at various times in its life. I think the real question would be what was the code on 23 September 1943.

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    Hello,

    Take your pick!

    No.97 Squadron.

    (1) http://www.97squadronassociation.co.uk/flightops3.html (Jan-July 1943)

    (2) http://www.97squadronassociation.co.uk/flightops4.html (Aug-Dec 1943)

    Use Control + F search for JA708.

    Col.

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    David,
    I have JA 708 as OF-P when it was lost. This from F.K. Mason's "The Avro Lancaster".
    Best Wishes,
    Bill.

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    Following on from Col’s lead I checked out the excellent 97 sqdn web site where JA708 is mainly listed as P and Z, but also appears as E, L, N, R and S – some of these could be corruptions of P and Z.
    What is of interest is a copy of a painting provided by the son of Wally Layne DFC showing JA708 as P, it appears Wally first flew in JA708 on September 22/23, 1943 to Hanover.
    Looking back I find that it is Wally’s son David who originated this post !
    It is looking increasingly likely that Bill is correct and it was re-coded during service.

    Ian

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    Thanks all for your thoughts.

    I too have seen the Orbs and have been confused by the different lettering assigned to this aircraft.

    At the time of its loss it was flown by the Fletcher crew, up to that point the crews "regular" aircraft was ED 869 P, I am curious if this is where the P came from.

    As noted by Ian the crew had taken JA 708 to Hanover the previous night. The trip to Mannheim where the aircraft was lost was to have been the crews last operation of their tour. As some of the crew were tour expired their places were taken by the Squadrons Navigational Officer and Gunnery Officer, both Squadron leaders.

    On their return from Hanover, James White the mid upper gunner is quoted in Kevin Bendings "Achieve Your Aim"

    "After bombing the target and approaching Bourn on the return flight, Flight Sergeant White had an idea to mark his last operation; "On the approach to base returning on the night of my very last trip, on impulse, I asked Bob (Fletcher) if I could make the routine call for landing instructions. Only the wireless operator and the pilot were able to radio normally, but unknown to most, there was a radio press button fitted in my turret, an overlooked item when the Lancaster was designed for daylight operations, and a Gunnery Control Officer in the mid upper turret would control the defence of the whole force.""

    My question here is, would the Squadron Gunnery Officer have an assigned aircraft, one that enabled him to make transmissions from his gunnery position?

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    So far as I can see, ED689 does not appear in 97 Squadron's ORB after 6/7 September, but it does appear on the strength of 44 Squadron in early October, so I would suggest that this aircraft was not on 97's strength for the night we are talking about. This would explain the allocation of "P" to JA 708.
    Regards,
    Bil.

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    So it appears that when the Fletcher crew took ED 869P to Munich on September 6th 1943 it was its last op with 97 Squadron.

    Why would the RAF transfer an aircraft to another squadron?

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