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Thread: Auster pilot Harvey - Operation Bodenplatte 1 Jan 1945

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    Default Auster pilot Harvey - Operation Bodenplatte 1 Jan 1945

    Several websites mention (or copy from each other) an Auster pilot named Harvey who reportedly was shot down on 1 Jan 45 in Operation Bodenplatte. His unit was A.D.L.S. (Air-Despatch Letter Service) Flight, it says. The pilot was not injured.

    Have Harvey and/or his Auster ever been further identified? If so,where did it all happen?
    JG53 is also mentioned in the story as the opposing side.

    Thanks for any info.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Leendert, Hi,
    You can try the ASN database. They give 7 Austers lost on 1 Jan 45 (RT639, RT481, NJ622, MS937, MMT114, MT158, and NJ869).
    You can then download the Auster production list as a text file (http://www.auster.ukf.net/production.htm) and search through that. But that only gives RT639, NJ622, MT114, and MT158 as being RAF Registered Austers! None of the Units (as far as I could see) were ADLS Flight. MT158 was, I think, a landing accident. Which leaves RT639, NJ622, and MT114 as possible candidates. All of these are noted by Austers as being with 2 ATAF Comms Sqn. Now ADLS Flight may well have been some part of 2 ATAF Comms Sqn - I don't know.
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    From "Bodenplatte: The Luftwaffe's Last Hope":

    "Having encountered the enemy some 45 miles north-east of Brussels, [Harvey] attempted immediately to land his Auster on an abandoned tactical strip near Bourg Leopold. The aircraft had not stopped rolling forward when a German attack holed the starboard wing, so he dived out and ran for cover; he had taken barely twenty paces when another attack set the Auster on fire, and in a short while it was completely burned out."

    No serial given in the book.

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    Below are three German claims for Auster on 1 January 1945, extracted from a list of German claims by Jim Perry:

    Format: date/pilot/unit/claimed type/location/time/victory number/primary source listed by Jim Perry

    01/01/1945 Uffz. Fritz Krüger 13./JG 27 Auster W. Brüssel 09.30 2 Prien: III. & IV./JG 27 List
    01/01/1945 Oblt. Hans-Martin Markhoff 8./JG 4 Auster ? 09.00± - EM: JG 4 List
    01/01/1945 Ofw. Eduard Isken 13./JG 53 Auster ? ? 50 Prien: JG 53 List

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    Thanks for these first replies. At least it's confirmed that there was a pilot named Harvey.
    Bourg Leopold is present day Leopoldsburg in the NE of Belgium, home of a Belgian army brigade.
    I presume the JG53 claim can be ruled out, because this unit operated in NE France on 1 Jan 45.

    I wonder if the mentioned or other books give a first name or initial for Harvey?

    Several Austers were destroyed at Melsbroek and these may have included those of 2 TAF Comm Squadron.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Hello Leendert,

    I have No. 1697 flight ORB, and they lost no machine or pilot on 1st January 1945. Actually, they ceased flying on 17th December 1944, the pilots being sent to 2nd T.A.F. Communications Squadrons (such as 83 Group Commmunication Squadron, 84 GCS, 85 GCS...)

    No Harvey in the list of the unit's pilots in December 1944.

    No trace of Austers in that flight either. They mostly used Hurricane IIs. They had Anson at one time.

    Either he was flying with one of the Communication Squadron, or he may also have flown with the AOP Squadrons.

    I have bits of their ORBs, but for the time they were in my part of France, say in September 1944, so not much help. And these ORBs are also very bad...

    Joss

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    Hello Joss,

    Thanks for your input. It seems to become a little mystery here!

    I have no doubt there was a F/O Harvey, but perhaps in one of the Communication Squadrons.

    Cordialement,

    Leendert

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