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Thread: Sgt TURNBULL, Geoffrey Edgar, 1533387, 103 Sqn, died 7th April 1945?

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    Default Sgt TURNBULL, Geoffrey Edgar, 1533387, 103 Sqn, died 7th April 1945?

    Hello everyone

    I'm looking for some information about the loss of the above aircrew member. He was shot down in Lancaster JB454 in December 1943 near Gorlitz in Saxony, on the Polish border. He is listed as a PoW in Chorley's BCL 1943.

    He died on April 7th 1945, and is buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Can anyone shed any light on the circumstances of his death, and on the loss of JB454 (BCL doesn't elaborate on the circumstances of the crash)?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon,

    In the appendix and footnotes of "Footprints on the Sands of Time" Oliver Clutton-Brock has him at Stalag IVB and dying "of natural causes" (page 493)

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Simon, Hi,
    Ross gives no Rank in his PoW summary (4B Turnbull G E 1533387 RAF).

    GRO speak with forked tongue:-
    (1)
    First Name(s):G. E.
    Last Name:Turnbull
    Rank:Flight Sergeant
    Section:Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks
    Camp No:4B
    POW No:1533387
    Rank Abbrev.:F/Sgt
    Regt or Corps:Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks
    Camp Type:Stalag
    Camp Location:Muhlberg (Elbe)

    and(2)
    Registration event: Death
    Name: TURNBULL, Geoffrey E
    Unit:103 Sqdn.
    Rank:Warrant Officer
    Number:1533387
    Year: 1945
    Volume : 14 Page: 218
    Record source: GRO War Death R.A.F. All Ranks (1939 to 1948)

    Same Service Number for all three Ranks. Something not quite right? Did "we" promote some of our blokes when "in the cage" to get them better conditions? Or was this an attempt to get Turnbull promoted to Warrant OFFICER to get an early repat? Malcolm's rafweb has him dying in Stalag IVb as a W/O. Interesting story here somewhere I think?
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thanks for the replies gents.

    I noticed that on the CWGC website he is listed as a Warrant Officer, and that Chorley has him listed as a Sgt. Would it be a common procedure to be promoted whilst a PoW? How would it be decided, and by who?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon

    It was the usual procedure, promotion was usually on a time basis regardless of whether the NCO was a POW so many NCO's left captivity in a higher rank than when they were captured. The most extreme I've seen was an AC1 shot down in 1940 leaving captivity as a WO.

    Malcolm

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    Thanks for explaining that Malcolm, much appreciated.

    Simon

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    Default Promotion whilst PoW

    On 4 September 1939 15 Blenheims of Bomber Command tried to attack ships of the German fleet in the Schillig Roads near Wilhelmshaven.

    Four Blenheims of 107 Squadron (10 killed, 2 PoW) and 1 (all 4 killed) of 110 Squadron failed to return. Sergeant G F Booth and Aircraftman 1st Class L J Slattery of 107 Squadron became the first RAF PoW’s, with Slattery becoming No. 1 – he became a Warrant Officer by war’s end, as promotions came along every year – even in the camps.

    The pilot of the Blenheim from 110 Squadron F/O H L Emden died, with his crew, when his Blenheim crashed on to the German training cruiser Emden!!

    I have a photo of a postcard from Slattery -The card shows Oflag IXA (Spangenburg bei Kassel) – an Oflag was an officer’s camp, so he was probably an orderly before promotion took him away!!

    See http://www.rafcommands.com/Air%20Force%20PoWs/RAF%20POWs%20Query%20S_1.html for Slattery and http://www.rafcommands.com/Air%20Force%20PoWs/RAF%20POWs%20Query%20B_1.html for Booth

    Not only was it a very long war for Slattery, but after liberation he was suspected of “aiding the enemy” because his name was found on “a photograph captured in Germany”, but he had to wait until 4 August 1945 before it was decided that no action would be taken against him.

    All info above from “Footprints on the sands of time- RAF Bomber Command Prisoners of War in Germany 1939 – 1945” by Oliver Clutton-Brock.

    Allan
    Allan Hillman

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    Default RE: W/O Turnbull

    Hello Simon,

    I hope I am not too late in replying to this? I know about this: from German records, this plane crashed at Marjoss - about 9 to 10 miles E.N.E. of Frankfurt-on-Main. The record in BCL is therefore inaccurate - and I am really not sure what this relates to, but it is not JB454. The aircraft was shot down by Ofw Rudolph Winn, who was piloting a Ju-88; the rear-gunner of JB454, Sgt. R. Roberts, inflicted severe damage on the Luftwaffe night-fighter, which had to return to its base but there was finally shot down by its own side!

    The crew of JB454 were as follows:
    F/Sgt. H. S. Rathbone - pilot
    Sgt. R. W. S. Howells - FE
    F/Sgt. G. E. Turnbull - Navigator
    Sgt. P. G. Hancock - Air Bomber
    F/Sgt. W. Blake - Wireless Operator
    Sgt. G. Chapman - Air Gunner
    Sgt. R. Roberts - Air Gunner

    I would say there was a very good chance of W/O Turnbull having been promoted to that rank whilst at Stalag IVb (Muhlberg-on-the Elbe), as the pilot was also promoted to that rank whilst in capativity. W/O Turnbull unfortunately died in capativity; I was told that this was most likely to have been because of TB.

    Forgive my asking, but is W/O Turnbull a relative?

    Regards,

    Richard


    Quote Originally Posted by wwrsimon View Post
    Hello everyone

    I'm looking for some information about the loss of the above aircrew member. He was shot down in Lancaster JB454 in December 1943 near Gorlitz in Saxony, on the Polish border. He is listed as a PoW in Chorley's BCL 1943.

    He died on April 7th 1945, and is buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Can anyone shed any light on the circumstances of his death, and on the loss of JB454 (BCL doesn't elaborate on the circumstances of the crash)?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Many thanks for the reply Richard.

    Interesting about Winn's Ju-88. The Aircrew Remembrance Society website lists Winn as being shot down on January 3rd 1944 in Ju-88 Werk Nr 750935 4R+?? at Elsfleth an der Weser, 15-20 miles NW of Bremen, with all three crew baling out, but the gunner falling into the Weser and drowning. Would this be a second time Winn was shot down?

    I'm not related to W/O Turnbull. He's one of the casualties from North East England I'm researching (5,415 so far...). He was originally from South Shields, and lived in Marina Drive there. He is commemorated in the Book of Remembrance of the TOC H Society in Westoe, South Shields, which is now in South Tyneside Central Library.

    Best regards

    Simon

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    Default RE: W/O Turnbull and crew

    Hello Simon,

    Yes, I did also hear that Ofw Winn was shot down again some time later - and that he did lose a crew member at that time.

    You are undertaking a very interesting project. W/O Turnbull, and the crew, were originally sent from their HCU to 83 squadron and the Pathfinder's Navigational Training Unit from July to September 1943 at RAF Wyton. From my records, he went on a raid to Milan on 12/13 August - before they operated as a complete crew at 83 Squadron against Modane in September. The Crewe were then transferred to 103 Squadron on 22/09/43. At 103 Squadron, they went on the operations to: Hannover (18/19 October) - Early Return (Compasses u/s); Kassel (22/23 October); Modane (10/11 November); Berlin (18/19 November); Berlin (22/23 November); Berlin (23/24 November) - Early Return (aircraft dangerous to fly); Berlin (2/3 December); Berlin (16/17 December) - Early Return (Oxygen failure); Frankfurt (20/21 December) - Failed to Return.

    I should say that my interest/knowledge of JB-454 is because the Flight Engineer (who is still alive) is my great-uncle. My father and I are also in contact with the son of the pilot as well. We are all keen to hear more - and possibly see photos of the crew. I know it may be a long shot, but would W/O Turnbull still have any relatives in the area?

    Finally, about the promotion in your original question, from the records we received from his son, the pilot - F/S Rathbone - was promoted to W/O in April 1944 whilst a POW. So I would say that it was highly likely that this also happened to W/O Turnbull.

    Regards,
    Richard

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