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Thread: Lancaster DV329 (KM-W) lost 23/11/43 - help needed

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    Default Lancaster DV329 (KM-W) lost 23/11/43 - help needed

    The above a/c was piloted by my great uncle as follows:

    Flt/Lt Charels Ellison HILL 127356 - Pilot - Killed
    P/O Edric George Wright 156351 - Flt Engineer-Killed
    P/O James Marsden 156915 - Navigator -Killed
    F/O Charles William Nunn 132381 - Bomb Aimer - Killed
    F/S Thomas Myerscough 1230232 -Wireless Operator / Air Gunner -Killed
    Sgt Ronald Ledsham 1535227 - Rear Gunner -Killed
    Sgt P. B. Kirwan 700738 - Mid upper Gunner - Prisoner of war (stalagIVb Muhlberg prisoner no 263692).

    The a/c was lost on the evening of the 23rd of November 1943 on the way to Berlin and is believed to have crashed near Rastdorf with only Kirwan surviving, also at this time a second Lancaster that being JB537 (PH-N) of 12 sqn is also believed to have crashed near to Vrees which is about 3 miles from the site of DV329. All of this crew were killed.
    Both crews were buried by the Germans in a communial grave at Oldenburg a day or so later. At war end when they tried to exhume the grave they were only able to positively identify two crew members that being Ledsham from DV 329 and a chap called Ferndell from JB537. Hence why these two have thier own graves next to the communual grave of the others in the Reichswald cemetry.

    I have been doing some work in relation as to where the a/c crashed and how they were brought down but have now come to a stumbling block.

    I have a document from the "OKL LISTEN" for that date that states DV329 (KM-W) was shot down at 1900hrs at 5,500mts altitude near to Lorup by Oblt. Heinz-Wolgang SCHNAUFER of 12./NJG.1 and the plane crashed near Rasdorf with 6KIA and 1 PoW. (verified I beleive in book "Nachtjagd diaries Vol 1 part 303).

    However in various web sites on him (Schnaufer) it shows him shooting down a 405 sqn Lancaster JA 939 (LQ-C) at 1850 hrs (verified), as well as JB537 (PH-N) at 1900hrs near Lorup at the same 5,500 mts with 6KIA and 1 PoW - yet all the crew of JB537 were killed and buried with the dead of DV329. So this is clearly wrong and I suspect where the web sites have JB537 it should read DV329?
    To further back this up I have got hold of a MACR List 1943 page 86 that shows a "Lancaster N-cocade -N" was brought down at Vrees by Flak at 2200hrs. The only two a/c that crashed there were DV329 (KM-W) and JB537 (PH-N).
    To throw a spanner in the works I have a letter from thre Air Ministry from 1948 addressed to Mrs Marsden that states that DV 329 crahed near to Vrees and JB537 near to Rastdorf. Clearly in contrdiction to the other documents.

    The ideal would have been to find out from the PoW Sgt Kirwan who, I'm afraid point blankly refused to discuss the matter with my Grandfather who was C.E Hill's brother at the end of the war.

    Can any of you help with any information which might shed light on how, where, when and why DV329 crashed and how Kirwan got out? If not got any clues as to where I can get such info, as I beleive PoW's were interviewed upon liberation and this may shed some light as to how it crashed etc. I have no other idea of how I am going to find out where each a/c crashed and as I wish to plan a trip to the site I would like to know I have the correct one. I have looked at the National Archives web site but the array forms are mind boggling and I cannot decipher what form etc to look under for PoW interviews or the German KE files or reports on how each a/c crashed etc.

    Any help would be extremely appreciated as I seem to have got as far as I can with it.
    Kind Regards
    Fred
    Last edited by bigf; 29th August 2012 at 09:15.

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    Hi Fred,

    I would suggest you to visiit TNA Kew and look into the PoW files:

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATLN=3&CATID=13403&Se archInit=4&SearchType=6&CATREF=WO+344

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=8438203&CATLN=6& accessmethod=5

    I am not sure if his form will be there but I think you can check it with the archive stuff in advance if necessary

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Pavel

    Thank you so much for the info re the National Archive, I guess I will have to pop over in a couple of weeks as I'm going to London then.

    If anyone else has any ideas on how I can get any further info into this quandry please let me know.

    Kind Regards

    Fred

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    Default Nachtjagd war diaires

    Hi,
    I have informed from abroad that in the book Nachtjagd War Diaries page 303 it states that Schnaufer shot down Lancaster DV329 44 sqn and not JB537.
    Does anyone have a copy of the book and if so have a butchers to see if that is correct?
    Thanks Fred

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    Fred,

    I am going to Kew next week and have a few other requests to look up so l will look up the Liberation Questionnaire of Sgt P. B. Kirwan 700738 for you.

    I do not think it will tell you much but it will tell you when and where he was captured, nothing much else to help you. This information will also be subject to the crew members memory and interpretation of the inncident nearly 2 years previous and quite often they considered these questionnaires to be a drag.

    Your Grandfathers must have struggled to understand why he was unable to gain any information from Kirwan but when questioning POW's and other vets today they all too frequently have no real recollection of the situation as they have spent the last 50+ years trying to forget. I am sure Sgt Kirwan was in the early stages of this process at the time.

    I will let you know what l find out as soon as l can.

    Regards,

    Nick

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    Nick.
    Your a star, if you need any info or anything let me know and of course I am more than willing to assit you with any out of pocket expenses etc.
    I hear what you say re getting my Grandfather trying info from Sgt Kirwan, in reality these were after all young lads and it must have been a damn traumatic experience to be shot at and have to bail out, crash etc to say the least, not to mention the guilt of surviving when the rest of his crew were dead.
    Yeah any info would be great and if you could get a copy I will gladly reimbuse any costs. It may shed some light on which site DV 329 crashed either Vrees or Nr Rastdorf. I have managed to get a copy of page 303 of Nachtjagd Diaries and this states DV329 was claimed by Oblt Schnaufer over Lorup, so with anything from Kirwan this would put almost an end to years of searching, and I can finally get over to the site in question and pay my respects.
    Thanks again
    Fred

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    Hi Nick
    If you do manage to get hold of anything re Kirwan, can you send it via my own email of:
    bigf"at"techemail"dot"com
    Thanks again
    Fred
    Last edited by bigf; 5th September 2012 at 12:28. Reason: to stop spammers

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    Of course Fred but edit your E mail address to stop spamers. Add 'AT' and 'DOT'

    Nick

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    Cheers Nick, That will explain how my email box is full of such rubbish. Will use the "at" and Dot as you recomend.

    Ta

    Fred

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    Fred,

    I will E Mail you F Sgt Patrick Baldock Kirwan's Liberation Questionnaire but l am affraid it gives the date but not the place of capture. Very unusual as they nearly always give both bits of info. but this corresponds with F Sgts Kirwan's response to your family. It does say he was captured on 23rd November 1943.

    Pages 2 and 3, l did not copy, as they are blank and help us no more information but having read your thread, l am pretty sure you are right on your assumptions.

    Regards,

    Nick

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