Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: No.144 Squadron in Russia

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,372
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default No.144 Squadron in Russia

    An RCAF Press Release circa May 1943 deals with experiences of Pilot Officer George Thomas Vicary (navigator, RCAF). He had spent "months with a British squadron in Russia" - which I have since determined to be No.144. I am trying to determine

    (1) exactly when No.144 (and, I believe, No.455 Squadron) went to Russia
    (2) when they returned to Britain (having left their Hampdens in Soviet hands)
    (3) whether they flew any operational sorties
    (4) numbers (and hopefully names) of other RCAF personnel in these units.

    The Press Release itself deals wholly with social interaction with the Russians (as opposed to operations). The following excerpt provides some of the document's flavour:

    "A somewhat startling feature of this [Russian] drome was the number of loudspeakers scattered everywhere, inside and out, giving out Russian speeches, news broadcasts and music practically all day. I think they cut it down a bit for our benefit".

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,814
    Thanks
    32
    Thanked 32 Times in 31 Posts

    Default

    Hi Hugh,

    some info from Russian sites:

    - some photos:
    http://foto.mail.ru/community/warhistory/1224/2179.html#2174

    - brief history:

    http://www.airwar.ru/history/av2ww/allies/ussr/ussr.html
    А спустя несколько дней, 4 сентября 1942 г с английской базы Самбург стартовали 32 бомбардировщика 144 и 455 (австралийской) эскадрилий, взяв курс на Кандалакшу.

    i. e. 4.9.42. bombers of 144 and 455 SQ flew from Sumburg to Kandalaksha.
    Landed on Russian airfield 23 of them, more 3 landed on other places but in Russia.

    as source of this paragraph:
    Schofield E., Nesbit R.C. Arctic Airmen: The RAF in Spitsbergen and North Russia in 1942. L., 1987, P.192; Moyle H.R. The Hampden File. L., 1984, P.45-46

    The were based in Грязная губа, Лахта, Новая Земля, Холмовское and Ваенга airfields.

    Armed by American torpedos Mark XII

    Единственный боевой вылет был совершен английскими бомбардировщиками 14 сентября. В тот день разведка сообщила о выходе Тирпица в море. Стала очевидной угроза нападения на конвой. Все 23 хемпдена с торпедами были срочно подняты в воздух на поиски немецкой эскадры. Семь с половиной часов самолеты искали Тирпиц. Не обнаружив линкора, торпедоносцы вернулись в Ваенгу. Здесь летчики узнали, что Тирпиц снова стоит в Нарвике, а его выход в море был связан с "плановыми ходовыми испытаниями"

    The only sortie was carried out on 14.9. when Tirpitz got out to the sea. All 23 planes took off, they were looking for Tirpitz fo around 7 hrs but with no success.

    as source of this paragraph: Schofield E., Nesbit R.C. Arctic Airmen. P.194

    Английское правительство решило все 23 самолета и оставшиеся Фотоспитфайеры безвозмездно передать Северному флоту, что и было сделано 16 октября 1942 г.

    23 aircraft were hand over to the North Fleet on 16.10.1942.

    Hope this helps a little

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Hugh,

    One of my Malvern guys who was with 144 Sqn. was killed on the initial detachment flight to Afrikanda, Russia on 4 Sept. 1942 when his Hampden got off course avoiding fighters. They hit a mountain in Sweden and only two survivors walked out.

    If you need anything, let me know. There was extensive coverage of the discovery of the wreck in 1976 and the KIA were buried in Kviberg Cemetery after being discovered by a mountain trekker.

    PM or e-mail me if you need anything.
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    530
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Although it may not satisfy your exact requirements, you may be interested in the Australian book The RAAF In Russia, which is a history of this part of 455 Sq. written by Geoffrey W. Raebel, son of one of the participants.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    43
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    I was in touch with Walter Hood a few years ago (2009), he flew Hampden AE356 on the transfer. He trained in Canada and was living in Vancouver when we were communicating. He completed his training with 16 OTU before joining 144 Squadron in April 42. He sent me his recollections which may be of interest.

    If you know the event, AE356 was one of the Hampdens that didn’t quite make it, he lost his rear gunner Sgt Tabor in the crash but the rest survived. There is a basic map in ‘The Hamden File’ by Harry Moyle, of the flight to Russia. AE356 is simply marked on the map with no true loss position indicated, Walter had his own copy of the publication, copied the page and indicated his true loss position for me to include in my research. A nice touch for those that like to see accuracy added to the record.

    Drop me a line if you would like more. He did record his experiences in a number of Canadian publications.

    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,372
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Another demonstration of why we treasure this forum - thanks to all.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •