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Thread: can anyone help to find info on my grandfather pls? killed 12 feb 1944

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    Default can anyone help to find info on my grandfather pls? killed 12 feb 1944

    hi all. I have jsut started trying to gather information on how my grandfather william herbert nettleton was killed in his mosquito crash on 12th feb 1944. Sadly my grandmother passed away a few years ago and she destroyed all records of her late husband (photos, RAF details etc). My father and I are now trying to piece together any info we can get our hands on. I am new to this site, and in fact have jsut started on this fact-gathering project. does anybody know how i can access RAF records / paperwork / books - anything really that will help us learn a little about my late grandfather, and any details of his crash? Any helpful suggestions on how and where to look would be gratefully received

    many thanks
    jamie

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    For starters.....

    http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2691702/NETTLETON,%20WILLIAM%20HERBERT

    Regards,
    Simon

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    Hello Jamie,

    first stop for your father would be to contact the RAF and obtain his father's service record, it might be only a two page thing but that will give all his postings and promotions. Details here:

    http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html

    Then, he is buried in England hence his crash was in the UK, had it been in France he would be buried there.

    The link above is to his CWGC burial record, it lists no unit for him so I guess he was not with a front line Squadron at the time, perhaps a training unit.

    Your GF was previously mentioned on the forum with a suggestion he died in a crash of an Airspeed Oxford aircraft, not a Mosquito, link is here:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?5781-Fatal-Accidents-around-Malmesbury-Wilts

    15 PAFU by the way is 15 (Pilots) Advanced Training Unit.

    What is the background to the Mosquito crash that you mention? Is this what your family have always been told?

    The site: http://www.dehavilland.ukf.net/_DH98%20prodn%20list.txt Mosquito production list does not have an aircraft loss on this date that matches but its probably not fully accurate.

    To back up the suugestion that he died on Airspeed Oxford NN306 , I would say that the place named Brinkworth is within the Chippinham registration district where the two mens deaths are recorded.

    http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/reg/districts/chippenham.html
    http://freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl

    I hope this helps and if I've confused you with links, just say!
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Jamie, Hi - Welcome,
    [If your Grandmotherís maiden Surname was Barnes, then this is possibly your man]
    Civil registration event: Birth
    Name: NETTLETON, William H
    Registration district: [?] Edmonton County: Middlesex
    Year of registration: 1912 Quarter of registration: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Mother's maiden name: Barnes
    Volume no:[?]3A Page no:[?]1431

    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Appointment to commission. As Plt. Offs. on prob. (emergency): ó
    Leading Aircraftman
    28th Nov. 1943.
    1323826 William Herbert NETTLETON (160604)
    Enlisted in UK between Jun 1940 and Feb 1941

    Civil registration event: Death
    Name: NETTLETON, William H
    Registration district: [?] Chippenham County: Wiltshire
    Year of registration: 1944 Quarter of registration: Jan-Feb-Mar
    Age at death:31 Volume no: 5A Page no: 90


    NETTLETON, WILLIAM HERBERT (160604) age: 31 RAFVR Plt Off He was killed whilst flying in Oxford I, NM306 of No 15 (P) AFU, which flew into the ground at speed whilst undertaking a cross-country W/T exercise.. He is buried in Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery
    (Info courtesy of rafweb)

    15 (P) AFU was No 15 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit and was probably based at RAF Babdown Farm, in 23 Group of Flying Training Command, at the time. Babdown Farm was a grass airfield but there might be a couple of WW2 hangars still standing (go to http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?493-Babdown-Farm).

    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    hi all. Wow! thankyou so much for all that information. That is absolutely wonderful. My father and I are delighted and moved.
    Dennis - in answer to your question, my dad had always thought that he was killed in a mosquito crash, but it seems this is not correct and that it was in fact an airspeed oxford. My grandfather died when my dad was 3, and sadly my grandmother about 20 years ago threw out all information / photos / books etc about her late husband at a time when she was feeling particularly low. She never remarried you see, so was alone from age 27 to 94.

    I really appreciate all this help chaps, it is fantastic. Does anybody know if there are archives where we can get hold of photos? Also info as to whether my grandfather ever flew on missions into enemy territory, or whether in fact he was still in training? Where might I find this info? I will enjoy spending hours over the weekend sifting through all these links you have all kindly provided.

    thank you all so much!
    jamie

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    Hi Jamie,

    as we said above, you ought to get his service record from the RAF, that will list his postings and will tell you if he saw active service or not.

    What Peter copied in below was an extract from the London Gazette showing he was commishioned as an officer in late 1943. He might have served as a Sergeant in combat before this time or he may have been commishioned during/after his training.

    I noted that he was listed as a Navigator on the CWGC listing, the (P) AFU's were used as a means of allowing men who trained overseas to familiarise with flying in UK/Europe, worse weather, busier skies etc.

    But, first and foremost, get his service record.

    You shoudl also request a copy of the crash report Form 1180 from the RAF Museum in Hendon, Ross teh moderator on here might even have it to send to you.

    RAF Hendon can be contacted via their website, ask for the Form F1180 for Oxford NM306. If your GF was not the pilot then only Dowling will be listed on that report.

    http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/default/archive-collection/aircraft-records.aspx

    So two items for you to do:

    1. Contact RAF and get service record
    2. Contact RAf Museum, get Form 1180 crash card.

    As for photos, did your GF have any siblings? They or maybe cousins might be the best bet, an official photo turning up would be a complete gamble.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi again dennis. We will do exactly as you say and go after his service record. I haven't actually had a chance to look at all your links, need to do so when I get out of the office!

    I can't thank you enough for your time and help. I am very excited with all the leads you chaps have provided!

    thanks! jamie

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    Hi Jamie,

    12-2-1944
    No.15 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit
    Oxford I NM306

    Took off from Babdown Farm at 0930, detailed to carry out a short cross-country flight for the purpose of R/T and W/T training. The aircraft crashed at 1100 approx at Little Somerford, Wiltshire, when the aircraft struck the ground at high speed with its starboard main plane.

    Eyewitnesses heard the roar of aircraft engines and saw the aircraft appearing from cloud. It turned completely upside down, then rolled over to the left a little more than half way. It then dived down with the right wing down on a fairly steep angle, with the undercarriage fully extended.

    The main cause of the accident was considered to be the loss of control by the pilot.

    AUS418647 F/Sgt (Pupil Pilot) Roy William DOWLING RAAF +
    160604 P/O (Nav./W) William Herbert NETTLETON RAFVR +

    Both buried in Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery.

    Source:

    http://www.awm.gov.au/catalogue/research_centre/pdf/rc09125z023_1.pdf

    See: p.103 of 508 (edited, by me). This service was unavailable for a few days. l informed the AWM of the fault, which they have corrected in the last 24 hours.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 3rd November 2012 at 00:33.

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    Dear Col. Bruggy
    Thank you so much for this extraordinary information. Where did you find this? Is it from the form 118 crash card that Dennis mentioned below? My father asked me to pass on his thanks for everyone's help and advice. We have a lot of leads and investigating to be getting on with.
    This eyewitness account you found is very moving. I will endeavour to get hold of this crash card and service record after the weekend.
    Thank you!

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    Jamie,
    The trade of Navigator (W) (W = Wireless) as lsited against your relative's name in the Oxford accident is usually associated with the De Havilland Mosquito (Bomber and PR versions mostly) so it is quite possible that previously he had an association with this type of aircraft, as mentioned in your family "lore". His record of service should be able to confirm or refute this.
    David D

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