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Thread: RAF Stinson Sentinel I & II SEAC Burma 1944-46 No. 194 117 & 357 Special Duties Sqn.

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    Default RAF Stinson Sentinel I & II SEAC Burma 1944-46 No. 194 117 & 357 Special Duties Sqn.

    My name is Taylor Stevenson and I am researching the RAF use of Stinson Sentinel I and II's (U.S. Stinson L-5 and L-5Bs, respectively) and their use in the SEAC during WWII. Specifically, that of KJ405 and her use in RAF No. 194 "Friendly Firm" and 357 "Special Duties" Sqn.s in India/Burma from 1944-46. I am restoring an original Stinson Sentinel I and am looking for any information that may aid in an accurate restoration... Photos, logs, unit histories, pilot documents, Form 540 / 541, etc. Most critical, is information regarding KJ405, RAF 357, 194, and 117... I previously restored Stinson L-5G Sentinel 45-35050 and received Best of Class at EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2009 and my goal in the Sentinel I restoration is 100% accuracy.

    My airframe arrived at Imphal in November 1944 and was originally assigned to RAF No. 194, until late February 1945. It was then transferred to RAF No. 357 "Special Duties" Sqn. and served alongside Lysanders aiding the SOE Force 136 operatives in the region. The airfields from which she served include, but are not limited to, Mingaladon, Imphal, Meiktila, Jessore, Mongoose Blue, etc. She was finally struck off charge July 26, 1945 and was apparently transferred to the Philippine Air Force.

    I would greatly appreciate any help I can get. My research options here in the States are limited to what I can find in a Google search.

    As a new member to the site, I am apparently unable to attach photographs to this post. If that changes, I will post some photographs of Stinson Sentinels in RAF service.

    A little about me... I am a 23 year old warbird enthusiast from Dallas, Texas. My passion for the Stinson L-5 Sentinel started when I was twelve; I received my pilots license in a Piper J3-C65 Cub on my 16th birthday; and finished my first Sentinel restoration two years later. I now am blessed to be the owner/pilot (I prefer "custodian") of three Sentinels (one flying, two projects) and a flying North American T-6G Texan (Harvard). I am really looking forward to my first RAF restoration in this Sentinel I. Please dont hesitate to contact me to talk Sentinels, Texans, or warbirds in general!

    Respectfully,

    Taylor A. Stevenson

    taylor.a.stevenson@gmail.com
    me109me109@aol.com

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    YOu can purchase the Squadron Operations Records Books (ORB) for both units for the relevent months from the Uk national Archives website, by one at a time incase that this type of aircraft does not get a detailed mention.

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/raf-operations-record-books.htm

    That will be I think the best first hand accounts you might find.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

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

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    Thank you, Dennis!

    I'll contact them ASAP.

    I'll apologize to all in advance for my ignorance, this is my first foray into RAF research/restoration!

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    Hi Taylor,

    Thanks for your interesting post. I have photographs of Mongoose White SOE airfield, which came into my possession through my research into the Chindits of 1943.

    If these are of use, then let me know and I can send them over to you.

    Steve.
    The boldest measures are the safest.

    http://www.chinditslongcloth1943.com/index.html

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    Steve: That would be great! PM will be sent.

    It appears my airframe arrived in Imphal with the RAF No. 194 Sqn "The Friendly Firm" "C" Flight, then was transferred in March 1945 to RAF 221 Group "C" Flight. In May 1945 KJ405 was obtained by RAF No. 357 "Special Duties" Sqn. and was used in missions supporting SOE Force 136 to the Mongoose and Walrus airstrips. It appears that this was the only Sentinel used by RAF 357 Sqn. The aircraft was then transferred back to RAF 221 Group. Any photos, research, or information regarding any of these Communications Flight Units would be greatly appreciated!

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    Hi Taylor,

    There is no need to purchase the No.357 (S.D.) Sqn ORB. It can be viewed online, here:

    http://www.rquirk.com/357.html

    For background material on No.357 Sqn ops, I recommend you read the following:

    The Moonlight War:The Story of Clandestine Operations in South-East Asia, 1944-5.
    O'Brien,Terence
    London:Collins,1987

    A Classic!

    Col.

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    Taylor,

    Images have been sent, let me know when you have them and all is ok.

    Steve
    The boldest measures are the safest.

    http://www.chinditslongcloth1943.com/index.html

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    Thanks, Steve! The images are wonderful! I really appreciate the help.

    Still looking for RAF Stinson Sentinel photographs, document, and information. Specifically that of Stinson Sentinel I KJ405 RAF No. 194 and 357 Sqns. as well as RAF No. 221 Group Communications Flights.

    Thanks!
    T

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    Taylor,

    Apologies if you are already aware of this link, but as you've not mentioned it have you seen http://cgibin.rcn.com/jeremy.k/cgi-bin/gzUsafSearch.pl?target=42-98648&content=

    It records KJ405 as being ex 42-99546. I only mention it on the off-chance the website owner has some photos that would assist you.

    Brian

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    Hi, Taylor,

    I have copies from the logbook of a Royal Australian Air Force pilot, William R. Anderson (AUS 427492), who piloted L-5 Sentenels in India/Burma for 135 hours between 13 Feb and 15 April 1945. This followed his tour of combat operations as a B-24 Liberator pilot with RAF 159 Squadron out of India. Bill is deceased, but his son had sent me photocopies from his father's logbook. I had asked him for only the Liberator sections, but the bonus was the L-5 flights, plus two or three documents.

    Bill flew all but 1.5 of his Sentinel hours in KJ438. The others: KJ396 and KJ403...not quite KJ405!

    I'll be glad to scan the pages I have for you. No doubt they'll be useful. I'll write you privately in a few minutes.

    Because a pilot's logbook is oversized, a left-hand and a right-hand page are needed for making entries for a single flight. Unfortunately, using a standard-sized single page to coverBill's son used only a standard-sized single page to cover the left-hand page but only a little of the right page. With some of the right-hand page missing, then, and with only selected segments of the logbook copied, not once is a unit identification given. For each individual flight, however, except for the flying unit, all the important info seems to be copied: date, aircraft type & number, 2nd pilot/pupil/passenger, specific duty & location, and hours.

    As for the unit, one of the copied documents included with the logbook copies provides a clue. The wording:

    From:- Officer Commanding, 357 Squadron, RAF
    To:- F/O. W.R. ANDERSON (AUS.427494), 231 Group Comm. Flight. RAF [Error - last digit of service no. should be 2.]
    Date:- 26th April 1945

    COMMENDATION

    The following message has been received from O.S.S. H.Q. Det. 101 A.F.U. with a request that it be passed on to you. It was addressed to W/Cdr. T. Blackburn, DSO, DFC, from this Unit received the message.

    F/O. W.R. ANDERSON, RAAF of your Command has recently completed temporary duty this Headquarters as Liaison L-5 pilot.

    F/O. W.R. Anderson's performance of his duty has been exceptionally fine under difficult conditions. He has exceeded the ordinary calls of his duty, displaying a fine co-operative spirit and sound judgment.

    For the Commanding Officer,

    (signed) FRANK SAUTER
    1st Lt., CAC
    Adjutant

    (signed) P.W. BOWLES. F/Lt.
    for Squadron Leader,
    Commanding, 357 Squadron, RAF

    signed J. Cassidy F/O
    for Group Captain, Commanding,
    H.Q., RAF Base, Calcutta

    ++++++++++++++++++
    So, this document doesn't quite clarify with whom Bill flew for all of his Sentinel flights. However, Bill's RAAF personnel file is open to the public at the National Archives of Australia. It has not been digitized and put on-line yet, per a search of the Archives holdings. However, if you want, you can order paper copies or a digitization of Bill's personnel file. This should contain his postings and movements.

    Or, with luck, you can reach the son in Australia. I have his address from about 2007, but if I had e-mail contact with him back then, that e-mail address is lost. Oops... There are two Anderson phone listings in that town in New South Wales, so one of them may be the son (who only gave a post office box for his address in that town, not the full street address). A perusal of the logbook then could be arranged to learn more, and there could be photos...who knows! The last page or pages of an airman's logbook often had a "units in which served" summary page.

    I'll drop you a line momentarily.

    Cheers,

    Matt Poole
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 5th March 2013 at 13:22. Reason: Clarifying my first attempt to explain things

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