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Thread: Lt Alexander Desmond NEELY, No. 825 Squadron

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    Default Lt Alexander Desmond NEELY, No. 825 Squadron

    hello,

    Happy new year to all.

    Back in July 2006 we had a thread on the board coving No. 825 (Fairey Swordfish) losses on 29th May 1940.

    I've just found a PoW questionnaire for Lieutenant Alexander Desmond NEELY, R.N., No. 825 Squadron, H.M.S. Glorious, captured on 29th May 1940. But he was not listed in the crews lost that day.

    I'm not very documented on F.A.A. and its losses, can someone help me to find in which plane he was flying ? He may have been shot down at an earlier date (24th May ?) and captured only on the 29th ?

    Thanks in advance

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,

    One source gives:

    Shot down over Dunkirk.

    5 aircraft of the squadron were lost that day.

    but Sturtivant gives 28th May on a bombing raid over France.

    He was one of the Sagan escapers

    http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/RollofHonour/POW/N.html

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    hello Ross,

    Thanks for the help. Indeed in page 2 of his questionnaire he mentions being one of the men who evaded in "The Great Escape", and recaptured in a train bound for Munich.

    It seems also his Swordfish was shot down on 28th May, but he was captured the day after.

    Joss

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    Joss/Ross,
    Is it possible NEELY was on Swordfish K6009 (Capt W.G.S. ASTON - RM - rescued; S.Lt P.H. RYLANDS - RN - buried Breskens, Holland). K6009 probably crashed North Sea off Goodwin Sands ?).
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Hello,

    According to the website mentioned by Ross, NEELY was the pilot, his observer was Lt R.G. WOOD and the TAG was VSA MOORE. WOOD was also a PoW. MOORE also captured but recovered ? I'll check their PoW questionnaires (WO 344 series) during my next visit at Kew.
    No serial number quoted, but date is given as 28th May 1940, place of capture of NEELY is stated as "Loos", but it could be a town near Lille or Loos-en-Gohelle near Lens, both town quite inland. It doesn't really make sense, as the Swordfish lost at that time were lost in the coastal area, not inland. Unless it could be "Loon-Plage" (with a spelling error), which is a village west of Dunkirk.

    Luckily the other PoW questionnaires could help to clarify this point.

    Joss

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    Joss

    The excellent Battle of France Then & Now (P Cornwell)
    lists

    28/5/40

    RAF Coastal Command
    825 FAA Sdn Detling
    Bombing Calais-Boulogne

    Swordfish K5982 crashed in the sea shortly after take off. Crew rescued unhurt. A/c G5P lost

    Swordfish K8865 believed shot down by AA fire. Lt AD Neely amd Lt RG Wood captured. Naval airman VSA Moore returned unhurt. A/c a write off.
    Alexander Neely was among escapees from Stalag Luft during The Great escape but he returned to Sagan on his recapture and he survived.

    Swordfish K6009 ditched on the Goodwin Sands in bad visibility following sortie to attack E boats reported off Ostend. Capt WGS Aston rescued unhurt, Sub L PH Rylands drowned. A/c G5B lost.

    regards

    DaveW

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    Hello,

    Silly me. I have this book, I even traveled to Tunbridge Wells on its launch day to have a signed copy, but I just overlooked it, because this loss was Fleet Air Arm, and I just forgot that TBOFT&N not only covered R.A.F. but also F.A.A.'s involvement in this Battle.

    Thanks Dave for this.

    I'll check the PoW questionnaire of Lt R.G. WOOD anyhow, to see what he says about his capture (place and date).

    Joss

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    S/Lt R.G. WOOD in L3 Nr. 2254; NA1 V.S.A. MOORE - FAA/77518 (late J/X142436) in L6 Nr. 10021.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    hello,

    I was checking "The Battle of France then & now", to prepare files to read during my next visit to Kew, in this case PoW questionnaires, and I found this oddity in the book :

    On 28th May 1940 (page 385), Swordfish I K8865 shot down : crew Lt A.D. NEELY and Lt R.G. WOOD captured, naval airman V.S.A. MOORE returned unhurt.

    On 29th May 1940 (page 390) : Swordfish I L9740 shot down : crew Lt A.D. NEELY and Lt R.G. WOOD captured. ???

    Same day Swordfish I P3997 shot down : Sub Lt J.T. NICHOLSON and Naval Airman V.S.A. MOORE capture.

    For the latter, it seems logical to think he returned to Hawkinge on 28th May, and was shot down again the day after, but this time was captured.

    What about Lt NEELY and WOOD ? Can someone point me towards direction about Fleet Air Arm units ?

    Thanks in advance

    Joss

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    Joss

    FAA A/C 1939-1945 (Sturtivant & Burrow)

    For K8865 the entry reads
    "825S 2.40, PD 3.7.40" The abbreviations section defines 'PD' as 'Papers Deposited (where soc date is unknown. UK a/c usually within a few weeks. Overseas could take very much longer).

    For L9740 there is no entry, presumably a mistake.

    In the unidentified a/c section

    "28/5/40 825S Detling (5P) crashed in the sea on take off for operational flight (Pilot and observer OK) Comment by DW- Detling is not near the sea! Perhaps base should read Hawkinge. (BoFT&N list this a/c as K5982)

    28/5/40 825S Detling. FTR bombing raid over France (Lt AD Neely & Lt RG Wood PoW, NA VSA Wood recovered). (Also pilot S/L JT Nicholson PoW). Comment by DW-BoFT&N lists this a/c as K8865; and another K6009 ditched on Goodwin Sands,.

    29/5/40 825S Detling. (5C) shot down in France nr Albert Canal (S/L CSF Hogg killed, Lt RHG Grey PoW died 29/8/41 & LA LP Gardner killed). BoFT&N lists this a/c as L2828.

    29/5/40 825S Detling. Bombing raid over France, crashed, overturned, Dunkirk (L/C JB Buckley PoW, escaped 3.43). BoFT&N lists this a/c as P4022

    29/5/40 825S lost 5 a/c-other known casualties included LA HK Murrin killed, ; NA1 FG Rumsey & NA1VSA Moore both PoW providing Dunkirk cover)." BoFT&N lists the a/c involved as L2756 Murrin; P3997 Nicholson; L9740 Neely & Wood.

    Squadrons of the FAA (Sturtivant & Ballance) covers this period of operations as follows:

    "and 825 disembarked to carry out operations in the English Channel against U-boats, E-boats and enemy transport in the Calais area during the Dunkirkc evacuation. Eight a/c were lost at this time, including five which failed to return from a bombing raid on the 31 May."(sic)

    As you see, some inconsistencies and contradictions here.

    regards

    DaveW

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