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Thread: searching for information on 204 squadron

  1. #1
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    Default searching for information on 204 squadron

    i am looking for information on 204 squadron of the rafvr during world war 2.
    in particular my uncle ralph billows who was killed west africa 1943.
    i would just like to know any information i have tried the national archives but i can not understand how it works
    any help would greatfully received

  2. #2
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    You may already have this information, but if not hopefully it will provide a useful start point:

    Ralph Bernard Beresford BILLOWS, 744968, Warrant Officer, Royal Air Force (V.R.), 204 Squadron, died 22nd September 1943, aged 23 years. Son of Bernard B. and Hannah L.Billows, of Shirley Warren, Southampton.

    Extract from: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/18267-in-memoriam-those-air-force-pilotscrews-who-died-on-this-day-in-ww2/

    Source:

    AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 166/12/38 Commonwealth War Graves records
    Aircraft Type: Sunderland
    Serial number: JM 710
    Radio call sign:
    Unit: ATTD 204 SQN RAF

    Summary:

    Sunderland JM710 crashed at RAF Bathurst on 22nd September 1943, while turning on its circuit prior to landing.
    In an a Court of Inquiry into the accident, a witness Cpl White, RAF Marine Coxswain stated “ I was coxswain of Pinnace engaged on flare path duty on 22/9/43. At approx 2100 hours on the same night I was stationed at No 2 flare and the aircraft was proceeding on a course of 030 degrees to the flare path downwind, and going from the
    taxying side of the flare path towards the alighting side of the flare path. I then also observed the aircraft to commence a turn to port. Whilst completing this turn the aircraft seemed to fall very quickly, struck the water and burst into flames. Whilst the aircraft was flying overhead it appeared to be flying normal circuit height.”

    In its findings the Court of Inquiry stated ; “ The cause of the accident is obscure. The aircraft crashed whilst turning on its circuit prior to landing. A possible cause was that the Pilot with not much night flying experience returned to RAF Bathurst whilst the weather conditions were not ideal, and the aircraft stalled in its turn. It was thought that the pilot was about to make his run up the flare path to set the gyro, as is normal practice, and stalled in the turn.”

    Crew:

    RAF FO Finney, J G Captain (Pilot)
    RAF FO Cuthbert, S B (2nd Pilot)
    RAF Flt Sgt R G Craig, (Fitter 2B/Flight Engineer)
    RAF Sgt R D Britton, (Navigator)
    RAF Sgt G Weston, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAAF 413751 Flt Sgt B S Evans, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAAF 420196 Flt Sgt E C Hobbins, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAF Sgt H Revell, (Fitter Mech/Air Gunner)
    RAF Flt Sgt R B Billows, (Air Gunner)

    FO Finney, Sgt Weston and Flt Sgt Evans are buried in the Fajara War Cemetery, Faenza, Italy. All the others on board have no known grave. Their names are commemorated on the Malta Memorial, Malta. The Memorial is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by the Golden Eagle which surmounts the column. It stands outside the main entrance to Valetta.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You should be able to obtain 204 Squadron Operations Record Books for the period by entering "204 Squadron Operations Record Books" in the search box on the NA site.

    Good luck with your search

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 3rd May 2013 at 17:43.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  3. #3
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    Hi,

    22/09/1943
    No.204 Sqn
    Sunderland III
    JM710

    Coded L

    F/O J G Finney
    P/O S B Cuthbert
    Sgt R D Britton
    Sgt R G Craig
    Sgt H Revell
    Sgt G Weston
    F/Sgt B S Evans RAAF
    F/Sgt E C Hobbins RAAF
    F/Sgt R B B Billows

    Op: A/S Sweep, RAF Half Die, Time Up 14:13 hrs

    On the return from the mission the aircraft was at a height of 800 feet over the flare path at 21:10 hrs when it stalled into the sea on a left hand turn. F/O Finney, Sgt Weston and F/Sgt Evans, from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, rest in Fajara War Cemetery, Gambia, while the others are all commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

    In an a Court of Inquiry into the accident, a witness Cpl White, RAF Marine Coxswain
    stated I was coxswain of Pinnace engaged on flare path duty on 22/9/43. At approx
    2100 hours on the same night I was stationed at No 2 flare and the aircraft was
    proceeding on a course of 030 degrees to the flare path downwind, and going from the
    taxying side of the flare path towards the alighting side of the flare path .I then also
    observed the aircraft to commence a turn to port. Whilst completing this turn the aircraft
    seemed to fall very quickly, struck the water and burst into flames. Whilst the aircraft
    was flying overhead it appeared to be flying normal circuit height.
    In its findings the Court of Inquiry stated ; The cause of the accident is obscure. The
    aircraft crashed whilst turning on its circuit prior to landing.
    A possible cause was that the Pilot with not much night flying experience returned to
    RAF Bathurst whilst the weather conditions were not ideal, and the aircraft stalled in its
    turn. It was thought that the pilot was about to make his run up the flare path to set the
    gyro, as is normal practice, and stalled in the turn.

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

  4. #4
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    Default thank you

    thank you for the information i did not have any of this.
    i would like to look at the log books
    excuse me for not understanding but where will i find the NA site
    any other information will be great. his sister lilian who is 92 will be so thrilled with this information






    Quote Originally Posted by PeteT View Post
    You may already have this information, but if not hopefully it will provide a useful start point:

    Ralph Bernard Beresford BILLOWS, 744968, Warrant Officer, Royal Air Force (V.R.), 204 Squadron, died 22nd September 1943, aged 23 years. Son of Bernard B. and Hannah L.Billows, of Shirley Warren, Southampton.

    Extract from: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/18267-in-memoriam-those-air-force-pilotscrews-who-died-on-this-day-in-ww2/

    Source:

    AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 166/12/38 Commonwealth War Graves records
    Aircraft Type: Sunderland
    Serial number: JM 710
    Radio call sign:
    Unit: ATTD 204 SQN RAF

    Summary:

    Sunderland JM710 crashed at RAF Bathurst on 22nd September 1943, while turning on its circuit prior to landing.
    In an a Court of Inquiry into the accident, a witness Cpl White, RAF Marine Coxswain stated I was coxswain of Pinnace engaged on flare path duty on 22/9/43. At approx 2100 hours on the same night I was stationed at No 2 flare and the aircraft was proceeding on a course of 030 degrees to the flare path downwind, and going from the
    taxying side of the flare path towards the alighting side of the flare path. I then also observed the aircraft to commence a turn to port. Whilst completing this turn the aircraft seemed to fall very quickly, struck the water and burst into flames. Whilst the aircraft was flying overhead it appeared to be flying normal circuit height.

    In its findings the Court of Inquiry stated ; The cause of the accident is obscure. The aircraft crashed whilst turning on its circuit prior to landing. A possible cause was that the Pilot with not much night flying experience returned to RAF Bathurst whilst the weather conditions were not ideal, and the aircraft stalled in its turn. It was thought that the pilot was about to make his run up the flare path to set the gyro, as is normal practice, and stalled in the turn.

    Crew:

    RAF FO Finney, J G Captain (Pilot)
    RAF FO Cuthbert, S B (2nd Pilot)
    RAF Flt Sgt R G Craig, (Fitter 2B/Flight Engineer)
    RAF Sgt R D Britton, (Navigator)
    RAF Sgt G Weston, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAAF 413751 Flt Sgt B S Evans, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAAF 420196 Flt Sgt E C Hobbins, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAF Sgt H Revell, (Fitter Mech/Air Gunner)
    RAF Flt Sgt R B Billows, (Air Gunner)

    FO Finney, Sgt Weston and Flt Sgt Evans are buried in the Fajara War Cemetery, Faenza, Italy. All the others on board have no known grave. Their names are commemorated on the Malta Memorial, Malta. The Memorial is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by the Golden Eagle which surmounts the column. It stands outside the main entrance to Valetta.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You should be able to obtain 204 Squadron Operations Record Books for the period by entering "204 Squadron Operations Record Books" in the search box on the NA site.

    Good luck with your search

    Regards

    Pete

  5. #5
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    Default thank you

    thank you so much for this information if there is anything else i could find about the crew and the squadron would be so pleased if you could point me in the right direction. my uncle ralph billows also flew in wellington bombers



    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post
    Hi,

    22/09/1943
    No.204 Sqn
    Sunderland III
    JM710

    Coded L

    F/O J G Finney
    P/O S B Cuthbert
    Sgt R D Britton
    Sgt R G Craig
    Sgt H Revell
    Sgt G Weston
    F/Sgt B S Evans RAAF
    F/Sgt E C Hobbins RAAF
    F/Sgt R B B Billows

    Op: A/S Sweep, RAF Half Die, Time Up 14:13 hrs

    On the return from the mission the aircraft was at a height of 800 feet over the flare path at 21:10 hrs when it stalled into the sea on a left hand turn. F/O Finney, Sgt Weston and F/Sgt Evans, from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, rest in Fajara War Cemetery, Gambia, while the others are all commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

    In an a Court of Inquiry into the accident, a witness Cpl White, RAF Marine Coxswain
    stated I was coxswain of Pinnace engaged on flare path duty on 22/9/43. At approx
    2100 hours on the same night I was stationed at No 2 flare and the aircraft was
    proceeding on a course of 030 degrees to the flare path downwind, and going from the
    taxying side of the flare path towards the alighting side of the flare path .I then also
    observed the aircraft to commence a turn to port. Whilst completing this turn the aircraft
    seemed to fall very quickly, struck the water and burst into flames. Whilst the aircraft
    was flying overhead it appeared to be flying normal circuit height.
    In its findings the Court of Inquiry stated ; The cause of the accident is obscure. The
    aircraft crashed whilst turning on its circuit prior to landing.
    A possible cause was that the Pilot with not much night flying experience returned to
    RAF Bathurst whilst the weather conditions were not ideal, and the aircraft stalled in its
    turn. It was thought that the pilot was about to make his run up the flare path to set the
    gyro, as is normal practice, and stalled in the turn.

    Regards
    Ross

  6. #6
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    You can access the National Archives site by posting the following link into you browser.

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/

    If you key 204 Squadron Operations Record Books into the search box you will get a whole list of all the dates they hold. You will then have the relevant file numbers if you wish to visit the archives or obtain them online.

    You should also apply for a copy of his service record, as that will provide details of his training etc

    Happy to offer more advice on this if you want to e-mail me.

    You may be lucky and find that someone on here has the ORB's and can provide you with information on the crew.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  7. #7
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    Default I don't know if this is of interest

    I don't know if this is of interest but my father was in 204 squadron at the same time.

    Best wishes

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    Could anyone confirm whether or not the proceedings and/or findings of a Court of Inquiry are in the public domain; if so, where would the report (previously mentioned in this thread) be held?

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  9. #9
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    In this case the Form 412 will be found in the RAAF casualty file for either airman.

    You will need to pay to have them digitised for web viewing.

    As normal the Form 1180 contains the summary findings on the reverse side.

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

  10. #10
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    Thanks Ross

    I will follow up your leads on behalf of the family involved.

    Thanks again

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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