Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Wildcat losses off Norway on 8 May 1944

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    316
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Wildcat losses off Norway on 8 May 1944

    During operation Hoops on 8 May 1944, four Fleet Air Arm aircraft were lost. I have full details of the two Hellcat losses, but I am missing the serial of the two lost Wildcats, and the fate of one of the pilot. Here is what I have about these two losses.

    The Force arrived in the flying off position at 0730 hrs on 8 May 1944 and two strikes, each of 8 Hellcats escorted by 8 Wildcats, were flown off. The first strike attacked a northbound convoy 15 miles south west of Kristiansand. The Allied pilots counted 5 merchant ships with ten escorts and claimed one merchant ship probably damaged. German sources reported 5 merchants ships and 6 escorts, and several were hit, including the V5704. During the attack two Wildcats were shot down. One of them was flown by Act/Lt John Arthur Cotching of 898 Sqn FAA, the most successful Martlet/Wildcat pilot. His Wildcat was hit by Flak and flew straight into the sea, killing him.

    I would like to have the serials of these two losses, and to know what happened to the pilot of the second loss.

    Thanks in advance

    Laurent

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ottawa
    Posts
    273
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Cotching was flying JV538.

    The other loss was JV367 flown by Sub/Lt K.B. Pearson who ditched and was taken prisoner.

    Source; FLEET AIR ARM AIRCRAFT 1939 TO 1945 (Sturtivant & Burrow)

    Ian Macdonald

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    316
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks a lot Ian,

    I have a new question: according to the Royal Navy casualty list, Cotching belonged to 898 Sqn, but two day before he scored his last victories with 882 Sqn, and Pearson was also of 882 Sqn. I also know that 898 Sqn pilots were escorting the other strike and claimed two BV 138, so it seems logical to me that Cotching will rather belong to 882 Sqn.

    On the other hand, I have a note that Wildcat V JV538 was damaged in January 1944 in Maine, USA, and was then a 898 Sqn plane.

    Can someone confirm the unit of Cotching this day ? (CWGC did not help)

    Thanks in advance

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    528
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    According to Sturtivant, these two aircraft were both involved in the claims for Bv138s on 6.5.44.
    JV367 is only recorded with 882 Sq.
    JV538 is only recorded with 898 Sq.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ottawa
    Posts
    273
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    882 and 898 Squadrons were both operating from HMS Searcher and I would speculate that pilots were assigned aircraft based on where the aircraft were parked on the deck regardless of unit, there being no space to change the line ups.
    A question for the Fleet Air Arm Museum, perhaps.

    Ian Macdonald

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    528
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    It might be, but wasn't normal practice, certainly earlier in the war or aboard the larger carriers. The squadrons guarded their autonomy quite intensely. That shouldn't exclude the odd event on a more crowded deck, with perhaps an unexpected unserviceability. It seems likelier that one or more of these aircraft were transferred without it getting onto the records, perhaps a short-term loan? However, are we talking about aircraft or pilots on loan?

    One check on this might be to find the logbooks of another 882/889 pilot, and check the serials. Again, the FAAM is the place to start.

Posting Permissions

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