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Thread: Lysaght, Philip Michael Vaughan - W/C - 90385 - Died 19/2/43 - 295 Sqd

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    Default Lysaght, Philip Michael Vaughan - W/C - 90385 - Died 19/2/43 - 295 Sqd

    Hello all,

    Again thanks for all previous replies to my posts but can you help me with the above Airman?

    W/C Lysaght is buried in Saumur Communal Cemetery, France.

    Cheers

    Steve S

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    Steve,

    This was a raid on the Distré electricity transformer on the night of 19/20 February 1943 by 295 Squadron. The squadron was based at Netheravon and formed part of 38 Wing; the Wing's three squadrons were training to deliver paratroops and gliders for airborne operations. The crews found the constant training tedious (aka boring), and AOC 38 Wing sought to remedy the problem with Operation SPARKs, an attack by three 38 Wing squadrons on transformers in north France. The main purpose of the operation was to provide crews with experience in precision navigation over enemy territory and identifying small, unlit, targets at night.

    295 lost two aircraft over the target, a Halifax and Lysaght's Whitley. The rear gunner of the Whitley was the only survivor, and I was fortunate to talk to him about the raid about 6 years ago when he was well into his 80s. All those who died are buried in Saumur cemetery. My main interest is in one of those men, S/L C Crichton-Miller; he was on the Halifax, and his headstone records he was a Flight Engineer.

    He wasn't - he was actually the Senior Met Officer of 38 Wing.

    I've written Crichton-Miller's biography should you be interested, with special reference to the operation.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 27th May 2013 at 16:27. Reason: Typo with squadron number

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    The s/n of the Whitley Mark V was BD538.

    The others killed in the aircraft were Flg-Offr J.H.C. McIlwrick RAFVR, WO.II J.E.S. Sasseville RCAF, and Sgt I.V. Arnold RAFVR.

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    Having dug out the files I can add a little more.

    295 Squadron contributed 12 aircraft to SPARKs and was detailed the attack on the Distré electricity transformer, 10 Whitleys and two Halifax - the latter had only just been received for trials. Lysaght led the raid and his Whitley was the first to leave Netheravon, at 2030, about 15 minutes before the second aircraft. The intention was for him to reach Distré 15 minutes ahead of the others and mark the target. Bombs were to be released at 1000 ft.

    When I interviewed the rear Gunner, Sgt J Bailey, he recalled flying over the target at least twice; after it was hit the Whitley hit some tree tops before crashing. (Pierre Babin might be able to help here.) Time of impact is estimated at about 2315.

    The other aircraft that was shot down this time over the target, was Halifax DK123.

    Lysaght was Auxiliary Air Force and is recorded as being a Sqn Ldr in the ORB.

    Brian

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