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Thread: Air/Sea Rescue 1940

  1. #1
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    Default Air/Sea Rescue 1940

    I am interested in 2 aspects of air/sea rescue in 1940: dinghies and drinking water. My query relates to a Wellington that came on charge in May 1940 and ditched in August of that year.

    What type of dinghy would this aircraft have carried?

    ‘Vickers Wellington 1936 to 1953’ by Iain R Murray states that 'Nine internal stowage points are available for … single dinghies.' and also that 'A 'J' type inflatable dinghy with accessories is carried...'

    ‘Shot Down and in the Drink’ by Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork says that '(at the beginning of 1938) A larger type for seven or eight persons ('J' type) was to be developed for the new heavy bombers under development.'

    ‘Air/Sea Rescue: Air Publication 3232’ Air Ministry states that '(in 1940) The modified type of "H" dinghy was introduced and used in Wellington, Hudson, Hampden and Whitley aircraft.'

    Would there have been a supply of drinking water?

    ‘Shot Down and in the Drink’ by Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork states that '(in 1938) water - the most important item - remained a problem which could only be met by the standard service water bottle carried by each member of the crew.' It goes on to say 'In a large dinghy there should be 56 oz. of water per man.'

  2. #2
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    My understanding is that the "canned liquid" in the earlier emergency packs was either tomato or fruit juice. This suggests that in your 1940 scenario, water may not have been provided in the packs.

    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]

  3. #3
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    From 1938 the dinghy used in the Harrow, Whitley, Hampden and Heyford was the H Type, later used on the Wellington. I think at that time it was a separate pack to be thrown into the water rather than stowed in a compartment on the wing as was standard later.

    The individual (single) types mentioned are the K Type, which was carried in a pack clipped to the bottom of the parachute harness and worn under the backside, either alone when using a chest type harness, or between the backside and parachute pack on a seat type.

    As for liquid, the contents of the emergency packs were not standardised until late 1940/early 1941. Prior to that units generally used varied items as they saw fit. So depending on the unit it was probably canned water, but might well have been fruit or tomato juice.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Airman 1. Useful to know it was an h type.

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