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Thread: North African Campaign & Gerald Edward Geeves (R.77168 & J/19058)

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    Default North African Campaign & Gerald Edward Geeves (R.77168 & J/19058)

    Hi,

    In examining my uncle's records at the Canadian Archives recently, something is not clear to me and I am hoping someone will be able to help.

    One page of his records shows he served with the following squadrons:
    No. 108 - 19 Sept. 1942 flying duties (Egypt)
    No. 148 - 26 Nov. 1942 flying duties (Lybia)
    No. 40 - 07 Dec. 1942 flying duties (Malta

    Another page under, "Postings & Attachments", again mentions Nos. 108/148/40 with the same dates and adds yet another squadron - No. 104 dated 01 Jan. 1943.

    Still another sheet entitled, "Confidential Personal Assessment" shows a hand-written note by the Assessing Officer": "25 OPERATIONS - 108, 148 & 4O squadrons". This is dated 04 Oct. 1943.

    It's obvious to me that he served in 108 and 148 squadrons, however, why the see-sawing back and forth between Nos. 40 & 104. I hope I am making myself clear. Was one of these squadrons absorbed by the other??

    Grateful for any help.

    Carleton

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    Hi Carleton,

    Your uncle certainly served on 40 Squadron during the period stated. He would have transferred from 148 when it was about to be disbanded as a bomber squadron, which occurred officially on 31 December. Just prior to this 148 had a detachment at Luqa, and it seems Wellington crews and their aircraft were transferred to 40, which also had a detachment on the island. So did 104, and he may have been required to fill in on a 104 operation or two. This was not unknown. A 104 Squadron loss on 31 December 42 is of a crew with a Canadian rear gunner serving with 70 Squadron. So my guess is that your uncle was with 40, but was perhaps included in a 104 Squadron crew for an operation or two.

    From 40 Squadron records I have the following for Christmas Day 1942: 'F/Lt McLachlan, F/O Kitchin, F/Sgt Challand, Sgt Hughes, Sgt Geeves ditched off Malta. Crew saved by ASR launch'. Frederick R Galea's 'Call Out' (Malta 2002), a history of the Air Sea Rescue operations from Malta, has the following: 'Call out for HSL 107 with Skipper Baker at 0145 hours, from St Pauls Bay, on a search for a Wellington crew reported down 55 miles south-east of the Island. A crew of five was picked up. The launch returned to base by 1046.'

    Incidentally, the transfer from 108 to 148 would have occurred, in all probability, because 108 was in the process of converting to a special duties unit, operating Liberator IIs.

    I hope this helps.

    David

    PS. Do you have a photo of your uncle, or of his crew?

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    Hello,

    There is also the following on Sgt G E Geeves:

    7 Dec 1942
    No.148 Sqn
    Wellington IC HF887
    Relocation Flight.

    Took off 1754, ALG 167, for Luqa. On approach to Luqa swung on approach (?), bounced, stalled and hit a dispersal pen. DBF. All the survivors save Sgt Geeves were seriously injured. The dead are buried in Malta (Cappaccini) Naval Cemetery. There is a vivid account of this accident in F R Chappell's Wellington Wings, p.122.

    Sgt H Barrie inj
    P/O G B Hunter inj
    P/O R A Mackness inj
    Sgt C R Grandfield +
    Sgt G Bunnett +
    Sgt G E Geeves RCAF
    Passengers:
    F/Sgt J I Kitchen +
    Sgt Smith inj
    LAC E Ford +
    LAC Haywood inj
    LAC Wilson inj
    AC Brown inj

    See:
    Royal Air force Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Vol. 1. 1939-1942.
    Gunby,David & Pelham Temple.
    Hinckley:Midland Publications,2006.
    p.206

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 3rd November 2013 at 04:13.

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    Thanks Col.

    Should've remembered that incident. That Geeves was the only uninjured crew member suggests that maybe he became a 'spare bod' for whatever crew on the island needed a rear gunner.

    David

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    Thank you Colonel! I really appreciate this information.

    Carleton

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    Re: Gerald E Geeves/cont'd

    Just a few more questions, please...

    His records show the following:

    From OTU to ME (Middle East?) 24 Aug. ‘42
    From ME to 2METS(?) 24 Aug. ‘42
    From 2METS to 108 Sqdn 19 Sept. ‘42
    From 108 Sqdn. to 148 Sqdn 26 Nov. ‘42
    From 148 Sqdn. to 104 Sqdn 01 Jan. ‘43
    From 104 Sqdn to Malta 01 Feb. ‘43
    From Malta to H. E. (Home Establishment?)…where and why would he have been sent there? (The above would have completed his first tour.)

    Thanks.

    Carleton

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    Hi Carleton

    2 METS = No 2 Middle East Training School

    HE = Home Establishment - this means he had been transferred from the establishment of Malta back to 'the books' in the UK, where he actually went would be on his records.

    Malcolm

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    Thanks for your help, Malcolm.

    Carleton

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