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Thread: No. 419 Squadron WW 11 & WO Dorland G. Plyley Serv. No. 108467

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    Default No. 419 Squadron WW 11 & WO Dorland G. Plyley Serv. No. 108467

    Hi,

    There was Halifax bomber accident that occurred "some time" prior to July 1943 involving a crew of No. 419 Sqdn. on its way home from a raid on Duisberg. I know the names of 4 of the airmen involved...F/O Phil Weedon (skipper), Sgt Chris Nevins, Fl/Eng, F/O Kearney Shields. bomb aimer and yep, WO Dorland Gillies Plyley, rear gunner who was later posted to No. 405 (R.C.A.F.) and flew with Wng/Cmdr Ken Lawson and crew. Plyley was one of two survivors of Lawson's crew and became a PoW.

    An article sent to me by Plyley's brother two years ago dated July 1943, describes the above incident:
    "Sgt. Cliff Nevins of Moose Jaw, Sask., Weedon's engineer, said they were just letting their bombs go over Duisberg when an incendiary came through the back of the fuselage and wrecked the ammunition racks......we also knew that we had been hit on the starboard wing and that our main fuel lines were cut on that side. After we got away from the target area we found an unexploded incendiary in the back of the kite against the ammunition boxes, so our bomb aimer (F/O Kearney Shield of Reddit, Ontario) went back and dumped it out the fare-chute. All our motors were perking on the way back but as we reached our 'drome circuit we were out of petrol on one side and just as we were asking for a priority landing two starboard motors cut. .....we hit a low tree between the inboard motor and the fuselage and knocked off our port wing. We spun across the field and one tank blew up on the port side and the wing burned. The rest of the kite was pretty badly banged up but it didn't burn." Three of the crew climbed out the front and 3 out of the back. Rear gunner Plyley was trapped but his companions managed to turn the rear turret and he was able to fall out backwards.

    I would love to know the date of this op. According to Plyley's records, he was posted to No. 419 Sqdn from 22 Sept. 1942 - 16 July 1943 when he then was attached to Airman's Conversion Depot.

    Carleton

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    Hello Carleton. The date in question was May 23/24,1943 on operations to Dortmund.
    Hope this helps Richard

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    It sure does, Richard. Thank you so much!

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    Hello, Again,

    While I am on the subject of WO Dorland G. Plyley, I have a picture of what I believe to be a No. 405 Lancaster crew that was sent to me by Plyley's brother who thought it to be the crew of No. 405 (R.C.A.F.) Sqdn (Lawson's crew). It definitely isn't as I have photos of all the members of that crew except one. Nor do I believe it to be that of the No. 419 crew skippered by F/O Weedon as there are 7 men in the picture which would indicate to me that this was a Lancaster crew?. I have uploaded this picture under the title, "A 405 Sqdn Crew". Unfortunately, it is a copy of a copy of the original and the resolution has suffered in the process. I apologizefor the size - large. I tried making it smaller but it didn't make for good viewing. I am hoping that someone on the forum will recognize some of these airmen. Plyley is in the back row on the left.



    According to Plyley's records, he was posted to No. 405 Squadron (Group 6) 01 Oct. 1944. On the 19 Oct. 1944 he joined Lawson's crew No. 405 (R.C.A.F.) Sqdn (Group 8) and flew with them until this crew's last op 02 Jan. 1945. The aircraft (PB477) crashed on a raid to Nuremberg; 5 of the crew were killed and 2 (Plyley and Rhodes) became PoWs. There are also a few things I am not familiar with in his records and am hoping someone can explain them to me.

    When Plyley left No. 419 Sqdn abt. 15 July 1943 he was:
    - attached to Airman's Conversion Depot, 16 July 1943 to 28 Aug. 1943 (why?)
    - 1666 Conversion Unit, 17 Nov. 1943 (?)
    - Temp. Duty to No. 25 Group, 19 Dec. 1943 (Lancaster training?)
    - no 7 AGS, 23 Dec, 1943
    - Attached to R.A.F. Rhoose, 09 Feb. 1944 - 11 Feb. 1944 (can someone tell me what Rhoose is?)
    - No. 639 Squadron, 12 Feb. 1944 (?)
    - Attached to 'R' Depot, 12 June '44 - 26 June '44 (what was the function of 'R' Depot?)
    - Special Leave, 27 June '44 - 30 Aug. '44
    - Personnel Receiving Centre 05 Sept. '44
    - PFN Warboys, 26 Sept. '44 (PPF night training?)
    - No. 405 Sqdn, 01 Oct. '44

    Any help would be really appreciated.

    Carleton
    Last edited by Jagan; 19th November 2013 at 20:47.

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    Reviewing my notes I have found this, which may be the aircraft involved:

    Halifax II, BB384, VR*L of 419 Squadron; Diverted to Dinsdale due to low fuel after raid on Dortmund on 23/24 May 1943. Crash landed 2 miles from airfield after running out of fuel, no injuries.

    419 Sdn also lost JB862 on this raid, but I believe it came down over the continent.

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    That's sound like the one. Thank you, Bill.

    Carleton

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    Hello Carleton. Bill is correct with his info and the photo you put up is the Weedon crew.

    Richard

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    Thank you, Richard. Another problem solved! :-)

    Carleton

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