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Thread: Dustbin turrets on 99 Sqn Wellingtons Dec 1939?

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    Default Dustbin turrets on 99 Sqn Wellingtons Dec 1939?

    Hi,

    No.99 squadron made a search for the German Fleet with 12 Wellingtons on the 14th December 1939. It suffered disastrous losses but I am looking for some complementing information about one of the survivors WOP Cpl Colin Knight, RNZAF, NZ37112. He flew in the leading aircraft N2958, with Sqn Ldr A. McKee as pilot and rear gunner was Cpl A.M. Bickerstaff who received an immediate DFM after hitting an attacking Bf 110. Colin Knight also received a DFM but at a later date. On the a/c was also Wing Cdr J.F. Griffiths.

    This encounter is mentioned in New Zealanders in the Air War by Alan W. Mitchell:
    “McKee’s gunners, one of whom was Knight, who worked the guns in the intervals between sending radio messages, had the satisfaction of sending at least on Messerschmitt into the sea. The German over-shot in his attack, and then flew level with the Wellington, about twenty feet away, presenting a perfect target for both front- and rear-gunners. They caught him in the cross-fire, and the German blew up.”

    What guns was Knight operating? Was Wellington N2958 equipped with a “dustbin” ventral turret that was manned by the WOP? I believe the beam guns were introduced at a later date but I may be wrong.

    I have not found much about the operational use of the ventral turrets but according to the recommendation for the DFM to the Air Gunner James John Mullineaux, 547644, RAF he destroyed one Me.110 together with his under turret gunner on the 18th December 1939. Mullineaux was rear gunner in a 149 Sqn Wellington.

    Thanks in advance,
    Peter

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    Hi Peter,

    I think I may have a report that answers you questions. I am back to work today so it will not be until tonight. Contact me off board and I will forward.

    Regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Peter,
    Not much help but, the 149sqdn Wellington that Mullineaux was gunner on, on the 18th Dec 39, was N2980. This was the Wellington that was later raised from Loch Ness in 1985. Of the nine a/c from 149sqdn on the op, three, N2961, N2943 and N2980, had 6 crew on board, which consisted of, Pilot, 2nd pilot, Observer, W/Op, A/G, A/G, the extra men on board being AC1's or LAC's, the rest had 5 crew, consisting of, Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Observer, W/Op, A/G. The crew of N2980, claimed 3 enemy aircraft shot down.
    Last edited by AlanW; 27th December 2013 at 08:31.

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    Alan and Steve,

    Thanks for your replies
    Steve: private message sent
    Alan: not connected to my question but do you know why 6 of the Wellingtons only had a 5 man crew? Normally it was 6 man

    Regards
    Peter

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