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Thread: Walrus 15 GCF, June 1940.

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    Default Walrus 15 GCF, June 1940.

    Hello to all,
    First, wishing you a very good year 2014, full of new discoveries !

    On Ken Baff (10th RAAF) book “Maritime is number ten”, a black and white picture of Walrus L2312 exists. This plane crashed in my area of Brittany on June 18th 1940 at around 4 am. A monument now exists for that crew that crashed on Ploudaniel commune. Some contacts with relatives were made, and a new ceremony should be made there this year. Some remains were also found, and will be displayed in a museum at Carantec, where this crew including a SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) member was supposed to bring back to England Mrs De Gaulle and her children.
    Several things should be written both in English and in french

    Would a crew of four, with two adults and three children seem possible to take off from the water ?

    Would anyone know anything about the scheme colour of 15 Group Connection Flight Walrus in mid-1940 ?.

    Any other existing picture of L2312 ?

    Also sent on the Lemb site, any existing Luftwaffe claim North of Brest for that night of June 18th 1940 ?

    Thanks for your help.
    Gildas

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    Hi,


    The unit was No.15 Group Communications Flight not Connection.


    This is a pool of non operational aircraft assigned to each unit for "taxi" purposes eg taking senior staff to meetings, picking up small essential spares etc.


    The cammo scheme would be the same for all RAF Walrus as it left the factory with the addition of unit codes.


    The Walrus was used by AS/R to pick up Wellington and Lancaster crews from their dinghy so it was more than capable of being used for the pickup.


    Ross
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    Thanks a lot Ross.

    Sorry for the mistake, it was of course "communication". One relative of Walrus L2312 crew member thought this plane was made for training, and painted yellow. (for a Australian friend, the yellow Walrus would have only been for a use in the Artic. Your answer means that a yellow colour can't be possible. On the know picture it doesn't seem to be light grey, more medium. Your thoughts ?

    Thanks again
    Gildas

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    Hello Gildas,

    This is what I know:

    18/06/1940: Evacuation De Gaulle family

    On 17 June 1940, the day her husband escaped to England, Madame De Gaulle and her children were at Carantec on the north coast of Brittany. They had taken refuge there with an aunt after leaving the family home at Colombey Les Deux Eglises about a month before. The Germans were advancing fast towards Western France, and when General De Gaulle reached London, he asked that urgent steps be taken to rescue his wife and family.

    The decision was taken with Winston Churchill's agreement to send a plane with an SOE intelligence officer who was fluent in French to carry out this rescue.

    On 17 June, Captain Norman Hope travelled with his orders to a Coastal Command base near Plymouth, and was directed to a Supermarine Walrus, an amphibious aircraft with a crew of three, Flt Lieut John Bell, RAAF, Sgt Charles Harris, RAAF and Cpl Bernard Nowell, RAF. The purpose of the flight was so secret that no one at the base knew where the aircraft was going. Norman's briefing was to the crew only. They took off at about 0300 on 18 June with the intention of reaching Carantec at first light. They crossed the Breton coast about 20km west of Carantec, and it is believed they were fired on by the Germans or possibly the French. Having been hit,the pilot was attempting to land in a field close to Ploudaniel, about 18km inland, when the plane hit a low embankment, burst into flames and all four men were killed.

    Madame de Gaulle knew nothing of this attempt to rescue her. She and her children found room on the last boat to leave Brest before the Germans arrived.

    Source: BBC WW2 People's War: Rescueing Madame De Gaulle

    Type: Walrus
    Serial number: L2312 (from No. 15 group Communication Flight)
    Operation: Evacuation De Gaulle family
    Lost: 18/06/1940
    Flight Lieutenant John N. Bell, RAAF 162, [RAAF 10 Sqdn.], age 24, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, (near Brest) F
    Sergeant Charles W. Harris, RAAF 1730, [RAAF 10 Sqdn.], age 31, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, F
    Captain Norman E. Hope, Intelligence Corps 141140, Legion d' Honneur, age unknown, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, F
    Corporal (W.E. Mech.) Bernard F. Nowell, RAF 565931, 810 Sqdn., age 25, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, F
    Left Mount Batten at 02.00 hrs.

    20/06/1940, 10 Sqdn. ORB (page 71): 'As no further advice received regarding Walrus No. 2312 which left for NORTH BRITTANY on 18th June, 1940, the personnel was officially posted as "missing".'

    See also:
    Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
    Sir Edward Spears. Two Men who saved France. 1966
    http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/10_RAAF_squadron.html

    Regards,

    Bart

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    Thanks a lot Bart for your answer. We're going to meet with several relatives next June 16 and 18.
    Best regards

    Gildas

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