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Thread: Crashed plane in Phalempin - 296 Squadron

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    Default Crashed plane in Phalempin - 296 Squadron

    On the 'old' forum there are posts going back to 2004 about a Halifax from 296 Squadron which crashed in Phalempin on 7th February 1945 and there are some inaccuracies in the posts which I can throw some light on.
    My father, F/L WJ Gawne was the Wireless Operator and Pilots Mate on this flight and the Pilot was Squadron Leader Ronald A Hobbs.
    I have my fathers wartime logbook (showing a total of 47 missions starting from April 20th 1941 - this crash was his 47th mission although he was back in the air with S/L Hobbs on March 20th 1945 on an aircraft acceptance flight) and I also have a copy of the full 4 page account of the crash written by S/L Hobbs on February 10th 1945 when he was in Wroughton Hospital.
    After my father passed away in 1996, I came across these having never seen them before and a year or two later I drove through Phalempin. The church spire has a section of 'non-original' roof slates and somewhat fancifully I wondered whether this was a repair to the damage caused by the Halifax clipping the church spire?
    Can anyone provide any further information please?
    Chris Gawne

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    Could this be Halifax LL384?

    The record states that during a bombing sortie (296 did sneaky things like that) the port outer lost oil pressure but the prop would not feather properly and continued to run at 1400 rpm and the aircraft was losing height at 150 feet / minute. The bombs were jettisoned at low level but at too low an altitude to bale out the crew. The engine/prop were unfeathered in an attempt to gain height. At this point the engine caught fire and the pilot was faced with a crash landing in the dark. The aircraft struck overhead cables and a church spire and then crashed into a street. Although injured the crew all survived.

    I would have thought the roof repairs to which you refer were very possibly required after an aircraft clipped the spire. It would be even more interesting to note any damage repairs made to the spire.

    Colin Cummings

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    Hello

    Having been part of the original thread http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/04312.php
    and having identified the Halifax by checking all accident cards (form 1180) at the RAF Museum Hendon for the date concerned, using the Police report as a starting point, I'd like to know what are the inacurracies mentioned. I relied upon the form 1180 and the Squadron ORB, so I'd be very interested in having some more details about this accident.

    The Halifax crashed or more exactly crash-landed on the "Route nationale", but I don't have an exact location. I was promised help by an inhabitant of Phalempin, but he actually kept for himself all the information I gave him (including about a Mosquito that also crashed in that village), and gave me absolutely nothing in return, while he had a contact with the family of one of the Mosquito crewmember.

    My e-mail is in my profile (click on my user name to get a menu). I'd be happy to exchange information with you (I have the accident card and the ORB for that ops).

    Regards

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 1st July 2014 at 18:39. Reason: typo

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    Hello

    Chris, I'd be very interested in exchanging informations with you, but your profile doesn't allow to send you private messages (pm) or e-mails.

    I hope you'll visit the board again and contact me.

    regards

    joss

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