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Thread: Who was Butch Da Costa?

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    Default Who was Butch Da Costa?

    My late father told me very very little about his 47 missions with Bomber Command during WW2. Almost the only story he did tell me was of a fellow crew member called Butch Dacosta (da Costa?) who was from the West Indies and who he took home to the Isle of Man on leave on at least one occasion. I am not sure during which period of the war this took place but dad flew with 99, 644 and 296 Squadrons.
    I cant find any information on this gentleman - can anyone help please?
    Thanks
    Chris

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    Interesting situation here with the combination of units quoted.

    99 flew the Wellington until Feb 42 and was then redeployed to the Far East Theatre. The 99 history is called 'Each Tenacious'.

    296 was one of the original airborne forces squadrons being formed from the Glider Exercise Unit at the end of Jan 42. It then flew Whitleys, Albemarles and Halifaxs in the airborne forces role for the rest of the war.

    644 was a 'linked' sqn and formed out of part of 298 in Feb 44 and flew the Halifax, again in the airborne support role. There is a website which I cannot recall the title of and which was set up by a Canadian member of 644 and has very detailed information about aircrew members of the unit.

    Although 296 and 644 had a secondary role in bombing, they were not Bomber Command units and this supposes that your father's bombing work was done with 99 (mostly).

    Could it be that your father did complete 47 'missions' but it was a combination of work.?

    Do you have your father's log book and his Record of Service as both these are valuable documents from which much else will flow. If you have his war medals, this might help you pin down more accurately the timescales involved eg Aircrew Europe Star ended on 6 June 1944.

    I'm off to search for the 99 history now and try to find the 644 website. By the way, what aircrew category was your father and Da Costa?

    Colin Cummings

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    Interesting situation here with the combination of units quoted.

    99 flew the Wellington until Feb 42 and was then redeployed to the Far East Theatre. The 99 history is called 'Each Tenacious'.

    296 was one of the original airborne forces squadrons being formed from the Glider Exercise Unit at the end of Jan 42. It then flew Whitleys, Albemarles and Halifaxs in the airborne forces role for the rest of the war.

    644 was a 'linked' sqn and formed out of part of 298 in Feb 44 and flew the Halifax, again in the airborne support role. There is a website which I cannot recall the title of and which was set up by a Canadian member of 644 and has very detailed information about aircrew members of the unit.

    Although 296 and 644 had a secondary role in bombing, they were not Bomber Command units and this supposes that your father's bombing work was done with 99 (mostly).

    Could it be that your father did complete 47 'missions' but it was a combination of work.?

    Do you have your father's log book and his Record of Service as both these are valuable documents from which much else will flow. If you have his war medals, this might help you pin down more accurately the timescales involved eg Aircrew Europe Star ended on 6 June 1944.

    I'm off to search for the 99 history now and try to find the 644 website. By the way, what aircrew category was your father and Da Costa?

    Colin Cummings

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    Something strange is going on as two copies of my previous message are now shown!!

    Nothing on 99 Sqn's book about da Costa. However, is your father W J Gawne? If so he's shown on the 644 Sqn website and the Canadian guy, whose name I could not remember, is Sandy Barr. Type '644 Squadron' and then select Sandy Barr's site and then select 'Resources'.

    That's the best I can do at the moment!

    Colin Cummings

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    Hello,

    Possibilty:

    http://www.caribbeanaircrew-ww2.com/?p=43

    1259994/(182287) Huntley DACOSTA RAFVR, from Jamaica.

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/4312

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th July 2014 at 12:40.

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    Yes, I have my fathers - W J Gawne - logbook - he flew throughout WW2 from the beginning to the end crashing twice. I think that Huntley Da Costa is most likely correct as Jamaica rings a bell.
    Any further info would be gratefully received.
    Thanks. Chris

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    There's an article from December 1940 in the wonderfully named 'Kingston Gleaner' newspaper about Huntley Da Costa:

    http://newspaperarchive.com/jm/kings.../12-06/page-32

    Regards

    Simon

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    Thats very helpful Simon. Can I assume he survived the war do you think as his name doesnt appear in any list of casualties I have seen?
    Regards
    Chris

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    Chris

    If you look for "huntley da costa" (in quotes) on Google, there are several report in the Gleaner that mention him, including a football report from October 12th 1947, page 9 - I assume that's the same chap? There are also reports of a Huntley Da Costa attending his uncle's funeral on February 22nd 1968, which again may be the same one.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Chris
    My Father, Squadron Leader Ernest Ryan Benson, DSO, DFC & Bar, was a navigator in 99 Sqdn (Pilot Officer in 1941). I see from copies of the Operational Record Books I have from February Ė August 1941, that our Fathers flew some of the same missions. It looks as though your Father and da Costaís first op was 20th April 1941 to bomb oil storage at Rotterdam. I see your Fatherís aircraft turned back owing to severe electrical storms on 25 June when my Fatherís crew sadly failed to return. My Father had been posted on 22 June so luck was on his side.

    I managed to find a photograph of my Father with his crew at the National Archives when they were at 11 OTU Bassingbourn
    prior to joining 99 Sqdn (AIR 29/644). I have no other photos of his time at 99 Sqdn. Do you have any photographs of your Father
    in 99 Sqdn?

    Regards
    Mike

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