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Thread: 1404 Met Flight, St Eval

  1. #11
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    I believe a weather flight was an operation against the enemy. Their craft were armed and could have encountered long range fighters, uboats etc.

    The weather conditions or actions of crew do not determine the in action or on active service status.

    It was lost on an "operational mission" a weather flight. Not a training flight, not a test or positioning flight. Its the nature of the mission not the nature of the death.

    Took off on an operational mission and crashed under same conditions.
    Unless Ross can confirm otherwise,
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  2. #12
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    Many thanks to all those that replied to my original post. Thanks to you I am on the way to getting even more background on 1404
    I've promised Morris Solomon's niece in Canberra that I will put together as much information as possible - and, since yesterday, I have
    90% more than before. I would be interested in any further suggestions regarding photographs (there is no photo of Morris Solomon)
    I have contacted Coastal Command website but no response so far. Are there any photographs in Peter Rackliff's book?. Ross, I am in
    contact with the Australian Memorial people but your instructions will make it easier for me to access the details, thanks.

    FYI I refer to various points arising from the replies received.
    ______________________________________
    National Archives : AIR/28738 C623466 probably refers to the Ops Records for St Eval (and not 1404 Met Flight). I probably got that wrong. The relevant entry states:

    ORDERS FOR 21.7.1942

    LOCAL STATION INTELLIGENCE

    At 0034 hours Controller ordered all lights on camp to be
    extinguished in view of approach of hostile plot.
    Lights were put on again at 0040 hours

    Hudson a/c C/1404 airborne at 0957 hours on Meteorological
    Sortie crashed in flames at Kellan Head, near Port Quin at
    approximately 1456 hours and was burnt out. The crew Sgts.
    Peart, Newcombe, Solomon and Waldron, all lost their lives.


    .. and from RAAF FATALITES IN SECOND WORLD WAR AMONG
    RAAF PERSONNEL SERVING ON ATTACHMENT IN ROYAL AIR FORCE SQUADRONS AND SUPPORT UNITS

    ..there is a detailed description attached to both Sgts Solomon and Waldron's entries.

    On 21st July 1942, Hudson T9460 took off from RAF St Eval, Cornwall, on an
    operational met reece flight. The aircraft crashed at 1450 hours when it hit the cliffs at Kellan JHead, Port Quin, Cornwall and all the crew were killed. The aircraft had been in the air for 4 hours 55 minutes

    The aircraft had returned from the met sortie in conditions of low cloud with a base of
    about 150 feet and 1000 feet thick When over the drome the aircraft called on the R/T
    and was directed to land at Predannack. The aircraft acknowledge this. Instead of
    flying to Predannack the aircraft flew along the coast, and was seen flying at 50 feet across Watergate Bay in a northerly direction. It appeared that the pilot was following the coast northwards at low altitude instead of climbing above the low cloud and setting course for Predannack.

    An Inquiry into the accident found that: "Low cloud was the main contributory factor to the accident. Also the Pilot had disregarded instructions to proceed to Predannack, and it was bad airmanship in trying to follow a difficult coastline in bad visibility."

    Crew:
    RAF Sgt D.E. Peart, Captain (Pilot)
    RAF Sgt D.J. Newcombe (Observer)
    RAAF 402679 Sgt M. Solomon (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAAF 401256 Sgt E.L. Waldron (Wireless Air Gunner)


    Regards
    Raymond

  3. #13
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    Raymond,

    You state, "There is no photo of Morris Solomon." l beg to differ. You will find a rather ordinary shot of Morris , here:

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121208468

    This might also be of interest:

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121207781

    You will find details of Morris' immediate, and extended family, here:

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121204083

    Col.

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    Col

    Many thanks for that information. I have 'lifted' the relevant information from the URL's you provided and have managed to enhance the photograph of Morris slightly. All this will enable me to expand on the information I now possess. The surviving members of the Solomon family in Australia do not appear to have very much, if any, of this data.

    I will be able to obtain copies of any entries made in the local synagogue's records as well as any reference in the local newspaper (Western Morning News) for the dates referred. This is very satisfactory as I visit his grave in the local Jewish cemetery - usually on the date of his death and on Remembrance weekend.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Raymond

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    Raymond,

    Here is another organization which might be able to provide more information on Morris Solomon:

    NAJEX - NSW Association of Jewish ex-Servicemen & Women.

    http://www.najex.org.au

    Let's know how you get on.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 31st July 2014 at 17:21.

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    Raymond,

    1. There are no photos of 1404 Met Flight or its personnel for the period in which you are interested in Even the Birds Were Walking (ETBWW). However, a photo of Solomon's grave can be obtained from The War Graves Photographic Project (TWGPP) at http://www.twgpp.org/ .


    2. A thumbnail photo of the grave can be seen at http://www.twgpp.org/information.php?id=1291007 - the same page also provides details as to how to obtain a copy. The cost is 3.50 (actually it's a donation to support the project); a copy is usually made available within 24 hours, and sometimes includes a photograph of the cemetery at no extra cost - although that might not apply in this instance as of the five CWGC graves in the Plymouth cemetery, only Solomon's is WW2.

    3. I suggest it might be possible there is an archived copy of the Hebrew Standard of Australasia in one of Sydney's libraries or archives which would have a better copy of Solomon's image. Having used archived local newspapers in this country as sources of images of WW2 casualties, I think it is at least worthwhile asking.

    4. In 1942 1404 Met Flight was flying a daily meteorological reconnaissance from St Eval into west Biscay. The bearing of the track from St Eval was between 230 and 242 degrees, the actual track being decided on the day in order to reduce the risk of interception by German aircraft.

    The terminal point of the outbound leg was about 450-500 nautical miles (nm) from St Eval, often at approximately 45 N 12.4 W. The leg was flown a 1800 ft asl with the navigator making observations every 50 nm. At the terminal point a descent was made to as near sea level as possible to record sea-level pressure and temperature, after which an ascent was made to 500 millibars (approximately 18000 ft) during which temperatures were recorded every 50 mb (approximately 1800-2000 ft). At the top of the climb the data were transmitted to St Eval and the aircraft diverted about 100 nm north of track before setting course for base. No observations were made inbound.

    Brian

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    Brian

    Many thanks for your reply. As a matter of fact I live 400 metres from the Plymouth Jewish cemetery and I have been visiting Morris Solomon's grave for some years. I have several photographs. You are correct regarding the CWG graves in the Jewish section. Only two are the CWG-style Portland stone type. One is a RN PO (1916) and Morris Solomon's is the only WW2 grave.

    Col Buggy referred me to The Hebrew Standard of Australasia a few days ago and I have obtained images of the obituary posted in 1942. I have also got details sent from the Jewish CF to his rabbi in Sydney. I am awaiting a reply from the Australian Memorial for a file relating to Solomon's personal details taken on recruitment. I have considerably more information since the time I joined the rafcommands community a mere two days ago.

    The details of the Met Flight reconnaissance procedure is interesting background. Where does this information come from? I will try to obtain a copy of ETBWW for reference. I'm sure it would provide further background. I am planning to visit St Eval in the coming week. I'll also drive out to Port Quin and see if there are any markers/plaques near the crash site.

    Raymond

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    Raymond,

    I'm a retired forecaster and have done a fair amount of research into the meteorological aspects of the Met Flights. However, the information about 1404 Met Flights procedures during the period in which you are interested mostly comes from the memoirs of Jack Stephens who was a navigator with the unit from the time it became operational in April 1941, until he left at the end of October 1942. Although this includes the time Solomon was with the unit he was not mentioned. The position that I quoted comes from met charts.

    Stephens completes his account as follows:

    (St Eval) Today

    St Eval Church standing on the edge of the airfield was a landmark used by many aircrew. Today it has been handed back to its parishioners, but forever the men and women of Coastal Command who served at the airbase, will be remembered by a beautiful stained glass window.

    There is also a Book of Remembrance containing the names of all aircrew who perished whilst flying from RAF St Eval during World War II. Sadly it contains the names of 23 members of 1404 Meteorological Flight.

    Only three of the original nine who started the flight survived the war
    .

    That last sentence does not mean they necessarily died whilst flying with the unit.

    F/O R L Hicks (33542), Stephens's pilot, joined 1404 on 1 April 1941 from 53 Sqn, but a few days later went back for a single operation as it was short of pilots. He was killed on 6 April.

    The unit's first CO, Flt Lt, later Sqn Ldr, D F Wykeham-Martin (72587) was killed whilst flying with 86 Sqn in 1943.

    Known 1404 Met Flight losses (18)

    Sgt L Watson (748600), Sgt A Hemming (923520) and Sgt A Bess (1172554) failed to return from an EPICURE on 8 December 1941.

    P/O Jack Portman (46645 and actig CO), Sgt E Colton (989012) and Sgt F M Pearson (755939) were killed on 1 March 1942 taking off from Exeter, having landed there to refuel on return from an EPICURE.

    Sgt M M Hazell (1384367), F/Sgt T B G Finlay (R/75259), Sgt L Wagstaffe (1310920), Sgt A F Bolton 1177012) Failed to return from an EPICURE on 4 July 1942

    Sgt D.E. Peart (1377809), Sgt D.J. Newcombe (923434), Sgt M. Solomon (402679) and 401256 Sgt E.L. Waldron (401256) were killed returning from an EPICURE on 21 July 1942

    Flt Lt G Moir (42961), Sgt D A Brown (1260262), Sgt K R Bancroft (1113921) and Sgt E Neafsey (1113006) failed to return from an EPICURE on 18 December 1942.

    If you visit the church I wonder if you could take photos of the stained glass windows and Book of Remembrance for me?

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 1st August 2014 at 14:49.

  9. #19
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    Hello,

    The St. Eval Book of Remembrance has been online for the last decade! When l last checked, it contained the names of at least 28 members of 1404 Met Flight.

    http://www.stmawgan.org.uk/book_of_remembrance.htm

    Check by date.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st August 2014 at 16:11.

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    Brian

    I will do that for you. Do you want me to send the photos as an e-mail attachment or to this forum/site?

    I've been surfing the internet for 'Even the Birds were Walking' - very few available - mostly in Australia/USA and costing as much as 300+
    I daresay I will stumble across one before too long but as a Met man yourself - maybe you will know of any specialist bookshops that could be checked. There is one in Cirencester but the title is not available.

    Raymond

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