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Thread: 202 Sqn 7 June 1944 - ASR sortie for ditched Halifax LL144 of 517 Sqn

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    Default 202 Sqn 7 June 1944 - ASR sortie for ditched Halifax LL144 of 517 Sqn

    On 6 June 1944 a Brawdy-based Halifax, LL144 of 517 Squadron, ditched in Biscay after suffering a catastrophic engine failure during a met reconnaissance sortie. The crew took to their dinghy unharmed - apart from the Flight Engineer, Sgt D F C Hopkins, who suffered slight burns. The accident occurred at approximately 0530 GMT (0730 DBST) near 44N 17W (my estimation). At 1100 hours (time datum unknown) the following day the dinghy was found by a Catalina of 202 Squadron based at Gibraltar, and wheels set in motion for a naval rescue. The Catalina was subsequently joined by another 517 Sqn Halifax.

    LL144's crew were picked up by a USN destroyer on the 8th and eventually, via Bermuda and Norfolk, Virginia, returned to Brawdy.

    Would anyone have the F1180 for this accident or the 202 Sqn ORB for 7 June? I'm interested in the either the actual position of the accident or the position of the dinghy when found.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian,

    "Dinghy with seven survivors located by F/L Goodfellow in F/517 in position 43 35N 17 07W the next day"

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Brilliant, Ross, many thanks.

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    Hi Brian,

    I can mail you the Diary of USS Swenning, the destroyer which was guided to the position, and picked up the crew.

    9 June 1944, the eight members of the crew was transferred to the aircraft carrier USS Bogue.

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    That's very kind of you, Finn; it will be useful to see the story from another perspective. My address is monbrythATaolDOTcom.

    Brian

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    I am greatly indebted to Finn who sent me Hopkins's own account of the loss of LL144; it had orginally been posted in 2004 on what now seems to be the the defunct 57 Rescue website.

    The crew of LL144 must have been one of the luckiest to have flown with the RAF during the war. After the ditching they eventually returned to Brawdy and flew their next sortie (in LL485) on on 27 August 1944 - it was the same as their previous run, a southwest track to 43N 17W and return, only this time the aircraft overshot the turning point by about 100 miles, which left it critically low on fuel as it approached Brawdy.

    Calling the control tower they found the airfield was closed by thick fog and the ATC staff had left, leaving a solitary WAAF in charge. She told them to divert to Fairwood Common - the only problem was there was insufficient fuel. The crew decided to let down slowly in the hope a break in the fog would would allow a fix to be taken. At 2300 hours, 11 hours after leaving Brawdy, LL485 flew into a mountain - or rather across its top "Our wheels actually rolled across the mountain top, until they dropped into a ditch which ripped the undercarriage off. The plane skidded on its belly causing the bomb bay tanks to burst into flames."

    The Halifax had crashed at Castel-Cenlas Farm, Mathry. The crew survived with minor injuries, apart from Hopkins who broke his femur.

    If ever the gods had their favourites this crew must surely have been numbered amongst them.

    My thanks again to Finn.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 8th September 2014 at 12:41. Reason: spelling

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    After the second prang I think I might have been strongly tempted to request a Transfer to a less dangerous Branch!!!
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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