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Thread: Halifax GRIII of 502 Squadron

  1. #1
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    Default Halifax GRIII of 502 Squadron

    Halifax 'X' (PN402) took off from Stornoway on an Operation in the Skaggerak/Kattegat area on 11 April 1945. I do not know if it was a gardening or anti-shipping operation. The a/c failed to return. The highly ranked crew was:

    S/Ldr DH Pruden
    FO RC Squire
    F/Lt F Leigh
    F/Lt J Featherstone
    PO E Platt
    PO IH Dustin RNZAF
    FO VB Symes
    PO DWS Sharkie

    Can anyone shed any light on what happened to the a/c and crew?

    Regards
    Malcolm

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    Hi Malcolm,

    I have a brief note that all are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial and that the aircraft was on an A/S Patrol.

    Regards
    Ross

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    Default from "For your Tomorrow"

    by Errol Martyn,

    Same informations as you both have, plus "took off at 2134 on 10th April 1945", indeed for Anti-submarine patrol L6 - Skagerrak,
    Wireless operator air gunner was NZ404022 Pilot Officier Ian Henry DUSTUN RNZAFn age 26, 713 hours, 30th op.
    Perhaps Errol has more on file, either in his draft or informations surfaced since publication.

    Joss

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    The 'For Your Tomorrow' came in large part from a copy of the 502 Sqn CO's circumstantial report of 15 Apr 45.

    The crew roles are also given in this document:

    Captain - Pruden
    Pilot - Squire
    Nav B - Leigh
    Featherstone - Gunner S
    Symes - Gunner S
    Dustin - Gunner S
    Sharkie - WOp(Air)
    Platt - Flight Engineer

    It also states that "The sortie was authorised by Headquarters No.18 Group on Form Green RO/G3/10.Apr."

    Errol

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    Many thanks to you all. As with many others the details of how the Halifax went down will probably never be found.

    Regards
    Malcolm

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    I just happen to read "Of Wind and Water - A Kiwi Pilot in Coastal Command" by James Sanders who flew with No. 502 Squadron in 1944 and 1945 and I quote: "The area was hazardous. As the waterways were tightly surrounded by both hostile and neutral lands, it was inevitable that every movement of our aircraft was tracked by enemy electronic recorders. So bright-eyed and aggressive German night-fighter pilots would be directed on to our machines, and it was not surprising that our ship-hunting squadrons lost several crews within the first few weeks of those operations.
    Poor old Pruden, with whom I had flown on my first operational sortie after joining 502 Squadron, did not bring his crew home after just such a mission around the Kattegat."
    The Halifax with Pruden's crew was actually lost at the end of the period of operations, when James Sanders had already left the squadron, and the above statement must be considered his personal educated opinion rather than fact. His book is narrative and does not contain any information from his logbook, but I found the few chapters in the book a very interesting and worthwhile read about the type of operations from Stornoway. I thought I would add it to this thread, even after all these years.

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    Pruden was shot down by Oberleutnant Herbert Koch from 1./NJG 3. The combat took place near Lęse in the Kattegat and the Halifax crew disappeared in the sea and has never been found.

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    This site never ceases to amaze, as it was 2007 that I first raised the topic about S/Ldr Dennis Pruden DFC and his crew.

    Thanks Fedor and Carsten for continuing your researches in order that the details of each a/c loss is recorded as fully as is possible.

    Regards
    Malcolm

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