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Thread: Halifax 35sqn, Frankfurt mission.

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    Default Halifax 35sqn, Frankfurt mission.

    05-10-43
    HALIFAX A Halifax BII bomber TL-? of 35 Sqn ('Madras Presidency' of 8 group 'Pathfinders') returning from bombing Frankfurt crossed the coast on 2 engines and struggled as far as Mayfield before crashing in trees and breaking up at Coombe Wood , Cinder Hill farm (Tidebrook). Three of the crew were uninjured but four had serious injuries and had to be admitted to hospital in Tunbridge Wells.
    I unfortunately lost some other details I had re. this crash.
    Can anyone expand on what I have here please ?
    I have lost the ORB entry.
    Dave

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    Default 35 Sqd Frankfurt mission

    Hi Dave/

    HX 148 was coded TL-G , it's duty was Blind Marker...up at 18. 28. down at 23. 50 Crashing near Biggin Hill, my uncle was on the same Op flying HR 929 E, I have the relevant ORB page with details of the sortie if there is anything specific you require, W.R. Chorley has the injured as being treated at the Kent and Sussex Hospital, crew were as follows......

    F/L DR Wood
    Sgt EH Barry
    Sgt VHR Hobbs (inj)
    F/L AER Bexton (inj)
    F/L PS Warren RCAF (inj)
    FS L J North
    F/S WSM Edmonston (inj)

    Rob

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    Eddie Fell Guest

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    Hi Dave

    I don't know if it helps any but Leonard Jesse North had already completed at least one tour before this crash having served with Nos. 405, 104 and 158 Sqns (plus a detachment to Coastal Command) having started Ops in 1941. He finally received a DFC (as a Warrant Officer still with No. 35 Sqn) in May 1945

    Cheers

    Eddie

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    Default Many thanks Rob & Ed

    Yes Rob the 'near Biggin Hill' refers to Mayfield a few miles to the south of Biggin Hill, it was on the return leg, so this aircraft was nearly home.
    Do you know the codename of this mission ?
    What was your uncle's role?
    Ed, interesting additional information, I believe one of them died ? Was it North ?
    Dave

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    Eddie Fell Guest

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    Negative for North - he was alive until very recently at least (and may still be).

    None of the others are shown on CWGC as having died, then or later

    Eddie

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    Default Interesting

    As I've actually found a few tree landings during my local research. I wonder if someone suitably knowledgable knows if this is actually a prefered choice, given the likelihood of explosions?
    From what you say Ed. It s possible these chaps may well be still with us ?
    Dave

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    Default 35 Sqd Frankfurt Raid

    Hi Dave/

    Sorry, I can't help you with the code name of this raid, you will have to look at the "Night Raid Reports", unfortunatly I only hold the ORB pages of the Ops my uncle completed and the one you wanted for HX 148 was on one of these. My uncle was the pilot of HR 929 E and they took off 18 mins after HX 148, on this op they were Supporters. Below are the details of sortie for HX. 148 ....

    2x4 flares white. 21.26 hours. 19000 feet. 050degs.M.140 IAS.Weather:nil cloud - identified by navigation "Y". and bombed on same. Aircraft began a blind run in on navigation aid "Y" but coned for 5 minutes on this run. Prepared to bomb and had aready dropped 2 bundles of flares white, when the starboard inner recieved a direct hit by flak, and had to be feathered. Navigation aid "Y" became unserviceable and oxygen failed. Bomb doors closed and aircraft came out of target area without being able to drop any more bombs. No observations made as to progress of raid.

    Regards...Rob.

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    Default Rob

    THanks very much for this additional information Rob. Do you know for sure which members of this mission are still around, and if so where I may contact any of them lease ?
    Dave

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    Default Leonard Jesse North

    Hello,

    My father was Leonard Jesse North he was rear gunner on this operation. His flying log book entry for 4.10.43 reads as follows...

    hour: 13.20 Aircraft type and number: G Pilot: F/LT WOOD Duty: Rear Gunner Remarks: OPS:- FRANKFURT. CONED OVER TARGET S.O. ENG HIT. S.I. ENG. U/S OVER CHANNEL OXYGEN SYSTEM U/S. CRASHED NEAR TUNBRIDGE WELLS. 4 OF CREW INJURED

    Unfortunately dad died in 2006 but I remember him telling me about this crash and when I was in Junior school I wrote an account of it for an exercise. I do not recognise any of the names except for Wood who dad of course called Timber. He told me the injuries were bad and I think two of them had burns including their ears burnt down to gristle, and lips being cut off by hot wires. Dad was unconscious at the time of the crash I thought I remembered him saying his oxygen tube had iced up but from his log book it looks like the whole oxygen system was u/s. Two of the injured had already left the crash site when dad regained consciousness but they wrapped the other two in parachutes and then dad said to Timber "right I'm off" he thought they were in Germany and he was going to make his escape. Timber had to tell him "Its ok Tim (his nickname because there had been 3 Leonards in one squadron) we are in England.

    Dad said they made their way through woods and found a cottage which was lucky as it was the only one in the area. So they got help but I know he was disgruntled because they had to make their own way back to the station. They were of course in their flying gear.

    The next operation in Dad's log book is 22.10.43 to Kassel and again with Wood as the pilot.
    I am happy to try to help fill in any details I can if you are interested. I have my dad's log book and my faulty memories. Dad was a real character and most of his tales reveloved around a pint of beer rather than the fighting he did. But he did talk about some of his trips. He flew 88 operations in total. After leaving Pathfinder Force having completed 2 tours he went on to Second Tactical Air Force till 88 Squadron was disbanded on 1st April 1945.

    I hope this helps, Edward

    sorry I forgot to add Dad's log book records 5.30 as the hours of flying in the night column

    Just as another point of interest on the night before this crash Dad had been on ops to Kassel with Woods as pilot again and had returned on 3 engines. Sounds like a bad week
    Last edited by Edward; 11th October 2012 at 16:33. Reason: additional info

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    Hi.

    Rather belatedly I have just found this thread during a Google search for HX148.

    My father was Vic Hobbs, navigator on HX148 and a regular member of "Timber Woods" crew.

    Having joined the RAF prior to the start of the war and trained as an observer (navigator/bomb-aimer) in Canada and joined 35 Sq at Linton-on-Ouse.

    Dad received third degree burns (hands and face "aircrew burns") in the crash (the navigator's position being well removed from the nearest exit) and was found in a ditch by the recovery crew in the morning when he was taken to the Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells.

    On the 15th October he was transfered to the Burns Unit at East Grinstead and thus joined the illustrious ranks of the Guinea Pig Club.

    It was always my understanding that at the time of the crash his rank was F/Sgt. On discharge from the RAF he had the rank of Warrant Officer.

    One of the first things he did when he was discharged from East Grinstead was to travel up to Gravely where he was reunited with his beloved bicycle in, I think, 1945.

    Despite having badly burnt hands he was able to return to his pre-war employment with the (by then) London Electricity Board where he was responsible for servicing "old technology" analog sub-stations. When he and his co-worker retired so did the sub stations as the new bread digital engineers could not understand how they worked.

    He was a personal friend of Don Bennett who visited him during a trip to the UK in the early 80s.

    Dad died in April 1994, sadly believing that none of the crew had survived the war and unable to understand why Bomber Command crews were never recognised with a medal.

    I have a copy of the Crashed Aircraft Report if anybody is interested.

    Bob "Jack" Hobbs

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