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Thread: William Walter Dougan & Dai Francis

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    Default William Walter Dougan & Dai Francis

    I'm trying to get some info on two aircrew from 37 Squadron duruing WW2.

    Firstly, Sergeant (Later Flight Lt) William Walter Dougan (who died in 2007) (possibly 567164) who flew with 37 Squadron as my Father-in-Law's Pilot on 37 Sqd in Wellingtons during WW2 in North Africa and Ferry Flight 1443. WW Dougan who came from Banbridge, Co Down, N Ireland was also known as Paddy or Dickie.

    My father in law (Samuel Craig) joined the crew as tail gunner following a flying accident after the Wellington that Flt Sgt Dougan was Second Pilot in crashed into the highest hill in Oxfordshire and the tail gunner was killed. I believe the aircraft was flying from an OTU at Harwell.

    Sammy ultimately left the crew when he was admitted to hospital in Cairo witrh malaria in 1942. He subsequently made up his flying hours with other crews. Paddy Dougan subsequently flew Liberators. Both my Father in Law's Log Book and Paddy's Log Book prior to 1943 have gone missing. Paddy's son was with me last night and we are both trying to unravel some bits of their history re their flights together. Appraently they flew some sorties from Malta (probably in 1942) but Sammy is unable to receive a Malta Medal as there are, apparently, no records to back up the fact that he was there!

    The second man I'm searching for is Dai (presumably David) Roberts - who, as the name suggests was Welsh. I believe he may have been the pilot flying the Wellington when the accident referred to above took place. According to Paddy's son, Dai Roberts was killed during WW2. I've looked at the Commonwealth War Graves Site which gives details of three David Roberts from the RAF having died. hHe first is David Francis Roberts (965482) who was a Wireless Operator in 1941, the second, in 1945 Sgt David Herbert Roberts (2220794) was a Flight Engineer and the third, in 1947Flt Lt David Hugh Roberts (152146). I cant tie any of those down as being 'my man'. If Sammy served with him in N Africa then it cant be the one who died in 1941.

    Hoping someone might be able to help move this on a little - please!

    Gerry

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    You can often rebuild a logbook by use of the Forms 541, although this requires a knowledge of units and dates and possibly depends on access to the Record of Service of the individual.

    The book: "Wise Without Eyes" is a history of 37 Sqn and ought to give some information and Chorley Vol 7 deals with OTUs. I think he says that 15 OTU were at Harwell.

    Best I do for now.

    Colin Cummings

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    Thanks, Colin. I have "Wise" OK & will revisit it.

    I've been reminded by developments today that I shouldnt make assumptions! It seems Dai Roberts was, in fact GW Roberts. The crash referred to in my earlier post appears to have been on 29 January 1942 involving Wellington L7801 which hit a hill during a snowstorm. "29/01/1942 Wellington L7801 OX-E of 15 OTU flew into Whichford Hill during a snow storm. The rear gunner, Sgt A J Turtill was killed. Sgt D M Bunn was injured. The pilot, Sgt G W Roberts, Sgt D McSheen and three other members of the crew were unhurt." Apparently there were 7 occupants - 3 of which were not named. One of the three was Walter Dougan. However, its clear that Dai wasnt David!

    There are 3 GW Roberts named on the CWGC site as casualties - one was a Corporal, so I think I can rule him out. One of the others was a Flight Sergeant and the last a Pilot Officer. The latter two died in 1945 (http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx?cpage=1 ). Since my Father in Law once went to a Church Service with "Dai" that was conducted in Welsh, Im favouring Goronwy Wyn Roberts at the minute!

    So far as Walter Dougan's pre-1943 flights are concerned I think the easiest way to build that up would be from the ORB for 37 Sqd - easier said than done! I had previous contact with Rob Jerram (whose Father served with my Father in Law in the Middle East) through the Forum but havent been able to raise any responses from through PMs.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    Best,

    Gerry

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    Gerry,

    l'm not clear on one point. Do you require information on William Dougan's service pre-1943 (1942, in particular), other than with No.37 Squadron?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th November 2014 at 15:47.

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    Col,

    Many thanks. I would be delighted to have info on his time with 37 Squadron. His Obituary (here - below that of Alex Henshaw) http://www.iaopa.eu/mediaServlet/sto...07/p48_p50.pdf gives some details on his earlier & later life. In addition I know, from a note written by him that after leaving Halton in 1937 he joined 83 Sqd at Turnhouse where he dualled on Harts & a Tiger Moth. He trained on Tigers & Oxfords & progressed to 15 OTU at Harwell on Wellingtons. He flew with 1443 Ferry Flight & 37 Sqd before being posted back to UK to convert to Liberators at Bourn. He subsequently served with 159 & 160 Sqds in the Middle East before beign given a new assignment - to fly a personal Liberator for the Chief of Supply, with time spen on "Z Operations" counting as half operational time!

    At the end of the War he returned to the UK where he joined Transport Command flying Halifaxes and Dakotas. His Squadron (53) was then sent to Germany at the beginning of the Berlin Airlift in which he participated flying in coal and flour and flying out women & children!

    I have further info on his later RAF career which he says ended with his resignation "in a fit of pique" in 1968.

    Hoping you might be able to assist!

    Kind regards,

    Gerry

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    Gerry,

    l mentioned service other than with No.37 Squadron in 1942. l was referring to Dougan's time with 159/160 Sqn on Libs. You will find details of William Dougan's time with 159/160 Sqn, here:

    http://www.rquirk.com/160oper/160sqn1942may705ed.pdf

    Use the pdf find function, rather than the index, it picks up an additional item not mentioned there.

    It looks as if Dougan was induced to remain in the RAF after his 'fit of pique' in 1968, with the offer of a commission:

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/1208

    and finally resigning in 1973,

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...pplement/12877

    Thanks for the Obit, most interesting.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 17th November 2014 at 01:14.

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    Thanks Col,

    I'll look at this in more detail over the next couple of days.

    Best,

    Gerry

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