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Thread: Lancaster JA854 POW B.E. Thighe

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    Default Lancaster JA854 POW B.E. Thighe

    Hi All,

    I am looking for further information on RAF Flight Sergeant B.E. Thighe W/Op with 7 Squadron and was a crew member of Flt. lt. Richard Otway French (NZ Air Force).
    Lancaster JA854 MG-X was lost on the Berlin Operation 3/4 September 1943, Thighe was the only survivor and was made a POW, I have read else where that Thighe was interned in Camp 4B POW # 222846.
    I am looking for the location of the crash of JA854 and I think the service record for Thighe would show where he was captured and if he survived the POW camp and could also include details in the debrief of where the Lancaster JA854 crashed or was attacked etc.

    The other crew who were all KIA were made up of 2 from RCAF 1 from NZ and the rest RAF.

    Kind regards

    Peter

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    Peter,

    Hayward's POW list shows that 1101869 WO C. F. Thighe RAF was indeed incarcerated in Stalag Luft 4B at Muhlberg (Elbe). I would disagree with you in that his service record will not contain the majority of the info you seek, but other sources might well do. For example, if he completed a liberated prisoner of war interrogation questionnaire (not all POWs did), then it should lie in the file 'WO 344' at the UK National Archives in Kew. This may contain info relating to how he was captured and when, along with other info of use, but it will probably require a physical visit as these records have not been digitised yet. His name does not appear in the CWGC search engine, so one can presume that he survived his experiences as a POW. His service record will be subject to the normal rules of release from the MoD, i.e. unless you are a relative or can get the NoK's permission, you will have to pay £30 and provide documentary evidence to prove that the subject has been dead for 25 years plus.

    Chorley's 'Bomber Command Losses' contains no further info relating to the loss of this aircraft, so I will let other, more knowledgeable types answer up regarding its loss and crash site.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    If there were two RCAF and if they were killed ?? Then pop over to the Canadian National Archives website and order their service records.

    If they were POW then if they have died 20 years or more ago you can still obtain the RCAF records. If you get just the genealogy packages they will be free.

    But deffinetly your first stop.
    Errol from N Z will probably be along with info from his book on RNZAF airmen
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

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

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    Peter,

    From my For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Two: Fates 1943-1998):

    Fri 3/Sat 4 Sep 1943
    BOMBER COMMAND
    Raid on Berlin, Germany (by 316 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes - 24 lost) . . .

    . . . 7 Squadron, RAF (Oakington, Cambridgeshire - 8 [PFF] Group)
    Lancaster III JA854/X - took off at 2009 on same raid as the above, and brought down near Adlershof, some 14km SE of the centre of Berlin. Taken prisoner, the RAF wireless operator was the sole survivor. A post-war search for the graves of his six comrades could not be undertaken, as Adlershof lay in the Russian Zone, where the occupying power was uncooperative. The six airmen are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
    Captain: NZ415756 Flt Lt Richard Otway FRENCH, DFC, RNZAF - Age 32. 678hrs. 37th op.

    Errol

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    Peter,
    I will have a look for his liberation questionnaire unless Errol has it already.
    Regards,
    Nick
    KenFentonsWar.com

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    Nick,

    No, I don't hold a copy of Thighe's liberation questionaire.

    Errol

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    Guys,

    On my list for my next visit.

    Regards,

    Nick
    KenFentonsWar.com

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    Hi all,
    I am very grateful to all of you for your replies and the information you have shared - Thank you.
    Errol, that location of Adlershof, some 14km SE of the centre of Berlin could also provide the link as to if it was a night fighter or flak I believe there are a couple of unmatched claims by night fighters in and around Berlin that night. (unless I have missed a matched claim for JA854)

    Nick, that would be terrific if you can have a look for Thighe's debriefing/ liberation questionnaire, If he baled out I wonder if he was posthumously made a member of the caterpillar club.
    Thighe may have been injured and that could have appeared on his records as well, It was clumsy of me to infer the Thighe service record would hold certain information relating to his capture though.

    As I said I am grateful for all your help and interest.

    Cheers
    Pete

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    He may have become a member of the Caterpillar Club, IF he used an Irvin parachute and IF he applied. If you wish to confirm this, then the only way that I know to do so, would be to write to the club archivist. The last address that I had was:

    Judy Adams
    Caterpillar Club
    Irvin Aerospace Limited
    Icknield Way
    Letchworth, Hertfordshire
    England SG6 1EU

    Telephone: 011 44 1 462 482 000
    Fax: 011 44 1 462 482 007

    Email: judycadams@aol.com

    I would be interested to know how you get on.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    The following came in today from a correspondent of mine, Jörg Helbig:

    Okay this is what I have for this one:

    Illuminated by the 1.-4.Batterie of the Searchlightabteilung 148 and was shot up by the Flakgruppe Berlin East and South.
    Blew up midair over Berlin-Adlershof and crashing in the housing complex Glienicker Weg 155-163.
    The crash was filed and recorded by the Hauptlutzschutzstelle Berlin (Lagebericht for 3.9.43).
    shot down and claimed by: 4./123 (Flakturm Volkspark Friedrichshain), 2.+3./362, 1.-4./513, 1.-5./516, 1.-4./416 (Railway) as: "B-24 Berlin Adlershof 00.17 hrs." Wrong type because its seem have just found the double tail end.
    Some pieces were found otherwise must have scattered over a wide area.

    JA 854 was the first one shot down over Object at 00.17 hrs, next one was JA 829 00.24 hrs.

    There is an report in a other over Berlin downed four engine which say from the ground a parachutist was seen.
    This must be the survivor of JA 854.

    The crash was filed as KE-6379.

    Errol

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