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Thread: SS Kensington Court

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    Default SS Kensington Court

    Hello All,
    I've been investigating the rescue of the 34 man crew of the British merchantman SS Kensington Court on 18 September 1939. The vessel was stopped 100 miles SW of Bishop Rock by U-32 which ordered the crew to leave before sinking it with gunfire. The captain of the ship had managed to send a distress call that was picked up by two Sunderlands, one from 204 Sqn and one from 228 Sqn. I believe one a/c captain was F/L John Barrett and the other F/L Thurston Smith. Both Sunderlands were able to land nearby and they picked up all 34 survivors. It was a remarkable rescue that led to both the a/c captains getting the DFC. Has anyone got details of the two aircraft and the crews please? Many thanks.
    Bob Jones

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    Hello Bob,
    The little I have on the rescue is as follows:
    At 12.38 hours on 18 Sep, 1939, the unescorted Kensington Court
    (Master. Joseph Schofield) was stopped by U-32 with 13 shots of
    gunfire about 120 miles west of Lands End. The ship was sunk by
    a coup de grāce at 14.00 hours. The master and 34 crewmembers
    were rescued by an unknown Sunderland of 228 Sqn RAF (piloted
    by F/Lt Thurston M.W. Smith) and Sunderland L5802 of 204 Sqn
    RAF piloted by F/Lt John Barrett. The pilots of both aircraft were
    awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for their part in this
    action
    Mike Smith

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    Bob

    The rescue is mentioned briefly in the book The Sunderland Flying Boat Queen, Volume 1 by John Evans. Page 11 has a (pre-war?) photo of Sunderland L5802 of 204 Sqn, and mentions it was flown by Barrett on that mission.

    It's also mentioned in The Cinderella Service by Andrew Hendrie, page 71, and mentions that a third Sunderland, flown by Sqn Ldr Menzies, kept guard overhead as the crew were rescued. A photo on page 69 gives the serial of the second Sunderland that landed as N9025.

    I'd guess the relevant ORBs would have the identities of all three Sunderlands and full details of their crews?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hello,

    On 18-9-1939, 32061 S/L Guy Lambton Menzies, was piloting Sunderland I L5805.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 10th February 2015 at 11:17.

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    Hello again Bob,
    L5802 was a mark one Sunderland built in Rochester under contract no 533317/36 .
    It went to 210 sqd before 204 then to 210 before 95 as "F" on 31st May 41 it then went to 461 before being allocated to 4 OTU. L5802 crashed on landing at night in Cromarty Firth on 16th Jan 1943 (Alness) there were no casualties.
    Mike
    Last edited by mike123; 10th February 2015 at 11:07.

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    Thanks Chaps,
    All good stuff; the presence of a third Sunderland overhead is news to me.
    Many thanks,
    Bob

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