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Thread: 85 Sqn Havoc AH514 VY-D 'Friendly fire' shoot-down 3 June 1942

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    Default 85 Sqn Havoc AH514 VY-D 'Friendly fire' shoot-down 3 June 1942

    I am currently researching the loss of the above aircraft, in which Sgt 'Jack' Waller of Lowestoft, AI Op was killed on 3 June 1942. The daughter of Flt Sgt Tom Gibbs, pilot, who baled out injured and survived the war says he entered "Friendly fire" in his log book. I know it is still a sensitive subject, but can anyone please assist us in finding out who shot this aircraft down? We believe their attacker to have been another 85 Sqn Havoc. AH514 crashed on the Dengie Flats, off Foulness at 0255 hours on 3 June 1942 during a 'Baedeker' raid against Canterbury.
    TIA of any help on this.
    Regs,
    Bob C

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    Hello,

    Needs confirmation, but I believe Gibbs and Waller were shot down in error by 37865 S/L Simon Napier Leslie MAUDE DFC/759259 F/Sgt John Paul Wargrave 'Jock' CAIRNS, of No.85 Squadron.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 4th July 2015 at 13:26.

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    Many thanks Col.

    Tom Gibbs (+ 2011), who later flew Mosquitoes with 25 Sqn and post-war was a Captain with BEA, was convinced Maude, his Flight CO, was responsible, and also that he had a hand in his (Gibbs') posting away from the squadron soon afterwards. The description of events in 'Fighter Squadron At War' states Maude was on a 'Silent patrol' and made a claim for a Do 217 down in flames in the sea. As we now know, no Do 217s were lost. The time given in this account does not tally with that of the Havoc crash, but there is of course the possibility the authors wished to deliberately separate the events. This also says their assailant was showing IFF, but I do not believe the AI on the Havoc could have picked this up from astern?
    Gibbs' daughter (now Mrs Paula Masters) and Peter Waller, a cousin of Jack Waller were with us for AFD in Lowestoft and we presented each of them with a framed CGI print of a Havoc marked as AH514 VY-D.
    TVM for your help on this.
    Regs,
    BC

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    Hello Bob

    I have reason to believe that some of the times entered onto AM1180 are at odds with the accident narrative and other RAF records.

    One I can recall for a Hudson T9320 15.8.1940 has 1700 on the AM1180.

    However, local official records have 5.20 pm for take-off and crash, but when the information was teleprinted to 1 OTU (Coastal) the time was entered 1725 in their ORB [after a Red Warning which the Balloon Group had recorded at 17.22 hrs in their ORB].

    The Royal Naval Air Station Eastleigh had advanced warning of incoming aircraft and sounded their local warning from the Flying Control Office at Eastleigh and the Eastleigh Balloon Squadron were raising their balloons on a local warning, rather than waiting for the National official Warning, as laid down in the AMCO.

    Why the Control Office sounded the local warning (before the Red) whilst the Hudson was starting the take-off procedure is a mystery. They got the Very out and attempted to fire a Red, but it seemed a bit late and also apparently did not discharge properly.

    The RAF Inquiry established take-off time was during a Yellow warning according to the AM1180, [before the Red Warning].

    The 1725 time sent to 1 OTU Silloth was probably an attempt, to cover-up the premature raising of the balloons, before the national Red at 1722 hrs. The Balloon Squadron have entered 1727 hrs in their ORB.

    At 17.25 the Observer Corps note a Spitfire in the air, then issue a corrected message reporting the Hudson crash at 5.20 pm.

    A letter received from a lady who was a friend of the Commander who went to the funeral with him stated that the all clear had sounded and the balloons were released in error and also mentions a fighter pilot airborne. In another letter, a time of 3.30 is mentioned, which was one of the times given for the Whitley crash that morning at Eastleigh.

    The cable number impacted by the Hudson on the balloon site map, is nowhere near the end of the runway where the balloon cable collision is claimed to have occurred.

    A lady contacted me some years ago, her Uncle was aboard and the official word was, that a new part had been fitted to the Hudson. The pilot S/Ldr Coulson was a highly experienced civil airline pilot before WW 2.

    The Hudson has gone out of control during ascent, apparently whilst the balloons were rising and struck another cable during a 180 degree turn while losing height.

    A time of 1700 has been entered on the Hudson AM1180.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 7th July 2015 at 10:17.

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