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Thread: Anson K6317, 269 Squadron, accident 12-1-1940.

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    Default Anson K6317, 269 Squadron, accident 12-1-1940.

    Hello all,

    In various published sources this Anson is recorded as having been written off as a result of a landing accident this day at its base at Wick in Scotland. This apparently followed a North Sea patrol during which it engaged in combat with a Luftwaffe flying boat.
    The 269 Squadron ORB does not mention the accident nor the combat.
    Does anyone have any evidence from primary sources about this combat or subsequent crash (F/O Dennis Hayley-Bell) ?
    I have the Form 1180 Accident Card for this Anson on this day, but with a different pilot (P/O B. Fitz-Gibbon). The details of the crash are much the same but the reason for the flight was noted as 'local flying'. I am speculating that the F.1180 is correct for the loss of K6317 and that this flight occurred later in the day (subsequent to the patrol), but lack proof.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Hi Martin,

    Since publication of CCL Vol 1 this has been on the "must resolve" spike

    I think that two events happened on the day Fitz-Gibbon in K6317 that struck boundary wall on local flying and Haley-Bell in an unknown Anson on return from the operational flight.

    So far my on and off attempts to clarify have only confirmed that the two events took place and that the C of I for K6317 confirms details for F1180 (including 1 hr on type).

    No.18 Group ORB has no further detail to add to Haley-Bell operation, other to confirm it took place on the date.

    No combat report found in AIR 50.

    So for the moment I'm afraid it remains on the spike.

    Ross
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    Hi,
    Please feel free to shoot my theory down, from my notes:
    I think there may be a corruption in the Anson file etc. between two separate incidents around Anson K6317 (KL-V, UA-V) of 269Sqn. K6317 did engage a flying boat on 19th Sept 1939 in which the Pilot P/O Dennis Samel Burrell was shot and died instantly (AIR 81/11) .The aircraft was flown back to Wick and safely landed by the Navigator 527769 Sergeant William Edward Willits( Award of DFM London Gazette 3rd November 1939, awarded DFC on 9th July 1943).
    http://archive.is/NFk7
    Extract from Form Blue signed by Wg Cdr FN Pearce, Officer Commanding No 269 Squadron, concerning Plt Off Burrell, pilot of Anson V/269: reports seeing enemy Flying Boat to North. A/C V went to attack as FB circled two tankers. V gave chase and was about to open fire on rear of FB when a burst of fire from FB killed pilot instantly. Navigator managed with difficulty to get pilot out of seat and took control bringing A/C back. The Air Gunner had no chance of bringing gun to bear at any time. FB last seen flying out of range. Position QSSV 2737. 1010 hours approx.
    The second incident, I believe, was a landing accident and the two incidents may have been run together.

    Just a theory,
    Alan.

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    Hello Ross,

    Thanks for your reply. This is my reading of the situation that day. F/O Hayley-Bell and crew of K6317 - as per the ORB - returned and landed safely at 11.53 a.m. after their anti-submarine patrol. Later that same day P/O Fitz-Gibbon was sent aloft in the same Anson for flying practice as first pilot. Whether he was solo or had an instructor with him is not known. P/O Fitz-Gibbon only joined 269 Squadron on 16 December 1939 as a replacement pilot. Between then and 12 January 1940 he only flew operationally as the second pilot or observer, about 14 times. His first operational sortie as first pilot or aircraft captain was on the morning of January 12th in Anson K6319 UA-W, at approximately the same time Hayley-Bell was airborne. Fitz-Gibbon flew three more operational sorties during the rest of January 1940 - all as second pilot ! One of these was in K6319 UA-W.
    So it is possible his flight in K6317 was to gain further experience and perhaps confidence. I cannot prove this but I think this is the most likely scenario.

    Regards,

    Martin.

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    Hi Martin,

    Would be my guess too that Haley-Bell landed un-damaged from the Active Operations flight then Fitz-Gibbon took it up for flying practice and bent it on landing.

    The items to support this are:


    Nothing is specific in any examined primary documents to link Haley-Bell to a landing incident on his return.

    There several different primary documents to link Fitz-Gibbon to the landing incident on K6317.

    January 1940 is the one month that contains a set of F1183 Forced Landing (Miscellaneous) forms. None has been raised for either Haley-Bell or Fitz-Gibbon on the 12th Jan. I would have expected to see one for an AO from Haley-Bell as AO F1183 are usually filed for this period (eg one on 16th Jan for K8833).

    Ross
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