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Thread: Combat report/details loss 15 Squadron Lancaster LL781, 7/8 June 1944?

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    Default Combat report/details loss 15 Squadron Lancaster LL781, 7/8 June 1944?

    Dear all,

    I am looking for any details about the circumstances of loss of 15 Squadron Lancaster LL781, 7/8 June 1944. I have all the basic details from Chorley/1944, but need addition details about the exact location and time of the combat with a German night fighter in which one of the crew members Sgt. C.W. Kirk was killed.

    Cheers and thanks, Theo
    Last edited by Theo Boiten; 8th November 2015 at 11:14.

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    Theo - I've just had a look at the 15 Sqn Combat Reports for you, and they are virtually unreadable. Even so, it looks like the one you are after hasn't survived, or at least wasn't scanned to microfilm, although the serials and dates on the forms for 15 Squadron are, as I say, virtually impossible to read.

    Not quite the answer you were hoping for I think, but unless anyone else has a better copy of the 15 Sqn CRs, it'll save you wasting too much time trying to chase it down. Perhaps someone with a copy of the 15 Sqn ORB will be able to help you - Steve SMith would be the obvious choice for 3 Group "gen"?

    All the best,

    Greg
    Last edited by greg; 8th November 2015 at 23:36.
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Hi Greg,

    Thanks a lot for checking, which confirms my suspicions that a combat report for this incident has not survived .. Will try and obtain the info from the Sqn ORB!

    Cheers, Theo

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    Charles William Kirk was my dad's uncle and was KIA on this aircraft. He received a 20mm cannon round from a Me410(?) over Paris. Damage to the aircraft resulted in a crash landing at Friston, Sussex. The surviving crew, plus a replacement navigatior, were all killed a few weeks later over Holland and are buried in Jonkerbos cemetery, Gelderland.
    It is known that 781 used L and B as identifiers but I have it listed as B at the time of Charlie's death. I have recently received his medals and Bomber Command clasp.
    Last edited by IainKirk; 4th February 2017 at 20:02.

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    Theo,

    Not exactly what you want, but not too bad:

    7/8th June, 1943. (No.15/XV Sqn).

    Only one crew member was to perish from the aircraft which crashed on English soil. the Lancaster, LL781, LS-L, had the misfortune to encounter two Me 410 nightfighters, approximately five minutes after leaving the target area. The first enemy aircraft attacked from the port side, but was deterred by the two gunners. With the latter's attention diverted away from him, the second nightfighter took advantage of the situation. His opening burst of cannon fire killed Sgt C W Kirk, the navigator, instantly when a shell exploded inside the bomber. The Lancaster sustained damage to the centre section of the fuselage, the wings and the starboard aileron which broke away. Sgt Brennan, the mid-upper gunner, and Sgt Brookfield, the rear gunner, both responded immediately to the challenge and returned fire. The enemy aircraft was later claimed as destroyed due to the fact it spiraled down and exploded in mid-air. Flight Lieutenant Bell, who had been wounded in the attack, fought to keep the Lancaster in the air. The damage report by the crew indicated the loss of certain flying instruments, the front turret out of action and unserviceability of both brakes and flaps. Ignoring the pain of his wound, F/L Bell put the crippled bomber down at Friston, a Fighter Command airfield in Sussex where, due to lack of the flaps, it overshot and burst into flames. The six surviving members of the crew all suffered superficial burns. The name of Walter John Bell was added to the annals of No.XV Squadron, when he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, for his skill, courage and determination to fly his damaged bomber home.

    See:
    Oxford's Own Men and Machines of No.15/XV Squadron Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force.
    Ford-Jones, Martyn R, & Valerie A.
    Atglen:Schiffer,1999.
    p184.
    (check 2nd.ed., of this work for updates)

    Col.

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    Hi Col,

    Cheers and thanks for posting these interesting and useful details!

    Best regards, Theo

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