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Thread: Serial and crew of Swordish of 814 Sqn lost off Dakar on 16 December 1939

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    Default Serial and crew of Swordish of 814 Sqn lost off Dakar on 16 December 1939

    Hello,

    On 16 December 1939, a Swordish of 814 Sqn FAA operating from the Hermes ditched at sea during night flying operations off Dakar. The pilot and air gunner were rescued, but Lt Basil Edward Coombs was killed. His body was recovered and he is buried in Dakar (Bel-Air) Cemetery.

    I am searching the serial of the Swordfish and the names of the two survivors.

    Thanks in advance

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    Laurent

    Not much help I know, but Sturtivant's FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 lists the Swordfish as 'Unidentified'. He does however list the aircraft's codes as 'H3G'.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Dear Laurent
    It may be worth contacting the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton.
    http://www.fleetairarm.com/contact-aviation-museum.aspx
    Explain what you are after and what Simon has already let you know. Ask if they can forward your request to the Archive Dept. If you are lucky they may be able to help.
    Happy hunting.
    James

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    Hello Laurent,
    Have you (or anyone) looked at the log of HMS Hermes for that date?

    Regards,
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Hello,
    Just a chance if 814 had not lost any other aircrew/aircraft after this event up to the ships loss then the names of Aircrew should apear in the list on the Naval-History.net website.

    From what I found
    16 Dec 39
    Coombs and crewmen(?) killed.
    14 May 40
    Liversidge and possibly Bax (16/5/40 MPK ?) both killed.
    6 May 41
    Herbert killed in accident.
    9 April 42
    Russell and crewmen(?) killed.

    814 Sqdn was ashore on the 9th when Hermes was sunk.
    Some FAA were still on board including the following that must be either 814 or 710 Squadron(Dt) personel.

    Cranston, John C G, Ty/Sub Lieutenant(A), RNVR, MPK.
    Quayle, John S, Ty/Sub Lieutenant(A), RNVR, MPK.
    Thomson, William G, Ty/Sub Lieutenant(A), RNVR, MPK.
    Worthy, harry, Ty/Sub lieutenant(A), RNVR, MPK.

    In these early years of the war did the Swordfish always have a three man crew or just a two man crew. 14/5/40 loss seems only two were lost no details of a third crewman ?

    Hope this is of some use to your search.
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 17th December 2015 at 04:49.

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    Laurent,
    I have checked the Hermes log and the reports on her operations hunting Graf Spee at that time. Everything there confirms what is already in this thread but nothing more. There was confirmation in one of the files that an enquiry was carried out and a report filed, but there was no copy included.
    Good luck with the FAA Museum.
    Regards,
    Bruce
    Last edited by bruce dennis; 17th December 2015 at 13:47.
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    Thanks a lot to all those who replied, I will try the FAA Museum way.

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    Hello Laurent,
    Just for info.
    Coombs's a/c was "H3G".
    Seems an unlucky code as Liversidge and Bax 's a/c had the same code according to the FAA1939-1945 book. Another Swordfish crash landed on shore Freetown, on the same date as Liversidge's loss its code is given as "H3H".
    On the 14/4/41 another "H3G" force landed into the sea, crew safe.
    Pilot Herbert is recorded as walked into his a/c's propellor.
    A/c listed with date of 1939 are -
    L2736;2746;2820;2835;7695;9774(1938);9779.
    L9779 is listed as "H3L" for 9/39, but then an accident Hermes Cat W 13/11/39 crew safe, matches 13/11/39 814 "H3C" ditched off Hermes crew safe.

    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 18th December 2015 at 17:24.

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