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Thread: Ferry Command loss Feb 43, Canadian civilian S.F. Whatmore

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    Default Ferry Command loss Feb 43, Canadian civilian S.F. Whatmore

    I am - sporadically - researching the Roll of Honour of the college where I work in the UK, and having had exceptionally good help here before I'm now after any pointers re Stephen Francis Whatmore.

    I believe he was a 27-year-old Canadian civilian radio operator when the RAF Ferry Command aircraft he was in disappeared between Bermuda, British Guiana and the UK on 7th February 1943. He was married to Edith Winifred Whatmore, and they lived in London. He's commemorated on the Ottowa Memorial.

    I'd like to know anything at all about this sad loss, but the first questions which occur to me are:

    Was Stephen Whatmore employed on the aircraft in some capacity (presumably radio-related) or was he a passenger? I know nothing about Ferry Command, I now realise, to my shame.

    What was the aircraft? Was it a routine flight? Is there a report on the loss of this aircraft available somewhere?

    Thanks in advance, Pat
    Last edited by Pat; 25th January 2016 at 14:48. Reason: Including Bermuda as departure location for flight (thanks to Paul McMillan for the correction)

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    Ocean Bridge the history of R.A.F. Ferry Command by Carl Andrew Christie University of Toronto Press, 1995

    First Point of call for Ferry Losses


    6 Feb 1943
    Catalina FP309
    Lost out of Bermuda
    Samuel Howard McCawley, American civilian Pilot
    Andrew Eugene Bleau, American civilian Pilot
    P/O Edward Dennis Markham, RAF Navigator
    Sgt Thomas Clarence Judiesch, RCAF Radio Operator
    Stephen Francis Whatmore, British Civilan Radio Operator
    Sgt Cecil Stanley Rumble, RCAF Flight Engineer

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    Thank you Paul, and thank you also for generous the tip re your source.

    It's been a little while since I looked at Stephen Whatmore and somehow I seem to have assumed the aircraft was lost on the second leg of what I think was a Bermuda-British Guiana-UK route. That's a lot of civilians on the crew list, but I'm only used to seeing military personnel on records I've looked up so perhaps it's not as unusual as it appears to me!

    Cheers, Pat

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    Pat, Hi
    Can I ask for a clarification of the quoted route for this a/c? I’ve been involved in some significant long-distance route planning – and its associated meteorology, and I am, I admit, just slightly perplexed. If I were going from Bermuda to UK, I would NOT route via British Guiana! Conversely, if I were going from British Guiana to UK then the route might have to be Br Guiana>Bermuda>Azores>UK. One assumes that in February the N Atlantic route could be very dodgy weatherwise. And, If the W African route was working by that time then Guiana>Brazil>Ascension>W Africa might have been a better bet? Not a big problem – just interested!
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    There is a small photo of him here:

    http://www.skynet.ie/~dan/war/transat4510.pdf

    Its the final publication of Transat, the journal of the wartime Association of Trans-Oceanic Radio Officers
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Cecil Rumble was RAF, not RCAF.

    I have a tidied up copy of the Ocean Bridge appendix on my home laptop. Must post it

    Thomas Clarence Judiesch RCAF's service file is available to view on ancestry.com but is almost devoid of useful information about the loss. They just went missing!
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Pat:

    According to Peter Berry's research at TNA, FP309 was lost en route Bermuda to Largs on the Firth of Clyde. The ferry route map I have shows a direct flight between these locations.

    Robert

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    RAF Web casualty details for Plt Off. Markham and Sgt Rumble ( confirms RAF ) give the date of the loss of FP309 as 7/2/43 and the final departure point as Dorval.

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    Now that (Post #8) makes sense!! Tks for that info!
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi Peter,

    I have a scribbled note I made last year to that effect, and now you mention it - it does look weird! I'm afraid I can't offer a better answer than that I copied something down wrongly. Will check back and see if I can find out. Don't think I used any other source than CWGC site, will look there first.

    Many thanks to you, Dennis_Burke, for the photo - we've got hardly any pictures of the men on the Roll of Honour so this is a real gem.

    Cheers, Pat
    Last edited by Pat; 26th January 2016 at 12:08. Reason: To add thanks to Dennis_Burke (really must read posts in order)

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