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Thread: Operation Colossus - 10/2/1941

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    Default Operation Colossus - 10/2/1941

    Does anyone have a list of the aircrew from 78 Sq. & 51 Sq. involved in the drop of parachutists on the Tragino Aqueduct in 1941. The Sq. ORB has no mention of the op.

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    In my research for an RAF Historical Society conference a couple of years ago on Airborne Forces, I noted full details of the aircraft and the crews involved.

    The detailed source is TNA AIR29/12 and AIR29/13. What do you want to know?

    Nick Livingstone

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    Nick
    It's the crew names I am after as this is research for the Yorkshire Air Museum. Just looking at the crews in other ops it looks like that the Hoad crew died in March 1941 and that 2 of Williams' crew died in June 1941.

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    Alfred Webb DFC and Bar—Operation Colossus
    Should you be interested in him, my book RAF 'Special Duties' holds a relatively detailed account of his service life.

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    John

    I've got the list of crews from 78 will PM them to you next week.

    Regards

    Daz

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    John,
    Details of aircraft and crew/passengers, pasted from spreadsheet, as follows: Aircraft Reg.; A/c letter; Squadron; A/c Captain; 2 Pilot; navigator; W/T operator; Air Gunner; Passengers for outward journey.

    P5015; K; 51; W/Cdr Tait; P/O Purley; Sgt Sharp (Supernumerary 2P); P/O Alabaster; Sgt Patterson; P/O Careless
    Passengers: Capt Lee, Cpl Chapman, Cpl Fletcher, M. Dupont

    T4235; W; 78; F/Lt Williams; Sgt Hornsey; Sgt Walker; Sgt Kershaw; P/O McLeod
    Passengers: Major Pritchard; Cpl O'Brien; Spr Parker; Pte Parker; Sgt Clements; W/Cdr Norman

    T4165; N; 51; Sgt Lashbrook; P/O Howley; P/O Way; Sgt Green; F/Lt Williams (JEM)
    Passengers: Capt Daley, Cpl Julian, L/Cpl Boulter, L/Cpl Humphrey, Spr Struthers

    T4215; J; 78; Sub Lt Hoad, RN; Sgt Smith; P/O Houghton; Sgt Markland; P/O Webb
    Passengers: F/Lt Luckie, Cpl Grice, L/Cpl Tomlin, Spr Ross, Pte Samuels

    N1525; E; 78; P/O Robinson; Sgt Hatcher; Sgt Nolan; Sgt Diamond; Sgt Gurmon
    Passengers: 2/Lt Patterson, Cpl Rowe, L/Cpl Bryor, Sgt Shutt, Cpl Gray RAF

    T4236; D; 78; Sgt Holden; Sgt Williams; Sgt Stevens; Sgt Barton; Sgt Balcombe
    Passengers: 2/Lt Jowett, Sgt Durie, L/Cpl Watson, L/Cpl Henderson, Spr Crawford

    T4167; S; 78; P/O Wotherspoon; Sgt Southern; Sgt Meddings; Sgt Albon; Sgt Hodges
    Passengers: 2/Lt Davies, Sgt Walker, L/Cpl Jones, Pte Humphries, Pte Nastri

    T4166; R; 78; Sgt Ennis; P/O Stubbs; Sgt Edgar; Sgt Graham; Sgt Billing
    Passengers: Sgt Lawley, L/Cpl Pexton, L/Cpl Maher, Spr Phillips, Spr Davidson

    The aircraft were ex-squadron aircraft, and were converted for paratroop-dropping at Ringway. For the operation the crews remained the same, but the paratroops, which had been spread over all eight aircraft for the trip to Malta, were redistributed between P5015, T4235, T4165, T4215, N1525 and T4236. (These are the scheduled crew-passenger allocations, and may not reflect any last-minute substitutions. I seem to remember Cpl Chapman was taken ill at the last moment as they boarded at Malta and was left behind.) T4167 and T4166 were to perform diversionary bombing attacks. W/Cdr Norman was to fly as supernumerary crew in N1525. T4167 force-landed near the coast. Shortly after the raid T4165 and T4166 were allotted to No. 419 (SD) Flight as replacements for two of its agent-dropping Whitleys, one lost over Belgium and the other damaged landing at Sumburgh.

    Hope this meets your needs.

    Nick Livingstone

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    The RG on N1525; E should read Sgt Gurmin. Eddie "Taff" Gurmin who passed away a few years ago and had been the last surviving member of 78 Sqn to take part in this Op

    The WOP on T4215; J, Sgt Markland eventually rose to the rank of W/C and became the only WOP to command a Sqn in Bomber Command in WWII - appropriately 78 Sqn

    Kind Regards

    Tony H

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    Thanks for the correction; both of the original schedules showed him as 'Sgt Gurmon'.

    NL

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    Thank you gentlemen. Just what I needed I can now add further detail from our 78 Squadron materiel.

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    Nick,

    Can you confirm the serial of W/C Tait's Whitley (P5015)? I have seen it quoted elsewhere as P5105.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 21st February 2016 at 13:45.

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