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Thread: Blenheim T2245 (113 Sqn). Crew Murdered? Sgt GOSS, WHITESIDE, MURRAY

  1. #11
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    Thanks Col. looked it up. Sometimes I am fascinated with the amount of info they shared with the Kin in such a short time frame. it confirms that the Army Commanders on the ground went forward to verify their fate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagan View Post
    Killing of a British airman in the heartland of India (As opposed to the Frontier) would have been a major event with repercussions. I wonder how much of it was reported and what the retaliations were. On the other hand, it may have been kept a secret as not to encourage copycat lynchings in other parts of the country.
    Recent documents that surfaced in the Indian National Archives indicate that prosecutions were pursued in both the cases of lynching - but the first case was 'discharged' while in the second, the accused was acquitted.

    No details on these cases, or the accused named.. such documents probably survived in other forms but cannot be located.

    FWIW this happened in the state of Bihar - the running joke till the late 90s was it was a lawless land.. though things have changed much over india over the last 20

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    I'm jumping back to the loss of 113 Squadron Blenheim T2245 and the three crewmen on 18 August 1942. Jagan, perhaps you have already viewed the subset of F/Sgt Stanley Goss's RCAF personnel file that has been scanned and put on-line, but I felt compelled to type up a few things found in that file. It's sad to read the words of his mother and his father. Goss's widow in the UK died in a tragic fire not long after he died, and apparently because she was listed as Next of Kin, yet she was dead, some problems ensued regarding personal effects. The Goss family's tragedies, including the death of Stanley's widow in a fire, are very sad, and, of course, the tragedy also involved the murder of two crewmen.

    I have highlighted a few more details about what happened on 18 August 1942, though I can't vouch for the accuracy of all material.

    Cheers,

    Matt



    Handwritten on stationery of the Hotel Springfield by Frank Goss, father, to casualty officials:

    HOTEL SPRINGFIELD
    1827 MAIN STREET SPRINGFIELD MASSACHUESTTS

    Sun Dec 20th 42

    Dear Sir,

    I am very much obliged to you for giving information of the exact spot where aircraft was found that carried Flight Sgt Stanley A. Goss and his crew. In looking over the map I find that there are numerous little villages in that vicinity where[were?] they enemy or friendly [?] villages on Aug 18th? If their bodies where not found in aircraft isn’t possible that they bailed out? My son Stanley was a powerful swimmer and no matter how wide the Ganges river is I am sure that he could swim it. I am beginning to think that he and his crew are Japanese Prisoners. You have been so patient with me that I feel I am taking advantage of your good nature. But, after all, so far you are the only person that has pacified me. Please give me your honest opinion. Do you think there is hope for my boy? Do you think he is done for? It was four months Friday that he was reported missing. As yet I have not received the letter that Stanley’s C.O. said he wrote to us. . .I am Frank Goss [signed]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    From the Proceedings of a Standing Committee of Adjustment, RAF India, 26 August 1942, for the purpose of dealing with the estate in this Command of R.77142 F/Sgt Goss, S.A., (45 Squadron att. 113 Squadron) who was killed while on Active Service on 18th August 1942:

    . . .The deceased was reported killed on 18th August 1942 near Katihar and subsequently recategorised as “Missing believed Killed” on 8th November 1942. He was finally further recategorised as “Dead” on 28th May 1943. He was detached from 45 Squadron, his parent Unit, to 113 Squadron. His kit and effects were sent by 113 Squadron to the American Consulate, Calcutta, from whom they were received by the Committee in due course. The deceased was stated by 113 Squadron to be an American citizen but this has not been confirmed.

    . . .The recorded Next of Kin was the Widow, Mrs R. Goss, 3 Sefton Road, Headington, Oxford. Enclosed (Encl. B) is a copy of a letter written to her by the Committee and forwarded to RCAF, Overseas Headquarters for approval and onward transmission. It was subsequently learnt from a friend of the deceased that the Widow was killed in an accident soon after her husband’s death and that the deceased’s parents were Mr and Mrs F. Goss, Hotel Springfield, Springfield, Mass. USA. This information was advised by the Committee to the RCAF OHQ on 5th July 1943, but no communication was made with the parents. It was understood that the Unit wrote a letter of condolence to the Widow, but no copy of this letter was received by the Committee. Copy of a letter laying claim to the deceased’s Estate, written by his Mother-in-law to Lloyds Bank Ltd., Chowringhee, Calcutta, was received by this Committee on 17th September 1943; a copy was sent by the Committee to the RCAF OHQ on 22nd September 1943. . .

    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    Letter from F/Sgt Goss’s father:

    HOTEL SPRINGFIELD—1827 Main Street—Springfield—Massachusetts
    Sun. April 25, 1943

    Messrs:-

    I am the father of Flight Sgt Stanley Arthur Goss R77142. He was sworn in the RCAF Oct 12th 1940, left for Oversease some time in July 1941. While in training in England met and married Rose Goldberg of No 3 Sefton Road Headington Oxford, Oct 18th 1941. He left England sometime in Dec. 1941 for the Middle East was on active duty in Lybia and then was transferred to Calcutta, India on August 28th. We were notified by the RCAF that Stanley was reported missing since Aug 18th 1942. Three months later Nov. 15th 1942 we were notified by Mrs Goldberg that Stanley’s wife Rose was burned to death through an accident. We received a letter from Stanley just before he was reported missing and he told us that he had deposited some money in a Bank in Calcutta also that he was saving some money at Ottawa with the Govt. During all these eight months I wrote to many people both in private life and in Govt. employ but didn’t receive any information whatsoever about my son’s disappearance. But somehow I overlooked writing to you. A few days ago I received a letter from one of my son’s many friends in India and I was told the truth of Stanley being missing. It seems that Stanley and his crew were doing some Voluntary flying over some railroad tracks in India near a Hamlet known as Katihor to see if the unfriendly natives did any damage to the tracks. They were flying very low and their minds were concentrated on the tracks and Stan saw a signal post too late his left wing crashed into the Post and Stanley was killed instantly his crew got out of the wreckage safely enough but were butchered by the unfriendly natives. Three days later Stanley’s other buddies discovered and salvaged the plane and heard what happened from some friendly natives. If the flyers knew the story I am sure that the Commanding Officer knew it still during all this time we were not allowed to know the truth. I am of the Jewish faith I believe in saying Kadish if I have to but to think that some lowbreed would not let me know the truth is almost unbelievable. My son volunteered into the RCAF and offered his life to help save Humanity. But what did it get him? His British officers didn’t even allow his father to say Kadish for him. He was very brave and courageous. I only hope he didn’t die in vain. . .

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Oct 25 – 1944
    Springfield Hotel
    Springfield, Mass
    USA

    Air Officer Commanding
    RAF Command
    India

    Dear Sir:

    To whom this letter may concern, my name is Mrs Eva Goss, my husband’s name is Frank A. Goss. My son lost his life with the RAF. To you, he may only mean a number, to us, he was our son, and first of all let me impress on you mind that his was an American. Also let me tell you that we had 2 sons – now, we have only one son and that is in the Pacific somewhere. Our hearts are broken like thousands and thousands of other parents. I realize that we are not the only sufferers. Before I go further, I must tell you that my son while in England in 1941 married a very lovely girl from Headington, Oxford, which we were very pleased, and as faith had it, my son was killed in India Aug. 18, 1942 and his beautiful wife was burned to death Nov 15, 1942. She died not knowing that my son was killed. She really thought that he was missing but later on we found out the truth, so you see our tragic story is a little different. We have already wrote to Canada months ago about my son’s belongings, but no definite answer. We know that seeing my daughter-in-law, was her mother is next of kin, as far as money is concerned we know that there was money in the Calcutta Bank, and we wanted her mother to get it. All we want is his kit repository. Is that asking too much? I really didn’t know to whom to write but I finally got your address. To us, his parents, his little clothing would mean everything in this world. Are we asking too much? If you did already send it to her mother, Mrs. Marion Goldberg, 3 Sefton Rd., Headington, Oxford, England, just let me know. I’m sure she will send it to us but if you didn’t, then please dend it to us. You can even enquire at the American Council at Calcutta and I’m sure he will allow you to send it to us, his parents. We are Americans and have that right. If I don’t hear from you, I will write to Washington. You see, as I said before, it don’t mean any value to anyone but to us it means everything. I am sending you this letter air mail and would appreciate if you would answer immediately. I realize it will take quite a while, but you will be doing broken hearted parents a great deed. My son was in the 45th Squadron, may be that will help along.

    Will close hoping to hear from you soon. I remain

    Sincerely,

    Mrs Eva Goss
    Hotel Springfield
    Springfield, Mass, USA

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    OTTAWA, Canada, May 17, 1946.

    List of aircrew containing RCAF Personnel missing in Far
    East for whom no Burial Particulars have been received:

    AREA - INDIA

    Pilot: CAN/R.77142 F/Sgt GOSS, S.A.
    1181362 Sgt WHITESIDE, C.A.
    980175 Sgt MURRAY, A.

    Blenheim IV T2245 of RAF 113 Squadron reported missing 18th August 1942 from Internal Security Recce, Katihar and Eastwards along railway. No bodies recovered but some bones and parachute harness found by investigating officers of 113 Squadron near railway embankment. Evidence showed Pilot Goss was killed in crash and other members of crew reached railway embankment but were beaten to death by villagers.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    July 27th., 1954.
    Chief of the Air Staff
    Department of National Defence
    Ottawa

    R.77142 F/Sgt S.A. GOSS, RCAF

    1. The remains of the above mentioned airman have recently been recovered with the remains of other members of the crew from a collective grave at ASANSOL, India.

    Reburial has been carried out in Ranchi War Cemetery Plot III. Row K. graves 1-3 Collective.


    2. Correspondence with the only next-of-kin known to the RCAF Authorities, i.e., notification of commemoration on Singapore Air Forces Memorial, was returned to them undelivered. It had been sent to the mother Mrs E. Goss, Hotel Springfield, 1827 Main Street, Springfield, Mass, USA

    3. We have an address of the widow in this country which we will write to giving the new burial details and endeavor to obtain final verification particulars. . .
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 6th April 2018 at 03:58.

  4. #14
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    Matt, it's news to me that Stanley Goss's file was on-line. (Where?)

    Thanks for sharing these excerpts that were sombre and sad reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagan View Post
    On Aug. 13, 1942, Pilot Officer Joseph H. Smith of Kamloops, B.C., was murdered as a hostile mob attacked a train at Futwak, northeastern India. Members of the fighting forces were more or less quarantined from India’s upheavals, but even walls of censorship and discipline were porous. - See more at: https://legionmagazine.com/en/2014/0....2z4rwX6h.dpuf
    This happened at Futwah Railway Junction, 15 miles East of Patna Junction in Bihar. Smith is from 353 Squadron.

    Smith was lynched by a mob along with Flying Officer William SHOVLIN (101589), also of 353 Squadron. While Smith is shown as interred in Ranchi, Shovlin is shown on the Singapore memorial - perhaps his remains were not recovered.


    From the National Archives of India:

    The murder occured on 13-8-1942. The officers train was stopped beyond Fatwah by the removal of a fishplate. Themob then stoned the train and one of the RCAF officers fired a shot into the air to scare away the mob. The driver of the train, barred from going forward by the removal of the fishplate, backed his train into fatwah station. Here , the mob, despite the intervention of the Station staff and Ticket Collector, attacked the 1st Class compartment in which the 2 officers were travelling. The officers, instead of firing to kill and so dispersing the mob, unfortunately made the mistake of apologizing and handed over their revolvers. This kindndess cost them their lives as they were at once treacherously set up and murdered in cold blood

    It was not until 26-8-1942.. that a mixed body of troops and police went to Fatwa and arrested 14 of the accused.

    ... A punitive fine of Rs40,000 was imposed on Fatwa

    ..The sub-inspector of Fatwah showed cowardice by not accompanying the gurkha troops and making arrests....

    ..he recovered possessions of the officer which were subsequently looted by others...
    To set the context about the conditions in Bihar at that time

    .. A constable at Katra was killed and Sub-Inspector severely wounded..

    At Minapore, a sub-inspector was killed and burnt.

    at rampur, a military patrol attacked by a mob opened fire and killed two... two persons killed at Baru on the 16th.

    On the 19th, police fired on mobs damaging the roads at different places as a result of which 17 persons were killed.

    At one place, a British soldier ws speared by a mob before it disappeared

    A military unit moving by rail had to fire on a crowd attempting to damage a raliway track. 18 persons were killed

    18/8 Plane crashed near Narayanpur, Pilot killed in crash, Rest of crew murdered b mob.

    Marhowra, 1 British officer and 4 british OR overpowered and speared or beaten to death.

    Ashti, Police Station burnt - SI and 4 constables killed of which 2 constables burnt alive..
    This goes on and on and on..

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    Goss's aircraft crashed approximately here 25.401358, 86.77083 https://goo.gl/maps/rBMuPDY6jos "2 miles east of Pasraha Railway Station. 3/4 m North of the railway line"
    Investigation reports survive. Two crew members survived after the ac crashed in a flooded area. They were bought ashore in a country boat. Two assistant station masters from the nearby railway station reached teh site and spoke to the crew members. However a group gathered and attacked the crew members despite the Railway staff;s attempt to save them.


    The second Blenhiem - Julian's aircraft crashed near Rohiyar village https://goo.gl/maps/WBpKznB9HhB2 .75 NE of Ruhiyar village, in a creek. (Also described as flood water on teh banks of the Ganges) with 4.6 feet water depth. Initially crew were bought to shore by boats. Crew had firearms on the ready. The villagers convinced the crew to part with the arms and then set upon them. The crew tried to swim away but were killed. The airplane was later dragged into the deep channel and it came to rest under 20 feet of the water. The remains of the crew were dumped in the river and due to the fast current were not recovered. The aircraft was looted of the guns, ammo and other equipment.


    All three incidents of murder happened in the same district - and the modus operandi was similar - persuade the officers/crew to give up their arms and then set up beating them.

    All the incidents mapped https://drive.google.com/open?id=19x...JQ&usp=sharing

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    The Aftermath:

    Arrests were made and cases pursued in both incidents of the Crashes. The RAF establishment was leaning hard on the Bihar Provincial Govt to prosecute the cases. Seven months of investigation followed by the trial of both cases under a single special judge - a Syed Naqvi Imam who was a recently promoted Indian barrister.

    Imam ended up acquitting the accused in the Pasraha case on 13.5.43 and discharged all the other accused in the Ruihar case on 15.5.43. In the first case it was a misalignment of facts of the FIR and in the second case, the witnesses perjured themselves and went back on their statements given to the Police.

    These verdicts came as a shock to the (British) Govt of India. The prospect of a collective fine was rejected by the Chief Justice. The only 'consolation' as noted by Air HQ was " two parties of british troops executed summary justice visiting the village of Ruihar on two occasions, burning some houses and shooting eight persons including it is believed two of the murderers (This happened on 3rd September 1942)"


    The Viceroy received a response from the Govt of Bihar which was on the lines - and these were communicated to Air Chief Marshal Richard Pierse

    • In the first case - investigation failed to eliminate a contradiction between two stories between the prosecution witnesses. this resulted in the acquittal.




    • In the second case - the witnesses turning hostile prevented any judge from convicting the accused . 33 were named by witnesses. 3 were killed in the firing, 6 were arrested. and rest were absconding.




    • The govt accepts even though the judge was criticized for his carelessness and incompetence, the conclusion was that even a more careful judge with a full understanding of the evidence would have not convicted the accused in either case.




    • The summary justice in Ruihar village would have been counter productive. It would have enhanced the difficulty of securing regular justice later on, turning witnesses against the British. This created so much panic that all the villages in the locality were abandoned or deserted.




    • The Police could not do a thorough investigation as they were whole time employed in the restoration of law and order elsewhere in the province.

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    Thanks for adding your summary info, Jagan. There's a wealth of records out there, such as in Canadian and Aussie personnel and casualty files, and more is becoming accessible. Such a difference from just a few years ago, eh?

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    From "The Indian nation in 1942" https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet....ndian_djvu.txt

    In north Bihar, virtually no police outpost was spared by the rebels In Darbhanga, 19 out of the 25 thanas were attacked, in
    Muzaffarpur and Saran 19 out of 23 and 27 out of 29 respectively. 4
    Perhaps for the first time since 1857, Europeans were humiliated
    and even murdered by crowds in Bihar. At Fatwa, near Patna,
    where a priest Bihan Mahant had organized a meeting at a local
    temple m which students and junior Congress activists decided to
    disrupt all communications and enforce a hartal, two Royal Air
    Force (RAF) officers were dragged out of their train compartment
    and speared to death on the station platform. Thereafter, their
    naked bodies were taken through the town on a tam-tam and
    finally dumped into the Poonpoon river This incident is interest-
    ing for the clues it provides about the organization of mass
    violence The crowd, according to reports of the investigation that
    followed, largely comprised local Dusadhs, although it was
    initially led by students. Apparently, when an officer fired in the
    air following the stopping of the tram by the agitators, the
    Dusadhs went on a rampage and the students lost all control. 6 But
    the brazen manner of the murder and the triumphant display of
    the dead bodies also suggests that the conviction of the collapse of
    British rule was total.

    Similarly, the cold blooded murder of the crew of two RAF
    planes that crashed at Pasraha on 18 August and Ruihar on 30
    August (both in Munger district) indicates not merely the intensity
    of the resentment against the British; they also suggest the
    widespread conviction that the Raj' had ceased to exist. In both
    incidents, significantly, the leadership was entirely local and the
    crowd consisted mostly of Gopes, Mandals, Koeris and similar low
    or intermediate castes. 7 Both Pasraha and Ruihar were then
    completely isolated from the towns on account of floods, and it is
    unlikely that there was much urban instigation behind violence

    What were the forces that lay behind this massive uprising?
    Economic conditions pnor to the Quit India Movement caused
    considerable disquiet in the countryside. Prices rose sharply during
    the war years and the index for wholesale prices (base : 1914 =
    100) j'umped from 108 for all commodities in 1939 to 307 m 1943.
    For cereals, the nse was even more dramatic* from 86 in 1939 to
    396 in 1943. 8 With wages falling steadily behind the rise in prices, disaffection was bound to intensify.
    FWIW, the Futwah murder case was successfully prosecuted - Eight of the accused were sentenced to death and another five sent to imprisonment.

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    Storytelling time, Jagan, on the subject of anti-British violence during the war.

    One of my now-departed friends who had been a navigator/bomb aimer on a full tour of ops with 159 Squadron in '43/'44 was an RAF officer, Denis Boissier, whose uniform and medals I now have in my possession. I also have his unpublished manuscript -- filled with fascinating stories, though many dates and flying details are hard to pin down or match up to ORB info. Still, here's one of his experiences in Peshawar, India following his stint on 159 Squadron. Because I know that he finished up on 159 Sqn at the end of April '44 and began another tour of ops on 99 Sqn Liberators in December '44, I can safely conclude that the incident described below dates between these months in 1944:

    ...So the time was coming when I was due for a rest [following the conclusion of his 159 Sqn tour of ops], which meant an office job at H.Q. somewhere. I had been on operational flying for thirteen months in the heat and discomfort of Bengal, so I submitted a 'persuasive' letter to Personnel at Delhi that I was aware of some work I really wanted -- the job was Group Navigation Officer to the whole of the Royal Indian Air Force with the rank of Squadron Leader (which sounded much more important that it really was), but the main point was the location, Peshawar on the North-West Frontier, one of the best situations anywhere in India. . .

    . . .My only other recollection was the evening I was very nearly assassinated -- and I shall never forget that. It was about 8.30 p.m., and I had just had a bath and changed for dinner. The Mess was right next door to my bungalow, and I had to go out through the gate, on to the road and round a corner to get to the Mess -- a matter of not more than 50 yards altogether. I strolled over and went up to the bar to order a drink when two shots were heard very close by. We looked at each other for a second or two, and went outside in a group, about five of us.

    Just round the corner and outside our fence, three officers were lying in the road bleeding profusely, their bicycles with them. Someone went to phone the M.O.
    [Medical Officer] , and none of us knew what to do, so we tried to prop the chaps up. The doctor was there very quickly, only to tell us that all three were dead.

    As I had turned out of my gate, I could see these three chaps wheeling their bikes up the road from the Club, obviously coming back to the Mess for dinner -- they were well-known to all of us. Having got them to Sick Quarters, the M.O. had examined them, and he told us on his return that the two had been shot at point blank range with .303 bullets and the third was knifed through the heart.

    Now, about the only industry up in that part of the world was making guns and ammunition -- they were very adept at this -- and their whole way of life revolved around raiding and stealing from each other. It was established that the weapon was a double-barrelled home-made pistol that fired the regular British Army .303 bullets -- it must have had a terrifying kick! The assailant, having used the two bullets, then had to use his knife to kill the third officer, so we only heard the two bangs.

    The police caught their man some two months later, and we had a copy of the report. The man stated that his brother had been wrongly arrested, tried and hanged for a crime he did not do. The man said he only wanted revenge against the British, and he hid in the hedge past which two or three officers were seen to pass at about the same time every night. But he was frustrated when only officer went by (the officer was me!), so he waited for the group of three. He had only intended to kill two but thought the third might identify him and used his knife. He was found guilty and hanged. Whew!

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