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Thread: Vickers Valentia - 31 Squadron - Iran 26-8-1941

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    Default Vickers Valentia - 31 Squadron - Iran 26-8-1941

    In late August 1941 British (Indian) and Russian troops marched into Iran to secure Allied interests. Code name was Operation Countenance.

    RAF involvement was limited. On 26-8-1941 six Valentia transport planes of 31 Squadron (then at RAF Shaiba near Basra, Iraq) took 85 sepoys of B Company, 3/10th Baluch Regiment into Iran.
    Two of those machines crash landed, but with no injuries to crew and troops.

    Are the serial numbers known of the Valentias involved, with the crashed ones in particular?

    Also as an aside: who can confirm that the only air loss, a Vincent of 244 Squadron, was flown by P/O Frank Woolley? He got out safe near Ahvaz, but is said to have been shot down in error by a Hurricane of 261 Squadron. Was this Hurricane piloted by the CO, S/L Ernest Mason?

    Thanks for all the info.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Norman Frank's "First in the Indian Skies" Page 73

    "Six Valentias flew in formation from Shabah to Haft Kel to protect the oil fields there. each machine taking in 15 Indian troops. Burnside led the mission and the order was to land in formation, disembark the solders and take off within two minutes. however, landing in formation, the last aircraft did not have sufficient room, hit a ditch and seem to disappear in a cloud of red sand...Tommy far catapulted out of the cockpit to do some very spectacular somersaults as he flew though the air...."

    No serials given.. But J J Halley's K File mentions it as K1312 - "Overshot landing and ran into nullah during assault landing, Haft Khel LG, Iran. 25.8.41, DBR" Same book also mentions that K3611 as lost at Haft Khel LG 25.8.41 DBR..

    Elsewhere in "First in the Indian Skies" - there is a photo of K3611 shown as crashed in the desert wilderness

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    Jagan,

    The "Tommy" you mention being catapulted out the cockpit of the Valentia, is actually; 771744 Bryan Edward "Tommy" FARR RAFVR (later 108233 MiD).

    Frank Woolley was piloting Vincent I K6366 on 26 August, 1941. Can't access my copy of the "The K File", at the moment. Please confirm.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th June 2016 at 00:26.

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    Thanks for the useful replies.
    I now also found that on the day before the invasion a Blenheim of 14 Squadron (V5444) made crash landing just inside Iraq. The Blenheim was on a leaflet dropping mission to Teheran but got engine trouble. This was on 25-8-1941.
    Crew of three safe at that time (Illsley, Hibbert, Burdon).

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Hello,

    Can confirm, 41349 F/L (Pilot) David Milledge ILLSLEY RAF (later DFC), aboard No.14 Sqn Blenheim IV V5444 - Leaflet raid on Teheran. Engine cut due to lean fuel mixture ran into wall during forced landing Kirkuk, 25-8-1941. 906246 Sgt (Obs.) John Henry HIBBERT RAFVR (+ 30-3-1942 No.14 Sqn - Blenheim IV Z7627, Shot down in error by Hurricane - Pilot:F/L Harry KECK RAAF +), 81387 P/O (W/Op./Air Gnr.) Edward BURDON RAFVR (later DFC) - all OK.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 17th June 2016 at 01:43.

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