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Thread: 27 OTU ORB - researching Wellington Ic X9876

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    Default 27 OTU ORB - researching Wellington Ic X9876

    Hello

    Am looking into the loss of the Wellington Ic X9876. The skipper was P/O Richard A. Curle.

    I have researched some facts of the crash of this aircraft on 16/17 September 1942:


    • The aircraft was one of 12 to fly from Lichfield to bomb Essen (some sources have the aircraft as N2782 so I don't know quite what's going on there).
    • It was seriously damaged by flak and limped home.
    • The crew bailed out over Wiltshire and the Wimpy crashed at Collingbourne Ducis in Wiltshire.
    • I have a newspaper article by the rear gunner saying that all the crew parachuted to safety but I believe P/O Robert Herbert Chapman RAAF was seriously hurt (he was later killed in a tip-and-run raid on the RAF Officers' Hospital in Torquay on October 25, 1842 and is buried there).


    Am interested to know what the ORB can tell me about the incident, crew and previous missions, one was to Bremen I believe. I've read that all crews from OTU did a Nickel Operation - is this true of P/O Curle? (Several of which were later lost on Lancaster ED559 in March '43 which in my primary interest - see lancaster-ed559.co.uk).

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    These are the two entries from the No.27 OTU ORB about the aircraft, the first is from the Form 541 and the second from the Form 540.

    September 16th / 17th 1942, “X9876
    P/O Curle R.A.
    P/O Crapp E.C.
    P/O Chapman R.H.
    P/O Riding H.
    Sgt Durdin G.W.
    To drop 4 x 500 G.P. tail inst on Essen
    Up 1948, Crash 03.20 approx
    On the outskirts of Essen, the port aileron was shot away, and a hole in the leading edge flak. Aircraft at 1500’ at 2230 hours. Bombed target at 2221 hours from 8,000 feet. Control of aircraft became difficult, and route home was via Fecamp. I.A.S. was 95 m.p.h. and it took 4 hours to return to English coast. Crew baled out over Andover. All crew safe.”

    September 17th 1942, “F/B Wellington Mk.IC R9876 crashed near Collingbourne Ducis (Netheravon) Crew escaped by parachute. All uninjured. Aircraft burnt Cat.E.”
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Chapman's service record has been digitised by the NAA, but not his A705, in his service record it records that he was admitted to RAFH Torquay on the 20th October 1942, it doesn't record why but he was with No.460 Sqn at the time.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Hello,

    412481 P/O Robert Herbert CHAPMAN RAAF, an Observer of 460 Sqn RAAF, whilst in the RAF Officers' Hospital, Torquay, UK, awaiting an operation suffering from tonsillitis, was killed on 25 October, 1942, by a direct hit on the hospital from a bomb dropped during an enemy air raid when when two lone enemy bombers suddenly appeared from low cloud.

    Based on Storr.

    Robert Chapman had previously served in the Australian Army (Royal Australian Artillery [Heavy]), albeit listed on the DVA Nominal Roll as N76084 Robert Henry CHAPMAN (2-7-40 to 18-7-41, then enlisted in RAAF 19-7-41). The Chapman family also lost another son, Robert's older Brother, NX66710 Bdr. Edward Frank CHAPMAN AIF (2/15th Field Regiment). Edward CHAPMAN died on 29-3-1945, whilst a POW of the Japanese. He succumbed to Malaria on the notorious Sandakan Death March. Both attended the Shore Sydney Church of England Grammar School.

    Robert CHAPMAN RAAF, was a member of the "Caterpillar Club".

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 24th September 2016 at 18:47.

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    Curle ended up on 100 Squadron - I've got a photo of him somewhere. I'll check my files later and see if there's any reference to him doing a Nickel raid whilst at OTU.

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Craig,

    A bit more information on AUS412481 Robert Herbert CHAPMAN RAAF.

    Militia/AIF service.
    5th Battalion (Heavy), Royal Australian Artillery (Militia) - 26-5-38 - 18-7-41

    Enlisted RAAF.
    2 Reception Centre, Sydney - 19-7-41
    1 Initial Training School, Somers - 19-7-41
    2 Embarkation Depot, Bradfield Park - 11-10-41
    Pre-Embarkation Leave -
    Embarked Sydney, S.S."Monterey" - 13-11-41
    Disembarked San Francisco - 1-12-41
    By rail to Canada
    2 Air Observers' School, Edmonton - 4-12-41
    8 Bombing & Gunnery School, Lethbridge (No.39[AO] Course) - 15-3-42
    1 Air Navigation School, Rivers - 26-4-42
    (Awarded Air Observers Badge - 25-4-42)
    Discharged from RAAF under A.F.A 115/? on being granted a commission - 24-5-42
    5 Manning Depot, Lachine - ?
    Pre-Embarkation Leave - 25-5-42 - 5-6-42
    1 "Y" Depot, Halifax - 8-6-42
    RAF Training Pool - 14-6-42
    Embarked Canada (Halifax) - 15-6-42
    Disembarked UK - 24-6-42
    3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth - 25-6-42
    27 Operational Training Unit, Lichfield - 7-7-42
    460 Sqn RAAF (Conversion Flight), Holme-on-Spalding Moor - 26-7-42
    460 Sqn RAAF, Holme-on-Spalding Moor - 29-7-42
    Admitted to Officers' Hospital, Torquay (Tonsillitis) - 20-10-42
    Killed in Fighter-Bomber attack on Torquay Hospital - 25-10-42

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 29th September 2016 at 14:18.

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    Thanks for the replies folks. Certainly helps fill in some holes.

    Regarding the timeline there:

    27 Operational Training Unit, Lichfield - 7-7-42
    460 Sqn RAAF (Conversion Flight), Holme-on-Spalding Moor - 26-7-42
    460 Sqn RAAF, Holme-on-Spalding Moor - 29-7-42

    He appears by this to have moved to 460 Sqn RAAF on 26 July '42 but was still flying with 27 OTU on the 16/17 Sept '42 mission to Essen. Possible incorrect dates? I guess for 7 read 9 for movement to 460 Sqn.
    Last edited by londonclanger; 29th September 2016 at 11:42.

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    Craig,

    I should explain. I have two files on Robert Chapman RAAF, one a personal history file, the other a record of bale-outs by members of the RAAF. I used the bale-out file, which I had not updated since 2005, and contains some errors.

    Here is the information on Chapman in my personal file on him, from the time of his disembarkation in the UK:

    Disembarked UK - 24-6-42
    3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth - 25-6-42
    27 Operational Training Unit, Lichfield - 7-7-42
    Baled out of 27 OTU Wellington IC X9876 near Salisbury (ex-ops Essen) - 17-9-42 - BCL7/161.
    Leave (Sick?) 22-9-42 - 28-9-42
    460 Sqn RAAF (Conversion Flight - Halifaxes) - 26-9-42
    460 Sqn RAAF - 29-9-42
    Admitted Officers Hospital, Torquay (Tonsillitis) - 20-10-42
    Killed in Fighter-Bomber attack on Torquay Hospital - 25-10-42

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th September 2016 at 19:17.

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    Many thanks for the updates.

    From Curle's service record I see he also went to 460 Sqn. on Sept 26. There's a few items on the service record (abbreviations etc) that I can't make out - CF for example. As Greg mentioned earlier, most of the remaining crew then went onto convert to Lancs at 1656 CU on 30 October.

    Interesting how the bail out location changes; I've seen Andover, Salisbury and from a member of the crew that bailed out, Upavon (from Netheravon they all flew back to Lichfield). All are within a few miles of each other I suppose.

    Also, I should add that I just noticed that there is a Chapman on the photo taken at No. 27 OTU - probably a good bet that's the Chapman we're talking about. I have had it confirmed that the Riding on the photo was one of the crew that bailed out and wrote about the experience.

    Craig
    Last edited by londonclanger; 30th September 2016 at 17:40.

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    Craig,

    If you are using Collingbourne Ducis as the crash location the nearest town is Ludgershall, about 4 km to the southeast. There was a satellite airfield at Everleigh (4 km west) see http://www.content-delivery.co.uk/av...Everleigh.html. Upavon, about 8 km west north-west, is closer to the crash site than Netheravon.

    Indeed, I note from Riding's logbook that the crew baled out over Upavon - the airfield from which the crew returned to Lichfield (Fradley) the following day, not Netheravon as indicated in #9

    Brian

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