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Thread: Sunderland lost in Arctic circa July 1942??

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    Default Sunderland lost in Arctic circa July 1942??

    Sunderland lost in Arctic circa July 1942??

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hi guys

    Reading Bernard Edwards' "The Road to Russia" he writes

    (circa 3 July 1942 Convoy PQ17) "At 17.00, the monotony was relieved when a Sunderland flying boat was sighted on the water. As the big, four-engine plane drifted through the ranks of the convoy in eerie silence it was seen to be entirely encased in ice. There was no point is stopping to look for survivors, but speculation on the story behind the downed British aircraft ......"

    Edwards does not quote his source (he personally was not with the convoy). I didn't think Sunderlands operated that far north, but may be wrong. Possibly it may have been a Catalina, but again I have no record of such a loss. I haven't seen this mentioned in any other account.

    Any ideas, please? Perhaps one for Ross!

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Brian, Hi,
    Sunderlands up there was possibly technically 'feasible'!
    Sullom Voe to a point between Bear Island and Svarlbad (direct) = c.1000nm
    Sullom Voe to a point between Bear Island and Svarlbad (via Jan Mayen) = c.1200nm
    Range of a Sunderland c.1500nm?? Would not have given much 'loiter time' over a convoy?
    But the whole PQ17 saga does not reflect well in a number of places - least of all on the deck of a rust-bucket of a freighter left to its own devices?
    HTH
    Peter Davies

    And whilst looking for something else on RAFWEB I noted (for 330 Sqn) the following:

    Sunderland operations began on 20 April [1942] from Oban and these consisted of the standard range of anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties. The following month a detachment was sent to Sullom Voe and in July 1943 the squadron moved there in order to cover Russian convoys and the Norwegian coast.
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 27th October 2016 at 14:34. Reason: QSD and additional info
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
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    Thanks for that, Peter

    Food for thought!

    I have just been informed that W3982 was lost NNW of the Shetlands on 21 August 1941 but would it have remained afloat for almost a year? More investigation required!

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Unlikely, all the crew were killed - see

    http://www.winchestercollegeatwar.co...ll-arthur-guy/
    http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads...08-1941.21913/
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...0W3982&f=false

    Our old friend Google is often a great help in answering questions, there have been posts about this loss since 2005.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 28th October 2016 at 18:31.

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    Hi Brian

    Many thanks.

    Having digested the various 'facts', it would appear that the Sunderland ditched and nothing was ever found of aircraft or crew, so my take on this is that the crew were probably not killed but died. Which makes it possible that the Sunderland may have floated, encased in snow and ice for a year - or not! Presumably the craft would have sunk at some stage.

    Intriguing, to say the least!! Let's hope others have views on this.

    Incidentally, do we know which Luftwaffe unit/aircraft was responsible for the Sunderland's demise?

    Cheers
    Brian

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    One should never believe all one reads, especially when no one provides the sources of their information. In this case the 'ditching' is purely assumption/imagination on behalf of the authors - one probably repeating what another had written ad infinitum. Had the matter been properly researched by referring to the 201 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/1178/16) the reference to the aircraft ditching would never have seen the light of day. Although one of the posts in the second link listed by #4 (http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads...08-1941.21913/) includes a reference to the ORB and states that the search for V/201 was to no avail, that is not correct as these entries from the ORB reveal:

    21.8.41 W.3982 (V/201) departed Sullom Voe at 1107 hours on AS patrol. After sending signal "Attacked by E/A" followed by SOS, aircraft failed to return to base.

    21.8.41 W3981 departed Sullom Voe at 1725 hours. Aircraft was detailed to carry out a search for V/201. At 1853 aircraft sighted u/n (unidentified) aircraft in position 63*04'N 02*15'W. A square search was made of area 63*57'N 03*15'W - 63*20'N 03*05'W - 63*20'N 01*40'W - 63*57'N 01*40'W, from 1913 to 2134 with no results. Aircraft sighted floating mine and investigated piece of white wreckage which may have been metal. Return to base 22/0210.

    22.8.41 W.3981 departed base 1732 hours. Aircraft was detailed to carry out search for V/201. Aircraft intercepted two trawlers and saw three floating mines before sighting "Leicester City" and "KOS2" in positions 63*15'N 02*12'W and 63*15'N 02*07'W respectively. "Leicester City" had picked up a sleeping bag bearing Sgt Haggar's name in position 63*30'N 02*50'W. Aircraft left trawlers at 2138 for this position and conducted search from 2152 to 2242, then abandoned search. Landed Invergordon at 23/0303.


    Thus V/201 was nowhere near the Arctic Circle when it was attacked; consequently the likelihood of it becoming encased in ice during August cannot be seriously entertained.

    The only mystery about the ORB entries is the reference to Sgt Hagger's sleeping bag; Sgt Hagger was not listed on the crew manifest but he was part of the crew which flew in V/201 on the 2nd and 5th August. Thereafter he disappears completely from the ORB, but appears to have survived the war as his name is not recorded by the CWGC. One can only assume he probably left the squadron soon after 5th August.

    The way the 22nd August entry is written strongly suggests Haggar's sleeping bag came from the missing aircraft, possibly having been left there when Hagger left.

    Brian

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    The kind gentlemen on the 12 O'Clock High forum tell me Lt. Karpf of 3./KFl.Gr.406 claimed a Sunderland at 17.25 hrs (16.25 hours UK time) at a grid position of Pl.Q.34 65/16 West. Karpf was piloting a Do 18G and flying between 150 and 300 ft at the time. I appreciate there are ways of converting the grid to lat and long but the method completely defeats me.

    Brian

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    Hello,
    Although it is reported that the ships crew said it was a four motor aircraft would they in fact have been able to tell the difference between a Sunderland and a Catalina ?
    Specially when it was drenched by frozen sea water.
    So how about Catalina from 210 Sqdn, AH535 lost with all crew on 16th May 1942 ?

    Alex

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    Default Sunderland W.3982 (V/201) of 201 Squadron

    Thanks to the 12 O'Clock High forum (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=46436) it is possible to draw together all the threads of V/201's last flight and complete the story.

    W.3982 (V/201) left Sullom Voe at 1107 hours on 21 August for an anti-submarine patrol covering an area just north of 63 N and west of 02W (based on the search area). At 1611 hours V/201 reported sighting an enemy aircraft, and 7 minutes later transmitted an SOS (1618 hours); nothing further was heard (AIR 27/1178 and #5 of http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads...08-1941.21913/ ).

    Just over an hour later (1725 hours) W.3981 left Sullom Voe to search for V/201. At 1853 the crew sighted an unidentified aircraft at 6304'N 0215'W. After conducting a square search area 6357'N 0315'W - 6320'N 0305'W - 6320'N 0140'W - 6357'N 0140'W, from 1913 to 2134, W.3981 returned to Sullom Voe, landing at 22/0210. The only sighting of possible interest being a piece of white wreckage. (AIR 27/1178)

    At 1732 hours the following day the same aircraft and crew returned to the area and made contact with two trawlers, the "Leicester City" and "KOS2" in positions 6315'N 0212'W and 6315'N 0207'W respectively. "Leicester City" had picked up a sleeping bag bearing Sgt Haggar's name in position 6330'N 0250'W (Haggar was not one of the missing crew but had flown in the aircraft previously. W.3981 searched the area in which the debris was found from 2152 to 2242. After abandoning the search the aircraft landed at Invergordon at 23/0303. (AIR 27/1178)

    The unidentified aircraft seen by W.3981 was probably the Do 18 of 3./KuflGr 406 (based at Trondheim), flown by Lt. Karpf. He reported shooting down a Sunderland from between 150 and 300 ft at 1725 hours (1625 hours UK time) in an approximate position of 6322'30N, 0215'00W - about 11 miles from the position at which Haggar's sleeping bag was found. (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=46436)

    W.3982's crew:

    Flying Officer - A.G Evill - 1st Pilot
    Pilot Officer - F.W Selfe - 2nd Pilot
    Sergeant - J.M Simmons - 3rd Pilot
    Sergeant - L.H Barraclough - Air Observer
    Sergeant - J.A.C King - Air Observer
    Sergeant - D.M.V.P Devereux - Wireless Electrical Mechanic / Air Gunner
    Sergeant - E.O Adams - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner
    Sergeant - J Newman - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner
    Sergeant - J Hancox - Air Gunner
    Flight Sergeant - E.W.W Gange - Flight Mechanic Air / Air Gunner
    Leading Aircraftman - J.F.Richard - Flight Mechanic Engine
    Leading Aircraftman - T.J. Gordon - Flight Mechanic Engine
    Leading Aircraftman - H Mills - Fitter IIA

    Brian

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    Hi Brian

    That seems fairly conclusive IMHO!

    However, as the Sunderland was shot down by low altitude, would it not have ditched rather than disappeared? And might it have been chased northwards for many a mile before going down? Considering the Sunderland bristled with guns, one would assume that it would have put up quite a fight against a single Do18? It would be great if a combat report or similar could be found, so that we would have Karpf's account to hand!

    Just an aside, Lufftwaffe Officers Careers site has Kampf as being with 4.Staffel before joining 3.Staffel when it re-equipped with BV138s. I was under the impression that 4.Staffel with Do18s and He115s was based at Banak, hence my angle of events.

    Of course, all this speculation doesn't answer the original question - the identity of the ice-encased Sunderland seen by PQ17. Or, as Alex, suggests, was it a mis-identified Catalina?

    Cheers
    Brian

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