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Thread: U-564 and the loss of Sunderland DV967

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    Default U-564 and the loss of Sunderland DV967

    Incidentally, from a previous post in this forum in 2008 I traced the fate of Sunderland DV967 which had arrived at RAF Helensburgh late in 1942 as a trials aircraft. As DV967 G (Guard at all times) it had been fitted with a 12ft diameter tail parachute to slow the Sunderland down during dives on submarines. DV967 was also used at Helensburgh by the MAEE for Johnny Walker trials in the Spring of 1943 before being sent to 228 Squadron. Later that year DV967 and its crew came across a group of U-Boats including the infamous U564, which it singled out for attack. Flying Officer L.B. Lee dived on U-564 and straddled it with depth charges. Sadly intense anti aircraft fire shot the Sunderland down killing the crew of 11. U-564 was badly damaged and sailed off for its date with destiny, which is another story. What interests me was DV967 still fitted with its 'dive bomb' parachute when it swooped on U-564? As the Sunderland was equipped with .303 machine guns, no doubt Lee took the best option of going in low with depth charges.

    robin bird, who is researching the history of RAF Helensburgh.

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    Unfortunately, the Kingsway telegram is missing from the files of the Canadians aboard. This would tell you the extra equipment the aircraft was carrying.

    There was, however, an extra man aboard. Lt. Fredrick John Arthur Coleman, Governor General's Horse Guards, RCAC.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    alieneyes.thank you for the feedback. Guess we will never know then. The fact that DV969 went in close to U564 suggests the parachute brake may still have been attached. Since followed up the story of U564, the number of ships it sank and discovery of the propaganda film about life aboard U564.

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    Robin,

    Why should the fact that DV969 went in close to U564 suggest the parachute brake still formed part of its equipment? I have always been under the impression that, of necessity, an aircraft attacking a U-boat overflew the target at low level.

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    Why not. I don't know either way, except the parachute streamed from the hatch above the tail turret had been a success at Helensburgh, so why take it off? DV967 had gone to 228 Squadron directly from Helensburgh. Reports of the attack indicate that the Sunderland went in very low, so maybe it dived rather than swooped. i.e. 'Flying Officer L.B. Lee sighted the submarines and without hesitation dived to attack.' Unless someone out there has the spec of DV967 at the time we will never know. Strictly my brief concerns aircraft while they were at Helensburgh but following up what happened to them before, or after, is fascinating. That's why I sometimes share them with the forum as I always get a good feedback. Thanks for your interest Lyffe.

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    Look at it logically, Robin. Any aircraft attacking a U-boat would want to remain in the submarine's arc of fire for the least possible time, not increase it by the pilot reducing speed. In this case U-564 was sailing with a group of five submarines (the others being U-185, U-358, U-634 and U-653) on 13 June 1943 (see http://www.uboat.net/boats/u564.htm) so there would be even less inclination to 'hang around' while being subject to intense flack (see reference).

    You don't quote the source of your reports (the survivors?), but I would have thought that had the Sunderland been trailing a parachute, that would have prompted comment in the reports as it was so unique.

    Brian

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    As I said I don't know and was speculating incase anyone did. The parachute brake was unique, it was secret. All I know was that when the chute was released 'deceleration was sensational' source Dennis Tanner, chief armament officer, Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, RAF Helensburgh. It was Dennis who recorded that the same aircraft dropped JW bombs. A fact that I don't think has been in the public domain but I wont speculate that the JW trials were part of a planned attack on the Tirpitz....

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