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Thread: Using of RAF blue uniform in the Fleet Air Arm

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    Default Using of RAF blue uniform in the Fleet Air Arm

    Hi to all,

    I wondered if someone could answer positively to this possibility for some crew members of 838 sqn (on board Swordfishes) to be wearing the blue RAF uniform instead of the navy one ?
    If yes, it could be a very important information to try to identify a crew buried as unknown in early May 1944.
    Many thanks for any help you may provide, and best to all.
    Gildas

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    Hello and welcome to the forum Gildas,

    To start with the losses on 1st May 1944.
    There are three Naval Airmen that I expect you have already discounted, they are the crew of Swordfish II serial number NE946, letter 'K'.
    SUCH, Stanley Frederick - Sub/Lt(A) - RNVR - HMS Gadwall.
    COOK, James Benjamin - Lt(A) - RNVR - HMS Gadwall.
    GRAPES, Richard Crawford - Petty Officer Airman - RN - HMS Vulture.
    All three are at rest in Brest (Kerfautras) Cemetery, Finistare, France.
    (NavalHistory.net has 30thApril, Landfall air crash for P/O Grapes ?).

    The others were -

    The crew of Swordfish II, serial number NE923 'G' were -
    HAYWARD, Leslie Frank - Sub/Lt(A) - RNZNVR - HMS Jackdaw - MPK,
    New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.
    HANSON, David James - Sub/Lt(A) - RNVR - MiD - HMS Jackdaw - MPK,
    Lee-On-Solent Memorial, UK.
    ROWNTREE, Brian Lambert - Leading Airman - RN - HMS Vulture,
    Manchester Southern Cemetery, Joint grave 5776.

    The crew of Swordfish II serial number NE906 'F' were-
    WILSON, Ian Lewis Ruxton - Sub/Lt(A) - HMS Gadwall - RNZNVR - MPK ,
    New Zealand Naval Memorial, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.
    CLARK, Edward Thompson - Sub/Lt(A) - RNVR - HMS Gadwall - MPK ,
    Lee-On-Solent Memorial, UK.
    ROCKLEY, Albert - Petty Officer Airman - RN - HMS Vulture - MPK,
    Lee-On-Solent Memorial, UK.

    Refs were CWGC and Air Britain's "Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 - 1945".
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 1st December 2016 at 00:00.

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    Hello again Gilda's,
    Just a thought about your search, the date of early May of 1944. Is this date "set in stone" as it were ?
    I have found over time that many witnesses have got months well apart from the actual month of a crash.
    Anyway just for your information I add the following.

    23/24-6-1944
    149 Sqdn
    Stirling III - serial number EF188
    Crew were -
    P. LINCOLN, Edward J - P/O - RAAF.
    Flt/Engr. DUCKWORTH Ernest R - Sgt - RAF.
    Nav. RICHARDS, Leslie R - Flt/Sgt - RAF.
    BombAim. McQUITTY, Robert J - RAAF.
    WAG. BRADY, Francis P. J - Flt/Sgt - RAAF.
    R/G. FOX, Howard W. G - Sgt - RCAF.
    MUG. EATON, Edward - Sgt - RAF.

    DUCKWORTH ; EATON and McQUITTY rest at Calvados.
    While
    BRADY; FOX ; RICHARDS and McQUITTY are at rest in Brest(Kerfautras ) Cemetery, Finistare
    , France.

    Also
    502 Sqdn
    Halifax II, serial number JP168
    Crew were -
    P. ARMSTRONG, Elliott A - Flt/Lt. - RCAF.
    CP. NUSSLE, Morgan A - F/O - USAAF.
    COOPER, Harry T. D - Flt/Lt - RAF.
    MacPHERSON, Neil - F/Sgt - RAF.
    WOOLRIDGE, James A - F/Sgt - RAF.
    COOK, Stanley H - Sgt - RAF.
    EGLETON, Ronald W - P/O - RAF.
    POCOCK, Ronald G - RAF.

    Cook; Cooper; MacPherson; Pocock and Woolridge all remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, UK.
    Whilst -
    ARMSTRONG and EGLESTON both rest in Brest ( Kerfautras ) Cemetery, Finistare, France.

    NUSSLE, remains MIA to this day, and is remembered on the Cambridge American Memorial.
    His MACR is number 10484.

    There may also have been another RAF airman in this crew as a Sgt. WILKINSON, Ernest is also remembered on the Runnymede Memorial for this date and squadron.

    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 1st December 2016 at 12:43.

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    Alex,

    The serial of the 502 Squadron Halifax lost on 23 June, 1944, was JP168, not JP188.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/11288.php

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st December 2016 at 04:20.

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    Hello Col,
    Thank you for the correction, I think it must have been "cold fingers" that I put 188 but even after checking I missed the error.
    Will now edit it in my post above.

    Further as to the a/c demise, what records would there be to show that the a/c came down in the sea and not on land, in enemy area ?

    To answer my own question I have just come across
    this -
    http://www.francecrashes39-45.net/pa...av.php?id=3755

    Seems there was an SOS message sent out so most likely in the sea ?

    Thanks
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 1st December 2016 at 13:10.

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    Many thanks Alex and Col. Yes the information I’m researching about the possible wearing of RAF uniform is about two of these crew. The three planes were shot down near their target at Plouguerneau.

    One crashed close to the target in the Aber Wrac’h, the Swordfish was later salvaged with the crew still on board (the crew buried at Brest, so NE946).
    Another on crashed on the coast, and some remains of it were found in the sand or under some rocks.
    The last one off an island according to a French archive, and I met last year relatives of two crew members.
    There are four stones at Plouguerneau communal cemetery with that date 1st May 1944 engraved on them, so probably the complete crew that crashed on the coast and one member (or more as found on a written note on another post-war document) from the third crew.

    I discovered in the town hall archives an old picture showing both those four French graves all carrying that date, but also the first CWGC wood ones, and there’s information painted that was on the French wood crosses that do not stayed, as one named “Wilson P.L.P., officer”, another officer, and two airmen.

    One or some of these men would have been wearing blue RAF uniform, hence my question…
    Next year in September are coming several relatives of the pilot of NE906, Ian Wilson.

    Nothing ever allowed me to find any other information for JP168 Halifax crew, but Stirling EF188 crashed on a farm at night at Plougonvelin. I also met earlier this year a relative of the Air Gunner Edward D. Eaton. At least one thing was new to me, the AG’s post. Thanks !

    Thanks and best to you
    Gildas

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    Default Re: Using of RAF blue uniform in the Fleet Air Arm

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Smart View Post
    Hello Col,
    Thank you for the correction, I think it must have been "cold fingers" that I put 188 but even after checking I missed the error.
    Will now edit it in my post above.

    Further as to the a/c demise, what records would there be to show that the a/c came down in the sea and not on land, in enemy area ?

    To answer my own question I have just come across
    this -
    http://www.francecrashes39-45.net/pa...av.php?id=3755

    Seems there was an SOS message sent out so most likely in the sea ?

    Thanks
    Alex
    Hi there Alex,

    I know this is an old post I'm resurrecting but I can add some info. I'm the great niece of James (Jim) Alexander Wooldridge. My Grandfather spoke of his brother often and one of the stories he told me growing up was that Uncle Jim was in communications and apparently quite fast at it. He was told indeed that one SOS message was send out prior to the crash. So whatever happened, happened fast.

    There are speculative two stories about the crash. One was that they crashed into an enemy submarine and the other was that they were shot down and they thought perhaps the tail gunner died and that communications took over the tail gun.

    Stephanie
    Last edited by StephanieJ; 18th November 2020 at 01:56.

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    Default Re: Using of RAF blue uniform in the Fleet Air Arm

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Smart View Post

    Also
    502 Sqdn
    Halifax II, serial number JP168
    Crew were -
    P. ARMSTRONG, Elliott A - Flt/Lt. - RCAF.
    CP. NUSSLE, Morgan A - F/O - USAAF.
    COOPER, Harry T. D - Flt/Lt - RAF.
    MacPHERSON, Neil - F/Sgt - RAF.
    WOOLDRIDGE, James A - F/Sgt - RAF.
    COOK, Stanley H - Sgt - RAF.
    EGLETON, Ronald W - P/O - RAF.
    POCOCK, Ronald G - RAF.

    Cook; Cooper; MacPherson; Pocock and Wooldridge all remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, UK.
    Those five are indeed at Runnymede. I've been there a few times when I've gone to England to see my family.

    I can tell you that James Wooldridge never had a proper grave. My great grandmother (who I was lucky enough to have and know until I was 17 years old) refused to believe he had died. He was MIA and his body never recovered. Until the day she passed she believed that he was somewhere in France and had amnesia. We let her have that as it was her only comfort and who knows, she had great instincts - stranger things have happened.

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    Default Re: Using of RAF blue uniform in the Fleet Air Arm

    Hi Stephanie,
    I unfortunately can’t add anything to what was already given. There's nothing written about the place where were found the bodies of the crew members who were buried at Brest cemetery in their archives.

    I received information from relatives of another airman form another crew who told me an airman’s mother would have spent months in Brittany trying to find her son, despite the information given by the CWGC stating he had a known grave. She couldn’t believe her son was in this grave, also hoping to find him back somewhere under amnesia… At least several relatives later came back to his well cared stone.
    I still have no picture of any member of this crew. Would you have any you may share of James Wooldridge?
    Hello from a sunny and cold Brittany
    Best regards
    Gildas

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