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Thread: No 78 Bomber Squadron

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    Default No 78 Bomber Squadron

    I am researching a man who went down with his Halifax on the night of 19 June 1942. He was a flight sergeant with No 78 Bomber Squadron and his name was Mostyn Maurice Crowe. I am aiming to produce a detailed biography of him to mark the 75 anniversary of his demise. He is listed on the Camberley and Frimely war memorial, but also has strong connections with Lustleigh in Devon.

    I'd like to see if I can establish any details about his time in the RAF and particularly whether he took part in the historic 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne on 30/31st May 1942 and any specific details about his last mission. It would be particularly rewarding to have contact with any living relatives.

    Any straight answers or suggestions of where to look will be gratefully received.

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    TrenchCoat

    In answer to your questions, yes he did take part in the raid on Cologne. His operations with 78 Sqn in reverse order were as follows:

    19 06 42 Emden Failed to return
    01 06 42 Essen
    30 05 42 Cologne
    14 02 42 Manheim - as Sgt 2nd pilot

    With regard to his loss; take off was at 2343 and nothing further was heard from the crew. His Halifax II crashed into the sea off the Dutch coast and there were no survivors; it is not known if this happened on the way to the target or on the way home. Two of the bodies, that of Sergeants Ronald William Morgan and Robert Kynnersley Frankland were washed ashore; the remainder have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymead Memorial. Sergeant David Smith the Observer had served in the RAF since the 1920’s and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 1942 New Years Honours List, at 41 he was far older than the majority of his compatriots flying operationally in Bomber Command.

    He was with 78 Squadron when it converted from the Whitley to the Halifax and this may well explain why he didn't fly any operations in March or April as he would have to convert on to the Halifax.

    On the 1939 register his parents are shown as living at Kingsclare Cottage, Brackendale Road, Frimley and Camberley in 1939. His father, Harry, is shown as a Gardener and his mother Jane as an unpaid domestic. His service number suggests an enlistment in 1940 at Cardington.

    Do you happen to have any photos of him?

    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 16th December 2016 at 18:26. Reason: more information

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    Not sure if you have this already, but the Surrey Advertiser of July 11th 1942 has the following:

    Flight Sergeant Mostyn Maurice Crowe, of Brantley, Park Road, Camberley, an old boy of Camberley Secondary School, has been reported missing after taking part in a raid on enemy territory. Flight Sergt. Crowe was employed in the public health department of the Frimley and Camberley Urban District Council before volunteering for the R.A.F. He married, only seven months ago, Miss Nora Chadd, of Camberley.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Other than the useful snapshots given by Daz and Simon your best line of research would be to obtain Crowe's service record from the RAF, details as to the procedure are at https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-pers...sonnel-records . There is a £30 search fee and the documents will take about 10 weeks to arrive, but they are invaluable for biographical purposes. They will give a provide a complete summary of his RAF career from the moment he joined until his demise. Included will be the units with which he trained and flew operationally, and from that information you could access the Operations Records Books (ORBs) held by the National Archives to find a little more about him.

    Forum members will be only too happy to assist in the interpretation of any acronyms - and might even have some/all of the relevant ORBs.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by 78SqnHistory View Post
    TrenchCoat

    In answer to your questions, yes he did take part in the raid on Cologne. His operations with 78 Sqn in reverse order were as follows:

    19 06 42 Emden Failed to return
    01 06 42 Essen
    30 05 42 Cologne
    14 02 42 Manheim - as Sgt 2nd pilot

    With regard to his loss; take off was at 2343 and nothing further was heard from the crew. His Halifax II crashed into the sea off the Dutch coast and there were no survivors; it is not known if this happened on the way to the target or on the way home. Two of the bodies, that of Sergeants Ronald William Morgan and Robert Kynnersley Frankland were washed ashore; the remainder have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymead Memorial. Sergeant David Smith the Observer had served in the RAF since the 1920ís and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 1942 New Years Honours List, at 41 he was far older than the majority of his compatriots flying operationally in Bomber Command.

    He was with 78 Squadron when it converted from the Whitley to the Halifax and this may well explain why he didn't fly any operations in March or April as he would have to convert on to the Halifax.

    On the 1939 register his parents are shown as living at Kingsclare Cottage, Brackendale Road, Frimley and Camberley in 1939. His father, Harry, is shown as a Gardener and his mother Jane as an unpaid domestic. His service number suggests an enlistment in 1940 at Cardington.

    Do you happen to have any photos of him?

    Daz
    Hi Daz,

    Do you have the Ops for a Canadian D R Graham he joined 78 Sqn at the end of April 1944 and was killed on a raid on 7/8 June 1944 when their aircraft came under attack by a ME110 but the aircraft got back to England he skipper was F/O Rodney the aircraft was Halifax LK848.

    Cheers

    John.

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    John

    He joined the Squadron from 61 Base on the 26th April 1944. FO Rodney flew as 'second dickie' on the 1st May with Flt Downs crew to Malines before taking his crew on ops on the 8th.
    His operations were:
    08 05 44 Berneval
    09 05 44 Berneval
    10 05 44 Lens
    31 05 44 Trappes
    02 06 44 Trappes
    05 06 44 Mont Fleury
    06 06 44 St Lo
    07 06 44 Juvisy - Aborted OET, Nav killed BA injured.

    Can I ask what your interest is??

    I also have his casualty file.

    Daz

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    Hi Daz,
    Thanks for the quick reply, I was helping Theo Boiten discovery who the German night fighter pilot was and I got interested in his story. If you could send his casualty file to harleyDOT158ATbigpondDOTcom I would be grateful.

    Regards,

    John.

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    Many thanks for the information, Daz - wonderful info

    Thanks for the newspaper item, Simon - I came across that this morning.

    Thanks for the suggestion to get the service record, Brian - unfortunately, this is for a community project for which there aren't the funds to procede with this

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    John

    It would appear that your man was born in Mitford, Norfolk in September 1920.

    A bit more information on the operations he flew, from the Squadron ORB:

    14 02 42 Whitley V Z6817
    The primary target, MANNHEIM was attacked and bombed from a height of 15,000 feet. Full load dropped. No results observed owing to cloud. Saw red glow below cloud 5 mins after bombing.

    30 05 42 Halifax II W7678
    The primary target COLOGNE was pinpointed in bright moonlight - no cloud, excellent visibility and bombed, reporting numerous conflagrations - all bombs dropped, 1 package of G23 dropped over target area.

    01 06 42 Halifax II W7668
    Pin-pointed river on approach. Bombed huge red glow on DR and ETA through 10/10 cloud. At 0130 hours and 14000 feet over target area aircraft seen to explode and fall to ground. Dropped 1 packet of G17 W of target. Visibility excellent to 10 miles from target.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 78SqnHistory View Post
    John

    It would appear that your man was born in Mitford, Norfolk in September 1920.

    A bit more information on the operations he flew, from the Squadron ORB:

    14 02 42 Whitley V Z6817
    The primary target, MANNHEIM was attacked and bombed from a height of 15,000 feet. Full load dropped. No results observed owing to cloud. Saw red glow below cloud 5 mins after bombing.

    30 05 42 Halifax II W7678
    The primary target COLOGNE was pinpointed in bright moonlight - no cloud, excellent visibility and bombed, reporting numerous conflagrations - all bombs dropped, 1 package of G23 dropped over target area.

    01 06 42 Halifax II W7668
    Pin-pointed river on approach. Bombed huge red glow on DR and ETA through 10/10 cloud. At 0130 hours and 14000 feet over target area aircraft seen to explode and fall to ground. Dropped 1 packet of G17 W of target. Visibility excellent to 10 miles from target.
    Was this intended for me rather than John? It seems the dates fit my man, Mostyn Maurice Crowe. Also, what is G23?

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