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Thread: 1344522 Sgt H.B Crawford 57 Squadron 1943-44

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    Default 1344522 Sgt H.B Crawford 57 Squadron 1943-44

    Thought I would post this up to see if anyone could shed some light on this chap's movements. I have the ORB slides for his first 3 Ops on 57 squadron in late 1943 ... but nothing for 1944


    1344522 Sgt Hugh Boyd Crawford 57 Squadron 1943-44


    Trained as a navigator in Canada at No7 AOS Portage La Prairie Manitoba qualifying for Air navigators brevet on 11/9/42

    Returns to UK in late 1942 and is sent to No1 (AFU) Wigton Scotland from 6/11/42 - 21/12/42.

    Next of to 29 OTU at North Luffenham from 8/1/43 - 18/6/43 and same OTU at Bruntlingthorpe from 19/6/43 - 23/8/43

    It is at this stage he picks up his regular pilot one Sgt Grimbly.

    Final stage of training was at 1660 HCU Swinderby from the 29/8/43 - 4/10/43.

    From here he is posted with Girmbly and crew to 57 Squadron at East Kirkby (this dates in the back of log book state this as from 17/10/43 - 3/3/44)

    It is what happens on the squadron interests me the most and I will post up images if the thread lets me.

    Thanks to a forum member on the Stirling site I have managed to work out that his original crew carry on with out him during late December 1943 after he has completed only 3 Ops with them and one early return.

    1st Op : 18/10/43 Hannover EE 197 xx-Y ( log book entry 4 fighter attacks - landed at Coltishall - plane U/S)

    ORB states : F/Sgt Grimbly was attacked just after leaving the target by cannon and machine gun fire from an M.E 109. The aircraft was badly damaged and the Rear Gunner and Mid Upper Gunner were wounded. Despite serious wounds to the Rear Gunner, Sgt Cowham, and the fact that his turret was virtually wrecked, he refused to leave and engaged two subsequent enemy aircraft, opening fire and driving them away. The Mid Upper Gunner also continued and tried to help the Rear Gunner. This was their first sortie.

    2nd Op : 22/11/43 Berlin

    Early Return Op : 23/11/43 Berlin


    3rd Op : 26/11/43 Berlin ( log book entry landed Leconsfield "Y" )

    He returns to base in that aircraft with Grimbly as pilot and his monthly totals for November are signed off by both the OC of B Flight and the OC of 57 Squadron.

    This is the strange bit ... as mentioned his pilot and crew carry on without him throughout December and he does not fly again until the 2/1/44 with a new pilot F/O Harland.

    4th Op : Berlin (log book entry 1 fighter attach JU 88 "y")

    The final entry is on the 7/2/44 on a fighter affiliation flight with a P/O Smith.

    Again fully signed off by flight commander and squadron OC this time as summary for 57 Squadron.

    What is strange is on that page and at the back in postings page he lists other flying as pilot hours and has a total flying hours listed as 627.40 ??

    So I am wondering what happened to him ... did he get re-mustered as pilot ? .. was he a scrubbed pilot that went onto navigator training and he just added on those earlier hours ? ( although have been reliably informed from a former Navigator that trained in Canada late war that navigation was a specialized trade and not one for failed pilots .. 8-) 8-) ) .. was he injured and taken off flying ...or did he go LMF ?

    Apart from a FOI request for his service file not sure how to find out much more and having difficulty with that as I can not find him on ancestry to gain a date of death, even with an idea that he may be Scottish as that is where the log book turned up ?

    Many thanks

    Gary

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    Hello,

    Your Sgt Grimbly, is in fact - AUS415137 Sgt (Pilot) George Leslie Philip GRIMBLY RAAF (He was lost in No.57 Sqn Lancaster III JB548 on 1/2-1-1944 attacking Berlin. His complete crew became PoWs - BCL5/18). Sgt Cowham was, 710111 Sgt (Air Gnr.) Walter Humphrey 'Mike' COWHAM RAFVR, he hailed from Northern Rhodesia. For his efforts on the night of 18/19-10-1943, he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying).

    Thanks for the incidental information on 57 Squadron ops.

    Col.

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    Default Crawford on crew of F/O Harland

    Hi Gary and Col.

    Hmmm, 57 Sqn, winter 43/44, Crawford; named sounded familiar I thought.
    Sure enough, he flew one op with a crew that I have researched a lot of.

    2/3 Jan 44 BERLIN Lanc III JB370. Crew of F/O Norman Harland. ORB states F/S Crawford H.E. as navigator.
    I can send an image of the ORB page if you want.
    I had the honour of meeting the air bomber and w/op of this crew; both would have had fleeting associations with Crawford for this one op.
    The air bomber told me how he worked closely with his regular navigator.

    F/O Upton J.R was Grimbly's navigator for the previous evening's sortie (F.T.R.)

    Can't see any other ops for Crawford for the rest of January 44 - confirming your findings.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Mike and Col ...

    Many thanks for your replies and the extra info on Crawford's original crew ... thought when I read the summary for the 1st Op to Hannover that the R G deserved some kind of award .. didn't realise it was a CGM !!

    Mike .. would love ORB the page showing Harland ... guessing you have the rest of the ORB pages for 1943 .. and thanks for checking to see if he did any more Ops on 57 .. no mention in a postings out summary then ?

    Looks like he must have disappeared off the squadron some time in early March 1944.

    Now to find a entry for his death (of course supposing that he has passed away !!) as I guess the only way to find out for sure is to try and obtain a copy of his service record showing his postings.

    Mike if you would like a scan of his log book entry please let me know..

    ATB

    Gary

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    Gary/Mike,

    Would appreciate it if you could run your eyes over the "crew" I have for the 18/19 October 1943 op"

    AUS415137 Sgt (Pilot) George Leslie Philip GRIMBLY RAAF
    967976 Sgt (Flt. Eng.) J K ENGLISH*
    1344522 Sgt (Nav.) Hugh Boyd CRAWFORD RAFVR
    - ? - (Bomb Aimer) - ? - FIRTH
    - ? - (W.Op.) - ? - ?
    - ? - (MUG) - ? - FOX
    710111 Sgt (RG) Walter Humphrey COWHAM RAFVR

    * POW - 27/28-1-1944 57 Sqn. Lancaster III JB366:DX-H - BCL5/53 (L6/1176).

    Any corrections/additions would be welcome.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th January 2017 at 13:09.

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    Hi Col ... from the ORB

    Lancaster III DX- Y EE197

    Take -off : 17.25
    Return : 22.38

    Pilot - Grimbley W ???
    F.E - English J
    Nav - Crawford H
    B.A - Firth C M
    WOP - Walker C
    M.U - Fox F A
    R.G - Cowham W H

    Not a great ORB for service numbers or spellings !! .. but it was their first operation

    It would appear that both gunners were replaced for the remaining two Ops that Crawford went on with Grimbly

    Guessing that AIR 78 might have the Christian names.

    ... oh and if you would like a scan of his log book pages for these Ops please let me know

    Cheers

    Gary

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    Hi Col

    Had a look at the ORB as requested;

    AUS415137 Sgt (Pilot) George Leslie Philip GRIMBLY RAAF
    967976 Sgt (Flt. Eng.) J K ENGLISH*
    1344522 Sgt (Nav.) Hugh Boyd CRAWFORD RAFVR
    - ? - (Bomb Aimer) - ? - FIRTH
    Sgt Firth C.M
    - ? - (W.Op.) - ? - ?
    Sgt Walker C.
    - ? - (MUG) - ? - FOX
    Sgt Fox F.A.
    710111 Sgt (RG) Walter Humphrey COWHAM RAFVR
    Lancaster III EE197
    Up 17:23 Down 22:38
    Sortie completed.
    Bombload 1 x 4,000lb, 104 x 30lb, 1,200 x 4lb.

    ORB summary states that "Y (F/Sgt Grimbley) was attacked just after leaving the target by cannon and machine gun fire from an ME.109. The aircraft was badly damaged and the rear gunner and mid-upper gunner were wounded. Despite serious wounds to the rear gunner, Sgt, Cowham, and the fact that his turret was virtually wrecked, he refused to leave and engaged two subsequent enemy aircraft, opening fire and driving them away. The mid-upper gunner also continued and tried to help the rear gunner. This was their first sortie."

    Cheers

    Mike

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    Hi Gary

    Thanks for the scan of the page from Crawford's logbook.
    I had not known of the combat that he notes for that sortie.
    Unfortunately there appears to be a gap in the combat reports in AIR50 of TNA for the first three weeks of Jan 44 so maybe that one is missing.

    I believe I'm right in saying that you would not need proof of death or NoK consent, for limited details of a service record to be released; such as posting/movements.
    Not checked recently but I presume the heavy 30 search fee still applies.
    I've justified it to myself on several occasions and having the movements list has unlocked the door for me on several research avenues.

    As regards Postings In/Out summaries - I can't find a detailed breakdown in 57's ORB (the sections that I have) of the kind I've seen in other ORBs.
    I have the Form 540 (daily occurrences) pages for Jan and Feb 44. Some postings are noted - it's possible that Crawford might be mentioned in the pages for March.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeW156; 30th January 2017 at 20:29. Reason: ORB addition

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    Gary/Mike,

    Thanks. The information on the Grimbly crew much appreciated.

    PS. Mike, ORB entries very useful. Grateful.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 31st January 2017 at 01:39.

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