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Thread: Wellington HD976

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    Default Wellington HD976

    I'm wondering if anyone can provide any information about Wellington HD976. It lost an engine shortly after take-off from El Fasher on 16 Sept 1942; returning to the airfield it was unable to stop after landing and demolished the met office. The crash was survivable, and although the wreckage caught fire most of the crew escaped. However, in addition to the crew there was a civilian passenger whose legs were broken in in the crash.

    The aircraft's navigator Sgt G L Parish, realising the passenger was unable to move, remained in the aircraft and attempted to save him. When the blaze subsided it was clear Parish had carried the injured man the length of the fusulage to the rear gun turret before the smoke and flames overwhelmed them. Parish was rightly awarded the George Cross for his actions. The citation is at:

    http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.aspx?pdf=35963&geotype=London&gpn=1517&typ e=ArchivedSupplementPage&all=1115314&exact=&atleas t=&similar=

    I believe the aircraft was on a delivery flight, and would like, if possible, to know the unit ferrying the aircraft, plus the actual start point and planned destination. Unfortunately the El Fasher ORB makes only the briefest reference to the accident.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian
    This incident is unfortunately not mentioned in Gunby/Temple Bomber Losses in the Middle East but where they do deal with delivery flights they are usually carried out by No1 OADU which I believe was a UK unit but had a long reach,at least until the deliveries were complete. It might figure in that units ORB if available or in a Sqn ORB if that was the ultimate destination of the a/c. I couldn't identify El Fasher from Jefford's RAF Sqns which is the only reference that I have .
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 3rd July 2008 at 18:43.

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    Thank you Dick. It's a little bit complicated as El Fasher is in Sudan, and the met offices there were normally under the control of the Sudan Government, although the Head of the Sudan Met Office was British - in fact the passenger. I say 'normally' because the met office at El Fasher was manned by the British rather than Sudanese. The airfield was used as a staging post for ferry flights, and the ORB suggests it was quite busy.

    Brian

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    I note from the Citation for Sgt Parish(quoted on CWGC) that the a/c was for delivery to Middle East Command. If it was going North from the Sudan it might have been delivered via Gib and Takoradi and across Africa, S of the Sahara instead of Gib- Malta-Egypt as seems to have been more usual. It might mean that ORB'S for units on that route could help to piece it's progress together.16th Sept '42 was before the Landings of "Torch" and the final battle of El Alamein, and Malta was still under attack, so it is not implausible for some deliveries to go the long way round
    Regards
    Dick

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    Default Wellington HD976

    Hi Brian,
    Hope this will point you in the right direction. My father flew in Wellington HX676 which was part of 1446 Ferry Flight M.E.
    Route taken as follows. 12/9/42 Moreton in Marsh to Portreath 2hrs. 13/9/42 Portreath to Gibraltar 9-30hrs. 15/9/42 Gib to Bathurst 12-15hrs. 17/9/42 Bathurst to Accra 11-15hrs. 22/9/42 Accra to Lagos (Ikeja) 2-30hrs. 27/9/42 Lagos (Ikeja) to Maiduguri 6hrs. 28/9/42 Maiduguri to El Fasher, got lost baled out 2200hrs.
    Dad finally got to 37 Sqd 20/11/42.
    I would suggest that your crew could well have been part of same flight.
    Dad was with 21 OTU C Flight Moreton in Marsh prior to this.
    Hope this is of help.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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    My thanks gentlemen.

    I'm pretty sure Rob has the correct answer, and looking at the route flown by his father I'd guess the stop after El Fasher would have been Khartoum - ideal for the passenger. Looking at the leg times Rob gives, it brings home the fact that these flights were not easy - 12 hours a stretch is going some.

    Query sorted and closed.

    Brian

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    Sorry for late post as have been away. I have 1443 Flt/2FC but I can't confirm the source.

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    Thank you John, I was literally about to put this one to bed. I can't find a 1443 Flight ORB in the NA catalogue, but would I be correct in assuming FC = Ferry Command?

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    Thank you John, I was literally about to put this one to bed. I can't find a 1443 Flight ORB in the NA catalogue, but would I be correct in assuming FC = Ferry Command?

    Brian
    Brian,

    2FC will have been No.2 Ferry Control: 'Formed 20.5.42 in No.216 Group at WADI SEIDNA for Sudan and Eritrea' (RAF Flying Training and Support Units since 1912).

    Errol

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    Thank you for the clarification Errol - much appreciated.

    Brian

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