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Thread: Two 78 Sqn D.F.M.s - Stark and Charles, gazetted October 1944

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    Default Two 78 Sqn D.F.M.s - Stark and Charles, gazetted October 1944

    Hello everyone

    I'm after some more info, if anyone can help. The Newcastle Evening Chronicle of November 28th 1945 reported the following:

    Fence Houses man at Palace
    At a recent investiture at Buckingham Palace, Warrant Officer Joseph Stark, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Stark, of Morton Grange Terrace, Fence Houses, received the D.F.M.
    He was accompanied by his wife, who served in the same squadron as a M.T. driver, and his mother, while outside the palace he was met by his brother, who is a paratrooper.
    Warrant Officer E. Charles, of Nottingham, who also received the D.F.M., was mid-upper gunner in Stark’s plane.

    Stark is 1476776 Sgt. Joseph Stark, his D.F.M. being gazetted October 17th 1944, and Charles is probably 1817777 Sgt. Edward Charles, his D.F.M. gazetted October 13th 1944. I'm wondering if they received their awards for the same event, and wondered if Tavender's DFM volume had any further information?

    Many thanks,

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon,

    Whilst your waiting!

    Order of Battle 24 March, 1944

    No.78 Sqn.

    Halifax LV815

    F/L J R Gordon-Davis (later DFC 78 Sqn 21/7/1944)
    Sgt P Jones
    Sgt C J G Laws (later DFM 78 Sqn 13/10/1944)
    Sgt K Gillam
    Sgt J Stark (later DFM 78 Sqn 17/10/1944)
    Sgt C A C Wanbon (later DFM 78 Sqn 17/10/1944)
    Sgt E Charles (later DFM 78 Sqn 13/10/1944)

    The Bomber Battle of Berlin/Searby/179

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th April 2017 at 11:39.

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    Thanks for that Col, much appreciated.

    I'm guessing R. Gordon-Davis is John Rowland Gordon-Davis, D.F.C., his award being gazetted on July 21st 1944.

    1603230 Charles Arthur Conway Wanbon was also awarded a D.F.M., being gazetted the same day as Stark's.

    I also see there are 78 Sqn combat reports on the National Archives website for a Sgt. Charles and a 'Sgt. Wanson' for September 5th 1943...

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon

    Both are end of tour awards; as are the rest of the Gordon-Davis crew.

    Starks citation states:

    "This NCO has now completed his first operational tour consisting of 34 sorties involving a total of 208 hours. He has proven himself to be one of the best and keenest Flight Engineers on the squadron. He has taken part in attacks against the most heavily defended targets and has at all times conducted himself with the greatest courage and coolness in face of the enemy. The outstanding success and safety of his crew can undoubtedly be largely attributed to his skill and accuracy and his complete disregard of his personal safety. He has also done most valuable work in his section and has been responsible for bringing the Flight Engineers to their present standard. For his courage and devotion to duty, he is strongly recommended for the award of the DFM."

    I don't have Charles's citation to hand but he left 78 Squadron on 1st July 1944 moving to 19 O.T.U. as an instructor. Stark also left on the same date and moved to 1652 HCU. Others in the crew also left on 01 July 44, Gordon-Davis also went to 1652 HCU; Wanbon and Laws joined Charles at 19 O.T.U. along with PO P R Jones and PO Gillam both who were awarded the DFC on 17/10/44; Gillam's initials are actually K R and not P as mentioned in one of the earlier posts.

    Wanbon's citation states:

    "This NCO has now completed his first operational tour consisting of 33 sorties involving a total of 204 hours. His work has been of a very high order. On operations which have often been against the most heavily defended targets, he has proved himself to be most courageous and efficient. His watchfulness and skill have undoubtedly contributed much towards the success of his crew which is one of the best in the squadron. In encounters with enemy aircraft he has been credited with two probables. For his courage and devotion to duty, he is strongly recommended for the award of the DFM."

    Regards

    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 16th April 2017 at 22:05. Reason: additional information

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    Simon, (G'day Daz).

    Apologies Mate.

    I was called away and could not complete my earlier posting on Jones and Gillam. Incidentally, his full name was "Kenneth Leonard Gillam", so not K.R., either.

    To make up for the Fubar, here is Charles' DFM recommendation:

    CHARLES, Edward. 1817777 Flight Sergeant, No.78 Sqn.
    L.G. 13/10/1944 (note date). Sorties 28, Flying hours 177.40. Air Gunner. Air2/9276

    This N.C.O. has completed his first operational tour consisting of 28 sorties involving a total of 178 hours. He has proved himself to be a keen, capable and efficient Air Gunner and has carried out his duties conscientiously both on the ground and in the air. He has taken part in raids against the most heavily defended targets and his skill and watchfulness have contributed largely to the success of his crew. In encounters with enemy aircraft, he has been credited with two probables. For his courage and devotion to duty, he is most strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

    (Dated) 20th June, 1944.

    Remarks by Station Commander.

    This N.C.O. has now completed a tour of operations extending over a period in which some of the most fiercely defended industrial targets in Germany were successfully attacked. Flight Sergeant Charles has at all times displayed coolness and courage in the face of the enemy and the part taken by him in the crew has undoubtedly contributed to the success of the crew as a whole. For this N.C.O's sustained achievement over a protracted period, I strongly recommend the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

    Tavender/I/A-J/339.

    Col

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    Daz and Col

    Thank you both for the very comprehensive replies, for which I am very grateful. Much appreciated gentlemen!

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon

    The crews operations were as follows:

    03/09/43 Gardening
    05/09/43 Manheim
    03/10/43 Kassel
    04/10/43 Frankfurt aborted early
    08/10/43 Hanover
    11/11/43 Cannes
    18/11/43 Manheim aborted NOET rear turret u/s
    19/11/43 Leverkusen
    25/11/43 Frankfurt
    20/12/43 Frankfurt
    29/12/43 Berlin
    20/01/44 Berlin
    15/02/44 Berlin
    15/03/44 Stuttgart
    22/03/44 Gardening
    24/03/44 Berlin
    26/03/44 Essen
    30/03/44 Nurnburg
    09/04/44 Lille
    10/04/44 Tergnier
    18/04/44 Tergnier
    20/04/44 Ottignies
    22/04/44 Dusseldorf
    24/04/44 Karlsrhur
    26/04/44 Villeneuve St George
    27/04/44 Montzen
    19/05/44 Gardening aborted due to H2S failure
    22/05/44 Gardening aborted in tgt area due to H2S failure
    24/05/44 Aachen
    27/05/44 Gardening
    02/06/44 Gardening
    05/06/44 Mont Fleury
    06/06/44 St Lo
    07/06/44 Gardening
    14/06/44 Douai
    15/06/44 Foulliard

    Regards
    Daz

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    Thank you once again Daz, that's very helpful indeed.

    Regards

    Simon

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