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Thread: 87363 Act Sqn Ldr Stanley McNEILL DFC - award details?

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    Default 87363 Act Sqn Ldr Stanley McNEILL DFC - award details?

    Hello everyone

    The Newcastle Journal of Tuesday, November 15th 1944 reported the award of the D.F.C. to Acting Squadron Leader Stanley McNeill:

    70 Hours in dinghy
    Acting Squadron Leader Stanley McNeill, son of Mr. James McNeill, of Brook Terrace, Darlington, has been awarded the D.F.C.
    The official citation states that on one sortie while returning from Berlin, his aircraft was forced to descend on the sea and he and his crew spent 70 hours in a dinghy before being rescued.
    Educated at Darlington Technical College, McNeill was, for some years before joining the R.A.F. at the outbreak of war, a commercial traveller at Derby.

    The Newcastle Evening Chronicle of Friday, February 11th 1944 had also reported the award:

    70 HOURS IN DINGHY
    After having spent 70 hours in a dinghy and having been discharged from hospital, A/Sqdn. Leader McNeill, of Darlington, has returned to take an effective part in operations.
    He is awarded the D.F.C., “as base navigation officer he has,” says the citation, “worked extremely hard to raise the standard of navigation throughout the unit.”

    The LG entry of February 11th 1944 does not give a unit - does anyone have any further details? To put it mildly 70 hours is a pretty long time to be floating around in a dinghy...!

    Many thanks,

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon,

    Nick & Carol Carter DFC book lists his unit as 42 Base (BC)

    42 Base - 4 Group

    Mark

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    Many thanks for that Mark, much appreciated.

    On a slight tangent:

    I did come across another article in the Newcastle Journal on February 5th 1944, which may (or indeed may not!) be relevant:

    2 H.G.s save five airmen from sea.
    Plunging into a high spring tide during a storm two Home Guards saved the lives of five exhausted crew men. The gallantry was described yesterday in the citation accompanying the award of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to Sergeant Wilfred Davies, and Private George Ernest Rees, both of Llangennith, Glamorgan.
    Told that Royal Air Force personnel were in danger they investigated and saw five men clinging to the rocks some distance from the mainland.
    Three days in dinghy
    The airmen had been three days on a rubber dinghy without food and were totally exhausted.
    In extremely dangerous conditions at high spring tide and in a raging storm Davies and Rees plunged into the open sea to render assistance. They administered first aid and remainded with the airmen for two hours until the tide had receded sufficiently for them to be helped to the mainland.


    More info here:

    https://www.home-guard.org.uk/hg/crash.html

    On 11th December 1942 a report was received indicating that Royal Air Force personnel were in danger off Burry Holmes. Sergeant Davies instructed Private Rees to accompany him and they went to the point indicated where they saw five men clinging to the rocks in the sea some distance from the mainland. These five men had been there for three days in a rubber dinghy without food and were totally exhausted.
    "In extremely dangerous conditions, at high spring tide, and in a raging storm Sergeant Davies and Private Rees plunged into the open sea to render assistance. Sergeant Davies and Private Rees reached the five men, rendered them first aid and remained with them for two hours until the tide had receded sufficiently for them to be helped to the mainland. But for such assistance all five men would unquestionably have lost their lives as they were in imminent danger of being washed away in the storm.
    The actions of these two men called for the greatest bravery and determination and resulted in the saving of the lives of the five Royal Air Force personnel."
    L.G. 4.11.1944
    Investiture: 16.11.1945
    Note: Sergeant Davies and Private Rees originally received a civilian King's Commendation for Brave Conduct "when rescuing from the sea the crew of a crashed aircraft" (L.G. 30.12.1943). This was cancelled with the announcement of the award of the British Empire Medal.


    One reference I found online mentioned a Coastal Command Wellington, and the fact that one crew member was lost, his body later recovered by a lifeboat.

    Dates of the awards are similar, and the 70 hours/3 days adrift are too...? Of course this could all be a complete red herring...!

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 18th May 2017 at 16:48.

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    A couple years down the line, and I think I've found him. Nothing to do with my previous post (needless to say...).

    From Bill Chorley's BCL 1941:

    April 17/18 1941
    Whitley V T4266 GE-O
    58 Sqn

    Took off from Linton-on-Ouse at 20.41. Returning, hit by flak over Hamburg, which wrecked the port engine. At 03.50 the starboard motor seized and caught fire, followed ten minutes later by a ditching in the North Sea. Late in the evening of April 20, a Hudson sighted the crew in their dinghy and a second Hudson later dropped Lindholme rescue gear in their vicinity. At 22.30 that same evening on very exhausted bomber crew were rescued by an ASR launch some 64 hours after coming down in the sea.
    P/O A A Law
    Sgt A Whewell
    P/O McNeil [sic - ORB has S. McNeill]
    Sgt Rose
    Sgt Steggall


    See also:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peo...a1975043.shtml

    Regards

    Simon

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