Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: 25/26 February 1943 - No. 199 or 429 Sqdn - Minelaying Operation off Brittany

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rennes, France
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 25/26 February 1943 - No. 199 or 429 Sqdn - Minelaying Operation off Brittany

    Hello/Bonjour,

    I am looking what the No. 199 or 429 Sqdn ORBs say regarding the night of 25/26 February 1943. There is a German night-fighter claim for that night but it seems the claim is not justified as I donít see any loss for that night amongst Wellington which carried out minelaying operations.

    Others Wellington Squadrons have been perhaps involved in these operations but I don't know which ones.

    Best regards,
    Frederic

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    257
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Frederic,
    ORB RAF Station Hemswell in which 199 Sqn was stationed in February 1943 gives the following information about the operation flown on 25/26 Feb. 1943 by this squadron:
    "7 Wellingtons from No. 199. - Minelaying off St. Nazaire - Mines laid:12 mines.
    6 of the aircraft detailed successfully laid their mines in the areas allocated. Aircraft "O" No. 199 Squadron was cancelled due to inter-com. being u/s.
    "

    Apart from of 199 Sqn also Wellingtons from the following Squadrons were laying mines off Brittany on that night:
    Lorient: 300 Sqn (3 a/c) and 301 Sqn (4 a/c), La Rochelle - 115 Sqn (5 a/c).

    Regards,
    Greg
    Last edited by Grexx; 24th May 2017 at 20:15. Reason: .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    393
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Frederic.

    While the 6 Group Halifaxes went to Stettin, 6 Wellingtons from 429 Squadron were ordered on a mining operation to Brest. The crews were over the garden at between 600 and 800 feet, sowing 10@1500 lb mines.

    The crews departed base at between 21:18 and 21:22 hours, they were over the garden at between 00:26 and 01:05 hours, returning to base at between 03:25 and 04:36 hours.
    F/Sgt R. Conroy and crew flying Wellington X HE-593 coded AL-Z returned without mining as they were unable to find the pin point after searching for 50 minutes.
    Sgt R. Ellison RAF and crew flying Wellington X HE-414 coded AL-H had the port engine catch fire over the garden after being hit by flak, this was extinguished. At 02:15 hours, an SOS was transmitted and a fix positioned the aircraft at 50:25N-03:40W, off Torquay. From here they were homed in on to Exeter by searchlights. On landing at Exeter on one engine, the Wellington swung off the runway and crashed into a gully were the Wellington burst into flames.
    Sgt W. Bailey RCAF navigator
    Sgt H. Horton RAF bomb aimer
    Sgt E. Nicholson RAF wireless operator
    Sgt W. Mullaney RCAF rear gunner
    The crew escaped unharmed.
    Hope this helps
    Richard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    400
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Frederic

    The 199 ORB confirms that while seven Wellingtons were tasked for mining operations, only six took off from Ingham as one, as Greg indicated, was cancelled due to intercom trouble. From the raid summaries of the six remaining aircraft, the aircraft flown by Sgt. Waller indicated that a panel of the rear turret was damaged due to flak. John Reid’s excellent history of 199 Squadron “Let Tyrants Tremble” also indicates that this aircraft suffered damage to its port wing. There is no mention of any attacks by German fighters on that night.

    However, the following is from an air combat report from one of the 199 Squadron aircraft, via the UK National Archives. The summary which includes other air combat reports from other squadrons on different dates was dated 24 March 1943 : -

    Whilst mining off Lorient on 25th. February, Wellington aircraft “R” sighted a JU88. At the time of the interception, our aircraft was flying at a height of 3000 feet. The JU88 carried two lights on the leading edges of the wings, one between each engine nacelle and fuselage. When the JU88 was at about 1000 yards range, the rear gunner instructed the pilot to stand by for evasive action. The E/A closed in from the astern position down and when it was at 250 yards range, the rear gunner instructed the pilot of the Wellington to dive and turn to starboard. As our aircraft turned, the E/A opened fire with cannons from the nose, at the same time as our rear gunner replied. The enemy’s fire was seen to pass under the wing of our aircraft and the gunner is quite sure he hit the enemy night fighter which broke away to starboard and came around to the astern position following our aircraft for approximately 15 minutes when it closed to make a second attack. The rear gunner waited for the night fighter to close and when at a range of 250 yards, he instructed the pilot to dive and turn to port. The E/A opened fire and the rear gunner again fired about 250 rounds at the enemy aircraft. He feels certain that he again registered hits. Our aircraft was not hit in either action. The rear gunner was trained at No. 19 OTU Kinloss and No. 9 AGS Llanwrog.

    --

    The air combat report does not identify the air gunner but from the 199 ORB, aircraft “R” was piloted on that night by Sgt. Leonard Waldorf and his rear gunner was Sgt. Tom Wharmby

    Regards

    Douglas
    Last edited by Theletterwriter; 24th May 2017 at 21:42. Reason: extra information

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rennes, France
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hello Gents/Messieurs,

    It's never easy to make a connection between a claim and a loss and I thank you to have for me looked through your documents and books. I have now all the Wellington's Squadrons involved, thanks to you but - with reference to the information from the No.199 Squadron report - it seems Wellington letter ďRĒ could be our alleged victim. Once again, thank you for your assistance in my research work.

    Best regards,
    Frederic

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rennes, France
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hello Douglas,

    Would it be possible to know names and ranks of all aircrew members from aircraft "R"?

    Best regards,
    Frederic

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    400
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Frederic

    From the 199 ORB and John Reid’s book “Let Tyrants Tremble” the crew of Wellington X3413 : EX-R on the night of 25/26 February 1943 were : -

    Sgt. Leonard Waldorf (Pilot)
    P/O W. Kettles (Navigator)
    Sgt. John Guyie Wilson (Air Bomber)
    P/O Ronald Hermon Downes Cook (W.Op/AG)
    Sgt. Tom Wharmby (Rear Gunner)

    Sadly, with the exception of P/O Kettles, the remainder of this crew were lost on operations to Duisburg on 12/13 May 1943.

    Regards

    Douglas

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rennes, France
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Merci beaucoup Douglas.

    By a strange coincidence it is also the same aircraft which was attacked over Brittany by a night-fighter during the night of 20 to 21 April 1943, this time the pilot was F/O Archer. Coincidence again, both nights, the German Ju-88 belonging to IV./NJG 5 was flown by Uffz. Heintze.

    Sgt. Waldorf's crew only delayed the encounter with its fate...

    Best regards,
    Frederic

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •