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Thread: "Flights of the Forgotten" book (SOE Ops) ?

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    Default "Flights of the Forgotten" book (SOE Ops) ?

    Hi all

    I've had a lead to something in this book and wonder if anyone has a copy and could possibly look up and send me a copy of some small details from it please?

    It was printed many years ago and the second hand price online seems to be 70-90!!! Maybe not, when I've got NJWD2 to save up for!

    : )

    Many thanks

    Ian

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    Ian,

    I have a copy of said book(but no scanner). As most entries are brief (not all), what, precisely are you after?

    Col.

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    Default Hudson FK797

    Hi Col

    Sounds like you have a pretty extensive library there!

    Apparently, on P.138 of FotF there's some details about Hudson FK797 of 161 Sqn (F/O G Ragan) which was shot up over the UK on the night of 3-4/3/1945 by German intruders during Operation Gisela.

    Just wondering what sort of detail it gives in the book, and if it gives the primary sources for that information. Any personal account, maybe? Neither the 161 Sqn ORB nor the Tempsford ORB give much detail so if I can follow any lead on to primary documents that would be great.

    I'm also trying to establish more precisely the time and location where the action took place. The ORB just says it was 'Near Cambridge'. Other references (I think I recall) say that the a/c may have landed at Feltwell - although the Tempsford ORB seems to contradict that by saying that it 'returned early', so I'm trying to see where that idea may have come from.

    This SOE op was aborted after the attack and the whole flight only lasted an hour (00:10 to 01:10) so, working on the assumption that the a/c returned to Tempsford, I've reckoned that it was attacked somewhere around the mid-point of that flight ie somewhere between 00:30 and 00:50. But if I can pin it down more precisely that would be great. I'm going to pop in to Kew today to see if the Feltwell ORB or their Flying Control Log Book* mention anything.

    Many thanks for your offer to help.

    Regards

    Ian


    * Update: Nothing in the Feltwell Flying Control Log Book. Didn't manage to get to see the Feltwell ORB so that'll be for another day.
    Last edited by ianh; 23rd June 2017 at 17:09. Reason: Post-Kew update

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    Col has a very extensive library I think we ought to crowd fund him a scanner!

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    Hello Ian,

    Here is what the late Ken Merrick has to say:

    (p.138)
    "The Hudsons were active on 2/3 March (1945) but weather beat some of the crews and little was achieved. Two went out again the next evening, but F/O Ragan's aircraft did not get far. Night intruders were becoming more active over England - F/O Shaw had dodged such an attack a few nights earlier - but this time the Luftwaffe came closer to success when a Ju 88 night fighter attacked Ragan's Hudson. The Ju 88 was fitted with upward-firing twin 20mm cannon and flew underneath FK797 'M' as Ragan maintained a steady rate of climb after take-off. The elevators, flaps and exhausts were all hit and F/Sgt Stead, the gunner, was slightly wounded in one leg. With the elevators jammed, Ragan managed to land back at Tempsford by using his throttles to control the rate of descent, a fine piece of airmanship. The Hudson was repairable but never flew with the squadron again. The other Hudson operation was foiled by bad weather which blanketed northern Germany and extended over Norway, where it also disrupted the dropping operations by the Stirlings."

    And the following from Freddie Clark's, "Agents By Moonlight" (p.293).

    Of the Hudsons BENEDICT/EXPRESS/LEADER again was a victim of the weather and the fourth attempt to complete WALNUT, this time by F/O Ragan who was intercepted by a Ju 88 over Mildenhall when climbing out of Tempsford. Attacked from below, cannon fire from the Ju 88, slightly wounded F/Sgt Stead, the air gunner, and severely damaged the control surfaces of the Hudson. Only the skilled piloting of Ragan got them back to Tempsford.

    Only one brief mention in Simon Parry's (now ancient) book, Intruders Over Britain (p.197):

    Appendix VI

    Losses of RAF aircraft on the night of March 3rd-4th, 1945.

    Hudson 'M' of 161 Sqn.
    Damaged near Feltwell. F/O Regan [sic] and crew landed safely.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 23rd June 2017 at 11:05.

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    Hi Col

    Many thanks for your time and trouble in copying that out - and I like Paul's suggestion! : )

    That provides a bit more information even though, unfortunately, it doesn't give the precise time or location of the attack nor any indication of a primary source for that info. Still, I can keep on the lookout for all of those.

    But it does confirm what happened and that the a/c returned to Tempsford, so at least I'm a bit further forward.

    Cheers

    Ian

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    Hi again Col, and thanks for those additional notes from "Agents by Moonlight" (which I don't have) and "Intruders over Britain" (which I do).

    I've looked those points up on a map and it shows the difficulty of establishing the details.

    - The Tempsford ORB says the a/c was attacked "near Cambridge" which is about 17 miles ENE from Tempsford.
    - "Agents" says it was "over Mildenhall" which is 18 miles further on from Cambridge.
    - "Intruders" says it was "near Feltwell" which is 9 miles further north, and 40 miles NE from Tempsford.

    Now those distances aren't huge (flying-time-wise), but it makes pinpointing things a bit tricky!

    Oh well, we'll carry on ...

    : )

    Thanks again for your help

    Ian

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    AIR 14/852 (containing a No. 3 Group Report sent to HQ BC about Intruder Activity):

    “The only aircraft concerned at this time was M/161 which took off at 0009 hrs to cross coast out at Cromer. This aircraft was attacked by an Intruder near Feltwell at 0020 hrs and returned to base with slight damage.”

    AIR 14/1068 (161 Sqn ORB):

    Hudson M, take off 0010, landing 0110. Sortie unsuccessful, airborne 1 hour. "Operation given up. While over Cambridge shot up by "Intruder" aircraft J.U.88. R/Gunner F/Sgt slight injury in leg. Machine badly shot up & Cat AC."

    AIR 14/3460 (BC ORS Log of Aircraft Lost and Damaged on Operations):

    161 M FK797 CAT B hit by six 20 mm cannon shells fired by night fighter with upward-firing guns

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 26th June 2017 at 01:23.

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    Hi Rod

    Once again very helpful, many thanks.

    00:20 it is then. A bit earlier than my previous assumption based upon the flight times, but it makes sense if you think that the a/c was attacked a few minutes after take-off while it was climbing away while setting out routinely upon the start of its op. You can then imagine how the shock of the surprise attack, taking and maintaining evasive action, settling down again once clear, then controlling and flying a damaged a/c back to base and landing with jammed elevators could well have taken up much (50 mins) of the 1-hour's flight time.

    "Near Feltwell" -v- "over Cambridge" isn't exactly precise (looks like the two places are about 25-26 miles apart, perhaps 10 mins flying time for an a/c climbing at 150 mph?), so I guess we have to work on it all having taken place in that general area. The direct line from Tempsford to Cromer passes about 10-5 miles north of both towns (almost directly over Ely), so the a/c must've been heading pretty much directly towards the incoming intruders coming in with the returning bombers over Cromer too!

    More files there for me to look up!

    Cheers

    Ian

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    Hi Ian,

    provided the time of the attack is correct, an approx position could be worked out based on the take off time. I suspect that the attack happened somewhere between Cambridge and Feltwell.

    Regarding my earlier post, a correction:

    AIR 14/3460 (BC ORS Log of Aircraft Lost and Damaged on Operations):

    161 M FK797 CAT B hit by five 20 mm cannon shells fired by night fighter with upward-firing guns (the entry reads: "3/4 Hudson III 161 M FK797 (B) - Intruder - (5d)" (the underlining of the number of strikes indicates an attack with upward-firing armament, and 'd' is the code for 20 mm calibre)

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 26th June 2017 at 19:04.

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