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Thread: Halifax Mk. III bail out order

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    Default Halifax Mk. III bail out order

    Hello,

    I'm looking for the bail out order of a Halifax Mk. III (HX294). In which order the 7 crewmembers bailed out. I am in possession of a letter from the Captain, S/L McCormack, who ordered his crew to bail out.

    I know exactly where they landed, aircraft never found.

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    Finn, Hi,
    Theoretically, if you plot where they landed on GE, and if you know the (even rough) direction of travel of the Halifax, then - theoretically - you should get a neat string of impact points, roughly in a line. This will tell you who impacted first (and, therefore, who left the a/c first) and who impacted last (and, therefore, left the a/c last). Simple!!!
    However, I spent a significant part of my career recording/plotting the impacts of 16 Para Bde paratroopers on to DZs on Salisbury Plain in an attempt to work out what the real MEDW (Mean Equivalent Drop Wind) had been, as opposed to what it had previously been forecast to be!! This is - I can assure you! - head-banging stuff!
    Give it a try!! It might work - you never know!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    PeterDavies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Finn

    I think it will all depend on the reason for bailing out and the circumstances at the time. So I don't suppose there is a definitive order. The rear gunner may go out of his turret or the rear hatch, unless of course there are problems in that area which necessitates him to move forward and he may be jumping at the same time as those further forward. I would imagine that the Navigator, Flight Engineer, Wireless Operator, Bomb Aimer, and Pilot would all leave by the front escape hatch and the Mid Upper gunner had the choice of front or rear. I can't seen anyone waiting for their turn in the order of batting if the aircraft was on fire or plummeting earthwards, it will be a case of get out any way you can. There are of course plenty of cases where pilots remained at the controls holding the aircraft steady so that others could jump. One of the gentlemen, a WOp, I have information from said that their drill was for the Navigator to ditch the front escape hatch and lead the way out. On the night he was shot down he was meant to be pushing window out of the flare chute but didn't see the point as it would probably come back in through the open bomb bay doors and was just going back to his position when they were hit by a night fighter from astern. Plugging himself back into the intercom he heard the call to bale out and having grabbed his chute recalls that "the curtain between the Navigators department and my position billowed out as the escape hatch came up. God bless the Navigator, he must have jettisoned the hatch before getting his parachute." The WOp was the only one to get out! In other cases it was the job of the Bomb Aimer to remove the forward escape hatch. So I guess it was up to the crews and they would have practiced it Im sure.

    Regards
    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 2nd January 2018 at 15:05.

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    Hello,

    Hardly surprising the aircraft was never found. The pilot (McCormack RAAF), reported the Halifax came down in the Baltic. Other reports state that it crashed into the Baltic between the islands of Tasinge and Stryno. See: BCL5/64 and... https://www.awm.gov.au/index.php/collection/C1252719 p.60 of 107.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd January 2018 at 16:18.

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    Hello,

    Thank you very much for the replies.

    Aircraft followed the return route from Berlin according the Leconfield Operations Order. Somewhere over Denmark the engines failed. S/L McCormack took the decision to turn back and try to reach Sweden caused lack of fuel.

    "Jack (Tylor), as navigator, went first and then each member of the crew in their particular order." Source: Letter by Wing Commander McCormack 16/9 1945.

    Wind (Beaufort 9) from W turning to SW and decreasing, during the night and morning of the 28/29 January 1944.

    Atttached a drawing showing where the crewmembers landed.

    https://image.ibb.co/iTwA1b/Halifax_HX294_kort_GKM.jpg

    Correct, the aircraft was never found. The sea close to the small islands, it is shallow. Other aircraft went down in same sea and on the nearby islands. They are found and identified.

    After the bail out, McCormack did not see his aircraft again. My guess is a crash in the Langeland Belt, in the "deep water route" from the Baltic Sea.

    Regards

    Finn
    Last edited by Argus; 2nd January 2018 at 19:26.

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    Hi Finn,

    My understanding was the order to bail out was Bombaimer job was to release the escape hatch then jump, followed by the Navigator then the W/Op. The F/Eng job was to help the Pilot with his chute then jump. The gunners went out the back door, Mid/Upper first followed by the Rear Gunner either by the door or by rotating his turret or the door. Finally the pilot.

    Regards,

    John.

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    Hi John,

    Thank you very much. This is an explanation that made sense, compared with the map, the places where they landed. I have inserted their names.

    "My understanding was the order to bail out was Bombaimer (Walker) job was to release the escape hatch then jump, followed by the Navigator (Tylor) then the W/Op (Clark). The F/Eng (Collings) job was to help the Pilot with his chute then jump. The gunners went out the back door, Mid/Upper (Smith) first followed by the Rear Gunner (Whitfield) either by the door or by rotating his turret or the door. Finally the pilot (McCormack)."

    Tylor was in the first group of 3 crewmembers leaving the aircraft. He drowned. The place of finding some months later, is a matter of ocean currents.

    Regards,

    Finn

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