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Thread: Sgt Samuel Reginald OLDRIDGE, D.F.M. - a question

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    Default Sgt Samuel Reginald OLDRIDGE, D.F.M. - a question

    Hello everyone

    I've come across a reference to the above Sergeant in the Cumberland News in September 1943. A little digging found the following, from the Northern Whig and Belfast Post newspaper, June 15th 1943:

    'Sergeant Samuel Reginald Oldridge, who also receives the DFM, was born in Dungannon in 1910.

    During operations he has performed his duties “in an exemplary manner, always displaying a fine fighting spirit.”
    An excellent bomb aimer, Sergeant Oldridge has obtained many good photographs, and has invariably set a high standard among the other members of his squadron. His home is at Penrith, Cumberland.'

    Futher digging found the entry in the LG on that date, and gave his service number and his unit as 50 Squadron. Having found his service number, I came across this:

    http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/...40/p4957b.html

    which includes the following intriguing excerpt:

    'Samuel Oldridge is credited as being the first Bomber Command rear gunner to shoot down an enemy aircraft, done so on the night of 27th/28th May 1940.'

    So, has anyone possibly got any further details on this incident?

    Many thanks,

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_i...n#cite_note-43

    May 27–28 (overnight) – 120 British bombers attack Bremen, Hamburg, Duisburg, Dortmund, Neuss, and other German cities. During the raid, Aircraftman Stan Oldridge, rear gunner of a Whitley of No. 10 Squadron, scores the first aerial victory of World War II over a German night fighter, shooting down what was probably a Messerschmitt Bf 109D near Utrecht early on May 28

    Hinchcliffe, Peter, The Other Battle: Luftwaffe Night Aces Versus Bomber Command, Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 2001, ISBN 978-0-7858-1418-4, pp. 38–39.

    Regards

    Mojmir

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    Simon,

    We were back 'on the job' on the following night, May 27th/28th (!940), attacking Marshalling yards in the Ruhr with thirty-five Whitleys being despatched. Some returned with technical problems, but the majority got through. Two crews attacked airfields as secondary targets and one of No. 51 Squadron had to evade a night-fighter attack. During the raids two aircraft were damaged, but there were no casualties.

    No.10 Squadron's targets were the marshalling yards at Neuss, Dortmund and Duisburg. Ten of the eleven aircraft bombed as briefed. One crew, that of Squadron Leader Pat Hanafin in N1483, was attacked by a fighter after leaving the target. The tail gunner, Aircraftman Stan Oldridge, managed to get in accurate bursts and claimed to have shot it down. All ten crews reported severe opposition in the target area and it was estimated that fifty searchlights were concentrated against us during this raid.

    See;

    Tha Whitley Boys The Story of No. 4 (Bomber) Group's operations in the first year of WWII.
    Donnelly,G L "Larry"
    Walton-on-Thames:Air Research Publications,1991.
    pp.123-4

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd May 2018 at 14:41.

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    Thank you both for your extremely helpful replies.

    I've downloaded the 10 Sqn ORB Form 541 for May 1940 (all 67 pages of it...!), and it has the following:

    Whitley V N1483

    S/L Hanafin - Cap.
    Sgt. Green - 2nd Pilot
    Sgt. D-Brown - Obs.
    LAC Thompson - W/T Op
    A.C. Oldridge

    Up: 20.21
    Down: 03.07

    This crew attacked a railway junction at DORSTEN 10 miles North of Munchengladbach, at a height ogf 10,000 ft. between 00.10 and 00.50 hours - but no results of their bombing were observed. Weather was clear and dark, but little haze patches were abundant. Normal A.A. fire and searchlight activity were encountered. At 12,000 ft. at 23.10 hours at Utrecht two single engined aircraft with Nav. lights on followed this aircraft for at least 10 minutes, one on either side. At the end of this period the pilot shut his throttles and slowed up to stalling speed and the starboard enemy aircraft at once started to attack. The tail gunner fired several bursts and claims to have shot down this aircraft in flames. The other aircraft disappeared without offering attack. Two 500 lb. bombs hung up and were brought back to base.

    I've also downloaded the ORB Appendices (734 pages this time), which confirm N1483 as ZA-I. They also confirm the tail gunner as 617538 S. R. Oldridge - not sure where 'Stan' came from...

    Thanks again for your help - much appreciated!

    Simon

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