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Thread: Wellington Loss - Help Required

  1. #1
    Boro Boy Guest

    Default Wellington Loss - Help Required

    Following a recent family bereavement, I was handed down some wartime records from a relative who served in the RAF during WWII.

    Being interested in the history of WWII, I thought I knew all about my relatives wartime history, he served as an armourer on fighter planes, mainly in North Africa and later Italy.

    However in amongest the records I was given was a single page of an Operational Load Certificate (RAF form 1826) for a Wellington Bomber, MKXIII with what I believe is the serial number of JA105. The page shows the plane completed missions on several days (29/1/44, 30/1/44 and finally 1/2/44), sadly there is a note underneath this last mission that says the aircraft did not return. On this last mission the aircraft was carrying 1 Accoustic Mine and 1 Magnetic Mine and that the pilot or bomb aimer was a F/O Pugh.

    I'm trying to understand what the connection is between this document and my relative (I didn't believe he worked on any bomber squadrons). I've searched the internet for any information on this aircraft but have had no success. Would anybody have any information they could share about this aircraft, i.e. what squadron it served with, where it was based, or any information on its loss?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    according to RAF serials by Air Britain:

    Welington JA105 of 221 Sq lost on 8.3.45 during navex.
    So it seems to be a little bit strange to have a two mines of navigational flight...

    Are you sure with the serial?

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi
    I'm not very conversant with how the ground trades were used in WW2 but I do know that there is a fair chance that he might not have been used on just one Sqn or a/c type. The Armourers handled both guns and bombs. In late '44 he would probably have been in Italy and could have been at a base that had both Fighters and Bombers(as some of the bases around Foggia did). He could have been, at the time, on the Station strength and would have been used for whatever armament was needed provided he was qualified to handle it safely.Your document indicates he was preparing and loading Air-Dropped mines which would have been mostly too heavy or unwieldy to go on Fighters( some weighed as much as 1500lbs and were about 6-8ft long), a Beaufort could have carried 1x1500lb mine, a Lanc 5 or 6. The 2 in your document probably represent the normal ,or even max, load for a Wellington depending on fuel load and the physical size of the weapons.As to the loss, I don't have a source I can check until the book on Bomber losses in the theatre is published next year
    Regards
    Dick

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    The crew for JA105 on it's last flight on 06/03/45 was:

    F/L W G Steele
    F/Sgt G P Morris
    F/O H Coburn
    W/O B E D Snowden
    F/Sgt F W Peace
    F/L G E McBride

    No Pugh and a last mission date of 1945 so I do not think that the card relates to the last operation of 105.

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

  5. #5
    Boro Boy Guest

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    Many thanks for your quick replies and the information provided, it's much appreciated.

    I've had another look at the document and on the top heading where it asks for the Aircraft type and number somebody has written Wellington, 13, JA105. So I assume the serial number is correct. Could it be possible that the aircraft landed somewhere other than it's home airfield and was incorrectly reported as missing?

    I should maybe have mentioned in my original post that after the comment the aircraft failed to return from the above operation, the form has been used for a new aircraft (Wellington MK XIII, serial MP761) which went on a mission on 26/2/44 loaded with 6 x D.C's (Depth Charges?).

    With regards to my relative, I know he served with no 72 squadron, I understood from his comments that they were equipped with Spitfires and he stayed with the squadron through the rest of the war (after he joined them in North Africa). Therefore I'm not sure how he got hold of this document, none of the names and signatures of the armourers on the form belong to my relative.

    Once again thanks for your replies.

    Trevor

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    If its not too late for your request.

    The aircraft was one of a number on an exercise shadowing a group of RN Cruisers going around the Greek coast. My father was the Captain of another 221 Squadron aircraft on the same exercise. He told me that there had been a significant windshift and they had encountered appaling weather with St Elmos fire coming off the wings after lightening strikes.

    The problem was compunded by the fact that they only had naval chartd which did not indicate heights on land and that the Coastal Command Wellingtons had engines rated for low level flight over water.

    My father managed to pick up a homing signal and just make it home on with a few minutes fuel left.

    As to why the documents were with your relative I don't know. It might be worth checking to see if the Spitfire squadron was one of those sent to Greece during the insurgency.

    Trevor

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    Hello Trevor,

    No 72 sqdn not in Greece at the time of the ELAS troubles - 73 sqdn were though.

    Regards,

    Ian

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