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Thread: R102864, Sgt WA Rollings (Canadian); Loss of Wellington LA970

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    Mar 2019
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    Default R102864, Sgt WA Rollings (Canadian); Loss of Wellington LA970

    At 10 pm 26 Dec 1942, Wellington LA970 was one of 10 Wellingtons that departed Gibraltar. The crew consisted of Sgt WA Rollings (pilot, RCAF), Sgt J Richards (pilot, RCAF), Sgt JG Wyatt (nav, RAFVR), Sgt FA deGruchy (WAG, RCAF), Sgt CB Hodges (WAG, RCAF) & Sgt JOM Lebel (WAG, RCAF). Review of pers files indicates that none of the RCAF crew members had been assigned to an operational sqn. From review of various pers files, this crew was being posted from RAF Station Limavady to Middle East Command (MEC).

    The crew was "Lost at Sea." Never seen or heard from again. From review of pers files, none of the other Wellington crews witnessed the loss of LA970.

    Also, from review of pers files, there is some apparent inconsistency in destination of LA970. In one letter, LA970 was en route for Malta or a North African aerodrome. In another letter, LA970 was going to "Aden, Arabia."

    Is there a way to determine LA970's planned destination?
    Was a crew of 2 pilots, 1 nav & 3 WAG's a standard crew for a Wellington?
    Would the crew of LA970 have known which sqn they were posted to when they left Gibraltar or would they have been assigned to a sqn on reaching MEC?
    My understanding is that MEC flew a variety of operations including bombing, anti-shipping & anti-submarine. If LA970 had reached Malta or a North African aerodrome or Aden, Arabia what type of operation would it have flown?
    Was it normal that there was so little precision/exactness in the destination of a flight of 10 Wellingtons?

    Really appreciate everybody's patience & assistance.

    John Dean

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    Jagan (31st March 2019)

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