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Thread: The Aegean Pirates - 15 Squadron SAAF 22 Nov 44 Ditching Incident.

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    Default The Aegean Pirates - 15 Squadron SAAF 22 Nov 44 Ditching Incident.

    I am looking into an incident that took place with this Squadron on 22 November 1944 when three Baltimores flying exceptionally low collided. Two escaped and recovered sufficiently to return, one flown by Major Brinton ditched. Has anyone a copy on their shelves as I fully expect the account to be documented in the book. Obviously anyone with any knowledge of the incident please do let me know. The ORBs on line have not helped me much with this one....many thanks.

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    Hello,

    Here is the account from "Eagles Victorious":

    The 15 Sqn Baltimores on offensive reconnaissance had little to report until 22 November (1943), by which time the Bf 109s of IV/JG27 were leaving the area for a new base in Jugoslavia round Skopje, with flights at Mostar, Tirana in Albania and at Scutari, or Shkode, on the lake straddling the Yugoslav-Albanian border near the coast. On 22 November, all three aircraft of the 15 Sqn formation were nearly lost after reconnoitring Astipalaia (Stampalia) and Karpathos (Scarpanto). Well south of Crete the leader , Maj C. R. Brinton, collided with his No 3, Lt Fairbairn*, only about 6.5 m above the water, and hit the sea twice before the nose went in. All four of the crew managed to reach the dinghy and Lt Fairbairn's aircraft, after also hitting the water, got back to base with the perspex torn away from the observer's cockpit, where Lt Stewart clung on until the aircraft landed, with the port propeller bent and part of the tail of Maj Brinton's Baltimore still sticking to the damaged aircraft. A high-speed launch picked up the survivors of the leader's aircraft next day.

    See:
    Eagles Victorious The Operations of the South African Forces over the Mediterranean and Europe, in Italy, the Balkans and the Aegean, and from Gibraltar and West Africa (Vol.VI).
    Martin, H. J. & Neil D. Orpen.
    Capetown:Purnell,1978 (2nd.,imp.).
    pp.72-3

    * The South African Air Force at War, has the following:

    Photo caption (p.53):

    Lt H G F Fairburn's wrecked 15 Squadron Baltimore FA656 brought home on 22 November 1943 after a mid-air collision. It was on an offensive recce off the islands of Stampalia (Astipalaia) and Karpathos (Scarpanto) in the Aegean Sea. The leader of the raid, Maj C R Brinton (in FA667) collided with Lt Fairburn less than 10 m above the sea. Both aircraft hit the water, Lt Fairburn managed to stay airborne. Maj Brinton and his crew were picked up by an air-sea rescue launch next day. The Baltimore's nose was smashed off, top hatch blown off, the tail wheel torn off, and the left propeller bent. Lt Fairburn flew it for 200 km back to base , while the observer, Lt J R C Stewart remained pinned to his seat by the rush of air through the open nose. (Source: M I B - Military Information Bureau, Maj A Van Jaarsveld).

    See:
    The South African Air Force At War.
    Louw,Martin & Stefaan Bouwer.
    Melville:Chris Van Rensburg Publications,1995 (rev.,ed.)
    p.53

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 11th May 2019 at 02:26.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to COL BRUGGY For This Useful Post:

    colinpateman (10th May 2019)

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    Colin.
    Fantastic 7 to 10 meters over the sea appears rather low to me and they were clearly very close together as well. The aircraft identity for Major Brinton was a big bonus this is much appreciated thank you.

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