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Thread: Flight Lieutenant Donald Edward Mobbs crashed in Sierra Leone in 1944?

  1. #11
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    Hello

    Major Cecil Freer died as the result of severe injuries in hospital, according to a report on the Rochdale Observer of Niovember 4th 1944. He had suffered a severe head injury and a broken tibia and humerus. The article states that he had been posted to Scotland with Army Intelligence before going to Sierra Leone, where he was serving with West African Command headquarters. He frequently visited a Captain H. L. Dutton, Company Commander with a West African regiment who was also from Rochdale, on Army matters and it mentions 'the journeys being undertaken by air.'

    Regards

    Simon

  2. #12
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    Autogiro (et al)
    There are a lot of Wiki ‘facts’ in this (⸫ caveat emptor!).
    We have two locations:-
    1 AHQ W Africa located Freetown, Sierra Leone (airfield Hastings(?), Sierra Leone)
    2 Takoradi, (now Ghana).
    The distance between them is 709 nm. Blama is 109 nm from Hastings. Blama is 600 nm from Takoradi. Blama lies directly on the route from one to the other.
    Wiki says, of the Harvard:-
    It cruises at 145 mph (126 kts)
    It has a Range of 730 (s?)m (635 nm). [Allowing 10% for weather/diversions, etc, gives a practical Range of 657 sm (571 nm). The equivalent Radius of Action is, therefore, 328 nm.]
    Therefore, a direct flight between the two locations is inadvisable(impossible?) without an intermediate re-fuelling stop.
    This would seem to indicate that the flight originated at RAF Hastings?
    It takes about 8 mins, at 125 kts/+400 fps, to reach FL030. Blima is 9 nm short of what is now Kenema Airport (whether a ‘strip’ existed there in WW2 is not known). That point is reached after c. 53 mins @ c. 125 kts IAS flight time.
    So, by the time they had reached Blama they were well within the Point Of No Return to Hastings.
    Were they actually going somewhere – to save the good Maj Cecil Freer a long, uncomfortable, road journey over appalling ‘roads’ – or was it simply a ‘Familiarisation Flight’?
    I do not know any timings, but whatever are discovered should be viewed against the above.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  3. #13
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    Don's relative has transcribed the following from his service record

    Dons service record says
    He died 26/10/44 of injuries (FA)
    Flying Harvard number 501
    Waterloo Command Squadron

    The 501 would appear to match up with EX501 even if the dates against the aircraft don't match. Would seem odd that the aircraft would survive to 1945 however if injuries had killed two, one would imagine a wrecked aircraft
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hello,

    Here is the unit involved::

    WEST AFRICA COMMUNICATION SQUADRON.

    (1) Formed 31.5.44 at WATERLOO in No.114 Wing with 1 Dakota, 7 Hudson & 4 Anson ('A' Flt based Accra and 'B' Flt at Ikeja); 18.7.45 ACCRA (dett Waterloo); 1.9.45 absorbed No.1314 Flt; Disbanded 1.11.45 into West Africa Transport & Communication Squadron q.v.
    Aircraft: Anson I,XII (NK885); Dominie I (NR700); Lysander III (R9022); Hudson IV (AE634); Dakota III,IV (KJ836); Harvard IIb (EX498); Goose; Tiger Moth II (N9211); Widgeon (NC28673); Walrus.

    See:
    Royal Air Force Flying Training and Support Units Since 1912.
    Sturtivant,Ray with John Hamlin.
    Staplefield:Air-Britain (Historians),2007.
    p.285

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 6th September 2019 at 02:20.

  5. #15
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    Autogiro (et al),
    A contact in the Lancashire Fusiliers has given me the info that Maj Freer is commemorated in the King Tom Cemetery (Freetown, GE 8.492807-13.246364). The inscription says “buried elsewhere in Sierra Leone”. If he was buried in King Tom then CWGC should have a grave location reference? So we still don’t know where he was actually buried (or cremated?).
    The contact is of the opinion that Maj Freer was in Sierra Leone training West African troops prior to going to Burma – not necessarily to join the Lancs Fus.
    Best I can do.
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  6. #16
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    CWGC came back to say:

    Having had a flick through our archive files, I can confirm that Major Freer was buried in Bo Government Cemetery, Sierra Leone.

    Back in the early 1950's, there was a discussion to potentially move Major Freer alongside Flight Lieutenant Mobbs at Blama (Roman Catholic Mission) Churchyard however this option was decided against (it does not go into specific reasons).

    Bo and Blama are per google maps 15 mins drive apart. its an odd one.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Dennis (et al)
    So we now know where the Cas (Mobbs & Freer) were buried.
    We know what each was doing in Sierra Leone.
    We don’t actually know where they were flying to/from. It is unlikely it was Freetown/Takoradi(or vice versa) – fuel/range limitations would make that hazardous.
    I sent several emails (Sierra Leone Embassy in London, Freetown Uni, Sierra Leone Min of Transport/Aviation, etc, etc,) asking for the date of the building of the airstrip at Kenema (10 nm from crash site). I was not surprised to receive no replies.
    In this sort of research we ask the questions (and often get answers to) Where, When, Who, and How. The more difficult question of Why often remains unanswered. It looks as if this one may be one of those?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  8. #18
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    His relative hopefully will have a F1180 in the coming days, I'll get a copy and report on its contents.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  9. #19
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    Peter,

    We do the occasional bit of business with UK Mil Trg Team in SL. I am sure I can chase down a suitable POC in the UK High Commission (not embassy) in Freetown, if you need it.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

  10. #20
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    Jonny, Hi,
    Mni tks yr offer of finding a POC - much appreciated (slow time).
    This is one a several threads quietly simmering away on the back-burner. I'm just interested in the background (and reason for?) the flight. I suspect that apart from the major airfields in SL there were very few airstrips 'up-country' in WW2 - thus the request for the date of building of the strip at Kenema!
    And on the broader scale this is yet another item where it is not what you know, but who you know!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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