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Thread: 178 Squadron Liberators

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    Default 178 Squadron Liberators

    My late uncle was a Wireless Operator with 178 Squadron. His operational career was relatively short as he was seriously wounded in the legs during an attack on a target in Italy.
    He took part in an attack on Ploesti oilfields. It's curious that we only ever hear about the American attacks on this target. At the time my uncle was wounded, he wasn't with his regular crew.
    Has anyone got more information about this squadron and possibly any pictures of the aircraft?

    fredsson

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    Default 178 sqdn RAF

    Fredsson
    What was your uncle's name ?

    178 were based at Amendola, Foggia, Italy from mid 1944 & flew Liberators from 1944.
    Amongst their missions the crews took part in the Warsaw airlifts in August 1944 & lost many men .
    There are a few ex 178 men who are members of the 44 Warsaw Club to which [I belong because of my RAAF x 31 SAAF father MIA 12/10/44]

    By the way 31 SAAF crews, based at Celone, also flew to Ploesti & Warsaw, both highly dangerous missions & took part in many supply drops in Yugoslavia & Italy.

    Below is from google & there are other sites --
    http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/178_wwII.html

    Anne

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    Default

    There is a book "Through Darkness into Light" about the 205 Group raids from Italy to Romania. by Macdonald, publisher Images 1994, currently available in Midland Counties latest 2nd-hand list. I haven't read it.

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    Default 178 Squadron Liberators

    Thank you both for your help. My uncle's name was A.K. Brown, but he was always known as Ken Brown because he disliked his first name. I believe that there was another Ken Brown on the squadron.
    I also believe that there were South Africans in the crew he was flying with when he was wounded. Aparently the aircraft was extensively damaged by flak over the target and they crash-landed on return.
    Peter

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    Default 178 Raf

    The other Ken Brown --
    Sgt. Kenneth W Brown of 178 sqdn RAF airgunner is buried in Bucharest CWGC cemetery .KIA 8th May 1944.
    From P Macdonald's book "Through Darkness to Light" as written of by Graham in the previous response .I have this book & there is much about life on the Foggia bases ,pictures of the aircraft etc .

    Any idea of your uncle's mission, in which he was wounded & when ?

    Anne

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    Default 178 Squadron Liberators

    Hi Anne,
    My uncle's Log Book gives the following details:-
    His usual skipper was Sergeant Howarth. I don't know the names of any of the other members of the crew.
    First op-24/7/44 Valence France -undefended airfield.
    Second Op- 27/7/44 Ploesti oilfields Roumania. Log says heavily defended and got caught in searchlights 3 times.
    Third Op- 28/7/44 Prahavo Bucharest Hungary, Target oil refinery.
    Fourth Op- 8/8/44 Valence marshalling yards
    Fifth Op- 13/9/44 Flensis, Greece. Forced to abhort, jettisoned bombs at 500ft, aircraft damaged by own bombs. Crash landed at Torterella.
    Sixth Op- 11/10/44 Flying with Flying Officer Raw and crew in EW233 (unknown aircraft letter). Target Verona marshalling yards. Log staes-'Hit by heavy AA fire outside target-Aircraft caught fire-Aircraft severely damaged-Sustained personal wounds in legs-Aircraft made base.

    Anne, this is all the info I have- if you can add to this I would be grateful.

    Peter

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    Default 178 Raf

    Peter
    Flt/Lt Peter Raw RAAF DFC AFC DSO [Australian from Victoria] eventually became Air Commodore & died 1988.

    http://www.awm.gov.au/honours/honours/person.asp?p=409445

    I will try his son -in -law, in Australia, who has his log book but as it's a long time since we were in contact he may not reply.
    Can you send your email address to me ? storm04ATglobalnet.co.uk
    Substitute the AT for @.

    The Through Darkness to Light book is worth trying to buy.Try Google for 178 RAF as well

    Anne

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    Default 178 Raf

    Peter
    This is a press report from the papers of Peter Raw, sent to me by his son -in -law.
    I have more information & photo if you email me direct .Photo does not include Ken Brown.
    Anne

    Press Report:

    Liberatorís 166 Flak Holes

    After bombing Verona Marshalling Yards, a Liberator was twice hit by flak and filled with smoke. The oxygen bottles exploded.

    The pilot, F/O Peter Raw of Caulfield, Victoria, felt a tearing wing coming at him through the nose. The inter-communication went dead. Half his instruments ceased to register. The mid-upper gunner, Sgt. Frederick Anzell (sic), of Leicester, England, found his turret shattered. The wireless operator, Sgt. K. Brown of Birmingham, was hit by shrapnel in both legs. Anzell (sic) gave him first aid. The inner port engine was blazing, many of the control cables had gone, but somehow or other the Australian managed to trim the lurching bomber. The navigator found the compass out of order, but managed to patch up other instruments.

    Over base Raw fired distress signals. Ground control gave him a priority landing signal. The hydraulic pipe lines had been shot away, and the undercarriage and flaps had to be lowered by hand winch. For 40 minutes the stricken Liberator circled while the crew cranked. When the machine touched down the nose wheel tyre burst and the bomber slewed, but Raw managed to bring it to a halt on the verge of the strip. The Australian jumped to the ground. He found he could not stand. His feet had been frost-bitten by the wind screaming in through the battered nose.

    (Townsville Daily Bulletin, 19 December 1944)

    From English press report:

    Fire in the rear put out by Sgt R Daniells, 16 Granham Road, Bitterne, Southampton Benade unhurt in the nose. Sgt F Ansell, Charnwood House, Sileby, Leicester. WOP Sgt K Brown , 13 Sutton Approach, Alum Rock, Birmingham, shrapnel both legs. Sgt Breedon, 429 High St Nth, Manor Park, London, sliver of steel through Mae West and lodged in the right breast pocket of his battle dress.

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