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Thread: First Mk 11 Sunderland where was it built?

  1. #11
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    It's a who dun it mystery who was the pilot. Hobley was not the pilot. Mr Vincent Drake was a civilian serving with MAEE as head of the sea rescue section. He received his OBE after Helensburgh when he returned to Felixstowe. My father was Vincent's friend and I have spoken to his daughter. Your feedback has me wondering. The turret was recovered from Rhu Narrows in 1990's but no bodies were recovered.

  2. #12
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    My information came from
    1. The accident card at Hendon which only showed Hobley
    2. AHB records which recorded the crew and trades as follows.
    F/O Hobley, pilot
    LAC Cameron, Aircrafthand/Flight Rigger
    LAC Edwards, Fitter 2E
    Cpl Hansord, Wireless Operator
    AC1 McMeekin Flight Mechanic {Airframes}
    AC1 Wallace, Aircrafthand/General Duties
    AC1 Cockburn, Flight Mechanic
    AC2 Morris, not listed
    Mr V. N. Drake, Civilian Assistant.

    The Sunderland was engaged on 'aircraft damper trials'.

    The serial number next to Drake was indeed a formatting error. He was a civilian in the employ of the Ministry of Aircraft production attached to the RAF. He was awarded his OBE in LG 4th January 1944 where his 'rank' is Technical Officer.

    Cpl Hansord died in hospital 5th February 1942 as a result of injuries (cerebral abscess). He is buried at Thetford Cemetery, Norfolk.
    AC1 Cockburn's body was recovered and he is buried at St Mary's Churchyard, Boulton Moor, Derbyshire
    AC2 Morris' body was not recovered.

    I have no doubt that F/O Hobley was the pilot for his name to be recorded twice on official RAF paperwork. It was probably not unusual for only one pilot to be on board for some MAEE work as the flights were generally short in nature and in the local vicinity, (hence no navigator). I don't doubt Robin's records are correct but it would appear the details of some flights are maybe not recorded.

    Chris

  3. #13
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    Thanks again everyone for your feeedback. To sum up if Hobley was the pilot of Sunderland W3976 he survived along Vincent Drake. Hobley appears in official MAEE flying logs into 1944, i.e. flying|Sunderland ML817 for an air test. When his medals were later sold at auction it stated his mention in the London Gazette of 43 for 1,000 hours of flying as MAEE test pilot. It also states he retired 1954 and died 1963. I appreciate there is something not right i.e. dad's diary for Jan 8 42 'one of the bodies from the Sunderland 11 crash has been recovered. The M.O. refused to take clothing from it. We are disappointed.' Dad then goes to visit Drake recovering from that crash Besides other mentions in the London Gazette the MAEE issued flying logs states that at 15.30 hours on November 9 1944 Hobley took up Sunderland ML 817 for air tests accompanied by Engineering Officer Peter Knight. Sounds if there was some type of cover up, not that unusual for the MAEE covered by the Official Secret Act. Incidentally Fl Lt Alexander took up Sunderland W3976 shortly before the crash for tests. He then died when MAEE LerwickL7248 carshed on October 21, 1941. There was controversy over this too and I wonder if the two were related. I have asked Kew to check its record regarding W3976 rather than a long journey down to London. Even if I go I think I would be going around in circles.

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