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Thread: Possible Connection from the UK to RAAF Narromine

  1. #1
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    Default Possible Connection from the UK to RAAF Narromine

    Hello All,
    I have been asked to try to connect RAAF Station Narromine, in NSW, with a street-name (Narromine Drive) in a post-WW2 housing estate development in Reading, Berkshire.
    Narromine Airfield is at GE -32.215584148.224771 just northwest of the township of Narromine. It is 180 nm from the sea. It was in use from 1940-1945? The main Units were 5 EFTS, 8 OTU RAAF, 93 Sqn RAAF, and 618 Sqn RAF. 618 Sqn had been formed for anti-shipping operations using the HIGHBALL munition. Targets were rapidly reducing in Europe, and the Sqn was sent to Australia. The war against Japan was abruptly terminated by US nuclear munitions, and 618 Sqn was disbanded on 14 Jul 1945. (Source: Wiki, etc).
    On 27 Jul 1945 (as part of the disbandment procedures?) Flt Lt Francis James French (127458, RAFVR GD) flew DH Mosquito VI HR614 across Narromine airfield – possibly in a ‘farewell, low-level, beat-up’? It crashed, and he was killed (source: RAFWEB, for which tks!). The Mosquito VI normally had a crew of two. I cannot find the death of the Nav. So did he survive? Was there a CoI?
    The current theories are that somebody in the 618 Sqn team – or their parents/NoK? – was, post-WW2, in UK Local Govt and/or housing developing, and involved in the naming of new streets. Narromine Drive might (rept, might!) be some sort of memorial?
    I need a list of 618 Sqn names at disbandment. There is a large file in TNA (618 Sqn Appendices - 200 pages!) but my failing eyesight won’t cope with that. Would it have a personnel list?
    I should also say that, having been contacted by email, the local Council staff, Historians, Librarians, etc, etc, both in Narromine, NSW, and Holybrook, W Berks, have shown some considerable interest and are beavering away to see if there is any possibility of a connection between the two locations – from their end(s).
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 13th February 2020 at 12:13.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hello.

    "Next month, on 27th July (1945), another flying accident claimed the lives of Sqn Ldr J. S. "Sammy" McGoldrick and Hutch's navigator, Flt Lt Francis French. Their Mosquito, a Mk VI HR614, crashed just outside the town of Narromine. The official report says that no definite cause had been established, but one of his colleagues recalls that Sammy McGoldrick was buzzing the airfield before going to Sydney on leave."

    404846 S/L (Pilot) James Stewart McGOLDRICK RAAF + (OC 'C' Flight)
    127458 F/L (Nav.) Francis James FRENCH RAFVR +

    NB. You will find a listing of aircrew who served with No.618 Squadron in Appendix 1 (pp.193-5), of the quoted reference. They are listed alphabetically by Name/Initials, Rank, Awards, From (Unit), Died/Killed & To.

    See:
    A Most Secret Squadon The First Full Story of 618 squadron and its Special Detachment Anti-U-Boat Mosquitos.
    Curtis,Des DFC.
    London:Grub Street,2010 (rep.)
    pp.137-8.

    and ...

    Other Squadron personnel remained behind to help dispose of top secret equipment, supervise the explosion of the 125 Highballs and for maintenance purposes. Limited flying was still being undertaken, but at the cost of another Mosquito, Mk VI HR614, and crew, Squadron Leader James McGoldrick RAAF, OC 'C' Flight, and Flight Lieutenant Francis French.

    Both men were leaving the Squadron on the fateful day, 27 July, McGoldrick proceeding on posting, having been retained temporarily to ferry and test the Mosquito Mk VI aircraft still being delivered, whilst his passenger was to be flown to Laverton for repatriation to England. In a traditional farewell gesture after take-off, McGoldrick "shot-up" Narromine aerodrome and then "proceeded towards the town in a series of steep banks."* Whilst over the town the aircraft rolled onto its back whereupon the pilot apparently lost control, the Mosquito crashing upside down on the outskirts of town. Both men were killed instantly and the aircraft totally destroyed. Nothing could be salvaged from the crash. It was a sad end to the Squadron history.

    * Summary of Facts in "Court of Inquiry re Accident Mosquito HR614" 1945 Australian Archives CRS A705, item 32/32/524. https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/Sear...=165893&isAv=N (not digitised, and session will time-out. If so, enter HR 614 in Keywords box at NAA/RecordSearch.)

    See:
    Mosquito Monograph A History of Mosquitoes in Australia and R.A.A.F. Operations.
    Vincent.David.
    Highbury:Author,1982.
    pp.192 & 195.

    See also: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133029611

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 13th February 2020 at 20:51.

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    Hello All,

    I am in the middle of researching some of the personnel on 618 Sqn during their stay at RAAF Narromine, NSW, at the end of WW2. Col alerted me to the list of aircrew in an Appendix to the first ref in Post #2. A co-researcher in Narromine was kind enough to send me a scan of that list. I have been going through it. There are several names that I don’t seem to be able to get to come up in the usual sources. Can anybody help with Service Numbers/Forenames (as appropriate)? They are:-

    Fg Off D G Bolger, came from 254 Sqn – went to India.
    W/O Gardner, ?
    Flt Lt J G Groome, came from 235 Sqn, went to India.
    Flt Lt V Lawton (137215?), came from 235 Sqn, went to India.
    W/O Stacey, ?
    Fg Off J Walker, came from 105 Sqn, Went to India.
    Flt Lt F J Weston (RNZAF 958894?), came from 139 Sqn, went to India.

    Any help much appreciated.
    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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    Hello,

    Here are a couple:

    1013279 Jack GROOME (112717).

    1344927 John WALKER (174379).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th February 2020 at 10:23.

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

    Resmoroh (16th February 2020)

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    Hello,

    I don’t know if this helps with your research, but stumbled across this newspaper article from Jan 1947? It may help narrow the search and connection with Narromine?

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/135724229

    As a point of interest I am fairly certain ‘Cobber’ Cobbledick was Leslie Thomas Cobbledick, an Australian in the RAFVR (120148/1269172). Pilot with 248 Sqn RAF and 618 Sqn RAF.

    Regards, Drew

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    Hello All,

    Flt Lt V Lawton (137215?), came from 235 Sqn, went to India.

    Any help much appreciated.
    Peter Davies
    F/Sgt Vincent LAWTON 1304736 commissioned 8th December 1942
    P/O V LAWTON 137215
    To F/O 8th June 1943
    To F/Lt 8th December 1944

    Chris

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    Drew/Chris, etc,
    Mni tks yr replies.
    That newspaper article is valuable as it enables me to identify individuals from the list of Sqn names. I can now pass these names to those, in the local area, who are investigating this in the local Record Office and Council Archives!!
    Tks again,
    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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