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Thread: A third Master Bomber at Gelsenkirchen, November 6, 1944?

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    Default A third Master Bomber at Gelsenkirchen, November 6, 1944?

    Was a third Master Bomber operating at Gelsenkirchen, November 6, 1944? I have ORB Records of W/C Ison of 156 Squadron, whom I believe to be Hamlet I and S/L Leicester of 35 Squadron whom I believe to be Hamlet II. However, there is a note at the end of the ORB for Leicester that Hamlet III heard to call announcing he was taking over. Message was acknowledged. Can anyone let me know the identity of Hamlet III?

    thanks in advance

    Jim

    Edit: Yes, comments in the 582 Squadron ORB affirms a 3rd MB.
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 19th March 2020 at 23:57.

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    DG Murray (PB589) is shown as Deputy Master Bomber in the 35 Squadron ORB for that operation.

    The ORB appears to support your theory that Leicester was Hamlet II noting that he called up Hamlet I (14.05) and there was no reply so he proceeded to give instructions. At 14.12, Hamlet III called to announce he was taking over

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 20th March 2020 at 09:07.
    Main areas of research:

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    Thanks Pete: Yes, I also have a F/L Wilson of 156 Squadron as another Deputy, (PLATO I). The briefing document for Middleton St. George also indicates 3 Master Bombers: Hamlet I, II and III. Mainforce was Stongbow. Hamlet I until H+5, Hamlet II from H+5 to H+12 and Hamlet III from H+12 and on. Still uncertain as to MB Hamlet III from the available Pathfinder ORB's that I have.

    Jim

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    There is nothing to suggest that Murray was Hamlet III, as he makes no reference to taking over as Master Bomber in his "Details of Sortie or Flight" recorded in the ORB

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    I do not have any Bomber Command reports for this raid, similar to the Night Raid reports, so do not know the Groups involved, beyond 6 and 8 Groups, although clearly others were involved. I wonder if 5-Group was involved and if so, whether the 3rd MB was from that Group.

    Jim

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    Ok, so I think I have identified the 3rd Master Bomber as S/L O'Donovan of 582 Squadron. They don't have the "roles" of the crews identified in the ORBs for this squadron so it took a bit of sleuthing, but the following text in the ORB entry for S/L O'Donovan supports this: "...1405 heard 2nd Master take over who gave orders to bomb TIs, but changed this to 'Bomb last resort' - repeating this till took over. 1412 Gave MF instructions to bomb last resort. 1415.30 continued to give last resort orders. 1419 hrs left target. No TIs Red seen."

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...mageViewerLink

    Dad's strike photo records he bombed at 1411.4 (1411.6 in ORB entry) and the ORB recorded "Ordered to bomb built up area by MB. Bombed through break in cloud. Position estimate about three miles short of A/P on track."

    The Day raid sheets for this day reveal that 738 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8-Groups took off for Gelsenkirchen, so 5-Group was not involved.

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 1st April 2020 at 18:58.

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    S/Ldr O'Donovan
    Mentioned as "F/Lt Godfrey O'Donovan" [sic: Gerard Wilfred O'Donovan] on 582 Squadron's "return to operations on 3 October 1944": an attack on Walcheren, with four aircraft to mark the target
    (pilots G/Cpt Cribb, W/Cdr Walbourne, F/Lt O'D and S/Ldr Spooner) described as "possibly the four most expert of all experts on 582 Squadron at the time"(a).

    Acting S/Ldr Gerard Wilfred O'Donovan 150248 DSO DFC(b)

    DSO London Gazette 22 Dec 1944
    "In October, 1944, this officer was pilot and captain of an aircraft in a force of bombers detailed to attack the Walcheren sea wall. In the operation he displayed the highest standard of courage and pressed home his attack with great skill and precision. Squadron Leader O'Donovan has completed a very large number of sorties, involving attacks on a wide range of targets, including such heavily defended areas as Berlin, Stuttgart, Stettin and Kiel"(c)

    DFC London Gazette 23 Mar 1945

    The accolade and these awards having earlier survived flying Lancaster III ND737 'E' into a church steeple at Little Staughton, to crash land at Woodbridge, 22 Apr 1944
    (Feast, in detail, & Strafford Coulson DSO DFC briefer recall, both in less than complimentary terms (a))
    Recorded elsewhere as "hit houses on take off for training flight and crash landed Little Staughton 22.4.44"(d)


    Sources
    a) Feast Master Bombers
    b) Maton Honour the Air Forces
    c) Awards db http://www.rafcommands.com/database/awards/
    d) Halley RAF Aircraft NA100-NZ999

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Last edited by Don Clark; 3rd April 2020 at 02:38. Reason: Error in cited source corrected
    Toujours propos

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Clark View Post

    Acting S/Ldr Godfrey Wilfred O'Donovan 150248 DSO DFC(b)
    Hello,

    O'Donovan's correct name was, Gerard Wlifrid O'DONOVAN.

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/3162
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obi...-ODonovan.html

    Col
    Last edited by Jagan; 5th April 2020 at 00:47. Reason: Sorry Col, Quote function should be used sparingly. Moderator Decision.

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    Thanks. Corrected, in my post above, as: Gerard Wilfred O'Donovan (150248) .

    The incorrect first name appears repeatedly in Feast...just possibly arising from his Sqn nickname.
    After that, did not pick up the correct full name in the db entry here.
    However, that's no excuse, the mind's eye being what it is: pre-conditioning like that is a well-known path to mistake.

    All-in-all, also a first class reminder to check, observantly, from source:
    in this case, London Gazette DSO entry (the Awards db here correctly duplicating same).

    Some other LG entries accord O'Donovan his inits only [however see post #12 for variations in spelling, LG]

    O'Donovan was formerly of 156 Squadron, according to Feast.
    He remained in the RAF post-war.
    Promoted to Squadron Leader in July 1952, he retired in that rank, at own request, 30 June 1961
    (London Gazette Supplement 42425 1 Aug 1961 p5674)

    Lastly, if I may say so, I see no value in quoting the whole of a post immediately preceding a reply.

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Last edited by Don Clark; 3rd April 2020 at 07:35. Reason: Maton ref amend LG ref oddities noted
    Toujours propos

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    G'Day Don,

    Perfectly willing to accept "Wilfred" as O'Donovan's second forename. His AIR 78 entry records: "O'DONOVAN, Gerard Wilfred" (difficult to read):

    AIR 78/119/7 Oddie,Roy - Ogburn,William David. Image 185 of 309 (difficult to read, but it looks like Gerard Wilfred) - https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ls/r/C15625421

    Don't understand your reference to Maton. In my edition he quotes O'Donovan's forenames in full, albeit referring to him as, "Gerald Wilfred":

    150248 RAFVR - O'DONOVAN Gerald Wilfred - A/SLdr - DSO - #22.12.1944 - 5877 - 582 Squadron (G)

    150248 RAFVR - O'DONOVAN Gerald Wilfred - A/SLdr - DFC - #23.3.45 - 1597 - 582 Squadron (G)

    Honour The Air Forces...
    Maton,Michael.
    Honiton:Token Publishing,2013.
    p.379

    NB. I'm quoting the details for Maton, as I believe there was a second edition published which I haven't purchased as yet (revised entry?). At GBP 80 00, I'm in no hurry to do so!

    If you haven't already done so, I suggest you also take a look at the following:

    Companions of the Distinguished Service Order 1920-2006 - Air Awards.
    Hearns,V.P., C.D.
    Uckfield:Naval & Military Press,2001.
    p,280.

    A flawed work in some ways*, but a great time-saver, and contains information hard-to-find elsewhere.

    You're perfectly entitled to your own opinions, but as to why I do anything on this Forum, that is my concern (and the Moderators). I have my reasons. If you wish to discuss them off-board, that's fine.

    *
    Due to some errors/omissions, N&MP promised to reprint a revised edition of Hearn's work. Don't know if they ever did so.

    Good to see you back on the Forum regularly. Always enjoy your contributions.

    Take care, Mate.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 3rd April 2020 at 05:09.

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