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

  1. #11
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    Col, Don. Thanks very much for your contributions. Judging from the time in the ORB and strike photo, I suspect that dad's crew followed the instructions of the 2nd Master Bomber, S/L Leicester of 35 Squadron, immediately prior O'Donovan taking over. There is only a small amount of ground detail in the photo and it is difficult to match it up with recent Google Maps or historical maps. Sometimes you have to look at these images in every which way before you can determine the approximate location.

    Jim

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    Maton (CB #10)? Brain fade on my part in my #9 post ref to Maton/inits only - quite wrong. Odd. Corrected.

    But then, the eyes still deceive until a third (...fourth?) look
    to find that Maton as cited 2013 edn has him in fact thus:

    150248 O'Donovan Gerald Wilfred for the DSO
    and as
    150248 O'Donovan Gerard Wilfred for the DFC

    While London Gazette DSO notice is
    Gerard Wilfred
    but the DFC notice is as
    Gerard Wilfrid
    Lastly, his LG May 1943 commission from LAC to P/O (Prob, emergency) has him as
    1251136 Gerard Wilfred O'DONOVAN (150248)
    Phew.

    Now what was that I was saying the other day about errors...even in contemp sources...
    Though they can occasionally turn out to be handy, I detest errors.
    Partly for the chance of confusion they may make, however, most cordially of all, for the amount of extra work they create.
    Antidote? Known to all and sundry: attentive patience, check, rest/refresh, check again.

    Anyway, here's to
    Gerard Wilfred O'Donovan (150248) DSO DFC, Pathfinder survivor.

    And Jim, you're most welcome. Good luck with your continuing work.

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Last edited by Don Clark; 3rd April 2020 at 07:50.
    Toujours ŗ propos

  3. #13
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    I can confirm that the Little Staughton ORB shows 582 Squadron sent a Master Bomber & Deputy Master Bomber to Gelsenkirchen on that day. O’Donovan’s nickname on the squadron was his initials - GOD. Along with being regularly called on to act as a Master Bomber on major raids, O’Donovan’s other claim to fame on the squadron happened not long after the squadron was formed in April 1944. On a test flight he turned on to the wrong runway taking off and barely managed to get the Lanc into the air by the end of the runway then struggled for height. He ended up taking off the steeple of one of the village churches. Bad show!

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    Interesting, David. Dadís friend W/C ďWingĒ Gall, OC 428 squadron was not accorded the same support, after pranging his a/c, February, 1945. He was found responsible and caught a rocket from A/Cdre McBurney, 6-Group, and never flew operations in March April, 1945.

    Do you happen to know the identity of the 3rd deputy MB? Again, the records are vague.

    I would be interested in any photos of these individuals.

    Thanks

    Jim

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    The 582 ORB certainly indicates O’Donovan was the 3rd Master Bomber: “14.12 gave MF instructions to bomb last resort. 14.15.30 continued to give last resort orders.” Confirmed by the bomb loads (since the 582 ORB never indicates what the crew’s role was) the Deputy Master Bomber from 582 Squadron was S/L John Clough. Also Clough’s ORB entry says he was contacted by the 3rd MB whom Clough advised “that he had bombed but not marked. MB instructed not to mark.”
    O’Donovan’s obit with picture in the Telegraph is here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obi...-ODonovan.html
    Article on John Clough here: https://www.bridportnews.co.uk/news/...llen-comrades/
    Clough has an interesting twist and had joined the army early in the war. In the London Gazette March 23rd 1945 it lists his DFC award under Acting Wing Commanders as “John Hatras Clough (45421) RAF (Lieutenant West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales Own) ), 582 Sqn.”
    Cheers
    Last edited by David Wallace; 3rd April 2020 at 17:25.

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    Certainly many 8 Group pilots who damaged their aircraft through error paid a price and the 8 Group OC Donald Bennett was famous for making sure offenders were out of the PFF that day. I think the distinction here is that the steeple was damaged and the aircraft damage was able to be fixed without being reported to Group HQ. A similar thing happened to my father and his pilot returning to RAF Little Staughton after an Oboe marking operation for 109 Squadron. They were landing with their Mosquito with a full load of TIs on board and the pilot, Graham Foxall, snagged his left sleeve on something as he was reaching to cut the throttle and couldn’t reach it. They went off the end of the runway, through a fence, across a road then through a hedge where they stopped. The TIs didn’t go off and not a word was said between them. The Mosquito was then dragged back to the airfield where any damage was quietly fixed. I have no idea when it happened because the Squadron Commander kept it out of all reports so that Donald Bennett wouldn’t find out about it. My dad said they were all fearful of making a mistake and being kicked out of the PFF on short notice.
    Last edited by David Wallace; 3rd April 2020 at 19:52.

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

    Yep, this was my Grandfather, Sqr Ldr Gerard Wilfred O'Donovan (nickname Gerry). Never spoke a single word of any of his career in the RAF (understandably, but sadly). Just found his log books from D-Day; he was out clearing German gun positions on some of the beaches at 3am. He had a remarkable record.

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

    James: welcome to this forum. I would be interested in having a good photograph of your grandfather if you have one youíd like to share.

    Jim

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Clark View Post
    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
    Don:I donít have Sean Feastís book. Does he comment at all as to the criteria for having, or not having, a Master Bomber supervising a raid? If I recall correctly, there was a Master Bomber on all of dadís targets in February and March, 1945, except to Dortmund, February 20/21 and to Duisburg, February 21/22, 1945. I have not seen any rational as to why these targets did not have a MB assigned. I wonder if it had to do with forecasted weather over the target.

    Thoughts?

    Jim

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