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Thread: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

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    Default Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Im new to the forum so hopefully this is the right place for this kind of request.

    I have been doing research into F/O William Edward Suddick, DFC who was an RCAF WAG. He served with 115 squadron from late 1941 until may 19th 1942, when he was injured in a German nightfighter attack. After this, in July of 1942 he joined 22 OTU as an instructor and served there until August of 1943. In August 1943 he was sent to 101 squadron and received training as a Special Operator for the ABC or "Airborne Cigar" equipment which 101 squadron became known for. He flew with F/L William D Austin on the first operational use of the ABC on October 7th 1943 and continued to fly with Austins crew until January of 1944. On January 1st 1944 F/O Suddick was with a different crew skippered by P/O Derrick Bell in DV308 "SR-V" when they were shot down by German ace Wilhelm Herget. Four of the crew survived but F/O Suddick perished and is buried in Belgium with his three other crew members. He was later posthumously awarded the DFC in 1945, the citation is as follows:

    “Flying Officer Suddick has been an extremely efficient and enthusiastic wireless operator/rear gunner who has invariably set his mind fearlessly to the task in hand. In December 1943 he took part in an operational mission to Berlin in the course of which he displayed exceptional initiative and attained outstanding results. His example of cheerful courage and coolness in the face of enemy opposition has been of great value to his squadron.”

    I unfortunately cant seem to figure out specifically what results he achieved on his mission to Berlin (either on Dec 2nd or 16th) as the operational records don't note anything extraordinary occurring.

    I also have the following information regarding crew members F/O Suddick flew with on operations:

    Bell Crew:
    ABC equipped Lancaster DV308 “SR-V” Shot down by German Air Ace Hauptmann Wilhelm Herget over Belgium while on return from a raid of Berlin on January 2, 1944.


    Pilot P/O Derrick J Bell RAF POW
    Flight Engineer Sgt Lawrence Somers RAF KIA
    Navigator Sgt H W Bailey RAF Evaded
    Bomb Aimer 1st Lt Martin H Albert USAAF POW
    Wireless Operator Sgt E H Harris RAF POW
    Mid Upper Gunner P/O Frank J Zubic RCAF KIA
    Rear Gunner Sgt George C Connon RAF KIA
    Special Operators F/O William E Suddick, DFC RCAF KIA




    Austin Crew:
    Pilot F/L William D Austin, DFC & Bar RAF
    Flight Engineer Sgt G Lockheart
    Navigator F/Sgt Reginald C Waterson DFM RAAF
    Bomb Aimer Sgt D Bruchez
    Wireless Operator F/Sgt J W Varley
    Mid Upper Gunner Sgt C Grey
    Rear Gunner F/Sgt O Toitz
    Special Operators F/O William E Suddick, DFC RCAF


    Other part-time Members:
    Flight Engineer Sgt Beedle (Replaced Oct 8 1943)
    Mid Upper Gunner Sgt G W Wright “
    Rear Gunner Sgt J C K Platts “
    Ninth Crew Member P/O Martin H Albert (One Op Oct 18, 1943, See Above)
    Ninth Crew Member Sgt B A Pullon (One Op Oct 20, 1943)


    115 Squadron RAF, Bomber Command:
    B-Flight, Wellington Bombers


    Hyde Crew:
    Pilot F/Sgt Hyde
    Second Pilot Sgt Edwards (position removed May 6, 1942)
    Navigator Sgt Robb
    Wireless Operator F/Sgt Suddick
    Front Gunner F/Sgt France
    Rear Gunner Sgt Reeves


    Other Short-term Members:
    Second Pilot F/Sgt Tonking (Replaced by Edwards March 8, 1942)
    Front Gunner Sgt Ballentine (Replaced France March 28, 1942)


    I have lost of information on F/O Suddick but I am especially hoping to find photographs of him and of any members of his crews. So if anyone happens to have a 22 OTU photo with him in it or any other related images it would be greatly appreciated if you'd share them.

    Cheers,
    Garrett

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    You should start planning for a trip to the National Archives when it reopens. 22 OTU is one of those rare occasions where named course photos are included in the ORBs.
    Andrew

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Thanks for the idea i'll have to look into that. Unfortunately as someone on the other side of the pond visiting the Archives in person is a bit difficult.

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Sorry, didn't realise that bit, Canada. Keep an eye out when the NA opens, and bring the question up, maybe some kind soul with some spare time could oblige when they visit.
    Andrew

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Hello Garrett,

    Unfortunately, the No. 22 OTU ORB won't help as it has photos of pupils but not instructors. Suddick was one of the first people I looked up in it when a friend photographed it for me.

    I've physically examined his service file at the LAC in Ottawa. Not only no photos but also no estate docs to determine if he had siblings.

    I took a look at the Ludford Magna Station ORB and nothing stands out for him on those two dates in December. But a DFC wasn't always awarded for an immediate act of bravery. There are several threads on this forum about that.

    It may be of interest that Air Bomber O-886257 1st Lt Martin Albert was previously J21787 F/O Albert RCAF having transferred to the USAAF on 16 Dec 1943.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Thanks Dave,

    Too bad about the 22 OTU photos. He did attend 23 OTU as a pupil so maybe I'll have to look there instead. I did find one picture of him on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial but I'm still holding out hope for another being out there somewhere. I know F/O Suddick's primary pilot F/Lt Austin's DFC and bar sold at auction in 2018 and it appears they were accompanied by group photos and photos of operations, too bad they didn't post photos of the pictures in the auction description. Would have been interesting to see of Suddick was in any of them.

    I figured his DFC wasn't for an immediate act but good to have more conformation on that.

    Interesting that 1st Lt Albert was originally F/O Albert, fascinating that he decided to stay with 101 Squadron after transferring to the USAAF.

    Cheers,
    Garrett

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Hi Garrett,

    Albert didn't really have a say in whether he stayed on the squadron or not.

    You might read on various sites where "my uncle transferred to the USAAF but wanted to stay with his RAF squadron" etc.

    The real expert on this topic is Wally Fydenchuk, author of "Immigrants of War" but essentially the RCAF had spent the King's shilling training these men.

    So, in order to recoup their investment a US citizen who had served in the RCAF and then joined the USAAF had to first finish his tour with the UK or Canadian squadron.

    Albert was lucky. The two other US citizens on No. 101 Squadron in that time frame were two air gunners, killed in December 1943 and January 1944.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Suddick's R.C.A.F. Service File includes an RAF Form 39 that records he was treated for shrapnel wounds to the knee and thigh in May 1942 while with 22 O.T.U., the note states "S.S.W. Left Knee (E/A)."

    It also has a copy of the official press release for his D.F.C., but it doesn't much more details than those mentioned in Garrett's original post.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Hi Simon,

    I managed to find the 115 squadron combat report from May 19th that details the attack that injured him, and based on some other medical records I found it doesn't surprise me that he still received treatment while at 22 OTU. Apparently the physical and mental wounds of the incident troubled him well into June 1943! Probably why he spent so much time at 22 OTU before returning to an active squadron.

    Cheers,
    Garrett
    Last edited by garrettl4; 21st May 2020 at 17:11.

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    Default Re: Seeking Photos/info F/O William E Suddick, DFC J17136 DV308

    Hi Dave,

    Thats quite interesting I never thought about that. Albert certainly was a lucky one, supposedly according to the pilot P/O Bell none of the four survivors bailed out. Apparently after the aircrafts gas tank exploded the guys at the front were thrown out and four of them including Albert managed to wake up mid air in time to pull their chutes. It was certainly an interesting tale, especially as the Navigator Sgt Bailey supposedly only had one strap fashioned on his parachute so when he woke up it was above his head... but it still worked!

    Cheers,
    Garrett

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