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Thread: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

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    Default Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Hi to everyone 👍🏻

    Subject - Whitley Bomber crash 5/6 October 1942 - All crew were sadly killed and my uncle, Ernest 'TIGER' Hatch was the rear gunner. Serial No BD213

    I have been researching my late uncles Whitley MK V bomber crash, which happened in 1942 just near Castletown, Scotland.... (actually been doing it for several years now !!) I'am amazed however, that ive never seen this forum !!!! The Information on here is fantastic 👍🏻👍🏻 and you have several members who contributed a great deal to the site for research etc. Hopefully I can gain some more knowledge of my uncles life in the RAF.

    Anyway, i have found plenty of the main details of the crash, location, time, reason, crew and plane etc, and been in contact with some lovely people (enthusiasts), who have all helped me compile information ref the history.
    So i can now better inform my father (who is 87yrs old) all about his brothers time in the RAF reserves (i.e. my uncle in Ernest 'Tiger' Hatch , just incase my text is confusing to read!!)
    Details were limited for several years, so within the family we had loads of different stories and my father never knew what to believd, therefore its great to find out all the facts.

    i have recently put in some FOI requests, so waiting for some certain details but because I now have plenty of information its now causing me to ask more questions about WHY the crash happened.
    Obviously i totally understand that 10'000's of service men & women died/killed during the war(s), and I understand not all crashes can be fully explained however, i just seem to uncovering a particular problem with the early Merlin's ???!!!! i.e. they used to catch on fire for no reason, especially in the early Whitleys!!! ???
    i also recently noticed a forum member 'Mark Hood' was asking similar questions abot the Whitley crashes, so if anyone can help me finalise my research with the details, I would be very grateful 👍🏻👍🏻

    Also my uncle was a proffesional boxer when he went into RAF reserves, so I would be very gratful if anyone who maybe researching boxing in the RAF/military and may have seen my uncles name in any tournaments/booklets/registers etc i would love to see them.

    Thank you for reading this post
    Regards

    Jason

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Hello Jason,

    Welcome to the forum !

    I'm sure others will be able to give you some more informations more specific about your uncle's crew and the Whitley they flew.

    There's a new series of archive documents that are currently put into the public domain, in the National Archives in Kew. These are the "casualty packs", in the AIR 81 series. We have currently reached June 1942, so it's only a matter of time, a year to the max, before we get to the night 5/6th October 1942. The casualty pack for that loss is likely to have some interesting détails for you and your family, even some letters from your grand-parents and to them from the Air Ministry, etc... and correspondences with the other families involved. I'm also interested in that night, for a Halifax crash near my home.

    You'll have to go to Kew in person to see this AIR file when it will have found its way to the public domain, or hire a researcher to copy it for you if you don't want to go there yourself. Problem is the actual limitations due to covid 19.

    Good luck in your research

    Joss

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    Ernest Tiger Hatch (6th September 2020)

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Hi Joss
    Thank you for your reply and that important information 👍🏻👍🏻 i kept seeing this AIR 81series and 'casualty packs' mentioned as it popped up in my Google searches!!?? I will make sure im ready for visit to Kew. Im in Norwich so its not far for me anyway, but as you say Covid can change any plans. Fingers crossed it improves as they develop vaccines and learn more about the virus etc

    many thanks & looking forward to finding out more information in due course
    jason 👍🏻🤞🏻

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    ETH is referring to the loss of a 19 Operational Training Unit Whitley Mk V BD213 on 6 Oct 1942, with all five crew incl his relative Air Gunner Sgt Ernest Samuel William Hatch (1162515).

    Not knowing what he has gathered so far, I don't quite follow the need or reason for any FOI request, so here's a summary of sources that may still help...

    CWGC entry Sgt Hatch here
    https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/fi...LLIAM%20HATCH/

    Crew recorded in the Loss db of this site here
    http://www.rafcommands.com/database/...php?uniq=BD213

    Crew recorded in the Casualty db at www.RAFweb.org (members area) which adds
    "Whitley V, BD213 of No 19 OTU, which crashed and burst into flames near Thurso during a night navigation flight."

    Aircrew Remembered page (aircraft & crew detailed incl Sgt Hatch photo)
    http://aircrewremembered.com/williamson-john.html

    IBCC Losses db entry here, with addnl notes on BD213 flight
    https://losses.internationalbcc.co.uk/loss/110206


    The Operations Record Book for No 19 OTU is held in The National Archives AIR 29 set and accessible to visitors
    (as only AIR 27 Sqn ORBS are digitised for on-line view or free download). See
    ORB AIR 29/662 https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C4100371
    Appendices AIR 29/663 https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C4100372
    The panel at right on each page notes how to access the record.

    A copy of the remaining Form 543 RAF Record of Service (Airman) held by the UK Ministry of Defence can be requested, with Next-of-Kin permission, at a fee of 30 pounds. Details here
    https://www.gov.uk/government/collec...vice-personnel

    It is also possible to directly request the Casualty file information, without waiting for the program of release to UK National Archives. Another 30 pounds fee, and details here
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-...casualty-files
    In place of Death Cert, I expect the CWGC entry downloadable cert would suffice.

    Follow the listed requirements and forms as closely as possible. Delay can be expected. The Record of Service form is likely to comprise just two folios, using RAF acronyms and abbreviations for postings, training and etc.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 4th September 2020 at 22:30.
    Toujours à propos

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    Ernest Tiger Hatch (6th September 2020)

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Thank you for the information👍🏻

    Yes, i do have the main details about the plane type, engine type, time of crash, crash site & crew loss etc , however its the details prior to and just after the crash im now mainly interested in. Plus trying to piece together exactly what happened.
    My aim is to have a memorial service at the crash site, hopefully with my father and any other family descendants from the other crew members. Plus have a permanent stone/marker with inscription at the crash site.... Thats my aim anyway.
    Also due to a total lack of information for the family about the crash, we had several different stories passed on through the generations, so i want to make sure ive got all the details correct and not left a any stones uncovered.

    Its clear that not one of the crew crew attempted to exit the plane, but its also reported they seemed to know something 'negativitly' was happening, which they at that time believed they could sort out..... Sadly 5 mins after this , the plane is down and in full blaze.
    A "fireball going through the sky" was verbally mentioned in a unofficial statement in 2009 (by a farmer who wittnessed the plane crashing) but the official statement was thatbit caught fire 'when it crash landed'??. Im guessing there are more reports from that night , plus some sort of official crash report after the wreckage was recovered back to RAF kinloss??
    So i would like to try and obtain these.

    Also another key part of the information is the engines (Merlin X), the engine serial numbers are not sequential?? , and a big difference in numbers?? As an engineer myself who have worked with MOD new engines & equipment, I would have to question why this has happened, especially on a plane thats only 16months old...???. Anyway, i just think one of the engines was swapped. So therefore I would just like to look through the planes service history. In addition to other planes from Serial No BD189, 190, 191, 192 continuing all the way to BD 238.
    These were delivered in April 1941 to contract No 106962/40 and part of a large batch of 1004 MK V's Whitleys.

    I once completed all the paperwork for my father (next of kin) to obtain my uncles service history, however, we received very little information. Sadly as my father has since been getting on in years he has now mislaid the letter anyway !? , but my father said its just not worth paying another £30 for as my uncles actual service record details were non- existent for some strange reason. Anyway i may review this again later...

    Yes, i have put in a couple of FOI requests but they have asked me to officially withdraw these requests as they are limited and just email informally..... They have said that i would get more information???! I'am however confused about this!! I thought the formal FOI was just easier for everyone to communicate. I will read through their replies but maybe this forum group can offer advice as i aint got a clue what to do!!!🤦🏼*♂️😂🤣👍🏻👍🏻

    Im learning more each day anyway ! 👍🏻

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Hello

    I see that "Aircrew remembered" has a page about this loss, but hasn't gone very far into the research. I have to admit I don't like the way they treat "other sources" but I'm not sure you have really searched the available documents, reading your #5.
    Have you accessed No. 19 O.T.U. ORB from the national archives in Kew (in the AIR 29 series as mentioned by Don). I've copied bits of it, 1940 to July 1942, but not October 1942. There are lots of course pictures in AIR 29/663 so you may find a picture of your uncle and his crew mates in this sub-series as well.


    Do you have the aircraft form 78 (aircraft movement card) ? Form 1180 (accident card) ? Both from the R.A.F. museum, Hendon ?
    I presume there may be a form 765c as well for that accident, that could be mentioned in the form 1180.

    If you want to have a look about a batch of Whitleys, you should order from Hendon all the form 78s for these bombers, and see what they give.

    Have you accessed the R.C.A.F. member of the crew, Moses Charton, service file from the National Archives of Canada, through Ancestry ? This would give very good informations about Charton, but also some other details about the other crewmembers, and the crash, while waiting for the AIR81 to become public. There'll be similar pages in both documents, you'll find out.

    As for maintenance logs, I'm afraid you won't find them anymore.

    I'm not surprised by engine numbers not being sequential, or being far from each other in terms of service numbers. I'd rather say that having engine numbers in a row is an exception rather than the rule, from my own experience.

    Joss

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    Ernest Tiger Hatch (6th September 2020)

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Cheers Joss. I will follow up on the areas you have kindly pointed out.

    I would understand what you are saying about engines serial numbers, but ive worked with Rolls Royce engines (commercial/government diesel engines) and engine 'deliveries to customers' are 99.9% sequential off the production line... Matched pairs & sets of engines are normalled treated as such.
    I guess during WW2, with engines in short supply and the demand for new engines extremely high, the production would have been busy, however the serial numbers on BD213 are VERY different...???..
    Development was also obviously very fast on the Merlins are modifications were introduced on a regular basis, and even power outputs would normally need tweaking each unit...so im just curious why such a difference.
    i.e. 128012 and 153322 (a difference of 25,310 engines??) With so many different models this is a big divide, but it could simply be a error with hand writing etc)
    With 1000 nomber raids happening and the retirement of Whitleys i can fully understand that engines may have been re-conditioned units etc but again im hoping to find out more information.

    Rolls Royce keep an unrivaled amount of historical information about their diesel engines, so i would have thought the most famous RR ever known would also have all the past history on model & serial numbers.

    I have some records that show the different models of Merlin's and as far as i can see the 'Merlin X' was officially the Mark 2 Merlin which was a re-introduction of the Kestrel (bored out to 27ltr engine) which was the Flat head design. (I believe from reading old information from RR that the ramp head project had gone drastically wrong)

    Once again thank you for all this information as its really helps a novice researcher !!!

    Regards

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Also for help ! I have received the following reply on my FOI requests and hoping someone knowledgeable on this forum can just advise me the best route to go ?? Thank you

    Dear Mr. Hatch,
    Thank you for your FOI requests (FOI2020/09826 and FOI2020/09651), which
    have been forwarded to the Air Historical Branch (RAF) by the Defence
    Safety Authority. The DSA and MAA no longer hold records from the Second
    World War, and accidents from this era come under the purview of AHB(RAF).
    This is NOT a formal reply to your FOIA requests. However, after
    reviewing the questions that you have asked, I would like to advise you
    that you will receive a far fuller response if you withdraw your FOIAs and
    submit your questions directly to AHB(RAF) as routine enquiries. Some of
    the information you seek is exempt from FOIA as it is already part of the
    MoD Publications Scheme, some will not recorded in any official document,
    and much of the rest will rely on the expert knowledge of the staff rather
    than any information contained in documents, making it technically outside
    the remit of a FOIA request. It is my estimation that your research would
    benefit much more from an exchange of emails with us rather than it would
    by following the formal FOIA route.
    If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us directly at:
    [email address]
    Yours sincerely,
    Air Historical Branch (RAF)

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Without being funny - that is the most helpful response I have seen to an FOI in many years.

    I would fall over myself to snap his hand off and go down the email route!

    All too often people use the FOI as a blunt object to try to beat information out of official departments that they cannot be bothered to look for themselves. With a finite time to respond most government departments will fall back on two valid answers - not in the remit of the department and if in the remit - nothing found in the time to respond.

    The DSA and MAA have passed as not remit of department.

    The AHB could have done so as well as most of your FOI is clearly out of their published remit.

    https://www.raf.mod.uk/our-organisat...orical-branch/

    I suspect - as you have done on this board - you did not specifically say what records you had consulted so they could have also refused on the blanket "Some of the information you seek is exempt from FOIA as it is already part of the MoD Publications Scheme, some will not recorded in any official document, and much of the rest will rely on the expert knowledge of the staff rather than any information contained in documents, making it technically outside the remit of a FOIA request."

    They did not say "info already Published in public domain eg RAF Museum for 78 and 1180, TNA for ORBs etc." and close your FOI but instead tried to open up dialogue to guide your request to a path that augment what you have clearly done already.

    If you have the 1180 then you will see that no AiB took place and that fire was recorded on ground and not in air. Also comments on rear record the views of the Station Commander and AOC.

    I would start the dialogue with a request for a summary of the casualty file - it may be that it already has been transferred for audit before publication to the TNA but asking for details of a document the AHB may still have access will be more productive that demanding they give chapter and verse on documents they have already transferred out.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 6th September 2020 at 15:49.
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    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2020 - All rights reserved.

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Again Thank you Ross. I have sent several FOI requests but on other work related subjects so i do try and leave the door open a bit on the suject in question!!! I.e. It then gives me more options/questions to follow up with !! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 😂🤣

    Seriously i was just unsure, mainly because I couldn't see ANY difference with direct email route or the FOI route, because i could publish every thats said anyway!! Thinking about it however, i would imagine with direct emails they will ask me to agree to a 'confidentiality clause' or something??? Im generally happy with that, as long as it answers my key questions.

    Im not however sure what is involved when you say '1080', 'AiB, 'TNA' and 'AOC' stand for!!!...🤦🏼*♂️🤣 Can you just clarify for me please , I do know the 'RAF' one !!! 🤦🏼*♂️🤦🏼*♂️ Cheers

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