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Thread: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Brian, Not yet. And we are not having any luck with coronial records. The police Constable named on the COI cover was Constable C.L. Harvey
    Regards
    cris

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Richard , The 1945 image of the area available on Google Earth recommended by Brian is worth a look to see if there is evidence of crash at your location. Regards cris
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cawsey View Post
    I have been to have a look at the likely crash area between the Rising Sun Hotel and the Cleeve Hill Golf Club. It is a slightly concave northwest-facing ridge about 800 yards long with a spur to the west and a higher hill to the north. To impact this area the aircraft would have to have been heading between 090 and 180. There are old quarries all over the site.

    The gorse clumps on the hill come and go over time so cannot be used to orient to a specific location, but they are generally above 900 feet.

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    OK Chris, leave that with me - and thanks for his name.

    Brian

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Quote Originally Posted by afterlift View Post
    Good morning Richard , Please give a datum lat and long for your estmated position so i can record it in the file. Thanks
    cris
    The centre of the likely area would be around 1 56' 20''N / 2 01' 20''W, or SO986267.

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Thanks Richard.
    cris
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cawsey View Post
    The centre of the likely area would be around 1 56' 20''N / 2 01' 20''W, or SO986267.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    The Proceedings of Court of Inquiry or Investigation into the loss of MZ311 (thanks for the copy Cris) includes the following entry in Section 8:

    Although the aircraft had been badly smashed, all the pilot's controls appeared normal. His navigation lights and pilot (sic) head heater were switched on but not his TR1196.

    Practically all communication between an aircraft and its base/Group was conducted by the wireless operator, but in the event of him being incapacitated, or in an emergency, the TR1196 was a short-range radio transmitter by which a pilot could make voice contact and seek assistance, especially a bearing to an airfield. I suggest that Section 8 comment might thus provide a clue as to what didn't happen during the final stages of MZ311's flight.

    Aircraft safety had come a long way since the beginning of the war, and by 1944 there were systems in place to help aircraft in distress or seeking assistance. One of these was the formation of Central Flying Control at HQ Bomber Command (CFO), the main function of which was to assist in the diversion of bombers which could not return to bases. (AP 1134: The Second World War 1939-1945 (Meteorology)). Thus, if MZ311 had needed to divert, the wireless operator (WOp) would have contacted CFO for assistance. There is no evidence of this happening, and since the last entry in his log was timed at 2.10 hours, 10 minutes before the crash, he does not appear to have been capacitated. A WOp's messages, inward and outward were in Morse code.

    However, in an extreme emergency a pilot, using what was known as the DARKY procedure, could make voice contact with an airfield using his TR1196 transmitter. A very brief description of the procedure is described at http://www.island-images.co.uk/ATC/z...0s/z1940s.html, but more information, as laid down by AP 3024/3, section 3 Appendix A, can be found in #9 of https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=156407 . #10 of the same link is a copy of a station's Standing Orders in respect of DARKY procedures.

    On the night in question MZ311 appears to have flown into a bank of low cloud, but as the TR1196 was switched off the pilot appears not to have thought it necessary to initiate DARKY procedures to obtain a bearing to a nearby airfield but, instead, appears to have been reversing course to regain clear air. The lack of communication would suggest a lack of concern and the pilot was not attempting to divert to Pershore as has been interpreted elsewhere (i.e. #4).

    I think I have interpreted the references correctly but, as usual, am more than happy to be corrected.

    As an aside I have written to the Gloucester Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to see if the police records can be accessed(#43).

    Edit 'DARKY' has been discussed previously on the forum at http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...rky-radio-call

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 19th October 2020 at 12:06. Reason: Added ref to forum DARKY discussion in 2012

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Brian (et al),
    About 4/5 yrs ago (I cannot find the thread!) we were examining a similar circumstance. Somebody was flying (late WW2, Oxford/Anson?) VFR north from the S coast by map reading up what is now the A34. Somewhere, approaching Burghclere, the weather started to close in on him. To stay VFR he went quite low. He then decided to do a 180. At some point in the turn he appears to have had engine problems. He ended up crashing (and killing himself) in deepest Hampshire somewhere near Ashley Warren(?). Can’t remember the details.
    But . . . I went to the N Hants Coroner (within who’s bailiwick the crash – and death – had occurred). He still had the Inquest File. In that were all the Police Reports, and sworn statements from those who had seen/heard the final moments of the flight. A veritable gold-mine of contemporary primary sources!
    Now I don’t know if all Coroners are as helpful as the N Hants chap was, or if they all still retain their area files, but I feel that it might be a somewhat overlooked source of information.
    HTH
    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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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Thanks Peter. From off-board conversation I believe that Cris is going down that route - but without much success at present. Of course, everything is complicated by the C-19 problem and staff having to work from home, etc.

    Brian

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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    Just to tidy up the loose ends - it is http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...re+Warren+Farm.
    I nearly remembered it all correctly!!!
    HTH
    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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    Default Re: 78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44

    I appreciate it would not include any details of the loss of MZ311, but would anyone have a copy of the raid report for this operation (assuming one was written)? 78 Squadron was part of No 4 Group.

    Brian

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