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Thread: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

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    Default Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    I did not think this crew would be too difficult to identify being involved in such a famous incident but I am struggling to fully identify them all.

    At about 1630 hours on the 21st April 1949 ML772 carried out a flight to HMS Amethyst which was trapped on the Yangtze river, China by gunfire from communist shore batteries. The intention was to land next to the ship and transfer two doctors onto the ship along with medical supplies. The aircraft came under fire from the shore that was so intense they had to abandon the attempt and take off again. One of the doctors on board managed to leave the Sunderland and got picked up by a small craft and taken over to the Amethyst. Most of the medical supplies did not make it to the ship.
    I have the crew as follows:-

    F/Lt Kenneth Harry Francis LETFORD DSO* DFC* 132892 RAF
    Pilot II Ken DILLON
    F/Lt Maurice Desmond MARSHALL 193336 RAF
    Engineer II A J DOYLE
    Signaller II Gerald Edgar MORBEY 1432086 RAF
    Signaller II G H PRICE
    Gunner II Gerald DEVANY 574562 RAF
    Passengers
    G/Cptn John Norman JEFFERSON CBE 05196 RAF
    F/Lt Michael Edward FEARNLEY DSC 59425 RAF
    Surgeon Lt Peter Richard MORGAN RN
    Pte Ronald CHADBAND Specialist Army Dispatcher
    Pte DONE Specialist Army Dispatcher

    F/Lt Letford was awarded a bar to his DFC for this action, whilst the RAF Doctor transferred to the Amethyst, F/Lt Fearnley was awarded the DSC. All those on board ML772 were awarded the Naval General Service Medal with Yangtze clasp.
    I checked National Archives file T 300/71 on the Yangtze clasp the other day but it contains no names.

    Any help with the full names/service numbers of Dillon, Doyle, Price, Chadband and Done. I also suspect there may have been other persons on board the Sunderland not mentioned above.

    Any suggestions as to where to look next would be very much appreciated

    Thanks

    Chris

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Chris,
    Pilot II Ken DILLON - probably 1684438 Kenneth Dillon?
    Too many of the others in AIR 78 to be sure!!
    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: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Thank you Peter

    I have done as much as I can on the AIR 78 possibilities. I also mistakenly typed 230 Squadron in my original post. The aircraft was of course 88 Squadron.

    Kenneth Dillon 1684438 was awarded the AFM in the New Year Honours list for 1957, but surprise, surprise that years recommendations is missing from the TNA.

    I have located a Squadron photograph from The Tatler published 8th February 1950 that has all three unidentified airmen in it. Doyle and Price seem to be wearing a strip of three or four medal ribbons, suggesting a fair amount of WW2 service, but Dillon has none.

    I have also learned of the existence of a report that Grp Cptn Jefferson wrote (mentioned in Yangtze Showdown: China and the Ordeal of HMS Amethyst By Brian Izzard, Seaforth Publishing 2015) but have no idea where that report was found. If anyone has a copy of the book is there a reference? Possibly it will be contained within the Appendices of AIR 28/1058 RAF Kai Tak ORB 1946-1950. Likewise if anyone has a copy of this please let me know.

    I was hoping one of the experts on here with better googling skills than me might have more luck.

    Thanks anyway

    Chris

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Hi Chris,

    page 50 - five crew members of ML772

    https://books.google.cz/books?id=9LV...Dillon&f=false

    574563 GUN.II G.DEVANY. R.A.F. (you have 574562)

    https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30012022

    Private Papers of P G Devany

    Photocopy of a ts memoir (9pp with drawing), written in 1994, relating his experiences as a Gunner II in the Sunderland flying boat, based on RAF Kai Tak, ...

    https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ect/1030015580

    Regards

    Mojmir

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Gerald Devany 574563 1926 Royal Air Force

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Seaby's Coin and Medal Bulletin, Issues 665-676

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...lume&q=Dillon+


    1684438 Pilot2 Dillon K (Kenneth )

    Awarded NAVAL GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL (1915-1964) clasp 'Yangtse 1949'

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    F/Lt Kenneth Harry Francis LETFORD DSO* DFC* 132892 RAF
    Pilot II Ken DILLON
    F/Lt Maurice Desmond MARSHALL 193336 RAF
    Engineer II A J DOYLE -> 566658 'Lofty' Doyle
    Signaller II Gerald Edgar MORBEY 1432086 RAF
    Signaller II G H PRICE -> 1515741 -- Gordon Hayes Price
    Gunner II Gerald DEVANY 574562 RAF

    Passengers
    G/Cptn John Norman JEFFERSON CBE 05196 RAF
    F/Lt Michael Edward FEARNLEY DSC 59425 RAF
    Surgeon Lt Peter Richard MORGAN RN
    Pte Ronald CHADBAND Specialist Army Dispatcher
    Pte DONE Specialist Army Dispatcher

    Private Chadband Royal Army Service Corps: Supply Dropper
    Private Dono Royal Army Service Corps: Supply Dropper
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 2nd November 2020 at 19:05.

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Alan James DOYLE

    Mojmir

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Mojmir

    Thanks very much for that. I do have a copy of the John Evans book. He got almost all his information from Gerry Moreby who donated a lot of stuff to the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust. His uniform, medals, log book etc are on display. I am in quite regular contact with John Evans. I shall have to ask him if there are any more documents concerning this incident.
    The Air 78 record for Devany had a semi-legible last digit which I took to be a 2 (As did Forces war records) but I would imagine the inscription on his NGSM is accurate. It looks like a trip to the IWM is on when things are back to normal.

    Thanks again

    Chris

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    Default Re: Crew of Sunderland ML772 230 Squadron 21st April 1949 The Yangtze Incident

    Crikey chaps.

    Brilliant work thanks very much

    Chris

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