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Thread: Briggs before Bismarck?

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    Default Briggs before Bismarck?

    Anyone know Dennis Brigg's RAF career before Bismarck, i.e 1936-40

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Robin

    He's one of my local airmen, so I've a little bit about him on file.

    Have a look here:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...4368#post74368

    "Dennis Briggs appears to have enjoyed a successful career in the RAF. He joined the RAF as a Direct Entry Airman (Pilots, Observers) Cadets, in August 1935 (Service Number 580000) and was promoted from Sgt to P/O (SN 45465) on 11 March 1941. This suggests that on 26 May 1941 he was an experienced pilot despite his junior officer rank. His promotion to F/O was on 11 March 1942, by which time he had been awarded a DFC. Promotion to Flt Lt followed on 11 March 1943 and six months later, on 10 September, by which time he was an Acting Sqn Ldr with 202 Squadron, he was awarded a Bar to his DFC (no citation)."

    His D.F.C. award was reported in the Yorkshire Post of September 26th 1941, and includes the following snippet:

    Acting Flying Officer Briggs was born at Whitley Bay, Northumberland, in 1917. He enlisted in the R.A.F. in 1935, became a sergeant-pilot and was commissioned in March, 1941.

    The Bar to his D.F.C. was also reported the Yorkshire Post, on September 10th 1943:

    The citation says that Squadron Leader Briggs has served his squadron since December, 1942, and since then has completed a large number of operational flights. During convoy escort duty in March, 1943, his prompt and daring action caused three Focke Wulf Kurriers [sic] to break off an attack on a convoy without damage either to the ships or his own aircraft.
    Throughout the entire period of his service this officer has displayed great keenness to engage the enemy. By his gallantry and devotion to duty he has set a high example to his fellow pilots.

    Regards

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

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Thank you Simon. Any idea with whom he was serving in 1940 when Britain's only Catalina P9630 crashed in Scotland, Rhu?

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Robin,

    Have you not seen Andrew Hendrie's, Flying Cats?

    Hendrie gives a lengthy description of Briggs' early career, and mentions the following, in relation to P9630:

    Dennis Briggs' last trip in P9630 was on 10 February 1940, a flight from Rhu to Dumbarton. The Catalina was captained by Flt Lt Butler and in addition to Briggs, in the crew of six were Sqn Ldr Knyvett and Mr Drake. After a flight of 15 minutes the aircraft crashed on landing and sank (p.21).

    Hendrie had access to Briggs' log books, and many of the quotes in the book stem from this source.

    Simon,

    The episode with the "Kurriers" took place in 1942, not 1943:

    Dennis 'Bismarck' Briggs second flying log book has a terse remark against an entry for 4 March 1942 - 'Intercept two Fw 200s and had combat, slight damage to Cat. E/A abandoned attack'. He was then on a convoy escort in (No.202 Sqn.), FP172. While with the convoy he became aware of one enemy 'Kondor' about to attack the ships. He immediately headed his Catalina to place it between the convoy and the hostile aircraft. He then noticed a second 'Kondor' in the vicinity. Despite the odds against him, Briggs much to the chagrin of another pilot with him, was fully prepared to attack the enemy aircraft and was successful in driving them off. He returned to base after a flight lasting 18 hours (p.60).

    See:
    Flying Cats The Catalina Aircraft in World War II.
    Hendrie,Andrew.
    Shrewsbury:Airlife Publishing,1088.
    pp.21 & 60.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd November 2020 at 23:05.

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    I have the book thank you. What I would like to know: what was Briggs doing at Helensburgh? My research relates to RAF Helensburgh and Helensburgh Heritage Trust.

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Col

    The 202 Sqn ORB for March 1943 has the following:

    202 Sqn ORB Form 540 (AIR-27-1184-5)

    March 4th 1943

    Gibraltar
    01.40
    Catalina O/202 (F/Lt. Briggs DFC and F/O McLeod) airborne on A/S escort to convoy KMS10. Aircraft [met] 2 Focke Wulf Kurriers which attacked convoy. O/202 intercepted both attacks which saved the convoy and also forced attack to be broken off. Although some damage was sustained by O/202 there were no casualties. I/B Gibraltar 19.15A 4 March.


    202 Sqn ORB Form 541 (AIR-27-1184-6)

    March 4th 1943
    Catalina O/202
    A/S escort to CV. KMS 10
    Up: 01.40
    Down: 19.15
    09.00 4217N 1324W [due west of Vigo, Portugal]. Met convoy. Aircraft had an encounter with two FW200K. The first F.W. was attacked and forced to leave convoy. The second F.W. was also attacked but was more persistent and attacked O/202. Catalina dropped D.C. in path of F.W. which caused E.A. to turn sharply and break off combat.
    14.05 4133N 1324W. Left convoy.
    Weather 41n 14W good. Vis. 30 miles. Could 2/10 Cu. 3000. Wind light easterly. Sea calm.
    F/L D. A Briggs
    W/C H. E. Dobb
    P/O P. J. Brown
    F/O D. C. McLeod
    Sgt. Jordan E. J.
    Sgt Lyons D. H.
    Sgt Pym A. D.
    Sgt Plumb T. R.
    Sgt Gilberd J.
    Sgt. Harvey A. G.

    Convoy KMS10:

    http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/kms10.html

    Is there a serial for O/202 anywhere?

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 3rd November 2020 at 09:34. Reason: odd formatting (again!)
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Simon,

    Apologies. I accepted (without checking) Hendrie's account as one and the same mentioned by you. Obviously not!

    Nice work.

    Col.

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Hello Robin,

    The 209 Squadron ORB (AIR 27-1293) for 1940 (only) records on 8 April 1940 that Sgt. Pilot D. Briggs reported to the unit on posting from 18 Group. For the first few months he is noted in the monthly list of officers and NCO pilots as being 'attached'. Still with 209 Squadron during December 1940.
    He was also with 209 Squadron during April 1941 when he forced landed a Saro Lerwick off Bundoran, Co. Donegal on the 10th. See the excellent site of Dennis Burke at http://www.ww2irishaviation.com/
    It seems his logbooks survive at the RAF Museum.

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    No worries Col.

    I did double-check, just in case!

    The 202 Sqn ORB for March 4th 1942 has:

    No operational flying by Squadron.

    Nothing of note the day before, either. Does the reference you quoted have the wrong year? The day, month and circumstances seem to match, just not the year...which would make O/202 Catalina FP172?

    regards

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

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    Default Re: Briggs before Bismarck?

    Thank you Simon, we nearly have Briggs at Rhu, Helensburgh, before boarding Catalina P9630 on its last flight on February 10, 1940. Thank you everyone for your feedback on behalf of Helensburgh Heritage Trust. Briggs was probably joining his squadron but why in P9630 not the establishment's Walrus? Why was Vincent Drake with him, he was resident at RAF Helensburgh? Were Sqd Ldr Kynvett and P9630 pilot Flt. Lt Butler attached to 202Sqd? I have been over to Lough Erne, Castle Archdale and Bundoran as part of my research. RAF Helensburgh was all over the place in 1940 as MAEE moved there from Felixstowe. It was changing links with Coastal Command from No 16 to No 18 group before being supervised by the Ministry of Aircraft production.In 1940. It had aircraft at Stranraer, used facilities at Dumbarton and was still moving stuff up from Felixstowe by road. Amid this organised chaos Briggs boarded P9630, maybe the RAF Museum will have the answer in Brigg's log? One other thing, if Briggs and been killed, or seriously injured in this crash, would have Bismarck not have been sighted by Briggs and escaped. Thanks again everyone..

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