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Thread: F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

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    Default F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

    William Thomas James O'Brien - Voluntary Reserve - Services Nos. 1750325 & 150326. London Gazette promotions 9.4.43/pilot officer & 9.10.43/flying officer. CWGC records his death on 3.12.44 while serving with 184 Squadron. The ORB's for November, 1944 show that 184 Squadron was based at Volkel, Holland flying Typhoon 1B's. Entry for 15.11.44. reads that F/O O'Brien arrived to join the squadron - no reference to his previous posting. The following day he flew a sector recce. On 3.12.44 six Typhoons left Volkel for the UK and three, including Wm. O'Brien, crashed in poor weather near at army base at Folkestone, Kent (Shornecliffe?). While I'm waiting for his service records to arrive I was hoping to carry out some research into his short period of service. Any advice, suggestions of information will be appreciated.

    William was 16 years old when the 1939 National Register was taken but he was not recorded at his parent's home or with any other family member - not even a redacted entry. Was 16 too young for a young lad to be at a RAFVR training camp?

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    Default Re: F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

    William

    What time did the aircraft take off and do you know the time the crash(es)?

    Brian

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    Default Re: F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

    William

    The three Typhoons that crashed at Shorncliffe Barracks were MN136, JR310 (BR-K) and MN889. O'Brian was the pilot of MN889.

    The Typhoon and Tempest Story, Thomas & Shores, AAP 1988 0-85368-878-6

    DaveW

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    Default Re: F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    William

    What time did the aircraft take off and do you know the time the crash(es)?

    Brian
    The ORB reads that they took off at 'about 11.00 hrs' - no idea of the time of the crash. I've checked newspapers on the British Newspapers Archive but couldn't find anything at all.

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    Default Re: F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

    The location of the accident suggests they were making for either Lympne (5 miles to the west) or Hawkinge (about 3 miles to the NNE). Vokel is about 195 miles from Shorncliffe so I guess the accident would have been around midday. A warm front was approaching from the west and was probably in the vicinity of Lympne at the time; the weather there was drizzle, visibility 2.5 miles, and 6/8 stratus base 500 ft agl (800 ft asl) with 8/8 SC above. It was raining at Manston, 20 miles to the NNE, visibility 6 miles with 5/8 Stratus base 800 ft (1000 ft asl) with 8/8 Stratocumulus above at 4000 ft. As Shorncliffe is about 200 ft asl the cloud base should have been about 500-600 ft agl (800 - 200). I cannot access the Hawkinge observation at this time, but from the other information I'd estimate its cloud base was around 2-300 ft agl and visibility 1-2 miles. The surface wind over Kent was SW to WSW about 15 mph).

    Brian

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    Default Re: F/O O'Brien - 184 Squadron - Typhoon crashed Folkestone 1944

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    The location of the accident suggests they were making for either Lympne (5 miles to the west) or Hawkinge (about 3 miles to the NNE).
    Brian
    Many thanks for all this information - the ORB's indicate that the original plan was to head for Warmwell in Dorset but were diverted to Tangmere.

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