Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    722
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Good morning all,

    I am looking for some help in answering two questions, both concern a RCAF Navigator, John Leslie Gemmel. In a wartime newspaper article it mentions that he came to the UK in March 1942 and was posted to a Wellington bomber squadron and had a narrow escape in September 1942 when returning from operations to Bremen. The Wimpy was attacked by a Me109 and lost one engine the second giving up the ghost as they crossed the English coast. The aircraft was crash landed without injury to the crew. Can anyone identify, the Wellington or the Squadron? I have looked through Bill Chorley's excellent works both for 1942 and the volume covering OTUs but have drawn a blank.

    Secondly the same article mentions that he completed one more operation before being sent to India to a Wellington Squadron which was armed with torpedoes and was tasked with attacking shipping in the Bay of Bengal. Can anyone suggest with Squadron this might be?

    My man completed his 2 ops in the UK, 24 ops in the Far East and then returned to the UK where he completed his second tour of 21 ops with 78 Squadron. He was then screened and awarded the DFC.

    Any suggestions appreciated.

    Thanks

    Daz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    4,165
    Thanks
    43
    Thanked 58 Times in 57 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Hi Daz,

    I am afraid I will be only of very little help to you.
    I have checked all RCAF squadrons ever equipped with Wellingtons and I came to conclusion that only 419 Sq fits but he is not mentioned in Aug or Sep 1942 there.
    So my conclusion is that he was with a RAF squadron and it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack if we have no other hint...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northumberland, UK
    Posts
    4,456
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 207 Times in 202 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Some details of his postings here:

    https://www.rcafassociation.ca/herit...d_all&type=all

    Trained at No.2 ITS (graduated 14 September 1941), No.3 AOS (graduated 20 December 1941), No.2 BGS (graduated 31 January 1942), and No.1 ANS (graduated 5 March 1942).

    It also has details of the incident in question:

    Gemmel came overseas in March, 1942, completed his operational training and was assigned to a RAF Wellington bomber squadron. His first trip of the tour was to Bremen in September, 1942, and is probably the most hazardous he has undertaken and one after which he is lucky to be alive. Just after bombing, the “Wimpy” was attacked by a Me.109, the first burst of fire from the enemy splitting the petrol cocks and cutting the oil lines of the bomber. Hydraulics were knocked out and the undercarriage fell down. But the aircraft responded to the urge of the skipper and headed back for England. Over the channel, the port engine cut out and there was trouble with the remaining engine in the starboard wing. Just over the English coast, the starboard engine gave up the unequal struggle and quit, but the pilot managed to crash land the aircraft in a plowed field without injury to a single member of the crew.


    Regards

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    74
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 14 Times in 13 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Presumably the dates would be either 4/5 September or 13/14 September, which were the only two ops to Bremen that month.
    Seems a bit strange that a Wellington with both engines out could be "crash-landed" in a ploughed field without suffering terminal damage.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    722
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Simon, Pavel, Andy,

    thank you for all of your replies. I had the detail from the RCAF Association website. I have also interviewed one of his crew mates who believed Gemmel had completed 60 ops, when he left the crew at Breighton. But I can only find the reference to him completing 21 Ops with 78 Squadron and 26 on his first tour.

    Thanks again, I'll keep on looking.

    Daz

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    138
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    I have the 36 Sqn ORB (Record of Events) ​May 1943 and it has a Sgt Gemmell, on the Scott crew, flying in a Wellington MkVIII, LB176. 36 Sqn were based out in India on anti-submarine duties at that time. Is that your man?
    Hth
    Andy W
    Last edited by andy wis; 6th January 2021 at 06:08.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    722
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Quote Originally Posted by andy wis View Post
    I have the 36 Sqn ORB (Record of Events) ​May 1943 and it has a Sgt Gemmell, on the Scott crew, flying in a Wellington MkVIII, LB176. 36 Sqn were based out in India on anti-submarine duties at that time. Is that your man?
    Hth
    Andy W
    Andy,

    Thanks for posting, it certainly looks like that could be him. He returned to the UK in 1944 and started his second tour in September 1944. does the ORB show his initials or crew position?

    Regards
    Daz

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    4,646
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 49 Times in 45 Posts

    Default Re: Unidentified Wellington Crash September 1942

    Such a coincidence, your question helped me solve my question from two days ago!
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...2-through-1944

    He was with 36 Squadron!!
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •