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Thread: 228 Sqn Sunderland Shot down - help pls

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    Default 228 Sqn Sunderland Shot down - help pls

    Hello all
    can anyone give me some information regarding the downing of a Sunderland (228 Sqn tbc) on 24 Apr 1945. I believe there were two survivors, Nav Flt Lt B J Court 129354 and a Fenton Ham. Be grateful forbas much info as possible on the incident and on Court.
    Many thanks!

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    Default Re: 228 Sqn Sunderland Shot down - help pls

    Could I ask the source of your information, CD? According to the 228 Squadron ORB at https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8395376 there do not appear to have been any losses on 24 April 1945.

    Happy to be corrected.

    Brian

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    Default Re: 228 Sqn Sunderland Shot down - help pls

    Hello,

    Welcome to the Forum, Carpe Diem!

    Fri 27/Sat 28/Apr 1945.
    COASTAL COMMAND
    Anti-U-boat patrol.
    228 Squadron, RAF (Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire - 19 Group).
    Sunderland V RN283
    Took off at 1953 captained by Flt Lt B Chapman, RAF, and while patrolling at 1,000 feet off the Cornish coast (at position 5012N:9547W) the front gunner reported seeing "Schnorkel" smoke 4 miles ahead at 2030. Running in at the normal 50-foot attack height, as RN283 released a stick of depth charges its tail unit was shattered when one or more of the charges exploded prematurely, probably on first contact with the sea. The flying boat dived into the sea, its nose breaking off on impact. Six of the 13 crew were safely picked up by frigates which had witnessed the event. Five of those who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, including the RNZAF air gunner, whose body was recovered by a corvette then buried at sea in the English Channel.
    Air Gunner: NZ417233 Wt Off Ronald Stanley Gilbert RAYNEL, RNZAF - Age 24.

    Raynel had also served with 120 Sqn, RAF, but his number of ops is unknown.

    See:
    For Your Tomorrow A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 - Volume Two: Fates 1943-1998.
    Martyn,Errol W.
    Christchurch:Volplane Press,1999.
    p.345

    and ...

    Photos/Captions.

    For Crown and country... Eleven days before the German surrender was announced 228 Squadron suffered its last war casualties. F/Lt Chapman and crew in RN283 were on a daylight patrol on April 27th when the front gunner reported smoke on the water. Investigating, smoke and a wake with foam were seen and when overhead the Sunderland experienced severe bumping. An attack was made from 50 feet and six depth charges dropped; there was a premature explosion which damaged the Sunderland, causing it to crash. Another patrolling Sunderland* saw the incident and a rescue was mounted. Seven of the crew reached a dinghy and were picked up by a Royal Navy corvette. Sadly the pilot. F/Lt Chapman, died aboard the corvette - and seven of the 13 crew were killed or missing. It was a tragic end of 228's long war which had cost the lives of 156 airmen on active service for Crown and country.
    Navigator Jack Court, who survived the crash, acquired this photograph showing the rescue effort, involving two surface vessels, under way.(p.58).

    *
    See: The Anzac Squadron (No.461 Sqn RAAF)/Ashworth. p.228. AUS427642 F/Lt (Pilot) Don GOODE RAAF (in Sunderland NJ364:G), witnessed the crash of RN283. See also: No.461 Sqn RAAF ORB. pp.914-5 of 946 - https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/Sear...aspx?B=1359213

    Last casualties....F/Lt Ben Chapman and crew were the last operational casualties of 228 Squadron in a long war. On April 27th, 1945, their Sunderland - RN283 - crashed from 50 feet during an attack on a suspicious wake on the water and a pall of smoke above. Premature explosions of one or more depth charges blew the tail off the Sunderland. Seven of the crew struggled into a dinghy and were picked up by a Navy corvette but F/Lt Chapman died on board the vessel. Navigator Jack Court and gunner Cliff Austin were among the survivors. Seven of the crew were lost.(p.66)

    Roll of Honour - Killed and Missing (published in 1945). (p.87).

    27.4.45

    F/Lt. CHAPMAN, B. 144025
    F/O. TYLOR, D.B. 185006
    F/O. KINGDOM, T.G. [sic] KINGDON 171736
    W.O. RAYNELL, R.S.[sic] RAYNEL, RNZAF NZ417233
    F/Sgt. REILLY, J. 566559
    F/Sgt. SUTCLIFFE, F. 1728950
    F/Sgt. CHARLES, H.D. 1810279

    See:
    Help From The Heavens A History of No 228 Squadron Royal Air Force.
    Evans,John.
    Pembroke Dock:Paterchurch Publications (in conjunction with the 228 Squadron Association).
    pp.58 Photo of rescue effort), 66 (Photo of eleven crew [unnamed]. Photo supplied by Cliff Austin) & p.87 (R.O.H.).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd February 2021 at 01:14.

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    Default Re: 228 Sqn Sunderland Shot down - help pls

    The full crew list that I have from the ORB is
    F/Lt Benjamin CHAPMAN 144025 RAF(VR)
    F/O Desmond Burnett Pendrys TYLOR 185006 RAF(VR)
    F/O Thomas George KINGDON 171736 RAF(VR)
    F/Lt Bernard John COURT 129354 RAF(VR)
    W/O Ronald Stanley Gilbert RAYNEL NZ417233 RNZAF
    F/Sgt Hilton David CHARLES 1810279 RAF(VR)
    F/Sgt STONE
    F/Sgt Frank SUTCLIFFE 1728950 RAF(VR)
    Sgt John REILLY 1566559 RAF(VR)
    Sgt WALKER
    Sgt DUFF
    Sgt Clifford Reginald George AUSTIN 1337710 RAF(VR)
    Sgt ENNIS

    Unfortunately not long before this incident 228 Squadron stopped recorded crew initials and service numbers in the ORB. I have been able to deduce Sgt Austin's identity from correspondence he had with John Evans. I have not been able to identify the other survivors. AHB do not have the details in their casualty index despite the fact they were all injured to some extent. I have also perused the ORB for Pembroke Dock but there are no further details.

    If anyone can assist with identifying them I for one would be very much obliged.

    Chris

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    Default Re: 228 Sqn Sunderland Shot down - help pls

    Thank you all so much for all the information you have provided: your depth of knowledge is breathtaking!
    My enquirer originated from contact with the daughter in law of one of the crew. I am sure she also extends her sincere thanks to one and all!
    best regards and thanks again
    Matt Wood
    576 Sqn historian

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