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Thread: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

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    Default Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Hi, hope some of you might be able to help with this conundrum and apologies for the length of this post. On 17th March 1943 my father Fl/Sgt F.Crawley as W/Op flew with pilot Sqd/Ldr J.Hankins (both 1680 Flight) in a Maryland serial No.AR740 with a passenger (unknown) from RAF Abbotsinch to Stornoway, the following day flew to Kjaldadarnes and onto Rejkavik returning the passenger to Stornoway on the 20th. I know that during March 1939 there were meetings held at Kjaldadarnes over mud and flooding and Hudsons of 269 Sqdn were transferred to Rejkavik so I am assuming the passenger flown was possibly connected to this.
    Besides trying to find out the identity of the passenger I have other queries:-
    1) Maryland is a 3 crew light bomber so I assume the passenger sat in the rear gunners seat
    2) AR 740 along with AR730/720 (in 1941?) was transferred to Fleet Air Arm and were used for training and target towing and so why would 1680 Flight use one when they had their own transport planes.
    3) As AR740 was FAA would my father and Hankins been loaned to them or was the aircraft loaned to 1680 Flight

    Hoping to find some answers and also how to find identity of the passenger,
    What Orbs to check? i.e. FAA , 1680 Flight, Kjaldadarnes/Rejkavik station orb

    Thanks from confused Fred

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Hello Fred

    To hopefully answer questions 2 and 3, Ray Sturtivant's Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945 has the following for Maryland AR740:

    T.O.C. Donibristle SS 26.6.43; RNARY [Royal Naval Aircraft Repair Yard] Donibristle, port u/c collapsed on landing, Cat X2 9.2.44; Port EF, precautionary landing, Cat S 7.3.44 (both Lt RE Castlemaine).

    So it would seem it didn't go to (or was Taken on Charge by) the Fleet Air Arm until June 1943. Maybe someone with the relevant Air Britain Serials book may be able to give more details about AR740.

    Of the other six Marylands in Fleet Air Arm service, four (AR718, AR720, AR723 and AR724) were T.O.C. by the F.A.A. in October 1940, and AR736 in May 1943. AR717 had been with the A&AAE in September 1940 and went to 771 Sqn in December 1940.

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 10th July 2021 at 11:50.
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    From Air Britain Serials: AR740 - FPP/8 OTU - To Admiralty 26/6/1943

    Sean

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    wwrsimon (10th July 2021)

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    HI Simon, Thanks for your info, it looks like I was wrong regarding Fleet Air Arm so changes my line of investigation. Somehow I need to try to obtain a list of aircraft that 1680 Flight had at it's disposal (any ideas?) as from his log books my father flew in quite a few.

    Regards, Fred

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Hi Sean, thanks for reply, it seems AR740 moved around a bit. 8 OTU as I understand was a photographic unit but as Air Britain only list it for June 1943 doesn't cover my fathers flight in March.

    Regards Fred

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Like several light bombers of the pre-war and early WW2 era, Marylands were very cramped aircraft for humans, so I don't think they would have been considered very suitable as freight/passenger aircraft, except for rather small humans, and urgent, valuable packages. The sort of aircraft that made a good transport were commercial airliners, including the Lockheed 14 (Super Electra) which was adopted by the RAF in 1938 as a general reconnaissance aircraft for Coast Command as the Hudson. This was a quite commodious aircraft, and it was fast too.
    David D

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Many thanks David, regarding Maryland AR740 being a non-passenger aircraft seemed strange it was used as my father in 1680 Flight flew Dominies DH89's, Avro Ansons, Fokker FX11, Dakota, Wellington amongst others but his log book definitely states for that particular flight to Iceland took a passenger in AR740 which is part of my conundrum. As you say the passenger must have been an urgent valuable person which is why I am trying to identify who it was.
    Fred

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Just to add some 1680 Flt info from "Flying Training and Support Units since 1912".

    Page 129.
    Formed 24.5.43 as No.1680(Western Isles) Communications Flight in No. 44 Group at
    ABBOTSINCH to take over the Western Isles functions of the Station Flight, ferrying VIP's to the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland,
    Establishment 3+0 Dominie, 1+0 Walrus;
    6.3.44 PRESTWICK; 8.4.44 redesignated No. 1680(Transport) Flight ( dett Errol 22.4.44 - 31.5.44 & 1.45, also operated from Errol 9.44 and Machrihanish; 17.8.44 joined No.116( Transport) Wing; 1.1.45 to 47 Group; 1.12.45 to No.46 Group; Disbanded 15.4.46.
    Aircraft: Dominic I(R5928); Wellington I (L4263); Walrus; AnsonI,IX(NK675); Dakota I,III,IV(FZ670 MJ-O); Harrow II (K7032); Foster F.XXII(HM159); Tomahawk IIb(AK162). Code: MJ.

    AA100-AZ999 has - AR740 HQFPP/8OTU, to Admiralty 26.6.43.

    FAA Aircraft 1939-1945 has on page 311: AR740
    TOC Donibristle SS 26.6.43; RNARY Donibristle, Port u/c collapsed on landing, Cat X2 9.2.44; Port EF, precautionary landing, Cat S 7.3.44 ( both Lt. LRE Castlemaine). This was one of seven a/c that were transferred from the RAF, AR720 was the a/c that spotted the Bismarck.

    May I suggest that due to a passenger being aboard that this event may have taken place when the a/c was with rhe HQ FPP and that the passenger may have been a Ferry Pilot on his/her way to collect an a/c for delivery to the UK ?
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 11th July 2021 at 15:18.

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    Default Re: Fleet Air Arm / 1680 Flight Conundrum

    Thanks Alex, the info ties in with a lot of info I have regarding my late father including the aeroplanes you list are shown in his log books. Regarding the passenger though I'm not too sure as the log shows he brought a passenger back to to Stornoway so at this time am assuming it was the same person?

    Fred

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