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Thread: Flight Sergeant George Edward APPLETON, DFM - No.49 Sqn - citation and bio notes

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    Default Flight Sergeant George Edward APPLETON, DFM - No.49 Sqn - citation and bio notes

    APPLETON, George Edward, Flight Sergeant (548102) – No. 49 Squadron – Distinguished Flying Medal – awarded as per London Gazette dated 9 July 1940. From Spink catalogue, 30 November 1999.

    Recommendation states: ‘This N.C.O. Wireless Operator/Air Gunner has undertaken 13 long operational flights over enemy territory, many of them in very bad weather and under conditions of considerable difficulty. As the Senior Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in his Squadron, he has invariably displayed resourcefulness, coolness and determination in the face of the enemy, great efficiency as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner and has set a fine example’.

    Flight Sergeant George Edward Appleton, D.F.M., enlisted in the Royal Air Force in January 1938 and trained as an Aircraft Hand/Wireless Operator. Posted to No. 49 Squadron as an A.C.1, he flew his first operational sortie in one of the Squadron’s Hampdens on 21.12.1939, in the event an unsuccessful outing to try and locate the Battleship Deutschland – on the return trip the Squadron was approached by some enemy aircraft but luckily not engaged. Promoted to Leading Aircraftman, Appleton next flew operationally in the Squadron C.O.’s aircraft on a ‘nickelling’ trip on 18.1.1940. Continuing to fly on a regular basis throughout that winter, he became a permanent crew member in Squadron Leader Lowe’s aircraft and gained advancement to Corporal. On 14.4.1940, while returning from an operation over the North Sea, his Hampden suffered engine failure as a result of the appalling weather. A subsequent crash-landing resulted in the death of the Observer but Appleton was lucky to get away with slight concussion. Advanced to Sergeant, he was back in action just two weeks later, future targets including Amiens, Brest and the Island of Texel. Gazetted for his D.F.M. in August, Appleton had completed at least 24 sorties by the time of being transferred to a Gunnery Leader’s Course at Castle Kennedy, Wigtownshire, Scotland. Tragically, on 27.7.1941, he was killed in flying accident. His final promotion to Flight Sergeant came through after his death.

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    Default Re: Flight Sergeant George Edward APPLETON, DFM - No.49 Sqn - citation and bio notes

    Hello

    There are a few personal details here: http://www.ww2awards.com/person/4541

    The site seems to be down at the moment, but here's a transcript:

    George Appleton of Newcastle on Tyne [born Redcar, 1919] enlisted in the Royal Air Force in January 1938 aged 18. His first mission was on December 21st, 1939 when he was detailed to locate the battleship Deutschland in a Handley Page Hampden.
    On April 14th, 1940 when returning from an operation in very bad weather on one engine his Hampden crashed into cliffs on their return with of the four man crew only one fatality*.
    Completing his tour of ops by late 1940 he was posted at Castle Kennedy, and Air Gunnery School, where in July 1941 the Hampden he was flying in stalled shortly after take off and crashed killing the entire crew. Appleton was 21.
    Sergeant Appleton’s portrait was drawn by the official war artist Sir William Rothenstein and appeared in a volume of his R.A.F. portraits.
    DFM citiation:
    Recommendation:
    "This NCO Wireless Operator/Air Gunner has undertaken 13 long operational flights over enemy territory, many of them in very bad weather and under conditions of considerable difficulty. As the senior Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in his squadron, he has invariably displayed resourcefulness, coolness and determination in the face of the enemy."

    * Hampden L4043 EA-G, April 14th 1940. The Whitley crash landed on the beach between Seaham and Sunderland, County Durham.

    There was an account by the pilot of L4043 Squadron Leader G. Lowe on the Bomber History website, which now seems to have gone.

    Once again, here's a transcript:

    S/Ldr Lowe reported the following: "We did not lay our mines due to bad weather which rapidly deteriorated on the way home. I was having trouble with all my flying instruments but the compass and turn and bank indicators were still working. Eventually we managed to make contact with Hemswell and they gave us a bearing which proved to be inaccurate. Shortly after crossing the coast an aerodrome was sighted flashing a red 'D'. We were unable to get a response so decided to send an 'SOS' on the Aldis lamp... again nothing happened... we then fired a red Very light and this time searchlights came on to the north of us." S/Ldr Lowe made for the searchlights with the intention of being 'brought in' by them. One engine then packed up but they managed to maintain height on one. When this engine started to spit and cough the captain offered his crew the option to bale out... none wished to jump. The aircraft was rapidly becoming uncontrollable and the captain decided to force land on the coastline; the pilot continues:
    "I instructed the crew to collect in the compartment behind the pilot’s seat. I held off as long as possible but the aircraft swung violently towards the cliffs and rocks below. I managed to correct this slightly, but not enough to clear a line of rocks running out into the sea. When I was holding off and practically stalling, I pulled the nose up and landed on a tail slide with very little speed."
    P/O Anthony Bryan-Smith was attempting to join the other two members of the crew amidships when the aircraft landed. He was only half-way through the rear door and was killed instantaneously. The navigator, P/O Beauchamp received slight cuts on the hand, the W/Op, AC1 Appleton bumped his head and was slightly concussed and the pilot escaped with a cut lip. The Hampden crashed at about 04.00hrs near Ryhope, south of Sunderland.


    A was killed in Hampden P1162, which stalled and crashed taking off from Castle Kennedy.

    Regards

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

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