Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    7,317
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 221 Times in 205 Posts

    Default SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

    Hello,

    Having computer trouble at the the moment, so will post what I have here.

    Re: http://www.rafcommands.com/seac/lg-wheeler/

    Liberator B.VI KH352.

    Ex-44-44223; d/d Dorval 22.10.44; to India; arr Mauripur 4.11.44; 215 Sqn [D]; emblem of Donald Duck juggling with bombs; 159 Sqn [M]; SOC 11.4.46.

    See:
    The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service.
    Oughton,James D., with Hamlin,John & Andrew Thomas.
    Tonbridge:Air-Britain(Historians),2007.
    p.214.

    Matt Poole can add a lot more to the above ie, corrections.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd May 2022 at 21:19.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    423
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts

    Default Re: SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

    Hi, Col,

    This one bugged me, and I think the Oughton entry needs to be revised. I do think that this Liberator was KH352, but it also flew with 215 Squadron as letter code "M". It is in the 215 Sqn Operations Record Book, and I have two photos showing the Donald Duck-juggling-bombs nose art, from a 215 Sqn ground crew member, though the serial number and letter code can't be seen; only the nose art is seen.

    So the Oughton entry, I think, should include KH352 also being on 215 Squadron in India as "M". I'll troll through the 215 Sqn ORB for evidence of its tenure as "D" on the squadron. My guess is that originally it was "D", and thus christened with D-for-Donald Duck nose art. Then, the nose art was retained but the letter code had to be changed to "M" -- but I want to find this evidence in the ORB.

    KH352 does appear to have been on 159 Sqn as "M", though I have to do more research on this; I don't at this point believe KH352 was on 357 Sqn. Here's something I found in my notes:

    Certainly KH 352 was “M” on 159 Sqn. The 159 Sqn ORB lists KH 352 “M” for three ops, all skippered by W/Cdr Ercolani: 27.04.45, 02.05.45, and 17.05.45, but twice in this stretch the ORB lists KH 325 “M” as W/Cdr Ercolani’s Liberator on ops: 01.05.45 and 13.05.45. However, on these latter two dates the logbook of W/Cdr Ercolani’s rear gunner, Fred Smith, gives the serial as KH 352 “M” (01.05.45) and KH 352 (13.05.45). The ORB is wrong (not unusual), and I think the logbook is correct. I think that the two KH 325 “M” ORB entries should be KH 352 “M”; the last two digits were simply switched. Further evidence of KH 325 comes from the few excerpts I’ve seen of the 357 Sqn ORB. This ORB’s end-of-month inventory of 357 Sqn Liberators for 01.45 and 02.45 list KH 325, not KH352. Then the ORB lists KH 325 as one of four Libs sent on detachment to Ceylon on 20.05.45, which is only 7 days after the 159 Sqn ORB listed this same Lib as one of its own!

    CONCLUSION: KH352 was likely "D" on 215 Squadron before it changed to “M” on the same squadron. Then it was on 159 Sqn as "M" but not 357 Sqn, and KH 325 “M” was not on 159 Sqn. The two notations of KH 325 “M” in the 159 Sqn ORB are clerical errors, because KH 325 was actually on 357 Sqn. Oughton lists KH 325 as “M” on 159 Sqn (a mistake) and then ”N” of 357 Sqn. He must have been fooled by the juxtaposition error (325 instead of 352) made twice in the ORB.


    I'm rushing, but maybe I can delve into this a little more, and if I find any change to the above, I'll post it here.
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 2nd June 2022 at 12:36. Reason: Updated thinking

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    423
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts

    Default Re: SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

    Col, I wrote the above without going back to the thread you'd posted. The L. G. Wheeler photos are great, and I have more work to do on this serial number!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    423
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts

    Default Re: SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

    As I've found far too frequently (in all ORBs), there are errors in the 215 Squadron ORB, but there is also enough info to make Oughton's claim that KH352 was ever "D" on 215 Squadron very suspect. And it was definitely "M" on 215 Sqn. With the nose art of a Donald Duck character, maybe, just maybe, it arrived on 215 Squadron already with the nose art, but I don't know. Usually, not always, an aircraft was named something which tied in with the fuselage letter code (like "D" for Daring Diana and "P" for Pegasus), but KH352 might have been an exception. For all I know, Oughton assumed that the Lib had been "D" before becoming "M", based on the D-for-Donald Duck name. I just don't know if Oughton had some other source linking KH352 to the letter "D" on 215 Sqn.

    CLEARLY, to me, KH214 was the "D" Liberator on 215 Squadron from when it first showed up in the ORB (4 November 1944) until it was shot down on 3 January 1945. I've researched this loss in great detail, and KH214 was "D". KH352 did not show up in the 215 Sqn ORB until 16 December 1944, when the squadron already had KH214 as it's "D" Lib. That explains why KH352 is listed as "M".

    Per Oughton, KH352 only arrived in India -- and probably not 215 Squadron -- on 4 November 1944 -- the same date when KH214 is listed in the 215 Sqn ORB as "D" for the first time.

    Later KH352 "M" was transferred from 215 to 159 Squadron, where it flew as "M". Stephen Wheeler, son of 159 Sqn flight engineer Leslie Wheeler, posted some photos showing the nose art of Donald Duck juggling bombs. However, Leslie didn't ID the aircraft or which squadron the aircraft was assigned to, so I don't know for certain whether it was on 215 or 159 Squadron. I do believe it is KH352, however.

    So, then, what I consider the likely correct (or more correct) history of KH352 would be:

    Liberator B.VI KH352.

    Ex-44-44223; dld Dorval 22.10.44; to India; arr Mauripur 4.11.44; 215 Sqn [M]; emblem of Donald Duck juggling with bombs; 159 Sqn [M]; SOC 11.4.46.
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 2nd June 2022 at 12:40. Reason: In a rush, I forgot to add the bit at the end, and I changed something at the beginning.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    7,317
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 221 Times in 205 Posts

    Default Re: SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

    Matt,

    Thanks for that.

    It would be interesting to see the balance of Leslie Wheeler's Log Book. Two pages is just a tease!

    Col.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    423
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts

    Default Re: SEAC - Donald Duck nose art'

    Col,

    I've sent you an email.

    Matt

Posting Permissions

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