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Thread: 129233 F/L Sidney Godfrey FALCONER DFC, DFM Died 8/5/44

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    Default 129233 F/L Sidney Godfrey FALCONER DFC, DFM Died 8/5/44

    I'm trying to find out about the death of 129233 F/L Sidney Godrey FALCONER D.F.C, D.F.M, died 8/5/1944 Whitchurch ? flying accident. Believed to be serving with 1665 HCU ?

    TIA

    Mark

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    The following is from the No.81 OTU Operations Record Book:

    May 8th 1944, “Glider coming in to land on No.1 runway crashed three hundred yards short of the runway, the two glider pilots were killed and the two passengers, F/Lt Austin RAF (Pilot) and F/O Falconer (Pilot) RAF were killed.”

    Flight Lieutenant Alan Austin DFC, 123302, RAFVR, Age 22.

    There are two Glider Pilot Regiment casualties listed on CWGC both from the 2nd Wing,

    Sergeant Gordon Dennis Coe, 6898359, Age 23.
    Staff Sergeant John Charles Dyer, 4924917, Age 22.

    Dyer is buried at Whitchurch.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Hi Mark, here is my entry from my list of Shropshire casualties:

    Horsa LJ496 – From 81 OTU ORB, Tilstock;
    8th May 1944. “Horsa LJ496 crashed while approaching for landing on aerodrome and all four killed. Glider coming in to land on No. 1 runway crashed three hundred yards short of the runway. Two glider pilots were killed along with F/Lt Austin (RAF Pilot) and F/O Falconer (RAF Pilot), as passengers, killed.”
    From 1665 HCU ORB;
    “Two unit pilot instructors, F/O A Austin DFC and F/O F (sic) G Falconer DFC DFM were killed in a glider crash. Shortly after casting off from the aircraft tug, the glider was seen to take a steep turning dive to port. It was seen to check, still turning to port with port wing very low. The port wing struck the ground and overhead cables and crashed. The glider pilots were also killed in this accident.”
    From the accident card:
    500 yards North of airfield. “In low flight performing diving turns to port, banked with wing very low. Wing struck ground and cables. Glider thrown on its back crashed 100 yards further on.”
    Crew were:
    - Staff Sgt John Charles Dyer (4924917), 2nd Glider Pilot Regiment, aged 22. Buried in Whitchurch Cemetery, Shropshire. Son of Charles and Dilys Dyer, of King's Norton, Birmingham. His birth was registered in the third quarter of 1921 in King’s Norton and his mothers maiden name given as Owen.
    - Sgt Gordon Dennis Coe (6898359), 2nd Wing Glider Pilot Regiment, aged 23. Commemorated at the Golder Green Crematorium, London. Son of William and Ivy Mabel Coe, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. His birth was registered in the first quarter of 1921 in West Ham and his mothers maiden name given as Dean.
    - F/Lt Alan Austin DFC (123302) RAFVR, aged 22. Buried in Manchester Southern Cemetery. His DFC was announced in the London Gazette on 16th February 1943, no unit given. Citation reads (Courtesy of Hugh Halliday):
    AUSTIN, Alan, P/O (123302, RAFVR*) - No.1651 Conversion Unit -Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 16 February 1943. Following citation Air Ministry Bulletin 9268.
    "Pilot Officer Austin has at all times displayed outstanding determination in operations against the enemy. He has participated in many successful sorties, on which excellent photographs of the target area have been obtained, often in the face of intense enemy opposition. While flying as captain of aircraft, Pilot Officer Austin’s courage and keenness have provided an example of the highest order."
    Commissioned P/O 1st May 1942. Son of Samuel and Ellen Austin, of Levenshulme, Manchester.
    - F/Lt Sidney Godfrey Falconer DFC DFM (129233), RAFVR, aged 23. He is buried in South Shields (Harton) Cemetery, Durham. Son of William and Annie Falconer, of South Shields. His DFM was for service with 218 Squadron. DFM citation reads (from Tavender’s DFM register):
    “Temporary Sgt S G Falconer was Captain of a Stirling aircraft which set out to raid Bremen on the night of 27/28th June 1942. About two miles over the Dutch coast, in the light of a full moon, the aircraft was attacked by a JU88, which climbed suddenly from about 3000 feet below on the port bow, passed underneath hand then came in on the port quarter. At the same time Sgt Falconer saw a second JU88 coming in from the starboard bow and, immediately afterwards, the rear gunner reported an ME110 approaching from dead astern. The ME110 and the rear gunner opened fire simultaneously at about 350 yards, the Stirling’s rear turret being rendered useless at once. The mid upper gunner took over fire control but a burst from the Messerschmitt , which was now coming in from the starboard and above, put that turret out of action. In the mean time the first JU88 had shot away the British bombers rear turret pipe lines and the second JU88 had been pumping her with tracer. The first JU88 attacked from dead ahead and, although the front gunner returned fire, his turret was rendered unserviceable after the first burst. During the whole of the combat, Sgt Falconer had been taking violent evasive action. Just when it seemed like he had shaken off his three attackers, a single engined unidentified enemy fighter appeared and raked the Stirling from nose to tail. The complete battle lasted for nearly 20 minutes and was fought from 15 000 feet down to sea level (the Stirling’s trailing aerial was actually whipped off over the Zuider Zee). With two of his crew wounded, his front mid upper turrets useless, his astrodome, blind flying panel and oxygen system shot away, flying controls and control stick damaged, brake system, intercom and TR9 out of action, Sgt Falconer set course for home and weaved his way through strong concentrations of light flak over the Dutch coast. Sgt Falconer showed daring and adroitness of a very high order. His cool courage and command of the situation were remarkable. His expert and stout hearted captaincy undoubtedly saved the lives of his crew. He has now taken part in 20 operational sorties embracing 101 operational hours. His loyalty, fearlessness and sense of duty are outstanding. He is very strongly recommended for the immediate award of the DFM.”
    Commissioned P/O 20th June 1942. His DFC was announced in the London Gazette on 15th October 1943 for actions with 214 Squadron. Citation reads (Courtesy of Hugh Halliday):
    FALCOLNER, Sidney Godfrey, A/F/L (129233, RAFVR*) - No.214 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 15 October 1943. Citation in Air Ministry Bulletin 11720.
    "A first class operational pilot and captain of aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Falconer has successfully completed many operational sortie of a varied nature. He has set a high example of keenness and courage in his squadron and been unfailing in his devotion to duty."
    His birth was registered in the first quarter of 1921 in South Shields and his mothers maiden name given as Jackson.


    Can i ask what your interest in him is? I haven't managed to track down any relatives yet and have no photo of any of the crew yet, so if you (or anyway else) can help i would be very grateful!

    Cheers, Tom

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    Tom,
    Correct serial of the Horsa was LH496 (Air Britain Serials).

    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Thank you very much everybody !

    Tom,

    My interest stems from a few years ago when I was cross checking the cwgc website for Distinguished Flying Medal gallantry awards. Sidney Falconer name came up because at that time he was only listed as being awarded the Distingished Flying Cross.

    I was trying to amend the Cwgc information for a number RAF personnel who's gallantry awards were not listed (mainly DFMs, AFMs and a few MM).

    My current request stems to discover if Sidney was still serving with Bomber Command. I see from your information he was with 81 OTU which transferred from Bomber Command to 38 Group 1.1.44 ! I do remember reading somewhere of a connection with 1665 HCU Tilstock.

    How sad for Sidney to survive over 50 ops in heavy bombers to die in a glider accident !

    Also I was wondering about the RAF Memorial book at St Clements Danes Church, London and what is listed under Sidney's entry !

    Thanks again

    Mark

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    A few bits of information on Sgt Falconer while with No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron.

    Carried out his first operation on February 14th 1942 flying as 2nd pilot to New Zealander Sgt Lamason against Le Havre. Flew in total ten operations with Lamason. First operation as captain May 29th 1942 in Short Stirling Mk.I HA-L s/n R9311 against Gennvilliers, last operation August 24th against Frankfurt. . Completed 28 operations before screened, posted to No.21 O.T.U September 19th 1942. Took part in all three 1000 bomber raids, crashed on landing on return from Cologne, May 30/31st.

    Hope of interest.

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Default 129233 F/L Sidney Godfrey FALCONER DFC, DFM

    I am the nephew of Sidney Godfrey Falconer , sadly he was killed before I was born, but his brother, my father had his medals and now I am the proud possessor of them. If I can be of any help, I will try and oblige

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    Hello Ian, thanks for posting a message. I have sent you a private message, but if you wish to contact me directly you can email me at tomthorne83ATyahooDOTcoDOTuk replacing the DOT's and AT with the obvious.

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Tom

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    Default Fl Lt S G Falconer

    Just an update on some details re the above pilot. I have some photographs of him and his brother that I rescued from a flea market a number of years ago. Photos include group shots of his LAC training course and his Flight Sergeants course and some of him and his crew. In addition is a photo of his original grave and a couple with his family at the Palace to receive his DFC. If Iain would like to contact me I would be more than pleased to discuss further. I can be contacted on keith_trotter@hotmail.com
    Regards,
    Keith.

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