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Thread: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

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    Default Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    Hello everyone

    I came across the following story in the Sunday Sun (a local Newcastle-upon-Tyne newspaper, nothing to do with that Sun...) of August 18th 1940:

    Bomber Crash Ordeal of Felling [a district of Gateshead] Hero
    A Felling member of a bomber crew whose machine, disabled by anti-aircraft fire during a raid on Hamburg, made a forced landing on a haystack in France, is convalescing in Newcastle after weeks in hospital with shrapnel wounds in the arm and back.
    He is Flight Sergeant Frank Cummings, of Chapel Street, Felling, a wireless operator-air gunner, who, with two other members of the bomber's crew, received the D.F.M. for his exploits.
    The second pilot of the machine was awarded the D.F.C.
    Sergeant Cummings is shortly to marry Miss Elsie Turner, of Fairfaith Avenue, Croydon, a member of the W.A.A.F.

    Pilot Killed Outright
    The bomber in which Sergeant Cummings was aireless operator encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire before reaching its objective. A burst of shrapnel put the undercarriage out of action, disabled the starboard engine and killed the pilot outright. The second pilot, overcome with shock, lay in the ribs of the machine. The rear gunner lost a leg when his turret was shot away.
    The observer received a burst of shrapnel in his left shoulder, but despite this he took over control of the bomber and "pancaked" it in a haystack at Nancy.
    Not only the pilot but the nose gunner was dead. Of the rest of the crew six all [sic] were injured with the exception of the second pilot.
    Cummings had made nearly a score of bombing raids over Germany before his machine was brought down.


    So, that all seems very detailed, however I can't find a Frank Cummings being awarded the D.F.M.

    Totting up the crew, it makes eight? Pilot and front gunner who both died, then six others, five of whom were injured apart from the second pilot. A Wellington? Whitley maybe? EDIT - see post #4

    I can't see a relevant loss in Bomber Command Losses for 1939/1940 (although I may have just missed it...!). Any help most gratefully received!!

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 20th June 2022 at 23:07. Reason: typo
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    Wellington, maybe? ‘Of the crew [of] six, two killed, the rest injured’?

    Also, BCWD will tell you dates on which Hamburg was raided, pre-collapse of France?
    Last edited by ianh; 20th June 2022 at 19:31.

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    A lot of this does not make sense - starting with I can’t find a Cummings Turner marriage in 1940

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    Thanks Ian and Paul

    I've just realised I did make a mistake in the transcription and missed a word out, and it does indeed say 'of the rest of the crew of six all were injured with the exception of the second pilot' which makes more sense. Apologies!

    So looks like a Wellington, as Ian suggested.

    I was struck when I read the story that there does seem to be a few things that don't quite add up, but the detail is pretty specific about Hamburg, the haystack, Nancy and the fact that Cummings had already done nearly a score of Ops already.

    No other similar articles around that time relating a similar story, as far as I can see, though.

    Regards

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

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    No AIR81 file either - with two dead and so many injured.. you would expect one?

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    If Frank First Name - I would initially focus on 2 names below


    F Q Cummings 8479 1915 Royal Air Force
    F Cummings 92479 1917 Royal Air Force
    F Cummings 51211 1917 Royal Air Force
    F C Cummings 160581 1918 Royal Air Force
    Francis Cummings 526640 1925 Royal Air Force
    Frank Cummings 1140974 1940 Royal Air Force

    Frederick Eli Cummings 1180869 1940 Royal Air Force

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    Thanks Paul. I'm thinking it could be Francis Cummings 526640, but as not much else fits, who knows!

    I've also done a little more digging on this.

    Assuming Chapel Street, Felling is correct, there is no one named Cummings/Cumming/Cummins living there on the 1939 Register. Obviously if he was already in the R.A.F., he may not show up.

    Secondly, no Elsie (or Elizabeth Turner) living in Fairfield Road (which I guess is what was meant by Fairfaith in the article?), Croydon in 1939. Once again, if she was already in the W.A.A.F. she may not be listed? No Turners at all, however.

    Regards

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

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    Simon to be honest I know what I think of this story.....

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    I quite agree Paul.

    It's the details that make me think there just might be something to it...of course maybe that's exactly what the article's writer wanted!

    Regards

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

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    Default Re: Some help with an unidentified loss, 1940?

    Yes indeed, there does not seem to be a single fact in this newspaper story that can actually be proven....

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