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Thread: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

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    Default Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    Catalina AM265 was part of a special batch of Catalinas arranged by Churchill. The first of which AM264 went to Helensburgh in January 1941. Various books and reports say AM265 was 'lost in transit' i.e. Flying Cats by Andrew Hendrie. Yet AM265 crashed in the Donegal Corridor on March 21, 1941, when assigned to 240 squadron. So did AM265 reach Greenock, Helensburgh or Stranraer to receive a RAF serial number and paint job during that time gap? And, who was the ferry pilot that flew AM265 in transit? Cannot find mention of him anywhere.

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    Robin,
    I consulted Catalina authority David Legg, his response is below.
    Andy

    AM265 PBY-5/Catalina II built Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, San Diego (c/n 8) originally intended as US Navy BuNo 2295 but diverted to RAF; ferried Dartmouth NS to UK 02/03Feb41; Pembroke Dock 07Feb41; allotted 240 Sqn 22Feb41 [hull code BN-A]; cr in low visibility and burned 1,700ft up on Aunagh Hill, Glenade, Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, Eire 21Mar41. Nine crew lost and Cat.E FB 21Mar41; SOC 21Mar41

    To answer the various questions raised…
    It was ferried via Halifax/Dartmouth, NS then to UK, arriving 03Feb41 but no arrival destination known. Ferry pilot was LL ’Slim’ Jones, a Canadian in the RAF. My guess is that it was already in RAF camo’ with RAF serial when delivered as others in that small batch certainly were as proven by photos. The loss was not on its ferry flight but after allocation to 240 Sqn, Stranraer with which it was coded BN-A. Arrival with squadron not recorded in ORB. Subsequently moved to Lough Erne 20Mar41. Crashed on operations, not ferry flight, on 21Mar41 during 240 Sqns first operational Catalina flight - crew lost were F/O C P Davidson, P/O Harold L Seward, Sgt F R A Chalk, Sgt H Dunbar, Sgt R H Oldfield, Sgt C H Slack, F/O A E Whitworth, Sgt H H Newbury and one name missing. Parts of the aircraft could still be found (1997) at the crash site in 1997, scattered around a crater. Current status not known.

    David Legg; Editor, The Catalina News, The Catalina Society

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    Andy, thank you for clearing things up (ref David Legg and AM265). It is appreciated and your prompt reply.

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    I have a page on it on my site and visited crash site about four years back.

    www.ww2irishaviation.com/am265.htm
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    Dennis,

    My apologies for butting in, but in #2 one of the crew is listed as Sgt R H Oldfield, yet on your website you have him as AC1. I also see there is some confusion on the CWGC certificates for Oldfield in that his rank was initially given as Sgt, but then changed to AC1.

    I wonder if you could shed some light on the story - I appreciate the account at www.ww2irishaviation.com/am265.htm was written some time ago but I was wondering if there is a little more to the story in respect of his rank? Just curious, nothing more.

    Brian

    Edit: Or perhaps I should be asking Andy
    Last edited by Lyffe; 18th September 2022 at 20:01.

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    2020 is hardly some time ago??

    The CWGC and the AIR81 file have various annotations on R H Oldfield's rank. Some of the AIR81 sheets have him as AC1 crossed out and replaced with T/Sgt. So he may have been operating with a temporary rank at the time of the crash but all records since have been amended to read AC1.

    There is a minute sheet note on the AIR81 stating:

    6-10-41 OLDFIELD R H AC1 940612 DCL 663A gives Airman promoted to the rank of T/Sgt as on 27-5-40


    There is no indication any where that I am aware of that there were nine men on board, the AIR81 and Irish records are very clear on this.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    Hi Robin,

    As ever, you should be able to learn more about ferry pilot L L Jones from his ATFERO/RAF Ferry Command assignment card if it has survived, though it will be redacted per the current policy.

    Mention of him here as a Sqn Ldr in the RCAF: https://wordsonwingspress.com/ferrycommandpilot/

    Robert
    Last edited by robstitt; 18th September 2022 at 21:30.

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    So Oldfield should really be recorded as T/Sgt. As that info given in post 6 above gives a date: 27.05.1940. Which predates the crash on 21.03.1941.

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    Default Re: Mystery over Catalina AM265 crash

    CWGC doesn't record temporary ranks so his rank is AC1
    Would that be his War substantive rank. If that's the correct terminology??

    The records have been very clearly amended on CWGC over time to record AC1.

    The AIR81 note is just recording the admin side of things.

    He had been a T/Sgt - Temporary Sergeant 1940 to 1941 but upon death reverts for administrative purposes to rank of AC1.
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 19th September 2022 at 07:56.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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