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Thread: Whitley P4986 Aug17,1940

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    Default Whitley P4986 Aug17,1940

    near my home town, direct east of ESSINGHAUSEN (Peine region) a british bomber was shot down by flak. Due to the photos I found at the town archive I could identify it as a Whitley.
    Due to the lostbomber-website the only one was within the range was the P4986 from 51.Sqn during a raid against Bohlen Oil Plant but it was stated that the cause and the crash site where not established...
    At a german newspaper article from that time it seems the Whitley burst immediatelly after being hit, no one of the crew survived - due to another photo it seems they didnīt had the chance to hook their chutes...

    Pilot-in-Command (?) Flight Lieutenant John Stanley Scott
    37484
    Grave 5G12 Hannover War Cemetery

    CoPilot (?) Sergeant Frederick Allen Beale
    25J Clapham, Bedfordshire, UK
    741185
    Grave 5G9

    Observer Sergeant Roy Desmond Edward Clarke
    580869
    Grave 5G11

    Radio Operator Sergeant Peter Duncan Salmon
    551589
    Grave 5G8

    Air Gunner Sergeant Harry Haggett,
    19 J. Stafford , UK
    626994
    Grave 5G10

    These informations where all I could get about the five, a guestbook-entry to the 51Sqn-website was without reply yet.

    If I could get more informations, maybe photos of this crew I because I think it is importand to give these things also a face...

    Thanks a lot for any help,

    Edgard

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    Default Whitley P4986 51. Sqn MH-F mostly identified

    deleted for fingertrouble
    Last edited by edgard; 29th October 2010 at 16:10.

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    Default Whitley P4986 51. Sqn MH-F mostly identified

    Callsign of Whitley P4986 was definitly MH-F; it is visible on some photos I got from the crashsite.
    There also was shown that the bomb load was at least partially 4.5-inch reconnaissance flares Mk4 as identified by German explosives experts.
    For this it shows that the crew was well experienced and in a pathfinder-role, I suppose. This could hit the newspaper article from the crash which stated that it was the second aircraft in the bomber group passing the area of Peine.

    I have contact tho the brother of rear gunner Sgt. Hagget, all other investigations about the crewmembers where negative.

    If anyone is interested in the results and photos I got or has additional information please contact me direkt:
    ed-fuss@t-online.de

    Regards,

    Edgard

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    Just to get Edgard's thread moving - was Bomber Command actually using pathfinders this early in the war? Terraine's "The Right of the Line" suggests the first time pathfinders were used was on the night of 14/15 Dec 1940 (I think - the wording is ambiguous and could refer to 1941) against Mannheim. Does Chorley have anything to say about this raid?

    Brian

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    My initial thoughts were they might have been incendiaries, and the description being lost in translation but!!

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    Good question, Brian - but what where these flares for? The only idea I have is that the first planes made some aerial photos just before the bombing.
    Make that sense?
    Alan, can you please explain "incendiaries"? I am not familiar with...

    edgard

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    Edgard

    Incendiaries are basically bombs for causing fires rather than destruction by high explosive.

    Come on someone, surely Chorley has something to say about this operation.

    Brian

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    I donīt think so because these reco-flares came down on little parachutes to light up the area. The parachute ropes are to be seen on the photo and also on the technical drawing I got about this type.
    And as far as I know they dropped first explosives to "open" the buildings and the incendiaries after but if the article was right the MH-F was one of the first bombers in the group.

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    Hi Brian,
    Edgard has actually given more details than Chorley. Nothing more than take off time and crash site given.
    Alan.

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    The informations given on Chorley´s website helped me to identify the aircraft because all I had first were two photographs from the crashsite, one with the rear turret and elevator and trim fin on; this was the one who led me to the type and this Whitley was the only one which crashed during this periode in an area which is related to the target.
    Cause of the crash, location where stated as unknown, Callsign incomplete.
    All other information and photos I got from local archives and whitnesses (some are still living) but mostly and thankfully from the brother of Rear Gunner Sgt Harry Haggett. He´d sent me all documents including Harry´s Log Book for a scan.
    Unfortunatelly Chorley had passed away before I could send him my results.

    So I could fill a cd with all docs and photos - some are very sad to see expecially what happend to the crew members. Because the Whitley had burst immediatelly after the second Flak hit all men came down without parachutes - except Harry who was caught in his turret....
    The rear frame and partially the wings wheren´nt destroyed too much but the main frame was in pieces. The newspaper article spoke about a hugh flash, the whittnesses had confirmed that independedly.
    Chorley´s site spoke about Bohlen as the target; this is not correct.
    The name of the location is boehlen where one of the most important oil plants was (and is, now its owned by Dow Chemicals but the real target was not the oil plant ( first RAF-bombing in 1944) but the oil plants power station Lippendorf, abou 3 NM south.
    This is confirmed by a target chart I got from the son of an US-American pilot who was with the 51 Sqn during these days and was over this target just one day before.

    If anyone is interested in the informations or can provide me with further details please do not hesitate to contact me direct.

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