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Thread: O.B. James MM DFM

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    Default O.B. James MM DFM

    Hi guys

    As a Hampden pilot, Sgt Oliver James was shot down in March 1941, captured and had a badly injured arm amputated. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to escape and reached England in March 1942. Fitted with an artificial arm he returned to operations with 245 Squadron but was shot down and killed on 4/10/43, having been awarded a Military Medal and the DFM.

    Has anything been written about him, an article perhaps? Can anyone tell me more, please?

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Default O.B. James, MM, DFM

    My copy of Tavender (which presumably has the recommendation to his DFM) is momentarily not available, but I can offer the following re his MM:


    JAMES, Oliver Barton, Sergeant, DFM (745340, Royal Air Force) - No.83 Squadron - Military Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 May 1942. Citation from Public Record Office Air 2/5684.

    "This airman was a member of the crew of an aircraft which was shot down in Northern France on 22nd March 1941. Sergeant James was captured by the Germans and taken to hospital where his left arm was amputated. He was imprisoned in Germany for some time and, with ultimate escape in view eventually succeeded in getting himself removed to France under the repatriation scheme. When this was abandoned, Sergeant James in company with Sergeant Magrath, and in the face of many difficulties and physical handicaps, succeeded in escaping from the prison camp and showing the utmost determination made his way after many adventures through France and Spain to Gibraltar, from where he was repatriated."

    MAGRATH, William John Quirke, Sergeant (581464, Royal Air Force) - No.82 Squadron - Military Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 May 1942. Citation from Public Record Office Air 2/5684.

    "This airman was a member of the crew of an aircraft which attacked an aerodrome at Aalborg on 13th August 1940. After leaving the target they were attacked by fighters and compelled to descend in a fjord. Sergeant Magrath, who was badly injured, was imprisoned in Germany for some time and was eventually removed to France under the repatriation scheme. When this was abandoned, Sergeant Magrath in company with Sergeant James, and in the face of many difficulties and physical handicaps, succeeded in escaping from the prison camp and, showing the utmost determination, made his way after many adventures through France and Spain to Gibraltar, from where he was repatriated."

    I am sure that someone else will provide the references for their MI.9 escape/evasion reports.

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    He was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal which was later downgrAded to the Military Medal ! I believe he is the only DFM winner of WW2 to receive the MM !

    Mark

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    hello,

    Chorley volume 2 gives the loss during the night 20/21st March 1941. recommendation gives 22nd March which is thus one day late. Also, Britanny is not what I would call northern France.

    Initials C.B. for James in Chorley, in error, read O.B. He was the captain of Hampden X3132 OL-L, detailed to lay mines off Brest. Sgt D. MacCallum (wireless operator ?) evaded capture. Sgt W.E. MILLER (observer ?) and Sgt N.S. WEIR (air gunner) both killed.

    Chorley gives details about JAMES, his amputation following his capture, his evasion in March 1942 and that he was later shot down, in night-fighters. No. 245 was flying Typhoons fighter-bombers.

    Hope this helps

    Joss

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    Default Oliver James

    Thanks Hugh, Mark and Joss

    Oliver James - some guy, deserves his story being written!

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Default F/O O.B. James Info

    Hello, just ran into this thread yesterday! The gentleman in question is my grand father, and there are a good many references to him in writings, but nothing strictly about him or his short life (23 years). Ramsay Milne likely references him the most in "Sailor Boy to Typhoon Pilot", detailing the days in 245 Squadron, Mike Flanagan's "Typhoon Types" also a recognizes my grandfather. "Avion" magazine (France) had an article (2006, I believe) chronicling the encounter that lead to his death near Evreux in 1943. It was called "Taifun vs. Typhoon".

    BBC Northern Ireland put together a rather fun documentary called "Flight to Freedom"- which was about Bill McGrath and Oliver James' escape from the German POW camp in 1941. Bill is still alive today.

    I will gladly contribute any information that might be deemed interesting??!

    Best regards from western Canada!
    Adrian Friesen
    Vancouver, BC

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    Adrian

    Your grandfather’s DFM citation as recorded on page 970 of Ian Tavender’s book “The Distinguished Flying Medal Register for the Second World War” (Savannah) is as follows : -

    Oliver Barton James 745340 : Sgt. No 83 Sqn.

    London Gazette 5/8/1941 : Sorties 25, Flying hours 161, Pilot.

    Sgt. James has carried out 24 operational flights entailing 164 hours flying. He has carried out attacks on such targets as Wilhelmshaven (3), Berlin (2), Bordeaux (2), Kiel (2), Hamburg (2), Dusseldorf (2), Cologne (2), Bremen (2), Brest and Mannheim. The majority of these attacks have been made in the bad weather conditions throughout last winter and nearly all of them were completely successful. He has displayed the greatest keenness and enthusiasm for operational flying and has volunteered to take part in any operation for which his squadron has been detailed, whether he was rested or not. His courage, keenness and ability as a pilot have always been of the highest order and a source of inspiration to the pilots of his squadron. (Award w.e.f. 20/3/41).

    Best wishes

    Douglas

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    You might already have this but heres his promotion to Pilot Officer from the London Gazette:
    http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/35923/supplements/1027

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    Default Hampden X3132

    Dear all,

    I was very interested to read this thread about Sgt Oliver James. If Hampden X3132 was supposed to be near Morlaix according to W R Chorley, it crashed at Poulouarn in La Chapelle Neuve (22, Côtes d’Armor), at about 30 km south of Lannion, according to the following site http://joseph.lohou.perso.sfr.fr/Callac-de-Bretagne/secardinroch.html
    and does appear on the Absa 39-45 website http://www.absa39-45.com/membres_048.htm
    A trace of him can also be found at http://www.conscript-heroes.com/MI9-02.html
    Evader n° 3308 682 (F) FTR Mar 41 - Heilag at Rouen Nov 41 - PAO - Pyrenees Dec 41 to BC.
    Adrian, I hope you won’t mind if I forward your input to Daniel Dahiot, the Absa moderator. I « only » cover the Finistère department.
    Regards
    Gildas

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    I wrote a 3 page article about Oliver James and his wartime career including a photo of him in uniform wearing the ribbons of his MM DFM, it was published by "Militaria Collector" (Jul/Aug 1994 issue) after Flypast rejected it as too specialized.

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