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Thread: Info wanted on individual Airman

  1. #1
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    Default Info wanted on individual Airman

    DOVAL DAVID CHARLES STEWART

    Nationality: Canadian
    Rank: Warrant Officer Class I (Nav.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
    Unit: 148 (R.A.F.) Sqdn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 04/07/1944
    Service No: R/116246
    Additional information: Son of David and Kathleen Martha Stewart, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Coll. grave II. E. 1-8.
    Cemetery: BUDAPEST WAR CEMETERY

    I know he trained with 1663 HCU/ Rufforth and was there in August 1943, slim chance anyone knows anything, but you never know.

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    Halifax II serial JP286 lost on SOE-operations 'Savanna 101' and 'Deerhurst' (droppings West Yugoslavia and North Hungary).
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Thanks Hank,

    Much appreciated

    Jim

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    Default Doval D C Stewart RCAF

    Jim
    I have a little more information from an ex 148 friend who has sent me a page from 148 squadron history.
    3/4 July 1944
    Halifax JP 286 Sqd.Ldr Baird or Bird RAFVR pilot with ---
    W/O Stewart RCAF,
    F/O Crain or Cran RAFVR
    F/Sgt Lake RAFVR,
    F/Sgt Lee RAFVR,
    F/Sgt Pearson RAF,
    F/Sgt Radford RAFVR
    F/Sgt Tilmont RAFVR
    with four passengers [SOE ??] Lt Col Boughay ,Major Wright ,Lt Vincent Sgt Manley who may have parachuted out safely .The crew & passengers must have been been a tight squeeze in the plane !

    [As Henk] were lost over Yugoslavia with 2/3 other Halifax crews JP 247 & JP237 & F/O Clifford's aircraft ?

    Anne

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    Default Late but better than never

    On the missions flown that night:

    Savannah (also spelt Savanna): a Yugoslavia mission headed by Basil Davidson that emerged from the failure of an earlier mission (Decima) to penetrate Hungary from Yugoslavia. Savannah was based in Fruška Gora where it joined partisan groups. Davidson was evacuated in July 44 on a flight taking partisan casualties to Italy.

    Deerhurst: a mission composed of Maj Wright, Lt Col Boughey, Lt Vincent (or Vass – a Hungarian born Canadian interpreter), and Cpl Manley. Mission was to drop blind in Hungary and seek to make contact with a group led by former Hungarian Army officers supposed to prepare a resistance group in the forested hills NW of Lake Balaton. Mission appeared ill conceived as both SOE HQ and Basil Davidson had severe doubts about the existence of established resistance groups in Hungary. In addition, mission was in fact the amalgamation of two missions, the original Deerhurst (planned by Wright) and Sandy (planned by Boughey but cancelled), and had thus two heads.
    Boughey was a senior SOE officer in London with little field experience or knowledge of Hungary but deep knowledge of SOE operations in general and in Jugoslavia in particular.

    Mission was dropped on 3 July 1944 by Halifax JP286, seemingly off the designated DZ. Entire mission was captured the following days by Hungarian troops and security services. Transferred to Budapest, then Vienna, then Germany where Wright and Vincent/Vass were killed on 23 12 1944 in the bombing of a WH POW distribution centre in Limburg, near a major rail yard. Boughey and Manley eventually transferred to a Luftlag and survived the war.

    Halifax JP286 was lost on the way back to base, presumably shot down by Leopold Fellerer of StabIII/NJG6, at 01.50 hrs. 10km NE of Kaposvar Hungary with the loss of all crew members who are now buried in Budapest War Cemetary.

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    You information was perfectly timed for me as i've just started to research my great uncle F/Sgt Ronald Radford. I knew about the crash & the SOE operatives aboard but knew little about operation Deerhurst, so many thanks for the information you provided.

    One thing i am hoping someone can enlighten me about is that JP286 carried a crew of eight that night including FOUR air-gunners. Given the extra four 'passengers' & being a MkII Series I Special (no nose or dorsal turret) this does seem rather strange.

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    Good question re crew size, one could think that a mission tasked with a supply drop plus the insertion of 4 agents in another location could do with an extra dispatcher but it is only a supposition. 148 ORB pages from late June/early July show a number of missions flown with one extra crew, without any immediately obvious link to the load.

    Interestingly M Tilmont, the rear gunner, flew a supply drop mission on July 1/2 with P/O HW Leleu and a total crew of 8. P/O HW Leleu flew another supply mission the following day with a similar load and total flying time 40 min shorter with the same crew less M Tilmont.

    According to 148 ORB, Bird had completed a tour with 614 Sq (that was the pathfinder squadron of BG 205 based in and around Foggia) and needed only 24 hrs operational flying to complete this tour with his crew. It would be interesting to check earlier 148 ORB pages to understand the regular line-up of S/L Bird's crew.

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    It came as a surprise finding R. Radford listed amongst the aircrew of 148Sqdn as according to family history he was a tail-gunner in a pathfinder. If he was transfered from 614Sq that would make sense.

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