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Thread: N° 1 PRU aircraft

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    Default N° 1 PRU aircraft

    Hello dear friends

    I’d like first to thank again all those who helped me for my querry about a possible Spitfire lost on 28 08 41. And « Voytech » seemed to have had the good answer, the good date probably being 20 Aug 1941. The recent JG2 history book of E Moombeck has an entry that fits very well, saying that F/O S. H. Dowse landed into the sea near Brest, swam to the coast where he was not long ago later captured. He was then sent to Lanvéoc and interrogated. In the afternoon, F/O C. A. S. Greenhill did the same mission on Brest, and was also shot down. The Germans would have told Dowse they knew another aircraft was coming… What he didn’t believe, as he thought he was using the last plane available at the 1 PRU. Greenhill would have been saved by a little german boat at 50 km from the coast, with a lot of chance, late in the evening.
    His aircraft would have crashed near Lannilis. What leads me to ask several questions.

    Among those still unindentified crash sites found in this north west Brittany area, one is near Lannilis, on Loc-Brévalaire commune. The particularity of this recovery, is that absolutely no ammunition was found. But at least five or six oxygen bottles of different sizes. The engine was fitted with twinned exhaust pipes, and very thin valves what, for my research friend Jean Tréguer of Kernilis, would indicate an old engine.

    According to http://www.spitfires.ukf.net/production.htm, there are conflicting data about these two Spitfire Marks. But would a Merlin III engine be fitted as previously described ?

    The final question would be : Do you think this type of recovery can drive us to think this particular aircraft (Sure a Spitfire) was from a PRU ? The witnesses never saw any pilot or parachute. He probably bailed far away from the crash site.

    Many thanks to all

    Gildas

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    Sydney Dowse :

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/sydney-dowse-great-escape-survivor-842126.html


    also see:

    http://ww2chat.com/forums/obituaries/2185-sydney-dowse-rip.html

    and

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1584759/Sydney-Dowse.html


    Note different dates: Telegraph has 20th Sept 1941, Independant 21 Sept 1941 and Times says August!

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    Gildas

    Please can you post two serials you think involved?

    Thanks

    Paul

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    Answered own question:

    X4491 and X4497 on 20th August 1941

    So who was on what one?

    According to the RAF POW list on this site: X4491 was Greenhill #40906 so X4497 must be Dowse must it?? but both this sites RAF POW List and CC Losses have Dowse on 15th August 1941 in unknown Spitfire! and the closeness of the serials and same date worries me!
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 2nd February 2009 at 11:29.

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    1 PRU ORB F.540 confirms both Dowse and Greenhill MIA on 20Aug41

    X4497 and X4491 are the a/c missing.

    No corresponding F.541 entry to tie which a/c to which pilot.

    Best Regards

    Andy Fletcher
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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    Thanks Paul and Andy for your answer, and the appreciated links of interest. I’m afraid nothing allowed me to tell which pilot flew which plane. But on http://www.spitfires.ukf.net/production.htm, at least both X4491 and X4497 were lost on 20 Aug 1941, what is confirmed by Andy’s info about 1 PRU ORB F.540.
    On the french book « Lanvéoc Poulmic, Mémoires de rade » from René Martin and Michel Baraer, it is said the pilot landed near Telgruc shore, so on the Crozon peninsula.
    I soon as I receive my book, I’ll maybe have some other details to share.
    But do you think, for the one crashed near Lannilis, that no ammunition and several oxygen bottles can only be a PRU aircraft ?

    The data plate with serial number may still be under the ground, as those who excavated this site spent so much time to dig out the two main gears, the engine and the propeller, that they couldn’t have a look at all the other small parts.

    And nothing at all was found from the one that crashed at Lanvéoc, what doesn’t help.
    Thanks again
    Gildas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gildas View Post
    The data plate with serial number may still be under the ground, as those who excavated this site spent so much time to dig out the two main gears, the engine and the propeller, that they couldn’t have a look at all the other small parts.
    Was the engine c/n 37835 (X4491) or 38621 (X4497), or a different one?

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    hello,

    It would help a lot if Gildas could give more details about the dig and what was recovered.

    From my own experience, we always find 0.303 ammos on crashsites (on planes armed with Browning machineguns obviously). In the last two Merlins we uncovered, we were not able to tie-up the engine number to a specific airframe, due to lack of records. Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust was very helpful, but they can't provide what they don't have.
    In the first case, they could tell the Merlin III was delivered as a replacement unit, and indeed, on the Form 78 for the plane, a different serial number was recorded, which was the engine fitted on the factory line. The strange point was this Hurricane was lost with less than 10 flying hours ! We were able to identify the plane through a little plate with the serial number, braced on a tubular frame, on the left hand side of the cockpit.
    The second was a Merlin XII, and RRHT could only said when it was delivered to Castle Bromwich, but not on which particuliar Spitfire II it was fitted. I was able to find a part of the name of the Spitfire on a cowling part, as she was a subscription machine.

    I have seen on very few documents a tie-up of plane serial number with engine serial number. They're usually given in form 1180s (accident cards, at Hendon), but clearly, this is not the case here. VoyTech, can you tell me where you located this information (Form 78s ?) or else ?

    Thanks in advance

    Joss

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    The info provided by Wojtek probably comes from the ORB.

    The F.540 lists both engines as Merlin XLV 38621 (X4497) and 37835 (X4491).
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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    Thanks all for your new input.

    Joss, I think I mentioned the main parts recovered, but have none with me, and the wings and the fuselage weren’t there anymore.But thanks for the info where you had found one serial number. I enclose the only pictures I have for the moment of the hole and the propeller, of one main gear and the engine. You will notice that this last one suffered a lot !
    In one french museum, at Anger-Marcé, I was able to see my first complete Rolls Royce engine, and had located the data plate. But when you see tis engine we have ….

    But could one answer if PRU aircraft were armed or not ? If yes, the guns may also be there under the ground. No one went back there for the moment.






    Gildas

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