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Thread: Wellington R1226 214 Sqn 8/5/41

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    Default Wellington R1226 214 Sqn 8/5/41

    I am tryingto find out more about the loss of Wellington R1226 BU-L of 214 Squadron on the night of the 8th/9th May 1941 while on ops to Hamburg.

    The operation was to be tha last for S/L Eddison, however the Wellington was shot down and crashed near Anna Paulowna killing in the crew.

    I was wondering if anybody had any idea how long the crew had been together, and I am especially keen to find out more about one the the gunners call Cyril Paton. It would seem he had been a pre war civil pilot, his Civil pilots log book stating his licence would expire on the 1/6/1940.

    Most entries are from late 1938 and 1939 when he is training on BA Swallows, however in August 1940 there are entries for gunner training in Wellington L7781, and the harrows K6972, K6973, K6979, K7004, K7022, and K6964.

    I think the Wellington may have been with 37 Squadron which had been formed from 214 Squadron, however I was wondering if anybody might know which unit the Harrows were with. I was also wondering how bhe had come to be an Air Gunner when he was already a pilot, and why his first air gunner practice would be in a civil log book?

    In the rear of the log is a letter (undated) stating he had been accepted as a member of the Civil Air Gurad with the number 2241, so I am not sure if that might have resulted in his gunnery training.

    Any help would be great,

    Johnnie

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    Johnnie,

    From Air-Britain's L serials and K File volumes:

    L7781 - 37 Sqn, Caught fire on ground, Feltwell, 3.8.40.

    K6972, K6973, K6979, K7004, K7022, and K6964 - all 8BGS

    And bio entry for one of the crew, from my 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Three: Biographies & Appendices)':

    KIRKCALDIE, Pilot Officer Norman Mervyn Kebbell.
    NZ401315 (no No. in TAF?, prev A401315 in RNZAF); b Wgtn 2 Feb 18; Wanganui Collegiate (1st XI/XV, Shooting Team & Athletic Champ) & Victoria Univ Coll; accountant - Clarke, Menzies, Griffin & Co, Wgtn. TAF & Wgtn Territorial Sqn (Baffin) 16 mths; to Sydney e.1939, after outbreak of war rtd to NZ by 25 Oct; RNZAF Levin/GTS as Airman Pilot u/t 9 May 40, 2EFTS 3 Jun 40, 2FTS 29 Jul 40, Pilots Badge [wef 30.9.40] & Comm 22 Nov 40, att RAF & emb for UK 5 Dec 40, 1 Depôt 15 Jan 41, 20OTU (Wellington) 1 Feb 41, 214 Sqn (Wellington - 3 ops) 26 Apr 41, kao 9 May 41. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery - 32.C.2, North Brabant, Netherlands. Son of Norman & Marjorie Grace Kirkcaldie (née Kebbell), Waikanopa, Ohau. [phot. TWN 19.6.40 & 27.11.40].

    Errol

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    Thank you very much for the additional information.

    Paton flew in Wellington L7781 in late June 1940, so I wonder if this was
    something to do with his Civil Air Guard time. His pilot was P/O Watts, and it
    was from Feltwell. Under remarks he writes "Test flight, member of crew".

    His first Harrow flight is on the 23rd July, and he is flying with F/Lt Thornywell (I think)
    and he states it is an "Evaluation to Tain Gunnery Range, FREE Sea Marker firing 200 rounds".

    He then does not seem to fly until the 25th August 1940 when he has a tracer de,omstration, and then from this date onwards (for the next week) he seems to have intensive gunnery practice with various pilots.

    I am wondering if after this practice (I assume at 8 BGS) he may have been given a
    real RAF log book as the entries in the Civil Book stop.

    I also wonder if Paton might have been on 214 for quite some time as the book "RAF Stradishall" by Spencer Adams and Jock Whitehouse states it was Eddisons regular
    crew (apart from the pilot who I assume was on an dickie op), and that the crew
    should have been taken over by a chap called Walter Sturdy as Eddison was due to leave to become a Flight Commander with 218 Sqn after the Hamburg.

    Out of interest, the book aslo states Eddisons gunners (so I assume Paton in one of these) claimed a Bf110 as damaged after ops on the 5/6th May.

    Johnnie

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    Default Wellington R1226

    Hi Johnnie

    I don't have anything specifically about Paton (my notes list a/c, pilots and co-pilots but not full crews I'm afraid) but F/L Eddison (listed as S/L on his final op) was a very experienced pilot.

    I have him as a/c captain on 27 ops with 214 between 7/12/1940 and when he was lost on 8/5/1941, all but 3 of these being in R1226, BU-L. There were 5 ops in 1940 (7/12 to 27/12) and the other 22 were in '41 (1/1 to 8/5).

    Prior to this he flew once as co-pilot to F/O O' Connor to Cologne on 29/11/40 in Wellington N2778, BU-R. 214's ORB also mentions a "P/O" Eddison as co-pilot in Harrow II, K6991 back on 6/10/1938.

    If Paton was one of Eddison's regular crew he may well have been on many of these '40/'41 ops with him. But I can't help you there I'm afraid.

    I have no record of Wellington L7781 as ever being with 214 and, of the Harrows you list, only K6972 with 214 between May '38 and July '39.

    While not directly answering your query about Paton I hope this may be of help.

    Cheers

    Ian


    ps Hal Watts was another pre-/early-war 214 bod. Likely the guy you've mentioned. Sturdy too was a 'high-scoring' 214 pilot.

    pps The Me 110 was claimed as "Probably severely damaged" by the rear gunner on an op to Hamburg on 6-7/5 - although they couldn't locate Hamburg so attacked Bremen instead.

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    Thanks for the additional information on this. I knew Addison had been a pre war 214 man from the Squadron history ect, and I also found a mention of him in the Flight online archive along with a photo.

    If we assume the air gunnery training in Patons civil flying log during August 1940 moved onto to more gunnery practice, or an OTU, then it could well be the case that all of his ops were with Eddison starting in December 1940. I will have to try and arrange a trip to the PRO to view the ORBS's.

    Johnnie

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