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Thread: Jock Craig Guinea Pig Club

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    Default Jock Craig Guinea Pig Club

    Hi guys

    I have just been reading about members of the Guinea Pig Club and in particular Jock Craig, who was a member of a bomber that struck a barrage balloon and crashed in flames. Jock may have been the only survivor, was badly burned and lost an eye.

    Any idea when this occurred, etc?

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Hello Brian,

    All I can offer is a name; Ian W Craig. As indicated, a Scot.

    Hope it stimulates a bit of activity.

    Col.

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    Default Jock Craig

    Thanks once again, Col

    I must owe you a couple of beers by now!

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Hi Brian

    I have the book "McIndoe's Army" (Williams & Harrison, Pelham Books, 1979), which has a list of all the Guinea Pig Club members in the back of the book, and lists a 'J.W. Craig'. I have the impression the book is poorly indexed, but there is one reference in the index to an Ian Craig - note the difference in names.

    Unfortunately, the list of Guinea Pigs only records initials, though it's likely the 'J' in 'J.W. Craig' stems from 'Jock'.

    Unfortunately, too, the reference in the book to Craig (on pages 132-133) only refers to a 1978 reunion and makes no mention of how he came to be a Guinea Pig.

    But maybe you have this info already?

    Regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    The Reconstruction of Warriors (Mayhew 2004) states:

    "Guinea Pig Ian Craig, who crashed whilst flying a reconnaisance flight over the French coast in a Wellingtion, was taken to Southampton General Hospital which was closest to his crash site, but moved immediately to Ely RAF Burns Unit (where there was room for him) for treatment on his burned face and lost eye" (pg 122)

    and

    "Ian Craig returned to his pre-war job as a fire insurance surveyor [after the ar]" (pg 197)

    No dates or any other details

    A

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    Hi All,

    Steve, I obtained Craig's name from the same source as you! The initials for Craig in the listing of 'The Guinea Pigs' seemed wrong. I relied on the attribution on of a few of the photographs between pp.80-1.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th March 2009 at 14:59. Reason: minor correction

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    Hello again,

    24 July 1941 Op:Brest.
    405 Squadron
    Wellington II W5581 LQ-V

    Took off 1134 Pocklington. Ditched 1635 some 300 yards off Torpoint, Devon. The tail gunner, Sgt Higgins, was wounded when the Wellington was savaged by fighters, but he remained at his post and claims to have destroyed one of the attackers.

    Sgt J W Craig Injured
    Sgt H S McNeill Injured
    Sgt.Leonard
    Sgt Bain
    Sgt J J Hughes
    Sgt G K Higgins Injured

    See:
    Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol.2 1941
    Chorley,W.R.
    Earl Shilton:Midland Counties Pubs.,1993.
    p.102

    Amendments & additions. BCL Vol.2 1941.

    1941/102 405/W5581. Off Tregantle Fort, Whitsand Bay.

    Just a thought. Tregantle seems a long way from Southampton !

    See also: http://www.rafdavidstowmoor.org/pages/crash_log/crashlog41.htm

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th March 2009 at 15:16. Reason: Minor additions

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    Col

    I don't think this is the right crash. This one is described as resulting in light injuries - burns to face and losing an eye don't seem to be light.

    Could he have been CC?

    A

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    Hello All,

    Amrit, I have my doubts as well. The slight injuries bit is a worry.

    I made a quick check in CCL1, could find no matches. Lets see if someone can come up with an alternative.

    Col.

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    Steve quoted the 'McIndoe's Army' by Williams & Harrison, but the OTHER book entitled 'McKindoe's Army' was by Edward Bishop, and Jock Craig earns a page there. There was only one Guinea Pig named Craig, and he went on to a succesful career post-war selling fire insurance. He is identified as J.W.Craig in the Members List, which was prepared from Guinea Pig Club records. Edward Bishop was closely associated with the club for many years and personal friends with several members.

    In Bishop's book, there is no date given for his crash, but Craig is quoted giving a short anecdote about the event that establishes the following facts: he was aircrew in a bomber returning to 'the station' when it 'caught a wing in a balloon cable and plunged towards a bomb dump'. After the impact he reached for his axe, but it wasn't there. He made his way through the flames for the nose, where the front gunner might have been, but both the gunner and pilot were missing. He then returned aft before escaping the burning bomber, and the fire had burned away the right side of his face. This fits the original enquirey from Brian, and there is no mention of earlier injuries, so the Wellington crash seems unlikely.

    From the text it is clear that he (a) was injured in a bomber (b) the bomber crashed at it's home station (c) he was not the pilot or front gunner and he (d) operated from a position aft which had an axe nearby. (I know the detail about the axe is a long shot but it is, nevertheless, established). There is nothing to point towards either BC or CC, or to narrow down the type of bomber.


    HTH,
    Bruce

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