Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: RAF Canadians who spotted the Altmark

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,229
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default RAF Canadians who spotted the Altmark

    I have just seen a newspaper clipping from Toronto with pictures of two Canadian RAF crew, who, as the caption says, were the first to spot the Altmark prison ship in Norwegian waters in 1940. Their names are P/O Bruce Forbes and P/O James A. Bell, both formerly of of London, Ont. Judging by an earlier thread, they were with 220 Sqn at the time.

    Forbes was killed on 7-8-1940 while flying with 224 Sqn, so I assume he was lost in a Hudson flying out of Leuchars in Fife. Can anyone give me the crash and mission details?

    Bell seems to have survived the war as he is not listed in the CWGC.

    Thanks.
    David

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    2,208
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi
    From Coastal Command Losses Vol 1 by Ross McNeill, Forbes was the pilot of 224 Sqn Hudson I,N7282,QX-F that left Leuchars at 1049 on 7/8/40 on Special Recconaissance. They went to Norwegian waters where they attacked an escort ship, NB02, in Fedjefjord and at 1410 were themselves shot down by Fw Ladwein of II/ZG76 off Bergen The crew were all KIA and are commemorated at Runnymede except for the A/G, Sgt S Grant, who is buried in Stavne Cemetery ,Trondheim
    Regards
    Dick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,229
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks Dick. Much appreciated.
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,405
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 34 Times in 33 Posts

    Default

    Hello David,

    Here is Chris Shores' account of the spotting of the 'Altmark':-

    16/2/40

    Coastal Command was deeply involved during the day in a search for the German fleet auxilliary supply ship 'Altmark'. This vessel had been providing supplies for the pocket battleship 'Graf Spee' before the latter had been scuttled outside Montevideo harbour. Now on its way back to Germany, 'Altmark' was carrying 228 British, 67 Indian and eight negro merchant seaman who had been aboard some of the vessels sunk by the raider. Patrols of Hudsons were out from 0825 onwards, 'K', 'M' and 'V' of 220 Squadron searching for eight hours. The first sighting was made at 1225 by Plt Off McNeil in 'K', the ship being seen south of Obrestad off the Norwegian coast. This was confirmed soon afterwards by Plt Off Fleetwood in 'M', and then by Flt Lt Downton in 'V'. Later in the afternoon the ship was reported to have taken refuge in Jossingfjord by a 233 Squadron Hudson, N7241, flown by Sgt Collinson.

    See:
    Fledgling Eagles.
    Shores,Christopher, et al.
    London:Grub Street,1991.
    pp.166-7.

    Incidentally, 42096 W/C George James BELL, retired from the RAF on 13th April,1959.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 28th March 2009 at 01:28. Reason: Minor correction

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,229
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks Col, great stuff. I assume Forbes was a second pilot at that stage and went on to get his own command at 224 Sqn or something like that. Does anyone have the 220 Sqn ORB so I can place him in one of those a/c?

    On Bell, are you sure he's the same one? The newspaper had him as James A. Bell.
    David

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,405
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 34 Times in 33 Posts

    Default

    Hello David,

    I used an 'Ancient' source to check on Bell initially, namely:-

    Canadians in the Royal Air Force.
    Allison,Les.
    Roland:Author,1978.
    p.107.

    His listing is as follows:-

    BELL, G. J., F/L (42096)
    London (Ontario?). Enlisted in Jan./39 and a year later was flying Hudsons in No.224 Sqdn. for North Sea Patrols. Postwar he remained in the RAF.

    Bell is mentioned, incidentally, in Forbes' entry in the same ref (p.137):-

    k/a.
    FORBES,Ray Bruce, F/O (41391).
    Was born in Manitoba and educated in London, Ont. He enlisted in Oct./38 and when war broke out was flying Hudsons with No.224 Sqdn. on coastal reconnaissance. In April/40 they attacked Stavanger Airdrome in Norway several times with P/O G.Bell in the same squadron. They flew together until F/O Forbes was lost on a coastal reconnaissance on Aug.7/40.

    Allison is notoriously unreliable, but in some cases he provides a link, not readily available elsewhere.

    I followed up on Bell in the LG, under his service number.

    Could be just a coincidence, what do you think?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 28th March 2009 at 04:42. Reason: Minor correction

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •