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Thread: 420207 - Unaccounted airmen - 7-2-1942

  1. #21
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    Thanks Dave, please keep us involved.
    Regards,
    Henk.

  2. #22
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    Hi Henk,

    I have just received copies of the report of the sinking by the Empire Sun's first officer from a fellow on the Mercantile Marine forum (they are just as good as our crew on RAFC, it seems). It was on independent patrol that day within 12-15 miles of the shore when attacked. It sank within 10 minutes. Two of the lifeboats were destroyed in the explosion before they could be launched, which accounts for the losses, including the ship's master, contrary to reports elsewhere on the web. There were 7 RAF personnel on board but no names listed. I was given a lead at the National Archives to follow up. I will let you know what I find but it may take a while.

    This one just fascinates me, probably because it happened near Canada and I haven't looked into this side of the flying war before. I will let you know what I find, but I am thinking more and more that this must be how Gerald Cross was lost.

    Since this was a CAM ship, the plane would almost certainly be a Sea Hurricane 1A, of which only 50 were built. The CAM program ended in Aug 1942 when more Air Craft carriers became available.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship

    There's more about it on Wikipedia but the unit was called Merchant Ship Fighter Unit:

    "The Merchant Ship Fighter Unit (MSFU) was a Royal Air Force operational aircraft unit based at RAF Speke during World War II. The aircraft operated by the MSFU were Hawker Sea Hurricanes. These planes were operated from CAM ships. The MSFU was formed at Speke on May 5, 1941 and provided detachments to the CAM ships, each vessel being equipped with one Sea Hurricane plus an RAF pilot and support crew."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Ship_Fighter_Unit

    If anyone on the board has a copy of Ralph Barker's The Hurricats: The Fighters That Could Not Return, there might be more in there since there were so few planes of this type.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 7th April 2009 at 17:48.
    David

  3. #23
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    Just had a quick look through my copy of "The Hurricats", no mention of Cross or the Empire Sun in the index. A quick skim of the text doesn't show either name.

  4. #24
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    Default Sea Hurricanes

    Hi Bill,

    Not surprised that Cross wasn't mentioned but I thought maybe the loss of the ship and the aircraft might have been. Can you point us to any serial no. references for Sea Hurricanes? Would the loss of the plane have been noted on an 1180 form?
    David

  5. #25
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    Hi Henk, the gang over at Mercantile Marine have come up trumps for you on Cross. He is indeed among those on the casualty list for the Empire Sun. I will send you the scan they dug up for me if you e-mail me at david_fullerATsympatico.ca.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 8th April 2009 at 20:57. Reason: added e-mail
    David

  6. #26
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    Thanks David - PM on its way.
    Regards,
    Henk.

  7. #27
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    The Mercantile Marine website has a very recent long list of contributors, including a thumbnail detailing all the lost crew including Cross.

    It is well worth a look.

    Malcolm

  8. #28
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    Thanks Malcolm, that was probably my post on mm that you saw, which is where I got the casualty list for Henk and the sinking report.
    David

  9. #29
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    Gerald C G Cross AC2 is listed as SS Empire Sun on the GRO RAF War death index.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  10. #30
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    Thanks Dennis for confirmation AC2 CROSS on S.S. 'Empire Sun'.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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