Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: 429 Sqn Halifax LK974 'J' - Judy Garland crash info - 20-2-1944

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 429 Sqn Halifax LK974 'J' - Judy Garland crash info - 20-2-1944

    Hi all,

    Can anyone give me the crash details of this 429 Sqn a/c please? I have all the crew info. I am just looking for details on the cause of the crash which was somewhere near Stendal, Germany. Alison & Hayward just have it as "shot down" and the Stendal location is an assumption based on a report of the funerals for the crew, which were held on 25 Feb.

    There is also an interesting story behind this aircraft's name 'J'-Judy Garland. It was apparently originally from 427 Sqn. On May 24, 1943, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer adopted the Squadron and allowed the names of such stars as Lana Turner, Greer Garson, Joan Crawford, Heddy Lamarr, and others to be displayed on the aircraft.

    http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/1w-1e/sqns-escs/page-eng.asp?id=392

    Anyone know why the aircraft would have been transferred to 429 sqn and was it normal for an a/c to retain its call letter and name when switching units?
    David

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada, eh
    Posts
    1,217
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    David, not much more to add but here it is.

    This aircraft was "ZL*J" for Judy while with 427 Squadron. It has been reported as "AL*Z" with 429 Squadron several days before the loss. 6 Group seemed to specialize in giving unconventional names based on the individual aircraft code letter. For example, I have identified about 6 different aircraft coded V all known as "Vicky the Vicious Virgin".

    Having said that, I have found a few cases of the individual letter remaining the same after a squadron transfer. I suspect that sometimes this reflected a heavy workload at the unit at the time, with code letter changes being a low priority. I have also seen a few examples of Canadian built Lancasters retaining one of these strange names, and the accompanying art work, after gaining a new letter at a new squadron.

    The transfer between squadrons usually resulted from the aircraft being unservicable and on charge with a maintenance unit for some time, for battle damage repairs or routine maintenance. Once the aircraft was servicable again it went to the first unit that needed it. This developed into the practice today known as "pooling", used by many western air forces including the CF. All aircraft of a type, or at a base, will belong to a central maintenance authority, who loans servicable aircraft to squadrons as needed for very short periods of time, maybe only a single flight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks Bill, that's helpful and so quick, too! Well up to RAFC standards.

    This search is one of those beknighted ones where I am getting instant responses. Just moments ago, I received an e-mail from the granddaughter of the only survivor of the crash, WHE Ostlund, who has documents from the period. He just died last year at age 95.
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    429
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Lk-974

    David. LK-974 flew as ZL-J ( Judy Garland) with 427 Sq. They had just converted to the MK III Hali and shipped their old MK V's across the field to their sister Squadron 429. Since 429 Sq had LK-993 coded as J, they relettered LK-974 as Z.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks Richard, that makes it crystal clear now - but somehow 'Z'-Judy doesn't have the same ring, does it. They must have kept the nose art if there was any - another thing to look for!
    David

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Shepperton
    Posts
    776
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Halifax LK974 - Judy Garland

    Hi David

    Clarence Simonsen's "RAF and RCAF Aircraft Nose Art in WWII" (P.71) has a close-up picture of a Canadian sergeant pilot of 427 Sqn painting the name on the nose of the a/c, clearly a merlin-engined Halifax. The caption says that 427 only had one such Mk V coded 'J' on strength so, it says, this is highly likely to be LK974, ZL-J, which it also states, was lost over Leipzig on 20/2/1944.

    The caption confirms that the squadron was 'adopted' by Hollywood and MGM Studios and that several of the unit's a/c carried film stars' names.

    Any help?

    Ian

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Yes, thanks Ian, wonderful. I wondered if the nose-art books and web sites might have it. I will have to track a copy down.
    David

Posting Permissions

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