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Thread: 253 Sqn RAF - 1943

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    Default 253 Sqn RAF - 1943

    Hello,

    The following may be of interest to other forum users. It is a 253 Sqn RAF aircrew/officer listing circa 1943. This is from the diary of A. Stening (RAAF). Only rank and surnames were included, however, I have added some details based on other documents and some internet searching. Any additions, corrections or comments about names and service numbers would be very welcome.

    Regards, Drew H

    CO: S/Ldr BARTLETT Leonard Harold (RAFVR.102959)
    A Flt comm: F/Lt PLENDERLEITH, Robert (RAFVR.139411)
    B Flt comm: F/Lt BLAIR, ‘Danny’

    New CO: S/Ldr HOPKINSON, Harry (RAFVR.118043)
    New B Flt comm: F/Lt WATSON, Arthur Wilfred ‘Doc’ (RAFVR.147753) – killed 22 May 44

    A Flt:
    F/O MacDONALD
    F/O GOLAB?
    F/O GERKE, Bernard Anton (Aus.416093)
    P/O WATSON (probably same Watson as above)
    F/O FINNIE, John Manson (Can.J/21882) – killed 15 May 44
    F/O PAWSEY, Frederick William (RAF.49089)
    P/O HOULE
    F/Sgt SHORTHOUSE, R C (NZ)
    F/Sgt RELTON, Colin ‘Rel’ (RAF)
    F/Sgt WHEATLEY, ‘Pete’
    F/Sgt THEOBALD, H L ‘Theo’ (RAF)
    F/Sgt STENING, Allen (Aus.416625)

    B Flt
    P/O WHITTAKER
    P/O DELANEY, Norman Lionel (Aus.420160)
    F/O SMITH or SMYTHE
    P/O CAMPBELL
    F/O PRENTICE, J S (NZ)
    F/O WILKS?
    F/O MUNRO
    F/Sgt HORTER?
    F/Sgt WOOTTEN
    F/Sgt ROBINSON, ‘Robbie’ (RAF)
    F/Sgt MELVILLE, ‘Mel’ (RAF)
    F/Sgt BAUGH, ‘Jeff’ (RAF)

    IO: P/O WRIGHT
    EO: F/O HUMPHRIES
    MO: F/Lt WATERS
    Adj: F/O WHITEHOUSE

    New Comers
    W/O MORRIS
    F/Sgt LAVOIE, Joseph Michael Guy Leroy (Can.R/133000) – killed 6 Jun 44
    F/Sgt DEAR, Kenneth (Aus.412922) – killed 16 Apr 44

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    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this information. I am afraid I don´t have much to add but probably were more than two of these pilots from New Zealand. The following text is from the official history (New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force):
    "On convoy escort duties with No. 253 Hurricane Squadron, which was the first British squadron to be based on Lampedusa, there were nine New Zealand pilots. From its island base the squadron was responsible for protecting all convoys within a fifty-mile radius. Although pilots were not to see action during their stay on the former Italian stronghold, they were constantly out on patrol and had the satisfaction of ensuring the safety of many convoys which passed through their sector. For instance, on the eve of the invasion the Hurricanes covered a huge convoy which stretched for over forty miles."

    The invasion mentioned is the invasion of Sicily.

    Do you have any more information about the 253 Sqn? I am especially interested in anything about the NZ pilots.

    Regards
    Peter Hasselgren

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    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your post. The information I have about 253 Sqn is primarily limited to 6th Sept 1943 until 4th May 1944. This was the period of Stening’s operational tour with the unit. He discusses some of the operations in his diary, mainly routine patrols and ground attack. However, his logbook indicates two shared aerial victories:
    9th March 1944: shipping recco: claim 1/5 SM.82 destroyed
    17th March 1944: escort Spit bombers to Viareggio: claim 1/2 Heinkel IIIK destroyed
    There is no indication of the other claimants. These were apparently rare encounters for the squadron. Any further details of these attacks would be of great interest.

    Anyway, I am afraid there is little mention of New Zealanders in his diary. I gather from one of your previous posts that 253 had a large contingent of NZ pilots earlier in 1943. Therefore it is possible some of the unidentified pilots in the above list could be RNZAF.

    Regards, Drew

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    Default 253 Sqn (1943-44)

    Drew,
    I've just joined this forum and your thread caught my eye. As you are obviously interested in Allen Stening are you aware that his family published his biography in 2000 - 'Nab, Memories of a Young Spitfire Pilot. I was lucky enough to find a copy a few years ago.

    In answer to your question re claims after Sep 43 I found the following in the ORB:

    3 Mar 44 F/L R Plenderleith & F/O F Pawsey 1 He111 prob
    7 Apr 44 F/O JJL Houle & F/O HJ Wilks & F/O WV Whittaker & P/O DC Goudie
    & W/O A Stening (RAAF) 1 SM82 conf
    22 May 44 Lt JH Conradie (SAAF) 1 Fi156 conf
    26 May 44 Lt JH Conradie (SAAF) 1 Hs126 conf
    Lt JH Conradie (SAAF) & P/O J Melville 1 Hs126 conf
    P/O J Melville 1 Hs126 dam

    I'm still trying to sort out the missing sqn claims of 5 Apr 43.

    Ian (Adelaide)

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    Default 253 Squadron

    Hi Ian and Drew

    Why the difference in the date for Allen Stening's combat with the SM82?

    Regarding the 5/4/43 action in which four SM79s were shot down, my notes show a victory each for F/Sgt D. Jackson RNZAF, F/Sgt R.J. Cammock RNZAF, and one shared by P/O DTN Kelly and Sgt R.C. Shorthouse RNZAF. I believe the fourth was shared by two other pilots, as yet unidentified. Have you more gen, Ian?

    All four SM79 belonged to 205a Sq. 41° Gruppo AS.



    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 29th May 2009 at 21:59.

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    Thanks Ian and Brian for your replies and information. Ian, I have sent you a personal message.

    Stening’s logbook for 7th Apr 44 has “Escort to 24 B-26s to Incisa” with no other details. His diary entries for 9th March & 7th April do not mention any significant information of encounters with the enemy. This is odd because he does mention Plenderleith & Pawsey’s claim for 3rd March.

    Drew

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    Default 253 Sqn

    Drew,
    the ORB mentions the destruction of the SM82 on 7 Apr 44 and then lists the 6 pilots on the mission (the 6th was Sgt HD Tuffnell). Of interest this incident is mentioned in a 1978 Chris Shores' article about USAAF Spifires in the MTO. He states 253 Sqn was attached to the 52 FG in Apr 44 and on 7 Apr 44 group members watched a 253 Sqn pilot shoot down a SM82, which later proved to be from the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force. Who knows what to make of all that !!

    Brian,
    all I have on the 5 Apr 43 combat is a photo from the AWM showing 4 pilots involved in destroying 4 Italian torpedo bombers circa 1943. The pilots are F/L KAH Mason (RAF), F/S CE Kerville (RAAF), Sgt D Jackson (RNZAF) and Sgt RJ Cammock (RNZAF). Unfortunately the 253 Sqn ORB entry for Apr 43 is missing. I intend to check F/S Kerville's PR file when I next visit Canberra for any furthur details.

    Ian

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    Hi Ian,

    It's all a bit confusing! However, I can confirm that 253 Sqn was either attached or operated alongside the 52nd FG. Stening flew Spitfires from the 2nd & 5th Fighter Squadrons, recorded as follows:

    13th February 1944 – American Spitfire, Air Test
    10th March 1944 – VF-T, “Escort to 24 B-26s to Oryigto, Light Flak. No fighters”
    19th March 1944 – VF-U, “Escort to 24 B-26s to Arezzo, Missed viaduct. No Flak”
    20th March 1944 – VF-U, “Escort to 24 B-26s to Poggibonsi, Hit railway bridge”
    1st April 1944 – QP-U, “Escort to 48 B-26s to Florence”

    I am not sure whether you received my personal message? Perhaps you could email me at dDOTharrATbigpondDOTcom (replace the DOT and AT with the relevant symbols).

    Thanks, Drew

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    Default 253 Squadron

    Hi Ian

    Did you receive my e-mail?

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian View Post
    Hi Ian and Drew

    Why the difference in the date for Allen Stening's combat with the SM82?

    Regarding the 5/4/43 action in which four SM79s were shot down, my notes show a victory each for F/Sgt D. Jackson RNZAF, F/Sgt R.J. Cammock RNZAF, and one shared by P/O DTN Kelly and Sgt R.C. Shorthouse RNZAF. I believe the fourth was shared by two other pilots, as yet unidentified. Have you more gen, Ian?

    All four SM79 belonged to 205a Sq. 41° Gruppo AS.



    Cheers
    Brian
    Hi Brian,

    Some late comments regarding involved pilots and claims on the 5 April 1943.

    In an earlier thread on the old forum the involved pilots were listed as:
    Flt Lt KAH Mason, RAF
    Plt Off DTN Kelly
    F/S CE Kerville, RAAF
    F/Sgt RJ Cammock, RNZAF
    F/Sgt D Jackson, RNZAF
    http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=printer_format&om=9000&forum=DCForu mID6

    See also this thread on Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussions Forum (12 O’clock high) http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=15118&highlight=253

    Regarding the claims
    According to No.485 (N.Z.) Squadron 1941-1945 by Paul Sortehaug and Phil Listemann Ratmond J. Cammock claimed “one shared victory with No.253 Sqn, North Africa 1943.”
    According to Andy in first thread (information from Kelly´s logbook) one S79 was originally shared by four pilots Kelly, Kerville and two others but Kervilles claim was not accepted and the claim was shared by three pilots. Cammock might by one of these three pilots.
    Maybe Paul Sortehaug can give you some more information.

    Finally Flying Officer Corran Perry Ashworth. was with 253 Sqn from 25 June 1942 to 15 June 1943. There is a web site dedicated to him on http://www.corranashworth.info/


    Cheers
    Peter Hasselgren

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