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Thread: Dakota loss, 24th December 1944

  1. #1
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    Default Dakota loss, 24th December 1944

    hello,

    La Voix du Nord, northern France Regional daily newspaper, published many years ago a feature about a R.A.F. transport plane that was hit by Flak near Dunkirk, on 24th December 1944, and which subsequently made a crash-landing at Spycker, a suburb of Dunkirk. Not a log of details about the plane, apart a bad picture, which clearly depicts a R.A.F. Dakota.

    The short article is mostly dedicated to the story of a group of "freedrom fighters", the Dakota loss being one of the anecdotes.

    Thanks in advance for any information and tip about the Dakota and its unit.

    Joss

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    Joss,

    I understand Dunkerque (including Spycker) still was under German control on 24 Dec 1944.
    If Dakota made a successful (?) crash-landing, then maybe crew was POW?

    Unfortunately I have no idea if available POW records are sorted by date somewhere to find a possible match...

    Salutations,

    Leendert

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    Hello Leendert,

    The garrison in Dunkirk / Dunkerque was still going strong, and the Flak gunners were still efficient. They shot down several allied planes that flew too close to the town (at least another R.A.F. Dakota in october, with at least 4 casualties, now buried in Calais Canadian War Cemetery). But the area where the Dakota made the crash-landing was not in German ocupied territory. The only sketchy details (which also may prove wrong) was that the pilot was wounded in his face and that the plane was transporting 28 soldiers going on leave. They were not captured by the Germans.
    The picture in the clipping is really too bad to read anything, either a serial number or a code, and there are also French people standing in front...

    Always a long shot, probably scanning the Air-Britain volumes about the serials, or the huge DC-3 study recently released by A-B (I've not bought my copy yet) may give me the beginning of the solution.

    Hope you are fine in Ostende. When time will permits, I'll burn a CD for you with reports about airmen shot down in your area (mostly PoW questionnaires in the WO344 series)

    Cheers

    Joss

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    Joss,

    Thanks for clarification that Spycker, practically on outskirts of Dunkirk, was in Allied hands. Occupants of Dakota must have been lucky then.

    Take your time with CD, very much appreciated!

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Hello Joss,
    I have had a quick look through the KA100 - KZ999 AB Serials.
    Not sure if this is of any help as the date is not correct.
    Dakota III
    KG318
    271Sqn
    Hit by Flak near Dunkerque and Forcelanded, 20.11.44, DBR.
    Regards
    Andy

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    Default Dakota Loss

    G'day ANdy

    The book " DC-1/DC-2/DC-3 First Seventy Years" concurs with Air Britain.

    I've extracted the information and supplemented it with some of my own.

    Douglas Dakota Mk. III

    Douglas c/n 12315

    U.S.A.A.F. serial 42-92507

    R.A.F. serial number KG318

    Delivered on the 14th of July 1944 to Montreal (actually Dorval), Quebec

    Ferried to the U.K. on the 10th of April 1944

    Entered service with No. 271 (T) Squadron, based at R.A.F. Station Down Ampney, Wiltshire

    Hit by flak near Dunkerque, force landed and damaged beyond repair.

    * Another site says the aircraft was destroyed by fire after force-landing.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default thanks for the clues

    hello,

    Chris and Andy, many thanks for your help. I'll check this O.R.B. during my next visit in Kew, also if an accident card exists in Hendon. It's possible that the "résistance people" were wrong about the date. Christmas Eve was easier to remember, and sometimes, over the years, memory can play some tricks.

    Joss

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    Default confirmation about KG318

    Hello,

    With the input of the forumites I’ve continued researching this case and I come back to you to deliver the result, for those who might be interested. I’ve checked No. 271 Squadron ORB during my last visit to Kew and found the following in AIR 27/1574. It’s the pilot’s report.

    Dakota KG318 crashed on 20th November 1944. Pilot was F/L BAILEY. Second pilot was F/S ALLEN (NZ428063), navigator was Sgt MURRAY (1605160) and wireless operator was W/O DRABBLE (945343).
    Time of Crash was 12 :28, Position H.208775.
    The aircraft was flying back from Eindhoven (B78) with a load of 15 passengers. From B78 the aircraft flew to B70 and then set course for Cap Gris-Nez. From B70 the aircraft flew through very heavy rain in cloud. There was a strong cross wind of 40 to 50 mph and the aircraft flew at approximately 25000 ft. At a position somewhere near Dunkirk the aircraft broke cloud and immediatly received hits from Flak in the cabin. Hits were received near the rudder pedal, and the pilot received injuries in the leg and arm and also in the left eye. The cabin caught fire and an attempt was made to extinguish this with the fire extinguisher. It was impossible to completely put out the fire and the foam completely covered the instrument panel, so the pilot decided to make a forced landing.
    A field which was fairly waterlogged was chosen for the landing which was successfully made without injury to the passengers. On landing the mud and water thrown up from the ground extinguished the fire.
    Shortly after landing the aircraft was firet at from the ground by enemy forces, but no one was hurt. The entire party moved to the edge of the field in which the aircraft had landed, and there found some Czech soldiers. These soldiers escorted the party to a small village which was four fields away from the landing spot.
    The W Op. volunteered to go back to the aircraft to set it on fire, but the Czech soldiers refused to allow this and said they would attempt to set it alight on the night of the crash. Whether this was done or not is not known.
    F/L Bailey and crew were taken to the hospital of St Omer and the passengers stayed at the small village.


    No service number quoted for F/L BAILEY (no initials or first names either).

    The Voix du Nord clipping had some details obvioyusly wrong (giving the date at 24th December 1944), but confirms there was a Czech manned observation post near the forced-landing site, and that the pilot had a face wound. So I incline to think that it is indeed Dakota KG318 that belly-landed at Spycker near Dunkirk.


    Joss

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    Hello All,

    From: Men of the Battle of Britain/Wynn.

    GEORGE JOHN BAILEY.

    106335 - Sgt - Pilot - British - 234 and 603 Squadrons.

    Bailey joined the RAFVR on July 26 1938 and did his elementary flying at 9 E&RFTS, Ansty and 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham. Called up in early October 1939, he was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand and after completing his training he joined 234 Squadron at Leconfield on may 4 1940.

    Bailey shared a Ju88 on July 8 and another on the 27th. He was posted to 603 Squadron at Hornchurch on September 10, claimed a Bf 109 destroyed on the 15th and another on October 2.

    In October Bailey went to 7 FTS, Peterborough as an instructor. He was posted to Canada on January 7 1941 and as an instructor at 31 SFTS, Kingston, Ontario he taught FAA pilots dive bombing, formation flying and general advanced flying. He was commissioned in May 1941.

    After his return to Britain in October 1943, Bailey was posted to 15(P)AFU as an instructor on December 7. He left Training Command on May 2 1944 and went to 105 (Transport) OTU, Bramcote, then to 107 OTU at Leiceister East before joining 271 Squadron at Down Ampney. Bailey was shot down in a DC 3 [sic] on November 20 1944.

    He was released from the RAF on November 25 1945, as a Flight Lieutenant.

    PO 27.5.41 - FO 27.5.42 - FL 27.5.43.

    See:
    Men of the Battle of Britain - Supplementary Volume.
    Wynn,Kenneth G.
    Norwich:Gliddon Books,1992.
    p.11

    See also: Those Other Eagles/Shores pp.29-30

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th November 2009 at 01:07. Reason: minor correction

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    hello

    Thanks Col for these extra details which round up the case. I didn't have the idea to check in "Men of the Battle of Britain" or "TOE", as Bailey was a then a transport pilot. It didn't occur to me that he may have flown fighters earlier in his career. And as the name BAILEY is quite common, with no initials and no service number, a search in the London Gazette or other sources was fruitless.

    Joss

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