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Thread: Alphie Photiphar

  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
    New Zealand
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    Default Alphie Photiphar

    In another thread ( where I mentioned this name Trevor Platts asked this question

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Platts View Post
    Mentioned in one of the above threads is "ALFIE" Potiphar, has anyone got any more information on this man. I am led to believe he served in Wellingtons, Lancasters, Halifax, Whitleys and Catalinas. According to the earlier thread he may have been a rear gunner but I am unsure. He originates from Brighton in Sussex in England. Possibly born around 1904 ish.
    Heres what I know about Alfie...

    At No 24 O.T.U. Honeybourne Alfie became the rear gunner of a crew consisting of New Zealand Pilot William (Bill) Hickson, Canadian Navigator Alan “Hutch” Hutchison, English Bomb Aimer Pat Croft, and Canadian Wireless Operator Jimmy Graham. Their first flight as a crew was a navigation exercise on 24th July 1942 in a Whitley Mark V bomber.

    They trained intensively in navigation and bombing on Whitleys, before being transferred to St Eval in Cornwall, attached to No 10 O.T.U., still flying Whitleys, in September 1942. The Battle of the Atlantic was in full swing, and the crew carried out eight antisubmarine patrols out into the Atlantic and down into the Bay of Biscay. These patrols were long and demanding, the longest 13 hours 20 minutes, only one under 9 hours. On one occasion they nearly ran out of fuel, and on another they were attacked by 3 Ju88s, and were very lucky to escape into cloud with some damage to the hydraulics.

    In October they were sent to No 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit at Marston Moor in Yorkshire, where they converted onto Handley Page Halifaxes. Here, Flight Engineer Freddy Maltas, and Mid Upper Gunner Joe Dowsing, joined the crew.

    On Nov 20th they were attached to 51 Squadron RAF, based at Snaith in Yorkshire, flying Mark 2 Halifaxes. Their first ‘Op’on 9th Jan 1943, dropping mines (Gardening) of the Frisian Isles, had to be abandoned after their Wireless became unserviceable, but they then carried out two separate ‘Ops’ on U-boat related targets at Lorient on 15th and 23rd January.

    The crew were then transferred to No 35 Pathfinder Squadron, based at Graveley. Shortly after they moved to Graveley, Alfie was replaced as the crew’s rear gunner by “Maxie” Brown. (Brown was killed on the night of 21/22 June 1943 on a raid on Krefeld where their aircraft HR799 was show down by a night fighter, along with an Australian second pilot, Harry Krohn, with the rest becoming POW's)

    The crew did not know where Alfie was transferred to, so any further information about him would be appreciated. We do have a photograph which includes Alfie on an Air Gunner’s Course, along with Jimmy Graham.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Alfie Potiphar

    Would it be possible to see a copy of the photograph you mention as I have access to other photographs of Alfie and would be able to compare and see if it is the same person

    Further information I have just confirmed is that his full name was Charles Albert Potiphar and he was born 9th February 1916, if this is of any further assistance.


    Last edited by Trevor Platts; 29th June 2009 at 15:18. Reason: more information found

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