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Thread: 8 Otu/56mu

  1. #1
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    Default 8 Otu/56mu

    Hi does anyone have an ORB for 8 OTU Dyce.

    Also looking for details of 56 MU Carluke?

    Thanks

    Magnus

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    Default 8 Otu/56 Mu

    I have notes from both of these - what are you looking for? 56 MU was at Longman/Inverness; 63 MU was based at Carluke.

    Keith

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    Default

    Keith, Thanks for the reply,appologies for not answering sooner.

    For 8 OTU i'm looking for info on the crash of Spitfire X4326 on the 16/5/43, F/O John Donald McDonell.

    63MU any details of crash Recoveries Near Fort William as i believe they covered here and 56MU covered up from Fort William direction, i have some detail from 56 already.

    Any info would be much apprieciated, Thanks

    Magnus

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    Magnus

    The 8 OTU ORB doesn't say much about this crash.

    May 16th 1943, “Casualty: Spitfire X4326 of No.8 O.T.U. crashed near Fort William while on a cross country becoming a total loss. The pupil pilot, P/O J.D.M. McDonnel. (Can. J.13408) was killed.

    There wasn't anything in either of the MU ORBs for this particular crash. At the time No.63 MU were recovering a 20 OTU Wellington from one of the beaches on Benbecula and No.56 MU only recorded two 'difficult' salvage operations that month. Whitley Z9382 from Foula and Whitley BD295 from Cawdor Moor.

    I spent an afternoon a couple of years back looking for the crash site, but without much to go on I was just wandering around looking for anything suspicious.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Default

    Alan,
    I can understand any crash recovery from Foula being "difficult" (understatement!!). Do you know where the crash occurred? I've been to Foula a couple of times on Official business, and I am acquainted with Isobel Houlbourne.
    To those not acquainted with Foula weather, one night the wind was so fierce it blew a Fordson tractor over the cliff into the sea. Additionally (either on this occasion, or another) a GPO mailbag label from Foula was found on Shetland mainland - and that's 21 miles away!!!!!!!!!!!!
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default

    The Whitley forced landed on the south eastern side of the island to the west / southwest of the airstrip, it was 'intact' and the main difficulty faced by the MU was getting it off the island after they had dismantled it.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Default

    Thanks Alan,

    I have a couple of eye witnesses who were boys at the time and saw where it happened, i'm hoping they will be able to pinpoint the location so i can get a photo.

    Thanks again
    Regards
    Magnus

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    I am up in the next two weeks if you'd like me to take a look over the area to see if I can find it.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Default

    Foula was difficult for a number of reasons not least the 2 depth charges still hung up!

    The draft entry for Vol 2 is:

    02/04/43
    612 Sqn
    Whitley VII
    Z9382

    WL-Q

    F/Sgt D T Perry
    Sgt R Ordish
    Sgt J Harrison
    Sgt A L Fletcher
    Sgt J Cooper
    Sgt R Rothe

    Op: Flora O, RAF Wick. Took off 06:25 hrs


    After setting course for base at 13:31 hrs a violent vibration started and the bomb load was jettisoned. 9 minutes later the Whitley was bellylanded on Foula, Shetland. Only the captain was injured sustaining a sprain to his back. A guard was set up on the aircraft and during salvage examinations it was found that 2 depth charges had hung up and were still onboard during the belly landing.

    The Records of Service of the RNLI records the following information:
    At 16:30 hrs the naval officer in charge, Shetlands, was asked if the life-boat could take a military guard to Foula, and bring back some airmen whose Whitley bomber aeroplane had crashed on the island. A moderate N.W. gale was blowing, with a heavy sea, and the weather was thick and cold. The motor life-boat The Rankin, with the guard on board, put out at 18:00 hrs. She arrived at about 21:45 hrs., but found that a landing was impossible in the darkness and the heavy seas, and anchored. She had to wait until noon the following day by which time the weather had moderated and she was able to land the guard and embark the airmen who were injured. She took them to Walls, where the men were taken charge of by the local doctor, and returned to her station, arriving at 18:45 hrs, over twenty-four hours after she had set out. Letters of thanks were received from the R.A.F. at Wick and the flag officer in charge at Lerwick. - Rewards, £15 17s.
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    Default Account of recovery of Whitley Z9382 by 56 MU

    The following is an account related in the 56 MU ORB's relating the recovery of Whitley Z9382. It goes to show the incredible efforts made by the MU's in recovering aircraft, something they probably have never received enough credit for.

    Regards
    Linzee

    [from 56 MU ORB]
    The aircraft crashed on the Island of Foula on 2nd April 1943. This island is a detached island of the Shetlands, lying about 15 miles to the west of the main group.

    Living conditions are very primitive on the island which, it may be recalled, was visited shortly before the war by a film unit to make the film “The Edge of the World”.

    There is no harbour on the island, only a stone jetty, but no ship of any size can come alongside this owing to the dangerous rocks and tides.

    Weather and sea conditions normally prevailing are such that for long periods at a time the island is completely cut off from the mainland island and calm days on which a landing can be made are the exception rather than the rule.

    The site of the crash was about two miles from the jetty and the aircraft was lying about six hundred yards from a rough farm road. The ground between the aircraft and the road was very rough and boggy and intersected by numerous drainage ditches and a stream.

    There is no mechanical transport of any kind on the island, not even a horse or a donkey, and owing to the approach by sea to the jetty it is not possible to land anything unless a T.L.C were available.

    The salvage party consisting of 1342215 Cpl Knight, F2A and 6 airmen, arrived on the island on 11th April by RAF Pinnace from Sumburgh. The transport problem was solved by borrowing a hand barrow and building a platform and transportation equipment on it. Heavy parts were transported on a bomb trolley adapted to take a wooden platform, or in the case of the engines, a Merlin transit stand.

    After dismantling, the whole of the aircraft was transported in this way to the jetty. Only the centre section could not be moved complete, owing to it’s weight, and this was therefore cut in two – the fuselage had already been broken in three places by the crash.

    The distance from the crash site to the jetty was about two miles and as between 30 or 40 journeys had to be made the barrow and bomb trolley were dragged about 140 miles in all. Owing to the difficult nature of the ground it was not possible to move more than two of the heavier loads per day. In the case of the engines assistance was willingly rendered over the worst part of this route by crofters, both men and women.

    Weather conditions, including high winds, made operations both difficult and dangerous. On some days wind velocity was from 70 to 90 mph.

    Everything had to be staked and weighted down to prevent it being blown away, and for this purpose about 2 tons of rock were used in all.

    The shipping of the aircraft from Foula was carried out in cooperation with Messrs Robertson (Lerwick) Ltd, who built a special shallow draft wooden punt to ferry the parts from the jetty to the steamer ‘Maid of Thule’, which had to anchor about 70 yards offshore.

    As the jetty was too small to set up shear legs on it the parts had to be lowered into the punt with ropes down an improvised ramp. Heavy swell made this a difficult operation.

    The ‘Maid of Thule’ made three trips in all between Foula and Scalloway, the final one being on 25th May.

    The whole of the salvage operations were organised by F/O Gibbs whom I wish to commend to you, together with the NCO in charge of the party, for a fine effort. They had, throughout, the whole hearted cooperation of the Station Commander and personnel of RAF Sumburgh.
    [end]

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