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Thread: 37 Sqn - 5-8-1942 - LAC Philip Davis RAAF.

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    Default 37 Sqn - 5-8-1942 - LAC Philip Davis RAAF.

    Hello All,

    I am trying to find out what happened to AUS16248 LAC Philip DAVIS RAAF, at Abu Sueir, on 5-8-1942.

    I suspect he may have been involved in the events of 2-8-1942, when a 24 Sqn SAAF Boston (AL696), collided with a 37 Sqn Wellington (DV644), causing much grief.

    I have what is available at the NAA, CWGC, AWM & FYT1-3.

    Can anyone (possibly Kevin Mears, with his re-acquired 37 Sqn ORB), help?

    All assistance appreciated,

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th November 2009 at 06:30. Reason: Minor correction

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    Col.

    I cannot find your airman mentioned by name in the ORB. He does not appear in the Roll of Honour compiled by the late Frank Sullivan and included in Wise Without Eyes. The ORB entry for the incident is copied below in full.

    "Operations cancelled owing to the following. A Boston aircraft of 12 S.A.A.F. believed to be in difficulties on landing crashed into Wellington DV644 which was set on fire and completely wrecked by fire and explosions. Fire spread to aircraft DV641, HF382, HX480 which were also completely wrecked. Wellington HX421 was also damaged by bomb splinters. Five members (of crew) of DV644 were in the aircraft at the time of the accident. Sgt. Whitworth and F/S Darling escaped unhurt but Sgt. McLoughlin, Sgt. Bottomley and Sgt. Barlow were killed. Three members of (the crew of) the Boston aircraft were killed."

    In addition to this, I included in Wise Without Eyes the following comments on the incident by John Whitworth in correspondence to Frank Sullivan.....

    "We had gone to the aircraft (DV644) to dump our kit. Except for F/O Moran, the only Officer in the crew. A Boston lost it on landing and hit our aircraft. I was lucky to be only on the steps. Terriffic explosion of fuel and bombs. Myself and rear gunner F/S Darling only survivors of nine. I was only concussed - Darling had serious leg injuries. Squadron lost four aircraft completely and several others damaged, and almost wiped out for a few days for lack of aircraft. Then we got all the 'old crocks' spare from the other Squadrons!!!"

    Note also the discrepancies with the ORB recording the Boston as from 12 Squadron and the fact that Whitworth and Darling are both recorded as unhurt whereas John Whitworth's recollection is somewhat different.

    Sorry it doesn't help with the question of LAC Davis but hope it adds to the information you have.

    Regards,

    Kevin Mears
    Last edited by Kevin Mears; 16th November 2009 at 11:00.

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    Hello Kevin,

    Thanks for taking the trouble of posting that info. I possess a copy of 'Wise Without Eyes', and, depending on the response I received, I intended posting, some, if not all, the information myself.

    I was hoping there might be a mention later in the ORB, rounding up casualties/burials. One other source I consulted was 'Per Noctem Per Diem:The Story of 24 Sqn SAAF'. The authors' state that the death toll was 18 air-crew!! Be blowed if I can find them.

    I'll put a few other things on hold, and get Davis' casualty file digitised.

    Your efforts much appreciated,

    Col.

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    Col.

    I've checked again and can find no mention of LAC Davis. Which casualties have you found so far? Aren't Barlow and Bottomley listed as 458 RAAF Squadron?

    Regarding Wise Without Eyes. I wish I had the opportunity to do it again as I learned so much I am confident I could do a much better job second time around. The opportunity fell into my lap but was linked to so many distractions that I really believe I should have done better. However, it was my chance to say thank you to the men of 37 Squadron but also to Veterans in general.

    I parted company with the originator of the idea, quite acrimoniously I have to say, and was therefore denied the feedback of the Veterans for whom it was written. A shame, but I have since met one or two of them who were pleased with the recognition.

    Perhaps, in the fullness of time, another opportunity may arise which I can tackle in my own way, free of all distractions and limitations imposed upon me at that time.

    Regards,

    Kevin Mears

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    I'll put a few other things on hold, and get Davis' casualty file digitised.
    Hi again Col,

    I'm happy to run across to the NAA again for you if you spell out exactly what is required. I would have offered earlier, but took your opening post to mean that you had read those files already.

    As usual, it will take 2 weeks by the time they pull the file and I get across there.

    Last time I had a file digitised back in April it only took about 3 weeks or so.

    Regards

    Adrian
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Hello Kevin and Adrian,

    Kevin, I have only the six (6) fatalities mentioned in BLME1/169. Barlow and Bottomley were definitely 458 Sqn., attached to 37 Sqn.

    I thank you for the background on 'Wise Without Eyes', it explains a lot! Wish you well with your next shot.

    Adrian. 'Once again to the fold'. The details on Davis are as follows: AUS16248 Philip DAVIS RAAF - NAA: A705 163/100/238. I need the circumstances of his death; cause and place, including any injuries he may have sustained earlier on. Positive ID of his unit would also be beneficial (you might need to consult his A9301 to get that; NAA: A9301 16248).

    Regards to both of you, Gentlemen.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th November 2009 at 23:40. Reason: Minor correction

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    Hi Col and kevin,

    Davis was a 'ground casualty', and a sad one.

    AUS16248 LAC DAVIS P. (Fitter 2A) was with 238 Wing attached to 37 Sqdn (based on evidence of author of letter of condolence being CO 37 Sqdn) [Sorry Col, I had forgotten to order Davis' A9301 to confirm].

    In the letter of condolence dated 8Aug42 from Wng Cdr Rankin, CO 37 Sqn RAF, to Davis' mother in Subiaco, Western Australia, the full details of his death are laid out, albeit reluctantly.

    On 4Aug42 LAC Davis was brought before the OC Admin for the Wing on charges of insubordination and disobeying a lawful order of a superior [details of offences not provided].

    Davis was found guilty and sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment. He was confined to the Guard Room [also possibly referred to in the file by the acronym "SSQ"] immediately after the trial (sic) and was to be escorted to the Field Punishment Centre on 6Aug42.

    Whilst in custody he procured a rifle and ammunition. In the early hours of 5Aug42 Davis (alone) apparently shot himself in the chest. The shot was, of course, heard, and Davis was immediately treated and taken to sick quarters where he received a blood transfusion, but died at 0745 hours. His body was held at No. 2 General Hospital.

    An immediate inquiry was launched, returning with a verdict of suicide.

    Davis was buried with full military honours at 1600hrs on 6Aug42 at Tel el Kebir Military Cemetery (50 miles from Ismailia on the Cairo-Ismailia Road).

    The CO commented in his letter to Mrs Davis that Davis had "taken his punishment admirably in an unflinching manner, and whilst in custody he was cheerful and did not appear upset in any way."

    From the MECAS report it indicates that Davis was with No. 238 Wing, and attached to either No. 37 or 39 Sqn (37 seems appropriate given the CO's letter).

    Col, if you need confirmation of attachment to 37 Sqn and what offences might be recorded on his Conduct Record, I'm happy to order that file and check. Sorry that I missed this part of your request.

    Adrian
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Hi Adrian,

    Once again you have come up with the goods. Thanks for that mate.

    A totally unexpected outcome!

    No need for any further digging as far as l'm concerned, '238 Wing att. to 37 Sqn' will suffice for the time being. Kevin may wish to pursue the matter for his files.

    The acronym, 'SSQ', to which you refer, is simply 'Station Sick Quarters', where Davis was taken to be treated.

    Well done, my friend,

    Col.

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    What a truly tragic story and good work on uncovering the details so far.

    Personally, I have no interest in pursuing this further. The family might, if they were aware, but for me, the knowledge that he committed suicide is more than enough.

    Regards,

    Kevin Mears

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    No worries then. Glad to help.

    Next!
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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