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Thread: 31 Squadron Airman

  1. #21
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    Default martin

    i have a set of docs about flt bough he escaped form the japs and is my late wife uncle if you would like to cal me on 07800729365 bograt

  2. #22
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    Thanks guys and gals,

    This Thread has helped me regarding MA929. Several years ago I was searching for the detail of its loss but could not get beyond the basic information and did not have details of the crew and passenger - all now resolved thanks to you!!!

    Baugh sounds an interesting character and an escape from the Japs a rare happening. Does naybody know if there is an account of this episode - a quick trawl didn't reveal anything.

    I've read Escape or Die, You'll Die in Singapore and the account of the escape by John Mills' brother in law and two others from Hong Kong. I've also read a book by a chap called Brooke who escaped from Singapore and through Sumatra before sailing to Ceylon.

    Colin Cummings

  3. #23
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    Hallo all
    I have only just come to this thread following a visit to Kew.
    John Orson Nicholls was my cousin (2nd pilot on last flight of MA929 ). The records at Kew show that the flight was actually on 27 January 1943 not 31st. The records are Air 27/351 and are the Operations Record Book.
    There are no entries for 31/1/43 but the entry for 27/01/1943 reads:

    MA.943 Pilots F/Lt. Baugh - Sgt. Haynes made one sortie over FALAM where 6,000 lbs. supplies were dropped. Flying time 4 hours.
    MA.929. Pilots P/O Campbell - Sgt. Nicholls left TEZPUR for DINJAN and has not been heard of since. Reported missing - Signal A. SD3837.
    P/O Akers - Sgt. Perry arrived on MA. 928 from DINJAN and carried out a supply dropping test at TEZPUR. Flying time 1 hr. 20 mns.

    Unfortunately no times are given. Is the F/LT Baugh mentioned above the passenger who later flew in MA 929? I would presume so.
    By coincidence my son in law was on a business trip to Singapore this week and visited the Singapore Memorial in Kranji War Cemetery, left some flowers and prayers for all the men whose names are inscribed there, but especially for John Orson Nicholls and those who died with him.

    Christine Roshanzamir

  4. #24
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    Hallo to All
    I came across this site while researching my cousin F/Sgt. John Orson Nicholls who was the 2nd pilot on MA929. We always believed that his death occurred on 31st January 1943, but my sister and I visited Kew recently and the Operations Record Book (AIR 27/351) for 27th January 1943 reads as follows:

    MA.943. Pilots F/Lt. Baugh - Sgt. Haynes made one sortie over FALAM where 6,000 lbs. supplies were dropped. Flying time 4 hours.
    MA.929. Pilots P/O Campbell - Sgt. Nicholls left TEZPUR for DINJAN and has not been heard of since. Reported missing. Signal A. SD5837
    P/O Akers - Sgt. Perry arrived on MA.928 from DINJAN and carried out a supply dropping test at TEZPUR. Flying time 1 hr. 20 mns.

    Unfortunately no times are given but the date is definitely 27.1.43.
    I hope you find this interesting and useful
    Best wishes
    Christine

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    Hello Christine,

    Firstly, Welcome to the Forum.

    l find your comments on the loss of No.31 Sqn DC-3 MA929, most interesting.

    All the documentation l have on this loss, indicates that DC-3 MA929 was lost on 31st January, 1943. One of the few documents l did not see was the No.31 Sqn ORB. Some of these ORB's were not compiled with the greatest of care, in fact, more than a few are no better than reconstructs, and well after the actual events mentioned*. Much more reliable are the Circumstantial Reports, and Casualty Signals. These documents were subject to much greater scrutiny than any ORB, as quite a lot hinged on their accuracy, ie Death Certificates, Wills and Probate etc.

    This Signal, on MA929, clearly states:

    From: No.31 Squadron. R.A.F. Palam.
    To: B.P.O. Bombay
    Date: 26 February, 1943.
    Ref: 318/301/20/P.1.
    Subj: Circumstantial Report - F.B. - Douglas D.C.3. MA.929 - 31.1.43.

    Further to this Unit's casualty signal A.10. dated 3rd February, 1943, the following report is submitted.

    2. Douglas D.C.3. Aircraft MA.929 took off from Dinjan en route for Fort Hertz at 1330 hours on 31st January, 1943. The crew consisted of:-

    1st pilot - A.401101 P/O Campbell, H.J.M. - RAAF
    2nd Pilot - 1377419 T/Sgt. Nicholls, J.O. - Pilot
    W.O./A.G. - R.74121 T/Sgt. Casaubon, J.F. - RCAF
    W.O./A.G. - A.407107 T/Sgt. Phelps, R.K. - RAAF
    Fitter - 1082946 AC1. Williamson, T.C. - F.II
    Passenger - 43524 F/Lt. N.L. Baugh, M.C. -

    The aircraft failed to arrive at Firt [sic] Hertz, and has not yet been found. It was last seen by Hudson pilot at 7,000 feet near KAMKU, heading for Fort Hertz, at 1400 hours on 31st January, 1943.

    (Sgn).?????????????? F/Lt.
    For Wing Commander, Commanding,
    No.31 Squadron, RAF, India.

    This document (p.52 of 64), along with the associated signals, can be read in the A705 Casualty File of; AUS407107 W/O Kenneth Ross PHELPS RAAF:

    http://naa12.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetri...arcode=1075584

    Notwithstanding transcription errors (mine, and the RAF's!), take a look, and let us know your thoughts.

    * Christine, There is a possibility that the ORB is correct, to a certain extent. l think that DC-3 MA929 was probably overdue on the 27th January, 1943, and later turned up at Dinjan, only to be lost (out of Dinjan), on 31st January, 1943.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 11th February 2014 at 01:01.

  6. #26
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    Hallo Col Bruggy
    Thank you for your very interesting reply. I had not considered the possibility that maybe the plane was lost out of Dinjan but of course that could have happened. I can't make the link you give work but will trace it up through the casualty file you mention. I suppose it doesn't matter now which date is correct, the sad result is the same. My cousins Father was lost the previous December when the SS Ceramic was torpedoed so it must have been a very difficult time for his Mother, who I never knew
    Just as an aside my son in law was in Singapore for a few days recently and he went to the Memorial in Kranji cemetery, found my cousins name, and left some flowers and thoughts for all the crew of MA929.
    Thank you for the extra information and possibilities.
    Christine

  7. #27
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    Hallo again Col Bruggy
    Following your information I stayed up last night reading the casualty file of W/O Kenneth Phelps RAAF. How very very sad to read all these years later, but also very interesting.
    I agree that the correct date is probably 31 January. I am amazed that the flimsy pieces of paper have survived for 70+ years and also that they were saved in the first place. Would there be anything like this archive for my cousin do you think? I have tried various sites but have had no luck.
    Thank you for your welcome (sorry, I forget to mention that in my last email) and the further information.
    Christine

  8. #28
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    Default Re: 31 Squadron Airman

    It has been a few years since the last posting.

    MIA wreckfinder Clayton Kuhles, who has located over 20 wrecks in the rugged mountains of the Hump in China, Burma, and India, discovered the wreckage of MA929 in December 2017. On his website, at https://www.miarecoveries.org/reports/, he posted this info:

    C-53 #42-6479 a.k.a. RAF #MA929
    Found 25 Dec 2017

    This aircraft was assigned to the 31st Squadron RAF at Palam, India. Information about the aircraft loss is limited and conflicting. Aviation Safety Network reports the aircraft departed Dinjan, India for Fort Hertz, Burma at 1330 hrs. on 31 Jan 1943. The aircraft failed to arrive at its destination and has not been located. It was reportedly last seen by a Hudson pilot at 1400 hrs., flying at 7,000 ft. near Kamku, India and heading for Fort Hertz. However, this was probably an erroneous sighting because the crash site was found approx. 60 mi. NNW of Kamku. The C-47 reference book, The First Seventy Years by Jennifer Gradidge, reports the aircraft as missing in flight on 27 Jan 1943 while enroute from Tezpur, India to Dinjan, India. Either flight route could plausibly explain the crash site location. Dead: 6.

    • 1st Pilot: F/O Hugh John Munro Campbell MiD RAAF
    • 2nd Pilot: F/Sgt. John Orson Nicholls RAFVF
    • W.Op./Air Gunr: W/O Kenneth Ross Phelps RAAF
    • W.Op./Air Gunr: W/O2 Joseph Jean Jacques Fernand Casaubon RCAF
    • Fitter llE: AC1 Thomas Gladstone Williamson RAFVF
    • Passenger: F/Lt. Norman Lee Baugh MC RAF

    Clayton also posted numerous photos of the wreckage at: https://www.miarecoveries.org/photos...-photo-gallery

    The kin of three of the six casualties, all officially missing, posted replies on this RAF Command thread, though years ago:

    a) Dr. David Stephens, the nephew of RAAF pilot Hugh John Munro Campbell. David last posted in July 2010, but I found another link to him from April 2011.
    b) Christine Roshanzamir, the cousin of the RAF 2nd pilot, John Orson Nicholls. She last posted in February 2014.
    c) Martin (no surname given), whose late wife was the niece of passenger Norman Lee Baugh, a pilot. Martin gave his phone number, from back in August 2012, as 07800729365. ANY IDEA WHERE THIS NUMBER IS LOCATED? N.L. Baugh’s father was from 38 Highfield Ave, Riveton Park, near Sheffield.

    Also, I’ve seen on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial that the nephew of wireless operator/air gunner Joseph Jean Jacques Fernand Casaubon, RCAF, submitted photos of his uncle. I’m friendly with the guy who handles the project, and I know the CVWM policy is to keep dates of submissions and IDs of submitters hidden, but I’ll see if I can connect with the Casaubon relative.

    So, if any relatives of the casualties see this, please respond, as Clayton would like to share details (and photos without watermarks on them).

    Cheers,

    Matt

    JAGAN - I don't have the time right now, but I'll post this on the Facebook page later.
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 29th May 2020 at 18:42. Reason: I removed the link to this page!

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    Jagan (29th May 2020)

  10. #29
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    Default Re: 31st Squadron, Burma 1942-3

    Matt,

    C-53 42-6479 was MA928 - 31 Sqn - Crashed on take-off Agartala, India, 25 March, 1943 (1st Pilot: 49720 P/O Gordon Macrae SMEATON RAF).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 29th May 2020 at 17:11.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: 31st Squadron, Burma 1942-3

    Hi, Col,

    Something has to be wrong with your source info.

    First, how can one aircraft be given two RAF serial numbers? Maybe it happened, and I’ve just never seen it before.

    Secondly, and more emphatically, wreck photos on Clayton Kuhles' site clearly show "26479" – solid evidence of the American serial number 42-6479. And a combination of two wreck photos supports the contention that this aircraft was RAF serial number MA929: 1) one piece of wreckage shows a vertical painted line which could be the right side of the letter "M", followed by a clear "A9", followed by a straight vertical edge to a piece of aluminum (aluminium to many), and 2) another piece of wreckage shows a left vertical edge to the metal followed by "29". Presumably, these two images, adjacent to one another (joined at the common vertical edge), are evidence of the MA929 serial number.

    So Clayton found visual evidence of 42-6479 / MA929. Your info links 42-6479 to MA928, not 929. You can view the photos on the link in my last message.

    I noticed this further error on the website where Joe Baugher lists US serial numbers, here:

    http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_1.html:

    42-6455/6504 Douglas C-53-DO
    6479 (MSN 4931) to USAAF May 8, 1942. To UK May 28, 1942. to
    Egypt Jun 12, 1942. To RAF as Dakota II FJ709 Jun 1942. Appears as Dakota IV on RAF record card. No record of fate.

    So this is linking 42-6479 to FJ709 and no other RAF serial number. I haven’t delved into the kind of aircraft. Evidence varies as to whether it was a DC-3, a C-47, a C-53, a Dakota II, or a Dakota IV, and admittedly I haven't investigated further.

    Also, the crash site reached by Clayton is very remote and nowhere near Argatala. It was a five-day trek northeast of Roing, India. On his website, in a Site Report, he stated that the location of this crash was at 28˚ 12’ 05.4” N, 95˚ 58’ 31.5” E. Argatala is located at 23˚ 53’ 40.17” N, 91˚14’ 29.03”E. These two locations are 417 miles apart, as measured on Google Earth. Definitely the wreck site found by Clayton is not a crash on take off from Argatala.

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