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Thread: Mystery pilot killed February 3, 1943

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    Default Mystery pilot killed February 3, 1943

    The subject matter of some photos recently seen show a funeral party at Derna, Libya, on February 4, 1943.
    One has the following detail on the reverse "Last farewells to a comrade and good friend, killed whilst visiting 94 squadron at Martuba on February 3, 1943 in an American Kittyhawk which crashed on take off at 11:00 hours."

    94's ORB does not mention this event, so does anyone out there have any ideas who this refers to ?

    I have looked through the CWGC site detail for the Tobruk cemetery, but couldn't find any listing on this date.

    Any comments / detail welcomed.

    Regards,

    Ian Simpson

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    Ian,

    A long way from Derna but the only two CWGC Libyan entries (Benghazi War Cemetery) under 3 Feb 43:

    Flt Lt THORNTON-BASSETT Frank Ernest 89496 RAFVR
    Flt Sgt TANNER Pilot Peter 934067 RAFVR

    No units stated unfortunately.

    Errol

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    Thornton Bassett is listed as 173 Sqn in the GRO RAF Deaths index.
    It strangely has a note saying ~(See Smith, Frank E)
    and the Frank E Smith likewise has a similar note (or Thornton-Bassett, Frank E)

    Peter Tanner is listed as '2 ADU'
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    According to Jefford's 'RAF Squadrons' 173 Sqn did not operate Kittyhawks, but 2ADU would have been delivering them at this time.

    Errol

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    Dennis,

    A cross-reference on GRO War Deaths, generally indicates that the named personnel are one and the same.

    'Frank Ernest' THORNTON-BASSETT - 'Frank E' SMITH.

    One other example, being: BLAKE,Henry - See: SCHWARZ,Hans Heinz. (See: BCL5/379 101 Sqn/Lanc PB258)

    Alias/nom de guerre.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 25th September 2009 at 01:58.

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    Thornton Bassett is listed as A&SD in the LG so would he have been flying a Kittyhawk?

    And I have a hunch that this is the same Thornton-Bassett who was an actor in the 1930s, and who seems to have been involved in some sort film unit during the war. This Thornton Bassett also seems to have been killed in 1942/43, and as there is only on Thornton Bassett on the CWGC.........

    From: http://www.archive.org/stream/nineriversfromjo006116mbp/nineriversfromjo006116mbp_djvu.txt

    "And it was George Haughton, the Air Force PRO, who enabled me to do so. With his entire office standing by to get out on twelve hours' notice, it was quite a feat to provide a truck for one section of the B BC to go the other way. But he managed it on condition that I drove myself, and regardless of the fact that he already had a recording outfit in the field under Frank Thornton-Bassett - a unit that is looked on with some suspicion by the Press. "

    and

    "Frank Thornton-Bassett is just back from the forward areas with a paper-backed copy of 'Dante's Inferno*, and is full of his usual dramatics. What an Air Force Commentator was doing up in the front line is a matter that requires some explanation, but he always manages to get to any centre of trouble on the specious plea of 'reporting bomb damage'."

    and

    " I was even a little sorry for the Dead - for Thornton-Bassett"


    A
    Last edited by Amrit; 25th September 2009 at 08:03.
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Default Mystery Airmen

    Thanks to all who have replied thus far.

    Of the two names mentioned I do not recall seeing them mentioned within the 94 sqdn ORB, perhaps the connection was from contact within other units and the deceased was catching up on old friends he found were now with 94 ? (possibly ground crew rather than pilots)

    Regards,

    Ian

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    This reminds me of a another posting I read either here or on TOCH about a crash in very similar circumstances also involving a P-40 type.. However... thats all I can recall at moment

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    Default Mystery Airmen

    Hi gang,

    I have just remembered a source for P40 info and will put the question to it. As and when I hear an answer, I will post details.

    Ian

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    Default Mystery Kittyhawk

    Hi Ian and Co

    Just to update this one, on the 3rd Feb 1943 at 15:50hrs FSGT Tanner 926067 of 2ADU was ferry a Kittyhawk I AL148 from Martuba. The aircraft had only just taken off when it was seen to turn back, assumingly with some form of engine failure. Whilst on approach the aircraft was seen to stall and crashed near the airfield killing FSGT Tanner.

    Sorry it took me a little while to get to this one.

    Buz
    Last edited by Buz; 10th October 2009 at 00:29. Reason: Added serial number which if rogot in the first msg

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