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Thread: Halifax crash near Pocklington, Yorkshire 1941

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    Default Halifax crash near Pocklington, Yorkshire 1941

    In 1941, 37462 Squadron Leader John Robert BICKFORD Flight Commander, 76 Squadron lost his life while returning from an attack on Frankfurt.

    On 29 Aug 1941, Halifax BMkII L9518 MP-? took off from from Middleton-St.George at 21:15hrs for Frankfurt. Later when nearly home, the Captain ordered the crew to abandon at 2000ft. It crashed close to RAF Pocklington at 04:15hrs. Bickford went down with the aircraft with his parachute wrapped round the fin. The crash was thought to be empty fuel tanks.

    L9518 Crew:
    Squadron Leader John Robert BICKFORD Captain/Pilot. Killed in Action
    Pilot Officer O JONES
    Corporal RANDALL
    Flight Sergeant James FLANNIGAN
    Sergeant REILLY
    Sergeant George William DUCKMANTON

    Could someone tell me:

    The aircrafts call sign?
    The function of the crew?
    What was Corporal Randalls duty?
    Was there a 7th crew member?

    Thank you.
    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 4th October 2009 at 19:00. Reason: ammending Bickfords forenames

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    Norman

    sorry I can't answer the majority of your questions, apart from the fact that Duckmanton was an Air Gunner, see below from Bill Chorley's "To see the dawn breaking":

    "From the survivors it was learnt that one of the starboard engines failed, and shortly afterwards a second motor began to misfire. The order to bale out was given, but although Bickford succeeded in getting out of his cockpit the canopy of his parachute fouled the tailplane and he was dragged down to his death. The following day the body of the rear-gunner Sergeant Duckmanton was found, his parachute had failed to deploy."

    Regards

    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 4th October 2009 at 08:13.

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    Thanks Daz,
    I have since found out that James Flannigan was later killed on 31 Oct 1941 but have no further details.
    Norman

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    G'Day Norman,

    A little bit of incidental information on S/L Bickford.

    28 Nov 1940
    10 OTU E Flt.
    Magister I L5958
    Op: Training

    Took off Abingdon. On return to base at around 1545. the Magister touched down in the slipstream of another aircraft and the turbulent air caused the light trainer to cartwheel out of control. Amazingly, S/L Bickford was little hurt and he continued to serve as OC E Flight until 2 June 1941, when he left on posting to 76 Squadron. Tragically, he died when his parachute became entangled in the tail structure of his Halifax, abandoned at low altitude on 30 August 1941 (see Bomber Command Losses, Volume 2, page.132). On 8 September 1939, as a F/O, he had taken part in 10 Squadron's first operational sorties of the war when eight Whitleys, headed by W/C Stanton, carried out a combined Nickel and Reconnaissance of north-west Germany.

    S/L R Bickford DFC

    See:
    Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses Volume 7 Operational Training Units 1940-1947.
    Chorley,W.R.
    Hinckley:Midland Publishing,2002
    p.35

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th October 2009 at 02:04. Reason: minor correction

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    Me again,Norman,

    F/Sgt James Flannigan was involved in one other incident before his death on 31 October, 1941.

    13/14 Sep 1941
    No.76 Sqn.
    Halifax I L9567 MP-
    Op: Brest.

    Took off 0142 Middleton St. George. Crashed 0255 near the River Ouse at Water End, Renhold, 3 miles NE of Bedford, One airman is reported to have injured his ankle as he landed by parachute.

    P/O R E Hutchin +
    Sgt Wood
    Sgt Crowe
    Sgt Browne
    F/S J Flannigan
    Sgt Littlehales
    Sgt Wallace

    See: BCL2/145.

    and...

    31 Oct-1 Nov 1941
    No.76 Sqn.
    Hakifax I L9602 MP-N
    Op: Dunkerque

    Took off 1917 Middleton St. George. Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Prior to his death, F/S Flannigan had twice parachuted to safety.

    F/S C S O'Brien RCAF +
    P/O N F McLean RNZAF +
    Sgt C W Wood +*
    Sgt J R Johnson RCAF +
    F/S J Flannigan +
    P/O F C Brooks RCAF +
    Sgt J Mycock +

    * Vol.2 - amendments and additions. 1941/170 76/L9602 Sgt C E Wood. See: http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/BCWW2Losses/

    See: BCL2/170

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th October 2009 at 02:58. Reason: minor correction

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