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Thread: Halifax W7811 - 1662 HCU

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    Default Halifax W7811 - 1662 HCU

    Dear all,

    Chorley notes that the above a/c crashed to earth in Cornwall on 21 May 1944. He also lists the crew, however I wondered whether anyone has the initials/first names of Sgt's Kite, Barden, Place and Gault?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance.

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Hello Jonny,

    You've opened a real 'can o' worms', on this one.

    The crash of W7811, according to most refs, occurred on 21-5-1944 (The Halifax File p.35, mentions 23-5-1944!).

    The death of the pilot, AUS425644 P/O Jack Byrne FLEMING RAAF, is listed in all my refs as occurring on 27-5-1944. Bill Chorley is non-committal as to whether Fleming was killed in the crash, or died later.

    One other member of the crew was, AUS423453 F/Sgt John Bleakley FISCHER RAAF. He, along with the rest of the survivors, had baled out before the aircraft crashed. Fischer, at least, became a member of the Caterpillar Club, on 21-5-1944.

    Fischer's A9300 (NAA: A9300 FISCHER J B) is digitised. I'm afraid it tells us nothing of the events on 21-5-1944. (Fischer has no A705 Casualty file).

    Turning to Fleming's undigitised A705 (NAA: A705 166/13/236), we find a crew listing in the Item Notes. I'll have more to say on this later.

    Lets see what others have to say first.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st November 2009 at 14:04. Reason: minor correction

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    Hi Jonny,

    The silence is deafening!

    Lets clear up the fate of the pilot (Fleming), first. Chorley is obviously aware of his death on 27-5-1944, he records it as such in BCL9ROH/389. Fleming is listed in 'Flight' as: 'Died Of Wounds Or Injuries Received On Active Service'. On his AWM108 ROH Circular, his place of death is given as, 'Halton'. I think it's a safe bet to assume that he was injured in the crash on 21-5-1944, and succumbed to his wounds on 27-5-1944, at RAF Halton (Hospital).

    Now, to your query on the crew.

    From the Item Notes of Fleming's A705:

    BARDEN. Simply quoted as - 1148813 Sgt BARDEN CAN!
    GAULT. Quoted as - 1819396 Sgt Lionel William Frank GAULT RAF
    KITE. Quoted as - 182483 Sgt C E Kite RAF. The problem here is, S/No. 182483 was allocated to F/O Cecil Philip CLARK, who was killed on 3-2-1945 in No.156 Sqn Lancaster III ME366 (see: BCL6/66).
    PLACE. Quoted as - 168583 Sgt PLAC RAF.

    Life was'nt mean't to be easy!

    Fleming's A705 needs to be digitised to help resolve some of the above clutter. A glimpse at a 765C should clear it up.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th November 2009 at 09:33. Reason: minor correction

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    Col/Jonny, I could run over to the NAA and check Fleming's A705 next week if required.

    Just specify exact details required and I will search. It's a great excuse to jump on the motorbike for lunch and hit some roundabouts now that Canberra's weather has turned for the better.

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

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    Hi Adrian,

    That's mighty generous of you mate!

    You would not only be helping Jonny and myself, Bill Chorley would benefit from your generosity as well.

    The NAA ref for the A705 of AUS425644 Jack Byrne FLEMING RAAF, is:

    NAA: A705 166/13/236

    I suspect, from looking at the info in the Item Notes, that checking the Casualty Signal won't help. That's were the misinformation probably came from in the first place. Fleming's A705 should contain an 765C Accident Report, which would have a crew listing. Anything in the file relating to Fleming's death or identifying the crew would help.

    No need for reams of paper on this one, the basics - when, where & how are known. What we need is the 'Who'.

    No rush on this, at your leisure.

    Regards,

    Col.

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    No worries, I'll submit the view request later. It'll probably become available later next week.

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

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    Thanks again chaps. I don't know what I would do without you!

    Kind rgds as ever

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny
    "...however I wondered whether anyone has the initials/first names of Sgt's Kite, Barden, Place and Gault?"
    Okay then, Fleming's A705 wasn't THAT informative. What I do have is:

    AUS425644 P/O J.B. FLEMING of 1662 CU was pilot of Halifax II W.7811 "L" on Sunday 21.05.44. During a 6 hour cross-country the starboard inner engine caught fire and could not be feathered, leading to Fleming ordering the aircraft to be abandoned. He held the aircraft steady while the crew baled.

    The Halifax was vibrating badly and difficult to control, and it would appear that FLEMING, the last to leave, damaged his chute on exit as the aircraft lost control, leading to a heavy landing with fractured cervical spine, mandible and skull. The Halifax crashed on Buttern Hill, 3 miles south-east of Davidstow Moor airfield at 1500hrs.

    FLEMING was taken to base hospital and then moved by air to RAF Hospital, Halton, where he died from his injuries on Saturday 27.05.44. He was buried at 1200hrs on 31.05.44 at Oxford RAF cemetery (Section I.2, grave 227).

    Unfortunately the file held little additional details about the crew other than what was already included for the descriptive note on the online document notes. What I can confirm, is that the spelling of crew names and listing of service numbers is consistent across all documents on the file where they are listed, i.e. "PLAC".

    What I could glean is that GAULT was the Flight Engineer. I did also see one of the gunners identified, but forgot to write that down, sorry. No other crew positions were identified.

    Note that FLEMING had a brother AUS425631 Flight Sergeant C.J. FLEMING. Based on the numbers, it looks like they joined up together.

    The engine fire was put down to likely being gear bearing failure of the supercharger (based in part by the testimony of the F/E to the Court of Inquiry (only 1 page of that on the file)).

    Sorry Jonny, except for what Col has already posted, there was no additional information regarding initials for the men you asked about.

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

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    Adrian,

    None the less, I appreciate the reply. Very many thanks.

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Adrian,

    Along with Jonny, thanks for your sterling work on Halifax W7811!

    Col.

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