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Thread: Lysander crash, 21 May 1941

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    Default Lysander crash, 21 May 1941

    The ORB of No.400 Squadron (a truly terrible document in 1941) records that on 21 May 1941, F/O P.W. Lochnan crashed in a Lysander while carrying out Air Sea Rescue duties. "Both he and his RAF gunner are not expected to live." Lochnan did indeed pass away on 22 May and was buried on 24 May 1941. The ORB did not identify the RAF gunner, and if said gunner succumbed, it was not recorded in the diary.

    It would appear that the accident occured over land rather than over water, but no other details appear. I would appreciate any information that might be offered with respect to the serial number, RAF gunner, and the circumstances surrounding the crash, this on behalf of someone who was Lochnan's niece.

    I have already requested Lochnan's service file at Library and Archives Canada, but past experience has been that even RCAF files were, at that stage of the war, far less informative than was the case even a year later.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 9th November 2009 at 22:36.

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    Hello Hugh

    Lysander V9361 of 225S FHG at Pembrey, Carmarthenshire. I have the injured crewman just as 'Cave'.

    HTH

    regards

    DaveW

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    400 Squadron officially gave up its last Lysanders in April 1941, but there was an earlier thread about other 400 Squadron pilots "on loan" to other Lysander units for a few months after this.

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    I must admit to being puzzled, first because I am unfamiliar with the unit "225 S FHG" and also because Pembrey seems a fairly long way from No.400's base at Odiham. Are we dealing with one Lysander incident or two ?

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    Default Lochnan

    G'day Hugh

    They Shall Not Grow Old has him going missing and subsequently being killed while flying a Curtiss Tomahawk during a sea search in bad weather. The date is listed as the 21st of May, 1941. There was an aircraft lost the following day. AH810 stalled during a forced landing on the Gower Peninsula in bad weather on 22 May 1941. The aircraft was written off.

    The only air gunner with the last name Cave was with No. 142 (B) Squadron. At the time, No. 142 Squadron was operating the Vickers Wellington B. Mk. II.

    CAVE, ARTHUR ERNEST
    Initials: A E
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Flight Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
    Unit Text: 142 Sqdn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 31/07/1941
    Service No: 615262
    Additional information: Son of Harold and Elizabeth Cave, of Wallasey.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 19.C. Grave 362A.
    Cemetery: WALLASEY (RAKE LANE) CEMETERY

    Cheers...Chris

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    Shores' Those Other Eagles also states that Lochnan was killed in a flying accident in a Tomahawk.

    A

    EDIT: actually I see that this was discussed last year:
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?p=15587
    Last edited by Amrit; 10th November 2009 at 09:22.
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    From ON WATCH TO STRIKE (Wylie), a history of 400 Squadron;

    'On 21 May, F/O P.W. Locknan (sic) and his RAF gunner were asked to join in a search for a Tiger Moth that had gone missing in the Welsh Highlands. F/O Locknan flying a 225 Squadron Lysander, was last seen engaged in a search pattern in high winds and deteriorating weather. A short time later, the wreckage of the Lysander was found. The aircraft had impacted a a high hill killing both the pilot and gunner. The tragedy was compounded the following day when F/L W.A. Rider, flying in a flight of two, was killed as his Tomahawk crashed at Glamorgan in Wales. He had been on his way to the inquiry into F/O Locknan's accident.'

    Ian Macdonald

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    Many thanks for this. Clearly we have caught Allison in another "clanger", although I think I know his source (otherwise very reliable but in this case erroneous).

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    Having seen Lochnan's file I can now offer the following. Perhaps someone can provide an entry from No.225 Squadron's ORB. And who were the missing officers - two RAF or one RAF and one Army ?

    The most compete account of P.W. Lochnan's death is in a letter from RCAF Overseas Headquarters, London, to AFHQ, Ottawa, dated 6 June 1941.

    "1. The following infromation concerning the death and burial of the late Flying Officer P.W. Lochnan is submitted in confirmation of this Headquarters' signal C.622, P.271, dated 22-5-41.

    "2. It has been reported that whilst Flying Officer Lochnan was at 225 Squadron at Pembrey, he was attached to the Sea Rescue Detachment and on May 21st, 1941, an RAF officer and an Army officer had taken off in a Tiger Moth to go across Swansea Bay. A report came in that they were down in the Bay and Flying Officer Lochnan volunteered to try and locate them. The weather was extremely bad but visibility at this time was fairly reasonable. He took off and made a circuit but was unfortunate enough to collide with the highest tree on the highest hill which was about 1,000 yards from the aerodrome and which at this time was in fog. He received serious injuries from which he did not recover.

    "3. He was buried on May 24th, 1941 at Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, with Flight Lieutenant M.J. MacNeil, the RCAF Roman Catholic Chaplain, officiating. The personnel of No.400 Squadron who could be spared from operations composed the funeral party, as well as representatives from the other Canadian Squadrons in Great Britain and members of the Royal Air Force and the Canadian Army. Form A.F.W.D., Death Certificate, is enclosed herewith.

    "4. The location of the grave in the cemetery is Grave No.2, Plot 30, Row F. A temporary cross is being erected and the grave will be maintained by the Directorate of War Graves Registration until taken over by the Imperial War Graves Commission which will probably be at the cessation of hostilities when a permanent headstone will replace the temporary cross and perpetual care and maintenance rendered. Arrangements have been made to have the grave photographed and such photographs when obtained will be forwarded direct to the next-of-kin."

    The above is signed by Air Commodore L.F. Stevenson, Air Officer Commanding, RCAF in Great Britain.

    There is another document - a Hospital Record. It describes his injuries (which I shall not transcribe) and includes the following account (please note the odd departure from the previous quotation):

    "This officer was attached to a Lysander flight at RAF Penmbrey, Carmarthenshire, South Wales, which were doing sea rescue sorties. At approximately 1800 hours F/O Lochnan was asked by the section Controller if he would like to go on a sortie to look for a Tiger Moth (S/L and F/L in it) which had crashed into the Severn River at the mouth of the Bristol Channel. The weather was closed right to the ground (fog).

    "F/O Lochnan said he would try it. He took off and crashed within one minute into a hill 1,000 yardes north of RAF Pembray. The aircraft exploded on impact and burned. An M.O. [Medical Officer], 79 squadron was on the scene as quickly as possible and rendered first aid to F/O Lochnan who was obviously dying, after which he was taken to the S.S.Q. [Station Sick Quarters], Penbraey and died 30 minutes following admission. A few words were mumbled by F/O Locjnan: 'Hello Doc", "Bad shape', 'I'm dying.'"

    Another letter, dated 1 June 1940 (Wing Commander R.M. McKay, Commanding Officer, No.400 Squadron to Air Officer Commanding, RCAF Overseas) reads thus:

    "Flying Officer Lochnan was attached to the Sea Rescue Detachment of 225 Squadron at Pembrey. On the day that Flying Officer Lochnan crashed, an RAF Officer and an Army Officer had taken off in a Tiger Moth to go across the Swansea Bay. A report came in that they were down in the Bay and the Controller at Pembey called all three pilots of the Rescue Detachment together. He told them he knew the weather was bad but that these two people were down in the Bay and if they thought they could do anything about it to go ahead but not to take any chances on the weather. The visibility, at this time, was fairly reasonable.

    "About 1,000 yards from the aerodrome there is quite a high hill, which at this time was in the fog. Flying Officer Lochnan volunteered for the job, took off and was making a circuit. He was unfortinate to hit the highest tree on the highest point of this hill."

    There is one further document (apparently to or from the Principal Medical Officer, RCAF Headquarters, London) which confirms that it was a Lysander and that there was an RAF Air Gunner aboard (apparently a member of No.225 Squadron). It reads:

    "Took off on a sea rescue sortie with absolute no visibiloity at RAF Pembrey. The Controller (Sector) left it up to F/O Lochnan whether he did the sortie. Withim one minute of the take off the aircraft crashed into the side of a hill, 1,000 yards north of the airdrome. The aircraft broke into two halves and burned. F/O Lochnan lived for approximately 1 1/2 hours and was given prompt and efficient medical attention."

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    21-5-1941
    10 Group Comm. Flt.
    Tiger Moth N6853

    Ditched out of fuel near Beachley.

    43349 S/L (Pilot) William John METHVEN RAF + (Buried Newquay [Fairpark] Cemetery).
    77345 F/Lt Marcus KRAMER DFC RAFVR + (Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial)

    Thanks to Henk, and about a dozen others, who collated the above info.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th November 2009 at 13:21.

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