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Thread: ORB December 23- 35 squadron Graveley. Gremburg/Cologne

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    Default ORB December 23- 35 squadron Graveley. Gremburg/Cologne

    ORB December 23- 35 squadron Graveley. Gremburg/Cologne

    I am researching my late fathers ww2 career. Has anyone got a copy of the ORB’s for 35 squadron pff at Graveley covering December 1944 especially the 23rd when a daylight attack with 582 squadron from Little Staughton and 35 squadron from Graveley attacked the marshalling yards at Gremburg/Cologne. My father was w/op on TL-J piloted by ‘Kiwi Lawson taking off at 10.42, dropping bombs at 13.01 and down at 14.18 but at Manston having suffered severe flak damage, the aircraft being written off, and my father hospitalised with a piece of shrapnel in his face-that proved difficult to remove-so it was his constant reminder until he died in 2003.
    ~I have gleaned these facts from ‘We act with one accord’ , ‘Heroic Endeavours’ and the BBC war memories web site. A look at the records would be the cream on the cake- so heres hoping someone can help.
    My thanks in advance
    Paul.

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    Default 35 Sqn, 23/12/1944

    Hi Paul

    Are you sure about these details?

    According to Chorley's 'Bomber Command Losses' for 1944, F/O G S Lawson was flying 35 Sqn Lancaster III, PB683 coded TL-H, which collided with another 35 Sqn a/c, P/O R J Clarke's Lanc PB678, TL-F, at 11.33 am while passing outbound off South Foreland, Kent on their way to Cologne. All 14 crewmen were killed when the a/c fell into the sea.

    The same incident is noted in Chris Ward's 'Squadron Profile' (No.9) on 35 Sqn, save that he says the incident was off North Foreland, and he adds that some parachutes were seen to deploy from the falling a/c but no-one was found by the time the [air sea] rescue services arrived on the scene.

    Something doesn't tie-up here! Have you maybe got the date wrong and your dad's injury was on an earlier op thus causing him to miss the collision on 23/12?

    Just a thought.

    Regards

    Ian

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    Hi,
    Right date, wrong aircraft and crew. I've managed to find the article on the BBC website, under heading WO Nick Nicholson, and by reading carefully you can see that Pauls father was indeed on board another a/c that was badly damaged by flak, and landed at Manston with 100 plus holes in it, it also tells of Pauls father's injuries and the fact that he was awarded the DFC (as in LG, 13th July 45 issue 37182, "158615 George Edward Herod") but he a/c concerned could'nt have been a write-off, as it does not appear in Chorley's (but that may be an oversight), also states that Paul's father's captain, went to ID the bodies of 35sqdn crew, found after being killed in collision.
    The only thing that does not fit is that the author of the article does state that "Kiwi" Lawson was the pilot that night!! definatley one for the ORB to clear up.
    Last edited by AlanW; 13th December 2009 at 09:10.

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    Hi AlanW & Ianh,
    Thanks for your observations re my posting.
    There were two pilots flying from 35 squadron base at Graveley that day, in the third formation. F/O G S Lawson+ six other crew taking off at 10.42 and FTR and F/O L B Lawson+7 crew taking off at 14.42 ,bombing at 13.01 and landing at Manston at 14.18. It was G S Lawson who was in collision with another of the flight.
    I ‘assumed’ probaly wrongly from Nick Nicholson’s report ( rear gunner in TL-J) that the a/c was written off by virtue of the damage.
    A recent quote from the flight engineer Sgt.Fred Edmondson
    “As I said my role in your father's crew was as second navigator. You probably know that pathfinders had to reach sometimes quite small targets hundreds of miles into enemy territory and to arrive there within a minute of the planned time. Navigation instruments became steadily more complicated and to help the first navigator others would sit alongside and operate them. Sometimes the bomb-aimer could be spared to do this but this was far from ideal as he had to man the front guns in addition to his other responsibilities. Presumably to fill gaps I was fast-tracked to operations while only more or less half-trained -though I was a qualified navigator.
    Over the target the wireless operator was expected to put his head into the astrodome and look out for fighters. While doing this Ted received a wound in his right cheek. Like most head wounds this caused quite a loss of blood which was hard to stem and orders were given to fly straight back to Manston
    in Kent. Alan the bomb-aimer was also wounded, though not so seriously, and Eddie the flight engineer was hit on the head. Jimmy and I cocooned in the navigator's compartment were unscathed.
    I can't recall how long Ted was in hospital though he did tell me that he had a piece of shrapnel in his face that the doctors were finding difficult to remove. The plane was a write-off but we were quickly found a new replacement and it had to be another TL-J. We were uneasy if we were forced to fly a plane with a different letter though as were on ops the following 26th December it's likely we had to put up with it.”

    So I am sure TL=-J was written off or canibalised for spares.
    This is why I am keen to see a copy of the ORB’s to finally establish the facts. I am hopeful that I will get to see my late fathers logbook within the next few weeks, which will assist.
    My thanks for your respective input
    Regards
    Paul

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    Hi Paul,
    I'm glad you cleared up the bit about there being two pilots on the sqdn with the same name, one reason being that i nearly added in my reply that there may have been two Lawsons in the sqdn, but decided not to as i thought it too much of a coincidence.
    All the best.....Alan.

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    Default 35 Sqn, 23/12/2009

    Sorted!

    Just one question Alan re your comment that "the a/c concerned couldn't have been a write-off, as it does not appear in Chorley's (but that may be an oversight)". Is that so?

    I can't recall offhand but does Chorley routinely include losses where the a/c returned and landed ok but was subsequently written off due to the extent of its damage? I need to go and look that one up as I can't recall whether he does or not. But like you say, this might be simply an omission.

    Cheers all

    Ian

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    Hi Ian,
    It's a fair cop!!! and i'll put my hands up to that one, (brain freeze on my behalf) seeing as it made it back and landed, you are probably right

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    Hi again Alan and Ian,
    I’ve just realised I attributed a quote to Sgt Fred Edmondson that should read Sgt Peter Leeves( 2nd Navigator), my apologies.
    If you get a definitive answer about the a/c shown as written off by Chorley I would be pleased to hear it.
    Again I put forward my request for anyone who has a copy of the ORB’s for that night.
    Paul

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