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Thread: 268 Squadron

  1. #1
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    Default 268 Squadron

    Hello !

    I would like some informations on 268 Sq , notabily its activity in 1944 as one of its pilot crashed near my house and was killed on 4 July 1944, Joseph William Henry Conway DFC J/20157 .He is buried in our little cemetery of Luray.
    Thanks for your help.
    Alain.

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    Default F/O WH Conway DFC RCAF

    Alain,

    In response to your inquiry, No.268 Squadron was an Army Co-operation Squadron operating N.A. Mustang Mk.1A aircraft in the low level Tactical Reconnaissance role as a part of No.35 (Recce) Wing.

    Details of the loss of F/O Conway extracted from "ADJIDAUMO - Tail in Air - The History of No.268 Squadron Royal Air Force, 1940 to 1946" by myself.

    July 4, 1944 seven Tactical Reconnaissance sorties were conducted during the day.

    F/O Conway RCAF in FD502 R and F/O Lloyd in FD471 E took off at 07.11 hrs to conduct a Tac/R covering Trouville – Damville – Marcilly – Dreux – Houdan – Ivry La Bataille – Damville. R1352 (Damville) – R3245 (Marcilly-Sur-Eure) – R5039 (Houdan) – R4151(Ivry-La-Bataille)

    The No.2 on the sortie, F/O Lloyd reported that he saw smoke coming from his No.1’s aircraft just after they were subjected to intense light flak near R1340 (Acon) while flying at between 1000 and 1500 ft along the road and railway line which runs west from Dreux. Flames from around the area of the radiator followed the smoke and then F/O Conway’s aircraft nosed down to a forty five degree angle, hit the ground and exploded. The pilot was not seen to leave the aircraft. He was listed as presumed missing, believed killed

    F/O Lloyd recorded the details of the sortie in his log book:

    “Led by F/O Bill Conway. In Trouville – Damville – Marcilly- Dreux – Houdan – Ivny La Baille – Damville out NE Trouville at Acon. We were at 1200’ when we were subject to intense accurate light , cross fire from four gun sites, flak. I saw bill leave a trail of black smoke, camera panel flew off then part of the hood, Bill was at about 700’ and kept going down and exploded. There was very little chance. I then was the main attraction and after a 1 ½ second burst at the gun position in front of myself I returned to base.”

    F/O JWH (‘Bill’) Conway RCAF, in Mustang Mk.IA FD502 R was shot down by flak near Dreux, and killed. Once again the Squadron lost another pilot and his passing was marked by the posthumous award of a Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation for the DFC in the Air Ministry Bulletin said in part:

    This officer has completed numerous photographic reconnaissance sorties, all at levels below 4,000 feet and some almost ground level. Nearly all have involved deep penetrations within the main enemy fighter areas and all have been within the best range of medium or light anti-aircraft fire. In no case has he had fighter cover or escort. Before the invasion of Normandy, Flying Officer Conway photographed a heavily defended military installation at Le Treport from ground level. Though his aircraft was damaged by the defences he obtained fine photographs. He also secured outstanding pictures of bridges on the Somme. Since the invasion he has completed many more missions, on three of which he has been intercepted by enemy fighters. This did not deter him from completing his tasks successfully. Flying Officer Conway's courage and determination have been highly commendable at all times.

    The original recommendation went into further detail about F/O Conway’s achievements and bravery before his death:

    The 44 sorties this officer has carried out have all been done below 4,000’, often at ground level, and have nearly all involved deep penetrations of France within the main enemy fighter areas. All his operations have been done within the best range of light and medium flak and in no case has he had fighter cover or escort.

    Before D Day, F/O. Conway photographed a heavily defended Radar installation at LE TREPORT from ground level. Though hit by flak he completed his task and brought back first class photographs. His pre-D Day photographs of bridges on the SOMME were exceptionally successful and were taken in clear weather at 500 ft. in the face of intense light flak. He also carried out many low photographic sorties over beach defences and Noball targets, all of which he completed regardless of flak, which was in many cases severe.

    Since D Day and during the assault, F/O. Conway completed 18 sorties and 43 hours operational flying in 29 days. He was on three occasions intercepted by enemy fighters in great force while engaged on these operations, but returned and finished his task.

    This officer's courage is well out of the ordinary. He has never failed to do what he set out to do no matter what the risk to himself. He seemed to me to invite disaster through his dogged determination and as a reconnaissance pilot he has always made use of the enemy's opposition as a means of obtaining extra information.

    The recommendation bore the remarks of the Squadron Commander, S/L AS Mann DFC:

    Very strongly recommended.

    The recommendation from the AoC 84 Group AVM LO Brown stated:

    Since the original submission of this recommendation, Flying Officer W.H. Conway was shot down by flak on 4th July 1944. Very strongly recommended.

    Given the nature of the recommendation being posthumous, the recommendation had to carry a certification that the recommendation had been prepared prior to F/O Conway becoming a casualty.

    F/O Conway’s body was recovered from the wreckage of his aircraft and his death was confirmed.

    F/O JWH Conway DFC RCAF is buried in Luray Communal Cemetery, Eure-Et-Loire, France.

    Regards,

    Colin Ford
    Canberra
    Australia

    No.268 Squadron Royal Air Force 1940-1946
    Historian by Appointment
    (by the surviving Squadron members)
    Last edited by ColFord; 23rd January 2008 at 06:10. Reason: Typo correction
    Colin Ford
    Canberra
    Australia

    No.268 Squadron Royal Air Force 1940-1946
    Historian by Appointment
    (by the surviving Squadron members)

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thank you very much for these precious informations !

    Alain.

  4. #4
    B Conway Guest

    Default William Conway

    I believe the pilot you referenced is my uncle - from east angus Quebec.

    I have heard for years from my dad that he was a hedge hopper and died in France. I have always wanted to visit his grave. I now live in Guernsey and will be in France next weekend, arriving in St Malo

    Where is the Luray Cemetery? How do I get there from St Malo

    Many Thanks

    Brian Conway

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    Default

    Brian, I'm sure Alain will respond with the details you request in due course, however, you may find the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website entry for your uncle interesting http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2321149 and if you click on the hperlink at the bottom of the entry for the cemetery there are some details about how to get there.

    Hope that helps.

    Regards
    Linzee

  6. #6
    B Conway Guest

    Default William Conway

    Linzee

    Many thanks for the information.

    This is in fact my uncle! I am going to try to visit next weekend. My dad is very ill with Alzheimers and has never had the chance to visit his brothers resting place. I will find my way there and send Dad some pictures which I know he will appreciate

    Thanks again for helping me

    Brian

  7. #7
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    Hello Brian !
    I am Alain Charpentier and lives in Luray where your relative died and is buried .I shall be very pleased to see you .Whendo you arrive here ?
    I could drive you .

    Alain.

  8. #8
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    Brian,
    email me at: alain.charpentier15ATwanadoo.fr

    Alain

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