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Thread: Sgt. B. Sherry RAFVR. 70 Sqn

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    Default Sgt. B. Sherry RAFVR. 70 Sqn

    Looking for details regarding the loss of the following airman. Any help would be appreciated

    Regards
    Peter

    Name: SHERRY, BASIL
    Initials: B
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 70 Sqdn.
    Age: 26
    Date of Death: 07/05/1943
    Service No: 979599
    Additional information: Son of Thomas and Gertrude Sherry, of Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Coll. grave 8. F. 3-7.
    Cemetery: TRIPOLI WAR CEMETERY

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    Possible Wellington HZ247.

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Hello,

    Wellington HZ247 confirmed in the undigitised A705 (NAA: A705 166/26/126) of, AUS402959 F/Sgt Allan Roderick McFARLANE RAAF.

    Crew, tentatively named as:

    (Alpha order)

    1287071 Sgt (Nav./B) John Courtney COMYN RAFVR +
    R/85471 WOI (Pilot) Ira Irvin KLIMAN RCAF +
    AUS402959 F/Sgt ( ? ) Allan Roderick McFARLANE RAAF +
    1005744 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) George POPPLESTON RAFVR +
    979599 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Basil SHERRY RAFVR +

    All the above buried Tripoli War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8. F. 3-7

    Also named in the above crew listing, is:

    1350296 Sgt ( ? ) D A SMITH ( ? ).

    Col.

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    Hi Peter,
    Can't give you the aircraft or crew but from my fathers diary for the 7/5/43 a friday (37 Sqd). Target Cape Bonn area between Tunis and Bizerta, came down from 11,000ft to 7,000ft to try and get out of 10/10ths cloud but was useless. Couldn't see a thing and was iceing up all the time, was really deadly. Dropped our bombs on ETA and turned for home. Came back at 4000ft. One of 70's crashed on landing, all killed. This would more than likely be the crew that you seek and it would appear that weather conditions had a major role to play in this accident.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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    Amrit, Col, Rob

    Very many thanks for your replies, a great help

    Regards
    Peter

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    Default 70 Sqn

    Hi

    Have just had a look in The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force by James J Halley and 70 are listed as being stationed at a place called Gardabia West on that date. It also says that they were using Wellington 1Cs so it must have been quite an elderly one....

    Have you applied to the RAF for his service record if you are family?

    Dee

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    Default I have photographs of Basil Sherry

    Hello. New here. Steve Diamond, researching the War dead of my town, Whitehead. One of those we lost is Basil Sherry. I'd like to know anything that anyone else knows. What I have is...

    Photographs: 1 in uniform, taken sitting against the cliffs of the Gobbins path; several of him as a young boy scout; two or three of him as a teenager in street clothes visiting Carrickfergus Castle with friends.

    Memories: I interviewed a now deceased scout troop master who knew him before and during the war. He had several stories to tell. Provided I can keep going here (1st ever post), this is the piece I wrote from the sources I had a decade ago:

    Basil was the son of Thomas and Gertrude Sherry. Basil lived on Chester Avenue with his father, his father’s sister and her husband.
    Many Whitehead families had more than one member who served in the wars. It was quite common for several brothers in one family to volunteer to go. Several Whitehead men involved in the first World War, such as John Hoy, had sons who fought in the second. Basil Sherry was another example. His father Thomas had served on a submarine in the Great War.
    These pages carry many pictures of servicemen posing in their uniforms. It can be easy to forget that most of these people had been everyday civilians before the wars. They all had a childhood, too.
    This is a photograph showing boy scouts in the woods at Magheramorne, between here and Larne. It was taken by Erskine Linton, who was the scout master for this area for many years. The boy kneeling down is Basil Sherry. Joe Henshaw (a brother of Desmond) is on the left.
    The scout leader in the hat on the right is John Atkinson. He was the first person from Islandmagee to be killed in the war. His Union Castle Line ship was sunk by a submarine which then machine-gunned the survivors in their life boats.
    Basil joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve before the war. He learned how to fly in small training aircraft based near Belfast.
    In July 1939 he decided to spice up his training flights with some mischief, deliberately flying low over Whitehead. A friend of his lived on Victoria Avenue. At the bottom of their garden was a potting shed topped with corrugated iron. Basil would lean out of his plane’s cockpit and throw new potatoes to rattle the tin roof!
    Not everyone appreciated his humourous displays of flying skill, and terrified residents wrote complaints about pilots “buzzing” the sea front promenade. Whitehead’s young pilots were ordered to take their practice flights along the Bangor side of Belfast Lough from then on!
    The story of how Basil bombed a friend with spuds brings home the fact that people who volunteered to fight in the wars were memorable characters. To this day a friend of Basil’s still affectionately calls him a “wee devil”, remembering him and others as good people to know.
    Basil joined was sent for more training in Canada, like others from Whitehead. This picture was taken on the Blackhead path. He was on leave on the 7th of April 1941 and took an evening stroll with his friend Erskine Linton. Basil stopped, listened, and pointed into the night, saying “Gerries”.
    Sure enough a fleet of German bombers flew up the Lough to attack Belfast. Basil had been the first to hear them coming, recognizing the sound of enemy engines. In four raids that year nearly a thousand people in Belfast were killed.
    Basil became a bomber pilot, flying a Vickers Wellington like this one.
    Early in the war Basil was sent to bomb Germany. After one of many missions his plane returned to base all shot to pieces. When Basil, who was only five feet tall, emerged from the huge aircraft an Air Vice Marshall Sir Philip Joubert was surprised by his small stature and exclaimed “Why does such a little man fly such a big plane - and bring it back like that?”
    Basil Sherry survived many raids on Germany before being sent to North Africa. By May 1943 the German and Italian forces there faced certain defeat. They were ordered to fight to the death, but many chose to surrender. A pocket of unsurrendered Germans in the Cape Bon peninsula in Tunisia shot down Basil’s plane. He’d been coming in to land and had no time to bail out. The fighting there ended just five days later on May 12th. Basil was 26. He was buried in Tripoli War Cemetery in Libya.

    P.S. I think I spot an error - he was not a pilot. If anyone knows more / can add any corrections, please do. The article refers to some of the pictures I used, plus there was more on the Wellington. Anyway, I'm happy to share these photos - just let me know how...

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    Hello,

    Revised entry for Wellington HZ247 (see Post #3):

    7/8-5-1943
    No.70 Sqn.
    Wellington HZ247

    Took off 2050, Gardabia West, to bomb enemy concentrations on roads south-east of Tunis. The aircraft returned with engine trouble and the Captain contacted base by R/T to get instructions re the jettison of bombs. He was instructed to jettison half the load 5 miles east of the Landing Ground, which he did.

    On returning to base the aircraft made a circuit and the engines appeared to be running normally. The aircraft was given the green light and it was acknowledged. On going cross wind to the upward end of the flare path, the aircraft was seen to dive losing considerable height. The aircraft then levelled and continued at the same height of approx 600 feet, until on the cross wind leg downwind of the flare path. It was then seen to lose more height and continued to fly on at extremely low altitude until it hit the ground and exploded. It crashed 3 miles from the flare path and was completely destroyed. The accident occurred at 2156 hours.

    AUS402959 F/Sgt (Captain/Pilot) Allan Roderick McFARLANE RAAF +
    R/85471 WO1 (2nd Pilot) Ira Irvin KLIMAN RCAF +
    1287071 Sgt (Nav/B.) John Courtney COMYN RAFVR +
    979599 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Basil SHERRY RAFVR +
    1005744 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) George POPPLESTON RAFVR +
    1350296 Sgt (Air Gnr.[Rear]) D A SMITH RAFVR - Survived crash.

    The dead are buried in Tripoli War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8. F. 3-7.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 18th October 2012 at 00:31.

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