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Thread: For Errol Martin: Stirling EF215, 75 Sqn, 4/5 Mar 44

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    Default For Errol Martin: Stirling EF215, 75 Sqn, 4/5 Mar 44

    Errol,

    On rafcommands forum on 18 March 2007, you wrote:

    "Loss of Stirling EF215/M, 75 Sqn, 4/5 Mar 44"

    Since publication of the entry below in the second vol of my trilogy 'For Your Tomorrow' it has been suggested to me that this aircraft crashed on the 1250 metre high Puy Mandon. Can anyone confirm this, please, and also clarify exactly where Puy Mandon is located (have checked some websites but what little there is there seems to relate mostly to daring souls chucking themselves off the top in hang gliders).

    Many thanks in advance for any assistance offered.

    Errol

    "Sat 4/Sun 5 Mar 1944
    BOMBER COMMAND
    SOE operations to various drop zones (by 76 aircraft - 3 lost)
    75 (NZ) Squadron, RAF (Mepal, Cambridgeshire - 3 Group)
    Stirling III EF215/M - took off at 2051 on SOE Operation TRAINER 124, to drop supplies in the Puy-de-Dôme west of Clermont-Ferrand, and flew into a mountain side near Rochefort-Montagne, 25km WSW of Clermont-Ferrand. Taken into custody by the French Police and later made a prisoner of the Germans, the RAF mid-upper gunner was knocked unconscious in the crash but otherwise unhurt. He awoke to find himself the sole survivor. His six comrades are buried at Clermont-Ferrand. The Squadron had dispatched 14 of its aircraft that night, but dense low cloud down to 500 feet, coupled with ground haze, prevented all but four making their drops.
    Captain: NZ404978 Sqn Ldr Raymond Johnson WATSON, DFC, RNZAF - Age 27. 967hrs. 43rd op(?)
    Navigator: NZ421713 Fg Off Hugh William HENDERSON, RNZAF - Age 24. 382hrs. 9th or 10th op.
    Wireless Op: NZ421977 Plt Off Arthur Stanley JONES, RNZAF - Age 28. 289hrs. 13th op.
    Rear Gunner: NZ42349 Flt Sgt Robert James Ian MELVILLE, RNZAF - Age 26.
    Watson, lost on his 8th op with the Squadron, had previously completed a tour in the Middle East with 162 Sqn, RAF."

    Note: the non-New Zealanders were:
    Sgt C Beech (+)
    Flt Sgt R M Woods (+)
    Sgt C B Armstrong (PoW)

    During an other research I found on a french forum a witness of the crach.

    You'll find find a map of the monument erected to the fallen crew at this link:
    http://www.aerosteles.net/cartes/geop-v5.php?code=orcival-raf&lang=fr
    The monument at this link:
    http://www.aerosteles.net/fiche.php?code=orcival-raf&type=ps&lang=en

    With this map you'll can find the place of the crash which was 700 meters South-East from the actual monument at the altitude of 1232 meters just on the border of the road D983. You'll also see that Clermond-Ferrand is North East.

    Here's also a link to a french newspaper article:
    http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/1876/divers474.jpg

    The man named Oleg Gorchaerse was with a scout team at the moment of the crash and remembers very well this crash. When Oleg arrived at the crash site, nearly all had been taken away by the germans but he remembers having found in the aircraft a strange syringe with written on it 'Morphyn' and some french languages leaflets.
    He didn't see any containers or parachute and of course no weapon.
    He also sadely remembers that one or two airmen (now wwe know that it was one) had asked helped in a farm but the farmer had taken him to the french police.

    The email address address of Oleg is: oleg.gorchaerseATfree.fr (replace AT with @)
    I don't know if Oleg speaks english so if there was a problem, please, contact me.

    I expect it will helps
    Regards.

    Bruno
    Last edited by Bruno; 28th December 2009 at 15:33.
    Bruno LECAPLAIN
    Raf WWII 38 Group Squadrons Reunited <www.raf38group.org>
    Stirling Aircraft Society <stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org>

  2. #2
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    Thanks Bruno, much appreciated.

    Errol

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