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Thread: 103 Sqn Lancaster PB147 July 44 - bit of a mystery

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    Default 103 Sqn Lancaster PB147 July 44 - bit of a mystery

    I wonder if anyone can shed some light on a bit of a mystery regarding 103 Sqn Bomber Command.

    The ORB states the following for the operation to Stuttgart on the night of 28/29 July 1944.
    "F/O Birch landed at White Waltham with Navigator, Engineer and Pilot uninjured, the rest of the crew having baled out"

    Further details are;

    Lancaster PB147 of 103 Squadron
    Time up: 21.20:30 time down: 06.10:00
    (Take off and landing times were comparable with other aircraft from the squadron).

    F/O JO Birch RCAF
    Sgt J Titterington
    Sgt VG Heyes RCAF
    F/O WJ Walton RCAF
    W/O BG Mcdonald RCAF
    Sgt AD Cruickshank RCAF
    Sgt EL Chase RCAF

    I have failed to find mention of any members of this crew in casualty, POW or evader lists.

    Does anyone know the full story?

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default

    Hi Mike,
    Something wrong here somewhere, according to BC Losses.
    PB147 crashed at Charmes (Vosges) on the Stuttgart op, where all the crew (not the Birch crew)were buried.
    Alan.
    Last edited by AlanW; 4th January 2010 at 21:07.

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    Hello Alan & Mike,

    BCL has Take off time for PB147 "PM-C" as 2110 Elsham Wolds.

    Alex

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    Default 103 Sqn questions

    Thanks Alan
    Yes you're right. Perhaps I should have noticed that mix up before, having studied the losses for this raid quite alot. 4 from 103 Sqn lost with a 4th crash landed at Little Horwood.
    PB147 was flown by Flying Officer JB Moss.

    Another example of an ORB error. It (my photocopy from Kew) clearly gives PB147 to Birch.
    I assume that the rest of the information below from the ORB is correct.

    "On route fighters were very active indeed and ten combats were reported, with the following claims - 1 destroyed, 2 probables and 3 damaged.
    Three aircraft landed away - P/O Green at little Harwood, the machine being shot up but the crew unhurt - F/O Birch landed at White Waltham
    with Navigator, Engineer and Pilot uninjured, the rest of the crew having baled out. - P/O Henry landed at Dunsfold with two seriously injured crew members.
    F/O Ansley landed at base shot up, but his crew uninjured."

    I have the narrative of some of these combats if any one is interested.

    Mike

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    Default

    Just thinking aloud here:

    What if the aircraft was "misbehaving" so much so that the men parachuted once reaching UK soil? The pilot, engineer and navigator then landed the aircraft. The ones who baled wouldn't appear on any casualty, POW or evader lists.

    Not quite the same thing but I have a case of a 101 Sqn skipper who gave orders for his men to "prepare to abandon aircraft". Four of them didn't wait for the order to jump and the pilot, engineer and navigator brought the aircraft home. The four who jumped spent the rest of the war as guests of the Luftwaffe.

    Regards,

    Dave
    Last edited by alieneyes; 5th January 2010 at 01:18.

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    Default Bale out over England

    Nice thinking Dave.

    Could be difficult to verify though if that is what happened.
    White Waltham ORB perhaps?
    Just had a go at the TNA catalogue but there seem to be some gremlins today.

    Thanks also to Alex.

    Mike

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    Mike,
    Just a thought, did you check later entries in the 103sqdn ORB to see if the crew re-appears on later dates.
    Alan.

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    Checking the crew names on CWGC produces
    Name: CRUICKSHANK, JAMES ALEXANDER
    Initials: J A
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 103 Sqdn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 26/08/1944
    Service No: 1564167
    Additional information: Son of Alexander and Mary Cruickshank, of Knockando, Morayshire.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. D. Grave 4350.
    Cemetery: LITTLEHAMPTON CEMETERY
    No entries for the other crew names for 1944 on (2 MAcDonalds in 1943).
    Looks as if the theory that they baled out over the UK may be the likely explanation.

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    Hello Kevin,

    Mike refered to a Sgt. A.D. Cruickshank, RCAF.
    you found
    Sgt. J. A. Cruickshank, RAFVR from Scotland.

    So not the same man surely even if the same Squadron ?

    I checked the Canadian Virtual War Memorial site and none are listed. A lucky crew.

    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 5th January 2010 at 12:47.

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    Default Later ORB entries

    Alan

    No, I've not got any further with 103's ORB.
    I thought that a quick copy of the entry for the Birch crew would lead to finding the names of those who baled out in one of the usual lists.
    I'll put it on my list for the next Kew visit.

    Mike

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