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Thread: Squadron Leader Frederick William Charles Shute

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    Default Squadron Leader Frederick William Charles Shute

    Squadron Leader Frederick William Charles Shute, CO of 152 Sqn RAF, was lost on 29 February 1940 in the North Sea after engine failure. All sources agree on that, but they disagree on the aircraft he was flying, that is stated as Spitfire I K9898 or Gladiator II N5646.

    A now defunct website was saying that N5646 was lost on 2 April 1940 (but still said Shute perished aboard it).

    From the last version of Hakans 152 Sqn webpage (http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/gladiator_raf_152.htm), N5646 was lost during an ASR sortie.

    One possibility is that Shute was lost during a scramble with the Spitfire and that the Gladiator was lost after that during an ASR flight to try to find him, the pilot surviving this time.

    Does anyone have the 152 Sqn ORB to know what happens this day ?

    Thanks in advance

    Laurent

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    Hi Laurent,

    Whilst not central to your query, I do have the following on hand:

    Air Ministry 28th April, 1931.

    ROYAL AIR FORCE - GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.

    The undermentioned are granted short service commissions as Pilot Officers on probation with effect from and with seniority of 10th April, 1931:-

    Frederic William Charles SHUTE.

    LG Issue 33711 28 April 1931 p.2738

    Col.

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    Laurent,

    Rafweb records conversion from the Gladiator to Spitfire was completed by February (http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn151-155.htm). Conversely the Squadron history at http://www.152hyderabad.co.uk/html/history.html records the conversion to Spitfires was complete by 6 January (Shute gets a brief mention).

    There appears to be a very active 152 Squadron Association, contact email "um152squadron@btinternet.com" .

    Brian

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    Laurent

    My notes from the (very illegible) accident record card for Gladiator N5646 read:

    N 5646: 29/02/40: 152 Sqn. , Op, No408 (H) Fatal. Investigating coastguard report of ditched Wellington a/c. North Sea. Engine failed, lost at sea. Crashed into sea ?Sector controller removed from plot? Should not have been? ? To sea and ? due to misunderstanding between sector and group controller. Sqn Ldr FWC Shute, 31 hours on type/1541 hours total.

    Hope this helps

    Niall

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    Good day Laurent. This is a bit late but I was informed by S/Ldr Shute's daughter, Lesley Kingcome, that her father was ordered up in a Gladiator in appalling weather to search for the crew of a Wellington that had ditched in the North Sea. Unsurprisingly perhaps, he did not return. Her husband (and my uncle), Brian Kingcome, a man not given to over-statement, pronounced this event as "one of the great tragedies of the war." Hope this helps,
    Kind regards,
    Flywrite1

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    Sqn Ldr Frederick William Charles Shute 32020


    "Freddie, who also raced Bentleys at Brooklands, was killed early in the war; he was piloting a
    'Gladiator' when he was lost over the North Sea"

    OK but all references I see still; have it as Spitfire K9898 - if not who was piloting Spitfire K9898

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obit...a-Wickham.html

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    Can I throw a small spanner in the works. Contrary to Lesley Kingcome's understanding, the weather on the northeast coast was not unreasonable during the afternoon of 29 Feb. Although I don't have the Acklington observations as such, the Tynemouth observations just down the coast at 1400 hours show a Force 6 northeast wind, 6+ miles visibility and 9-10/10ths at 2500 ft. By 1900 hours the wind had moderated to Force 5, the cloud was basically unchanged whilst the visibility had improved to 31+ miles. (Force 5 = 19-24 mph; Force 6 = 25-31 mph). I guess that's a bit bumpy for low-level work, but the cloud and visibility shouldn't have caused any problems. Shute took-off at 1420 hours and subsequently reported he was ditching after his engine expired. Two Gladiators were launched to search for him at 1620, but even had he managed to ditch safely his chances of survival in a cold, rough sea, were minimal.

    Brian

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    Hello all,

    S/Ldr. Shute was definitely flying Gladiator N5646 when he was lost on 29 February 1940. This is confirmed by the AIR 81/96 Air Casualty File available at TNA in Kew. Only Gladiator N5646 and the date of 29 February 1940 are mentioned in the detailed file of over 140 pages. No reference to a Spitfire.
    The Thornaby airfield Appendices (AIR 28/829, page 44) for 29 February 1940 notes 13 Group asked them at 0715 hours (sic) to help search for a Gladiator believed down in the sea. The time given may be a typo for 1715 hours ?

    The 152 Squadron ORB has no F541 part until November 1940 and the F540 section available is not as detailed as one would wish. It notes however there was "No operational flying" on 2 April 1940, nothing else.

    On 20 April 1940 the 152 Squadron F540 records a mid-air collision between P/O R.E. Atkinson and P/O R.F. Inness. Both Spitfires crashed but no serials or locations are given. There are unfortunately no F1180 Accident Record Cards for either aircraft.
    The very useful 'Aircraft Accidents in Yorkshire' website lists Spitfire K9902 crashed this day at 'Stillbottle' or 'Shilbottle'.
    Happily the 60 MU ORB (AIR 29/1016) lists all the aircraft salvaged during April 1940. It notes two Spitfires inspected by the unit on 22 April 1940 and both collected on the 27th, K9898 crashed at 'Newton-on-Moor' (sic) and K9902 crashed at 'Stillbottle' (sic).
    The two locations appear to be Newton-on-the-Moor and Shilbottle, both in Northumberland and only a few miles north of Acklington, the 152 Squadron base. They are only two and a half miles from each other. It is worth noting that the Struck Off Charge dates are 2 May 1940 and 6 May 1940 respectively.

    It is still unknown which pilot was in which Spitfire. Can anyone help with this ?

    Hope this helps,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Martin

    Thanks for clearing up this mystery. I wonder how K9898 got caught up whit Shute. It is a mistake that is repeated in at least 3 sources I have. Including Air Britain


    P/O R.E. Atkinson is P/O Robin Earl Atkinson 41242 hit the top of some trees, and on landing his Spitfire which burst into flames who was badly burned in the incident and did not fly again for some time, he was previously a passenger when Audax K7376 crashed in May 1939
    P/O R.F. Inness is P/O Richard Frederick Inness 41292 who

    Does the 60 MU ORB give any indication of the condition of the wreckage ?

    Struck Off Charge dates are 2 May 1940 and 6 May 1940 respectively may provide a clue as K9902 is reported to have "force landed" and has a later SOC date. A badly burned out K9898 would probably be deemed SOC earlier

    Indeed this is what

    http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=1880

    has. I know this website is not to be taken as the "de facto truth"



    Paul
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 3rd July 2015 at 08:10.

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    Paul,

    Sorry for the late reply. There is no indication in the 60 MU ORB concerning the condition of either Spitfire wreck.

    Regards,

    Martin.

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