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Thread: Sgt M A Oliver, 77 Sqn

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    Default Sgt M A Oliver, 77 Sqn

    I have this information about the loss of a Whitley of 77 Sqn:

    Type: Whitley Mk.V
    Serial number: N1522, KN-G
    Operation: Gelsenkirchen
    Lost: 03/06/1940

    Cut and paste deleted - Ross

    Two questions:
    1. Because of their ranks would I be correct in assuming Allen and Browne were gunners?
    2. Does anuone have a copy of the 77 Sqn ORB - I'd be interested in learning when Oliver joined it.

    TIA
    Brian
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 13th June 2010 at 17:04. Reason: Board policy on Lost Bombers cut and paste

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    I have explained to Ross that the contents of this post did not knowingly come from Lost Bombers but from http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/77_squadron.html - perhaps I should have quoted that reference but never gave it a thought. Apologies to all concerned.

    However, so that my questions make sense I will rephrase the opening post.

    Whitley N1522 of 77 Sqn was lost on an operation to Gelsenkirchen on 3/4 June 1940. Amongst the crew, who all survived, were Sgt M A Oliver (580873), LAC V G Allen and AC1 D V Browne. Two questions:

    1. Would I be correct in assuming that, by virtue of their lowly ranks, Allen and Browne were probably on the aircraft as gunners?

    2. Does anyone have access to the 77 Sqn ORB as I'd be interested in learning when, or if, Oliver joined the squadron. I know from the London Gazette that he was a clerk in the Post Office at Haverfordwest in March 1936, and from his service number that he entered the RAF as a Direct Entry Airman pilot - probably in 1936 or 1937. He appears not to have met the necessary standards and remustered as a fitter, subsequently volunteering for flying duties.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 14th June 2010 at 10:22.

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    Hello Brian

    I'm also interested in gathering some basic details about this Whitley crew, but for different reasons. Bill Chorley wrote that an engine caught fire when there were flying over Gent in Belgium, and that the crew send a message saying they were trying to make it towards Abbeville, followed by another stating the crew was baling out. Hence the location between Gend and Abbeville has all chances to be in the area I'm covering, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. French archives on this period are scarce.

    I had already checked the pilot's PoW questionnaire. He was Alan Cotton MEIGH, 41859. He was born on 17th January 1920 and joined on 21st January 1939. He wrote he was captured near Ghent on the 5th of June 1940. His adress is given in Finchley, London. I didn't pursue further at the time, but I've planned to check the PoW questionnaires of the other four crewmembers in case they have different locations, may be more precise, which hopefully will give me a clue about the area where they were captured, which would enable to have a general location for the crash site. If they filed questionnaires, I'll get back to the board and will give the details, so you and the other forumites might use them.

    Perhaps in the meantime someone will be able to pick up so details from the Squadron ORB, which, so far is not in my 'priority' list.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 14th June 2010 at 19:14.

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    That would be very kind of you and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

    I've received some additional information today that has blown open my assumption that Oliver was an engineer and I'm beginning to wonder if he might have been the navigator. I just don't know so it would be very helpful to get some firm information.

    Regards
    Brian

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    Hello,

    Through a quick search on the net about Alan Cotton MEIGH I found that the became a civil engineer about soil, in 1949, received an OBE in 1976 new year's list, and that he passed away just two months ago ! I couldn't find any online obituary, but I'm quite sure that's the same man, not an homonym.

    I'll keep you posted about the details of the others, from their PoW questionnaires.

    Following the usual pattern in Chorley's book, as confirmed in the introduction, the crew should be in the following order : pilot, second pilot, observer and two wireless operators-air gunner. As such, OLIVER would be the observer in the crew.

    In the night 6/7 June 1940 (at the bottom of the same page in Chorley) there's another loss of No. 77 Squadron : the last two names (so air gunners or wop-ag) are AC1 A.L. Kennedy and AC2 Martin. (no initials). So it seems the Squadron had flying personnel coming from the ranks. We have already talked about this subject in the board, when the decision was taken that all aircrew were to get the minimum rank of Sgt. From memory this decision was taken in June 1940.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 15th June 2010 at 07:03.

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    And, if I read Jefford's "Observers and navigators and other non-pilot aircrew" correctly "observer" interprets to "navigator".

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    And, if I read Jefford's "Observers and navigators and other non-pilot aircrew" correctly "observer" interprets to "navigator".

    Brian
    I would say that most trained Observers would strongly disagree with that statement! When the "Observer" trade was declared obsolete in about May/June 1942, this trade was replaced by TWO new trades - Navigator and Air Bomber, although the later Navigator (B) trade would be a better match.
    David D

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    Hello,

    Here are the details for the other four crew members of that Whitley. What is consistant in their PoW questionnaire (as in MEIGH's, they all quoted the place of capture as "Ghent" on 5th June 1940. So it seems they really came down in Belgium, and not in northern France.

    Morris Albert OLIVER (rank in 1945 : W/O), 580873, born on 12 February 1918, joined on 1st April 1939. 1945 address in ?ilford-Steven, Pembs.
    William George BEST (rank in 1945 : W/O), 566053, born on 10 October 1915, joined in September 1932, "regular R.A.F.", Billingham-on-Tees, Co. Durham. He mentions lectures on capture and evasions at Driffield at the beggining of 1940.
    Victor George ALLEN, (rank in 1945 : W/O), 623988, born on 4 January 1920 (4/1/20), joined on 21 October 1938, Barnehurst, Kent. He mentions lectures on capture and evasions at Driffield in March 1940.
    Derek Victor BROWNE, (rank in 1945 : W/O), 552452, born on 21 May 1921, joined on 23 May 1938, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He mentions lectures on capture and evasions at Linton-on-Ouse in March 1940.

    Hope this helps you a little and can open some new investigations for you.

    Joss

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    Thank you for the update Joss. I thinkthe address you've given for Oliver should read Milford Haven; I've checked just to make sure but I'm unable to find a Milford-Steven in Pembroke - or anywhere else.

    Brian

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    Hello Brian,

    The hand-writing was difficult to decipher, hence my interrogation mark. I knew that the English members of the board would correct it very easily.

    Joss

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