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Thread: WW2 Catalina loss near Port Etienne, Mauretania

  1. #1
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    Default WW2 Catalina loss near Port Etienne, Mauretania

    Hi, I've been contacted by a neighbour who has a metal mug with hand written label stating that it was made from part of a Catalina that crashed near Port Etienne in about 1944, killing all or most of the crew.

    QUOTE:
    This tankard was made from the remains of a Catalina flying boat which was sabotaged at Port Etienne in 1944. The hand written note with the tankard says the following.

    "In 1944, following the North African landings the Allies swept the Vichy’ites and the Germans out of West Africa. An RAF Coastal Command base was set up at Port Etienne to launch attacks on the U boats and to escort troopships and convoys. The operations at this base were a joint British/Free French affair.

    Sorties by Sunderland and Catalina flying boats were carried out. The navigator of a Catalina fell sick and a young operations controller volunteered to take his place. The plane was no sooner airborne than it exploded – killing all on board. Fragments of the plane were salvaged and made into mementoes of which this tankard is one. Sabotaged by the so-called Free French." UNQUOTE (I think that is meant to be "Vichy")

    Does anyone have any information that could lead to identification of the crew?

    270 and 490 (RNZAF) appear to have been operating out of that area, but were any supplied to the Free French Air Force?

    Thanks for any information.

  2. #2
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    Hi, it looks there were few Cats with the FAFL:

    In 1944-45 there was a Free French squadron named Flottille 6FE with PBY Catalina's.
    http://www.portlyautey.com/Port%20Lyautey%20History.htm

    But this base is quite a long way from the place you mentioned...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  3. #3
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    Could be Sunderland DW105 of 95 Squadron det. at Port Etienne, 5 graves from 95 Sq. in Port Etienne Cem., Mauritania

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    If DW105 of 95 Sqn 5-1-1944 (crashed into sea short after take-off) than I've also following airmen commemorated on the Malta Air Forces Memorial:
    P/O Thomas W. SADLEIR - 171950;
    Sgt David M. CAMPBELL - 1343817;
    Sgt Gilbert C. GIBSON - 1369021, and
    Sgt Charles E. NORRIS - 1280880.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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