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Thread: F/sgt Reginald Exon 180 Sqr 30.6.44

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    Default F/sgt Reginald Exon 180 Sqr 30.6.44

    I have been asked to find about the above named airman, he was a WOP/AG in 180 Squadron, who I believe operated B25 Mitchell bombers, he is buried in his home town of Keynsham, his death was recorded as being 30th June 1944.

    Does anyone have any information on him?

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    Might be worth trying jossieclerq on this forum by PM. He by the look of a previous thread has some of the ORBs for 180 Sqn so might be able to pick up some information for you. if you are the nearest living relative then you can get his service records. There is more on the following: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/Personnel/ServiceRecords/MakingARequestForInformationHeldOnThePersonnelReco rdsOfDeceasedServicePersonnel.htm

    It does cost £30 unless his closest next of kin are still alive where they may be able to get it free. It does take some time as more and more people are now requesting records and I would advise asking for a photocopy rather getting a transcript...

    Hope this helps and good luck with your research.
    Dee

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    Hi,

    Fri 30 Jun 1944.
    Allied Expeditionary Air Force
    Bombing raid against a tank concentration at Thury-Harcourt, Normandy, France.
    180 Squadron, RAF (Dunsfold, Surrey - 139 Wing, 2 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force)

    Mitchell II FW169 - made a normal take-off at 0145 in patchy ground mist and slight haze, but began turning below safety height. Moments later crashed and burned on colliding with 35-foot high trees at Chiddingfold, 4 miles west of Dunsfold. All five crew died, the captain being buried at Brookwood, Woking, Surrey.

    Captain: NZ421789 Fg Off George Alexander Monckton STRUTHERS, DFC, RNZAF - Age 27.
    438hrs (105 solo on Mitchell) 24th op.

    It will be recalled that a wounded Struthers was awarded the DFC for his actions on 9 February 1944, when he brought back to England his badly crippled Mitchell for an emergency landing, in which Wt Off D C Hammond RNZAF, lost his life.

    See:
    For Your Tomorrow:A Record of New Zealanders who have Died while Serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Forces since 1915. Volume Two: Fates 1943-1998.
    Martyn,Errol W.
    Christchurch:Volplane Press,1999.
    p.245

    NZ421789 F/O (Pilot) George Alexander Monckton STRUTHERS DFC RNZAF +
    J/88238 P/O (Pilot) Ieuan HADDOCK RCAF + (of New York City, USA)
    141546 F/O (Nav.) Alexander Smith Baird McLACHLAN RAFVR +
    1177574 F/Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Thomas Percy ROOK RAFVR +
    161071 F/Sgt (Air Gnr.) Reginald Herbert EXON RAFVR +

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 21st July 2010 at 00:34.

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    Many thanks chaps, F/Sgt Reg Exon is a relative of my sister-in-law - so will pass on the information.

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    Reggie Exon was part of Course No.9 (AGs) at No.34 Operational Training Unit, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. Here is what information I have about him:

    "Reggie went to Bristol Grammar School but later joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. When war broke out he was, of course, directed into the R.A.F. and in March 1943 he was sent on Course No. 9 (Air Gunners) at No.34 Operational Training Unit, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Canada) and on his return to England he was posted to No.180 Squadron which was based at R.A.F. Dunsford. It was part of No.139 Airfield under the command of 2nd Tactical Air Force. Although initially part of Bomber Command the unit had been created to perform bombing missions in preparation for and after the D-Day invasion with night intruder raids over Normandy.

    A friend of his, Monty Veale, remembered meeting up with Reggie on one of his leaves in June 1944 and they started out from the Talbot to do a round of the local pubs where they spent an “unusually hectic evening”. As he said - “there was an intensity about it which is hard to explain but they were living for the day!” That was the last drink the friends had together as Flight Sergeant Reginald Herbert Exon, was killed a few days later on the 30th June 1944.

    On that particular night F/Sgt Exon was detailed to take part in bombing mission against an enemy tank concentration at Thury-Harcourt in a B-25 (Mitchell Bomber Mark II) serial no. FW169 and the 22 year old was to serve as the air gunner on this aircraft. The plane made a normal take off at 01:45 hrs in patchy ground mist and slight haze, but began turning below safety height. Moments later it crashed and burned on colliding with 35-foot high trees at Chiddingfold, 4 miles west of Dunsfold in Sussex and burst into flames. All of the five man crew, including the New Zealand pilot and Canadian wireless operator, were killed instantly.

    Reggie’s death must have come as a terrible shock to Herbert and his wife Mary and when was left of his incinerated body was returned to his grieving parents they buried him in Keynsham Cemetery on 5th July 1944.

    In the following month on 26th August following the crash of a Wellington Bomber on a hillside a mile south of Keynsham, between Chewton Keynsham and Burnett, Herbert, ironically, was the one to discover the body of another dying airman, wireless operator Sgt. William Hankin whose parachute had not opened, impaled on bean poles on the allotments at the rear of the High Street. "

    I also have a photograph of Reggie's gravestone. If you would like a copy send me a private message.

    Regards,
    G Christian Larsen
    President Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society
    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nbpennfi/penn8bAirStation.htm

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    Thanks Christian,

    I did not know he did his OTU in Canada and that he attended Bristol Grammar School.

    The Talbot Inn still exists, although heavily modernised inside, I had a couple of beers there a couple of weeks ago!

    The Wellington came down not too far from where I grew up, the pilot was W/O Harvey RNAF and I spent many hours digging at the crash site.

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    Welcome Glenn.

    For more information on Reggie's pilot, please see a previous post which can be found here:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7467&highlight=struthers

    Struthers was also part of Course No.9 (Pilots) at Pennfield Ridge.

    Regards,
    Christian

    P.S. I also have the ORBs for the 180 Squadron if there is anything you need.

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