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Thread: F/O I E Osbourne 502 Squadron

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    Default F/O I E Osbourne 502 Squadron

    Hello, my first post here.

    On another forum a member has been enquiring about the Halifax HR686 flown by his Father who is still alive and has just celebrated his 90th birthday. On the final flight when the aircraft was lost F/O I E Osborne was killed but cannot be accounted for on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site or on the Runnymede memorial.

    The following is an extract from "Flying Under the Red Hand":

    "On the night of 3rd-4th October 1944,Halifax HR686 "J" piloted by Canadian Flt Lt Patrick McManus with Wg Cdr Maton on board ,failed to return from a rover patrol in the Kattegat after being shot down by an armed steamer (later identified as the Amisia. Radio silence was broken as their distress signal was transmitted and recieved at Stornaway causing an anxious night in the signals office.Ironically ,HR686 was to be retired next day.Maton too was due to be posted to Hq Coastal Command and was on his last operational flight. The other crew were ,F/O Lawrence Lyttle DFC,Flt Lt Sidney Winchester,F/Os Hugh Conlin and F/O J A Roger la Palme both Canadian ,Flight Engineer F/O I E Osbourne,WO Charles Mc Laughlin from Limavady and Sgt Reginald Allen known as "Plugs" Allen.

    The aircraft hit the sea in relatively flat attitude and stayed afloat just long enough for the crew to get out. Pat McManus was outstanding in his efforts ,which won him the DFC.He kept the surviving crew togeather ,as the one eight man dingy had been destroyed in the action and everyone was in the water. Eventualy after five or six hours they were picked up by the ship that shot them down and became POWs.F/O Conlin,WO McLaughlin and Sgt Allen were missing.The body of F/O la Palme washed ashore on the south coast of Norway and was buried at Mandal Churchyard near Kristansand.It was only upon his release from the POW camp ,at the end of the war that Wg Cdr Maton would learn that he had been awarded the DSO six days after he had been shot down and captured."

    Can any one provide any more information as Mr McManus senior is keen to know the last resting place of this gentleman.

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    Hello,

    Osbourne was not killed. He is clearly listed as a PoW in Ross' listing on this site.

    Camp 3D/PoW No.12816 Osbourne I E 142463 RAF

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Air Force PoWs/RAF POWs Query O_1.html

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 10th August 2010 at 17:52.

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    F/O I.E. OSBOURNE - 142463 is in the PoW list (Camp 3D [believed to be Berlin-Steglitz] PoW-number 12816).

    Henk.

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    Hello,

    The London Gazette shows him as Ian Edwin Osbourne, commissioned on 17th April 1943 (LG of 13th July 1943).

    If he filed a PoW questionnaire, this should be in WO 344/240/1 (this volume goes from Osavitsky to O'Sullivan L) at The National Archives in Kew.

    W/C Maton's PoW questionnaire should be in WO 344/214/1 (Matabogo ->Matthee)

    Joss

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    Many thanks for your very prompt replies. Having been told that he had been killed I never thought to look at POW listings.

    Many thanks for your help, it is much appreciated.

    John

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    Can any one help me out with some information about the aircraft, HR686 "J" which was a GRII?

    There is a photograph of it with the early type triangular fin and rudders but it may have been refitted with the larger rectangular fins and received four blade props on the two outer engines. The photo also shows the disruptive camouflage pattern on the top surfaces but by the time of the aircraft's loss it would probably have been repainted with a single colour of Extra Dark Sea Grey.

    I can find photographs of 508 Squadron MKVs with these mods but none for 502 so I would really like to confirm both points if I can.

    Thanks

    John

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    Of possible interest (and maybe not):

    LYTTLE, F/O Alexander Lawrence (J28573) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.502 Squadron - Award effective 19 July 1945 as per London Gazette dated 27 July 1945 and AFRO 1672/45 dated 2 November 1945. Born 1917 in Ottawa; home in Vancouver; enlisted there 23 March 1942. Trained at No.2 ITS (graduated 10 December 1942), No.19 EFTS (graduated 19 March 1943) and No.17 SFTS (graduated 23 July 1943). Commissioned 1943. Died at East Redonds Island, British Columbia, 23 February 1959 as per British Columbia Vital Statistics. Cited with F/L Patrick J. McManus (RCAF, awarded DFC).

    Flight Lieutenant McManus was first pilot and captain of aircraft and Flying Officer Lyttle was second pilot of an aircraft detailed for an attack on enemy shipping in the Skagerrak. Intense anti-aircraft fire was encountered and the aircraft was so badly damaged it was forced down onto the sea. From the moment the aircraft was hit til its final plunge into the sea these two officers remained at their posts and by their calm efficiency inspired the other members of the crew with confidence. Although badly cut about the head, Flight Lieutenant McManus continued in a rough sea to look to the safety of the others. In these difficult circumstances these two officers displayed cool courage and devotion to duty and averted disaster and saved the lives of all nine members of their crew.


    McMANUS, F/L Patrick Joseph (J14558) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.502 Squadron - Award effective 19 July 1945 as per London Gazette dated 27 July 1945 and AFRO 1672/45 dated 2 November 1945. Born March 1920 in Perth, Ontario; home there; enlisted in Ottawa, 10 March 1941. To No.1 Manning Depot, 1 September 1941. To No.4 WS, 25 October 1941. To No.1 ITS, 31 January 1942; graduated and promoted LAC, 27 March 1942; to No.1 EFTS, 28 March 1942; graduated 6 June 1942 and posted that date to No.5 SFTS; graduated and commissioned 25 September 1942. To No.31 GRS, 22 October 1942; to Western Air Command, 8 January 1943; promoted Flying Officer, 25 March 1943; to “Y” Depot, 15 April 1943; to RAF overseas, 26 May 1943. Missing (POW), 4 October 1944. Safe in United Kingdom, 13 May 1945. Repatriated to Canada, 6 July 1945. To AFHQ, 20 July 1945. To Release Centre, 27 September 1945. Retired 19 October 1945. Medal presented 21 May 1949. Cited with F/O Alexander L. Lyttle (RCAF, awarded DFC); see above for citation. Newsclipping in DHist biographical file says he was born in Smith Falls although his home is given as Perth. Clipping dated 16 June 1945 states that he was captain of a Halifax attacking shipping off Norwegian coast. Account goes on to say:

    The Halifax crew spotted an enemy convoy sneaking around the Norwegian coast and picking out one vessel, they done to the attack. Just as the final run-in began the ship turned on all its lights.

    Thinking it must be a neutral Swedish ship, McManus pulled the aircraft up. As they passed over, the crafty German captain opened fire at point-blank range and the next thing the pilot knew he was swimming in the water.

    The aircraft dinghy burnt in the crash and both pilots found their Mae West jackets leaking. Luckily, the German ship stopped, picked them out of the water and took them back to Norway.

    McManus was soon sent to Germany for questioning and although shot down in October 1944, he was still in solitary confinement at Christmas.

    Penned up in a six by ten foot cell with no air, no light and no bed, the prisoners were brought out for questioning at irregular intervals and if no information was given they were thrown back into their lonely cells.

    McManus told of the hot and cold treatment. The Germans heated the room but cut off the heat at night. "We got used to that." McManus said. For nearly two months the Coastal Command pilot lived on a daily ration that wouldn't make the beginnings of one good meal - two slices of bread, a bowl of soup and if he was lucky a greasy lump of margarine. McManus admitted he looked pretty haggard when he came out after the Germans gave up questioning.

    For 57 days the Perth flier had no blankets and at first had no clothing. For all his discomfort, food seemed to be all he thought about.

    When shot down his crew included the Squadron Commander, who was Wing Commander Charles Aubrey Maton. He was unusual for being an Air Gunner, yet in command of a squadron. His son, C.M. Maton, subsequently wrote an account of Wing Commander Maton (published in the Journal of the Orders and Medals Society (Spring 1992) which read, in part:

    On the night before he was due to relinquish command of the squadron and, to his dismay, was being posted back to a desk at Coastal Command Headquarters, he decided to undertake one last sortie with a mainly Canadian crew.

    Their mission on the night of 3 October 1944 was to patrol the Skaggerak and Kattegat looking for enemy shipping to attack, especially troopships moving German soldiers back to Germany under cover of darkness. Their aircraft that night was a Halifax II (“J”, HR686) piloted by Flying Officer P.J. McManus, a 22-year old Canadian with a crew of eight. After flying out over the north of Scotland and reaching landfall at the southern tip of Norway, they flew a creeping line ahead pattern working their way back and forth until they were 25 miles northwest of Copenhagen. They then planned a zig-zag course back up the Kattegat as far as the mouth of the Oslo Fjord.

    They had just approached the turn to their next course when they picked up a contact on their radar. The aircraft was into heavy rain and had dropped down to 800 feet when they broke out of cloud and suddenly right ahead of them at 1/4 mile was a ship brightly lit up. Thinking it to be neutral they broke off the attack but the ship opened fire and shot them down [the ship turned out to be an armed escort vessel proceeding independently in the Skaggerak].

    After six hours in the icy water during which three members of the crew were drowned. They were picked up by the ship that shot them down. The pilot, F/O McNanum, did a wonderful job in keeping the crew together including holding up my father in the water for some considerable time. For his gallantry during the ditching F/O McManus and the co-pilot, F/O C.A. Lyttle, also a Canadian, were eventually awarded the DFC.

    My father and the remaining members of the crew were taken to Kristiansand in Norway and then entrained and delivered into the hands of the Gestapo in Oslo. Because of my father’s someone exalted rank and his air gunner’s brevet, the Germans insisted that the crew were on a spying mission and repeatedly threatened them with the firing squad. F/O McManus recalled this aspect of their capture when being interrogated by the Sturmbannfuhrer...”Your stupid bosses thought they could disguise a spy as an airman but it didn’t work. Why did they dress him in the uniform of a Wing Commander and an Air Gunner ? Everyone knows that no air gunner ever reached that rank.”

    Eventually the Gestapo released the crew to the Luftwaffe Intelligence and Evaluation Centre at Auswertstelle West, near Frankfurt, for further interrogation, after which they were sent to Stalag Luft III at Sagan.

    NOTE: The above accounts differ as to whether the crew was picked up immediately or after some time, but the reference to three members of the crew drowning is confirmed by two RCAF casualties from HR686 - F/O H.T. Conlin (Air Gunner) and F/O J.A.R.L. La Palme (Wireless Air Gunner), the former commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial and the latter buried in Norway.

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    Yes it is of interest and thank you very much. I'm not sure if Paul McManus is aware of all the details there concerning his father but I will pass them on.

    Thanks again.

    John

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    Re Patrick Joseph McManus.

    From the previous post I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that he is deceased. If you are in touch with his son, can you obtain (a) his exact date of birth, (b) date and place of death and (c) any other information on Patrick Jospeph McManus which the family might wish to have added to the awards data base (and hopefully, eventually to the Air Force Association website).

    Note my Members List profile for e-mail address.

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    Patrick is still alive and well, he recently celebrated his 90th birthday. I believe his date of birth is 15 March 1920 but I'll try and get confirmation.

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