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Thread: Sid Culver 57 Squadron DFM Battle of France

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    Default Sid Culver 57 Squadron DFM Battle of France

    Hi, I am trying to piece together the events that led to the award of the DFM to Sidney Culver who was an LAC in 57 Squadron during the Battle of France. His DFM was gazetted on March 8th 1940 and I believe for a second recce over Germany during a period of high casualties for the squadron , though I cannot as of yet sustantiate this. His actual citation is not recorded anywhere I have looked at the moment, gazettes, books on the DFM etc so any help there would be much appreciated.Sid survived the war after going on to work with a Polish Squadron and then 7 Squadron PFF , 25 trips with them. Unfortunately his first log was lost in the Med after a ditching in 1941. Any info on 57 squadron and Sid would be very much appreciated, he was a pre war flyer in in 1937 , so there is a lot of scope. His main pilot from that period was Eric Nind who I am led to believe did well for himself in the service. Any background on him would be appreciated too. A very brave man who's story deserves to be recorded for future generations. Any information you can provide would be greatly received.

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    Hello,

    Firstly,

    27-28 March 1941
    No.57 sqn.
    Wellington IC R1441 DX-
    Op: Koln.

    Took off 2005 Feltwell. Crashed 0020 while trying land in poor visibility at East Wretham, Norfolk.

    Sgt Emmerson
    P/O Allan
    P/O Gardner
    Sgt Culver
    Sgt Hagen
    Sgt Dwyer

    See:
    Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol.2. 1942
    Chorley,W.R.
    Earl Shilton:Midland Counties Pubs.,1993.
    p.34.

    Re Sgt Culver's ditching in the Med in 1941:

    25 April 1941
    3 Group Training Flight.
    Wellington IC T2726
    Delivery Flight

    Took off St Eval for Gibraltar. The crew took a bearing as a course and flew away from Gibraltar. When the error was discovered there was insufficient fuel to reach Gibraltar and the aircraft was ditched.

    F/Lt E F Nind - Injured
    P/O D W Allen - Injured
    Sgt E S Hill - Injured
    Sgt J J Hagen - Injured
    Sgt Dwyer
    Sgt Culver

    See:
    Royal Air Force Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean Volume 1: 1939-1942.
    Gunby,David & Pel Temple
    Hinckley:Midland Publishing,2006.
    p.56

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 20th August 2010 at 05:50.

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    Flight magazine carries a combined condensed citation for the group of men awarded at this time:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1940/1940%20-%200867.html?search=culver&tracked=1

    Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal
    Sgt. William Joseph CRONIN, Sgt. Frank MILLER, Sgt. Alexander Cameron THOMAS, Sgt. David PENNING TON, L.A/C. Sidney CULVER, L.A/C. George HAWKINS, A/C. 1st Class Henry
    Arthur George FERRE, A/C. 1st Class Frederick John ALLAM.
    Several of the above are described as skilful observers and navigators. One is decorated for good work in a raid on Wilhelmshaven, when his aircraft scored a direct hit on a German battleship, and for his conduct in the 25-minute engagement over the North Sea on January 10 between nine Blenheims and five Messerschmitt 110s. Among the air gunners, one receives the D.F.M. for cool and effective handling of his gun during the engagement of January 10, in which his aircraft occupied a dangerous position.
    Another has set a splendid example of valour and fortitude. He has shown zeal, ability and devotion to duty. A wireless operator among the recipients was the first member of his squadron to carry out a second reconnaissance over enemy territory, flying in intense cold to nearly maximum endurance of the aircraft and over strongly defended zones. His ability had a very good effect on the aircraft crews when the squadron had suffered heavy losses.


    Gazette Issue 34807 published on the 8 March 1940. Page 22 of 84
    Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.
    365686 Sergeant William Joseph CRONIN.
    364705 Sergeant Frank MILLER.
    511772 Sergeant David PENNINGTON.
    562997 Sergeant Alexander Cameron THOMAS.
    537273 Leading Aircraftman Sidney CULVER.
    510166 Leading Aircraftman George HAWKINS.
    540542 Aircraftman ist Class Frederick John ALLAM.
    551244 Aircraftman ist Class Henry Arthur George FERRE.
    The above awards are for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hello,

    The award of the DFM to LAC S. CULVER is mentioned in the Squadron ORB (AIR 27/537 at The National Archives in Kew), on 8th March 1940. It's also recorded in the same line that F/L WYATT was awarded the D.F.C. and Sgt A.C. THOMAS the D.F.M.

    I can only trace two operations prior to 8th March 1940 :
    On 7th November 1939, with P/O Grant as pilot and Sgt Simmonds as observer, to take pictures of the Siegfried line but "no photography was taken due to clouds and severe icing".

    On 22nd December 1939, with F/O E.F. NIND as pilot and Sgt LOGAN as observer, they took off from Metz (France) at 0720 to take pictures of the Siegfried line, and landed at Honington at 1100, bringing 50 pictures.

    So I think the DFM was awarded for the 22nd December 1939 photo reconnaissance mission.

    Hope this helps.

    Joss

    PS : Simmonds recorded in the ORB was actually (confirmed by the service number) Samuel Frank Simmons (no d), who was killed in action on 22nd May 1940. He's buried with his crew (R.L. Saunders and G.R. Pirie) in Haucourt (between Arras and Cambrai). I attended on 22nd May this year the dedication of a memorial for this crew, in this very small village, by the church.
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 20th August 2010 at 12:05. Reason: correction for Simmon(d)s

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    Even Tavender, that most meticulous of DFM researchers, wrote, "There is no trace of the recommendation for this airman's award."

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    Thanks for your efforts,at least it's not a complete blank, I will try to find anything in the paperwork that my friend is piecing to get an answer. If i find the citation I will post it, can't be lost forever. Thanks again, cheers, Richard

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