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Thread: Lost Spitfire squadron - India 1945?

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    Default Lost Spitfire squadron - India 1945?

    A friend has asked if there is any record of a whole squadron of Spitfires that were lost after flying into a storm somewhere in India, possibly in 1945? According to his source the incident was 'hushed up'.

    I'm a little sceptical but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Would appreciate your advice.

    Brian

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    615 Sq. It may have been hushed up at the time but can be found in several more recent sources.

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    Any more details Graham, I'm getting nothing on Google other than the squadron fought in the BoB and later went to India?

    Brian

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    Hi Brian,

    Thursday, 10 August 1944.

    During the day 16 Spitfire VIIIs of 615 Squadron took off to fly from Deragon to Baigachi, which is located in the Sunderbans area to the east of Calcutta. En Route the formation flew into a violent monsoon storm during which eight aircraft were lost and four of the pilots killed, including the commanding officer, Sqn Ldr D.W. McCormack, DFC & Bar and Flg Off W.S. Bond, RCAF, Plt Off M. Pain, RAAF, and Wt Off A.L. Chappell, RAAF. Flt Sgt Watson managed to crash land, but the three others survivors all baled out, and all injured their legs on hitting the ground. The stricken squadron was at once rendered non-operational.

    See:
    Air War for Burma.
    Shores,Christopher.
    London:Grub Street,2005.
    p.254.

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th August 2010 at 10:55.

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    Very much obliged Col, that will do me, and my friend, nicely.

    Brian

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    The online Spitfire production list identifies at least five lost Spitfires with 615 Sqadron on 10 August 1944: MD273, 276, 292, 373 and 378.
    A more thorough search may reveal the other three.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Brian,

    Casualty List 10-8-1944 No.615 sqn.

    Lost:

    AUS400232 S/L David William McCORMACK RAAF DFC & Bar (later MiD) Spitfire VIII LV742
    J/17190 F/O Wilfred Sidney BOND RCAF
    AUS420253 F/O Malcolm Turner Wellesley PAIN RAAF Spitfire VIII MD292
    AUS413737 W/O Alan Lancaster CHAPPELL RAAF Spitfire VIII MD373

    Baled Out:

    F/O COSTAIN RAF (Broken leg)
    F/O ARMSTRONG RCAF (Dislocated knee cap)
    NZ411980 F P FAHY RNZAF (Twisted knee)

    Force Landed:

    F/O WATSON RAF (Unhurt)

    Eight other aircraft and pilots landed safely. One of whom was:

    AUS414244 W/O Roy Sidney Meyers LAYFIELD RAAF - OK. Another was: AUS404563 F/Lt Kevin Francis GANNON RAAF - OK.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 31st August 2010 at 03:02.

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    McCormack flew Hurricanes with 615 (Churchill's Own) on escort and low-level work (Hurribombers) across the Channel before heading to the Far East. Both DFCs were earned over Europe, the second, IIRC, after he was wounded pressing home his attack.

    He was that well-regarded as a leader that apparently every member of the unit contributed to a memorial window that was unveiled at St Augustine's in Yarraville, Melbourne in 1946. I haven't seen the window first-hand but it is apparently stunning.

    Just running off the top of my head as I have been looking into his career off and on (more off than on) for the past couple of years.

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    Default Not So Unusual Perhaps

    In 1945, four or five Mustangs and their pilots were lost in Italy on 26 Jul when they flew up a blind valley.

    73 Sqn had a similar number of Vampires lost over Italy in a cock up.

    10 Sqn lost three Dakotas in the same day in 1946

    The famous Day Fighter Leaders School and its six or seven Hunters on 8 Feb 56

    Haven't thought of anymore just yet but there are probably others - and in peacetime at that!!

    O-R

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    My thanks for your comprehensive replies gentlemen.

    Andy,

    Do you, by any chance, have the Accident Report for the 615 Sqn acident?

    Brian

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