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Thread: Looking for 3 Sqn pilot

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for 3 Sqn pilot

    Hi,

    On 17th January 1939 Plt Off Donald James Catt crashed into a house at Crowborough, Sussex. Donald died in the crash as did Miss Ella Coomber. Mrs H Smyly was injured.

    On looking into this crash I found out that two Gladiators took off from Kenley to carry out some firing practise with live ammo. One, K6151, was flown by Donald. The second Gladiator narrowly missed some trees in the grounds of another house.

    As firemen dealt with the fire that followed some of the ammo started to explode and on recovering the bodies of Donald and Miss Coomber it was found they both had bullet wounds, but it was believed they had both died instantly and not as a result of the bullets.

    Would someone know the name of the second pilot and the serial of the Glad he was flying?

    Regards,
    Alex

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    Hi Alex, I was trying to send you some info from The Times - if you do not have it yet - to your email but it returnd with "permanent error".

    Please check your mailbox and let me know

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

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    Alex

    She is headlined as 'Maid' in Guardian but you have to pay to see the rest of the article...

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    Hi Pavel,

    Email is now fixed. I hadn't changed it to my new one.

    Paul,

    I think she was a live in maid/nanny.

    Alex

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    Sent once more Alex.

    Yes in the article there are details about both women.

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

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    Hi Pavel,

    Email received ok, many thanks.

    Alex

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    Hi Alex

    Only just noticed this thread. I don't know if you found the name of the other pilot off board or from the Times, but, if not, this is what the ORB has to say:

    APO DJ Catt while proceeding to the south coast to carry out air firing lost touch with formation leader FO Gaunce in low mist and crashed into a house at Crowborough, The pilot and a maid were killed and lady owner of the house injured. House and K6151 completely demolished.

    All the best
    Niall

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    Flight magazine, NOVEMBER 5, 1935
    Acting Pilot Officers.—The undermentioned are posted to the Units shown with effect from 11.10.36
    and L. M. Gaunce, to No. 3 (F) Squadron, Kenley

    Fligth August 292, 1940
    Act. Fit. Lt. L. M. Gaunce. This flight commander has displayed excellent coolness anil leadership since the return of the squadron to England. In July his flight took part in resisting an enemy air attack on Dover, when three of our aircraft were attacked by forty Junkers 87s. At least two of the enemy aircraft were shot down. Fit. Lt. Gaunce has shot down three enemy aircraft since returning to England.

    Died 1941
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1270689
    41 Sqn as Sqn Ldr

    http://www.acesofww2.com/Canada/aces/gaunce.htm
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

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

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    Hi Niall, Dennis

    Thanks for the info.

    I was going to order the accident card for APO Catt to see if the other pilot was named on that, but you beat me to it.

    Apparently Fly Off Gaunce also had a narrow escape as he just missed a stand of trees.

    Alex

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    The Friday 20 January 1939 issue of the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser has a full write up and pictures of this incident. It confirms F/O Lionel Manley Gaunce narrowly missed the trees in the grounds of "The Croft" residence of Lt-Col Sefton Dulany Brancker


    On the same page is an advert for an Insurance Broker telling people that can cover there house for such an eventually again!
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 12th May 2015 at 08:22.

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