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Thread: 215 Sqn Wellington 17 May 1943

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    Default 215 Sqn Wellington 17 May 1943

    Please can anybody tell me anything about the loss of Wellington BB456 of 215 Sqn in the Far East on 17 May 1943.

    Thanks for your help Gents.

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    Hello Pete,

    17/18-5-1943
    No.215 Sqn.
    Wellington IC BB456 "D"

    Left base at 1800hrs on 17 May 1943 to carry out bombing operations on a target at 20.52N, 95.51E, in the vicinity of Meiktila, Burma. The aircraft failed to return from this mission. The crew of other aircraft on the same mission reported seeing what they thought was an aircraft hit by flak and crash.

    J/6499 F/Lt (Pilot) John Albert GUEST RCAF +
    1071529 F/Sgt (2nd Pilot) James Watson WILMORE RAFVR +
    AUS404238 W/O (Nav./B) Christopher Lynton EDWARDS RAAF +
    AUS404473 W/O (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Jack Bernard WHYTE RAAF +
    AUS404541 W/O (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Arthur BARNES RAAF +
    1153491 F/Sgt (Air Gnr.) Robert CROSS RAFVR +

    All commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

    Following post-war enquiries and investigations, the aircraft was discovered outside the village of Kyubobin. The headman indicated on open common grave. Villagers stated that they saw the plane approaching them unsteadily from the east of Meiktila near the airfield. They saw two descending by parachute, then the plane dived and hit a paddy field mound and exploded.

    In 1950, six unidentified bodies were found at Kalaw, but there was no evidence to link the bodies with the aircraft.

    In 1954 it was recorded that after further searches the remains of the crew of BB456 were unlocated.

    See: Storr: Vol.17. pp.62,244 & 426 of 465 (with corrections and additions)


    Mon-Thurs., 17-20 May, 1943

    Six Wellingtons of 215 Squadron raided Kangaung during the night of 17/18 May, but were intercepted by Capt. Miyamaru and Sgt Miyabe of the 50th Sentai's 2nd Chutai, who reported engaging three of these bombers. Miyamaru attacked one four times setting both the engines alight, noting that the rear gunner continued firing at him until the bomber crashed. This was F/Lt J Guest's aircraft 'D', which was seen to fall in flames.

    See: Air War for Burma/Shores p.90

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th September 2010 at 23:11.

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    Hi, Pete,

    I have jpeg images of the three 215 Sqn ORB pages covering the 17/18 May 1943 op. These are early attempts by my friend Robert Quirk to scan the microfilm he had obtained from Kew. They are mostly legible but slightly out of focus. I'll be glad to send them to you via e-mail. If you're game, contact me at feb2944 AT aol.com or via a private message through this site.

    These records flesh out Col's superb information by adding the individual summary details from each returning Wellington. The target Guest & crew were attacking, Kangaung, was a Meiktila satellite airfield. As for what happened, really there is little info on the Guest crew: "Missing. Target KANGUANG [KANGAUNG]. Not returned and presumed LOST. A/C F reported red glow in air following tracer, which rapidly fell to earth and burnt for 20 min. Believed to be A/C."

    Also this: "The weather was good with some haze. Light A.A. fire with red tracer was encountered and also some heavy but inaccurate heavy A.A." Nothing about fighter attacks in any of the summary reports from the other returning bombers.

    Col, could you say a thing or two about the Storr, Vol. 17 source, from which you extracted info? I don't think I know of this one.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Hello Matt,

    Alan Storr has recorded fatalities which occurred to RAAF personnel whilst on attachment to the RAF 1939-1945, in the shape of 23 volumes, which are available online.

    Many people have problems working with Storr's material, due to the format he has chosen to record it. It also contains many factual errors, misinterpretations, and a few omissions. Be that as it may, take a look for yourself:

    http://www.awm.gov.au/search/collections?q=RAAF+World+War+2+Fatalities&conflict =all

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd October 2010 at 05:50.

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    Thanks Gents

    very greatly appreciated.

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    Col,

    I checked out the Storr pdfs -- and I'm very grateful to have learned of these sources. Thanks for opening my eyes to these goodies, incomplete/erroneous/misleading though they can be. I do understand that Mr. Storr was not able to research each and every loss to the nth degree, and we know that sometimes the original records he summarized contained errors, plus speculation that later turned out to be wrong.

    I was nearly defeated right from the start when the first three RAAF airmen from 159 Sqn I looked for were not in the 159 casualties section (in Vol 6). The Vol 6 title says "RAAF casualties", yet these three known RAAF casualties were not listed where I figured they should be!! Then, fortunately, I kept looking at the other Volumes and found my guys in the separate pdfs on MISSING WITH NO KNOWN GRAVE airmen.

    I now know that if a downed aircraft in which I'm interested had any RAAF crewman aboard, and the appropriate A705 casualty file or files have not been digitized for public viewing yet, then the Storr pdfs are particularly useful sources. It's just a case of keeping an open mind to the possibility that the summaries may contain imperfect info.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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