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Thread: No 1 PRU Jan 1942

  1. #1
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    Default No 1 PRU Jan 1942

    Browsing through Ottaway's 'RAF Benson' 45056 Anthony Barber's name (Lord Barber) caught my eye. The entry reads that he abandoned Spitfire V AA813 over Mont St Michel and became PoW on 25 January 1942.

    I have seen the fate of AA813 given as crash landed on Chesil beach on this date , Henk has suggested that the pilot's name was MCB Anderson.

    The Telegraph obit for Barber reads in part

    "In 1942 he was ordered to fly a prototype Spitfire, equipped with the latest cameras, from Gibraltar back to England, a trip that had never been made before and which would require him to use drop tanks. As he later readily confessed, Barber got his sums wrong and ran out of fuel over France. So that the Spitfire should not be captured intact, he climbed as high as he could, before bailing out and leaving the aircraft to plummet to earth."

    Given that this is correct, what was the serial of Barber's aircraft? Or conversely Anderson's a/c.

    Beware of the entry against AA813 in 'The History' as there is a confusion between it and AA812.

    regards

    DaveW

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    Hello DaveW,

    Could Anderson have been involved with Spitfire PR.V X4505, 1 PRU, FAAC 26-1-1942?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 9th October 2010 at 16:09.

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    Hi Dave,

    The aircraft that M.C.B. Anderson and L.P.A. Barber took to Gibraltar were AA813 and AA815.

    M.C.B. Anderson did make a forcelanding on the beach on 25 Jan 42 whilst returning from Gibraltar and L.P.A. Barber failed to reach the UK. The reason is given as adverse weather. The aircraft they flew back aren't listed but assuming they bought back the same aircraft as they flew down we can assume Barber was flying AA813 as it was SOC (missing) on 26 Jan 42 whilst AA815 was flying ops in Feb 42.

    Source: 1 PRU ORB

    Best Regards

    Andy Fletcher
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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    Hello,

    44673 Murray Crichton Bell ANDERSON DFC*,US Air Medal.

    Commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment from RMA Woolich in 1939, Murray Anderson was seconded to the RAF in 1940. Operated Spitfires with No.1 PRU, then moved to No.4 PRU in Algiers and then to No.542 PR Squadron at Benson. In 1943/44 flew 9 operations with Lysanders over occupied France, 6 being double pick-ups, mostly with Leslie Whittaker, who moved to Tempsford with him. In June 1944 he flew Mustangs with No.65 Squadron, 2ndTAF. After a rest period he was posted to No.52 Squadron at Dum Dum in May 1945.

    DFC Citation LG 15-9-1942 p.4060

    Flying Officer Murray Crichton Bell ANDERSON (44673)

    In August 1942, this officer was engaged on a reconnaissance over Hamburg. Whilst over the target area, his aircraft was subjected to much anti-aircraft fire but, despite this, he made several runs over the objective and accomplished his task. In spite of attacks by enemy fighters on the return flight he flew his aircraft safely back to base. This officer has performed much excellent work and displayed courage, skill and devotion to duty.

    Bar to DFC Citation LG 16-3-1943 p.1309.

    Acting Flight Lieutenant Murray Crichton Bell ANDERSON, D.F.C. (44673)

    In the campaign in North Africa, this officer has completed many long-range photographic reconnaissance. He has displayed great skill and devotion to duty, setting an example worthy of the highest praise.

    Anderson has written his autobiography; Saint Praftu. ISBN: 9781907211522

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 10th October 2010 at 07:14.

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    In Saint PRAFTU Anderson states they (he and Barber) were flying the new integral wing tank Spitfires (ie PR.IVs) on their return flight from Gibraltar. No serials are given.

    He gives the reason for their difficulties in getting back to the UK as strong winds which were not forecast. In one section he states "I became occupied with the problem of "did I have enough fuel?" I was crawling along at 200 mph some 300 miles east of my track for Blighty, and in danger of flying over St. Nazaire or Cherbourg. .... to my right was Cherbourg. The engine stopped. I had to glide 90 miles to Portland Bill"

    He forcelanded in a field near the coast not on a beach as I stated in my previous post.

    Best Regards

    Andy Fletcher
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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    Gents

    Thanks for your observations. Ottaway is quite specific that Barber abandoned AA813. He does not mention Anderson or AA815 so I will assume that the forced landing did not involve significant damage or injury.

    Many thanks

    DaveW

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    Dave,

    Anderson wasn't injured in his forced landing and from reading his account it appears that no significant damage was done to the aircraft.

    Best Regards

    Andy Fletcher
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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