Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 52

Thread: 37 Squadron - Wellington Q-Queenie May '43

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 37 Squadron - Wellington Q-Queenie May '43

    I'm hoping that someone may be able help me with the following,

    My late Father, John Blades (1021696) was a Sergeant Air Gunner/Wireless Operator on board 37 Squadron Wellington 1c Q Queenie when she crashed at or around Kairouan, Tunisia on May 30th 1943.

    I know very little about the incident, other than only my Dad and one other crew member survived the crash, my Dad was permanently blinded in one eye (in later years he also lost site in his other eye)

    I own the book 'Wise without eyes' but there is no reference to this crash, I have a photograph of the wrecked aircraft with the inscription 'all that was left of our 'Wimpy',North Africa' written on the back - which I can send if it helps.

    Would anyone have a record of this incident, was the aircraft shot down, crashed landed? and/or have a record of Queenie's serial number? or could point me in the right direction as I would like to complete a record of my Dad's war service for family posterity.

    What I do have:
    Aug 1941 - Feb 1942 - 117 Squadron, Egypt WOP/AG (Bombay's)

    Feb 1942 - Nov 1942 - 108 Squadron, Egypt WOP/AG (Blenheim 1. Wellington 1c)

    Nov 1942 - Dad picked up 37 Squadron at ALG 140, Baheire, near Gambut,
    Libya, moving in January 1943 to Barina and El Magrum, February,
    Gardabia West, and by May 1943, was in Kairouan, crashed on the
    30th 1943 May,
    Hospitalised from May 1943 until September 1943 at No 5 RAF General Hospital, Cairo,

    Sep 1943 - August 1945 - No 4 ERS, Ramleh, Palestine.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,385
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello,

    I would have suggested "Wise without eyes" at first, but you have it and there's no information in there to help you.

    If you are anywhere near The National Archives in Kew, the Operations Record Book of No. 37 Squadron, for the year 1943, is in AIR 27/391 (on microfilm).

    It's also possible that some members of the board may have details about the Wellington in which your father nearly lost his life (Henk Welting for example, when he'll spot your thread).

    A first volume of "Bomber losses in the Mediterrannean" has been published, and goes up to 31st December 1942. We're waiting for the publication of the volume 2, which would contain the details you are seeking.

    Do you have the names of the other crew members ? That may may fellow forumites.

    Joss

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thank you for your reply Joss,

    I wasn't aware of the The National Archives in Kew, however I currently live in Ireland and won't be able to pay them a visit just yet - but at least it's an option that I didn't have before.

    I have been watching the "Bomber losses....." book release's with interest, but as you point out they stop short of my dates.

    Hopefully Henk will also be able to help with my search.

    Sadly I don't have any other crew names, though I do recall my dad mentioning the name (nick name?) 'Christmas' who was possibly his pilot, (I was under the impression that he was Dads CO, but no mention of him in 'Wise without eyes')
    At the back of Dads note book (which gives dates but no particular details) he has a list of names titled 'Pals in the RAF' bit I don't think it would be worth listing them all (36).

    Thanks again
    Colin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Zelhem, Netherlands.
    Posts
    6,313
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Colin,
    Sorry, my Wellington file does not come up with a loss for 37 Sqn on this date. There were two accidents with Wellingtons VIII of 38 Sqn both in Libya. If, than we may believe there were no fatal casualties and a repairable aircraft. The ORB of 37 Sqn may have info on the incident (have no access to ORB).
    Regards,
    Henk.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thank you for checking this for me Hank, I think my only option is a visit to Kew for an examination of 37's ORB.

    The aircraft was totally beyond repair - I've provided a link to the photo below, 'Q' looks to be actually on the airfield as there are hangers visable in the background.

    http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t66/foreign_press/QQueenie6June1943.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    I did a search using Geoff's Search Engine for all 37 Sqn casualties in May or June 1943 - there are only two, both in Catania, Italy. Are you sure most of the crew were killed?
    David

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,385
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello,

    Another option, but with no guarantee of success, would be to ask the Department of Research of the R.A.F. Museum Hendon : I doubt they have a Bomber Command loss card (did they have for Middle East losses ?), but it might be worthy asking them, and also, in case this accident was non-operationnal, if there's an accident card (form 1180). With the date, that'd be easier for the staff to check.

    Also contact directly either Pelham Temple or David Gunby through their profiles on this board.

    Joss

    PS : I have digital pictures of No. 108 Squadron for July to December 1942. Not very detailed compared to others (no crew composition for example), it might help you in your family project. I copied this for a R.C.A.F. veterans who was also a wireless operator in No. 108 Squadron at that time, his first tour. He was Keith PATRICK. May be his name is known to you, as he had the same trade as your father ?

    E-mail me if you want a copy.

    Joss

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    200
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi,
    Apologises for delay in responding to this query. I have checked the 37 ORB for that period and prior to this incident. As far as I can determine your father doesn't appear in the ORB on any operations. The timing of the crash occurs on the date that the Squadron was moving to Kairoun and there were no operations at this time. The monthly summary for the period makes no mention of any crash or loss of aircraft. My father's diary makes no mention of any incident and he was also a W/Op/Ag in the same time frame as your father. His diary has been very helpful in confirming issues which might otherwise have been left unanswered. It could be that your father was with 70 or 104 Squadrons as they were all in close proximity and moved at the same time. There is mention in Dad's diary of a crash in vicinity of 104 Squadron which, transpired to a crash on take off resulting in three 37 Squadron aircraft being written off. Your father may have been involved in this incident. It would be well worth while looking at both the 104 and 70 Squadron ORB's.
    Sorry I can't be of more help.

    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,561
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 47 Times in 45 Posts

    Default

    Hi Rob,

    The incident mentioned in your father's diary, resulting in three 37 Squadron being writtten off, took place on 4-6-1943.

    F.R. Chappell in 'Wellington Wings', records it as such:

    4th June 1943: The Adjutant (236 Wing)

    There was Tunisian wine in the mess tonight - cheaper and better than Benito's Blood. When Willie Carr and I went to our tents later we saw a strong white light on the horizon. He thought it was a Chance Light at another landing ground. At that moment the 'Chance Light' exploded and gave off a red glow from which came showers of hot splinters. Smoke rose up to a great height and plumed out into the usual mushroom - we knew quite well what it was but the noise was a long tome reaching us. Another explosion followed and we counted off the seconds until we heard it. Then again there was a third terrific explosion including Very lights going up in all directions. Later we had phone calls and changes in arrangements - an aircraft had caught fire at take-off at 231 Wing and then set off two other Wellingtons. All three were bombed up with full fuel tanks and were completely destroyed in the accident.

    See:
    Wellington Wings:An RAF Intelligence Officer in the Western Desert.
    Chappell,F.R.
    London:William Kimber,1980.
    p.170

    Col.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    RAF Honington
    Posts
    478
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 37 Sqn ORBs

    Hi Colin

    If you google National Archives, Kew they have a website that you can have a look at. You can buy copies of documents on there which will be cheaper than coming over from Ireland. Mind you once you have been to NA you will want to go back again and again!

    Another thought I have just had. Am on my work computer which will only let open one webpage at a time but if you google RAF Register of Assns there may be a 37 Sqn Assn (no promises). If there is they may have a copy of the ORB. The other thing is they may have reunions which family of Sqn members might attend.

    Dee

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •