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Thread: Loss of a Sunderland West Africa 1944

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    Default Loss of a Sunderland West Africa 1944

    On the island of Bioko of the coast of West Africa there are the graves of the 10 man crew of a Sunderland which came down there in June 1944. At the time the island was known as Fernando Po and had been the subject of a SOE operation in 1942. In 1944 Coastal Command were taking a great interest in the island. It is thought that there was u-boat activity there and they were using it for taking on supplies. Details of the 10 men who lost their lives can be found at CWGC. The graves are now tended by British people working on the island and an annual Remembrance Day service is held.

    I am trying to find information as which Sunderland this was and what squadron it belonged to. My first thought is that it was a 270 Squadron aircraft or possibly 95 or 204 Squadron. 'Short Sunderland in World War II' by Andrew Hendrie gives a list of what is supposedly all the Sunderlands that were built together with information as to what became of them. It does not show any 270 Squadron aircraft thar crashed in June 1944. Neither, however, does it show any other Sunderland of any other squadron crashing at or near the island at that time. The only Sunderland lost in West Africa in June 1944 is given as EK585 of 270 Squadron which caught fire at its moorings at Apapa 4 days after the Fernando Po incident.

    I will soon be viewing the 270 Squadron ORB which may give some information. Does anyone know which aircraft and squadron this was?

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    Hello,

    A possibility:

    No.302 FTU Sunderland III ML811. Missing 3-6-1944, en route to East Africa. Wreckage found at Tornardo Lakka, Congo.

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 17th November 2010 at 12:45.

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    ‘The Short Sunderland’ by Chaz Bowyer (Aston 1989) p.176
    ML811 to 57MU 7.3.44; to 302FTU 22.4.44; missing en route to E Africa 3.6.44 and wreckage found at Tornardo Lakka, Congo.

    ‘Short Sunderland’ by Ken Delve (Crowood 2000) p.105
    By May 1944, No.270 Squadron had said farewell to its last Catalina and the Sunderlands were now operating from Libreville and Apapa. Two aircraft were lost the following month: ML811 (Fg Off Graham) was en route from the UK to SEAC when it crashed near Lakka with the loss of all on board.

    Can you give me details of the crew you mention?
    Does it include F/O Graham?

    Cheers
    Richard

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    Hello,

    160673 F/O (Pilot) Robert Hartley GRAHAM RAFVR +
    1319843 F/Sgt (Pilot) George Ernest CHAPLIN RAF +
    120345 F/Lt (Nav.) John Peter GONDOLA RAFVR +
    938481 Sgt (Flt. Eng.) Thomas Douglas ELLIOTT RAFVR +
    1312519 F/Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) J J DUFFY RAFVR +
    531950 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Roland George LINDSAY RAF +
    1336696 F/Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Stanley William ROLPH RAFVR +
    1594574 Sgt (Air Gnr.) William BEST RAFVR +
    1897063 Sgt (Air Gnr.) Harold Henry Thomas JAMES RAFVR +
    1383075 Sgt (Air Gnr.) Maurice MUNNS RAF +

    (per: Spidge - ww2talk)

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 17th November 2010 at 13:29.

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    Thanks, Col.

    Richard

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    ‘Short Sunderland in World War II’ p.72 also notes that “On 3 June W/O Wall in Sunderland K/270 searched for ML811, a Sunderland in transit from the United Kingdom to SE Asia which had left Apapa for Libreville. ML811 crashed near Lakka where the aircraft burned out. There was one survivor, Sgt W. Best, who died later in hospital.”

    Cheers
    Richard

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    Default Loss of Sunderland West Africa 1944

    Thanks to all who replied to my query. My confusion with this one arose because all published reports refer to it coming down in the Congo. It didnt; it was at the island of Fernando Po. This island, now known as Bioko, is situated off the coast of French West Africa was at the time Spanish territory.

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    What is a more accurate name for Tornado Lakka nowadays?
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

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

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    Default Loss of Sunderland West Africa 1944

    I am told that there is no place with that name on the island of Bioko (Fernando Po). I suspect that it is a misreading of Fernando Lakko, just referring to a lake on Fernando Po.

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    Default Another site

    Have seen this thread on another site now to remember which one!!!! I think it was cfww2 but anyway there was feedback on it from someone who looks after the graves... Will come back to you when I find it...
    Dee

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