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Thread: Fighter aircraft loss reports by surviving crew, inc POWs ?

  1. #1
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    Default Fighter aircraft loss reports by surviving crew, inc POWs ?

    Some years back I did some research and obtained the Aircraft loss report for RAF Stirling BK646. this was drawn from reports from surviving crew members who evaded capture.

    I'm now interested in an RAF Boston fighter AW398 which was shot down over France in 1942. Only one crew member survived and he was taken prisoner.

    I'm a bit rusty but I assume likely useful records about the circumstances of the loss are :

    the Squadron ORB

    the PoW reports held at the National Archive . Previously I obtained the PoW reports for the surviving crew members, which also adds their full names and place of birth, even occupation. Currently all I have is Sgt J.E. Millard s/no 1191177

    But were there equivalent fighter records to the loss reports from bomber command. i.e a crew members account of the circumstances of the loss of the aircraft ? Would these have been completed post-war, assuming the only crew member was captured ?

    I have had a browse around the national archive web site but it's hard to find reports about the loss of specific aircraft

    many thanks

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    There are some Boston aircraft listed in the K file list by the late Derek Sadler on the main RAFCommands web site as well as the two for BK646 in AIR14/1442.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/AIR14_1442.html

    As to fighter equivalent I have no information.

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Hello,

    Jives11, you don't say what you already have / know ?

    This was a Havoc I built as "intruder". According to Air-Britain AA100-AZ999 (revised edition), she served with No. 88 Squadron then No. 23 Squadron. Went missing on a intruder mission on 27th April 1942. FCL volume 2 shows this loss as occuring during the night 26/27th April 1942, intruder to Dinard, hit by Flak. F/Sgt V.W. WILLETTS and Sgt R.P. MOORE are buried in Bayeux British Cemetery.

    Do you have Millard's PoW questionnaire (WO344 series ?)

    There are only a couple of K reports (as shown by Ross) about Bostons, but these were clearly medium bombers (Mk III variant).

    The Squadron history "the Red Eagles" has this on page 58 : "For the remainder of April attacks continued on the French airfields and the Squadron's reputation was somewhat redeemed by Sergeant Millard, who destroyed an unidentified aircraft in the Montdidier-Poix area, and Pilot Officer Van Riel who bombed an aircraft landing at Caen, which he claimed as destroyed. One Squadron loss occured, when Sergeant Millard failed to return from a sortie to Dinard on 26th, it was discovered later that at least one of the crew was safe, and taken prisoner. (In fact the pilot)."

    The Squadron ORB won't give you any detail about the precise location of the loss, but will give you a good idea of what this crew was doing. There should be a combat report as well, in the AIR 50 section. Then the PoW questionnaire (WO 344 series) of Millard might narrow down the area where he was captured.

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,
    Just a slight correction to your posting, F/Sgt Willetts initials are V.A, and not V.W as stated.
    Jives,
    I have the 23sqdn ORB, if needed. This crew was subject to a posting back on Dec 16th by Dan35 for which i sent scans of the ORB pages.
    Last edited by AlanW; 27th December 2010 at 11:27.

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    Joss,
    F/Sgt Vivian A. WILLETTS - 970524 still commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 76.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Default many thanks

    Gentlemen, many thanks for your rapid and informative replies.

    First of all I must apologise if I have caused any duplication of effort. This is the same line of enquiry as that of Dan35, so I will ask him for the ORB's. he is from a French Historical Society , while I am in the UK. I have helped him in the past with tracing families, as my background is more in the genealogical space, though I have an interest in aircraft too.

    Joss - I know very little information about this. Dan35 has asked me to take a look to see if I can trace the family of MOORE. He believes that a number of incidents from April/May 1942 may have become blurred in the local spoken history of the region, and perhaps relate to the loss of AW389 , specifically this article:

    http://www.absa39-45.com/Saint%20Malo/st-malo.htm

    This mentions a Canadian airman who's body was recovered a week later than the loss of AW398 - which was at sea. However I cannot find a John Welmouth in any records, I cannot even find a surname with that spelling. These stories have been passed down and it's possible that details have become blurred or shifted with time. You notice the reference to him being blonde and tall. We also have the unnamed grave in St Malo ?

    I also found this article which contains some details about the two crew men in the water. I don't know where these details come from, I have emailed the site owner :

    http://www.ceresm.com/ceresm/boston_douglas.htm


    So my thoughts were to try to obtain whatever official first hand accounts I could find. From my experiences back in 2008, I was able to obtain 2 different K reports on the loss of the aircraft Stirling BK646, I assume because two of the crew evaded capture and wrote these reports as part of their de-brief.

    In the case of an aircraft loss where the only survivors became PoW's I did not know if after liberation they would have completed full reports on their aircraft loss.

    Millard's PoW questionnaire (WO344 series) would certainly be a good start as it may include some more detail, but even if not it will give Millards full name , place of birth and occupation, which helps me track him down in the UK. perhaps some recollections still exist with his family, and there is always the faint hope he is still alive ?


    Again many thanks for the input, which has helped clarify things enormously.



    Best wishes



    Jonathan
    Last edited by jives11; 27th December 2010 at 17:16. Reason: typo

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    Hello,

    My mistake for the initils of Willetts, finger slipped. The entry is FCL mislead me, "buried in Bayeux" is indeed in front of Moore's name, I was too fast and wrongly understood both were buried there (no plural in English, there would have been one in French) and I didn't cross-check against CWGC, leaving that to Jives11.

    Millard's PoW questionnaire should be sought after, giving first hand material for a "genealogical" research. No place of birth as far as I can tell (I have more than a thousands of them), only the date of birth. These details are obviously very useful to trace a veteran and/or his family. Date and place of capture will be helpful as well. I've seen a few PoW questionnaires for airmen captured at sea, in their dinghies, by German rescue boats, so this might also be the case.

    Good luck

    Joss

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    Default Update

    Just a quick update. I'm awaiting a copy of the WO 344 for Millard. I have traced a living nephew of Sgt Robert Paxton Moore, deducing that Paxton was most likely his mothers maiden name, and who will provide copies of photographs of him. He is delighted to find out information about an Uncle whos loss was deeply felt, but about who's RAF service little was known by the family. He has confirmed that he was not a tall blonde man, so the mystery of the unknown airman continues.

    I am making some enquiries about the family of Willetts

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    Default Willetts

    Willets was from Brithdir in Mid=Glamorgan, he is commemorated on the villages war memorial, to the best of my knowledge a brother was the last surviving relative and he died several years ago.

    The story I was told was that he was trapped in the escape hatch of the sinking aircraft, and the other crew member could not release him before teh a/c sank.

    The brother was under the impression it was a mosquito, he said this info came from the pilot who had survived, he knew nothing about another crew member who was killed

    Hope this helps

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    many thanks for the reply. I'm now in contact with a family friend of Willets surviving younger brother. I have also now traced the family of the pilot , Sgt Millard, who wrote to the families of the crew members after liberation, The aircraft was definitely a Douglas A20 Intruder, and hence the crew positions were entirely separated. In a Mosquito the crew shared the same positions .

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