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Thread: Ventura V JS902

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Ventura V JS902

    [QUOTE=

    Lost on a navex, Cairo - Khartoum. Abandoned out of fuel, 30m SW of Debra, Sudan.

    [/QUOTE]

    I've been looking at Google Maps. The nearest it will take me to a fix of the position where the Ventura ended up is: 16.27'N 29.30'E (Actual was: 16.45'N 29.50'E) which is about 136 miles SW (225°) of Debba/El Debba/Al Dabbah, where they were heading by camel (not Debra). They must have been fairly close to the aircraft if it only had another five minutes of fuel. Jock mentions 4 hours ride on the first day of travel (Sunday 21st Jan) and 10 hours on each of the last two - days 5 & 6 (Thurs/Fri 25th/26th) Sandstorm on the Monday 22nd - though "not so bad . . . visibility was not impaired to any great extent." Average speed of a camel walking in the desert is 3.5 mph. If it took them say, 40 hours to ride at 3.4 mph they would travel 136 miles - so, about 16 hours total on days 2, 3 & 4. Possibly: 4 hours: days 1&2; 6 hours: days 3&4; 10 hours: days 5&6. (Cory's account says eight days riding, but, the sixth day of riding was indeed their eighth day, I expect he just remembered it as coming in on day 8. - Jock's account was taken down straight after getting back to Gianaclis.)
    Last edited by MaxiePete; 29th November 2022 at 15:08.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Ventura V JS902

    Pete,

    I've been a bit slow in picking up your edit to #20, but would I be correct in believing the edit's first sentence (Friday 11th. Whisked off to Jerusalem with Robinson [Met C.O.] and on to AHQ Levant in order to bury myself in the luxurious quarters of the Palestine Met Service for the purpose of reproducing a chart dated February 1939) means your father was also in the Met Branch? If so when did he leave the Middle East?

    Brian

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Ventura V JS902

    Here's where he was (RAFVR; Born 15 April 1924):
    POSTINGS, TRANSITS & WHEREABOUTS:

    RAF Middle Wallop as Air Ministry Met Assistant, civil servant 11 Aug 1941 - May 1942
    RAF: Cardington, Blackpool, M. Wallop, Weeton, Blackpool June – Dec 1942
    R.M.S. ‘Queen Mary’ Greenock/Freetown/Cape Town/Port Tewfik 21 Dec 1942-18 Jan ‘43
    205 (Heavy Bomber) Group 5 Feb 1943
    Benina, Benghazi 12 - 16 Feb 1943
    23 M.U. - Meteorological Unit 15 Feb 1943
    Berka III, Benghazi 16 Feb - 12 Mar 1943
    Soluch, Benghazi, IX Bomber Command, USAAF (under 205 Group) 12 Mar - 13 Apr 1943
    Navy House, Port of Benghazi (Navy Met) 13 Apr - 16 Nov 1943
    Cairo - on Leave 25 – 29 Sep 1943
    Alexandria - on Leave 29 Sep – 11 Oct 1943
    Benina/Cairo/Rehovot/Aqir 16 – 18 Nov 1943
    RAF Aqir, Palestine, No.76 O.T.U. 18 Nov 1943 - 28 Aug 1944
    RAF Amman, Transjordan 28 Aug 1944 - 11 Feb 1945
    22 PTC Personnel Transit Centre, RAF Almaza 12 Feb - 2 Mar 1945
    Aden, via Luxor/Port Sudan/Asmara 3 - 5 Mar 1945
    BMME Addis Ababa, Lideta (‘Addis Met Station’) 5 Mar 1945 - 1 Feb 1946
    Aden, via Hargeisa 1 - 8 Feb 1946
    Asmara 8 Feb 1946
    Almaza-Cairo-Zagazig 9-11 Feb 1946
    Kasfareet 11 - 22 Feb 1946
    Port Said 22 - 23 Feb 1946
    S.S. Volendam, Port Said/Valletta/Glasgow 23 Feb - 7 Mar 1946
    West Kirby 9 - 12 Mar 1946
    Liverpool/Euston/Waterloo/Salisbury and 4 weeks Leave 12 Mar 1946
    RAF Larkhill (Boscombe Down) 10 Apr 1946 - 3 Feb 1947

    So, he was at Soluch when 'Lady Be Good' took off on her only mission: Sunday April 4th, 1943 at 2.15pm, B-24 the ‘Lady Be Good’ 41-24301 #64 took off from Soluch to attack Naples. Overflew base on return in the dark and flew on into the desert for two more hours and 400 miles. Crew had to bail out and perished trying to walk back over the next week.

    The Met. Office Archives in Exeter hold all of his Observation Records from each RAF station (though not while he was attached to the Navy and the Yanks around Benghazi)

    On September 13, 1947 he writes: "S/Leader Marshall handed out a smashing reference for me."

    Squadron Leader N.B. Marshall
    Late, Superindendent, Palestine Met. Service
    Senior Met. Officer, Western Desert
    Senior Met. Officer, Sudan and Eritrea.

    To whom it may concern : -
    I knew Mr. Maxfield when he served with or near me in various units and locations in the Middle East.
    Whether in the rough and tumble of a Mobile Unit in the Western Desert, the stress of a busy Air Station or under the more formal conditions of a Headquarters, Maxfield shewed himself efficient and alert and invariably cheerful.
    Perhaps his best work was when as the sole Englishman in charge he most successfully kept going Meteorological Stations in Amman in Trans-Jordan and later at Addis Ababa where flying
    conditions made Meteorology of vital importance but where absence of ground organisation made his work particularly difficult.
    I could heartily recommend him for a post of a similar nature where initiative and enthusiasm under unusual
    conditions are needed.
    N.B. Marshall, Squadron Leader.

    Are you a Met man, Brian? You seem interested in the Branch.

    Last edited by MaxiePete; 29th November 2022 at 19:30. Reason: Inserting odd words to make text more precise.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Ventura V JS902

    Yup, 41 years since first walking into the office at HQ Bomber Command in 1961.

    It was your #16 and reference to Aqir and 76 OTU that really set me wondering, as there is a bail-out story involving two WAAFs associated that met office and unit, which resulted in the death of one, LACW Lili Bankier, and WAAF Cpl Felice Poser who for many years was (and possibly still is) the only lady member of the Caterpillar Club. In fact this accident happened in July 1945 after your father left Aqir. Lili Bankier's story is at https://www.rmets.org/sites/default/...2019_1_002.pdf, and taken from the Met Office Roll of Honour, researched by Peter Davies (Resmorah) and myself over many years.

    Brian

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Lyffe For This Useful Post:

    MaxiePete (30th November 2022)

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Ventura V JS902

    Very interesting history - thank you Brian. High Wycombe must've been a very interesting place to be! Poor young Lili; a tragic and teffifying end. I expect you were half hoping to nail the unnamed Sgt. passenger. There is a mention where dad went back to visit one unit and was surprised how many WAAFs there were. I'll look it up. He was on guard duty for them on the cruise home on the Volendam. If you like, I can send the transcriptions of his diaries to you.

    Back to the subject of this thread - I am making contact with the Cory family in Australia. A family newsletter did mention that grandson, Peter Cory, was writing about this same event a couple of years ago. I've been sent an email address for him and will post anything further that comes to light. My contact, Margaret, tried searching for 'Robert Wilson' in Edinburgh, but came up with three pages of them, and none with the address I had for him.

    Edit: Sunday 28th [January 1945]. Left town [Jerusalem] about 0900 and hitched to Aqir by 1015. Saw what was left of the old crowd – Sandy Walker gone home and 8 waafs in the office in place of the blokes. Back in town by 1600.
    Pictures again then dinner in the Café Vienna.

    Do you know if Lili was there by the end of January? I saw your: - 'Her next move, to Alexandria, in early January 1945, but her stay was brief, and before long she had returned to Palestine and the meteorological office at RAF Aqir.'
    Last edited by MaxiePete; 30th November 2022 at 20:38. Reason: Adding the mention looked for.

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