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Halifax BIII  MZ311 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database] RAFCommands.com

 Halifax BIII  MZ311


Incidents/Accidents

DateAircraftUnitPilot NameLocation
26 Aug 44 Halifax III MZ311 78 Sqdn UK
RemarksTook off 2036 25 June 1944 from Breighton to lay mines off La Rochelle (Cinnamon Region). returning to base crashed into a quarry in thick cloud near Cheltenham Gloucestershire.Henk Welting's Database

Casualties in the CWGC Register for Halifax III MZ311

Rank Name, Number, Trade & Details DateUnit Country Cemetery/Memorial & Loc Ref
Flying OfficerElton Eugene FREEMAN (28223) Navigator Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomBrookwood Military Cemetery
Flying OfficerJohn Alexander GLENN (J/36021) Air Gunner Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomBrookwood Military Cemetery
Pilot OfficerHugh Brannan HAMILTON (J/89908) Air Gunner Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomBrookwood Military Cemetery
SergeantEmmanuel Henry HARRIS (1423759) Wireless Op Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomBlaenavon Cemetery
Flight LieutenantCharles Maurice HOWES (J/25977) Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomBrookwood Military Cemetery
Flight SergeantJohn McARDLE (1684019) Flight Engi Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomLiverpool (Allerton) Cemetery
Flying OfficerGeorge William McCARTNEY (J/28883) Air Bomber Halifax BIII MZ311  IBCC 1944-08-2678 Sqdn AIR27 United KingdomBrookwood Military Cemetery

Related Posts in RAF Commands Forum

ThreadPost TextAuthor
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44My first post. I know that there is a 78SQN expert (78SqnHistory Daz) Dont know how to address the post. Six aircraft took part in this minelaying operation off La Rochelle. Five returned to RAF Breighton but not MZ311 which impacted Cleeve Hill. All crew killed. Aircraft Captain FLTLT Charles Maurice Howes J 2597778. Is anything known of the crew's service on 78?I have their names, service number , country of origin and burial details. I would like just a little information to fill out their story a little if that is available. Very little is recorded locally on their loss and i am trying to rectify that. cris ....Read More.afterlift on 29th September 2020 04:43:04
Map Reference P4447Has anyone any idea what the following refers to: Map Reference P4447 I have seen the same location referred to as V4447 and VP4447. I believe this is connected to the crash location of the accident card for Halifax III MZ311 EY-M. This aircraft crashed returning from a gardening operation to La Rochelle on the night of the 25/26 August 1944. There are a number of anomalies in the accident reports and the tour of inquiry records as the Lat/Long for the crash site is miles away from Cleeve Hill where the aircraft is alleged to have come down. Is there a catalogue of RAF reference points that anyone is aware of? I am aware of the other thread which is running connection to this loss. Many thanks Daz ....Read More.78SqnHistory on 3rd October 2020 01:10:36
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44Thanks for publishing that, Richard. I could not see how that exact reference VP4447 (51d.56m.11s; 02d.00m.42s) could be the location of the accident as it was at a height of 257 m (843 ft) asl on the [U]downslope[/U] from the ridge of Cleeve Hill which reaches over 300 m (985 ft) asl (max 330 m (1082 ft)). Assuming the aircraft's track was about 020 deg, MZ311 would have crashed on the western upslope. I calculate the NW corner of the 1 km square (VP4447) is at 51d.56m.26s. N; 02d.01m.05s W (or bearing 024 deg 155 m (510 yds) from the centre of the circular quarry identified by Cris, and very close to the clump of gorse.) Thus the accident was probably in the extreme northwest corner of the square and would be consistent with the witness descriptions given by Chris in #13. Brian ....Read More.Lyffe on 4th October 2020 05:44:47
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44Daz, Simon, and Brian, Following Simon's advice a fellow researcher in UK has located the mix of RAF Forms 765 and 412 on MZ311 from FLTLT Howes' file on Ancestry.com. The documents are very useful but the information is not comprehensive or entirely clear largely because the earlier report (765) defers to the pending Court of Inquiry (Form 412). However there is very little of a record of proceedings or findings of COI among the documents. So I am led to believe that the body of the report (412) is elsewhere. Although with that said Base Commander ACDRE H.V. Slatterly signs off the report I presume 765 on 1 September 1944 and then again on 30 September 1944 So it seems likely that on the second sign-off he was referring to the (unseen) outcome of the COI . And it is there that he concludes on a page not from Form 412 that the cause of the accident remains obscure etc. The front page of Form 412 which is in the Ancestry file is confusing because it has the COI opening on 17 August 1944 for the accident which occurred on 26 August 1944. My question out of all of this is : Is there a source of 78 Sqn 412's somewhere that I could apply to for a copy? Brian, your tip on accessing the 1945 image of Cleeve Hill was very helpful Thank you. Regards cris ....Read More.afterlift on 14th October 2020 12:26:19
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44[QUOTE=afterlift;154845]Daz, Simon, and Brian, Following Simon's advice a fellow researcher in UK has located the mix of RAF Forms 765 and 412 on MZ311 from FLTLT Howes' file on Ancestry.com. The documents are very useful but the information is not comprehensive or entirely clear largely because the earlier report (765) defers to the pending Court of Inquiry (Form 412). However there is very little of a record of proceedings or findings of COI among the documents. So I am led to believe that the body of the report (412) is elsewhere. Although with that said Base Commander ACDRE H.V. Slatterly signs off the report I presume 765 on 1 September 1944 and then again on 30 September 1944 So it seems likely that on the second sign-off he was referring to the (unseen) outcome of the COI . And it is there that he concludes on a page not from Form 412 that the cause of the accident remains obscure etc. The front page of Form 412 which is in the Ancestry file is confusing because it has the COI opening on 17 August 1944 for the accident which occurred on 26 August 1944. My question out of all of this is : Is there a source of 78 Sqn 412's somewhere that I could apply to for a copy? Brian, your tip on accessing the 1945 image of Cleeve Hill was very helpful Thank you. Regards cris[/QUOTE] Cris, In short, no or not that I am aware of. The only records available are the Squadron ORB, the accident cards, the Station ORB and whatever is available in individual personal records which are either available online via Ancestry etc or obtained from the MoD. I have all of these and there is no further detail in them. I have a few other areas to check e.g. K Reports and 4 Group aircraft loss reports, but to be honest I'm not expecting to find anything given that there were no survivors. Regards Daz ....Read More.78SqnHistory on 14th October 2020 06:07:35
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44The [I]Proceedings of Court of Inquiry or Investigation[/I] into the loss of MZ311 (thanks for the copy Cris) includes the following entry in Section 8: [I]Although the aircraft had been badly smashed, all the pilot's controls appeared normal. His navigation lights and pilot (sic) head heater were switched on [U]but not his TR1196[/U].[/I] Practically all communication between an aircraft and its base/Group was conducted by the wireless operator, but in the event of him being incapacitated, or in an emergency, the TR1196 was a short-range radio transmitter by which a pilot could make voice contact and seek assistance, especially a bearing to an airfield. I suggest that Section 8 comment might thus provide a clue as to what [U]didn't[/U] happen during the final stages of MZ311's flight. Aircraft safety had come a long way since the beginning of the war, and by 1944 there were systems in place to help aircraft in distress or seeking assistance. One of these was the formation of Central Flying Control at HQ Bomber Command (CFO), the main function of which was to assist in the diversion of bombers which could not return to bases. (AP 1134: The Second World War 1939-1945 (Meteorology)). Thus, if MZ311 had needed to divert, the wireless operator (WOp) would have contacted CFO for assistance. There is no evidence of this happening, and since the last entry in his log was timed at 2.10 hours, 10 minutes before the crash, he does not appear to have been capacitated. A WOp's messages, inward and outward were in Morse code. However, in an extreme emergency a pilot, using what was known as the DARKY procedure, could make voice contact with an airfield using his TR1196 transmitter. A very brief description of the procedure is described at [url]http://www.island-images.co.uk/ATC/zRon1940s/z1940s.html[/url], but more information, as laid down by AP 3024/3, section 3 Appendix A, can be found in #9 of [url]https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=156407[/url] . #10 of the same link is a copy of a station's Standing Orders in respect of DARKY procedures. On the night in question MZ311 appears to have flown into a bank of low cloud, but as the TR1196 was switched off the pilot appears not to have thought it necessary to initiate DARKY procedures to obtain a bearing to a nearby airfield but, instead, appears to have been reversing course to regain clear air. The lack of communication would suggest a lack of concern and the pilot was not attempting to divert to Pershore as has been interpreted elsewhere (i.e. #4). I think I have interpreted the references correctly but, as usual, am more than happy to be corrected. As an aside I have written to the Gloucester Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to see if the police records can be accessed(#43). Edit 'DARKY' has been discussed previously on the forum at [url]http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?12909-Darky-radio-call[/url] Brian ....Read More.Lyffe on 19th October 2020 09:48:23
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44I appreciate it would not include any details of the loss of MZ311, but would anyone have a copy of the raid report for this operation (assuming one was written)? 78 Squadron was part of No 4 Group. Brian ....Read More.Lyffe on 24th October 2020 10:10:49
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44By Afterlift I have studied both the RAF Forms 765 (Report on Flying Accident or Forced Landing Not Attributable to Enemy Action) and 412 which is the Proceedings of Court of Inquiry or Investigation (the completed forms are under the name Charles Maurice Howes on Ancestry.com). I will summarise the forms without commenting on a couple of evident but irrelevant administrative anomalies and without speculating on cause. I thought it might help to establish a position regarding the RAF crash investigation and also a datum position of the crash location (TBC) Both record that MZ311 approached the aircraft’s crash position from the north and not from the south on its intended track to return to RAF Breighton. This means that the aircraft must have passed at least some distance over the high terrain in the vicinity of Cleeve Hill summit and to the north before turning left or right to assume a southerly track over Cleeve hill plateau toward its impact point. Much of the terrain around the crash position of MZ 311 is higher than the elevation of the assumed crash position indicating that the aircraft may have been descending immediately before impact. This may seem contrary to the paragraph 10 of both the Form 765 and 412 which conclude the aircraft was flying level at impact. I propose that the aircraft may have almost recovered to level flight after its descent. The report does not firmly conclude why the aircraft was heading in the southerly direction and at very low altitude. A full post-crash technical inspection of the aircraft appears not to have been completed. The assessment at Paragraph 10 of Form 765 is that at least three of the four engines appeared to be “running normally” though this conclusion apparently was not drawn from a detailed inspection of the engines and propellers. Paragraph 8 of the Form 412 recorded flight controls “appeared normal”. Paragraph 10 of Form 412 records (on 10SEP44) the conclusions that at the time of the crash (given as 0214) the aircraft was serviceable and had sufficient fuel and from the Navigator’s log was heading for Pershore aerodrome. Though no intent to land at Pershore was recorded and it is likely to have been an intermediate point on the track to RAF Breighton. (Pershore is approximately 15 miles to the north of the crash position). The Form 412 records that because Pershore was covered in cloud “they seem to have been doing an erratic descent and crashed into high ground”. Paragraph 10 of Form 765 recorded that according to his log the Navigator “seemed to know his position.” On 30SEP44 Air Commodore H.V. Slatterly, Base Commander recorded his assessment in Form 412 that it was “most unlikely” the aircraft was attempting to penetrate cloud without some reason which “may have been engine failure”. Though he concluded the absence of a distress signal made this possibility “seem unlikely”. He noted the p ....Read More.afterlift on 5th November 2020 04:16:00
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44[QUOTE=Lyffe;155656]I suspect you are making assumptions Chris. I believe, but don't know (hence my query) that a navigator's log would routinely include details such as track, height, position etc. A wireless operator's role was largely a listening brief as flights were subject to radio silence except in emergency ([URL]https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/whos-who-in-an-raf-bomber-crew[/URL]), but I'm pretty sure he would log the broadcasts/messages he received. In this instance the logs must have survived since the COI notes the Nav's log was completed at 0203 hours (11 minutes before the crash), while the WOp's log was completed at 02.10 hours, 4 minutes before impact. If my interpretation of the Nav's role is correct that information would help determine why the aircraft was probably off-track and what his earlier errors had been. That seems to me an important element in determining the cause of the accident, but appears not to have been considered apart from cryptic comments. Brian[/QUOTE] By afterlift Brian I have had two attempts at responding with chapter and verse from RAF record but both have been apparently wiped for some reason. I will therefore make this third attempt brief. I have not made any assumptions. I have attempted to answer your questions with informed propositions supported by the RAF record re the absence of Nav record covering final heading of MZ311 and absence of record in W.Op log re final transmission. I do not understand the reason for your observation that aircraft was probably off track unless you are referring to intended and recorded intent to make Pershore. Similarly your reference to "earlier errors" does not appear to be substantiated. Regards cris ....Read More.afterlift on 5th November 2020 11:26:51
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44All, All has gone dark on Halifax MZ311. The interest which seemed to exist to mount a plaque on Cleeve Hill to remember this aircraft and crew has not been fulfilled. (And a suitable plaque had been donated.) Not really my business to attempt to influence things further. Thanks to RAFCommand members there is now at least a record and an approximate crash position. I am very grateful for your help. Regards afterlift Australia ....Read More.afterlift on 2nd October 2021 06:00:30
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44[QUOTE=afterlift;165869]All, All has gone dark on Halifax MZ311. The interest which seemed to exist to mount a plaque on Cleeve Hill to remember this aircraft and crew has not been fulfilled. (And a suitable plaque had been donated.) Not really my business to attempt to influence things further. Thanks to RAFCommand members there is now at least a record and an approximate crash position. I am very grateful for your help. Regards afterlift Now summarised and written up under the title "Remembering The Lost Airmen of Cleeve Hill". At website: thecheltenhambrand.com ....Read More.afterlift on 12th November 2021 05:54:57
78 SQN RAF Loss of Halifax III MZ311 on Cleeve Hill Gloucecstershire 26 AUG 44In December 2022 a stone and plaque commemorating the crew of Halifax MZ311 were unveiled close to the crash site on Cleeve Hill: [url]https://www.cleevecommon.org.uk/noticeboard/2022/12/3/unveiling-of-halifax-memorial-on-cleeve-common[/url] [url]https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b6464c955b02cec90075e7f/t/63b2c3bdea5a9573c4fc1dd0/1672659902947/CRASH+OF+HALIFAX+MARK+III+MZ311+ON+26+AUGUST+1944+final.pdf[/url] ....Read More.Richard Cawsey on 4th April 2023 11:38:27
Records for No. 5 Maintenance Unit - Summer 1944Daz, Not answering your question but is this, by any chance, in relation to the loss of MZ311 which was discussed at length not that long ago [url]https://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?26587-78-SQN-RAF-Loss-of-Halifax-III-MZ311-on-Cleeve-Hill-Gloucecstershire-26-AUG-44&highlight=Cheltenham[/url]. Brian ....Read More.Lyffe on 9th September 2023 04:29:19
Records for No. 5 Maintenance Unit - Summer 1944[QUOTE=Lyffe;186136]Daz, Not answering your question but is this, by any chance, in relation to the loss of MZ311 which was discussed at length not that long ago [url]https://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?26587-78-SQN-RAF-Loss-of-Halifax-III-MZ311-on-Cleeve-Hill-Gloucecstershire-26-AUG-44&highlight=Cheltenham[/url]. Brian[/QUOTE] Brian Yes it is the same aircraft. I have been interested in this crash for a number of years and always puzzled by it, as it has a lot of oddities which donít make sense. One of which is why there was no fire when the aircraft crashed, especially as it was supposed to have over 600 gallons of fuel onboard when it crashed. Hence Iíve started to look for any other reports which may give some clues to what happened. Iím also going to check 3 Glider Training School who were tasked with providing personnel for the Court of Inquiry. Regards Daz ....Read More.78SqnHistory on 9th September 2023 05:03:09
Courts of Inquiry - locationDaz, Would this be in respect of the loss of MZ311 on Cleeve Hill on 26 Aug 1944? [url]https://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?26587-78-SQN-RAF-Loss-of-Halifax-III-MZ311-on-Cleeve-Hill-Gloucecstershire-26-AUG-44&highlight=Cleeve[/url] Brian (Not that I've anything to answer your query) ....Read More.Lyffe on 26th February 2024 03:57:45


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