View Full Version : 99 Squadron Crew Hninpale Bridge Oscar combat report

10th February 2014, 11:46
On the 13 December 1944 Pilot Officer Haycock's crew attacked the Hninpale Railway Bridge and became engaged with Japanes fighters shooting down one Oscar. All searches to try and deiscover an official combat report have drawn a blank, were combat reports submitted in a differing fasion to the ETO. Any 99 Squadron enthusiasts on the Forum.......

Matt Poole
14th February 2014, 14:20
Hi, Colin,

I only know that after an op, the 99 Sqn Intelligence Officer prepared a Sortie Report, based on crew debriefs. If it exists, it will be as an appendix to the regular Form 540s and 541s, at the National Archives, Kew.

Do you seek further detail on this op? If so, I have sources.

If need be, I can send you excellent summary info from two books: "Air War for Burma" by Christopher Shores and "Burma Liberators, RCAF in SEAC", Volume II, by John R. W. Gwynne-Timothy. I'm not sure of the Shores book sources exactly, but I know he worked with Japanese Army Air Force historian/author Hiroshi Ichimura -- who also has a book, in Japanese, on the air war over Burma. I have Hiroshi's book (vol. II in his 2-part history), and I can possibly find his coverage of the air combat -- but you'd need a translator. It has been three or four years since Hiroshi and I shared e-mails, so I don't know if I have his current address.

The Gwynne-Timothy book's source is likely the 99 Sqn Operations Record Book, which I don't have. Martin Bond has closed down his 99 Sqn website, but I should be able to reach him to ask if he has any knowledge of further info on 13 Dec '44.



14th February 2014, 18:33
Hello Matt.
Thank you for an interesting response, I do have the two books you mention which confirms for me that Haycock's crew did shoot down the Japanese fighter, indeed on the internet a news clipping from the event is located. Sadly it was my hope to firm up the information but alas it looks like no 'combat report' appears to be located, your mention of Intelligence Sortie Reports is however a good option which I need to explore further. The low level bridge busting ops by 99 Squadron are worthy of greater recognition. I do thank you for your comments.....

Matt Poole
14th February 2014, 21:12
My pleasure, Colin. I have written to Martin Bond, so hopefully he can clarify matters regarding the 99 Sqn ORB. In his book "Survival of the Fortunate" 99 Sqn skipper John McCredie mentions the 13 Dec '44 op, but only that they approached at low-level to lessen the chance of fighter attacks. Nothing about the attack, though. Martin has a manuscript version of the book, however, and there's an outside chance that there will be more detail that was edited out of the final draft.

That leaves Hiroshi Ichimura -- an expert. His father was a pilot with the famous 64th Sentai, and Hiroshi has gathered more Japanese accounts than anyone. No doubt he is the one who provided Christopher Shores with the Japanese details of the 13 Dec attack, when Sgt Mitsuhisa Watanabe of the 50th Sentai (flying the Oscar) was "shot down and killed as he attacked a bomber over the sea." With luck I'll be able to link up again with Hiroshi via e-mail to ask if he has any expanded details. No promises, though.

If you want to go on a wild goose chase, I saw on-line that Haycock's wireless op's logbook sold at auction last year. Here's the link to the notice: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20706/lot/56/ . Who knows, maybe bonhams will forward an e-mail for you to the buyer, who can check the logbook in the hopes of finding a note regarding the aircraft shootdown. I wouldn't count on anything new coming to light, but...

Cheers, and good luck,