View Full Version : 353 Squadron Airman

Martyn A Critchlow
15th October 2009, 10:11
Looking for details of the death on 28-4-1943 of Sgt Arthur CLOVER - 1058469, commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. Flight records him as Missing, Believed Killed In Action. Reported to have been lost on operations over Calcutta Bay.
Other possible casualties that day include:
Sgt Norman David ENSOR - 1166158
Sqdn Ldr David Lawrence SMALL - 79143
FO Norman Charles TAYLOR - 112758

Many Thanks

15th October 2009, 11:03
Hello Martyn,

Probably lost in Lockheed Hudson IIIA FH291 (41-37092), which dived into the sea off Gangavaram, India on 28-4-1943.

The CWGC has 112758 F/O Norman Charles TAYLOR RAFVR, incorrectly listed as a member of No.352 (Yugoslavian) Sqn.!


Martyn A Critchlow
15th October 2009, 15:03
Thanks Col, I agree with your thoughts about TAYLOR.


Henk Welting
15th October 2009, 18:33
Perhaps Errol Martyn may have the final answer as FH291 was piloted by F/Lt F.W. LETCHFORD - NZ401770, and the annotation in his "For Your Tomorrow" Vol.2, page 89, that FIVE airmen were killed in the incident.

Errol Martyn
15th October 2009, 21:48

From my Vol Two:

Wed 28 Apr 1943
Shipping patrol over the Bay of Bengal
353 Squadron, RAF (Tanjore, India - 225 Group)
Hudson IIIA FH291 - took off from Vizagapatam at 0630 and crossed the coast at about 0700. Fifteen to 30 minutes later an infantryman of the 1/3 Madras Regiment stationed at Gangavaram, 6 miles SW of Vizagapatam, saw FH291 returning and jettison its depth charges 3 miles off the coast. Almost immediately afterwards the Hudson dived straight into the sea. The five crew are commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. It was believed that an engine failure probably led to the jettisoning of the depth charges and that loss of control followed.
Captain: NZ401770 Flt Lt Frederick William LETCHFORD, RNZAF - Age 27. 527 or 584hrs solo (371 or 426 on Hudson)

A Post Presumption Memorandum document on Lethford's service reocord confrimes that all five mentioned in this thread were indeed on board, i.e:
Small, Clover, Letchford, Ensor and Taylor.


Martyn A Critchlow
15th October 2009, 23:18

Many thanks for adding your confirmation and particularly the detail to Col's earlier indication.


Henk Welting
16th October 2009, 15:28
Hi all,
I've informed CWGC on the inaccuracy in TAYLOR's biography re his unit (352 Sqn).


8th December 2011, 04:26
Apologies in bouncing this rather old thread up.. but I thought I would add a little bit more detail to the life of late Sqn Ldr David Lawrence SMALL - 79143


D L Small was one of the few British expats living in India at the time of the war breaking out in 1939. He was probably a civil aviator, for he became one of the five or so core british officers who were commissioned into the RAFVR and were to form the backbone of the newly raised Coastal Defence Flights. He was one of the five British expats commissioned on 15 Feb 1940 (From the Gazette)

David Laurence SMALL (79143); 5 Flight (CD) Cochin, later CO 4 Flight (CD) at Dum Dum and then at Vizag till disbandment
Mervyn Ross Clarenbole THOMAS (79144). 3 Flight (CD) Calcutta, Possibly later to 353 Sqn
Richard Neville ROWSON (79145). 6 Flight (CD) Drigh Road, Karachi
John Girdleston GILL (79146). 4 Flight (Vizag)
Wilfred William RUSSELL (79147) 2 Flight (Juhu)

Small re-raised 2 CDF At Dum Dum (later numbered 4 CD) in Feb 42 as the CO. Equipped with 3 Westland Wapitis, the Flight soon moved to Vizag (Visakhapatnam). The move was completed on 2nd April 1942.

On the morning of 6 April 1942 , Pilot Officer Maurice Barker RIAF took off in Wapiti J9754 with Flt Lt Small as his Observer for a patrol over the Bay of Bengal. One day earlier, The Easter Sunday raid over Colombo in Ceylon was carried out by Japanese carrier borne aircraft. Consequent to the attack the Japanese Fleet forayed into the Bay of Bengal.

Barker and Small took off at 0540 hours from Vizag - At 0555 they came across smoke from ships and later gun flashes - what turned out to be the Japanese Fleet, identifying one Carrier, One battleship, four cruisers, and two destroyers. They shadowed the fleet for an hour, seeing that the flieet was attacking a hapless merchant ship. AT one point three Japanese fighters passed below the Wapiti - but missing seeing them. After a further period of shadowing the fleet, the Wapiti turned back and landed 0740. The sighting of the Fleet was communicated - and Vizag was (presumably) put on alert. A Little later in the day, the Japanese fleet sent aircraft to bomb Vizag and the nearby town of Kakinada. three days later the fleet attacked Trincomalee in Ceylon again. .

Barker rose on to become an Air Marshal in the Indian Air Force. The story of him shadowing the Japanese Fleet was known a bit. I never knew what happened to David Small.. till today atleast.. The Coastal Flights were disbanded in Dec 42, with some personnel from the Flights going on to 353 Squadron. Small may have gone to 353 Squadron during this time.. Sadly he seemed to ahve died within months..