View Full Version : Some ASR incidents

9th October 2010, 01:07
Of possible use to others (and more details would be apprciated). The following found by chance in RCAF personnel files:

Circumstantial report of loss of Warwick B/279 HG209).

On January 11th, 1945, Warwick "B" HG209 took off at approximately 1330 hours to give ASR cover to Anti-Shipping operations off the Norwegian coast. The crew consisted of the following members: Captain (pilot) 141068 F/L J.H. Moreton; Navigator A.417420 WO W.J. Sandercock; WOP/Airs 54284 F/O G.C. Galloway, 1377933 WO G.W. Mansfield, 1413675 FS W. Bryan, Air Gunners R182035 WO Bentley, F.E., 1588334 WO Goodall, A.F.

Enemy fighter opposition was encountered and the Warwick failed to return to base; the aircraft was last seen to be over a ditched "strike" aircraft and was believed to be followed by an Me.109.

Re loss of Flight Sergeant R.D. Adgey, Hudson FK417, No.48 Squadron, 30 May 1943:

About 2100 hours, night operational rescue 90 miles west of Gibraltar. Crew were 136162 F/O R.C. Cornelius (pilot, killed), 126674 P/O E.F. Daniel (Nav/B, killed), R105465 Sget R.D. Adgey (WOP/AG killed) and J12997 F/O F.H. Coughlin (survived). "F/O Coughlin the sole survivor states that he was in the turret when aircraft crashed. They were circling a dinghy at about 300 feet when he felt himself pressed against the perspex of the turret and on looking round he saw the aircraft heading straight for the sea. He was blown out of the turret, burnt by fuel burning on the surface. He seized a K-type dinghy inflated it and was picked up by HSL next morning. He heard no change in the note of the engines prior to the crash." Investigator wrote, "If, while circling a dinghy at low altitude, the pilot glues his eyes on the dinghy and not on his instruments it is very easy for the aircraft to go into a steep dive or climb. This may have caused the accident." Search begun when aircraft overdue.

Signal said that aircraft passed over a dinghy, made a medium turn to port, and half-way tyhrough turn wing dropped steeply and aircraft side-slipped = port wing struck sea. Aircraft immediately went under, fuel tanks exploded and burning petrol spread. Details received from pilot of Blenheim who was in dinghy. S/L H.A.S. Disney (Station North Front, Gibraltar) wrote in part to Adgey's mother, "In saving the lives of others he gave his own."

Loss of P/O J.D. Ernst, Lysander T1686, No.276 Squadron, 24 August 1942:

Letter to his mother, 11 September 1942 from R.C. Richards (but was he CO or was S/L Robert R.P. Fisher ?) "Your son was captain of a Lysander aircraft which set out for a practice air/sea rescue search in the region of Lyme Bay, off Dorsetshire. Thirty minutes later enemy aircraft approached the vicinity and a warning was immediately broadcast. As no reply to the warning was received from your son's aircraft, and no trace of it or any of its occupants could be found when search was later made, it is assumed that it was shot down into the sea by the enemy aircraft." He had been last heard from at 3.30 p.m Killed with 1419191 AC2 S.H. Flert.

It would be interestingto know if this machine was indeed shot down by German aircraft, and is so, by what unit and pilot.

9th October 2010, 09:29
Hi Hugh,

first of all A-B series: accordit to this book it was a Lysander III T1696 276 Sq missing from ASR search 24.8.42
T1686 was a TT version with 7 AGS and struck of charge 1.9.43.

According to Tony Wood claims list for 1942:

the only victory reported as a Lysander was on 12.8.42.

On 24.8.42 there were following claims:

Day Phase: 24. August 1942

23.08.42 Besatzung 1.(F)/123 1.(F)/123 Spitfire  Bantry Bay C. Meath: no height 09.45 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.2

Supplemental Claims from Films & Lists:
23.08.42 Uffz. Hans-Gerd Wennekers: n.b. 2./JG 1 Wellington  Scheldemündung - Reference: JG 1 Lists f. 630

Day Phase: 24. August 1942
24.08.42 Oblt. Kurt Ebersberger: 27 ► 4./JG 26 Spitfire  E. Doudeville: 6.000 m. 17.30 noch C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.-
24.08.42 Ofw. Heinz Bierwirth: 7 ► 5./JG 26 Spitfire  N.W. Stab Valéry-en-Caux: 6.000 m. 17.30 noch C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.-
24.08.42 Fw. Paul Fritsch: 1► 5./JG 26 Spitfire  Veules-les-Roses: 6.000 m. 17.32 noch C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.-
24.08.42 Ofw. Wilhelm Philipp: 21 ► 4./JG 26 Spitfire  25 km. N.E. Fécamp: tiefflug 17.35 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: ASM
24.08.42 Fw. Helmut Baudach 11./JG 2 Spitfire  20-70 km. N.N.W. Stab Valéry: 8-9.000 m. 17.48 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: ASM
24.08.42 Ltn. Gerhard Strasen: 1 ► 5./JG 26 Spitfire  10 km. E. Fécamp: 8.000 m. 17.45-50 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.-
24.08.42 Besatzung 1.(F)/122 Beaufighter  0970/14 Ost: 200 m. (Biscay) 19.27 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.-

Supplemental Claims from Films & Lists:
24.08.42 Ofw. Günther Seeger 3./JG 2 Spitfire  18 km. N. Boulogne 12.20 Reference: NJRF JG 2 Letter

Taking into account that at the time British had GMT+1 and German had GMT+2 there was one hour difference.

But from my point of few there is no claim with time and position corresponding to your case.

Hope this helps a little.


Alex Crawford
9th October 2010, 10:22
Hi Hugh,

In A Seperate Little War by Andy Bird it mentions the loss of the Warwick.

It was seen trying to drop a lifeboat near the crew of a ditched 143 Sqn Mosquito (Flt Sgt P C L Smoolenaers (pilot) and Flt Sgt W W Harris). It was being chased at that time by a Bf109G-14.

He also mentions that Wt Off William Sandercock, an Australian, had gone along for a ride to see the composers Greig's homeland.


9th October 2010, 11:27

The "ditched" Mosquito was:

No.143 Sqn.
Mosquito FB.VI PZ190

1424890 F/Sgt (Pilot) Pierre Clemence Louis SMOOLENAERS RAFVR + (Belgian)
AUS426459 F/Sgt (Nav./B) Waverley William HARRIS RAAF +

Both commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


14th October 2010, 14:51
Hello, my name is Simon Bentley. I have been doing some genealogical research into my family tree and it turns out that R182035 WO Bentley, F.E., was my first cousin twice removed. His actual name was Frederick Earl Bentley and he was 30 years old and married, though I have not yet found out if he had any children.

I first came across his name in Ancestry.com (Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1936 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947), where he had been declared dead on 11th January 1946, 1 year after going missing "Overseas (Norway)", which I assumed to be a bombing raid as the Germans occupied Norway right up to the end of WW2. In that document is mentioned "Previously reported missing after air operations, now for official purposes, presumed dead", which is presumably standard text.

I was pleased to come across this thread after Googling his name. However, it is sad to learn of the exact details - almost certainly shot down whilst trying to help out others in need (who ultimately died in perishing cold winter waters too).

I do have a couple of questions/comments which I hope maybe all those who have posted above can clarify:

a) Where can I found out more about 279 Squadron, and my late relatives service with them (he was in the RCAF for 2 years)? Wikipedia has nothing and the RAF site has very little - http://www.raf.mod.uk/history_old/h279.html.
b) HughAHalliday details what is clearly a witness report, presumably from another plane that made it back. What/where is the source of this information and is it accessible online?
c) HughAHalliday mentions "...followed by an Me.109", but Alex_Crawford has a little more detail with "...by a Bf109G-14". I wonder if Andy Bird's book and HughAHalliday had different sources owing to the higher level of detail in the latter, if so it would be nice to know the second source.
d) As German forces in Norway did not surrender until the end of the war, I guess it is possible that their records may survive somewhere. Is it possible to find out who was the pilot of that Bf109G-14? Do those types of records exist? If so, where are they and can they too be accessed online?
e) Without actually visiting in person, how can I find out if R182035 WO Bentley, F.E. is recorded on the Runnymede memorial?
f) I'm assuming that it is a safe assumption this must have occurred close to the Norwegian coast due to the limited range of the enemy fight, versus the distance from Scotland to Norway!
g) Is there an "old boys network" for 279 Squadron? If so, it would be nice to see if I could get in touch to see if they have any memories of him.

Lastly, can I just thank you all for contributing to this forum. Without your reseach I would not have found out the full story behind his loss. If/when I find further members of that branch of the family I will be sure to pass on what I have found out here. There is even an outside chance that his wife is still alive, though presumably remarried. If she only ever knew him as "missing presumed dead" this may give her some peace.

Thanks again,


P.S. I also found the related entries in these two PDFs online. Search for "Bentley" and keep clicking next until you get to the relevant entry.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/RCAF/Sixth/RCAF_Overseas_vol3_e.pdf - page 545 in document, page 593 in PDF - recorded as P/O F. E. Bentley


http://www.awm.gov.au/catalogue/research_centre/pdf/rc09125z018_1.pdf - page 270 in document, page 286 in PDF.

James Castle
14th October 2010, 18:49
Dear Simon
You may be interested in reading "Shot down and in the drink" by Graham Pitchfork, ISBN 978-1-905615-05-6.
There is some info in there on Warwicks so you may get an idea of what sort of trip he was on. It may also help you with ideas of what to look for when you have a trip to Kew to look at the ORBs.
As most of the book is on successful rescues I don't think your man will feature but it is a good read.
Happy hunting

6th December 2010, 19:24
You can find out more about 279 Sqn in the history of the squadron published by pen & Sword - Dinghy Drop.