View Full Version : 430713 - Unaccounted airmen - 13-7-1943

Henk Welting
15th December 2010, 13:12
What were the places of death registration for:

A - Not found in Flight Global:
F/O (Nav) George B. KING - 131766.

B - Died on active service:
AC2 Leslie J. REED - 1663848 - age 38.

C - Killed on active service:
Sgt (Nav/Ba) Robert D. PETERS - 1315845;
F/Sgt (Pilot) Roy T. STEED - 1375542 - 288 Sqn (Digby, Lincolnshire), and
F/O (Pilot) Emrys THOMAS - 110613.

D - Also looking for info on following airmen killed outside Europe:
Sgt (Pilot u/t) William B.K. LEWIS 710260, and
Sgt (Pilot u/t) Richard R.D. MARSDEN - 1569477,
both killed on active service and assigned to 20 SFTS, Cranborne, South Rhodesia. Checked all Harvard serials under "N" and "P" but could not find a matching number. Both are buried Harare (Pioneer Cem.), Zimbabwe.

E - Also looking for cause of death of:
LAC Arthur H. VANN - 1670515 - 608 Sqn (Blida, Algeria), missing and commemorated on Panel 9 Column 2 of the Malta Air Forces Memorial. (Can't find his name on a listing of airmen missing on HMS ships).

F - Proposed aircraft losses for the UK casualties:
Gladiator II - N2274 - 771 (FAA) Sqn - crashed at Twatt.
Mentor I - L4417 - 30 MU - undershot landing at Sealand.
Mosquito VI - HJ755 - 1 OADU - crashed Fayld, 2 miles E of Calne, Wiltshire.
Oxford I - DF329 - 18 (P)AFU - spun into ground Wood Farm, Ufton, Warwickshire (already as a casualty on this a/c: Sgt [Pilot] N.L. GLYNN - RCAF R/148951 [death registered Southam/Warks] and an AC1 injured [WILLIAMS]).
Spitfire IX - MA525 - 403 Sqn - crashed in forced landing Kenley.
Typhoon IB - JP388 - 183 Sqn - overshot landing at Harrowbeer.
Whirlwind I - P7110 - 263 Sqn - crashed on approach Warmwell.

Regards and thanks for your help.

15th December 2010, 13:28
King - Chippenham (suggests Mosquito HJ755)
Reed - Hereford
Peters - Southam (suggests Oxford DF329)
Steed - Nottingham
Thomas - Chippenham (registered as Emrys T Thomas, probably Mosquito HJ755)

Henk Welting
15th December 2010, 13:45
Thanks Al, that was a 'quicky'.

15th December 2010, 13:59
LAC A H Vann was a Met Assistant at RAF Blida - not on 608 Sqn. He went on an a/s patrol in Hudson FK711 of 608 Sqn which failed to return.
Peter Davies

15th December 2010, 17:09

For the sake of completeness:

No.608 Sqn.
Hudson VI FK711

Took off Blida 1800hrs (12-7-43), for AS sweep. Failed to return by 0130hrs (13-7-43).

AUS411303 F/O (Pilot) Douglas William ELLIS RAAF + (CWGC 12-7-43)
J/11650 F/O (Nav.) John Anthony BELECKY RCAF + (CWGC 12-7-43)
AUS411618 F/Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Kendall VAN-WANING RAAF + (CWGC 12-7-43)
AUS408739 F/Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Norbert Albert RUBENS RAAF + (CWGC 12-7-43)
1670515 LAC (Met.) Arthur Hugh VANN RAFVR + (CWGC 13-7-43)

All commemorated on the Malta Memorial.


15th December 2010, 17:52
You have probably opened a can of worms!!
Vann was a Met Asst at RAF Blida. Not - as I replied to Henk - on 608 Sqn. He is also commemorated on the Met Office Roll of Honour. It had been assumed (how often has that word led us astray?) that he had some 'time off'. He was bored, and had cadged a flight with one of the 608 Sqn Hudson on an AS patrol. (A decade later we were doing it in Cyrenaica). You went along for the ride and to see what went on with "The Customers" after they had left the Met Office briefing. Buit a take-off from Blida at 1800 would have meant it was (or very nearly) dark. So there would have been little to see! The Met chart for the day shows a very slack anticyclonic regime. There might have been thunderstorms and Vann had been sent to observe where they were (it's an old ploy to get a 'free' ride).
BUT, were Hudsons equipped with ASV radar? If not then what was the point of a visual AS sweep?
Just wondering!
Peter Davies

15th December 2010, 18:19

Can't help with your finer points, only have basic information as presented.


Bill Walker
15th December 2010, 19:01
Peter, from personal experience over the Great Lakes at night, you can see quite a bit once your eyes are used to the dark. On a moonlit night wet steel stands out like a small light bulb.

15th December 2010, 19:10
Hi Peter

Hudsons were often equipped with ASV.


15th December 2010, 22:51

Have the Harvard (LEWIS & MARSDEN) as AJ744


16th December 2010, 02:29
Oxford I - DF329 - 18 (P)AFU - spun into ground Wood Farm, Ufton, Warwickshire (already as a casualty on this a/c: Sgt [Pilot] N.L. GLYNN - RCAF R/148951 [death registered Southam/Warks] and an AC1 injured [WILLIAMS]).

13/07/1943 Oxford DF329 of 18 PAFU stalled and went into a flat spin at Ufton.
Canadian pilot Sgt N L Glynn and navigator Sgt R D Peters were both killed, while AC1 Williams was seriously injured.

Henk Welting
16th December 2010, 14:46
Thanks friends for additional info. AJ744 crashed 10 miles N of Mount Hampden, South Rhodesia.

68 Sqn
19th December 2010, 13:45
Forgive, that I'm entering into your discussion. Small digression. What is it with Mosquito HJ755? The site
de Havilland aircraft production http://www.dehavilland.ukf.net/_DH98%20prodn%20list.txt That he writes
HJ755-FBVI-301FTU/1 OADU/25 Sqn -Engine cut crashed 2m E of Calne Wilts. 13.7.43.
This means only the Mosquito was one of 25 Sqn. Please, where is the truth?

19th December 2010, 16:27

A few small amendments about the details in respect of the loss of this aircraft - taken from 'The Maw' by James R Stevens, the 608 Sqn ORB and the Bone Daily Weather Register.

Although the main squadron base was Blida there was also a detachment of seven crews/six Hudsons at Bone, and FK711 was one of the Bone aircraft.

So far as Vann was concerned, as Peter has said he was a Met Assistant, one of three covering 24 hours at Bone, plus one supervisor. The three assistants literally worked round the clock every day, with the supervisor taking irregular shifts to break the routine. There was thus little time to have a break from work, so to provide rare longer breaks they covered for each other on odd occasions.

Vann's flight was one of those occasions. He had apparently made friends with one of Ellis's crew (I think it was John BELECKY) and managed to swing a flight - very much against standing orders.

FK711 took off from Bone at 1800 hours, the standard time for this routine evening AS patrol; on this occasion it was covering two convoys sailing about 30 miles off-shore between Bone and Blida. There was hardly any cloud, visibility greater than 20 km and the moon was full.

Nothing was heard from the aircraft from the moment it took off. No action was recorded any U-boat or German aircraft, nor was any wreckage ever found. I never did discover why Vann's date of death is one day later than for the other four men.


Henk Welting
19th December 2010, 17:20

Just make FK711 from KF711 !

19th December 2010, 21:26
Oops apolgies Henk.


19th December 2010, 23:03

The site you quote is wrong ascribing HJ755 to No.25 Sqn.

See entry for HJ921, and...



68 Sqn
20th December 2010, 17:12
Hi Col
Thank you for surprising information. Server http://www.dehavilland.ukf.net/_DH98%20prodn%20list.txt I have always considered very reliable. Thank you again.
Pavel (68Sqn)

25th December 2010, 02:12
Hi Henk

I hope that the following on Whirlwind P7110 will help you with your research:

39 MU, 263 Sqn Westland 263 Sqn (HE-G, HE-E, HE-H)
To 39 MU 26.9.41
To 263 Squadron 15.10.41.

Two Cat AC ROS repairs 11.11.41 and 12.1.42.
Returned to works for repair on 20.6.42.
Returned to 263 Squadron 17.4.43. Cat AC repair 21.5.43 then Cat B repair 21.6.43.

Engine cut on ferry flight stalled and crash-landed on approach, Warmwell, 13.7.43. Disintegrated on impact and set on fire; Pilot OK. DBF

Kind regards and Seasons Greetings.


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