View Full Version : WWII flight crew detail request

18th Mar 2005, 19:18
Apologies if this has been requested (and answered elsewhere), but I'm interested in this story...

A few evenings ago I was fixing something for an elderly aunt by marriage and in the process of fishing around in her suprisingly well equiped "bits and bobs" drawer for fuses I noticed a small cardboard box with a typewritten label. Turning it over I read "Air Ministry" on the label and asked what it might be.

I knew vaguely that her first husband had served in the RAF and had been killed, but the subject had never been raised (she married twice more) and not much was known about him by my side of the family. Of course the box contained his war medals, or at least the standard service ones, Atlantic Star, Italian Star, War Medal and War Service medal.

Over a cup of tea she told me a little about him, his name and what she had been told of how he died. In a very poignant moment she opened her handbag and brought out two small snapshots of themselves during the short time they had together. They were a very handsome couple, both of them very good-looking (she's well into her eighties and still dresses beautifuly and with taste: she's still slim and elegant!). She spoke softly of their love and closeness, remembered over 60 years ago. I don't think she ever got over his death.

During the war she was billeted in Hertfordshire with 5 other girls. They all lost their husbands.

So, these are the details that I have. You guys will no doubt know where I should start looking!

Flight Seargant Alfred Frank Sammes

Pilot, on Wellingtons, Coastal Command.

Trained in Canada, his crew were Canadian.

1945 Lost at sea "40 miles off Jersey", poor weather. One Mayday heard from the aircraft, no further contact.

I'm very moved by this fragment of a story and would like to know more, can anyone help?

Many thanks!


18th Mar 2005, 23:10
Service records of Officers that served from 1922 onwards and Airmen that served from 1924 onwards are held at Personnel Management Agency (PMA).Please write to:

Building 248A
RAF Innsworth

The above is taken from:

The Veterans' Agency (www.veteransagency.mod.uk/service_recs/service%20_recs_raf.htm)

As NoK your aunt can get service records from PMA for free (I believe) or you can pay to get them on her behalf. The original report of the loss of the aircraft will be held with the Air Historical Branch at Old Scotland Yard, London.

I know that

Ian Allan (www.ianallanpublishing.com)

have bomber and fighter command losses that have been published are were planning the coastal version.

5,863 aircrew of Coastal Command gave their lives during WWII, we should not forget their supreme sacrifice.

Best of luck, hope this in some way helps.

19th Mar 2005, 07:43
Brief details from the Comonwealth War Graves Commission site here: -


several minutes late!!

19th Mar 2005, 09:51
Many thanks, guys - most helpful. Like most of my generation I've read quite a bit about the sacrifices that others made in the course of duty but apart from my father (REME, AA sergeant radar instructor and later Italy) who survived intact, had no idea that there was a story so close to home!

Kind regards,