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293 Sqn and Sgt J Lewis

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293 Sqn and Sgt J Lewis

Old 14th Aug 2010, 01:14
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293 Sqn and Flight Sgt J Lewis

I have seen many threads on this and other forums depicting old photographs that always seem to generate a degree of interest so I thought I would share some of late fathers pictures

He was part of 284 Sqn stationed at RAF Blida in Algeria, and was selected to be part of the group that broke away to form a new squadron, 293 Sqn. They were equipped with Vickers Warwick primarily but had Walrus, Hurricane (a single example) and various other communication aircraft at various times including an Anson and a single engine US type whose name escapes me at the moment and were engaged in ASR for the Med region.

The copyright for all of these photos rests originally with my father but as he has passed away I guess they are now mine.

Anyway here is a selection;

This Hurricane is one of three that the squadron used in the N African region namely K2736, KW849 or LB660 and was flown almost exclusively by Sgt Pye. The squadron was only permitted one Hurricane at a time so the three mentioned served at different periods and it is not easy to link the photo with any particular serial.....unless someone knows better.

Walrus X9506 resting in the sun at RAF Foggia, Italy in 1945. It carries the squadron code ZE.

Walrus W2719 probably taken at about the same time as the previous picture. Coded ZE-Q.

Warwick BV454 ZE-D after an undercarriage collapse following a night landing at RAF Pomigliano, Italy. The pilot was the aforementioned Sgt Pye.

Principle ASR equipment was the airborne lifeboat. It was used quite extensively but the results were not predictable and many were lost on impact with the sea. Also the locals used to sneak onto the airfield at night and take the emergency rations from the boats and on more than one occassion also stole the engine.

I have quite a few more pictures if anyone is interested including a few visitors to the various bases, Stirling, B25, Beaufighter etc.

Que Pee

Last edited by QuePee; 30th Apr 2013 at 00:28.
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Old 14th Aug 2010, 14:40
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Great photo's Que Pee snd of course we'd be interested!!
What else have you got?
I assume you've seen the "Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2" in the Military Aircrew section? Sounds like your stuff could be a valuable addition there, especially if you have any Memoirs from your father.
I think we'd all be interested in ASR work, it's a very under rated aspect yet I'm sure the numbers of people who owe their lives to them must run into thousands.
See if you can rustle up any more info for us!
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Old 14th Aug 2010, 15:41
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I agree. Great photos.

Since the Hurricane has cannon (a IIc?), I'm guessing it is unlikely to be K2736, which is probably an early Hurricane. I assume somebody here with access to a serials list will be able to nail it down.
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Old 16th Aug 2010, 00:54
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Changing an oil tank on a Warwick was not a simple task. This picture shows one in the process of being changed in field conditions. Believed to be RAF Pomigliano.

An un-named armourer was checking and cleaning the guns in the upper turret of Warwick BV454 on 24th July 1944 at RAF Pomigliano. The guns should have been cleared of all ammunition before starting work. Of course it should also be impossible to shoot your own fin as various safety systems stop this from happening. The guns were not cleared, the safety system failed and the one round that was left in the breech was an incendiary. the results are very predictable.....

Not much left after the fire was extinguished,

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Old 7th Mar 2013, 19:53
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293 Squadron Thanks for the pics

Hi There,

Thanks for posting the pics. My dad was a Warrant Officer pilot in 293 Squadron and flew Walruses and Warwicks. I'm going to show him this page next time I visit (he's 89) and will post if he has any interesting info.

All the best,

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Old 11th Mar 2013, 02:33
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I really hope he is interested in contributing. I have all my fathers stuff from 293, although he is sadly no longer with us. It will be interesting to see if your fathers name appears in my Dad's diaries.

:Looking forward to some news.

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Old 12th Mar 2013, 21:22
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My father-in-law, Harry Brown, now 91, was a wireless operator/air gunner in a Warwick crew on 293 Sqn. His Captain's name was Rawlings.

He has fond memories of his time on the squadron and remembers the Warwick gun-cleaning incident, though he doesn't remember Sergeant Pye.

It would be great to see any other pictures anyone may have.
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Old 15th Mar 2013, 01:35
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Good evening all,

It is gratifying and somewhat surprising to see so many of the 293 Sqn folks still with us. Unfortunately my father passed away in 1994 otherwise I am sure he would be fascinated at the thought of re-connecting with his old squadron buddies. Apart from the contacts through this forum I am aware of at least one other surviving Sgt pilot from those days, in fact he was the guy in charge of flying the Warwick in the prang shown above.

I have scanned copies of all of my fathers photos from this period and also his very detailed diary from the same time, and am very wlling to share both with anyone that is interested. Many of his photos are of the aircraft of 293, but also many others of the ground crew, vehicles, camp sites etc and so may not be too interesting to the other forum members but if you care to pm me I will provide you with whatever I can.

As a taster, try this one and see if anyone’s face is familiar.......

Best Regards

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Old 16th Mar 2013, 10:24
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293 Squadron

I have information on a WAG with 293 Squadron.
His name is Charles Stanley Horrell.

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Old 16th Mar 2013, 11:53
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My post on 293

About RAF 293 Squadron | RCAF No. 443 Squadron
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Old 17th Mar 2013, 22:54
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293 Squadron Thanks for the pics - more info


Visited my dad today and showed him the pics and this page. He remebered Rawlings, but not Harry Brown.

Names he came up with were:

Warwick pilots:
Capt Riley (SAAF)
Flt Lt. Tony Spink
W/O Birch
Flt Lt. Rawlings
S.Ldr Zetterden

Walrus Pilots:
F/O Humphrey
W/O "Wacker" Smith (Liverpool)
W/O Harry West (?) (Bristol)
W/O Jimmy Warnick (RCAF)
W/O Tex? (nickname)
F/O Bedford

Flt Lt Moe Foster (RCAF)

W/OP Air Gunners:
F/Sgt Joe Cattromole
F/Sgt Sammy Samuels
F/Sgt Norman Board
P/O Simpson
F/Sgt Freddy Arsenault (RCAF)

Taffy Powell

Ground Crew:
LAC George Ayres
Sgt Joe Drew

Pomigliano - Naples
Foggia (Main)
Bastia - Corsica

That's a string of names he came up with that obviously featured in his wartime life. I'm sure if you wanted any more info, he'd be glad to elaborate. There may also be some spelling mistakes in there as I'm copying his hand written notes and I badly need reading glasses. Incidentally, his name was W/O Bagwell. It would be very interesting to hear about the diaries as my dad lost all of kit after being demobbed when the train he was on split with the guards van going off with the tail half while he was on the front.


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Old 18th Mar 2013, 00:56
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Charles Stanley Horrell


Nicole told me that her grandfather's logbook is not in her possession.
She is trying to get it back.

If she does, I will post another message.

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Old 18th Mar 2013, 01:48
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I am astonished to see this three year old thread get resurrected and for so much info to be forthcoming. In addition to the posters on this forum I have also received some interesting PMs.

I willllow up with each of you when I am able, we are in the throes of moving house at the moment and you know how chaotic that can be.

Give me a few days and I will be back.

Thanks and best wishes

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Old 18th Mar 2013, 16:39
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Just this word...


Nicole and her mother will go crazy when I will tell them.

You have my personal e-mail where you can reach me.

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Old 18th Mar 2013, 20:34
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"I am astonished to see this three year old thread get resurrected and for so much info to be forthcoming. "

This is what I love about the Internet

All the best,

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Old 24th Mar 2013, 17:53
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Many thanks to all the contributors so far, both on this forum and also via PM. My house move is almost complete but chaos still reigns. Anyway I will try and provide some more info and also ask a few questions too.

Many thanks for the list of names supplied earlier on. I can add a few more to the list;
Cpl Pitman
AC Cuthbertson
AC Claypole
Sgt Low
Flying Off Chesney
Sgt Minto
Flt Lt Hayes
W/O Bradley

The first three airmen were 293 Sqn ground crew taking part in a post maintenance test flight and were killed in the crash of Warwick coded W on 18 April 1943, so far the exact aircraft has not been identified. The pilot lost control after an engine cover jammed the elevator controls and the aircraft crashed into high ground.

The 293 Sqn ORB records the following in reference to Flt Lt Hayes;
‘F/Lt. Hayes and W/O. Bradley airborne in Walrus 9506 (X9506 ZE-C) at 17.50hrs to endeavour to effect a rescue. They were in position at 18.15hrs and were extremely pleased to see seven Spitfires orbiting the position. Unfortunately the two people on shore had swum out to the dinghy and taken the pilot on shore. The Walrus circled low while preparing a note instructing the pilot to row out to sea in a boat seen by the Walrus pilot. When circling for the third time automatic small arms fire was encountered, one bullet entering the cockpit through the windscreen and wounding Hayes in the left arm. The Walrus circled for some time afterwards to ensure that the pilot on the ground had taken cover and then returned to base at 19.15hrs. F/Lt. Hayes is the first member of 293 Sqn injured in action’.

I do not have access to the official records from across the pond of course but the following is a list of aircraft and codes that I have gleaned from Dad’s notes. If anyone can add any more or confirm any missing codes etc I would love to hear from you. Also I wonder if anyone has, or knows where I can get, a list of Warwick histories. There is very little on the web that I have been able to find. Maybe something has been published elsewhere that I am not aware. Any info welcome.

BV234 ZE-F, ZE-L
BV237 ZE-F
BV238 ZE-K
BV251 ZE-E
BV271 ZE-F
BV274 ZE-S
BV275 ZE-O
BV277 ZE-T
BV278 ZE-U
BV279 ZE-M
BV283 ZE-M
BV284 ZE-D
BV287 ZE-V
BV297 ZE-F
BV315 ZE-H
BV332 ZE-R
BV415 ZE-C
BV444 ZE-A
BV445 ZE-A
BV446 ZE-G
BV447 ZE-U1
BV449 ZE-A
BV450 ZE-X1
BV454 ZE-D
BV455 ZE-Y
BV457 ZE-E
BV464 ZE-B
BV502 ZE-N
HF948 ZE-F
HF955 ZE-A, ZE-H
HF958 ZE-H
HF966 ZE-H
HG132 ZE-C
P5667 ZE-V
W2719 ZE-Q
W2729 ZE-T
W2757 ZE-O
X9474 ZE-F
X9506 ZE-C
Z1756 ZE-Y

I have been in contact with the family of Ted Boness a WAG with 293 Sqn and after comparing logbooks etc it was discovered that he was on BV454 that crash landed and is pictured in the first post of this thread. Small world made even smaller by the power of the internet.

Finally in one of the PMs that I received a reference was made to a Warwick of 293 Sqn that crash landed on the beach in Italy. I wonder if it was this one that did exactly that at Vesti on 17th April 1944.

My father sent a team out to retrieve some badly needed spares from the wreck before the Royal Engineers were called in to blow up the remains.

In my next post I will try and upload some photos of visitors to 293 Sqn bases as there are some interesting aircraft that others might like to see.

That’s all for now.

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Old 27th Mar 2013, 20:34
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National Archives


I think the best place to check for info is probably the National Archives.

I found squadron records:

Looking for records of a Royal Air Force squadron | The National Archives

and operations:

Royal Air Force operations | The National Archives

and aircraft logs in section 6 of the raf-op page.

They probably charge, we'll have to find out how much.

Will pass on the info on Sunday.

All the best.
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 18:34
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Based or visiting?

Here as promised (though later than anticipated) is the first of the photos that are either aircraft (other than 293 Sqn) that were visiting or were actually based elsewhere on the airfield. This one is of a USAAF Beaufighter believed to have bEen taken at RAF Pomigliano near Naples, Italy. I have seen pictures of Mosquitos and Spitfires in thiese markings but I dont think I have ever seen any other Beaus. Am I demonstrating my ignorance or is this a pretty rare example? It still carries its RAF serial ND275 and was taken between March and June 1944.

More to come.

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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 19:45
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Interesting, Beaufighter ND275 is shown as being with 301 Ferry Training Unit (FTU) but a date is sadly not available.
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Old 9th Apr 2013, 17:22
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Harry Brown

This is my father-in-law, Harry Brown, who was a Wireless operator/Air Gunner on 293 Sqn:

He was part of this crew:

Front Row L-R Douglas Stembridge, Alf Rawlings, Ken "Wambo" Warmsley, Back Row Bob Birch, Harry Brown, Clive Hogan

The pilot, Flt Lt Rawlings, was the only officer in the crew. Clive Hogan was the navigator and the other four were all wireless operators and/or air gunners. From the nature of the work it seems likely that having lots of eyes looking outside were pretty important.

Here is another picture of some of the crew in front of their aircraft:

The lifeboat was slung under the fuselage, half in and half out of the bomb bay.

Other names Harry remembers are:
Tony Goldspink
Alan Foxcroft
? Rose
? Heywood
John Close
Bob Coleman
Ron Wigham
John Browm
Harry Day
Sid Cottam

He remembers that when they joined the squadron they had to fly their Warwicks out to North Africa, leaving Redruth and timing the flight so that they would be over the Bay of Biscay in darkness, to arrive in Rabat (Morocco) before moving on to Blida. After that he says that various elements of the squadron were detached to different airfields as they followed the war through Italy, staying close to where their services were likely to be needed.

Finally, here is a picture of what we think is the same aircraft posted above by Que Pee, which Harry was aboard when it ditched. This picture is not too clear I'm afraid, but it shows the salvage crew at work on it some time later. Note the person on top of the D/F housing!

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