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Wg Cdr E V Knowles DFC

Old 26th Feb 2015, 17:14
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Wg Cdr E V Knowles DFC

I wonder if anyone can give any information to the career of a pilot I am researching by the name of Edward Vincent Knowles. His service number was 32126.

He died on August 23rd 1942 at RAF Station Jurby (where he was the stations Commanding Officer) in a rather bizarre accident in a Whitley bomber when it crashed just after take off on what would seem to have been more a "joy ride" than an operational sortie. At this time he is listed as a member of 296 Squadron.

CWGC - Casualty Details

The reference for his accident can be found in a book called "Flights of the the forgotten" by K A Merrick. Page 38 describes it as thus:-

"A Whitley landed one afternoon en route to Belfast, bad weather having intervened. Knowles decided to do a short flight in the aircraft taking with him several fellow officers and one civilian woman. The aircraft stalled on take off and crashed, killing everyone on board."

Prior to his posting to Jurby which from the book named above was in November 1941 I also know this man to have previously flown as CO of 138 Squadron and 1419 Flight where he was engaged in flying agents into Western Europe for SOE. It is during this time that he was awarded the DFC in September 1941.

Sadly there is no description of the circumstances for the award and in fact when reported in Flight magazine he appears in name only.

1941 | 2321 | Flight Archive

Part of his time with 1419 Flight is described in the book "The Sky Belongs to Them" by Dr. Winfield DFC where a whole chapter is dedicated. Dr. Winfield being a scientist with RAE who flew with a variety of crews in WW2 researching human factors and crews personal equipment in service.

Dr. Winfield has the highest regard for Knowles but surprisingly (given the nature of his book and his work) the book doesn't give any further detail on Knowles career.

I think he was 56 Squadron's Commanding Officer from June 1939 to 1940 but I'm not sure. I wonder if anyone is able to confirm that and also where he went to after leaving?

Any information would be great thanks. Phil.
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Old 27th Feb 2015, 05:46
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I think I responded to you elsewhere on this chap.

There were several survivors when the Whitley crashed. The aircraft broke in half and several airmen in the back escaped although one was fatally injured. can I suggest you check if Jurby or Andreas was the airfield. The book "Rough Landing or Fatal Flight" will give the names of the casualties and "Agents By Moonlight" will tell you about Knowles and setting up special duties.

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Old 27th Feb 2015, 12:11
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DR107,...PM for you..
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