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-   -   Looking for facts and added info if possible. (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/620504-looking-facts-added-info-if-possible.html)

Ivan Henderson 14th Apr 2019 00:55

Looking for facts and added info if possible.
 
Good day folks. I would like to recount a story as I remember it told to me and then ask for confirmation on facts. This story was told to me by my grandfather when I was a young teen. So my details may well be off. My grandfather was a Canadian tailgunner on a Lancaster fighting out of England. He used the words "Wireless/Wareless Airwolf". I am not sure if that was a description or the planes name. He claimed that 12 Lancasters were retrofitted with .50 cals. Others had been attempted but were rattling the turrets apart. His was apparently reinforced to accommodate this issue. I actually own one of the .50 rounds that has been rendered useless and the lead put back in. It is dated but I cannot remember the date at this time. My grandfather and crew made it through the war and were headed home to Canada. Over Canadian waters a U-Boat unaware the war was over shot them down. They apparently crashed on Canadian soil. Either Newfoundland Or Nova Scotia. My grandfather was the only survivor. He ended up in Halifax for one year recovering from 72 broken bones. (I am assuming Pier 21.) If you have any questions I would like to try to answer them. I do not know what squadron. I do know my brother posses a handful of declassified photos where submarines had had hits taken. I am assuming from my grandfathers plane. My brother and I also have a bomb each that were rendered safe as well and were being prepared to be turned into lamps, I also have a ww2 WAAC copper identification bracelet.Thank you in advance

skydiver69 14th Apr 2019 10:06

I'm sure that I've seen a video shot during WW2 which shows a modified rear turret with twin 50 cal guns.

Self loading bear 14th Apr 2019 11:02

Interesting story.

Some background on the .50 turret can be found on Rose turrets

Apparently more than 12 have retro fitted.

SLB

FlightlessParrot 14th Apr 2019 12:13

I do not know the full history, but the Lancaster in MOTAT in Auckland, which is a formerly French aircraft, has a rear turret with two 0.50 machine guns.

Edited to add: I now see that it is a B Mk VII, fitted with an FN. 82 rear turret, but built in June 1945, so not really relevant to OP's question.

b1lanc 14th Apr 2019 13:49


Originally Posted by Self loading bear (Post 10447205)
Interesting story.

Some background on the .50 turret can be found on Rose turrets

Apparently more than 12 have retro fitted.

SLB

If you watch the documentary "Night Bombers", the turret is shown installed in a Lanc and the narrarator indicates that the squadron has converted - that would be either 150 or 170 Squadron at Hemswell in 1944. Excellent video by the way.

Hipper 14th Apr 2019 13:51

I don't know what the situation is with Canadians who flew in the RAF but the next of kin of a British RAF personnel can get info about their career:

http://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-r...vice-personnel

With this you could get a squadron number and with that there may be a squadron historian, association or records at The National Archive that would answer more.

A plane being shot down by a U-boat post war would surely have been written about somewhere - newspapers, U-boat war histories. It is also possible a War Diary (Kriegstagbuch) exists for this submarine. The US National Archives used to have such diaries on microfilm. There also exist U-boat archives - Google 'U-boat archives' and some places turn up.

I would think the U-boat captain would have had some explaining to do so again there would have been interviews with him and his crew.

sycamore 14th Apr 2019 17:45

It must have been reported in the local Newfie/NS papers and it would be worth trying them to find it in the archives.
There must also be a local RCAF Association nearby who could help with tracing aircraft and Squadron..

ed; there is ;rcafassociation.ca/ ..HQ in Ottawa...

Innominate 14th Apr 2019 18:26

How to access RCAF personnel records:https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discov...roduction.aspx

If I understand the OP correctly, his grandfather flew in Bomber Command and then was shot down over Canadian waters shortly after VE Day. The RCAF squadrons in 6 Group took their Lancasters back to Canada fairly quickly, but this seems very quick, unless he had finished his Bomber Command tour and returned to Canada before VE Day..

Pontius Navigator 14th Apr 2019 19:34

There is a series of books detailing Bomber Command losses year by year. Although this apparently occurred after VE Day it was still a combat loss. It might be worth looking at the 1945 Volume.

Self loading bear 14th Apr 2019 21:54

I have strong doubts about the plane being shot down by a U-boat.
But still interesting story.

I found this:
11 airmen marooned Newfoundland

one of the first helicopter rescues 2 May 1945

Ivan Henderson 15th Apr 2019 01:22

Wow! So many fast replies.
 
Thank you folks. I appreciate the quick replies and leads to follow up on. Much appreciated.

skydiver69 15th Apr 2019 08:48


Originally Posted by b1lanc (Post 10447298)
If you watch the documentary "Night Bombers", the turret is shown installed in a Lanc and the narrarator indicates that the squadron has converted - that would be either 150 or 170 Squadron at Hemswell in 1944. Excellent video by the way.

That's the video I was thinking about but I couldn't remember the name.

Planemike 15th Apr 2019 12:52


Originally Posted by Self loading bear (Post 10447597)
I have strong doubts about the plane being shot down by a U-boat.
But still interesting story.

I found this:
11 airmen marooned Newfoundland

one of the first helicopter rescues 2 May 1945

The day of my birth...........!!! FWIIW

rolling20 15th Apr 2019 18:48

Interesting story. U boat sources have nothing regarding the action suggested. I am sure something like that would have been well known. The lancs fitted with .5 turrets would have been with 1 and then 5 Group. Cannot discount that 6 Group put them into theirs of course. Uboats would unlikely have been on the surface in daytime, as it was far too hazardous at that stage of the war. Aircraft shot down by Uboats were usually from low level and whilst carrying out airborne attacks. To come across a U-boat on the surface would have been pure chance. Many Coastal Command crews went hundreds of hours and whole tours without sighting a single Uboat. If true, remarkable story nonetheless.

Self loading bear 15th Apr 2019 21:35

The plane with helicopter rescue was a PBY.
The PBY crash landed on a frozen lake, all survived.
Survivor flown out by 2x Norseman of which one also crashed!
Then the helicopter was flown in to air lift those survivors!

PBY crash

Also a Great story but apperently not related to Grandad Henderson.
Unless he changed squadrons

Cannot find much plane crashes around april- may 1945.

Did find that the last PBY - U-boat encounter was 2 May


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