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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 2nd May 2009, 18:54
  #721 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East Sussex
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If you're going to pick up on the Proctor, then there is also something wrong about the Liberty ship. The George F Elliott was not a Liberty ship and was in fact sunk by the Japanese near Suvo Bay in 1941.
Liberty ships were only first launched in late 1941, so for one to be in Liverpool in the February would be unusual. However, I'm not wanting to disrupt these memories, suffice it to say he was on a troopship in Feb 42, that's good enough for me.
I don't need names and packdrill, let's get on with the story!!

Ahem! Red face..... THERE was a George F Elliott, but not a Liberty ship. She was the SS Delbrasil operated by the Mississippi Shipping Company from May 1941. The ship was then taken over by the US Navy as the George F Elliott in August 1943 (See Wikipedia [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_George_F._Elliott_(AP-105)[/URL]
My apologies for drifting this off thread....

Last edited by Icare9; 2nd May 2009 at 19:26. Reason: Too quick to comment without checking all Google entries!!
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Old 2nd May 2009, 19:40
  #722 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Icare9

Yes, I agree George F Elliott (the original one, AP13) was not a Liberty ship, but was launched in 1918.

She was sunk at Guadalcanal on 8 August 1942 according to my Googling.

The ex-Delbrasil that you refer to in the edited version of your post was the second US ship to bear the name USS George F Elliott (AP105).

I can't explain why Peter thought AP13 was a Liberty Ship. Maybe he was told so by a fellow passenger and always believed it. Another thing to check up on!

Best regards. TOW
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Old 3rd May 2009, 11:32
  #723 (permalink)  
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Maybe he saw the cracks in the welding.
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Old 3rd May 2009, 12:58
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Memoirs of a WW2 Typhoon pilot -part 4

The story continues...

As we sailed past the Statue Of Liberty into New York harbour, the rumour grapevine was as active as ever - we were going to train in the USA; we were only calling in to refuel and would then go to Argentina, and various even more unlikely scenarios.
What happened next was completely unexpected and a perfect example of the bureaucratic mind at work. We were paraded on deck and then marched down the gangway. At the bottom of the gangway was a strip of coconut matting which led off towards a train drawn up on the quayside. This matting was lined each side by American Marines, and we were warned not to try to step off the sides. The train turned out to be Canadian, and thus we did not in fact step on to American soil at any time. The reason apparently was to allow us to circumvent the American customs and immigration controls.

By the time we were all aboard the train it was midday. Our destination was Montreal in Canada, some 350 miles directly north. The scenery, especially during the late evening, as we travelled through the Adirondack Mountains, was magnificent.

Most of us slept on and off and we were a very untidy and bleary eyed lot when we arrived at Montreal. We had, of course, been sleeping in our uniforms whilst on board ship. We were taken by bus to Lachine just outside Montreal where we were allocated barracks and told that we could sleep in the next morning as we would not be paraded until midday. Breakfast would be optional at 0800 hours!
Next day we paraded at midday, a sad looking bunch, in very creased uniforms and unpolished boots. We were greeted by an RCAF WO2 (Warrant Officer 2nd class), a rank which did not exist in the RAF which only had one class of WO. His badge of rank was a cloth crown on the sleeve where an RAF WO would wear his 'Coat of Arms' badge. He surveyed us in silence for a few moments and then, in a strong Scottish accent said, "You're a scruffy lot. Is there anyone here from Dumbartonshire?" Since there was nobody from that locality with us we never found out any more about him.

The next stage in our welcome to Canada was to be completely re-equipped with Canadian uniforms and flying gear. This included light summer weight uniforms in khaki as well as two sets of flying coveralls, summer and winter weight underwear and shoes as well as boots. The uniforms were even complete with the LAC propeller badges which indicated that the powers that be were really 'on the ball' in their reception. Even the kit bag was bigger than the equivalent RAF type. We were told to go and change into our new gear, pack up our RAF uniforms, label them with our names and numbers and hand them in. We naturally thought that this was the last we would see of them until we returned to UK, but no, next day they were all returned having been dry-cleaned and pressed!

During the next two weeks, no doubt whilst all our paperwork was being processed, we had a few sessions on drill and orientation lectures which gave many of us our first real ideas about Canada. A lot of the lads did not even know that Quebec was mainly French speaking and had assumed that Canada was a sort of English USA. One thing that really impressed us with the size of Canada was that there were some Canadians on the camp from Vancouver who were even further from home than we were! They told of a five day train journey of which it seemed that two or three days was travelling across the same wheat field!

My next posting however was much nearer Montreal, to No.4 E.F.T.S. at Windsor Mills in Quebec, about 80 miles west. The actual location of the airfield was outside the village of St.Francois Xavier de Brompton. This is a large name for a very small village consisting of a few houses and, in common with most of Quebec, a large church. Windsor Mills itself was not much more than a large village but had a very large paper mill, hence its name. The one thing that anybody who has ever been there will remember is the 'wet cardboard' smell. This was so strong you could smell it even when flying overhead at several thousand feet. The nearest town of any consequence was Sherbrooke, about ten miles away.

The setup here was somewhat unusual. It was not a normal RCAF station but a civilian flying school. The weekly totals in my log book were stamped with 'Windsor Mills Flying Training School Limited'. The administration was by RCAF personnel but the instructors were civilians. They wore a uniform that looked more appropriate to a civilian airline. They also had the courtesy title of Sergeant. Most of them were, to our 18 year old eyes, quite old! My instructor, Sgt. Farrell, was about 43 and had been flying for years as a 'bush pilot' in Northern Canada. However we did not start our course straight away since it was the end of winter and the airfield was snow-covered. The course previous to us was coming to an end and the aircraft were fitted with skis instead of wheels. It was decided that we would wait until the 'break', which is when the snow disappeared, so that we could start our course on aircraft fitted with wheels. Consequently, although we arrived on the 13th April, I did not get my first flight until the 28th.

The aircraft were not Tiger Moths but were Canadian made 'Fleet Finch II's. These were larger and heavier than the Tiger Moth with covered, sliding hood cockpits, and a five cylinder radial engine. As soon as the snow had cleared sufficiently, the skis were removed and the aircraft fitted with wheels. Almost at once the reason that our course had been delayed was made obvious. Landing an aircraft on skis is similar to landing on wheels but with one important difference - drift! With skis it is not necessary to make sure that the aircraft touches “straight” since the skis will slide sideways to take up any misalignment. The pupil pilots who had thus far only landed on skis very quickly found out about the difference. I witnessed at least three 'ground loops' where the aircraft touched down and immediately swung viciously to one side. In all the cases the tip of one bottom wing was damaged and in one case the aircraft finished up on its nose with a broken propeller. Fortunately no one was injured, but it gave us a salutary lesson on landing with drift.


More soon.
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Old 4th May 2009, 20:54
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"floating a piece of lighted newspaper down the trough caused a very satisfactory outburst of profanity"

Haha, that is absolutely brilliant. What a way to pass the time.

It's great that we now have another contributer to this fantastic thread. I wonder how many other WW2 types can be persuaded to add more to the story?

Keep it up chaps!
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Old 4th May 2009, 21:52
  #726 (permalink)  
regle
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TommyOv. Make the most of your life...

Tommy, I will be 87 years of age on May 8th, in a few days, in fact. I volunteered for the RAF, when I was just 18 , in June of 1940 and got my wings ,RAF and US, on the 3rd. Jan. 1942. I flew my first "Op" in October 1942 and my last one on Jan.28th.1944. I flew from 1941 until 1981 and finished with 25,100 hours which, my calculator tells me means that I spent, as near as dammit, three of those years in the air. Work it out, Tommy. I was probably one of the youngest, as you had to be eighteen and not over twenty, to volunteer, otherwise you would be conscripted to go wherever the powers that be decided, even down the mines ! There can't be many of us left and that is why we are, indeed ,fortunate to have these invaluable "threads". Thread is a very good term because that is what life is... a precious, fragile thread. Carpe Diem. Regle.

Last edited by regle; 5th May 2009 at 00:04.
 
Old 5th May 2009, 07:51
  #727 (permalink)  
 
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So that's what all the celebrations were in 1945!!
Someone told me that it was VE Day, must have meant RE_glee day!!!
I do hope you have a very Happy Birthday, I'm sure from all of us, a well deserved glass of what does you good will be raised to you!
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Old 5th May 2009, 16:00
  #728 (permalink)  
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Memories, Memories

TOW 1709 Excellent, keep going. Reading your posts brings back many memories , such as A.C.R.C No 1 at St Johns Wood. Our mess was about half a mile from the billets, not at Regents Park, but elsewhere in a large basement. Wakey, Wakey, wash and shave, fall in out side ‘free fick you silly little men ’ and march the half mile. Pitch black morning, pouring with rain, every thing ‘blacked out’ wearing capes (ground sheets), an airman in the front carrying a white hurricane lamp (paraffin) , the last man with a red hurricane lamp. Oh happy days.
Speakers corner on a Sunday morning, listening to such things as one gentleman trying to persuade us to storm the Cumberland Hotel ,opposite and drag a Mr Churchill out and string him up.

I have found a letter I must have written and sent to my home from Canada, so produce below to show how we kept in touch with our folk. We were given a form, which when completed was converted to microfilm and on reaching the U.K was presumably printed on the form below. (Can any one remember the name of this form ?)





TOW1709
A picture of a Canadian Tiger Moth showing the added perspex canopy. Not a Fleet Finch, but may show the type of canopy the Canadians added for the comfort of the pupils, or was it for instructors ?


AL R sent me a P.M re his ex father-in-law, John, who was a rear gunner D.F.M ? . He flew a tour and a bit on Wimpeys, Sterlings, and Lancs: He could possibly tell us if the flying life of a rear gunner was about fourteen hours in the early part of the war. I seem to remember that the rear gunners on Wimpeys were ’potted off’’ first leaving the aircraft virtually defenseless . I asked him to contribute but haven’t heard any thing yet. Try and persuade him to join in Al , we are all waiting.(see ICARE’S request for more ‘trades’ to help us keep this going. He also mentioned he was high tone deaf, who isn’t?
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Old 5th May 2009, 20:44
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Thumbs up December 3/4 1943 raid on Leipzig

Regle,
I have just jointed the form and started reading this fascinating thread. I am hoping this thread is still active. My father, George Milliken and his twin brother Douglas were both RAF/RCAF. My father recently passed away which has motivated the children to research their lives especially during there service. My father was a pilot and flew HP hampdens from 1941 to 43 (in the end with coastal command sqn 415) returning home in mid '44 to train pilots. Doug was a Halifax rear gunner KIA on the Leipzig raid. I have added all the crew member names at the bottom of this note in case you knwe any of them. The entire crew of HR732 was lost without trace and are memorialized at Runnymede. To date there has been no crash site identified and the bodies have not been found. We are quite sure they crashed over land because three years after the war ended the wedding ring of the pilot (Arthur Salvage) was returned to the widow. It was in a severly blackened condition suggesting fire however she was able to identify it. The historians at the sqn 51 website are faboulous - they have given me a tremdous amount of information including contact information for decendants of five of the seven crew members. One thing we are trying to do is gather more information about the Leipzig raid. If you remember any details of that raid I would very much appreciate if you could share your story. I am mostly interested in your personal experience such as the events during the day (before taking off), the weather, flight plan, any significant event during the raid and any other details you may recall. We have unconfirmed information that initially this raid was intended for Berlin however changed at the last minute (possibly due to weather conditions)? There were 527 aircraft on this raid (220 halifaxes and 307 lanc) - 15 halifaxes and 9 lancs were downed. Two of the downed halifaxes were from sqn 51. One was Dougs the other (HR782) was downed just north of Frankfurt nearing the Belguim boarder - do you know why they would be so far south of Leipzig on the home leg? We have one report the weather was fair and another high winds with driving rain. Your recollection of this raid would be most appreciated.
Thanks!

HR732 crew
P.O. A. J. Salvage Captain
SGT. W.W.B. Hamilton Flight Engineer
P.O. F.J. Baker Navigator
F/S I.G. Davies Bomb Aimer
SGT. M.Hampson Wireless Operator
SGT R.J. Edwards Air Gunner
SGT D. W. Milliken (RCAF) Air Gunner
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Old 5th May 2009, 20:48
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Memoirs of a WW2 Typhoon pilot -part 5

The deliberate mistake in part 4 was that the town of Windsor Mills (it is just called Windsor now) is actually to the east of Montreal, and not the west. You can see the remains of the old airfield on Google Earth.

Cliff, thanks for posting the picture of the "hooded" Tiger Moth. I hope to be able to post a picture of the Fleet Finches soon.

Pete's story continues...

After my initial couple of flights I found that I had a serious problem. I could not keep the aircraft straight on takeoff. The machine would start to swing off to one side and I would correct with the rudder, only to find that I had overcorrected and we were now swinging the other way! I did not seem to be able to overcome this. Fortunately Sgt. Farrell was a very good instructor and came up with the answer. On arriving at the flight line for my third or fourth flight he told me to take my boots off and leave them on the ground beside the plane. I was somewhat confused by this, but, being a dutiful airman I did as I was told. Lo and behold, when I took off with just socks on my feet I kept dead straight! It was obvious to him that I could not feel the rudder bar through my thick soled issue boots. From then on I flew in plimsoles at first, then shoes and later back into boots. I never had trouble again keeping straight on take off, even much later when I was flying aircraft with very powerful engines which gave very marked swing on takeoff.

Finally, on May 7th 1942, after 7 hours and 40 minutes dual instruction I made my first solo flight. Any pilot will tell you that there is no other feeling quite like it. The thrill of opening up the throttle with no familiar head showing in the front cockpit and the exhilaration of becoming airborne, knowing that you were in sole charge of this machine, was tempered by the slight apprehension at the knowledge that you still have to get the thing safely back on the ground again! Fortunately my landing was very good. Later on I found that this was not unusual for a first solo when one is keyed up and concentrating hard. It is a few hours flying time later on that the bumpy and sloppy landings occur, when the pilot feels that he knows it all and becomes over confident.
We worked a more or less straight eight hour day finishing at 5 pm unless night flying was scheduled. This meant that we had plenty of free time to enjoy the Canadian hospitality. This was rather odd in that we were in the middle of Quebec which was mainly French speaking. Due partly to the fact that the French section of the community felt that they had been let down by the British, and partly due to some internal politics which we found hard to understand, there was a certain amount of anti-British feeling so we found that we were totally ignored in the local village, treated politely but distantly in Windsor Mills, but were warmly welcomed in Sherbrooke.

On the camp there was a services canteen run by local Sherbrooke volunteers and three of us became friendly with one of the girls who worked there who was the daughter of a Sherbrooke bank manager. We met her family and the three of us became more or less their adopted sons whilst we were in Canada. Even after we left and were posted to St.Hubert just outside Montreal, we would travel down to spend the weekends with them. Mr and Mrs Mutchler certainly made us royally welcome and I remember that, when I left Canada, I wrote them a letter and signed it 'Your erstwhile protégé'. The only ways of getting to Sherbrooke were either by train, very much a local line with few trains and many stops, or by taxi. Usually six of us would club together to take a taxi and thus we got to know some of the local taxi drivers quite well. I remember one who drove a large Buick with an eight note horn on which he played tunes as we roared through the countryside. His favourite being 'D'ye ken John Peel'.

It was during this free time that most of us discovered how different Canada, especially Quebec, was from the U.K. The most noticeable from our point of view were the beer bars. Women were not allowed in, the 'counter' looked more like a bank than a bar, with a wire grille along the front, and there were a few tables, each with a shaker of sugar which was used to 'de-gassify' the very fizzy beer. We were a bit young to have a nostalgic feeling for the good old English pub! This was in 1942 when most of us had never been abroad before, did not know how to drive a car, and were, by present day standards, extremely unsophisticated. Some of the food was also unfamiliar. For instance, it was the first time most of us had seen sweet corn. Some of the lads from country environments refused to eat it since they looked on it as chicken food! None of us had ever seen a Juke Box before although these soon became familiar and we spent hours listening to the latest records - the most popular being the Glenn Miller orchestra. One tune in particular still brings back those memories when I hear it. It is still played quite often even today, and that is 'String of Pearls'. I think we must have worn out several copies of that particular record.
Even the English language had different meanings! What we called the pavement was called the sidewalk and the word pavement meant the road surface. I recall one chap making a very bad 'faux pas' when he said to a young lady, whom he had arranged to meet early in the morning for a day together, that he would "knock her up" at 7.30. It was, he quickly found out, slang for something very different!! However the Canadians were very tolerant of our weird behavior and, all in all, we were treated most kindly. In common with most service men abroad in a strange environment for the first time, we tended to drink too much and sometimes behave irresponsibly. Luckily Leigh Woodbridge, my friend from 'civvy' days, and I, were taken under the wing of the Mutchlers and always knew we had a welcome there so we had no need to seek out other entertainment which might have landed us in trouble.


More soon...
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Old 6th May 2009, 23:13
  #731 (permalink)  
regle
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rmventuri

Your very poignant thread came as quite a surprise to me as your Uncle must have been operating from Snaith, near Selby, in Yorkshire on the same Squadron as myself at we certainly both took part in his ill fated attack on Leipzig on the night of Dec. 3rd. 1943.
I have only a very sketchy report of the trip in my log book but I was flying in Halifax LK (51 Sqdn) 'K' 899 and reported that I bombed from 16,000 ft. and that there were many fighters over the target. The whole round trip was 8hrs25 all night flying, although I noted that we landed back at Snaith in daylight. That would put the actual attack over Leipzig in the very early hours of Dec.4th. The long trip indicates that we would have been routed back to England by a course that would avoid the very dangerous Flak, Searchlight and Fighter boxes that existed all the way down from Northern Holland to the lower end of the Ruhr (Happy Valley !) and that is possibly why he would be south of Leipzig when he was shot down. I am sorry that my memory of the actual route, weather and takeoff conditions is non existent but I would always note anything that differed from the normal in my log book and there is nothing there to signify anything abnormal. There is one very significant detail and that is that the name of the Captain rang some sort bell in my memory and I am sure that I knew him and, thus quite possibly , the rest of the crew. I was also a P/O and would have shared the Officer's Mess with him ; Can you find out if he was a member of C Flight as that was the Flight that I was in under the leadership of Sqdn. Ldr. Charlie Porter, who was not a Pilot but a Navigator/Bomb Aimer and flew with all his Flight, irrespective of the rank of the Captain? He, unfortunately , died ,a few years ago. Another clue is that my own mid-upper Gunner, Roy Burch, was also a Canadian and in the R.C.A.F. and would certainly know your Uncle as a fellow member of the Sgt's Mess. Once again, unfortunately, he was the only member of my crew to volunteer to stay on after I had finished my tour and was shot down and killed in March of 1944.
I am so sorry that I cannot remember anything more but I am afraid that the Grim Reaper is the main factor in there not being more people around to help you in what is a very fine cause and one that makes me feel proud that there are people around ,like yourself who still care about their ancestry to try and find out some more about it. You can be very proud of it and I am sure that you are. I hope that you find solace that there were people around him that must have enjoyed his company and respected him for what he was doing as we all were. My very best wishes to you , Reg.
 
Old 7th May 2009, 09:19
  #732 (permalink)  
 
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Hi rmventuri and thanks for making contact. Sorry to hear of your father and uncle's deaths.
There is a website Lost bombers and it shows that HR732 took off at 0009 on 4th December from Snaith. That ties in with Regle's report of landing back in daylight, even for early December which would therefore be at about 0830 after approx 8 and a half hours flight (I can never remember the key strokes for the half sign).
It is a pity that the mystery as to how PO Salvages wedding ring got returned as that would indicate his body at least was found, yet there appears to be no burial attributed to him. I don't know if there was a name or other specific identification on the ring, as the only other way would be for a PoW or International Red Cross to pass it on. It may be that the crew have been buried in an unidentified grave(s) as perhaps no identification available.
There may be German records on aircraft crash sites that might help locate where bombers crashed and who may have claimed it on the 4th Dec 1943 which could help locate what happened.
I'm sure all on here will do what they can, there are a number of RAF and WW2 websites where you might get further help. I'll see what I can do, but hope that's a start.
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Old 7th May 2009, 12:16
  #733 (permalink)  
regle
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Icare9

You have chsen a very apt pseudonym. Thank you so much Reg.
 
Old 7th May 2009, 17:41
  #734 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Thanks, but that's just the colour of my car!!
I don't think HR732 (MH-Y) was a C Flight aircraft as C Flight had a different code of LK or C6 before becoming 578 Sqdn.
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Old 7th May 2009, 21:21
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Leipzig Raid

Reg,
Thank you for your kind words. Yes, Doug was stationed at Snaith with sqn 51. I will check to see if the crew was part of Flight C under Charlie Porter. Sadly this was the 30th operation for Doug, Arthur and possibly more of the crew members. I don’t know when Doug started at Snaith – probably something like mid ’42 I’m guessing. My oldest brother, named after Doug, has his log book and we hope to get is scanned soon. Reg, I do appreciate you checking your log book for any information on the raid - actually every scrap of information is both useful and interesting because it is forever part of the crew’s and their respective families ancestry. You never know what it may uncover. It gave me goose bumps to hear it from you first hand. Sounds like the weather was uneventful if you would normally have noted something like that in your log book. Also sounds like the home leg did take you on a long and circuitous route to avoid the enemy. I would assume the outbound leg and home leg would normally be different routes – also would the stream typically stay together on the home leg? I have been in contact with Howard “Doc” Bondett (RCAF Halifax gunner) who was part of the crew of HR782 and now lives in Canada. They were shot down by flak – five parachuted to “safety” and taken POW while the other two did not survive. I have only talked to him once (he is not on email) and to his recollection there was nothing unusual about the logistics of that raid although he did witness another aircraft hit by flak twice and basically explode. Possibly this was HR732 (they took off three minutes apart if I’m reading the times correctly). Now that I know more I will be calling him back soon – we do know that only two of the 24 aircraft downed in that raid where lost without trace. The other was a Lanc which I expect would be flying up around 22,000 – 23,000 ft out of Howard’s sight. Note that Howard had transferred from another squadron so this was only his third raid from Snaith and sqn 51. When I spoke with Howard he told me the same story you posted on this thread about the recently discovered crash site and aircraft found in the bog. Howard was a friend of one of the crew members. In a future post I will attach a crew photo to see if you recognize anyone (we have not been able positively identify everyone in the picture yet). Also if you don’t mind I am going to inform the other crew member descendants about this thread as they may want to chime in.

Best Regards,
Rodger
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Old 7th May 2009, 21:48
  #736 (permalink)  
 
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Leipzig Raid

Hi Icare9. Thanks for helping out. There was identifying information on the ring (something like initials and wedding date). I also thought this would yield more information on the crash site or grave site however it has not. It is not clear how or where the ring was discovered - I'm told that the locals would loot a crash site until the authorities got there and a ring would be scooped up quickly. There is conflicting information on whether it was mailed to her from Germany or the US. Sometime after Arthur's widow identified the ring she sent it to his parents as he was an only child. By the way the widow, Constance, is still alive and when the sqn 51 historians called her to see if she remembered the "twins from Canada" she responded "that would be Doug Milliken, he was the best man at our wedding". Small world. I guess there is a group active in Germany today that still tries to identify crash sites and unmarked graves - the sqn 51 historians have been in contact with them to see if they have uncovered any new information recently. I have a copy of a page from the Snaith Operations Log book showing the entries for HR732 and HR782. The entries are next to one another – oddly it does not have at takeoff time for HR782. It is documented from other sources as 0012. As I am finding out there is a wealth of information on the web however it is such a forensic investigation to weed thru it.

Thanks again,
Rodger
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Old 7th May 2009, 22:09
  #737 (permalink)  
 
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I know that it is not yet the 8th of May in the UK, but it is here. Therefore, HAPPY BIRTHDAY REGLE.
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Old 8th May 2009, 03:58
  #738 (permalink)  
 
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Happy Birthday Reg

Yes, the day has dawned here in Cyprus too so, Happy Birthday Reg and may you continue to share your memories with us for many more years to come.
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Old 8th May 2009, 07:10
  #739 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Happy Birthday Reg!

I raised a glass as promised, and to Roy, Doug and all the others who never made it back.
I don't know if this is much of a present, and you may already know of this website, but as several buildings are captioned as "unidentified" then you might be able to help. I hope the memories are not painful....
Yorkshire. RAF Snaith.

Rodger: I hope the following early answers are of assistance. Mention is made that only family relatives are usually given access to these records, so I will leave it to you to decide to take it down these routes. If you need help getting email addresses, shout, either by PM or on this thread, as no doubt others can help.
=================================================
Icare9 Join Date: May 2009 Location: London W4 Posts: 1
Help 51 Sqdn Halifax HR732 loss

Hello, my first post, trying to help find any details regarding the loss of Halifax HR732 on early morning of 4th December 1943.

Background: I'm a participant on the PPRuNe website and one thread has a WW2 contributor from 51 Sqdn C Flight. He's now been contacted by the nephew of Sgt D W Milliken RCAF, the rear gunner. Sgt Milliken's twin brother has recently died so the family are trying to piece together their wartime service history. The HR732 crew have no known graves and are on the Runnymede Memorial.

The reason why I'm posting is that the widow of the pilot, P.O. AJ Salvage had his wedding ring returned 3 years after the war ended. That implies that his remains were found with sufficient identification to enable the ring to be returned (blackened but still recognisable).

The implication therefore is that this crew may be buried "somewhere" as unknown, but if the report of the aircraft crew that may have claimed the Halifax that early morning could be discovered, then the crash site might be traced and hopefully the crew remains might be able to be located.

Sorry it's long, but I hope you can help after all these years uncover what happened that day and help the families have somewhere to visit.

Thanks in advance, check out the site if you think you can help.
http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...t-ww11-37.html

#2 7th May 2009, 23:57 Andy Saunders Posts: 427

There will be a Casualty File still held by the Ministry of Defence on each man and this may well hold vital clues that could, today, be followed up. These files are held in a central repository at Hayes, Middlesex but are "closed". Details will, sometimes, be extracted via the Air Historical Branch on request - but not always - and whatever comes back will probably be quite limited. However, a glimmer of hope here is that Doug Milliken is a Canadian. His casualty file will (probably) have been copied to Canada and the Canadians are much more likely to provide copies - as do the Australians, for example.

A good read is Stuart Hadaway's "Missing Believed Killed" (Pen & Sword) which details the work of the Missing Research & Enquiry Unit in their postwar searches. This crew will have been one of the MREU cases, but it clearly went unsolved and the case left open. I wouldn't mind betting that there will be some glimmer of a clue, somewhere, as to what happened to this crew.

If you wish to PM me I can probably help further.

#3 8th May 2009, 08:40 Chris Goss Posts: 2,141

To add to what Andy says, you will have to be related to the deceased to have any chance of help from the AHB-casual queries are not encouraged. If the file exists, they might have something on the loss, as on a number of occasions, the Casualty Files have proven that an aircraft listed as missing was in fact discovered. For example, a friend's uncle was listed as missing but the Bomber Command Loss Card gave a location and the Cas File stated that his Uncle's body and that of the pilot had been discovered but the location of the cemetery was lost as it, and the records, were in Berlin and destroyed during the Soviet offensive. Hence he is missing
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If I get any more relevant responses I'll post, but don't want to distract from this thread, so will PM unless you (and the Moderators) say it's OK.

My comment about HR782 would be a guess that as they were shown one after the other, then that is probably the sequence in which they took off. I would imagine that 3 minutes gap would be sensible just in case the one in front crashed on take off, but reg will no doubt add the definitive answer.

Cliff: I think you may be your usual discreet self and not "intruding" but it's been more than 3 days without a posting - are you there, mother??!!!

And see Nightbomber an hour long video on Aviation History & Nostalgia sub forum - RAF Hemswell .....
Readers: Am I spoiling the thread with this info, if so I'll update by PM, and my apologies...
Edited to curekt speelin and link to Nightbomber...

Last edited by Icare9; 8th May 2009 at 07:38.
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Old 8th May 2009, 09:33
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