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#1 Merritt

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 04:44 AM

Hi There! I have a trip planned to northern Germany later this year, and plan to visit Becklingen War Cemetery to honour the memory of my uncle who is buried there. I've just recently learned that my sister has received (on loan) a box full of his memorabilia, which I am anxious to go see in the near future. She has already sent me a scan of a long letter that he wrote to a young poltician named John Deifenbaker, whom he had met just prior to heading overseas. (Deifenbaker would later serve as Prime Minister during the 60's.)

The letter has certainly made an impact on me: articulate, thoughtful, hopeful and yet foreboding. I guess all of the mixed feelings that a 25 yr old would feel in that situation. Anyway, sorry for the long pre-amble.....I will cut to the chase.

Wilfrid (Wilfred) Bruce Smith; RCAF, arrived in England in March 1941 with the rank of Sgt. Pilot. He served with 78 Squadron RAF, and as I recall my late mom telling me, he was shot down during a night time raid possibly at Kiel, on May 29 1941. His body was recovered sometime later, and now rests in Becklingen. The entire crew was apparently lost. It was Bruce's first mission.

I am interested in learning about the history of 78 Squadron, and in Bomber Command in general. I have ordered V. Holland's book "Nobody Unprepared" which is about 78 Sqdn., thanks to information I gleaned on this board. I would be grateful if anyone else has further information on 78 Sqdn, Bruce or his crew members (I don't have their names). If I come across any interesting info from his items I will gladly share it here.

Sorry for the long post.....and thanks in advance.

Neil

#2 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 11:36 AM

Hello Neil,
Inspired as you are by an RCAF uncle who died serving with 'Preston's Own' RAF, I studied 78 Sqdn in depth and in great detail until about 15 years. I have a copy of the sqdn's operational records on microfilm, much of which I have transcribed.

Over the course of 10 years in the late '80s and mid 90's I was quite connected to this squadron, attending two of their reunions in York and corresponding with over 380 former Sqdn members, collecting stories, photos etc.

Below is my entry for your uncle's crew. If you should have any further questions, feel free to contact me. While I seem to have only the most basic information on this crew (based ona quick scan of my data base) I do have other information on their immediate contemporaries on base - something which can go far to help you recover 'the spirit' of your uncle.

Regards,
Michael Moores LeBlanc
Acton, Ontario, Canada

28/29 May 1941 Take-Off: 21:55 hours
Whitley V Z6484 FTR Kiel
Pilot Sgt Alfred Thomas Copley. 903447. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
Pilot Sgt Wilfred Bruce Smith. R62188. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
Obs Sgt Albert Cooke. 754743. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
W/Op Sgt Alfred Gregory. 975990. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
WAG Sgt D.R. Strickland 974773. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
Took off at 21:55 hours, to attack the ‘Tirpitz’ at Keil.
One Unidentified Crew - BCATPM)

Crew Biographies:
Sgt Alfred Thomas Copley. 903447. RAF (VR). Pilot.
† Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. 11.

Sgt Wilfred Bruce Smith. R62188. RCAF. Pilot.
Age 25. From Hawarden, Saskatchewan, Canada.
† Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. ?

Sgt Albert Cooke. 754743. RAF (VR). Observer.
† Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. 9.

Sgt Alfred Gregory. 975990. RAF (VR). Wireless Operator. † Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. 9.

Sgt D.R. Strickland. 974773. RAF (VR).
Wireless Operator/Airgunner. † Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. ?.
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#3 rogerf

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 07:09 PM

Hi there
Does anyone have any records relating to my father Sgt. Alan Schofield Fletcher who did about 30 missions 1940 to 41 I think
I know he got the DFM but no details

Thanks
Roger Fletcher

#4 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:02 AM

Hello Roger,
The rank & file data is spare for 78 Sqdn in the early records. Usually only a family name rank and trades are shown in the postings and some of these are missing in my records.

Fortunately, Fletcher is a relatively rare name with the Sqdn and in this case, one was KIA prior to the info I have added below. I'm chancing the idea your father was an W/Op . . . ?

If so, I believe I may have a reference to him in a letter from one of 78 Sqdn's 1941 era pilot's, Jack Moorfoot.

If I am wrong at least this message will give you a sense of the 'time' your father was flying on Ops.

All the best,
Michael Moores LeBlanc

Below: 'Preston's Own' 78 Sqdn, RAF.

16/17 August 1941 Ex Ops to Cologne
Whitley V Z6495
Take-Off: 23:32 Landed: 01:00
Pilot Sgt Jack Moorfoot
2 Plt Sgt? Thomas
Obs Sgt ? Logan
W/Op Sgt ? Fletcher
R/G Sgt John Duffield
Details of Sortie: The primary target was not reached owing to mechanical trouble, and the bombs were jetissoned in the sea. The aircraft made for Waddington but owing to a pin-point error landed at the ‘Q’ Site causing slight damage to the undercarriage.

As per Jack Moorfoot, Pilot: ‘On the night of 16 August I flew to Cologne. Our starboard engine went on fire and I had to close it down using the Gravener. We contacted Waddington for landing. All was dark and a flare-path came up. My crew checked the position which appeared to tie up with the relationship with the flashing beacon. To cut a long story short, the ‘flare-path’ turned out to be a ‘Q’ Site. Miraculously, we landed on it, the only damage being a broken starboard wheel. In the light of day, we had escaped high trees deliberately in the approach; ditches across and at the side of what was apparently the flare-path and a pit into which we would have gone had not the wheel broken and thrown us to the right. We found the building, which housed the airmen who looked after the ‘Q’ Site, and you can imagine their surprise when we went into the room where they were playing cards.’

As per John Duffield: ‘After OTU at Abingdon, I was posted to 78 Sqdn at Middleton St George, flying as a Rear Gunner in Whitleys. I was there from late spring to early summer, 1941. I was then posted to the other sqdn on the base i.e. 76 Sqdn on Halifaxes. My only rise to fame was to be able to claim that I was on the Whitley crew that crash-landed on Waddington’s dummy airfield.We had originally taken off for Cologne but had trouble with the starboard engine with the result that we were unable to reach any altitude. It was decided to fly down country hoping the engine would clear. By the time we reached Lincoln, we had been fired on three times by our own anti-aircraft. It was then decided to ask for emergency landing and make for the ‘Wash’ to drop the bombs. By the time we reached the Wash we were doen to 5,000 feet and soon after 2,000 feet. It would appear that whilst all this was going on two ‘Erks’, in charge of Waddington’s dummy airfield, thought they heard a German airplane and put the flare-path of the ‘Dummy Airfield’ on. We went in to make a normal landing with the wheels down, not knowing until later that the field had ditches cut across it. You can imagine what happened when we came into contact with the ditches. However, we managed to break the Whitley into a lot of small pieces scattered over a considerable area. This was the only occasion when I was able to stand upright and walk out of a rear turret. As a result of this farcas, the only injuries among the crew were a few bruises. This is my story and I am sticking to it!

3 July 1941 Wing Commander Tom Sawyer takes command

As per Jack Moorfoot, Pilot: ‘I joined 78 Squadron on 6 July, 1941. At this time we were at Middleton St George. There was a Mess party going on so I met nearly all rthe aircrew which included one or two I had met at OTU Abingdon. One of the pilots was an American named Sherman*. I do not recall his first name which is a pity because I had known him well at Abingdon and we became firm friends. Unhappily, he failed to return from a trip which was in early 1942. You mentioned Douglas Knox. He was in ‘A’ Flight and joined, I believe, about the same day I did, in July 1941. The first two trips I did after joining were on 7th and 8th of July. . . We ran out of petrol and crash-landed in the Cleveland Hills some miles from Thirsk. It was a miraculous landing . . . After that I did three trips as a second pilot to Jock Calder, I recall at that time P/O Pat Lowry and Sgt Mutlast? - (Muttard) were on ‘B’ Flight with me. You mentioned Fransden.

On 27 July he and I did about an hour in the air together on an Air Firing exercise. Sgt Woodhatch I remember well. S/Ldr Jock Mercer was my Flight Commander. On 8 August I had a night flying exercise with P/O Roy as my Second Pilot. Between then and 16 August we had no operations but I had four Air Tests in preparation, two with Sgt Beardmore as 2nd Pilot and one with Sgt Thomas.
On the night of 16 August I flew to Cologne with Sgt Thomas as 2nd Pilot, Sgt Logan (Observer), Sgt Fletcher (W/Op) and Sgt Duffield (R/G), then came the landing at the ‘Q’ Site on August 16th, 1941. I had Sgt Thomas with me for a trip to Le Harve on 19 August and to Dusseldorf on the 24th. Sgt Logan was Navigator but my W/Op was Sgt Fudge - a great character who stayed with me until I was posted to become an Instructor at 1502 BAT Flight in 1942.
On the 29th of August another Sgt Jones flew as second pilot with me to Frankfurt. On 7/8 September P/O Beadle joined me as my 2nd Pilot in a trip to Berlin. It was the brightest moonlit night I had ever seen. It was almost like day and there was little or no cloud.We saw many fighters and the target was surrounded by lots of anti-aircraft guns. I think I am right when I say that there we were the only 78 Sqdn aircraft to get there. (Note: Of the other two Sqdn a/c detailed for Berlin, Sgt Simmons also reached the target but crashed on return at Houghton Le Springs). We had a number of losses and a number landed else where.
On 19 September F/O Thomas came as my 2nd Pilot to Stettin. P/O Pearson was my Navigator. He was a Canadian and a first class person in all respects. His astro-navigation was spot on. We took excellent photographs of the target area in which was the Pocket Battleship Prince Eugen. Because of the weather we were BFX to Driffield. For quite a number of operations I had P/O Pearson as navigator. He was in the RAF but I believe he went over to the RCAF later on.
On 29 September the same team went to Stettin again. In fact we had trouble with the aircraft which made us quite late to take off. The trouble came back and we lost our intercom altogether. We bombed Wardenmorde, near Rostock, so we clearly were unlikely to get to Stettin and back.
21 October - Trip to Bremin. We spent some unpleasant time coned by searchlights. We had damage occasioned by two Me110s and eventually landed in Dorking, Norfolk.
I see from your letter that P/O Leyland and P/O Fransden collided on 10 October. I do not remember that. On that night I went to Essen with Sgt Lunan as my 2nd Pilot.
Some time later, I believe in 1942 (Dec. 1941) P/O Beadle who was then a Captain himself had a remarkable escape. His aircraft ran into a hillside but no one was hurt as far as I remember.
Sgt Weatherston flew with me number of times in December, 1941. I recall Sgt Cox and F/Lt Clapperton during November, 1941. F/Lt Clapperton became ‘B’ Flight C/O and O/C 78 Squadron in early 1942.
Sgt McColl was my 2nd Pilot on a trip to Rotterdam in January, 1942. Sgt Hockley was with me on two occasions. Wing Commander Corbally took over ‘78’ at some time between the end of December 1941 and March, 1942, I believe.W/Cdr Tom Sawyer was C/O. I met him at another station some time later.
Throughout most, if not all the time, I was with the squadron G/Capt Traill was the Station Commander. Certainly he was there until we moved to Croft to mae room for the canadians. He was a great character and a pleasure to serve. He had both ‘78’ and ‘76’ to look after.
Life on the Squadron of course was not always flying True, we worked hard during Moon Periods but meterological problems gave us a number of days off when we had to be satisfied by doing an air test but our evenings were our own. I have many memories of my time with 78. Visits to ‘The George’ at Piercebridge. ‘Briefing’ in the Belivar, of a special Pub in Darlington, The Imperial. Excellent meals in the ‘Black Lion’, at Stockton. These were hostelries which looed after us very well. Visits to the local theatre in Darlington where 78 would take one box and 76 the other. These are just a few.’
I left the Squadron, which by then had moved to Croft in order to accomodate the Canadians, in February, 1942. I was posted then to Driffield, where I spent over a year as an Instructor on a BAT flight.

Crew History: * Sgt Thomas Anthony Sherman, R69619. FTR Hannover 16/17 August, 1941
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#5 Tony H

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:53 PM

For the information of anyone who has a personal interest in 78 Sqn . . .

"Exercise Halifax Shadow" - a 78 Sqn commemerative event is taking place between 4th-7th June 2010 at various locations in the greater York area

This event is open to all former members of 78 Sqn (from any era of our operational past) be they aircrew or groundcrew. Additionally we welcome the relatives/families of those 979 78 Sqn personnel KIA/MIA during WWII and also the 20+ personnel lost since the end of WWII

So if you have served with No 78 Squadron at; Al Mazra, Breighton, Croft, Dishforth, Kabrit, Khormaksar, Linton on Ouse, Middleton St. George, Mount Pleasant or Sharjah - or are related to someone that did and are interested in attending, please contact me for further information. Thanks

Nemo Non Paratus

Tony H

http://f285.mail.yah...d=Sent&inline=1http://f285.mail.yahoo.com/ya/download?mid=1%5f1634%5fALRu%2bFcAAXN3SyukygZIVzoab%2fU&pid=2.3&fid=Sent&inline=1

#6 faircloss

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 03:18 PM

Hi Tony,

I am the Grandson of Sgt. Harry Braithwaite who served in 78 Squadron at Breighton. I am interested in receiving more information about the 78 Sqn event and am sure that my Grandfather would love to attend. Please can I have your contact details so I can speak/email you directly?

Regards

Mike Fairclough

#7 Tony H

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:04 PM

Hi Mike

I did send you a personal message, however if you didn't get it, my email address is as below . . .

tonyhibberd752 at yahoo.co.uk
Kind Regards

Tony H

http://f285.mail.yahoo.com/ya/download?mid=1%5f573%5fALVu%2bFcAAUSMSz%2fMuQeSsRzHga0&pid=2.2&fid=Sent&inline=1http://f285.mail.yahoo.com/ya/download?mid=1%5f573%5fALVu%2bFcAAUSMSz%2fMuQeSsRzHga0&pid=2.3&fid=Sent&inline=1

Edited by LRusso216, 04 January 2010 - 08:47 PM.
I edited your email address to prevent spamming. Lou


#8 Robfoale

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:08 AM

Hello Neil,
Inspired as you are by an RCAF uncle who died serving with 'Preston's Own' RAF, I studied 78 Sqdn in depth and in great detail until about 15 years. I have a copy of the sqdn's operational records on microfilm, much of which I have transcribed.

Over the course of 10 years in the late '80s and mid 90's I was quite connected to this squadron, attending two of their reunions in York and corresponding with over 380 former Sqdn members, collecting stories, photos etc.

Below is my entry for your uncle's crew. If you should have any further questions, feel free to contact me. While I seem to have only the most basic information on this crew (based ona quick scan of my data base) I do have other information on their immediate contemporaries on base - something which can go far to help you recover 'the spirit' of your uncle.

Regards,
Michael Moores LeBlanc
Acton, Ontario, Canada

28/29 May 1941 Take-Off: 21:55 hours
Whitley V Z6484 FTR Kiel
Pilot Sgt Alfred Thomas Copley. 903447. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
Pilot Sgt Wilfred Bruce Smith. R62188. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
Obs Sgt Albert Cooke. 754743. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
W/Op Sgt Alfred Gregory. 975990. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
WAG Sgt D.R. Strickland 974773. † Becklingen, Soltau, Germany.
Took off at 21:55 hours, to attack the ‘Tirpitz’ at Keil.
One Unidentified Crew - BCATPM)

Crew Biographies:
Sgt Alfred Thomas Copley. 903447. RAF (VR). Pilot.
† Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. 11.

Sgt Wilfred Bruce Smith. R62188. RCAF. Pilot.
Age 25. From Hawarden, Saskatchewan, Canada.
† Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. ?

Sgt Albert Cooke. 754743. RAF (VR). Observer.
† Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. 9.

Sgt Alfred Gregory. 975990. RAF (VR). Wireless Operator. † Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. 9.

Sgt D.R. Strickland. 974773. RAF (VR).
Wireless Operator/Airgunner. † Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Germany. 21. A. ?.

Dear Michael,

I am new to WWII forums and I read your post from 2009 with interest, as I would love to find out as much about 78 Squadron RAF as I can. My Grandfather (Plt.Of WCR Foale) flew with 78 Sqdn at an RAF VR in WWII until his death in 1943, his Halifax being shot down over Holland and he and his crew are buried in Eindhoven. My Grandmother died in 2006 and then my own father in 2008, so I am now feel I am the member of the family who needs to keep the memories of my Grandfather alive. Any information you may be able to share with me, in particular relating to my Grandad, I would be most grateful for.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Foale

#9 LRusso216

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:28 AM

It seems that Michael hasn't been on the forum since early December. I might suggest sending him an email indicating your interest. You can do so by clicking on his user name in one of the above posts. You might also contact Tony H who also seems to have a connection to 78 Sqdn.

In the meantime, welcome to the forum. You'll find the palce chock full of useful information and friendly folk willing to share.

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Lou


#10 david.tattler

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 09:38 PM

For the information of anyone who has a personal interest in 78 Sqn . . .

"Exercise Halifax Shadow" - a 78 Sqn commemerative event is taking place between 4th-7th June 2010 at various locations in the greater York area

This event is open to all former members of 78 Sqn (from any era of our operational past) be they aircrew or groundcrew. Additionally we welcome the relatives/families of those 979 78 Sqn personnel KIA/MIA during WWII and also the 20+ personnel lost since the end of WWII

So if you have served with No 78 Squadron at; Al Mazra, Breighton, Croft, Dishforth, Kabrit, Khormaksar, Linton on Ouse, Middleton St. George, Mount Pleasant or Sharjah - or are related to someone that did and are interested in attending, please contact me for further information. Thanks

Nemo Non Paratus

Tony H

http://f285.mail.yah...d=Sent&inline=1http://f285.mail.yahoo.com/ya/download?mid=1%5f1634%5fALRu%2bFcAAXN3SyukygZIVzoab%2fU&pid=2.3&fid=Sent&inline=1


Hi Tony, I have collated the history around my Uncle`s loss on a mission over France 7/8 June 1944. As such I would be very interested in "Exercise Halifax Shadow" - taking place between 4th-7th June 2010.
Thanks in advance
David T.

#11 macrusk

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 02:33 AM

In case others want to know more about 78 RAF Squadron:

RAF - History

No. 78 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War

Yorkshire. RAF Breighton

Sqn Histories 76-80_P

Wilfred Bruce Smith
CWGC :: Casualty Details From an hour south of where I live.....

William Charles Robert Foale
CWGC :: Casualty Details
Regards, Michelle

Oliver Goldsmith, "I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines." :flag_canada_ww2: :flag_canada: :flag_uk:
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#12 Tony H

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 08:04 PM

David

Apologies for the delay in replying, I only got back from the Falklands this morning and am catching op on a weeks worth of emails . . . !

Please email me at tonyhibberd752@yahoo.co.uk for further info on Halfax Shadow

Rgds

T

#13 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 12:42 AM

Hello Rob Foale,
Forgive my absence from this forum. I retired in december and moved from Toronto to New Brunswick and have been very much caught up with all of these changes in my life.

To answer your basic questions, this is what I presently have transcribed to file about your Grandfather.

All the best,
Michael Moores LeBlanc

11-12 June 1943
Halifax II W7932 FTR Dusseldorf, Germany.
Pilot F/Sgt Frank Hemmings 1334168 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
Nav Sgt Jim Stone 99380 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
B/A Sgt W.C.R. ‘Bill’ Foale 747200 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
W/Op Sgt A. (an Irishman) Shaw 1127874 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
F/Eng Sgt J. Muir 982053 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
M/U Sgt T.W.R. Daniel 1315951 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
R/G Sgt D. Montgomery 1119211 † Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery
Details of Sortie: Take-Off from Linton-on-Ouse at 22:23 hours. Shot down by a night-fighter (He 219?) flown by Major Strieb of I/NJG 1 - Velno, Holland and crashed at 02:22 hours 3 kms W of Sambeek-Boxmeer, North Brabant province, Holland, on farmland worked by Mr. Bongarts.

Sgt Jim Stone. 99380. RAF. Navigator. Aged 40. Doug Chiswell, who had flown in Hemming’s crew remembers Jim Stone had been a Professor at Edinborough College.
† Eindhoven (Woensel) Cemetery.
——————————————————————————————————————————————
11-12 June 1943: On this night Bomber Command detailed 891 aircraft of which 883 were dispatched, on the following operations: 783 on Düsseldorf, 72 on Munster, 3 on Duisburg, 2 on Cologne, and 23 to drop propaganda leaflets on Orleans, Caen, LeMans, and Nantes. 655 aircraft attacked Düsseldorf dropping about 1968 tons of bombs.

Reports of weather conditions vary, some aircraft having encountered no cloud and others some broken cloud up to 10,000 feet, Visibility was good, but there was some haze and heavy clouds of smoke hampered identification of ground detail and observation results. Ground defences were moderate and appear to have been overwhelmed as the attack progressed.

Eighteen aircraft of 78 Squadron were detailed for this operation with 13 reaching and attacking the target area. Many fires and explosions were reported by the crews. Two aircraft returned early due to severe icing conditions. One aircraft returned early owing to the starboard-outer engine failing; the bomb load being dropped on Roermond. The remainder returned and landed safely at base. Two aircraft squadron aircraft were reported as missing,

#14 LRusso216

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 01:12 AM

Michael, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Robfoale has not been on the forum since the one post he made earlier. You might want to contact him through his email, which you can get by clicking on his username in the post. Thanks for doing the search, and I hope you can contact him Let us know how it works out.

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Lou


#15 Krisbee

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:01 PM

Michael,

I wonder if you have any information on this airman:

Name: GREEN, RONALD STANLEY
Initials: R S
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 78 Sqdn.
Age: 22
Date of Death: 29/06/1941
Service No: 964420
Additional information: Son of Henry James Green and Clara Green, of Mitcham, Surrey.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 44.
Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Ronald Green was my late father's second cousin. (My father served in the RAF from 13.6.39 until 27.2.46, flying in 90 Sqd May-Sept'44. )

There is a terrible irony in Ronald's death as his father was very religious man and conscientious objector who had been imprisoned for his beliefs during the Great War. Ronald was Henry and Clara's only child.

Thanks,
Chris.

#16 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:23 PM

Hello Chris,
Ronald's father no doubt understood war is an aberration and one of life's worse tragedies and had read . . . " In peace time sons bury their fathers . . . in wartime, fathers bury their sons.

In following the stories of the families of men lost from 78 Sqdn I have been struck by how often 'middle-aged' parents died within only a few years of the death of their son(s), either through suicide or simply through stress and the lack of will to live any longer.

What I have on Ronald (78 Sqdn's ORBs (540s & 541s) are poor for the early period and only improve in 1943), is as follows. You'll note the trades of the other crew are not listed.

29/30 June 1941 Target: FTR Keil.
Whitley V Z6664 Take Off: 22:43
Pilot Sgt Rboert Stanley. Green 964420 † Runnymede Panel 44
? Sgt Edward Robert Ingram 919910 † Runnymede Panel 46
? Sgt K.I. Jones 982910 † Runnymede Panel 49
? Sgt A.W. Adams 1378155 † Runnymede Panel 38

As per Theo Boiten, Researcher - A/C# : Z6664 . NFD
Crashed in the North Sea off the Dutch Coast at 02:34 hours. Cause unknown.
Note: According to BCL ‘41: This a/c also carried a F/Sgt L. Hird as a crew member. F/Sgt L. Hird does not appear on the Runnymede Pannel with his crew, nor is this name on the Sqdn’s 540s.

Ronald is listed as Sgt S. Green in the records.
He flew on the following operations, details about which you can find in Martin Middlebrook & Chris Everitt's 'Bomber Command war Diaries':

7 May, 1941. Target: Brest - Cruisers.
8 May, 1941. Target: Bremen.
10 May, 1941. Target: Hamburg.
15 May, 1941. Target: Boulogne Docks.
16 May, 1941. Target: Cologne.
27 May, 1941. Target: Cologne.
28 May, 1941. Target: Keil.
11 June, 1941. Target: Duisburg.
16 June, 1941. Target: Cologne.
18 June, 1941. Target: Bremen.
20 June, 1941. Target: Keil.

Sgt Ronald Stanley Green. 964420. Ops #: 11. † FTR
Sgt Edward Robert Ingram. 919910. Ops #: 4. † FTR

Chris, I would be most grateful to you if you have a picture you might share of Ronald to add to my records.

Regards,
Michael Moores LeBlanc

#17 Krisbee

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:51 PM

Michael,

A many many thanks for providing this information, and so quickly.

In following the stories of the families of men lost from 78 Sqdn I have been struck by how often 'middle-aged' parents died within only a few years of the death of their son(s), either through suicide or simply through stress and the lack of will to live any longer.

Your insight is not lost, although the details I have of the "Green" family are v. sketchy and not to hand, it is quite possible that Henry J Green died just a year later aged 67 in 1944.

I regret I have no photograph of Ronald. If I should ever discover a photo I have made a note to pass a copy on to your good self.

This is another piece of the family history jigsaw I can pass on to my father's surviving twin sister who is 90 next February.

I had previously matched Ronald's CWGC entry with three others on the same date and from the same squadron using "Geoff's 1939-1947 Search Engine" and they tally with the other names you listed. But, of course, I had no idea Ronald was a pilot.

I'm not familiar with some of the abbreviations and form numbers you have quoted.

FTR- I can guess at "Failed To Return"
NFD?
BLC'41- Is that Chorley?
540s & 541s ?

Once again, my many thanks,
Chris.

#18 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:26 PM

Hello Chris,

My heart goes out to Ronald's father. What he must have gone through is too terrible to contemplate.

I wonder if Ronald (sorry about the name typo in my message) commonly went by the name of Stan or Stanley as he is only shown as S. Green in the records.

His flying career with 'Preston's Own' was brief (typical) and intense and again some very hard targets. You have every reason to be proud of him and his effort.

I am pleased you were able to learn he was a pilot. If you are still interested in learning more about the man, you may be able to obtain his Service Records which will give you the basic about his enlistment, training, movements, promotions, character, etc, but I am unable to tell you where you would have to apply for them at this point in time, or where they are kept now . . . it has been 25 years or so since I last went after that kind of material. No doubt someone else at this forum can tell you.

Thanks for the tip-off on Geoff's 1939-1947 Search Engine. I was not aware of it.

All the best,
Michael


Indeed, FTR = Failed To Return.
NFD = No Further Details.
BCL = Bomber Command Losses.
540s & 541s were the forms used in Sqdn records for operations, postings etc. I've been away from the originals () for so long now, I have forgotten which is which.

#19 Krisbee

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 08:41 AM

Michael,

I'm sure your are right that Ronald was known as Stan or Stanley, there are several other cases in earlier generations of my family who went by their middle names or had even adopted other names which can make for confusing research.

I know where to apply for service records but I suspect they might reject my application as I am now a distant relative. It was a long enough wait to get my own father's RAF service records. I believe you've done a far better job with these things in Canada.

Judging by your comments, even if Ronald Stanley had not been in this crash, you wonder if he would have survived his tour at this stage of the war.

There is another poignant irony here. My own father 52749 F/Lt. L.T.Burge fly against Kiel on 23rd July 1944 , as w/op "B" Flight 90 Sqdn in Lancaster WP-O.

This is his brief diary entry for 23rd July 1944 in his small blue RAF diary:

"OPs on Kiel. Terrific Prang. Long Journey. Target Flak heavy. A taster for Jerry again."

They took off at 22.40 hrs and my father logged this as 5.05 hrs flying time.

Best Wishes,
Christopher Leonard Burge.

Edited by Krisbee, 10 September 2010 - 08:51 AM.


#20 Kim T

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 04:19 PM

I think I'm in the right place to post this but if not please feel free to shift me on!

We have a very dear friend who we call "Grandad" and he served in the RAF at Breighton during the end of the war on 78 Sq and was a rear gunner. I am trying to to find out some info for him as he is now the great age of 84yrs and doesn't have a computer.

I am looking for info about a halifax and it's crew (78 Sq) that went down in Oct 1943 over Germany.

This is the info I have

Royal Canadian AF - W/O John Sherman Ferris - rear gunner - DOD 22nd Oct 1943.

Hanover Cemetery

Sherman as he was known to crew members was a great friend of Grandads and on the night before he flew his last mission he said to Grandad "goodbye Phil" and he relied don't you me goodnight Sherman and he said "no" I mean goodbye as I won't be back this time and that was the last time he was seen..................very sad.

If anyone can help with any info at all I would be most greatful.

Thank you for time.

Kim

#21 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:11 PM

Hello Kim,
I can offer you the following crew details. I would be grateful, if there any apparent merit in it, to ask Granddad Philip if he would care to add to my 'Preston's Own' data base in some way.
Regards,
Michael Moores LeBlanc

——————————————————————————————————————————————
22/23 October 1943
Halifax LW293 ‘L’ FTR from Kassel, Germany.
Pilot S/Ldr Gordon Arthur Sells. DFC. 129106 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 4.
Nav F/Lt Derek Ralph Rogers 146027 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 3.
B/A F/Lt Cyril Howard ‘Bud’ Abbott 129038 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 2.
W/Op P/O George Simpson 156270 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 6.
F/Eng P/O Samuel ‘Sam’ Greenlees 149108 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 5.
M/U P/O John Walter Hardcastle 158893 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 7.
R/G F/Sgt John Sherman Ferris R129539 † Limmer, Hanover. 16. B. 1.
Details of Sortie: Take-Off from Breighton at 17:31 hours. Crashed near Vörden, 10 kms NW of Höxtyer, Germany.

Crew Biographies:
S/Ldr Gordon Arthur Sells. DFC. 129106. RAF. Pilot. Previously a bank clerk in Leeds. Completed a tour in 1941-1942 flying Wellingtons. 78 Sqdn ‘B’ Flight Commander. Lost on his 6th Operation with 78 Sqdn.
† Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 4.

Note: Add data As per Aircraft Down III: Riccall, 30th of March, 1942, 13:40 hours - F/O Sells made every effort to control BB189 when he landed at Riccall after Air to Sea firing. The aircraft drifted in strong cross winds followed by the undercarriage collapsing.

F/Lt Derek Ralph Rogers. 146027. RAF (VR). Navigator.
† Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 3.

F/Lt Cyril Howard ‘Bud’ Abbott. 129038. RAF. Bomb Aimer.
† Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 2.
As per WAAF: " Bud of course is the reason I can tell you how Gordon Sells’plane was lost over Kassel on 22-23 October, 1943. He came to tell me he was on Ops and that was the last I saw of him. I had no premonitions but, as we went to bed, I said to Betty something I’d never said before. “I’ll ring you in the morning to see if he’s back”. After Ops, he always popped into the office to report back, as he put it. This morning he didn’t. Was he a late return? I rang Betty, who said very simply, “I’m sorry”. As I was coping with this news, S/Ldr Jackie Cooper came in. He asked if I knew then said, “I think you’re the kind of person who would want to know”, and told me this: Gordon’s plane had started on it’s bombing run when it was coned in searchlights. They took no evasive action but continued on the run-in when the plane exploded. Jackie Cooper was next behind them, following them in. There could, he said, have been no survivors.
In view of this story, I wonder what is buried in Hanover? "

P/O George Simpson. 156270.RAF (VR). Wireless Operator.
† Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 6.

P/O Samuel ‘Sam’ Greenlees. 149108. RAF (VR). Flight Engineer.
† Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 5.

P/O John Walter Hardcastle. 158893. RAF (VR). Air Gunner.
† Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 7.

F/Sgt John Sherman Ferris. R129539. RCAF. Air Gunner. Age 20. From Tiverton, Ontario, Canada.
W/O 2 John Sherman Ferris is buried in † Limmer British Cemetery, Hanover, Germany. 16. B. 1.
————————————————————————————————————

#22 Kim T

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:16 PM

Hello Michael

Wow! What an amazing response thank you so much.

I can tell you that Sherman was the best man at Grandads sisters wedding and we have a picture that was taken five weeks before Sherman was killed. I can also tell you that all the crew used to stay with Grandads parents who had a little boarding house in Selby. Grandads brother in law was called Jack Begg who was alos on 78 Sq and was a navigator and flew from Burn on Wellingtons then the Halifax.

Any info you may have on him would also be fantastic.

Can I ask you what is 'Preston's Own' data base and what would you like to know from Grandad?

I am sure I can put you both in touch. He is an amazing man with an even more amazing memory and is as sharp as a pin.

#23 Michael Moores LeBlanc

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 11:12 PM

Hello Kim,
Many thanks for your prompt reply. It is most encouraging. Many thanks for the addition details about Sherman.

If you can tell me which period Jack Begg was with 78 I'll see what I can find on him. My transcribed entries for posting to the unit begin in July '43 end in July 1944. Either he must have served before or after this period or there has been an error in my input as I cannot find the name with my search engine.

'Preston's Own' was the 'honoury' name of the Squadron.

As per Sqdn records: 04/04/39: The squadron was affiliated with the town of Preston.

It is also the title of my computer files on the unit.

Way back in the late 80's or so, I order a copy of the Sqdn's 540's & 541 on microfilm and began transcribing the material to a cpu. (grrrr -ruined my right eye reading them with a printer's lens but was fortunate enough to find a microfilm reader at a surplus shop about a year later for $10.00. (I understand these films are on CD today).

What I have transcribed, in their entirety, directly from the records, are the records of for WWI & the 1939-1941 period, but do have some substantial 'selected transcriptions' from other periods on file (ei: Postings & promoptions from 1943 -1945). List of operations by each individual (1939-1941). Combat reports, Monthly Operational Summaries, etc.

Most of the initial focus was on the crews of the 196 or so aircraft missing from the Sqdn. To this I have added excerpts from correspondence from 380+ former members of the unit. I also have a number of pictures but as my work was done in the period before the internet was a force and reproduction of images was very expensive, most are photocopies, with one major exception. Through pure serendipity I was able to obtain 78's negatives of photo album of Bull's Eye photos, often including with them a picture of the pilot and the B/A.

I also have a copy of the Sqdn Flight Enginer's (Ivor Easton) Log book covering the period from July-1943 onward (last transcription is for August '44) - but this must be, for obvious reasons, used with discretion in public use.

I gathered 'Preston's Own' material from 1983 onward and attended two of their reunions in 1990 & 1994. At the same time I did a great deal of research about air operations on the night of 24-25 May, 1944, recovering the stories of all a/c & crews (British & Luftwaffe) lost that night. My uncle's bomber LV905 'W' was lost that night. After 20 years of effort, we received 'official sanction' and recovered it and the remains of five of Willie's crew in 2006, in Hank, Holland.
See: Salvage Halifax 1944 Foundation

By the late 1990's my association with 78 on a more or less intimate & intense basis became very discouraging. Every day's mail seemed to bring bad news about the death or poor health of some old friend and at X-mas 1999 my own heart faltered. As a consequence, I lost energy and left this work 'in limbo' and have only, since my retirement last December, started working on the files again and wish to begin where I left off 10 years ago. The 'shades' of that generation continue to haunt me and inspire me . . . and wonderful they are to do so.

It should be mentioned that in the mid-90's that my research focus was strongly divided. I discovered 'evaders' while researching surviving airmen shot down the same night as my uncle in May of '44. I learned that 12 of the 18 ended up on a false escape line set up by German military intelligence in Antwerp. With an interruption of a year or so, I have maintained a strong continuing interest in this subject, discovering along the way the stories of some of 'Preston's Own' men with very remarkable experiences, but have not yet co-related the two difference research branches.
See: Escape and Evasion - Michael Moores LeBlanc

Many thanks for your offer to put me in touch with 'Grandad'. Value him. He's special and of a type getting rarer each day. You asked what I would like to know from him. The answer is 'everything' he'd care to share - stories - photo's - all the kinds things that would be of natural interest to you. In return, I would happy share what input I might have on folks he knew or what might otherwise be of interest to him.

Kim, if you are willing to co-ordinate the effort, who knows what might result and what forgotten memories might be invoked before they are finally lost forever.

My address is:
30074 Hwy 134
Dalhousie Junction, NB. Canada E3N 6B6.

Cheers,
Michael Moores LeBlanc
mooresleblanc@gmail.com

#24 Kim T

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 05:21 PM

Hello Michael

I am more than willing to co-ordinate so that you can speak with Grandad. Most years he visits Canada as his siter married Jack Begg (Canadian) and there are nephew etc to see etc. Unfortunately this year Grandad has to have some surgery which would prevent him from flying.

I think Jack was now not with 78 Sq so will find out which one it was and come back to you with that info.
I do know that Grandad flew with an Australian called Wally Choo (not sure of the spelling). I will email and maybe you and Grandad can have a chat on the phone or better still maybe next year meet up.

Thank so much again for all this wonderful information.

Kim


#25 lancaster103

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 12:11 PM

Dear Michael,

I am new to WWII forums and I read your post from 2009 with interest, as I would love to find out as much about 78 Squadron RAF as I can. My Grandfather (Plt.Of WCR Foale) flew with 78 Sqdn at an RAF VR in WWII until his death in 1943, his Halifax being shot down over Holland and he and his crew are buried in Eindhoven. My Grandmother died in 2006 and then my own father in 2008, so I am now feel I am the member of the family who needs to keep the memories of my Grandfather alive. Any information you may be able to share with me, in particular relating to my Grandad, I would be most grateful for.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Foale


Hello Rob,

Please contact me because I have information about Halifax W7932 crashed 11/12 June 1943 over Sambeek,Holland a.zantvoortATonsneteindhoven.nl . replace "AT" for @

Looking forward to hear from you,
Adrian




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