21/22.02.1944 179 Squadron Wellington XIV HF307 RH:L Fg.Off. Ellis DFC.
Operation: Anti-submarine patrol
Date: 21st/22nd February 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 179 Squadron (Coastal Command)
Type: Wellington XIV
Base: RAF Gibraltar
Location: Strait of Gibraltar
Pilot: Fg.Off. Arthur Hubert Ellis DFC. 123836 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed
Pilot: Sgt. Terence Clifton Akeroyd 553511 RAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Nav: Flt.Sgt. Thomas Arthur Hamilton 656191 RAF Age 25. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Peter McDonald Macintyre J85174 RCAF Age 22. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Philip Downs 1315882 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1)
Air Gnr (Rear): Plt.Off. Orrie Frank Hyndman J85102 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from Gibraltar at 21:38 hrs in a Leigh light equipped Wellington (2) on an anti-submarine patrol.
The aircraft failed to return at the estimated time of arrival of 08:05 hrs on the 22nd February and listed as ‘missing’.
We have been unable to find any further details on the loss of this aircraft and crew. Some bodies were later recovered and buried as shown below. We welcome any further details and of course contact from other relatives.
Above left: Believed to the crew or some members from it. Plt.Off. Orrie Frank Hyndman standing on extreme left - are you able to recognise the others? Right: Final logbook entry for Plt.Off. Hyndman.
However, at least one of those listed as missing is probably buried in the same cemetery as some of the others as there is an unmarked grave for an airman lost on this date - sadly the authority assigned to the identification of unidentified aircrew was disbanded before they could finish their task - consequently we have the Malta Memorial, Runnymede and many others dedicated to aircrew who have no known grave. Wonderful they are, but not a substitute for a grave where relatives are able to pay their respects!
(1) We are in contact with the brother (Victor Downs 87 living in Canada) and sister Grace Mewse née Downs in England) of Sgt. John Philip Downs (February 2016) and Grace kindly sent us some photos in her collection. John was the 3rd eldest of 8 children (sadly the eldest 3 died early in life - no details on the other 2) Their father served in WW1 and although gassed and suffered shrapnel wounds went on to serve for a brief period in WW2 with the RAF at Kidbrooke, England. Sir Howard Kingsley Wood, Air Minister, visited Kidbooke in 1939 as part of the recruitment drive for 5,000 (1500 for Kidbrooke) men, aged over 35, to join the Balloon Service.
Shown left is the Old School at Okehampton where Grace and her other brother, Gordon was evacuated to during the war - John visited them there prior to leaving on his last journey to Gibraltar. The family never saw him again.
Above right, believed to be the crew on top of a Ju87 (believed to be in Gibraltar) from Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2) Immelmann was a Luftwaffe Dive bomber-wing of World War II. It was named after Max Immelmann in 1939. The unit was originally formed as Fliegergruppe Schwerin in 1934. The first Stuka wing of its type, attaining the sobriquet 'Immelmann' in 1935. The wing was raised to gruppe status in 1939.
DFC citation: Flying Officer Arthur Hubert Ellis (123836), Royal Air Force Volunteer- Reserve, No. 179 Squadron
"This officer has displayed, great skill, courage and resolution in several engagements with the enemy's under water craft. On one occasion, in January, 1944 his aircraft sustained severe damage, making it very difficult to control. Despite this, Flying Officer Ellis pressed home his attack and afterwards flew the damaged aircraft to base. This officer has participated in a very large number of sorties and has displayed outstanding keenness and great devotion to duty".
(2) Orrie (Orie) Frank Hyndman was born on the 12th December 1921 near Oak River, Manitoba, the son of Laura May Peters and Frank Shaw Hyndman, attended school in Rapid City, then enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Four sons served with the forces, the others - Gunner Nyall Dennis Hyndman MM. with the 2nd RCHA, 48th Highlanders, Trooper Harold Earl 'Timer’ Hyndman Queens Cameron Highlanders, Robert John ‘Bob’ Hyndman with the 7th Field Regiment R.C. artillery - all returned home except Plt.Off. Orrie Frank Hyndman. LAC Hyndman made his first flight on 25 September 1941 as a passenger in a Norse piloted by Fg.Off Montgomery. Qualified as a Wireless Operator on 07th December 1941 at No. 2 Wireless School in Calgary, Alberta. Then qualified as an Air Gunner on the 30th December 1941 at No.3 B. and G. School at Macdonald, Manitoba, completing his training on the 31st August 1942 with No.3 (C) OTV. Assigned to Royal Air Force 179 Squadron, made his first orientation flight at Chivenor (England) on the 27th October 1942, flew from Chivenor to Gibraltar on the 17/18th March 1943, making his first operational sortie as a Wireless operator/Air Gunner on an anti-submarine sweep of the Mediterranean on the 1st April 1943.
On 29 August 1943 Orrie was a Wireless operator/Air Gunner on Wellington RH:W when it crashed on take-off, all crew escaped safely, Orrie evacuated the sinking plane through the astro hatch.
"On the 22nd November 1943, Orrie went on leave to England, confiding in friends there his premonition that he would never return to family in Canada. (Note: Orrie signs his Log Book as a Sergeant in September 1943, shows no rank for October through till December, then signs as a Plt.Off. in January 1944.) Orrie returned to Gibraltar on the 28th January 1944 and resumed flying with the aircrew of Fg.Off Ellis."
(2) The Leigh Light (abbreviated L/L) was a British World War II era anti-submarine device used in the Battle of the Atlantic. It was a powerful (22 million candela) carbon arc searchlight of 24 inches (610 mm) diameter fitted to a number of the British Royal Air Force's Coastal Command patrol bombers to help them spot surfaced German U-boats at night. It was used from June 1942 onwards to attack U-boats recharging their batteries on the surface at night, when they had previously been relatively safe from attack. The aircraft would approach the submarine using its ASV (Air-to-Surface Vessel) radar and only switch on the searchlight beam during the final approach. The U-boat had insufficient time to dive and the bombardier had a clear view of the target. It was so successful that for a time German submarines were forced to switch to charging their batteries during the daytime, when they could at least see aircraft approaching. (courtesy Wikepidia)
Above 179 Squadron line up (courtesy Kevin Weatherhead - see acknowledgements)
Fg.Off. Arthur Hubert Ellis DFC. Malta Memorial. Panel 13. Column 1. Son of Frederic Henry and Ida Elizabeth Ellis, of Northampton, England. Married Gwendoline Ada Jackson at Northampton in the June 1943 Qtr. No children. She remarried in 1955 and passed away in 1993.
Flt.Sgt. Thomas Arthur Hamilton. Tangier Cemetery (St. Andrew). Collective grave 106. Son of Thomas Alfred and Florence Elizabeth Hamilton, of Earlsfield, London, England. Grave inscription reads ‘Not Just To-Day, But Every Day, We Remember, Mum And Dad.’
Plt.Off. Peter McDonald Macintyre. Tangier Cemetery (St. Andrew). Collective grave 106. Born in Toronto 19th April 1918, he was one of six sons of Peter McDonald and Annis (née Roxborough) Macintyre of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Plt.Off. Peter McDonald Macintyre shown right.
The youngest son, Roderick, was in the RCAF stationed in the UK when his brother was lost. In 1921, the family moved to Winnipeg where Macintyre Sr. was employed as a chemist. Enlisting in the RCAF on 15 March 1941 he was originally an Aircraft Engine Fitter. Commissioned and promoted to Plt.Off. 26 January 1944. His NCO service number had been R100006 while that of Plt.Off. Hyndman had been R100014, indicating a same day enlistment at Winnipeg. Macintyre Bay
in Barnes Lake was named after Peter in 1995.
Sgt. John Philip Downs. Tangier Cemetery (St. Andrew). Collective grave 106. Son of John P. Goldsmith Downs and Grace Downs, of Borough, London, England. Grave inscription reads ‘Your Duty Done, And Battle Won, We Will Always Remember, A Gallant Son, Mum And Dad.’
Plt.Off. Orrie Frank Hyndman. Malta Memorial. Panel 16. Column 1. Born 12th December 1921 in Manitoba. Son of Frank Shaw and Laura May (née Peters) Hyndman from Rapid City, Manitoba, Canada.
Sgt. Terence Clifton Akeroyd. Malta Memorial. Panel 14. Column 2. Born in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire in the 3rd qtr 1923, he was the son of Wilfred Stubley and Hannah (née Clifton) Akeroyd of Wakefield. He had an older brother, Wilfred and a younger sister, Sheila.
With many thanks to ‘Timer’ - age 90, brother of Orrie and guardian of his log books, photographs and documents. Also to Grace Mewse - sister of Sgt. John Philip Downs who contacted Aircrew Remembered in February 2016. With thanks to Bob Boston for permission to use grave photographs (61193221). With thanks also to Kevin Weatherhead for the use of Gibraltar and Squadron photographs. Also to Dave Champion for additional details and corrections - February 2019. For further details our thanks to the following sources: