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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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Bomber Command Crest
02.06.1942 No. 1452 Flight Boston III W8257 F/O. Anthony F. McManemy

Operation: Turbinlite training

Date: 02nd June 1942 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 1452 Flight

Type: Boston III (Havoc DB-7)

Serial: W8257

Code: ?

Base: RAF West Malling

Location: Fant Farm, Farleigh, Kent

Pilot: F/O. Anthony Francis McManemy 67661 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Obs: Sgt. Gordon Richard Fennell 902039 RAFVR Age 22. Killed


1452 Flight: On operations they co-operated at first with the Boulton Paul Defiants of 264 Squadron and later with the Hawker Hurricanes of 32 Squadron. The flight was replaced with 531 Squadron on 8 September 1942, but officially disbanded as late as 22 January 1943.

During a Turbinlite training run a Hurricane from 32 Squadron was involved in a mid air collision with Havoc W8257. It is understood that the Czech pilot, Fl/Sgt. Josef Vejlupek 787449 RAFVR although injured, managed to crash land his Hurricane. The pilot and observer from the Havoc were both killed when their aircraft crashed at Fant Farm, Farleigh, Kent.

UPDATE: December 2016 - Aircrew Remembered have been contacted by the daughter of the Hurricane pilot. Ms. Linda Vejlupkova will be providing us with further details soon. After the accident he was hospitalised, then went to Medicine Hat as an instructor prior to returning to UK for further active service.

Right: Fl/Sgt. Josef Vejlupek 787449 RAFVR

Transferred back to the Czech Airforce in Czechoslovakia, August 1945, he later escaped the Communist Coup and persecution of the returning Czech airmen and rejoined the RAF as a 'Ferryman', taking the last Spitfires and Meteor jets out to Penang and Singapore. He flew one of the three spitfires that were the last to participate in action. Sadly Fl/Sgt. Vejlupek passed away in 1997 and is buried at Klatovy, Czech Republic. (Born 30th January 1919 - retired as Flying Officer - also known as Frank Walters)

Above photographs courtesy of Steve Airzee

531 Squadron, which had taken over men and machines, carried on flying the Turbinlite Bostons and Havocs till the system was abandoned on 25 January 1943, when Turbinlite squadrons were, due to lack of success on their part and the rapid development of AI radar, thought to be superfluous.

Burial details:

F/O. Anthony Francis McManemy. Sevenoaks Cemetery (Greatness Park) Sec. B. R.C. Grave 0593. Son of Joseph and Margaret McManemy, of Sevenoaks, husband of Audrey McManemy, of West Malling, Kent, England.

Sgt. Gordon Richard Fennell. Maidstone Cemetery, Kent. Plot C.C.1. Grave 122. Son of William and Ethel V.M. Fennell, of Plymouth, Devon, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Steven Airzee, his mother being a niece of the observer. With thanks to sources as shown and also to the chaps on the RAF Commands Forum for some of the information.

KTY - 19.02.2016 further photographs added.

KTY - 16.12.2016 Hurricane pilot details added

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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