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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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Geoffrey Allison Danby R.N.V.R
18.12.1943 No. 770 Squadron Chesapeake AL915 Sub Lt. Geoffrey A. Danby

Operation: Training

Date: 18th December 1943 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 770 Squadron (Fleet Air Arm)

Type: Vought-Sikorsky Chesapeake

Serial: AL915

Base: HMS Jackdaw (Crail)

Location: North Sea, 1.5 miles off Crail, Scotland

Pilot: Sub-Lt (A) Geoffrey Allison Danby RNVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC Hugh McEntee FX86884 RN Age 20. Killed

Sadly we understand that Gillian Danby has since passed away


During a low level training run dropping torpedoes, the Chesapeake that they were flying, developed engine trouble and the pilot ditched in the sea some 1.5 miles off Crail, Scotland.

Above: Sub-Lt (A) Geoffrey Allison Danby (courtesy Steve Farnell and Gillian Danby) Extreme right: LAC Hugh McEntee also shown below. (courtesy Tony McEntee)

The relatives inform us that the pilot tried to assist the Air Gunner and as such was exposed to the extreme cold conditions of the North Sea. It is thought that he died from hypothermia shortly after swimming to the shore and before assistance could be sought. The body of LAC McEntee was also discovered on the shore.

Vought-Sikorsky Chesapeake

Graves of Sub-Lt. Danby and of LAC Hugh McEntee (courtesy Steve Farnell and Peter Lucas)

Burial details:

Sub-Lt (A) Geoffrey Allison Danby. Wakefield Cemetery. Sec C. Grave 147. Born in Scarborough district, Yorkshire on 01st March 1922. Son of Christopher Robert (1897-1969) and May Danby (1902-1972), of Lupsett, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. Brother to Peter and Harvey ‘Gordon’. Peter worked during the war as a mechanical engineer within the much needed coal industry as such was exempt from serving in the forces. Gordon was too young to serve.

Sub-Lt. Danby carried out his training as a pilot between 22nd March 1943 - June 1943 at H.M.S. Heron, Yeovilton, Somerset, England.

Right: The grave of Sub-Lt. Danby cleaned up and flowers placed by Michael Bowers.

LAC Hugh McEntee. Leigh Cemetery. Sec. 25. Grave F.35. Son of Laurence and Ellen McEntee, of Leigh, Lancashire, England.

Researched for relatives of this crew with thanks to Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame and to Steve Farnell for providing photographs also to the relative of the pilot, Gillian Danby. With thanks also to Hans Houterman for additional information on the pilot, we have also contributed to his information on his website. Peter Lucas for the grave photo of LAC Hugh McEntee. Tony McEntee for other photographs of LAC McEntee. Michael Bowers for his careful work on cleaning the grave of Sub-Lt. Danby, together with placing flowers in November 2014.

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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