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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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276 squadron badge
24.08.1942 No 276 Squadron Lysander II T1696 P/O. Ernst

Operation: Air Sea Rescue - training

Date: 24th August 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 276 Squadron (motto: 'Retrieve')

Type: Lysander IIIA

Serial: T1696

Code: AQ-H

Base: RAF Harrowbeer, Yelverton, Devon

Location: Lyme Bay, Dorset

Pilot: P/O. Jack Douglas Ernst J/9755 RCAF Age 21. Missing

Obs: AC 2. Stuart Henry Fleet 1419191 RAFVR Age 18. Missing



Taking off from RAF Harrowbear at 14:50 hrs for a training exercise over Lyme Bay, Dorset practising air sea rescue procedures.

A crew of two were required in the Lysander as one had to check the dinghies as they are dropped. Two members of the Squadron wanted to take part with P/O. Ernst, A.C. Fleet and another member - to decide they felt the fairest way was to toss a coin, Stuart Fleet 'won'. (See newspaper article)

He was also to act as the rear gunner during the patrol. After approx. 10 minutes into their flight over Start Point two FW.190's were reported dropping their bombs in the Brixham area.

A warning broadcast was made by operations to the Lysander pilot.

They were last heard from at 15:30 hrs but no reply had been received from P/O. Ernst and it is thought that they were shot down by the two FW.190's.

A search was made very quickly at 16:40 hrs by Sgt. Coleman and Sgt. Douglas in Lysander V9743 with no results, with the aircraft ordered back to base due to adverse weather conditions.

No searches were made the following day probably due to the weather. On the 26th August again two more searches were made in the 'Start Point' area. At 14:05 hrs Walrus W3206 piloted by P/O. Galbraith started his search, sadly nothing was found and they landed back at base at 17:00 hrs. A further search was carried out by Fl/Sgt. Dimblebee with Sgr. Fardley in Lysander V9743, taking off at 18:10 hrs and returning at 19:55 hrs.

(With thanks to Michael Hayes, archivist for RAF Harrowbeer for this very detailed information)

(newspaper article courtesy Michael Hayes)

Course 22A 58 OTU, Grangemouth, Scotland:

Front row: P/O Smith K.J., P/O. Draper G.C., Fl/Lt. McCarthy-Jones C.C.(P.o.W. 26th July 1943 - 504 Squadron), P/O. Draper J.W.P., P/O. Hawkins J.B., P/O. Dunn P.H.

Centre Row: P/O. King R.L.(Believed killed 2nd December 1942 - 122 Squadron), P/O. Stevenson A.G., P/O. Winchester A.G., P/O. Ernst J.D.(Killed 24th August 1942 - 276 Squadron), P/O. Glenwright G.E.(Believed killed 26th December 1942 - 152 Squadron), P/O. Spretzel J.R.

Rear Row: F/O. Ryszard Józef Strozak P-1498.(Killed 20th November 1942 - 65 Squadron) , P/O. Ellington P.M.A. P/O. Holmes H.C.H. P/O. Butler W.M.(Killed 18th June 1942 - 58 O.T.U.), P/O. Falls T.M., P/O. Peppler G.E., P/O. Chandler R.J., P/O. Stanisław Podobinski P-1691 / 784802. (Killed 14th December 1943 - 303 Squadron)

Burial details:

P/O. Jack Douglas Ernst. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 100. Son of F. W. Eldon Ernst and of Emma Ernst (nee Kuehner). But adopted by his Aunt, Miss E. Schlote, 100 King Street, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Born on 13th March 1921. Public School hobbies included Hunting, fishing, school reports state that he was active in Hockey, Rugby and Baseball. When he joined 58 OTU he had accumulated 165 hours flying.

AC 2. Stuart Henry Fleet. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 98. Son of George Henry and Winifred Florence Fleet, of Westhill, Devon. Stuart was keen on aviation from early on in his life. Stuart joined the Torquay A.T.C. Squadron and when old enough became an RAF Volunteer Reserve. After his training he was posted to RAF Harrowbeer as a member of No. 276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron’s Ground Crew.

Researched for relatives of this crew, very little is recorded on this type of loss and it is good that we remember them. With thanks to the following for further information, the Grangemouth Air Cadets and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old'.

KTY Updated 21.11.2019

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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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