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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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36 crest
27.08.1944 36 Squadron Wellington XIV HF247 Flt Sgt. McCormick

Operation: Anti submarine patrol

Date: 27 August 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: 36 Squadron (motto: Rajawali raja langit - 'Eagle King of the Sky') 338 Wing, 210 Group. Mediterranean Allied Coastal Airforce

Type: Wellington XIV (Leigh Light equipped)

Serial: HF247

Code: RW:F

Base: Reghaia, Algeria

Location: Mediterranean Sea

Pilot: Flt Sgt. Albert Edward McCormick 39069 RNZAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed

2nd Pilot: Flt Sgt. William Arthur Dugald Alexander Knight 42650 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed.

Nav: Sgt. Stephen Hale - Survived/No Further details

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Jack Goodall 1620835 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. McLennan - Survived/No Further details

Air Gnr (R): Sgt. Colvill - Survived/No Further details


On detachment to Alghero in Sardinia taking off at 01:03 hrs on anti submarine patrol and investigating a contact made at 02:30 hrs.

Nothing was found during 3 Leigh Light runs over the area. During the last run the aircraft accidentally struck the water and crashed.

Sgt. Hale, Sgt. McLennan and Sgt. Colvill survived the crash and took to the aircraft dinghy. They were picked up by a US Catalina at 17:30 hrs the next day

The Leigh Light was a British World War II era anti-submarine device. It was a powerful (22 million candela) carbon arc searchlight of 24 inches 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. Early night operations with the new Air-to-Surface Vessel radar (ASV) demonstrated that the radar's minimum range of about 1 kilometre meant that the target was still invisible when it disappeared off the radar display. Efforts to reduce this minimum were not successful, so Wing Commander Humphrey de Verd Leigh hit upon the idea of using a searchlight that would be switched on just when the target was about to disappear on radar. The U-boat had insufficient time to dive and the bombardier had a clear view of the target. Introduced in June 1942, 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.

Burial and personal details:

Flt Sgt. Albert Edward McCormick. Malta Memorial. Panel 17. Column 2. Born 24th June 1915 at Wanganui. Son of Edward and Mary Jane McCormick (nee Phillips), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand.

Worked as a clerk for Provident Life Insurance prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF as a clerk on the 20th September 1939 - re-mustered as a pilot u/t on the 27th July 1942. Embarked for Canada on the 24th December 1942. Awarded pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 14th May 1943. Embarked for England on the 26th August 1943. Further training at 78 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on 8th April 1944. Embarked for Palestine on the 19th February 1944. Flew by Dakota to Algeria via Libya in June 1944. Joined 36 Sqn on the 6th July 1944. A total of 461 flying hours logged and on his 2nd operational sortie.

Flt Sgt. William Arthur Dugald Alexander Knight. Malta Memorial. Panel 17. Column 2. Also remembered on family grave at the Eastern Cemetery, Invercargill Southland, New Zealand. Born on the 4th May 1920 at Invercargill. Son of William (died 14th April 1954, age 71) and of Dorothy Knight (nee Livingstone - died 14th March 1979, age 97), of Glencoe, Southland, New Zealand.

A student teacher for Otago Education Board prior to service. Served a year in the territorial army prior to enlisting 22nd January 1942 at Wigram. Embarked for Canada on the 31st October 1942. Pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 2nd April 1943. Embarked for England on the 3rd August 1943 via New York. Further training at various units including No. 15 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit on the 06th September 1943. Further training at 78 Operational Training Unit on 29th May 1944. Embarked for Palestine on the on the 27th March 1944. Flew by Dakota to Algeria via Libya in June 1944. Joined 36 squadron on the 6th July 1944. A total of 431 flying hours logged and on his 2nd operational sortie.

Sgt. Jack Goodall. Malta Memorial. Panel 15, Column 1. Born in Jan 1922 in Fylde, Lancashire. Son of George and Florence (née Bagot) Goodall of Fylde, Lancashire, England.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) (Aug 2021) and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, grave photo courtesy Garry Parkes. Updated with names of surviving aircrew by Aircrew Remembered (Feb 2022). Other sources as quoted below:

RS 05.02.2022 - Surviving Crew members identified

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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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