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Paul McGuiness RAAF Archive
Paul McGuiness is an Australian aviation researcher and historian. Using primary sources he has assembled detailed information on the history of each plane
used by Australians and Australian forces in WWl and WW2, and on personnel involved.

This page contains many names, dates, locations. To help find the one(s) you're interested in, use our Highlighting facility.
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History of Australian Military Aviation

First World War

Armstrong Whitworth FK3

Avro 504

Bristol F2b Fighter

Fairey Aviation Model lllD Seaplane

Martinsyde G.100 G 102 Elephant

Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2

Royal Aircraft Factory BE12

Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A Experimental Scout

Sopwith Camel B Series

Sopwith Camel C D E F Series

Sopwith Snipe

Sopwith Scout (Pup)

Sopwith 1½ Strutter

Supermarine Seagull lll

Supermarine Southampton Mk 1

Westland Wapiti


Post First World War

Bristol Bulldog

De Havilland DH.9A

Hawker Demon

Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5A

Avro 504K


Second World War

10 Sqd Sunderlands

458 Sqd Wellingtons

460 Sqd Wellingtons

461 Sqd Sunderlands

462 Sqd Halifax Part 1 MTO

466 Sqd Wellingtons


Further Information:

Aces and Aviators WWl Database

Material Relating to Australia

No.10 (GR) Squadron RAAF in WW2

A Brief History of Short Sunderland in Squadron Service

10 Crest RAAF

On 28th of May 1939 the Australian Government announced that a £500,000 Contract was awarded to Short Brothers for the provision of nine Sunderland Mk.I GR aircraft. These aircraft were to form the backbone of Australia’s new long range maritime force and to that end No.10 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force was formed at RAAF Base Point Cook, Victoria on the 1st of July 1939. Squadron Leader Leon Victor Lachal was appointed as the Commanding Officer of a motley collection of aircraft consisting of two Supermarine Seagull V amphibians, a de Havilland DH.60 Moth floatplane and, a Supermarine Southampton flying boat.

The Government’s intention was for some of the Squadron personnel to go to England and collect six of the new Sunderland Aircraft and return to Australia in September 1939. Therefore on 17th of July eight RAAF pilots departed Darwin by air and flew to the UK, this group was preceded by a party of 15 who left Australia aboard the RMS Strathaird on the 11th of July. The pilots went to RAF Calshot for a conversion course on four engined flying boats flying Short Singapore III aircraft, while the ground party of 15 proceeded to RAF Station Pembroke Dock for training on Sunderland aircraft.

Delays meant the Sunderlands were not available on the expected delivery date[s] and the first six aircraft were not collected until the last two were delivered on the 3rd of October. Meanwhile, War had broken out and 20 October 1939 the Australian War Cabinet informed the Squadron they were being placed under RAF Coastal Command for the foreseeable future to assist with the British war effort. Only three days later Flight Lieutenant William Garing and crew flew Sunderland N9049 on the Squadron’s first Operational Sortie to Bizerta, Tunisia and return. By the end of December 1939 the Squadron had its full complement of nine Mk.I Sunderlands but, personnel strength was only 213 people which was less than half of the authorised wartime establishment of 453 men.

The squadron was initially part of 15 Group based at Pembroke Dock in Wales and became fully operational on the 1st of February 1940. In April it moved to RAF Station Mount Batten in Plymouth Sound where it spent most of its war tenure in the UK. The Squadron’s primary role was to seek and destroy German U-boats with secondary roles of Air Sea Rescue and Transportation missions. 1940 saw the squadron mainly providing ASW escorts to Allied convoys in the north-western Atlantic Ocean but the focus changed in early 1941 when the Squadron began its long association with the Bay of Biscay. From 1941 to 1944 the squadron flew many, many patrols in their quest to find and destroy U-boats and when the submarines were effectively neutralized by the end of 1944 the squadron was returned to the convoy escort role in early 1945.

The squadron's two main bases were Pembroke Dock (October 1939 - April 1940, June 1941 - January 1942) and Mount Batten, near Plymouth in southern England (April 1940 - June 1941, January 1942 - October 1945) but small detachments also operated from Gibraltar (July - August 1940) and Oban in western Scotland (July 1940 - April 1941). The 10 Squadron Operations Record Book states they flew 3,239 Operational sorties totaling 34,111 hours and 10 minutes. In that time the aircraft flew 4,742,775 sea miles and was credited with sinking six U-boats and damaging a further eight. 151 Squadron members gave their lives, the majority of these in the Bay of Biscay.

10 Squadron ceased operations on 1 June 1945, having sunk six submarines since February 1940, and was preparing to redeploy to the Pacific theatre, but the war there ended before this could happen. 10 Squadron disbanded on 26 October 1945 but was reformed on 1st March 1949 at RAAF Base Townsville with modified Lincoln heavy bombers to conduct maritime and anti-submarine patrols over northern Australia and the South Pacific.

Year

Month

Location

Sorties

Operational

Losses

Non-Operational

Losses

1940

Feb-Apr

Pembroke Dock

67

0

0

Apr-Dec

Mount Batten

430

1

2

1941

Jan-Jun

Mount Batten

220

4

0

Jun-Dec

Pembroke Dock

309

2

0

1942

Jan

Pembroke Dock

18

0

0

Jan-Dec

Mount Batten

499

5

0

1943

Jan-Dec

Mount Batten

661

7

0

1944

Jan-Dec

Mount Batten

741

2

1

1945

Jan-Jun

Mount Batten

294

1

0

3,239

22

3

Table 1. Summary of 10Sqn RAAF Sorties Flown and Aircraft Losses

The Squadron is known to have operated 61 Sunderland aircraft of various Marks and of that total 25 were lost through operational and non-operational causes. The remainder of this document details the history of the 25 aircraft lost and the men who flew them.

N9048 N9049 P9601 P9602 P9603

T9047 T9072 T9075 W3979 W3985

W3986 W3994 W3999 W4004 W4019

W4020 W6054 DP177 DP179 DV969

DV993 EK574 JM678 ML829 ML839

Table 2 – Serials of 10Sqn RAAF Sunderland Aircraft Losses 1940-45

Photographic Information.

All photographs used in this document are in the Public Domain and not subject to Copyright

N9048

00Jul39 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft Serial N9048 was the 5th of seven Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range N9044-N9050 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No.774293/38 with Shorts construction number S1019. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbocharged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero-engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

10Sep39 Members of 10Sqn RAAF proceeded by rail to the Short Bros factory in Rochester to take over the first Sunderland aircraft for the squadron. The crew was Wing Commander L.V Lachal, Flight Lieutenant W.H Garing, Flight Lieutenant C.W Pearce, Warrant Officer Clarke, Sergeant Richmond, Sergeant O’Donnell and CPL Tennent.

leon lachal gibson pearce podger garing 10 sqd raaf

Wales. C. 1939. The first CO of No. 10 Squadron RAAF, Wing Commander Leon V. Lachal, left, at the RAF Station Pembroke Dock, speaking with four of the original members of the Squadron. Left to right: Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) W 'Bill' N. Gibson; Flt Lt Charles W. Pearce; FO Ivan S. Podger; Flt Lt W 'Bill' H. Garing.

[Air Commodore Leon Victor Lachal (18 May 1904 – 12 March 1983) went on to become CBE a senior commander in the RAAF. CBE]

11Sep39 WNGCDR Lachal and crew departed Rochester at 1140hrs for the ferry flight to Pembroke Dock. At 1245hrs the aircraft was forced to divert to RAF Calshot when one of the engines failed. The crew remained at Calshot for two weeks until a new engine could be acquired and fitted to the aircraft.

25Sep39 A successful 30min test flight was flown at 1133hrs followed by a 1445hrs departure for the 1hr 55min ferry flight to Pembroke Dock. This was the third of nine Sunderland aircraft initially authorised by the RAF for use with 10Sqn RAAF. Taken on charge and coded RB-A.

28Sep39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 90min Local Familiarization flight.

16Oct39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 55min local training flight

23Oct39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 55min local training flight

31Oct39 No operational missions were flown but an unknown number of non-operational flights were made in October 1939. The early history detailed in the 10 Squadron Operational Record Book only shows operational flights or non-operational flights of particular note. The mundane day-to-day training flight particulars were not recorded in the ORB although numerous generalised entries refer to the heavy training schedule flown during the period from October 1939 to January 1940.

01Nov39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 30min local training flight

09Nov39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 15min ferry flight to Falmouth carrying several airmen passengers. Return 1hr 10min journey the same day.

20Nov39 0920hrs FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 2hr 20min Circuits & Landings exercise instructing other pilots

1640hrs FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 4hr 20min Circuits & Landings night flying exercise instructing other pilots

24Nov39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 30min local training flight

05Dec39 FLTLT W.H Garing with a crew of were FLGOFF Hugh Milton 'Smokey' Birch, P/O J.A Costello, S/L Chaplin, SGT O’Donnell, CPL Sykes, SGT Smith and AC1 Cadd departed Pembroke Dock at 1300hrs for a 2hr 50mmin transit flight to RAF Stranraer, Scotland. This was the first leg of a mission to carry urgently needed spares to a stranded 210Sqn Sunderland in the Shetland Isles.

06Dec39 FLTLT W.H Garing and crew departed RAF Stranraer at 0800hrs and arrived at Sullom Voe, Shetlands at 1135hrs.

07Dec39 FLTLT W.H Garing and crew departed Sullom Voe at 0900hrs for a 2hr 25min transit to RAF Invergordon. On this flight the aircraft carried four RAF airmen as passengers and four unexploded 100lb German bombs which were for delivery to Royal Ordinance. From Invergordon the aircraft flew another1hr 15min to RAF Oban, where the aircraft was delayed for several days because of adverse weather.

10Dec39 FLTLT W.H Garing and crew departed RAF Oban at 0920hrs and were waterborne Pembroke Dock at 1225hrs.

28Dec39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1 hr 40min dual instruction flight with FLGOFF D.L Douglas

29Dec39 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1 hr 50min dual instruction flight with FLGOFF H.G Havyatt

06Feb40 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 25min dual instruction flight with GRPCPT Symonds

12Feb40 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1 hr 20min dual instruction flight with FLTLT A.G Dibbs

22Feb40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2 hr 5min dual instruction flight with FLTLT E.B Courtney

24Feb40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 4hr 5min night instruction flight with FLTLT A.J Cohen

Sunderland N9048 RAAF 11 Aug 1940

11th August 1940. FLTLT W.H Garing at the controls of N9048/RB-A over the Rame Peninsula, Cornwall
Rame Head and Whitsand Beach, Cornwall can be seen in the background.

01Mar40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 40min trng fight

03Mar40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 40min bombing practice sortie at the Fowey Air-to Ground Bombing Range in Cornwall.

05Mar40 1400hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 45min bombing practice sortie at Fowey

1910hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 3hr 40min night instructional flight with FLTLT I.S Podger

16Mar40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2hr 20min local training flight

20Mar40 0945hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 10min Submarine Spotting Flight

1345hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2hrs 25min Submarine Spotting Flight

31Mar40 the aircraft flew a total of five non-operational sorties in March 1940

01Apr40 Aircraft moved from RAF Pembroke Dock to the new operating base at RAF Mount Batten on the Mount Batten peninsula in Plymouth Sound, Devon

13Apr40 1st Operational Mission. SQNLDR C.W Pearce and his 11 man crew departed Mount Batten at 1200hrs on a convoy escort patrol. The convoy was located at 1625hrs and escorted until 2002hrs before the aircraft departed and completed the uneventful 9hr 40min mission when it was waterborne Mount Batten at 2140hrs

30Apr40 the aircraft flew a total of three operational sorties in April 1940

08May40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 25min test flight

13May40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 30min night instruction flight with FLTLT E.B Courtney

14May40 FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew flew two sorties on 14 & 28May taking special photographs that resulted in a high class aerial photographic mosaic of Plymouth Sound and surrounding areas.

22May40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2hr 20min local flight

31May40 the aircraft flew a total of two operational sorties and five non-operational sorties in May 1940

12Jun40 SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed Mount Batten at 1745hrs and arrived at Brest Naval Base, France at 1915hrs for a special operation.

13Jun40 SQNLDR Garing and crew departed Brest at 0300hrs and flew an anti-ship/ASW patrol off Cape Finisterre, Spain returning to Brest at 0940hrs. The aircraft ceased detachment at Brest and flew back to Mount Batten the following day.

30Jun40 the aircraft flew a total of twelve operational missions and one non-operational sortie in June 1940

13Jul40 20th Operational mission. FLTLT A.J Cohen and crew departed Mount Batten at 1140hrs on a convoy escort mission. At 1534hrs a Heinkel 111K was sighted approaching the convoy and Cohen immediately headed for the enemy aircraft. The Heinkel flew a few half-hearted attempts to close the convoy but was thwarted on every occasion and eventually disappeared to the East.

31Jul40the aircraft flew a total of four operational missions and no non-operational sorties in July 1940

11Aug40 FLGOFF H.G Havyatt and crew accompanied by Sunderland P9600 departed Mount Batten at 1030hrs for a 90 minute flight carrying a contingent of cinematographers from the ‘March of Time’ newsreel organization. The cinematographers took several air-to-air/air-to-ground/air-to-sea scenes for an upcoming propaganda story about ‘The Guardians of the Sea’.

31Aug40 the aircraft flew a total of zero operational missions and one non-operational sortie in August 1940

30Sep40 the aircraft did not make any flights in September 1940

05Oct40 SQNLDR C.W Pearce DFC and three crewmen departed Mount Batten at 0900hrs for a secret trials mission. The aircraft carried Professor Williams of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, his assistant, along with GRPCPT F.L Hopps and three other RAF Officers

Photograph showing the port side .303 inch (12.7mm) machine gun and fairing of N9048

06Oct40 22nd Operational Mission. SQNLDR C.W Pearce DFC and 11 crewmen departed Mount Batten at 0725hrs for a convoy escort patrol. However, an order to return immediately was received at 0835hrs and the aircraft headed for Base only to be told the weather was unfit for landing and ordered to divert. The Captain elected to land at RAF Calshot and was waterborne at 1145hrs.

12Oct40 FLTLT H.M Birch (below) and crew departed Mount Batten at 0340hrs for detached duty in the Middle East. The aircraft carried the Minister for War, Anthony Eden; the newly appointed Governor General of the Sudan, Lt-Gen Hubert Huddleston and his two military advisors. The aircraft ceased detached duty on 28Oct40 and returned to Mount Batten.

hugh milton birch 10 sqd raaf

31Oct40 the aircraft flew a total of nine operational missions and one non-operational sortie in October 1940

11/14Nov 31st /32nd/33rd Operational Missions. FLGOFF H.G Havyatt and crew flew three missions on 11/13/14Nov and the aim of each mission was too search for and locate a German pocket battleship of the Graf Spee class. The vessel was not located and all three missions were aborted early because of atrocious weather conditions.

27Nov40 N9048 was beached in the late afternoon and placed into a squadron hangar to undergo scheduled maintenance. At 1827hrs the air raid sirens sounded the approach of enemy bombers and at 1840hrs a salvo of four HE bombs, an oil bomb and mixed incendiaries was dropped on the 10Sqn area and the oil bomb obtained a direct hit on the hangar containing N9048. In the resultant blaze the aircraft was completely destroyed along with the hangar and everything it contained.

10Sqn personnel cleaning up the remains of N9048 on 28Nov40


The severed tail section of N9048


While serving with 10Sqn the aircraft flew a total of 49 flights, comprised of 33 operational missions and 16 non-operational flight.

N9049

00Sep39 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft Serial N9049 was the 6th of seven Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range N9044-N9050 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No.774293/38 with Shorts construction number S1020. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces..

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

08Sep39 Aircrew of 10Sqn RAAF proceeded to the Short Bros factory in Rochester to take over the aircraft. One or two days were used to inspect the boat, check its inventory and to visit the factory for discussions with workmen.

11Sep39 Aircraft flown from Rochester to No.10 Sqn RAAF at RAF Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, Wales. This was the second of nine Sunderland aircraft initially authorised by the RAF for use with 10Sqn. Taken on charge and coded RB-B. Although it was the second aircraft collected from Short Bros at Rochester it was the first aircraft to arrive at Pembroke Dock.

10Oct39 1st Operational Mission. The squadron flew its first operational flight on this day when Flight Lieutenants W.H Garing and W.N Gibson with Flying Officer I.S Podger, W/O Clarke, SGT O’Donnell, AC Rowson and AC Hoffman flew Sunderland N9049 to Tunisia with a spare engine for Sunderland N6138 of No 228 Squadron RAF which had been stranded at Bizerta, Tunisia. Special routing over France was employed for the 10 hour non-stop flight: Pembroke Dock to Ouistreham in Normandy, to Biscarosse near Bordeaux, to Carcassonne near Toulouse, to Cape Couronne near Marseille, to Marignane then Bizerta.

13Oct39 FLTLT W.H Garing and crew flew a 70min test flight ostensibly to test turret equipment. It just so happened that five senior French Air Force and Navy personnel were carried as ‘observers’.

14Oct39 2nd Operational Mission. FLTLT W.H Garing and crew departed Bizerta at 0600hrs for the 9 hour 20 min return flight to Pembroke Dock using the same flight path as the outward journey

31Oct39 the aircraft flew two operational missions and at least three non-operational flights in October 1939

30Nov39 the aircraft flew one operational mission and an unknown number of non-operational flights in November 1939. The early history detailed in the 10 Squadron Operational Record Book only shows operational flights or non-operational flights of particular note. The mundane day-to-day training flight particulars were not recorded in the ORB although numerous generalised entries refer to the heavy training schedule flown during the period from October 1939 to January 1940.

31Dec39 the aircraft flew an unknown number of non-operational flights in December 1939

09Jan40 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 50min dual instruction flight with FLTLT A.J Cohen

10Jan40 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 55min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF H.G Havyatt

12Jan40 FLTLT W.H Garing flew a 1hr 20min dive bombing practice with 11 crew.

14Jan40 FLTLT W.H Garing and a three man crew flew The Dominions Secretary Mr Anthony Eden and Group Captain F.H McNamara VC on a VIP flight over Plymouth and its surrounding area.

31Jan40 the aircraft flew no operational missions and four non-operational flights in January 1940.

28Feb40 the aircraft flew an unknown number of non-operational flights in February 1940.

31Mar40 the aircraft flew no operational missions and three non-operational flights in March 1940

02Apr40 the aircraft moved from RAF Pembroke Dock to the new operating base at RAF Mount Batten on the Mount Batten peninsula in Plymouth Sound, Devon

20Apr40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 55min Captain Test Flight for FLTLT Dibbs

30Apr40 the aircraft flew three operational missions and four non-operational flight in April 1940

31May40 the aircraft flew nine operational missions and no non-operational flights in May 1940

21Jun40 FLTLT H.M Birch and crew departed Mount Batten at 1220hrs for a convoy escort mission. At 1825hrs they sighted a lifeboat containing eight survivors and orbited while transmitting a position report. They then located the RN Destroyer HMS Nubian and directed her to the survivors.

30Jun40 the aircraft flew 12 operational missions and one non-operational flight in June 1940

12Jul40 SQNLDR C.W Pearce and crew departed Mount Batten at 0715hrs on a photographic reconnaissance of Bordeaux and St Nazaire, France. After photographing Bordeaux the aircraft set course for St Nazaire which was reached at 1247hrs at 6000ft. Almost immediately the aircraft was hit by AA fire and approximately 30 guns were seen to be firing at the aircraft. Damage was assessed as Cat.A.

18Jul40 SQNLDR W.N Gibson and crew departed Mount Batten at 0925hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 1110hrs a potentially serious petrol problem caused the pilot to make a forced landing near the convoy. The problem was rectified but the aircraft could not take-off until the bombs were jettisoned.

30Jul40 The aircraft was detached for duty at RAF Oban, Scotland and enroute FLTLT E.B Courtney and crew performed a reconnaissance of the south and east coasts of Eire.

31Jul40 the aircraft flew six operational missions and one non-operational flight in July 1940

N9049 – 3877 Fitter IIA LAC P.I Levy performing maintenance at RAF Mount Batten July 1940

31Aug40 the aircraft flew 14 operational missions and one non-operational flight in August 1940

09Sep40 FLTLT E.B Courtney and crew ceased detachment to RAF Oban and flew a 4 hour 30 minute ASW patrol on return to Mount Batten via Mull of Kintyre, Isle of Man, Holyhead and Pembroke

30Sep40 the aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in September 1940

28Oct40 The aircraft was detached for duty at RAF Oban, Scotland and enroute FLTLT E.B Courtney and crew performed an ASW patrol.

31Oct40 the aircraft flew nine operational missions and no non-operational flight in October 1940

28Nov40 FLTLT E.B Courtney and crew departed Oban at 0605hrs to provide escort for RN vessels. At 1035hrs the port inner engine failed and the mission was aborted.

30Nov40 the aircraft flew six operational missions and no non-operational flight in November 1940

27Dec40 FLGOFF V.A Hodgkinson and crew departed Oban at 0545hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 1018hrs a half-submerged submarine was sighted three miles ahead. The pilot attacked at once and dropped four 250lb Torpex depth charges from 100ft aimed 150 yards ahead of the submarine swirl and all charges exploded. The aircraft loitered in the area for another hour but nothing was seen.

31Dec40 the aircraft flew seven operational missions and three non-operational flight in December 1940

10Jan41 SQNLDR W.M Gibson and crew departed Oban at 1010hrs and ferried the aircraft arrived back to Mount Batten because it was due for a lengthy major servicing.

13Jan41 The aircraft was beached and towed to the maintenance hard stand area adjacent to the hangars. At 1840hrs a German air raid occurred and numerous incendiary and high explosive bombs fell in or near the base during the next three hours. At some time N9049 sustained shrapnel damage to the port float and struts; there were also several holes in the mainplane and hull. Cat.A damage repaired at the Unit.

31Jan41 Aircraft flew four operational missions and one non-operational flight in January 1941

10Feb41 Aircraft detached for duty at RAF Oban, Scotland and enroute FLTLT J.P Costello and crew performed an ASW patrol.

28Feb41 the aircraft flew one operational mission and no non-operational flights in February 1941

04Mar41 FLTLT J.P Costello and crew departed Oban at 0833hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 1016hrs the captain aborted the mission and returned to base when the port outer engine failed

05Mar41 FLGOFF V.A Hodgkinson and crew departed Oban at 0630hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 1100hrs a disturbance in the water was sighted approximately 12 miles ahead and when the aircraft reached six miles the disturbance was identified as a submerging submarine. At 1107hrs four 250lb depth charges were dropped on the submarine’s estimated position but no positive results were observed.

29Mar41 FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1914hrs on a shipping reconnaissance mission. At 2005hrs the port inner engine was smoking badly and the captain set course for Mount Batten. When approaching Penzance the navigation lights were switched on and the letter of the day continually flashed toward the coast. However, abeam of St Michael’s Mount, tracer was seen ahead of the aircraft and continued sporadically until the aircraft was waterborne. A later inspection revealed three holes in the hull.

30Mar41 Engineers dismantled the airscrew from the port inner engine and at 1810hrs FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Penzance for the 40min flight to Pembroke Dock on three engines.

31Mar41 the aircraft flew 13 operational missions and two non-operational flight in March 1941

07Apr41 FLGOFF A.G Wearne and crew departed Mount Batten for a one hour transit flight to Pembroke Dock but the flight was curtailed after 15min when the port inner engine failed.

16Apr41 FLGOFF A.G Wearne and crew departed Mount Batten for a one hour transit flight to Pembroke Dock where the aircraft was detached for duty.

20Apr41 FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Pembroke Dock for a shipping reconnaissance patrol but at 1030hrs the patrol was abandoned when the starboard inner engine failed.

26Apr41 FLGOFF R.W Marks and crew departed Pembroke Dock at the cessation of the detachment and flew to Mount Batten.

30Apr41 the aircraft flew five operational missions and four non-operational flights in April 1941

01May41 SQNLDR H.M Birch and crew departed Mount Batten at 0615hrs on detachment to Gibraltar. Arrived 1625hrs, carried Admiral Glennie, General Percival and Brigadier Stokes plus special ammo and spares for Malta based Beaufighters.

04May41 SQNLDR H.M Birch and crew departed Gibraltar at 1935hrs and arrived Mount Batten 0455hrs, carried six RAF officer passengers.

06May41 FLGOFF C.R.G Thurstun and crew departed Mount Batten at 0700hrs on detachment to Gibraltar arrived 1625hrs, carried special ammo and spares for Malta based Beaufighters.

10May41 At 1620hrs enemy aircraft raided Malta and at 1627hrs a Bf.109 dived down and fired a short burst into the starboard wing of the moored aircraft. The wing burst into flames and despite efforts to save the burning aircraft it sank in Marsaxlokk Bay. Efforts were taken to salvage as much equipment as possible from the wreckage.

31May41 the aircraft flew six operational missions and no non-operational flight in May 1941. While serving with 10Sqn the aircraft made a total of 135 flights comprised of 109 operational missions and 26 non-operational flights.

10May41 N9049 Destroyed in air raid at Marsaxlokk, Malta

P9601

00Oct39 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft RAF Serial P9601 was the 2nd of seven Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range P9600-P9606 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1029. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

01Nov39 FLTLT C.W Pearce and crew proceeded by rail to the Short Bros factory in Rochester to perform acceptance tests and inventory checks before accepting the aircraft from the manufacturer.

03Nov39 FLTLT C.W Pearce and crew departed Rochester at 1030hrs for the 2hr 15min delivery flight to No.10 Sqn RAAF at RAF Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, Wales where it was taken on charge and coded as RB-F. This was the fifth of nine Sunderland aircraft initially authorised by the RAF for use with 10Sqn.

00Nov39 P9601 was used exclusively as a training aircraft from November 1939 until May 1940 and no operational missions were flown. The early history detailed in the 10 Squadron Operational Record Book only shows operational flights or non-operational flights of particular note. The mundane day-to-day training flight particulars were not recorded in the ORB although numerous generalised entries refer to the heavy training schedule flown during the period from October 1939 to April 1940.

27Mar40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 30min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF C.R.G. Thurstun

28Mar40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 30min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF C.R.G. Thurstun

31Mar40 Aircraft flew at least two non-operational flights in March 1940.

02Apr40 Aircraft moved from Pembroke Dock to a new operating base at RAF Station Mount Batten located in Plymouth Sound, Devon.

04Apr40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 20min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF C.R.G. Thurstun

05Apr40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 45min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF D.L. Douglas

17Apr40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2hr 25min special night flight with FLTLT I.S Podger to check the effect of black out restrictions in Plymouth and surrounds.

20Apr40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 1hr 10min flight for the Trial of Air Gunnery Parachute Equipment

30Apr40 Aircraft flew at least 10 non-operational flights in April 1940.

01May40 0945hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2hr 15min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF Costello

2050hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 2hr 20min night instruction flight with FLTLT E.B Courtney

03May40 SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew flew a 3hr 10min depth charge dropping trial flight.

06May40 0935hrs SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew flew a 1hr 30min Bombing & Gunnery training flight

14May40 1st Operational Mission. SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed Mount Batten at 0840hrs for a convoy escort patrol. The aircraft returned to Base after an uneventful 13hr 5min mission.

31May40 Aircraft flew three operational missions and at least five non-operational flights in May 1940.

04Jun40 6th Operational Mission. FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew departed Mount Batten at 1905hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 2002hrs both port engines overheated so the Captain aborted and returned to Base.

11Jun40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 30 min post

12Jun40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 50min dual instruction flight with PLTOFF Hodgkinson

30Jun40 Aircraft flew three operational missions and at least three non-operational flights in June 1940.

02Jul40 7th Operational Mission. SQNLDR C.W Pearce and crew departed Mount Batten at 0255hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 0800hrs the port inner engine overheated so the Captain aborted and returned to Base.

28Jul40 17th Operational Mission. FLTLT H.M Birch and crew departed Mount Batten at 0615hrs for an ASW patrol. At 0949hrs four lifeboats were observed close to the wreckage of MV Auckland Star and Birch sent messages asking for rescue vessels to come to the aid of the survivors. The aircraft then resumed patrol and at the completion of the patrol headed back to base via the lifeboats’ position. At 1615hrs the Captain landed near the lifeboats with the intention to embark any injured survivors. As it happened there were no injured sailors and, as Trawler 088 was close to the lifeboats, the Captain took off and headed for Base.

31Jul40 19th Operational Mission. SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed Mount Batten at 0400hrs to escort the 21,000 ton Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Mooltan on its approach to Plymouth. The aircraft located the Mooltan at 0600hrs west of Lands End and began to patrol around the vessel. At 0930hrs a lone Ju88 was sighted at 4000ft heading directly for the Mooltan and Garing turned to intercept the German raider and opened fire as soon as the Ju88 entered range. The Sunderland’s fire and AAA from the Mooltan forced the Ju88 to release its bombs prematurely and they exploded harmlessly well astern.

At 1220hrs two more Ju88 arrived and the same scenario played out with the Sunderland attacking both Junkers and spoiling their aim. Finally, another two Ju88s appeared at 1350hrs but this pair split up and attacked simultaneously from opposite quarters. This approach meant the Sunderland could only attack the first aircraft leaving the other to bomb unopposed. The second Ju88 then made a good bomb run and made two very near misses which prompted the Captain of the Mooltan to reverse course and head for Scotland.

31Jul40 Aircraft flew 13 operational missions and at least two non-operational flights in July 1940.

16Aug40 21st Operational Mission. FLTLT I.S Podger and crew departed Mount Batten 1315hrs for an ASW patrol. At 1513hrs the crew spotted the wake of a submarine periscope and attacked with wo 250lb depth charges dropped from 150ft with 50ft spacing and set for 40ft depth. Both charges exploded close to the wake but no oil, bubbles or wreckage were seen.

31Aug40 Aircraft flew three operational missions and at least one non-operational flights in August 1940.

12Sep40 24th Operational Mission. FLTLT I.S Podger and crew departed Mount Batten at 1315hrs for a Special Security patrol off the French coast. At 1440hrs the Captain aborted the patrol when the starboard inner magneto failed.

26Sep40 30th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.B Courtney and crew departed Mount Batten at 2130hrs for a flight to Gibraltar, arriving 0730hrs the following day.

27Sep40 31st Operational Mission. FLTLT E.B Courtney and crew departed Gibraltar at 1945hrs for a 13hrs return flight to Mount Batten. The aircraft carried 14 passengers, Admiral John Tovey and 13 crewmen from 202Sqn at Gibraltar.

30Sep40 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and at least two non-operational flights in September 1940.

31Oct40 Aircraft flew 13 operational missions and at least two non-operational flights in October 1940.

27Nov40 At 2015hrs air raid sirens wailed to herald the approach of Luftwaffe bombers attacking Plymouth Sound. P9601 was at its mooring in the Cattewater when it was struck several times by shrapnel and incendiary bombs. The port wing tip ignited first and the fire then spread quickly to the forward fuselage then starboard wing and eventually the entire aircraft became a mass of flames that illuminated the Station and surrounding areas. The two airmen on watch aboard the aircraft could not contain the fire and abandoned ship fearful the depth charges, bombs and ammunition on board would explode. As it happened, the fire was so intense it melted the fuselage which allowed water to flood and sink the aircraft at its mooring before the onboard ordnance had a chance to reach detonation point.

30Nov40 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew at least 72 sorties of which 31 were Operational Missions.


P9602

00Oct39 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft Serial P9602 was the 3rd of seven Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range P9600-P9606 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1030. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight machine guns. Six Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in a FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

09Nov39 Flight Lieutenant W.H Garing (Captain), Flight Lieutenant with F/L Cohen as first pilot and W/O Clarke, SGT. Richmond, CPL Sykes and AC Cadd proceeded by rail to the Short Bros factory in Rochester to collect the aircraft. The following day was spent performing acceptance tests and checking the aircraft’s inventory.

11Nov39 FLTLT W.H Garing and crew departed Rochester at 1300hrs for the 2hr 15min delivery flight to No.10 Sqn RAAF at RAF Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, Wales where it was taken on charge and coded as RB-G. This was the sixth of nine Sunderlands initially authorised by the RAF for use with 10Sqn.

30Nov39 Aircraft flew an unknown number of non-operational flights in November 1939. The early history detailed in the 10 Squadron Operational Record Book only shows operational flights or non-operational flights of particular note. The mundane day-to-day training flight particulars were not recorded in the ORB although numerous generalised entries refer to the heavy training schedule flown during the period from November 1939 to February1940.

14Jan40 FLTLT C.W Pearce and a three man crew flew The Australian High Commissioner S.M Bruce and RAF Air Marshall C.S Burnett on a VIP flight over Plymouth and its surrounding area.

23Feb40 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0655hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 0730hrs the pilot aborted the mission and returned to base when the port inner engine failed.

28Feb40 Aircraft flew one Operational Mission and an unknown number of non-operational flights in February.

26Mar40 SQNLDR W.H Garing flew a 45min engine and airframe test flight.

31Mar40 Aircraft flew four Operational Missions and five non-operational flights in March 1940.

01Apr40 Aircraft moved from RAF Pembroke Dock to the new operating base at RAF Station Mount Batten on the Mount Batten peninsula in Plymouth Sound, Devon.

30Apr40 Aircraft flew two Operational Missions and three non-operational flights in April 1940.

P9602 RB-G entering the Cattewater, Plymouth after a patrol c.1940

31May40 Aircraft flew eight Operational Missions and one non-operational flight in May 1940.

25Jun40 24th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.J Cohen and crew departed Mount Batten at 0558hrs on Special Detached Duty to the Middle East. They flew to RAF Calshot and embarked General Lord Gort, Minister for Information Mr Duff-Cooper and a six man staff. After departing Calshot at 092hrs the aircraft was waterborne 1901hrs at Rabat Harbour, Morocco.

26Jun40 26th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.J Cohen and crew departed Rabat at 0610hrs and flew the VIP passengers to Gibraltar, waterborne at 0735hrs.

27Jun40 27th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.J Cohen and crew departed Gibraltar at 0534hrs and flew the VIP passengers to RAF Calshot, waterborne 1602hrs.

30Jun40 Aircraft flew 13 Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in June 1940.

01Jul40 Aircraft withdrawn from flight status to undergo major three week 180hr servicing.

25Jul40 SQNLDR W. H Garing and crew departed Mount Batten at 0845hrs and flew to Pembroke Dock where they embarked the Duke of Kent and conveyed him and his staff back to Mount Batten for an Official Inspection Tour of RAF Establishments at Plymouth.

27Jul40 SQNLDR W. H Garing and crew departed Mount Batten at 1105hrs with the Duke of Kent and staff conveying them to RAF Calshot

Air-to-air photo of P9602 RB-G flying low over the Atlantic with the early Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.


29Jul40 30th Operational Mission. FLTLT H.M Birch and crew departed for Gibraltar at 0510hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0706hrs they sighted and attacked a Do.18 flying boat. The nose gunner fired four separate bursts and after the last burst, return cannon fire from the Do.18 struck the front turret wounding the gunner and putting the turret out of action. Birch immediately broke off the attack and RTB landing at 0925hrs.

The front gunner 2743 LAC G.H Booth was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital, Devonport in a very serious condition. He spent the next three months in various hospitals before being discharged from the Central Sick Bay Quarters at Torquay on 09Nov40. George Herbert Booth was repatriated back to Australia where he remained in the RAAF until his discharge on 5th September1945 with the rank of Flight Sergeant.

30Jul40 Aircraft assessed as Cat.Ac and underwent repairs for the next three weeks by a civilian contractor.

31Jul40 Aircraft flew two Operational Missions and four non-operational flight in July 1940.

23Aug40 FLTLT A.J Cohen and crew departed Mount Batten at 1403hrs and completed a convoy escort patrol before flying to RAF Oban where they were waterborne at 2003hrs. The aircraft and crew were detached to Oban for operational duty.

31Aug40 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and one non-operational flight in August 1940.

02Sep40 37th Operational Mission. FLTLT J.A Cohen and crew departed Oban at 1025hrs for a Convoy escort patrol and completed the mission at 1945hrs before heading back to Oban. Weather conditions on the return trip were atrocious and back at Oban the flare path was laid in arduous circumstances and by the time the aircraft arrived back at base the flare path had been driven close to Lismore Island in Loch Linne, unbeknownst to the ground crew or aircrew.

The aircraft alighted approximately half way down the flare path at 2315hrs and as it settled into the water the crew saw through the murk the outline of land to starboard which was alarmingly close. The pilot turned on the landing lights and realised they were too close to the land and immediately applied full power to the starboard outer to try and turn away but the starboard wing struck the island. The aircraft then slewed violently to starboard and the nose smashed into the rocky coastline of Lismore Island. Most of the crew sustained lacerations and bruises during the crash but WOP LAC F.L Gardiner received serious injuries. All crewmen were taken to shore by the diesel dinghy then to Oban Hospital for treatment. Salvage of the aircraft and/or equipment proved impossible due to the lack of suitable salvage equipment and experienced salvage personnel.

RAAF Wireless Operator 3215 LAC Frank Leslie Gardner (26) of Taree, New South Wales was admitted to the West Highlands Cottage Hospital and spent the next three weeks recovering from his injuries. He returned to active duty with 10Sqn and remained with the Squadron until he was repatriated back to Australia in December 1942. He survived the War and remained in the RAAF until his discharge on 27th September1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

00Sep40 Aircraft struck off charge and the wreckage sold for scrap. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 55 flights of which 37 were Operational Missions.

02 September 1940
The crumpled remains of P9602 RB-G on the rocky shore of Lismore Island, in Loch Linnhe near Oban, Scotland.

P9603

00Nov39 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft Serial P9603 was the 4th of seven Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range P9600-P9606 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1031. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

26Nov39 Flight Lieutenant W.H Garing (Captain), Flight Lieutenant with F/L Cohen as first pilot and W/O Clarke, SGT. Richmond, CPL Sykes and AC Cadd proceeded by rail to the Short Bros factory in Rochester to perform acceptance tests and inventory checks before accepting the aircraft from the manufacturer. This was the seventh of nine Sunderland aircraft initially authorised by the RAF for use with 10Sqn.

30Nov39 Aircraft flew an unknown number of non-operational flights in November 1939. The early history detailed in the 10 Squadron Operational Record Book only shows operational flights or non-operational flights of particular note. The mundane day-to-day training flight particulars were not recorded in the ORB although numerous generalised entries refer to the heavy training schedule flown during the period from November 1939 to February1940.

17Jan40 Special Mission. FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew departed Pembroke Dock for a VIP Ferry Flight to Alexandria, Egypt carrying Air Marshall Sir Charles Burnett RAF, Air-Vice Marshal R. Williams RAAF and SQNLDR L. Rodgers RAAF. The outward leg of the 8,000km round trip was Calshot-Marignane-Bizerte (1 day weather layover)-Malta-Alexandria arriving on 24Jan40

25Jan40 FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew departed Alexandria for the return trip to the UK. Planned route was Malta-Cazau-Marseilles-Calshot with an ETA of 31Jan40. However, after reaching Marignane on the return leg the aircraft was detained for almost two weeks because of severe icing and bad weather. The aircraft was finally waterborne Pembroke Dock on 13Feb40.

03Mar40 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0720hrs and completed an uneventful 11hr 15 min convoy escort patrol.

31Mar40 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in March 1940.

01Apr40 One of six aircraft that departed RAF Pembroke Dock at 1445hrs for a transit flight to the new operating base at RAF Mount Batten on the Mount Batten peninsula in Plymouth Sound, Devon

P9603 (RB-H) returning to the Sound after servicing May 1940

30Apr40 Aircraft flew two operational missions and three non-operational flights in April 1940.

31May40 Aircraft flew six operational missions and an unknown number of non-operational flights in May 1940.

30Jun40 Aircraft flew 13 operational missions and an unknown number of non-operational flights in June 1940.

01Jul40 The 862 ton Type 1A U-Boat U-26 departed Wilhelmshaven on 20 June 1940 for its 6th War Patrol under the command of Kapitanleutnant Heinz Scheringer. The submarine attacked Convoy OA175 SSW of Ireland early on the morning of 01 July and torpedoed the SS Zarian at 0115hrs. The submarine was then subjected to five attacks by the RN Corvette escort HMS Gladiolus (LCDR H.M.C. Sanders), which caused severe damage and forced the submarine to the surface. However, in the pitch black night the submarine was not spotted by the corvette and managed to slip away.

28th Operational Mission. FLTLT W.N Gibson and crew had departed Mount Batten at 0200hrs for an ASW patrol in the Atlantic Ocean. At 0557hrs they sighted the torpedoed freighter SS Zarian, and at 0612hrs they spotted the fleeing U-26 on the surface. As the aircraft rolled in to attack the U-boat crash-dived and had reached periscope depth when Gibson dropped four 250lb (113kg) anti-submarine bombs All four bombs detonated and caused significant problems for the submarine as it surfaced almost immediately. A second attack was made and another four bombs straddled the target with all four detonating near the U-boat and as the Sunderland pulled out they could see crewmen abandoning the submarine.

At this time the RN Sloop HMS Rochester (CMDR G.F. Renwick) arrived on the scene and fired over the heads of the crew in an attempt to discourage them from scuttling the Boat. However, the submarine was scuttled and sank stern first into the depths at position 48.03N 11.30W. All 48 of the crew were rescued by the Rochester and taken to the UK where the enlisted men were imprisoned in POW Camp 5 at Duff House near Banff, Scotland. Unfortunately, six of them were killed on 22 July 1940, along with two British servicemen, when a Heinkel He 111 of Kampfgeschwader 26 accidentally hit the camp when it jettisoned the remaining bombs when returning from an inshore anti-shipping sortie.

P9603 RB-H (FLTLT W.N Gibson) drops 250b ASW bombs during the second attack on U-26.

15Jul40 33rd Operational Mission. FLTLT H.M Birch and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1125hrs on a search for enemy vessels. At 1425hrs they spotted five Heinkel 111K aircraft attacking a British transport and slipped into the clouds as they altered course to intercept. The Sunderland emerged from the clouds and attacked a Heinkel that was climbing after its attack on the ship, opening fire from 1000 yards. The Heinkel turned away to port and a second burst was fired into the exposed belly of the Heinkel and it dropped down into the clouds with smoke issuing from the fuselage. The remaining Heinkels all made half-hearted attacks but no further action occurred and the Heinkels eventually disengaged and headed back to France.

20Jul40 Aircraft withdrawn from flight status to undergo a scheduled three week major 180 hourly servicing.

31Jul40 Aircraft flew five operational missions and one non-operational flight in July 1940.

29Aug40 Post maintenance test flight.

31Aug40 Aircraft flew one operational mission1 and one non-operational flight in August 1940.

04Sep40 35th Operational Mission. SQNLDR W.N Gibson and crew departed Mount Batten at 1000hrs on an ASR Mission to search for three lifeboats with survivors from the Norwegian MV Tropic Star. The vessel was captured in the Indian Ocean and was scuttled by the German prize crew when it was intercepted by the RN Submarine HMS Truant. The British POWs that were aboard the Tropic Star were taken aboard the submarine and Gibson was tasked to bring the German sailors back to the UK.

The three lifeboats were located at 1513hrs and after circling for some minutes Gibson ordered the front gunner to fire a short burst in front of the lead boat. The message was received and the boats lowered their sails and hove to and awaited developments. Gibson then made a perfect landing in the flat seas and came to a halt some 50 yards from the nearest boat. The crew aboard the lifeboat were asked if there were any Germans among them to which they replied in the affirmative so they were taken on board and the Sunderland took-off and headed for Base. After take-off Gibson questioned the survivors and discovered they were all Norwegian crewmen and that the 27 Germans were all in one of the other lifeboats left behind, along with a further 21 Norwegians.

Sunderlands P9603 (SQNLDR Gibson) and P9600 (FLTLT Podger) departed Mount Batten the following morning to collect the survivors in the remaining two lifeboats but despite a wide search the boats were not found.

09Sep40 37th Operational Mission. FLGOFF J.P Costello and crew departed Mount Batten at 1015hrs for an ASW patrol. At the completion of the patrol the crew proceeded to RAF Oban, Scotland for detached duty.

30Sep40 Aircraft flew 14 operational missions and one non-operational flight in September 1940.

28Oct40 56th – 59th Operational Missions. SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed Mount Batten at 0340hrs and completed an uneventful shipping recce while enroute to Gibraltar for detached duty. The aircraft carried the RAF C in C Far East Command Air Vice-Marshall Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, Major General R. Ewing, GRPCPT Darvall and three staff officers.

On this detachment the aircraft flew a total of eight operational missions and transported senior Civilian and Military Officers between Malta, Cairo and Alexandria to attend various conferences and governmental meetings. The detachment conclude on 07Nov40 when the aircraft returned to Mount Batten carrying the Secretary of State for War, Mr Anthony Eden and his staff.

31Oct40 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in October 1940.

07Nov40 60th Operational Mission. SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed RAF Gibraltar at 2025hrs and completed an uneventful shipping recce while enroute to Mount Batten at the cessation of their detached duty.

P9603 on the maintenance hardstand at RAF Mount Batten c. Oct 1940

09Nov40 Aircraft withdrawn from flight status to undergo a two week post detachment servicing.

30Nov40 Aircraft flew six operational missions and four non-operational flights in November 1940

10Dec40 Aircraft withdrawn from flight status to undergo modifications and pre-detachment preparation

29Dec40 Post modification test flight.

31Dec40 64th Operational Mission. FLTLT H.M Birch and crew departed Mount Batten at 2310hrs and completed an uneventful shipping recce while enroute to Gibraltar for detached duty. Two passengers were carried, Colonel W.J Donovan US Army and Colonel Dykes Royal Engineers. The aircraft was then held over in Gibraltar until 06Jan41 when it returned to the UK carrying the Governor of Gibraltar Sir Clive Liddell and several military officers.

31Dec40 Aircraft flew two operational missions and two non-operational flights in December 1940

31Jan41 Aircraft flew one operational missions and no non-operational flights in January 1941

04Feb41 65th Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Mount Batten at 0340hrs on detached duty to the Near East carrying a load of urgent special medical equipment for Gibraltar. Arrived Gibraltar 1440hrs.

05Feb41 66th Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Gibraltar at 0655hrs to transport two senior officers to Malta, arrived Marsaxlokk Bay at 1550hrs. Aircraft remained at Malta for three days awaiting passengers for transport to Alexandria, Egypt.

09Feb41 67th Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Malta at 0645hrs to transport four RAF personnel to Alexandria, arriving at 1355hrs.

10Feb41 68th Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Alexandria at 0930hrs for a transport flight to Cairo with one RAF passenger.

11Feb41 69st Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Cairo at 0104hrs for a transport flight to Alexandria with one RAF passenger.

13Feb41 70th Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Alexandria at 0620hrs for a transport flight to Malta with RAF and Greek Army Officers.

19Feb41 71st Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Malta at 0045hrs for a transport flight to Gibraltar with RAF, US Navy and Greek Army officers.

22Feb41 Aircraft underwent routine maintenance while in Gibraltar.

25Feb41 72nd Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Gibraltar at 2135hrs for a transport flight to Mount Batten RAF, RA, USN and Greek Army Officers. Aircraft ceased detachment upon arrival at Mount Batten.

28Feb41 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and one non-operational flights in February 1941

06Mar41 SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Mount Batten at 1205hrs for a transit flight via RAF Loch Erne, Northern Island to RAF Oban on the Firth of Lorn in Scotland where the aircraft was detached.

10Mar41 75th Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Oban for an ASW patrol at 1050hrs but 33min later the pilot had to abort the mission when the port outer engine failed.

30Mar41 SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Oban at the end of their detachment and flew the aircraft to Mount Batten for servicing.

31Mar41 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in March 1941

10Apr41 82nd Operational Mission. FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0800hrs for an ASW Reconnaissance Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. This patrol was unusual because of the number of U-boats seen: at 1048hrs a periscope was sighted and seven minutes later the submarine surfaced but immediately crash dived when the Sunderland was spotted; at 1122hrs and 1230hrs respectively two more surfaced submarines were sighted and, at 1410hrs a fourth submarine was sighted. In all cases the submarines crash dived well before the Sunderland could get within attacking range. Later speculation opined this was a Wolf Pack heading out for operations.

12Apr41 83rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1130hrs for an ASW Reconnaissance Patrol in the Bay of Biscay.This patrol was also unusual because of the number of enemy forces observed in a single day. Between 1350hrs and 1845hrs the crew encountered four separate enemy convoys comprising a total of 16 vessels and, the crew also spotted two FW200 Condors, a He.111, a He.115 floatplane and nine Bf.109 fighters. Unsurprisingly the aircraft was forced to climb into clouds on several occasions to avoid contact.

28Apr41 89th Operational Mission. FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Oban at 0700hrs for an ASW patrol. Immediately after take-off the pilot aborted when the aircraft developed serious engine problems.

30Apr41 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in April 1941

01May41 At some time between this day and the end of May the aircraft was fitted with Mk.I ASV

31May41 Aircraft flew two operational missions and two non-operational flights in May 1941

05Jun41 93rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1730hrs on a shipping reconnaissance patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 2047hrs a faint radar contact was made three miles of the port bow and the aircraft turned to investigate. As the aircraft rolled out of the turn an enemy aircraft was reported on the stbd beam heading toward and as the EA moved across the Sunderland’s tail a second EA was reported on the stbd quarter. Both EA positioned themselves off the port quarter and the leader attacked opening fire with cannons from 1,000 yards which burst in the air 200 yards to stbd. As the EA continued to close the front and upper turrets opened fire at 400 yards but the enemy kept coming in to 200 yards before breaking away to stbd. The tail and port gunners fired short bursts and claimed several hits. The second EA then entered the fray and closed to 800 yards but broke away without firing. Meanwhile the rear gunner was tracking the first EA and reported that it hit the water twice as if attempting to alight. On its third attempt the aircraft crashed sending up a column of water 50-100ft high. The remaining EA then flew over the crash before disappearing to the east. The Sunderland then resumed patrol before returning to base.

The enemy aircraft encountered were reported as single-engined low winged monoplanes with twin floats similar to the Arado 196. However, these aircraft had smooth engine cowlings and a single cockpit. They wore normal German markings, had a speed in excess of 200 knots and were armed with a single cannon in each float and one machine gun mounted on each side of the cowling. Tentatively identified as Heinkel 115 floatplanes.

20Jun41 95th Operational Mission. SQNLDR A.N Hick and crew departed RAF Mount Batten at 1150hrs on an ASR search for the crew of Empire Class Flying Boat X8274 which had ditched 100 miles NW of Cape Finisterre, Spain, No sightings were made and the aircraft was waterborne Mount Batten at 0118hrs 21Jun41.

24Jun41 97th Operational Mission. SQNLDR A.N Hick and crew departed RAF Mount Batten at 2100hrs for a shipping reconnaissance patrol in the Bay of Biscay. While attempting to alight at the completion of the patrol the aircraft overshot the flare path and crashed onto the seaweed covered rocks off Popton Point, Milford Haven. The three pilots sustained serious injuries along with one RAF passenger but the remained of the crew escaped with minor cuts and bruises. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and struck off charge. SQNLDR A.N Hick and FLGOFF R.B Scutts were raced to hospital but later died of their injuries, Hick on 26June and Scutts the following day.

00Jun41 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 127 flights of which 97 were Operational Missions and the remaining 30 were training and transit flights.

Four photographs showing the aftermath of the crash on 24Jun41. The fuselage forward of the wing is missing and the remaining portion is cracked and misshapen. Servicemen are surveying the wreckage on the wing, fuselage and tail sections.

Those killed in the accident were:

RAAF pilot 127 SQNLDR Albert Norman Hick (27) of Ararat, Victoria died of his injuries on 26Jun41 and is buried in Grave T.77 of the Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, Pembrokeshire. He is remembered on Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace, Adelaide; and, the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

RAAF pilot 836 Flying Officer Ronald Bruce Scutts (23) of Abbotsford in Sydney, New South Wales died from his injuries on 27 June 1941 and is buried in Grave T.78 of the Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, Pembrokeshire. He is remembered on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT; and, on the World War II Honour Roll in the Petersham Townhall, Sydney.

The accident survivors were:

RAAF pilot 250279 Flight Lieutenant Thomas Vincent Stokes (26) of Elsternwick in Melbourne, Victoria sustained minor injuries and shock. Stokes survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 5th December 1945 with the rank of Wing Commander.

RAAF observer 1874 Sergeant Stanley James Nicol (27) of Footscray in Melbourne, Victoria sustained minor injuries and shock. Nicol survived the war and was repatriated back to Australia He was discharged from the RAAF on 17th February 1972 with the rank of Group Captain.

RAAF Wireless Operator 2903 Corporal Lawrence Spencer Young Benham (27) of Lindfield in Sydney, New South Wales sustained minor injuries and shock. Benham survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 02 May 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF Wireless Operator 4571 Corporal James McDougall Lawrie (27) of Boonah, Queensland sustained minor injuries and shock. Lawrie survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 17 July 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF Fitter IIA 1496 Corporal John Herbert Evans (26) of Yarram, Victoria sustained minor injuries and shock. Evans survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 01April 1946 with the rank of Flying Officer.

RAAF aircraft mechanic 2154 Corporal Edward Oxenham Ingram (28) of Albert Park in Melbourne, Victoria sustained minor injuries and shock. Ingram survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 19 September 1949 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF aircraft rigger 4632 Leading Aircraftman Brian Francis Minton (25) of Laverton, Victoria sustained minor injuries and shock. Minton survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 02December 1946 with the rank of Flight Sergeant.

RAAF aircraft mechanic 24175Aircraftsman Class 1 Robert Maxwell Draper (23) of Cairns, Queensland sustained minor injuries and shock. Draper survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 05 October 1945 with the rank of Flying Officer.

RAAF Armourer 22387 Aircraftman Class 1 Thomas Joseph Sheridan (20) of Julia Creek, Queensland sustained minor injuries and shock. Sheridan survived the war and after repatriation to Australia was discharged from the RAAF on 11 September 1945 with the rank of Sergeant.

RAFVR pilot 75034 Flight Lieutenant Henry de Gaspé Domville (20) of Montreal, Canada was a passenger on the flight and sustained serious injuries. After recuperation he was returned to active service and was sent to Singapore then Java where he was captured and made a POW until War’s end.


T9047

00Sep40 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft RAF Serial T9047 was the 8th of eleven Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range T9040-T9050 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1147. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

18Oct40 Aircrew of 10Sqn RAAF proceeded by rail to the Short Bros factory in Rochester to take over the aircraft. The crew consisted of SQNLDR W.H Garing (Captain), FLGOFF Butcher (1st pilot) Flight FSGT Jewell, FLGOFF King, and six crewmen.

20Oct40 SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed Rochester at 15125hrs for the 1hr 55min delivery flight to RAF Mount Batten on the Mount Batten peninsula in Plymouth Sound, Devon. The flight was diverted to RAF Calshot because of extremely poor weather conditions at Mount Batten.

21Oct40 SQNLDR W.H Garing and crew departed Calshot at 1025hrs and completed the delivery flight to Mount Batten at 1145hrs. Aircraft take on charge as RB-L and spent the next two weeks being readied for operational flying

27Nov40 At 2015hrs air raid sirens sounded to herald the approach of Luftwaffe bombers attacking Plymouth Sound. T9047 was at its mooring in the Cattewater when it sustained Cat.A damage from bomb splinters and flying debris.

28Nov40 The previous night’s destructive air raids at Mount Batten destroyed or crippled three of the Squadron’s six Sunderlands. Aircraft hangars, buildings and equipment were also destroyed and the large oil tanks located 400 yards away were set ablaze. The three surviving Sunderlands N9050, P9605 and T9047 were flown to Pembroke Dock as it was feared the oil tanks at Mount Batten would exploded and burning oil would cover the mooring areas.

02Dec40 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT I.S Podger and crew departed Mount Batten at 0945hrs to join the Squadron Detachment at RAF Oban, Scotland. A shipping reconnaissance patrol was carried out enroute.

31Dec40 Aircraft flew six operational missions in the month of December 1940.

29Jan41 17th Operational Mission. FLTLT J.P Costello and crew departed Oban at 1050hrs for an ASW patrol off the Irish west coast. At 17545hrs HQ instructed the aircraft to divert to Skerryvore because of weather conditions at Oban. The patrol was completed at 1845hrs and course set for the diversion when they were instructed to head for Oban and if Oban was again weather bound they were to divert to Invergordon. At 2159hrs the aircraft was forced to climb to 15000ft to avoid thick clouds which further depleted the already low fuel reserves and, they had to change course again for Invergordon.

At 2306hrs the Captain decided to descend through the clouds and fix their position but soon after starting the descent the port outer cut out and the inner began to splutter so the Captain made an emergency landing in Beauly Basin, 8km west of Inverness. The aircraft was run onto the beach without problems and HQ was informed of their situation.

30Jan41 The aircraft was replenished with a minimum quantity of petrol and departed Beauly Basin for the short hop to Invergordon where it was refuelled and serviced before returning to Oban.

31Jan41 Aircraft flew 11 Operational Missions and one non-operational flight in January 1941.

06Feb41 Aircraft ceased detachment at Oban and returned to Mount Batten. A shipping reconnaissance patrol was carried out enroute.

07Feb41 Aircraft underwent a major servicing from 08-26Feb41 at Mount Batten.

28Feb41 Aircraft flew two Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in February 1941.

20Mar41 On the night of 20/21 March 1941 the Luftwaffe mounted two large scale air raids on the Plymouth area and RAF Station Mount Batten was heavily hit. Sunderland T9047 was moored in the Cattewater where it sustained shrapnel damage to fuselage sides, upper wing surfaces and two main spars. Damage was assessed as Cat.A and took 10 days to repair.

31Mar41 Aircraft flew three Operational Missions and one non-operational flight in March 1941.

31Apr41 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in April 1941.

31May41 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in May 1941.

11Jun41 36th Operational Mission. FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Mount Batten at 1149hrs for detached duty at RAF Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands. Aircraft flew two non-operational flights on detachment and returned to Mount Batten on 15Jun41.

26Jun41 42nd Operational Mission. FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Mount Batten at 2120hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. However, five minutes after take-off the port inner failed. The Captain aborted the mission, jettisoned fuel and returned to base.

31Jun41 Aircraft flew 12 Operational Missions and three non-operational flights in June 1941.

09Jul41 36th Operational Mission. FLGOFF G.R Thurstun and crew departed Mount Batten at 1130hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1315hrs a signal directed the aircraft to a dinghy containing four British survivors and told to land if possible and rescue the men. The dinghy was sighted at 1445hrs and the Captain decided the sea state was safe for the aircraft to alight after jettisoning the four depth charges. The aircraft touched down smoothly but after a short run the aircraft struck a large wave and was thrown back into the air, the pilot immediately applied full throttle to all four engines but before they could take effect the aircraft landed on the bank of another wave. This impact tore the port outer engine from its mounts before the aircraft was again thrown into the air and tearing off the port float when it dropped back to the surface.

When the aircraft settled down under the Captain’s control, two crew members rowed to the survivors’ dinghy and towed it back to the aircraft. At 1500hrs the Captain signalled ‘lost port outer engine and float’ and after an exchange of messages regarding the state of the Sunderland the Captain started taxying toward England at 1630hrs on the three remaining engines. At 1715 hrs they signalled base ‘Taxying course 036° True, speed 3 knots, 4 RAF aboard’. The aircraft continued taxying and at 2152hrs a signal stated ‘ETA two destroyers 0100hrs 10/7’. At 1030hrs the Hunt Class destroyer HMS Brocklesby took aboard all the crew and pax from the Sunderland and was preparing for a tow when the salvage attempted had to be abandoned when the Destroyers were assigned to investigate a nearby U-boat sighting. The Sunderland was sunk by gunfire from the Brocklesby at 48°15'N - 08°45'W.

11Jul41 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 10sqn RAAF the aircraft is known to have made 63 flights of which 50 were Operational Missions

T9072

00Nov40 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft RAF Serial T9072 was the 3rd of nine Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range T9070-T9078 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1153. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

00Dec40 Aircraft taken on charge with No.204 Sqn at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands, UK. Coded as KG-F.

03Apr41 Aircraft moved from Sullom Voe to a new operating base at Reykjavik, Iceland. The aircraft was based at Havnafijiord supported by a purpose built flying boat maintenance ship the 8500 ton MV Manela


T9072 with 204Sqn as KG-F undergoing maintenance on a Dunlop trolley Reykjavik, 1941

10Jul41 T9072 was taxiing to the moorings at Skerjaförður when it struck an uncharted reef with unfortunate results to the keel area. The Captain beached the aircraft at full throttle before it could sink in the icy fjord, thus saving a great deal of valuable and scarce equipment. Three days later the Squadron moved from Iceland to Gibraltar to support the Torch Landings in North Africa but T9072 was left on the beach.

A crew of tradesmen was flown from Short Brothers Ltd in Belfast to repair the aircraft. After repairs were completed the aircraft was flown to No.2 Flying Boat Servicing Unit at RAF Greenock, Scotland. The aircraft was given a major servicing and general overhaul before being placed back into active service.

00Aug41 Aircraft allocated to No.10 (GR) Sqn RAAF at RAF Station Pembroke Dock in Pembrokshire, Wales.

18Sep41 FLTT T.V Stokes (Captain), PLTOFF Beeton and six crewmen proceeded by rail to RAF Greenock to take over the aircraft.

29Sep41 FLTLT Stokes and crew departed RAF Greenock at 1455hrs for the 2hr 35min delivery flight to RAF Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, Wales where it was taken on charge and coded as RB-F. The aircraft had several persistent problems that meant it was grounded for most of the October-November period.

Rugby match at Pembroke Dock with T9072 in the background. Circa September 1941.

18Nov41 Aircraft flown to No.1FBSU at RAF Stranraer for rectification and returned to 10Sqn on 28Nov41.

02Dec41 Aircraft flown from Pembroke Dock to RAF Oban, Scotland where it flew four transportation flights.

05Dec41 SQNLDR E.B Courtney departed Oban at 0925hrs with 10 crewmen and four passengers on board for a transit flight to Pembroke Dock. At 1115hrs the aircraft was located over the Irish Sea approximately 15 miles North West of Holyhead, Wales heading 240° Mag at 800ft in clear skies when the port outer engine back fired and Courtney immediately took control and throttled back the port outer and increased power to the other three engines to maintain speed and height. At 1120hrs a very strong vibration was felt throughout the aircraft from the port side and Courtney immediately shut down the port outer engine. The crew soon noticed the port outer engine cowling was fractured but still attached when the aircraft began a violent yaw to port which Courtney tried to counter by the use of full opposite rudder. However, the turn to port continued with the port wing down at an angle of 30°. As the turn and speed further increased Courtney throttled back the starboard outer engine and opened the two inner engines to full throttle. Courtney’s attempts were futile and the aircraft hit the sea at an angle of 45° at a speed of 90 knots A.S.I.

The aircraft broke up immediately and within a very short space of time the entire aircraft was submerged. Later investigations showed the hull was severed aft of the mainplane, crushed forward of the pilot’s seats and the whole lower aircraft deck ripped off. Most of the crew and passengers managed to egress the wreck and climbed onto the port mainplane from which both engines had been torn away. The survivors were rescued by a boat from the MV Kilkenny at 1215hrs but three passengers and one crewman were listed as missing presumed dead. The survivors were then landed ashore and taken to the RAF Station Valley hospital.

07Dec41 Aircraft struck off charge and officially handed back to the RAF.

Crewmen:

RAAF Captain O348 Squadron Leader Edgar Bruce Courtney (27) of Malvern, Victoria survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. He was repatriated back to Australia to fight in the Pacific and survived the War remaining in the RAAF until 14th November 1969. Air Commodore Edgar Bruce Courtney MVO OBE died in 1999 aged 85 years.

RAAF Second Pilot 404336 Pilot Officer Gordon Alexander Edward Ferguson (23) of Gunnedah, New South Wales survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Gordon survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 9th October 1945 with the rank of Squadron Leader.

RAAF 3rd pilot O11332 Pilot Officer Colin William Steley DFC (20) of Maryborough, Queensland survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Steley survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 5th March 1962 with the rank of Wing Commander.

RAAF Observer 2059 Flying Officer Stanley Gordon Goddard (24) of Ormond, Victoria survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Goddard survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 3rd January 1946 with the rank of Squadron Leader.

RAAF Fitter IIA 4677 Corporal Stanley Russell Strang (24) of Balmain in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Strang survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 11 July 1945 with the rank of Sergeant.

RAAF aircraft rigger 3929 Corporal William Henry Nelson (29) of Neath, New South Wales survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Nelson survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 23 August 1946 with the rank of Flight Sergeant.

RAAF Wireless Operator A31266 Leading Aircraftman Leo Meredith (26) of Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Meredith survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 24 February 1953 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF aircraft rigger /tail gunner 22137 Aircraftman Class 1 Eric Wilfred Lee (22) of Esk, Queensland survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Lee survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 08 April 1946 with the rank of Sergeant.

RAAF armourer 19081 Leading Aircraftman James Patrick Lynch (26) of Rochester, Victoria survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Lynch survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 16 October 1945 with the rank of Sergeant.

RAFVR Wireless operator 1375914 Aircraftman Class 2 Percival George Instance (28) of London survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service.

RAAF Fitter IIE 20003 Aircraftsman 1st Class Henry John Webber (27) of Ballina, New South Wales was killed in the crash and has no known grave. His is commemorated on Panel 63 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. . He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Ballina.

Passengers:

RAAF Wing Commander 72 Athol Xavier Richards (29) of Launceston, Tasmania survived the crash with minor injuries and quickly returned to service. Richards survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 13 August 1946 with the rank of Group Captain.

RAF pilot 41499 Flight Lieutenant Richard John Vaughan DFC (27) of Hastings in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand was killed in the crash and has no known grave. His is commemorated on Panel 29 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured in the World War II Hall of Memories in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, NZ and, on the Roll of Honour in the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Wigram, Christchurch.

RAF 36181 Flight Lieutenant William Samuel Rea DFC (26) of Mount Roskill in Auckland, New Zealand was killed in the crash and has no known grave. His is commemorated on Panel 29 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel R_005 in the World War II Hall of Memories in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, NZ and, on the Roll of Honour in the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Wigram, Christchurch.

Roll of Honour, Wigram, New Zealand

RAAF Doctor 1292 Flight Lieutenant Stuart Thomson (28) of South Yarra in Melbourne, Victoria was killed in the crash and has no known grave. His is commemorated on Panel 62 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Caulfield, Melbourne

A poor quality air-to-air photo of Sunderland Mk.I T9072 taken in late 1941 near Pembroke Dock, Wales. Identification made easy because the aircraft is wearing the Code Letter V and T9072 was the only Mk.I with that Code to serve with 10Sqn. The aircraft had a two month tenure with 10Sqn from 29Sep to 05Dec 1941.

T9075

00Nov40 Sunderland Mk.I aircraft RAF Serial T9075 was the 6th of nine Mk.I GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range T9070-T9078 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1156. Powered by 4 x 1,010 hp (753 kW) Pegasus XXII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of seven machine guns. Five Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in the FN.11 nose turret, and four in an FN.13 rear turret. A single hand-held Vickers GO .303 inch (7.7mm) gun was mounted on either side of the fuselage, above and behind the wing, firing through an oval port with a fairing and sliding door. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

00Dec40 Taken on charge with No.210 Sqn at RAF Oban in Argyll & Bute, Scotland. Coded DA-N

00Apr41 Aircraft struck off strength with 210Sqn when they converted to Catalina aircraft.

14Apr41 Aircraft taken on charge from 210Sqn by the 10Sqn detachment at RAF Oban. Coded RB-N

15Apr41 FLTLT Costello and crew departed Oban at 1450hrs and flew to the new operating base at RAF Pembroke Dock in Pembrokshire, Wales.

16Apr41 1st Operational Mission with 10Sqn. FLTLT J.P Costello and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1315hrs for a shipping reconnaissance patrol. An uneventful 12hr 14min patrol ceased when the aircraft was waterborne Pembroke Dock at 0129hrs.

28Apr41 6th Operational Mission. FLGOFF V.A Hodgkinson and crew departed Angle Bay, Milford Haven at 1235hrs to perform a shipping reconnaissance cross-over patrol off Brest. After completing the patrol the aircraft headed back to Pembroke Dock and arrived over the Scillies at 2358hrs. The crew then expected to arrive at Angle Bay and alight along the flare path set out in the Bay. However, when they arrived in the area no flare path was visible and were then given conflicting headings to steer by a ground based D/F station. Instead of heading east toward Angle Bay the aircraft was in fact heading west toward the Irish Coast, the error was finally noticed when they lights of an Irish Coastal town appeared ahead. Now running low on fuel the Captain gave the crew the option of bailing out over Eire before he turned back to the east, the crew opted to stay with the aircraft.

The Captain intended to fly due east and when 10 miles from the coast descend to 500ft and make a temporary flare path on the ocean with flame floats and attempt a landing. Upon reaching the planned point the Captain lowered the aircraft to 500ft (as shown on the Altimeter) and started a turn to port to drop the first of the flame floats. No sooner had the turn commenced when the port wing dug into the ocean causing the aircraft to crash. The hull broke off forward and aft of the mainplane and three engines ripped off their mounts. When the spray settled all that remained on the surface was the mainplane thanks to the buoyancy provided by the empty fuel tanks and the five survivors clambered on and recovered their composure before confronting the next challenge.

The survivors spent a bitterly cold night on the drifting mainplane but by 1000hrs the mainplane was sinking and the five men were soon forced to squeeze into a three man dinghy and abandon the now completely awash mainplane, which sank from view some thirty minutes later. Fortunately, at approximately 1100hrs a coastal trader hove into view but initially passed by the survivors before turning about and heading back. The coaster was the 943 ton Busiris of the Moss Hutchison Line enroute to Liverpool from the Scillies and after rescuing the survivors took them to Holyhead where the survivors were collected by RAF personnel and taken to the Holyhead Sailors Hospital where they learned that the aircraft had crashed some nine miles WNW of Bardsey Island in the Irish Sea.

RAAF pilot 463 Flying Officer Victor Allan Hodgkinson (25) of Ashfield, Sydney survived the crash and after a short recuperation period returned to active duty initially with 10Sqn then 20Sqn RAAF in the South West Pacific. He survived the War and retired from the RAAF on 17May1946 as Wing Commander V.A Hodgkinson DFC MiD and returned to the UK to join BOAC as a flying boat captain before moving on to Britannias, Comets and Boeing 707 aircraft. He retired from BOAC in 1971 having amassed 19,300 flying hours and settled at Lymington, Hampshire. Victor Hodgkinson died at the age of 94 on November 20th 2010.

RAAF pilot 1941 Flight Sergeant Thomas Ainsworth Egerton DFC (27) of Coorparoo in Brisbane. Queensland survived the crash and after a short recuperation period returned to active duty. He survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 18 December 1945with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAAF Fitter IIE 1635 Sergeant Conrad Lawrence Gehrig (21) of Cootamundra, NSW survived the crash and after a short recuperation period returned to active duty. He survived the War and resigned from the RAAF on 01 November 1945with the rank of Flying Officer.

RAFVR Observer 938198 Sergeant John Bradbury (24) was severely injured and spent several months recuperating. He eventually returned to active service and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer 0n 24Nov42. Bradbury survived the War and remained in the RAF until his resignation on 05 October 1958 as Squadron Leader J. Bradbury MiD.

RAAF Air Gunner 4503 Corporal Leonard George Corcoran (24) of East Melbourne, Victoria survived the crash and after a short recuperation period returned to active duty. On the night of 19 June 1941 he was a gunner in the Short G Class flying boat Golden Hind on patrol in the Bay of Biscay when the aircraft suffered a double engine failure and ditched 100 miles NW of Cape Finnisterre, Spain. He was rescued by a German submarine then transferred to a Henkel Floatplane and taken into captivity.

After interrogation in the Luftwaffe Dulag, Frankfurt he was given POW Number 9658 and sent to Stalag Luft VIII B until May 1942 when he was moved to Stalag Luft III. Another move followed in June 1943 to Stalag Luft VI and to Stalag 357 (Thorn) for a brief six week sojourn in July-Aug 1944. His final move was to Stalag 357 ((Fallingbostel) where he remained until his liberation by the 7th Armoured Division in May 1945. Len Corcoran was discharged from the RAAF on 19 December 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAAF pilot 513 Flying Officer Thomas Gracie Joyce (25) of Tarragindi in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. His is commemorated on Panel 62 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; and, on the Honour Board in Brisbane, Queensland.

RAAF Wireless Operator 205727 Corporal Francis Hewitt (31) of Caulfield in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. His is commemorated on Panel 63 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; and, on the Honour Board in Caulfield.

RAAF Wireless Operator 3332 Corporal Clifford Oswald William Amos (27) of Brighton, South Australia was KIA. His body was not recovered at the crash site and washed ashore some weeks later at Silecroft Beach in Cumbria. He was buried on 09 July 1941 in the N.E Portion of the Whicham (St Mary) Churchyard in Cumbria, UK. He is commemorated on Panel 99 of the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra ACT; and, on the Roll of Honour in Glenelg, Adelaide.

RAAF Fitter IIA 3683 Leading Aircraftman Norman Raine (24) of Earlwood in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and is buried in Sec B Row D Grave 24 of the Pwllheli Borough Cemetery in Gwynedd, Wales. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; and, on the Roll of Honour Board in Sydney.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra


RAAF Fitter IIE 207712 Leading Aircraftman Ralph Douglas Bell (20) of Windsor in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 63 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; and, on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW.

RAAF Armourer 15774 Aircraftman Class 1 John Charles Francis (22) of Haberfield in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA. His body was not recovered at the crash site and washed ashore some weeks later at Silecroft Beach in Cumbria. He was buried on 09 July 1941 in the N.E Portion of the Whicham (St Mary) Churchyard in Cumbria, UK. He is commemorated on Panel 99 of the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra ACT; and, on the Roll of Honour Board in Sydney.

01May41 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew six Operational Missions and two non-operational flights.

W3979

00Jun41 Sunderland Mk.II aircraft Serial W3979 was the 4th of 23 Mk.II aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3976-W3998 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1163. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of seven .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

The aircraft was not fitted with Air to Surface Vessel radar (ASV) during manufacture because early Mk.II aircraft were completed before the sets were available. They were however retrofitted with an ASV Mk.II system sometime in the November-December period of 1941. The ASV Mark II operated at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical fittings. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

16Jun41 WNGCDR E.G Knox-Knight and crew travelled by rail to the Short Bros facility at Rochester to collect the aircraft and carry out a series of acceptance checks and inspections.

19Jun41 WNGCDR E.G Knox-Knight and crew departed Rochester at 1320hrs and flew the aircraft to RAF Station Pembroke Dock, Wales being waterborne at 1540hrs. Aircraft taken on charge as RB-Q.

07Jul41 1st Operational Mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1350hrs on an ASR mission to locate survivors from the MV Malvernein. However, the Captain aborted the mission when weather conditions deteriorated to extremely poor. Aircraft was waterborne Pembroke Dock after a four hour and five minute patrol.

Jul41 RAF Pembroke Dock.W3979 RB-Q Preparing for launch

31Jul41 Aircraft flew 15 operational missions and three non-operational flights in July 1941

14Aug41 19th Operational Mission. FLTLT V.A Hodgkinson and crew departed Mount Batten at 0630hrs for an anti-shipping reconnaissance /strike mission in the Bay of Biscay. A FW200 was spotted at 1032hrs and Hodgkinson dived the aircraft down to 50ft and after some manoeuvring the FW200 opened fire on the Sunderland from high on the stbd quarter at 900 yards. The FW kept firing short bursts as it closed to 300 yards and when the tail and midships gunners opened fire hits were observed on the nose and port engines of the FW. The enemy still closed to within 50 yards with smoke and small flames issuing from the port inner engine before it broke away and climbed to 500ft. The Sunderland tried to pursue the FW but was soon outdistanced and the FW disappeared into a cloud bank trailing a cloud of thick black smoke and was not seen again.

Examination of the aircraft back at base revealed several holes in the stbd outer nacelle, stbd wing and an unexploded HE cannon shell lodged in the stbd wing close to the main spar.

15Aug41 Aircraft assessed as Cat.A damage and was repaired at the unit over the next five days. Whilst undergoing repair the aircraft was hangered for a major servicing that was completed in late September.

31Aug41 Aircraft flew four operational missions and three non-operational flights in August 1941

28Sep41 Post maintenance test flight.

30Sep41 Aircraft flew two operational missions and two non-operational flights in September 1941

27Oct41 27th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0740hrs for a cross-over shipping reconnaissance. At 0756hrs the Captain aborted the mission when the W/T became unserviceable.

30Oct41 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and no non-operational flights in October 1941

11Nov41 30th Operational Mission. SQNLDR D.L Douglas and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 2200hrs for detached duty in the ME, performed as ASW patrol enroute to Gibraltar being waterborne at 0730hrs on 12Nov41. Over the next 18 days the aircraft flew eleven missions to Malta, Alexandria, Cairo and RAF Aboukir carrying an assortment of passengers and cargo around the Middle East. The detachment ceased on 27Nov41 when the crew departed Gibraltar at 2245hrs for the 9hr 20min transit flight to Mount Batten.

30Nov41 Aircraft flew 13 operational missions and one non-operational flight in November 1941

04Dec41 43th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0530hrs for an ASW cross-over patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base when the electrical voltage control became unserviceable.

11Dec41 44th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1730hrs for an ASW patrol enroute to Gibraltar. The aircraft was recalled when weather conditions closed Gibraltar airspace.

12Dec41 45th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1105hrs for an ASW patrol while enroute to Gibraltar for detached duty. At 1743hrs 20 miles off St Annes Head the crew saw a He115 heading for a coastal convoy and altered course to intercept. In response the Heinkel sheared off to port and made a wide climbing turn toward the Sunderland. As the EA was climbing the Sunderland had descended to 200ft and was turning toward the EA when it attacked on the stbd quarter with cannon fire from 600 yards. As it entered range the rear turret and stbd dorsal guns fired and raked the Heinkel as it turned away to port. The EA then moved into another attacking position but as it moved in it suddenly broke away and dived steeply to sea level before departing the scene on a due easterly course. Waterborne Gibraltar 0500hrs on 13Dec41.

Over the next 19 days the aircraft flew several long endurance ASW patrols from Gibraltar before ceasing the detachment and returning to Pembroke Dock on 01Jan42.

16Dec41 47th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Gibraltar at 0805hsr for an ASW patrol. A surfaced U-boat was attacked at 1720hrs but before they got close to the submarine it disappeared beneath the waves. A string of six 250lb Mk.VIII depth charges were dropped 350 yards ahead of the swirl and all exploded. No results were observed. Waterborne Gibraltar 2025hrs.

18Dec41 48th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Gibraltar at 0710 hrs for an ASW patrol. The aircraft was heading back to Gibraltar at the end of the patrol when it sighted a U-boat just surfacing two miles off the stbd quarter. The Captain immediately attacked dropping six Mk.VIII 250lb depth charges that dropped just ahead of the swirl and all exploded. The aircraft remained on site but no results were observed before a parlous fuel state forced the aircraft to return to Gibraltar.

31Dec41 Aircraft flew 12 operational missions and no non-operational flight in December 1941

31Jan42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and four non-operational flight in January 1942

05Feb42 60th Operational Mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Mount Batten at 2130hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0300hrs the high pressure oil pipe from the stbd inner engine began leaking and could not be repaired. The Captain therefore aborted the mission and returned to Base.

12Feb42 61st Operational Mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Mount Batten at 0050hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1027hrs they were instructed to locate and attack a submarine but only after one hour searching the Captain aborted and set course for Base due to the low fuel level. Soon after changing course they were attacked by a He.115 floatplane that made two ineffectual cannon attacks before being driven off by accurate return fire from the tail and midships gunners.

As the first He.115 disappeared to the east another He.115 floatplane was spotted low on the water approaching from the rear. The Heinkel opened fire with cannons at 700 yards and as it closed the tail and midships return fire which was seen to strike the enemy machine forcing it to break off the attack.

16Feb42 63rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF R.N Gillies and crew departed Mount Batten at 1705hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Soon after take-off the port outer engine failed so the Captain aborted the mission, jettisoned fuel and returned to Base.

28Feb42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in February 1942

01Mar42 66th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Mount Batten at 2325hrs for an ASW cross-over patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The crew completed the mission at 0825hrs and were heading homeward when the Captain was told weather conditions at Base were not good and if they deteriorated further the aircraft was to land at Calshot. Another message at 1040hrs instructed the aircraft to alight at Pembroke Dock. The aircraft arrived Pembroke Dock at 1206hrs but could not land owing to very poor conditions and with fuel now at a critical level the Captain was left with no option but to land in the open sea. A successful landing was subsequently made at 1220hrs in heavy seas near off St Govan’s Head, Wales with the Captain and 3rd pilot both sustaining minor injuries. A nearby trawler had witnessed the landing and moved to the aircraft and took off the crew then made an effort to take the aircraft in tow but the heavy seas made the task impossible. A Royal Navy destroyer arrived soon after and declared the now drifting Sunderland a menace to shipping and therefore sank the aircraft by gunfire.

03Mar42 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew 66 Operational Missions and 17 non-operational flights.

W3985

00Jul41 Sunderland Mk.II aircraft Serial W3985 was the 10th of 23 Mk.II aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3976-W3998 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1168. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed constant speed airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of seven .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

The aircraft was not fitted with Air to Surface Vessel radar (ASV) during manufacture because early Mk.II aircraft were completed before the sets were available. They were however retrofitted with an ASV Mk.II system sometime in the November-December period of 1941. The ASV Mark II operated at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical fittings. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

09Aug41 FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew proceeded by rail to Rochester and collected the aircraft from the Short Bros works. One or two days were used to inspect the boat, check its inventory and to visit the factory for discussions with workmen.

11Aug41 FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Rochester at 1630hrs for the transit to Pembroke Dock arriving 1855hrs. The Aircraft was taken on charge and coded as RB-T.

28Aug41 1st Operational mission. FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1155hrs for a convoy escort patrol. Soon after take-off the flaps were wound in as per normal but when the flaps were in the full up position the screwjack in the flap motor snapped allowing the port flap to drop to its full extent. Pilot aborted and RTB at 1215hrs

31Aug41 Aircraft flew one operational mission and one non-operational flight in August 1941.

30Sep41 Aircraft flew 14 operational mission and two non-operational flights in September 1941.

14Oct41 20th Operational mission. SQNLDR E.B Courtney and crew departed Mount Batten at 0720hrs carrying the Duke of Gloucester, Admiral Sir Max Horton and eight other ranking officers for a ferry flight to Gibraltar. The aircraft returned to Mount Batten on 16Oct41.

19Oct41 22nd Operational mission. FLTLT J.P Costello and crew departed Mount Batten at 1840hrs and performed an ASW Patrol while enroute to Gibraltar. Aircraft remained in Gibraltar until 21Oct41 when it returned to Mount Batten carrying the Duke of Gloucester, Admiral Sir Max Horton and eight other ranking officers.

31Oct41 24th Operational mission. FLTLT Lush and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1010hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The starboard inner engine began acting up after 30min so the Captain landed at Scilly Isles where an investigation found water in the fuel supply. The tanks were drained and fresh fuel taken on board before the aircraft returned to Pembroke Dock at 1825hrs.

31Oct41 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and three non-operational flights in October 1941.

18Nov41 28th Operational mission. FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Mount Batten at 2125hrs for detached duty at Gibraltar. Enroute they carried out an ASW patrol and carried six Military personnel to attend conferences in Gibraltar.

21Nov41 29th Operational mission. FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Gibraltar at 2345hrs for the transit flight back to Mount Batten. At 0235hrs the aircraft was recalled to Gibraltar because of extreme weather conditions closer to the UK. The transit flight was successfully completed the next day.

28Nov41 31st Operational mission. FLTLT Lush and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 2220hrs for a planned ASW sweep enroute to Gibraltar. The Captain aborted the mission at 0025hrs and returned to Base when the port outer engine failed.

30Nov41 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and three non-operational flights in November 1941.

07Dec41 Aircraft underwent scheduled maintenance in the period 07-28Dec41

31Dec41 Aircraft flew one operational mission and one non-operational flights in December 1941.

13Jan42 A severe storm hit the area on this day and at 0200hrs W3985 was moored with a duty crew on board when an unidentified ship, which had dragged its anchor, struck the stbd wing. A short time later the ship struck the same wing again and this time the stbd engine was torn from its mount and other serious damage inflicted in the same area. A Plymouth lifesaving boat arrived on the scene and after many attempts secured a tow line to the bow and took the aircraft to a mooring on the leeward of the Cattewater. Classified as Cat.B damage unrepairable by the Unit.

January 1942. W3985 [RB-T] moored at Pembroke Dock

29Jan42 Aircraft issued to No.43 Group for lengthy repairs, estimated to take at least four months

12Jul42 Aircraft returned from repair.

16Aug42 37th Operational mission. PLTOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1005hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1744 they sighted a fully surfaced U-boat 12 miles off the starboard bow travelling at 10 knots on course 070°. The U-boat submerged at three miles and two 270lb Torpex depth charges were dropped from 50ft and landed 200 yards ahead of the U-boat’s swirl. The captain radioed Base they had attacked a U-boat without result and were going to leave the area and return in one hour. At 1845 the aircraft returned at a height of 4000ft under cloud cover and the surfaced U-boat was seen again at 15miles dead ahead on the same course as before. The captain took advantage of the cloud cover and reached an attack position without being seen but after diving down to 50ft and when 500 yards out from the submarine it was spotted and the submarine began an emergency crash dive.

The stern of the U-boat was still visible when the aircraft dropped 4 x 270lb Torpex depth charges spaced at 25ft with 35ft depth set. The first two charges detonated about 15ft from the hull near the stern, the other two landed in the same line but further away from the submarine. The aircraft could not stay and observe any developments as critical fuel levels forced it to break off and return to base.

19Aug42 39th Operational mission. PLTOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1635hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1940hrs they received a message to discontinue the ASW patrol and search for a German Tanker. At 2045 they got a radar fix on a single vessel 45 miles off the port bow and closed to investigate, when they closed in to 1000 yards for a closer look the vessel opened fire with light AA. Positive ID was made that it was an Altmark class tanker of 10,000 tons travelling at 10 knots and a message was immediately sent to base reporting the target coordinates. The aircraft then manoeuvered into an attack position whereby the tanker was between the full moon and the aircraft. The aircraft then dropped 2 x 250lb bombs spaced 40ft with a 12 second delay without any observed results. While positioning for a second attack the vessel opened fire with medium AA from bow, stern and bridge locations and the aircraft was forced to dodge and turn as it made its attack, dropping two more 250lb bombs again without result.

A third attack was made from directly astern along the vessel’s track dropping 4 x 250lb bombs one of which scored a direct hit near the bridge. Now out of weapons the aircraft orbited the damaged tanker sending action reports to base before it broke off the engagement and set course for base.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and one non-operational flight in August 1942.

13Sep42 Aircraft underwent servicing and modification from 13-28Sep42

30Sep42 Aircraft flew three operational missions and two non-operational flights in September 1942.

27Oct42 48th Operational mission. PLTOFF T. Brown and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 2250hrs for detached duty in Gibraltar. An ASW sweep was completed whilst enroute being waterborne Gibraltar at 1135hrs 28Oct. The aircraft remained in Gibraltar until 01Nov when it returned to Mount Batten at 1705hrs carrying six military personnel.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and no non-operational flights in October 1942.

09Nov42 50th Operational mission. FLGOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1105hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Over the Eddystone Lighthouse the intercom failed and could not be repaired so the pilot aborted and returned to Mount Batten.

30Nov42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and one non-operational flight in November 1942.

18Dec42 58th Operational mission. FLGOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1220hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1755hrs the starboard inner engine failed so the Captain aborted and returned to Base.

31Dec42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and two non-operational flights in December 1942.

21Jan43 Aircraft underwent scheduled maintenance 21Jan-03Feb43

31Jan43 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and one non-operational flight in January 1943.

28Feb43 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in February 1943.

15Mar43 76th Operational mission. FLGOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 0715hrs for a convoy escort patrol. At 0910hrs a serious oil leak developed in the port outer that resulted in the engine seizing some 10min later. The Captain aborted and headed home but the aircraft was proving difficult to control and was slowly losing height. The Captain then altered course and made a forced landing in the Scillies at 1010hrs.

17Mar43 FLGOFF T. Brown and crew departed Scillies 1220hrs on three engines and returned to Mount Batten at 1315hrs.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and three non-operational flights in March 1943.

01Apr43 81st Operational mission. FLTLT T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1040hrs as an ASW convoy escort for a southbound convoy. The aircraft could not find the convoy in the designated area so the Captain set course for home but shortly thereafter the starboard inner failed. The aircraft began to lose height so the Captain jettisoned the depth charges and other non-essential items to lighten the load. The measure proved effective as the aircraft eventually reached base after completing a 13 ½ hour patrol.

11Apr43 83rd Operational mission. FLTLT T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 2345hrs for a Flooder Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0305hrs the starboard outer engine failed so the Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base.

19Apr43 86th Operational mission. FLGOFF H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 1410hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1832hrs a surfacing U-boat was sighted four miles distant on the starboard quarter. As the aircraft manoeuvered to a stern approach positon the tail gunner said he saw U.34 painted on the port side of the conning tower. The aircraft attacked from astern dropping four 270lb Torpex depth charges set for 25ft depth at 100ft spacing. The charges landed perfectly, two either side of the conning tower, but failed to explode as the Captain had forgotten to fuse them. By the time the aircraft completed a circuit the U-boat had crash dived and no further attack was made.

22Apr43 87th Operational mission. FLGOFF H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 1415hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1814hrs the Captain decided to fly at a lower altitude to get under the heavy cloud cover and as the machine broke free of the clouds at 3000ft a surfaced submarine was sighted six miles distant on the port bow. The Captain immediately climbed back into the cloud and set a course to bring the aircraft to a position up sun of the boat, but when they broke cloud again the U-boat was gone.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and no non-operational flights in April 1943.

31May43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and no non-operational flights in May 1943.

06Jun43 98th Operational mission. FLGOFF H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 0315hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0654hrs the port outer began oil and a large amount of smoke so the Captain aborted the mission and set course for base after jettisoning the bombs and depth charges.

14Jun43 100th Operational mission. FLGOFF H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 0225hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0857 three surfaced U-boats were sighted heading 270° at 12 knots and the captain begin circling at eight miles distant while determining the best course of action. At 0933 Sunderland W/461 arrived and at 0945 another Sunderland arrived. The latter Sunderland dived to attack and the U-boats began to dive. W3985 then dived but could not arrive in time to make an attack and after orbiting for a further 20min called off the attack and set course for base.

19Jun43 101st Operational mission. FLGOFF H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 1035hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. In response to the new U-boat tactic of transiting The Bay in groups on the surface and fighting it out with Allied maritime aircraft, the Admiralty directed squadrons to conduct ASW patrols also in groups. Ergo, this was the first 10Sqn mission to fly a formation of Sunderlands on patrol. W3985 joined with W4024 G/10 and W3984 S/10 to fly the uneventful mission.

30Jun43 104th Operational mission. FLGOFF H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 0420hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1115hrs a surfaced submarine was sighted in position 44° 3' N 08° 21' W and Skinner immediately attacked in the face of heavy but initially inaccurate flak. However in his haste to get at the enemy Skinner came in too high and had to go round and set up for a second attack. As the aircraft came in at 150 feet for his second attack, flak from the submarine’s two 20 mm AA scored hits on the wings, the port elevator and, in the rear portion of the hull, mortally wounding the rear-gunner. Of the 6 x Torpex Depth Charges dropped by Skinner, one exploded 20 yards off the submarine’s port beam while the others overshot by 50 yards, exploding in the water without inflicting further damage. The severe damage sustained by Sunderland W3985 constrained Skinner to break off the attack and head for home. On return to base the rear gunner 20 year old AUS413165 SGT J.S Burnham was rushed to RN Hospital Plymouth with extensive facial maxillary injures and severe shrapnel wounds to the right leg and hands. Sadly, SGT Burnham succumbed to his wounds and died in hospital at 2235hrs, he was buried with full military honours at Bath Cemetery, Somerset on 3rd July.

The submarine attacked by Skinner and his crew was the U-518 a 1,200 ton long range Type IXC U-boat. The boat was under the command of 28 year old Kapitanleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann when it departed Lorient for its 3rd War Patrol on 24Jun43. The Boat was severely damaged west of Cape Finnisterre on 27Jun43 during an attack by 201Sqn Sunderland W6005 and was heading for Bordeaux when Skinner located and attacked the boat causing further damage.

U-518 under attack by W3985 on 30Jun1943

30Jun43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in June 1943.

01Jul43 Aircraft was placed in the maintenance area and underwent repairs and servicing during the period 01-13Jul43.

28Jul43 109th Operational mission. PLTOFF G.C Strath and crew departed Mount Batten at 0725hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1325hrs the aircraft was 10miles off the Spanish port of Cape Villano when the starboard inner engine was shut down after the oil pressure fell to zero. At 1440hrs the oil pressure of the starboard outer engine began to fall and at 1450hrs that engine was also shut down leaving the aircraft with only two engines and five hours from Base. The captain jettisoned the bombs and depth charges then ordered all non-essential equipment thrown overboard before setting course for home. At 1735hrs the aircraft sent an SOS stating they may have to force land in large seas because the aircraft was struggling to maintain height. However, after dumping another 200 gallons of petrol the lightened aircraft managed to stay in the air until it reached the Scillies where a successful forced landing was made at 1830hrs.

29Jul43 Aircraft withdrawn from Ops and underwent a double engine change over the next nine days.

31Jul43 Aircraft flew five operational missions and two non-operational flights in July 1943.

18Aug43 110th Operational mission. FLTLT H.W Skinner and crew departed Mount Batten at 1026 hours to carry out an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1850 hours an enemy aircraft attacking signal was immediately followed by an SOS and both signals were detected on a bearing of 222 degrees by the RAF Listening Station at St Eval. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft which failed to return to base and was subsequently listed as MIA.

Post war investigations showed that Hauptmann Horst Grahl of StabV/KG40 flying a Ju88-C6 fighter claimed a Sunderland on this day. As no other Sunderland was lost that day it is safe to assume that Hauptmann Grahl did in fact shoot down W3985 with the loss of all crew

20Aug43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 144 flights of which 110 were Operational Missions and 34 non-operational flights.

RAAF pilot 407977 Flight Lieutenant Hickson William Skinner (26) of Tranmere, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF 2nd Pilot 409027 Flying Officer Victor Denis William Collins (32) of Kew, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Kew, Victoria.

ronald ross swinson 10 sqd raaf

RAAF 3rd pilot 414966 Flying Officer Ronald Ross Swinson (30) (left) of Ivanhoe, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 190 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll on Misima Island, Papua New Guinea.

RAAF navigator 401820 Pilot Officer William Noel Hill (22) of Scarborough Beach in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 188 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT, on the Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF air gunner 414990 Flight Sergeant Hugh Edward Burbidge (22) of Gympie, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Gympie Roll of Honour.

RAAF wireless air gunner 402704 Flight Sergeant Ronald Arthur Gibbs (23) of Ashfield in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Sydney City Roll of Honour.

RAAF wireless air gunner 404754 Flight Sergeant Kenneth Morwick Meldrum (26) of Casino, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Casino Town Roll of Honour.

RAAF Flight Engineer 19194 Sergeant Walter Slater (25) of Sale, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Sale.

RAAF Armourer 51797 Sergeant Norman Henry Orford (25) of Manly in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Mildura, Victoria.

RAAF Fitter IIE 19707 Sergeant Walter Paul Greatz (23) of Mildura, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Toowoomba, Queensland.

RAAF Fitter IIA 5226 Sergeant Alfred Ramsey Aldridge (22) of Caulfield in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Melbourne, Victoria.

RAFVR flight engineer 655726 Flight Sergeant Donald Stanyon Croxford was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 136 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also remembered on the Hemel Hempstead (Boxmoor) War Memorial, Hertfordshire.

W3986

00Jul41 Sunderland Mk.II aircraft Serial W3986 was the 11th of 23 Mk.II aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3976-W3998 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1170. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed constant speed airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of seven .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

The aircraft was not fitted with Air to Surface Vessel radar (ASV) during manufacture because early Mk.II aircraft were completed before the sets were available. They were however retrofitted with an ASV Mk.II system sometime in the November-December period of 1941. The ASV Mark II operated at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical fittings. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

27Aug41 FLTLT J.P Costello and crew proceeded by rail to Rochester and collected the aircraft from the Short Bros works. They conducted an acceptance inspection of the aircraft, checked its inventory and visited the factory for discussions with workmen.

28Aug41 FLTLT J.P Costello and crew departed Rochester at 1655hrs for the transit to Pembroke Dock arriving 1910hrs. The Aircraft was taken on charge and coded as RB-U.

W3986/U at Pembroke Dock soon after delivery c.Aug-Sep41

10Sep41 1st Operational mission. FLTLT A.G Wearne and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0500hrs for an ASW cross-over patrol. At 1100hrs they sighted a surfaced submarine 1000 yards off the port bow but by the time the Sunderland could attack the submarine had dived. Nonetheless, the aircraft closed the target and as the U-boat’s hull was clearly visible below the surface the crew dropped four depth charges; one a direct hit between the conning tower and the stern and a second hit forward of the conning tower, the third DC hung up and the fourth was 150ft forward of the submarine. The aircraft climbed and circled the area and successfully dropped the hung up depth charge in the middle of a large red-brown patch on the sea. The crew believed they had attacked U-77 because of markings on the conning tower.

Unknown to the crew, or anyone else for that matter, they had actually attacked the Italian U-boat Alessandro Malaspina which had departed Bordeaux, France on 07Sep41 for a War Patrol and was due to return in late October. The boat never returned and was declared missing presumed sunk by Italian authorities on 18Nov41. For many years it was believed the Malaspina was sunk by the RN Destroyer HMS Vimy on 21Sep41while escorting the Gibraltar-Liverpool convoy HG73. However, researchers now know that Vimy had in fact attacked another Italian boat the Luigi Torelli which suffered serious damage in the action, forcing the boat to return to base. Researches now state it was the Alessandro Malaspina that was sunk in position 46º23’N / 11º22’W by depth charges dropped by Sunderland W9386/U of 10Sqn RAAF.

30Sep41 Aircraft flew six operational missions and five non-operational flights in September 1941

07Oct41 8th Operational mission. FLTLT H.G Havyatt and crew departed Mount Batten at 1110hrs for an anti-submarine strike mission. At 1425hrs the aircraft began a creeping line-ahead search along a reported U-boat track. At 1520hrs while searching with the ASV at 15,000ft the conning tower and wash of a submerging U-boat was sighted 1.5 miles distant on the port bow. The Captain dived to 50ft to attack the U-boat’s last position while sending a sighting report to HQ. Three x 250lb depth charges were dropped 30 seconds after the conning tower disappeared. No results were observed despite circling the area for another 33 minutes.

11Oct41 9th Operational mission. FLTLT J.P Costello and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0705hrs for an anti-submarine cross over patrol. At 0750hrs the W/T set failed so the Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base

19Oct41 11th Operational mission. FLTLT S.L Burrage and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0840hrs for an anti-submarine cross over patrol. At 1147hrs a submarine conning tower was sighted four miles ahead and the Captain ordered the depth charges run out before then commenced his attack. The U-boat surfaced fully but immediately started to dive again when it spotted the approaching Sunderland 2.5 miles away. By the time the aircraft reached the position there was no indication of the where the U-boat had headed so no attack was made. Resumed patrol before returning and diverting to Mount Batten.

22Oct41 13th Operational mission. FLTLT S.L Burrage and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1055hrs to locate and escort a Whitley aircraft that was returning with engine problems. The search began at 1150hrs and nothing was sighted until 1515hrs when the radio operator intercepted a message from a Hudson patrol aircraft, which was part of the search effort, stating they were orbiting a life raft containing five survivors. Orders were then received directing the Sunderland to proceed to the stated position and soon after heading in that direction a Hudson was seen at eight miles distance. Assuming the Hudson was the one that had radioed the sighting the Sunderland tried formatting on the Hudson but could not catch it. The pilot then assumed the Hudson they had just followed was not the one that reported the life raft, so he climbed higher and began a radar search and was soon rewarded with two blips that turned out to be two Hudsons circling a large dinghy.

The Captain appraised the situation and decided the sea was calm enough to land and rescue the survivors. At 1725hrs a successful touchdown was made approximately one mile from the dinghy and the aircraft taxied close to the dinghy and after some testing moments the six survivors were brought aboard. The aircraft then made a successful take-off at 1801hrs and returned to Pembroke Dock being waterborne at 2000hrs. The next day the crew received a congratulatory message from the Air Officer Commanding No.19 Group for their superb effort in trying conditions. On 27Oct41 FLTLT Burrage was ordered to London where he made a BBC Recording of the crew’s experience during the rescue operation.

A photograph taken by the Observer SGT R.S Smith from the top of the starboard wing showing the Whiteley survivors boarding W3986 after their rescue

31Oct41 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and four non-operational flights in October 1941

03Nov41 14th Operational mission. FLTLT S.L Burrage and crew departed Mount Batten at 2245hrs for detached duty at Gibraltar. The aircraft carried 14 replacement RAF fighter pilots for the RAF force on Malta. Waterborne Gibraltar 0740hrs on 4th November.

06Nov41 15th Operational mission. FLTLT S.L Burrage and crew departed Gibraltar at 1220hrs and carried out a shipping reconnaissance enroute to Malta. Waterborne Marsaxlokk Bay at 2105hrs where all passengers disembarked. From 07Nov until 21Nov the aircraft carried out a variety of Operational Missions between Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria and Cairo hauling a mixture of passengers, freight, secure messages and wounded personnel.

23Nov41 25th Operational mission. FLTLT S.L Burrage and crew departed Gibraltar at 0020hrs for the return trip carrying 16 RAF passengers and high level communiques. At 0935hrs a bogey was sighted ahead then turned back toward the Sunderland after the day code was flashed at the bogey. The bogey now identified as a Heinkel.111K closed to within 400 yards and fired one burst from the nose gun. The Sunderland had dived down during the approach and returned fire forcing the Heinkel to fall 600 yards astern of the Sunderland. A minutes later the Heinkel turned away and disappeared into the clouds. The stbd waist gun and tail turret fired 450 rounds during the engagement and believed they had hit the Heinkel several times in and around the nose. The aircraft completed the transit flight without further ado and was waterborne Pembroke Dock at 1120hrs where all 16 passengers were safely disembarked.

29Nov41 25th Operational mission. FLTLT V.A Hodgkinson and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 2155hrs and carried out an ASW patrol enroute to Gibraltar. The aircraft was detached for ASW duty in Gibraltar for the period 29Nov to 13Dec41.

30Nov41 Aircraft flew 14 operational missions and four non-operational flights in November 1941

05Dec41 The aircraft’s stbd outer engine refused to start when being preflighted for an ASW patrol. Engine repaired after 14hrs and a successful 30 min test flight carried out on 06Dec.

09Dec41 45 hourly servicing carried out on 8th/9th Dec followed by a successful 15min test flight.

31Dec41 Aircraft flew four operational missions and three non-operational flights in December 1941

31Jan42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and four non-operational flights in January 1942

28Feb42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and three non-operational flights in February 1942

31Mar42 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and five non-operational flights in March 1942

Above: Two photographs of W3986 on the maintenance area at Pembroke Dock April 1942


A large scale model of W3986 depicting the early camouflage scheme

30Apr42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and three non-operational flights in April 1942

08May42 56th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0615hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1547hrs they sighted a large surfaced U-boat six miles dead ahead. The aircraft immediately dived down to 50ft but at 1.5 miles distance the submarine crash dived. Eight 250lb Torpex depth charges were dropped with 45ft spacing 150 yards ahead of the submersion swirl. Low fuel levels meant the aircraft could not stay on the scene and observe any possible results.

15May42 58th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0600hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0707hrs the port inner engine began backfiring and became progressively worse losing revolutions and dropping power. The Captain decided to abort the mission at 0840hrs and return to Mount Batten.

19May42 59th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0205hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0815hrs while patrolling at 1000ft, two 500 ton trawlers were sighted three miles ahead apparently riding herd on a group of small fishing vessels. As the Sunderland closed to 1200 yards both trawlers opened fire with machine guns to which the Sunderland retuned fire from the nose and midship gunners. Wood then climbed to 3000ft and set up for an attack before diving once more and dropping a string of eight depth charges across the two trawlers. All eight charges burst 15 yards from the port side of the second trawler and as the Sunderland climbed away smoke was seen issuing from the stern of the vessel. Now running low on petrol and no weapons remaining, the captain broke away and set course for base.

29May42 62nd Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0740hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The radar equipment failed at 0907hrs but the patrol continued until three hours later when a broken oil pipe caused the pressure to drop to zero on the port outer engine. The Captain immediately set course for the Scillies and was waterborne St Mary’s at 1125hrs, where temporary repairs were effected using spare parts from W4020/B which was beached there. Departed St Mary’s 1425hrs and reached MB at 1510hrs.

31May42 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and no non-operational flights in May 1942

05Jun42 63rd Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 1125hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft started the patrol at 1545hrs and the ASV immediately picked up a target eight miles distant off the stbd bow and one minute later they spotted a surfaced U-boat. Wood dived to 50ft and set-up for an attack on the now submerging U-boat and upon reaching the target area Wood dropped a string of eight 250lb Torpex depth charges which straddled the projected U-boat track 130 yards ahead of the submergence swirl. All charges detonated and one minute later the U-boat surfaced and was seen to be down by the bow and listing 15° to port.

The U-boat lay stationary for approximately 10 minutes and during that time the aircraft made several passes allowing the gunners to fire more than 2,000 rounds into the hapless target. Eventually the U-boat crew managed to man the AA weapons and fired on the aircraft scoring many hits. The U-boat then got under way and headed east before submerging. The aircraft remained in the area for two hours but nothing further was seen.

At 1735hrs a FW.200 Condor was seen rapidly approaching the Sunderland one mile off the port quarter. The Condor opened fire at 1000 yards with cannon then breaking off at 500 yards, this process was repeated twice more and three hits were made on the aircraft. The Condor made its fourth, and final, attack from directly astern and during this attack the aircraft was struck by at least four more cannon shells and more than 80 small calibre rounds. In return, the Sunderland gunners claimed many hits on the Condor and it was last seen trailing smoke and losing height while heading for France.

The aircraft returned to Mount Batten where an inspection revealed more than 100 holes in the fuselage, wings/flaps, tail unit and port float. The damage was assessed as Cat.Ac and was repairable at the unit. FLTLT Samuel Richard Creswick Wood received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this action.

The U-boat attacked by Wood and his crew was the U-71 a 769 ton Type VIIC boat that had departed La Pallice, France for its 5th War Patrol under the command of 34 year old Kapitanleutnant Walter Flaschenberg. The attack by FLTLT S.R Wood and crew approximately 300km off La Pallice caused moderate damage that required the boat to return to port. U-71 survived the war as a training vessel, only to be scuttled on May 2, 1945 in Wilhelmshaven.

Photographs taken by one of the crewmen showing U-71 down by the stern and being strafed by the Sunderland’s gunners, more than 2000 rounds were expended in the action.


06Jun41 Aircraft placed on the maintenance hard stand where repairs were effected over the next two weeks.

23Jun42 64th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0530hrs for detached duty at Gibraltar carrying five replacement aircrew. Waterborne Gibraltar at 1520hrs

24Jun42 65th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Gibraltar at 0715hrs for the return journey to Mount Batten. Three RAF pilots carried as passengers, waterborne Base at 1855hrs.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and two non-operational flights in June 1942

20Jul42 74th Operational mission. FLTLT H. G. Pockley and crew departed Mount Batten at 1820hrs for an anti-shipping strike in the Bay of Biscay. At 2005hrs a message was sent to Base stating the aircraft had some minor technical problems and was landing at St Marys (Scillies) to attempt repairs. The aircraft duly landed at St Marys and corrected the faults before completing the assigned patrol.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and no non-operational flights in July 1942

11Aug42 79th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0755hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1555hrs they sighted a surfaced U-boat bearing 300° at 21 miles distant and owing the moderate cloud cover were able to close to six miles before the U-boat dived. Two Torpex depth charges were dropped on the estimated position of the submarine with no observed results.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and one non-operational flights in August 1942

01Sep42 85th Operational mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 0755hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Enroute to the patrol area at 1023hrs radar showed a contact 12 miles off the port beam and the aircraft turned to investigate. At five miles the target was thought to be a merchant vessel but the Captain proceeded up sun and when diving back toward the target it was now positively identified as a large oceanic submarine which opened fire with light and medium flak from aft of the conning tower. The submarine, tentatively identified as an Italian Settembrini Class Boat, was attacked from 400ft with 4 x 250lb SAP bombs set with 25ft spacing. The tail gunner reported an explosion 30 yards off the port side between the conning tower and the bow followed immediately by yellow smoke for about 30 seconds.

After aborting the second attack two other Sunderlands were seen approaching the area, W3983/R of 10Sqn and T9085/A of 461Sqn. They quickly contacted the new arrivals and arranged for a coordinated attack but before they could implement the plan W3986 was ordered to resume patrol immediately.

09Sep42 88th Operational mission. FLGOFF Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0750hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1048hrs the Captain decided to descend through the 10/10 cloud cover and get a wind check. As the aircraft emerged from the clouds at 400ft, bullets hits the fuselage and simultaneously the port beam gunner reported a Ju88 approaching from the port quarter firing cannon and machine guns from 500 yards. The Captain immediately broke hard to port towards the Ju88 forcing it to break away. As the Junkers broke the tail gunner fired three long bursts [more than 1,000 rounds], scoring numerous hits on the belly of the enemy machine. The Junkers was last seen entering clouds on a heading of 090° with smoke pouring from both engines. As the Junkers disappeared the tail gunner warned another Ju88 was one mile astern at 400ft but this Junkers did not attack and was last seen heading after the first Junkers.

Back at base the damage was assessed thus: port main fuel tank; starboard outer oil tank; rear turret and fin all sustained serious damage. Additionally there were approximately 40-50 holes in the hull.

10Sep42 Damage assessed as Cat.Ac and was repaired at the unit during the period 10Sep to 08Oct42

30Sep42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and no non-operational flights in September 1942

11Oct42 89th Operational mission. FLGOFF W. Thorpe and crew departed Mount Batten at 0610hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0805hrs a Ju88 was sighted approaching from 5miles at 500ft, sent message “Am being attacked by Ju88”. The Junkers attempted a stern attack from below but the captain executed a skidding turn and diving across the Ju88’s bow which allowed all gunners to open fire at 300-400 yards. The Sunderland was hit by three cannon shells in the hull, one below and two above the water line. The Ju88 then made a second attack from the port side which ended when accurate fire from the gunners forced the enemy to break off the engagement and leave the area.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in October 1942

30Nov42 Aircraft flew no operational missions and two non-operational flights in November 1942

31Dec42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in December 1942

04Jan43 102nd Operational mission. FLGOFF D. Saunders and crew departed Mount Batten at 0725hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0830hrs the pilot aborted and returned to Base when the port outer engine began losing power.

31Jan43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and two non-operational flights in January 1943

January 1943 at RAF Mount Batten. W3986/U being manhandled into position for maintenance. Aircraft now wearing the new style camouflage scheme and sporting the distinctive Mk.II ASV aerials.

03Feb43 108th Operational mission. FLGOFF Griffiths and crew departed Mount Batten at 0810hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0905hrs the tail turret failed and a message was sent to base at 1005 stating the turret was repaired and the patrol would continue. A few minutes later both starboard engines failed and as the Captain was deciding his next course of action the engines came back to full power. Patrol was resumed and completed.

28Feb43 Aircraft flew six operational missions and three non-operational flights in February 1943

21Mar43 119th Operational mission. SQNLDR R.W Marks and crew departed Mount Batten at 2130hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0138hrs a target was picked up on radar and as the aircraft turned to the indicated bearing a surfaced submarine was seen in the moonlight, but crash dived before the aircraft arrived at the location.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and three non-operational flights in March 1943

30Apr43 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and no non-operational flights in April 1943

07May43 132nd Operational mission. FLTLT D. Saunders and crew departed Mount Batten at 0500hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0739hrs the starboard inner engine failed completely and would not restart. The Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base.

20May43 135th Operational mission. FLTLT D. Saunders and crew departed RAF Mount Batten at 0508hrs on an anti-submarine ‘Derange’ patrol. At 0520hrs the Coast Guard watchmen at Rame Head and Looe reported seeing a very bright flash followed by a large explosion approximately four miles North West of the Eddystone Lighthouse At 0756hrs a RN Destroyer found wreckage and floats thought to be of Sunderland origin. A pinnace was despatched from Mount Batten and at 1330hrs found the bodies of two crewmen, that of SGT Dewhurst and SGT Owen. Nothing else was ever found despite several searches.

The true cause of the accident will never be known but it was estimated that the magnitude of the explosion seen by the Coast Guard was probably caused by a fire detonating the fuel tanks and/or the explosive ordnance on board. The accident resulted in the needless death of 12 brave men.

22May43 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made 188 flights of which 135 were Operational Missions and the remaining 53 were non-operational flights

RAAF pilot 401836 FLTLT Denis Saunders (34) of Toorak, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Hawthorne, Melbourne

RAAF 1st pilot 412831 FLGOFF Vincent John Patston (22) of Kempsey, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 189 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, the Armidale High School WW2 In Memoriam Honour Roll.

RAAF 2nd pilot 405524 FLGOFF Graham Lloyd Thorneloe Smith (28) of Albion in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 189 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; the Maryborough Queen's Park War Memorial; and, Maryborough State High School Roll of Honour.

RAAF navigator 415006 FLGOFF William Robert Cleland (34) of Scarborough, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA.

RAAF flight engineer 32523 SGT Patrick McCombie (35) of Bondi in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Sydney City Roll of Honour.

RAAF Fitter IIE 5933 SGT Ronald William Bruce Dowell (24) of Echuca, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Echuca Roll of Honour.

RAAF WOP/Air Gunner 17645 SGT Graham Montgomery Walker (26) of Serpentine, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA. He is also commemorated on the Serpentine Roll of Honour in Mundijong, Western Australia.

RAAF Fitter IIA 20127 SGT Reginald Stanley Moore (24) of Port Macquarie, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Coffs Harbour Roll of Honour.

RAAF WOP/Air Gunner 409741 SGT19070 Norman Donald Pollock (20) of Koo-wee-rup, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Koo-wee-rup Roll of Honour.

RAAF AG 19070 SGT Irwin Hunter (24) of Geelong, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Casterton Roll of Honour in Victoria.

RAAF Air Gunner 32960 SGT Edgar Dewhurst (28) of Dorrigo, New South Wales was KIA. He is buried in Section C Consecrated Grave 8985 of the Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery, Devon UK. He is commemorated on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Dorrigo Roll of Honour in New South Wales..

RAAF AG 32847 SGT Norman James Owen (24) of Turramurra in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA. He is buried Section C Consecrated Grave 8986 of the Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery, Devon UK. He is commemorated on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Turramurra Roll of Honour in New South Wales.

W3994

00Oct41 Sunderland Mk.II aircraft Serial W3994 was the 18th of 23 Mk.II aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3976-W3998 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent under Contract No. B985038/39 with Shorts construction number S1177. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed constant speed airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of seven .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; one in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Nov41 Aircraft was delivered from Short Bros Rochester to the Base Servicing Party at RAF Pembroke Dock by a crew from the Sunderland Ferry Flight.

20Nov41 Aircraft taken on charge with 10Sqn at RAF Mount Batten and coded RB-X

23Nov41 FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1430hrs for a VIP Flight to RAF Stranraer.

25Nov41 FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Stranraer at 0950hrs for a 35min VIP Flight to Gourock, Scotland then back to Pembroke Dock being waterborne at 1640hrs

29Nov41 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1430hrs and completed an uneventful ASW patrol enroute to Gibraltar for detached duty. The aircraft carried seven senior RAF and RN officers and one civilian scientist.

30Nov41 Aircraft flew one operational mission and five non-operational flights in November 1941.

01Dec41 2nd Operational Mission. FLTLT G.R Thurston and crew departed Gibraltar at 2320hrs for the return flight to Mount Batten.

12Dec41 3rd Operational Mission. FLTLT G.R Thurstun and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1635hrs and completed an uneventful ASW patrol enroute to Gibraltar for detached duty. Waterborne Gibraltar 0305hrs 13Dec41. The aircraft and crew were detached to perform Convoy Escort and ASW duty and during the period from 15Dec41 to 09Jan42 the crew flew nine such missions.

13Dec41 45 hourly inspection carried out, test flown on 14Dec.

23Dec41 90 hourly inspection carried out, test flown of 24Dec.

31Dec41 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and three non-operational flights in December 1941.

08Jan42 12th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.R Thurston and crew departed Gibraltar at 0025hrs and carried out an ASW sweep enroute to Mount Batten, waterborne at 1205hrs

31Jan42 Aircraft flew two operational missions and two non-operational flights in January 1942.

28Feb42 Aircraft flew three operational missions and two non-operational flights in February 1942.

31Mar42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and two non-operational flights in March 1942.

05Apr42 21st Operational Mission. FLGOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 0955hrs to provide AA Escort for a Secret Convoy. At 1505hrs the aircraft steered toward a bogey which saw the Sunderland and turned away to the east. A few minutes later two bomb bursts were seen, one 500 yards in front of the leading destroyer of the starboard column and the other 50 yards from the leading destroyer of the port column. Two Ju88s were seen climbing away after their attack and disappeared into clouds. For the next three hours the Sunderland assisted the convoy by providing timely warning of impending attacks and by chasing the Ju88s away from their targets. At 1804hrs yet another Ju88 was seen approaching the convoy at 7000ft and after warning the convoy escorts turned to intercept the now diving Ju88. The nose and midships gunners fired 300 rounds as the Junkers pulled out of its dive and saw several strikes around the nose.

12Apr42 23rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF W. Thorpe and crew departed Mount Batten at 0425hrs for an ASW sweep in the Bay of Biscay. At 0910hrs the port inner engine began to lose power intermittently but the Captain pressed on until 1130hrs when the engine performance became much worse, The Captain jettisoned all eight depth charges and headed back to Base.

23Apr42 29th Operational Mission. FLGOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1040hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The patrol was completed at 1820hrs and the aircraft was heading home when an Arado 196 was seen at sea level approaching the aircraft. The Captain immediately dived down to 50ft above the water and positioned to keep the Arado under observation. The enemy then climbed above the Sunderland and made an attack from the port quarter opening fire at 500 yards and still firing as it crossed the Sunderland’s stern and closed to 250 yards before breaking away. The rear gunner fired two bursts at the Arado as it broke away and was joined soon after by the midships gunner. After two more attacks which were both repulsed by the Sunderland’s gunners the Arado broke off the engagement and disappeared to the east.

The Sunderland sustained damage to the port outer and stbd inner engines; the stbd petrol tank and port oil tank were punctured; and, numerous holes in the fuselage, fin and port float. The Captain jettisoned the eight depth charges, aborted the mission and returned to Base.

24Apr42 Damage was assessed as Cat.Ac and was repaired at the unit from 24Apr to 04May.

30Apr42 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and no non-operational flights in April 1942.

23May42 Aircraft underwent 180 hourly inspection from 23May until 05Jun42

31May42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and two non-operational flights in May 1942.

07Jun42 34th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0125hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0712hrs they sighted a surfaced U-boat at five miles bearing 080°. As the Sunderland approached the U-boat remained on the surface and opened fire with a large calibre weapon at 3000 yards. Egerton bore in and dropped a string of 8 x 250lb Torpex depth charges set for 25ft, spaced 35ft apart; one large explosion was observed alongside the U-boat’s stern on the stbd side and the submarine immediately slowed down. During the attack gunners fired nearly 700 rounds into the target while the U-boat scored several hits which wounded two crewmen. Egerton then circled the damaged submarine while transmitting contact reports. At 0740hrs 10Sqn Sunderland W4019/A arrived on the scene and immediately attacked the U-boat. When it was directly over the U-boat a large flash and black smoke was seen and at first the crew thought W4019 had exploded but to their immense relief W4019 circled the stationary submarine once then departed the scene.

Egerton remained at the scene for another 10min before heading for home and as the aircraft departed the scene the U-boat was stationary with the bow pointing up out of the water at a 45° angle. Damage to the Sunderland was assessed as Cat.Ac and quickly repaired. RAAF Wireless Operator 411223 SGT C Keane and RAAF Armourer 24973 LAC M.K Miller both sustained minor shrapnel wounds and were back on active duty within a few days

12Jun42 36th Operational Mission. FLTLT R.N Gillies and crew departed Mount Batten at 0205hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0720hrs the starboard outer engine began to run roughly and regressively became worse. The Captain aborted the mission at 0725hrs and returned to Base.

12Jun42 37th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 2350hrs for an anti-shipping patrol to Gibraltar where the aircraft and crew were detached for duty. Waterborne 0950hrs 13Jun42.

14Jun42 38th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Gibraltar at 0250hrs for an ASW patrol. At 0932hrs they spotted an oil streak, two miles long and 50 yards wide and dropped 8 x 250lb Torpex depth charges on the southern end of the streak but no results were seen. At 1016hrs the tail gunner reported a Ju88 closing the aircraft and the Captain dived down to the sea while turning all the while to keep the Junkers astern. The Ju88 closed the distance and when it was 400 yards out the tail and midships gunners cut loose. The Ju88 fired before breaking away and coming in for a second attack and once again the gunners fired as the enemy entered range and fired a short burst before diving away to the sea with white smoke issuing from the fuselage area. The aircraft sustained Cat.A damage to the tail and port wing, no injuries were recorded.

15Jun42 Aircraft underwent repair at Gibraltar.

16Jun42 39th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Gibraltar at 0345hrs for an ASW escort patrol. At 0640hrs they met the RN Force H consisting of two aircraft carriers, two cruisers and six destroyers and escorted the Force until they were forced to RTB with low fuel reserves.

17Jun42 40th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Gibraltar at 2155hrs and completed an ASW sweep while enroute to Mount Batten, waterborne at 0835hrs on 18Jun42.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and no non-operational flights in June 1942.

22Jul42 47th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 2230hrs for an anti-shipping patrol to Gibraltar where the aircraft and crew were detached for duty. Waterborne 1220hrs 23Jul42.

28Jul42 50th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Gibraltar at 0610hrs and completed an ASW sweep while enroute to Mount Batten, waterborne at 1625hrs.

30Jul42 51st Operational Mission. FLTLT E.B Martin and crew departed Mount Batten at 0215hrs for an anti-shipping reconnaissance patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft took the maximum load of antisubmarine bombs and was to carry out a patrol along the Spanish coast just outside territorial waters. No signals were ever received from the aircraft which failed to return from the mission.

02Aug42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made 68 flights of which 51 were operational missions and the remaining 17 were a mixture of non-operational type flights.

RAAF Captain 280651 Flight Lieutenant Eric Bruce Martin MID (27) of Semaphore, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 108 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF First Pilot 405185 Flying Officer Arthur Francis O’Dwyer (25) of South Yarra in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 110 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll in Melbourne; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF Second Pilot 403653 Pilot Officer Ernest Francis Hamilton Frith (32) of Boolaroo, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 111 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll in Boolaroo; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF navigator 416275 Flying Officer Arthur Reginald Meaker (32) of Unley, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 110 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Unley Roll of Honour, South Australia.

RAAF Observer 401759 Flying Officer Christopher Edward Thomas Bartram (28) of Bridgewater, Somerset UK was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 109 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Melbourne Roll of Honour, Victoria.

RAFVR Fitter IIE 11069 Sergeant Herbert Henry Fealy (30) of Hawthorne in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 112 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Melbourne Roll of Honour, Victoria.

RAAF Aircraft Hand 4559 Sergeant Clive Thomas Bingham (23) of Auburn in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 112 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Auburn Roll of Honour, Sydney.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 406430 Sergeant David Bell (20) of South Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 112 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the Melbourne Roll of Honour, Victoria; and, on Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA.

RAAF wireless mechanic 4701 Sergeant John Russell Mullins (26) of Yarrawonga, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the Yarrawonga Roll of Honour, Victoria;

RAAF Fitter Mechanic/Air Gunner 34754 Leading Aircraftman Charles Leslie Kenneth Johnson (20) of Crows Nest in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Sydney Roll of Honour.

RAAF Fitter IIA 14521 Aircraftman Class 1 Nevil Thomas Cuddihy (22) of Pymble in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Sydney Roll of Honour.

RAAF Armourer 13891 Aircraftman Class 1 Garnet William White (21) of Casterton, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Casterton Roll of Honour, Victoria.

W3999

00Dec41 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial W3999 was the 1st of 27 Mk.III aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3999-W4037 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent with Shorts construction number S1183. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

W3999 RB-Y as seen in early 1942 Artwork by Anrey Yurgenson

15Dec41 First flight at Rochester by Short Bros test pilot.

03Jan42 FLTLT E.C Yeoman and crew proceeded by rail to Rochester and collected the aircraft from the Short Bros works. Two days were used to inspect the boat, check its inventory and to visit the factory for discussions with workmen.

05Jan42 FLTLT E.C Yeoman and crew departed Rochester at 1400hrs for the transit to RAF Mount Batten arriving 1555hrs. The Aircraft was taken on charge and coded as RB-Y.

31Jan42 Aircraft flew no operational mission and three non-operational flights in January 1942

12Feb42 1st Operational Mission. WOFF Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 1125hrs for an ASW cross-over patrol in the Bay of Biscay and completed an uneventful 15hr 15min mission.

28Feb42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and no non-operational flights in February 1942

01Mar42 FLTLT R.W Marks and crew departed Mount Batten at 1500hrs for a special auto pilot test flight with two RCAF officers and a Short Bros engineer aboard. When just about to alight at 1540hrs a sudden violent wind shear forced the aircraft onto the water. The port float broke off and the port mainplane which had briefly dipped into the sea was twisted. Additionally, the port outer engine was 'drowned' and the hull sustained a fracture in the aft. A pinnace was despatched from base and towed the aircraft to shore where it was beached and examined to determine the extent of the damage. Cat.AC

02Mar42 Aircraft assessed as Cat.Ac damage and was issued to 43 Group for repairs, estimated to take three weeks. Aircraft was successfully repaired by Short Bros workmen and returned to charge on 28Mar42.

28Mar42 Aircraft flew one operational mission and three non-operational flights in March 1942

18Apr42 11th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Mount Batten at 0740hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. A surfaced U-boat was sighted at 1604hrs but had fully submerged while the Sunderland was still four miles distant. The Captain crossed the U-boats track and sighted what looked like a periscope wake in front of the spot where the submarine submerged. The Captain then circled to port and attacked with a stick of seven depth charges dropped from 200ft. A second attack dropped the remaining depth charge but no results were seen and the Captain left the scene and returned to base.

28Apr42 15th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Mount Batten at 2125hrs for detached duty to Gibraltar. The aircraft performed an ASW Sweep enroute and was carrying nine passengers.

30Apr42 16th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Gibraltar at 0830hrs for the flight back to Mount Batten. The aircraft performed an ASW Sweep enroute and was carrying 10 passengers.

30Apr42 Aircraft flew 11 operational mission and one non-operational flight in April 1942

31May42 Aircraft flew three operational mission and four non-operational flights in May 1942

18Jun42 20th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Mount Batten at 0300hrs on an ASR mission for RN Destroyer HMS Wild Swan, which had failed to respond to calls. At 1030hrs the crew located a large oil slick approximately five miles square and called for the Destroyer HMS Vansittart to investigate. One minute later two life boats and four large rafts were seen one mile downwind of the oil patch and the Destroyer was vectored to the location.

After reaching the first raft Vansittart messaged for the Sunderland to search northward for a motor launch which the crew found a few minutes later and redirected the Vansittart to the scene. The aircraft remained on station until relieved and returned to base. Later learned that 10 officers and 123 ratings from the Wild Swan were rescued along with 10 Spanish fishermen who were on the destroyer.

An accurate large scale flying model depicting the early Temperate Land camouflage scheme worn by the aircraft during its brief service with 10Sqn RAAF at Mount Batten Station in 1942


21Jun42 21st Operational Mission. FLTLT M.L Judell and crew departed Mount Batten at 1110hrs on an ASR search for the crew of Wellington A/172Sqn which had crashed the night before. The aircraft met up with Whitley VC/58Sqn at 1920hrs who informed them of the current situation and together they located a dinghy containing some or all of the downed crew. At 1954hrs they sighted a rescue launch and directed it to the dinghy. At 2030hrs the Sunderland called up the Whiteley and told them enemy aircraft were approaching and ordered the Whiteley to format with the Sunderland and dive down to low level.

No sooner had the two aircraft formatted than an Arado 196 attacked the Whiteley with cannon and machine gun fire from the starboard quarter, wounding the rear gunner. The Sunderland was also hit in the attack and the Whiteley crew saw smoke coming from the Sunderland’s starboard inner engine just before it made a soft landing on the ocean. Just after the Sunderland became stationary on the water it blew up in large explosion. Coming under further attack, the Whitley took evasive action, before setting course for home, with the crew having the unpleasant task of confirming that there were no survivors from this tragic incident.

23Jun42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made 33 flights of which 21 were operational missions and the remaining 12 were a mixture of non-operational type flights.

RAAF pilot 466 Flight Lieutenant Maurice Leopold Judell (24) of Jamestown, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 108 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF 2nd Pilot 405394 Flying Officer Cosmo Clive Chataway (21) of McKay, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 109 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in McKay, Queensland.

RAAF navigator 401596 Flying Officer Bruce Napoleon Gilbert (28) of Lilydale, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 109 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in St Kilda, Victoria.

RAAF Wireless Operator 3846 Sergeant Edward James Taylor (28) of Clifton Hill, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Melbourne, Victoria.

RAAF Wireless Operator 405419 Sergeant John Valentine McLean (22) of Bowen, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 112 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Bowen, Queensland.

RAAF Air Gunner 405093 Sergeant William Lawrence Winterflood (21) of Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Brisbane, Queensland.

RAAF Fitter IIE 11065 Sergeant Phillip Mervyn Benison (30) of Preston, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 112 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Preston, Victoria.

RAAF aircraft rigger 11931 Leading Aircraftman Robert George Willis (23) Yarraville, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Footscray, Melbourne.

RAAF Armourer 4089 Aircraftman Class 1 Francis William Tipping (36) of Cloverdale in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Cenotaph Undercroft. State war Memorial in Kings Park, Perth.

RAAF Fitter IIA 19034 Aircraftman Class 1 Thomas Dorney (27) of Ballarat, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Ballarat, Victoria

First Pilot 30251 Flying Officer Jacques Hazard, Free French Forces, was the only Frenchman to serve with RAAF in WW2. The following tribute is taken from pooleflyingboats.com:

Jacques Victor Adolphe Hazard, Legion of Honour, Croix de Guerre +Companion de Liberation

(L-R): Chevalier de l' Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur, Croix de Guerre, l' Ordre de la Libération

Jacques was a confident flier who’d flown since he was 16 years old and had enlisted in 1939. He was at the Oran (Algeria) Flying School and escaped with two friends in 1940 when Algiers fell. They ditched in Spain before crossing the border to Gibraltar; where he boarded the French ship L’Anadyr on the 2nd July 1940 arriving in the UK on the 7th, to be transferred from London to the camp at Odiham where refugee fliers gathered together. From Odiham he was posted to Surcouf as the seaplane pilot: In the Winter of 1940 Surcouf was at Poole, when Jacques was detached to RNAS Sandbanks for further training, which was fortunate as Surcouf was lost with all hands.

Jacques returned to Plymouth by May1941 and was detached to Mount Batten, where he opted to join with his comrades on 10 Sqn RAAF. He became the only Frenchman to serve with the Australians. From Fight Sergeant in June 1941 to Warrant Officer then Pilot Officer in 1942 aka a Sous-Lieutenant. He was a Pilot Officer as 1st Pilot on W3993 (RB-W) which attacked and badly damaged U-105 on 11Jun42. On 21Jun42, whilst on ASR, with W3999 (RB-Y) when it was attacked by Arado 196 Seaplanes and forced down. The landing sighted by a Whitley from 58 Sqd.at 48'20N 08'07W in Biscay...with an explosion! When RB-Y sank there was no evidence at all of any survivors. This had been his 59th.Mission with 700 hours of flying time

W4004

00Dec41 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial W4004 was the 6th of 27 Mk.III aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3999-W4037 by Short Brothers at their factory in Rochester, Kent with Shorts construction number S1188. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

22Jan42 First flight at Rochester by Short Bros test pilot

01Feb42 FLGOFF H. G. Pockley and crew proceeded by rail to Rochester and collected the aircraft from the Short Bros works. Two days were used to inspect the boat, check its inventory and to visit the factory for discussions with workmen.

04Feb42 FLGOFF H. G. Pockley and crew departed Rochester at 1440hrs for the transit to RAF Mount Batten but was forced to abort 20min after take-off because of weather conditions and returned to Rochester.

06Feb42 FLGOFF H. G. Pockley and crew departed Rochester at 1440hrs for the transit to RAF Mount Batten arriving at 1610hrs. The Aircraft was taken on charge and coded as RB-Z.

17Feb42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 0350hrs on a Special Shipping Search for a heavily armed German blockade runner the 6,000 ton MSS Elsa Essberger thought to be in Ferrol Harbour in Galicia, Spain. The Sunderland entered Ferrol Harbour at 0842hrs and searched all the harbour area photographing Spanish naval forces, gun emplacements and other valuable installations. The crew also discovered the Elsa Essberger anchored in the main harbour undergoing preparations for sea.

W4004 as it was in early 1942 wearing the Temperate Land Scheme camouflage before being repainted in the Temperate Sea Scheme later in 1942

29Feb42 Aircraft flew two Operational Missions and four non-operational flights in February 1942

09Mar42 4th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 1945hrs for an anti-shipping strike. At 2357hrs they located three large merchant vessels and sent a sighting report to base. An illumination cartridge was fired and the vessels immediately responded with accurate AA fire, the Sunderland gunners returned fire and tracer was seen to hit two vessels. After signalling base the vessels were definitely hostile the Sunderland attacked at 0124hrs making a shallow dive at 140 knots from the stbd beam. Two depth charges were dropped from 700ft and the midships gunner reported both exploded 30 yards on the port beam of the vessel.

At 0143hrs two merchants were sighted and one attacked from the stbd beam with two depth charges that were seen to explode close to the ship. Another attack was made, again with two depth charges without observing any results. Having expended all depth charges the aircraft broke off the action and headed for home.

15Mar42 5th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 0715hrs for detached duty in Gibraltar. Enroute they completed an ASW Sweep, waterborne Gibraltar at 1945hrs.

19Mar42 6th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Gibraltar at 0705hrs for detached duty in Gibraltar. Enroute they completed a shipping reconnaissance and logged several Spanish merchant vessels and numerous fishing trawlers, waterborne Mount Batten at 1635hrs.

31Mar42 Aircraft flew seven Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in March 1942

30Apr42 Aircraft flew 10 Operational Missions and no non-operational flights in April 1942

14May42 23rd Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 2100hrs for detached duty in Gibraltar. The crew completed an ASW Sweep enroute, waterborne Gibraltar 0820hrs on 15May42.

21May42 25th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Gibraltar 2145hrs for a transit flight/ASW Sweep to Mount Batten. Upon reaching Mount Batten the fog was too thick to land so the captain decided to alight in the open sea outside the breakwater. The alighting was initially successful but the aircraft then became momentarily airborne when it flew off the top of a swell and the stbd float hit the top of the next swell and was completely torn away. The crew immediately raced out onto the port wing tip to balance the aircraft until a crash launch arrived and towed the aircraft back to the mooring area. Damage was assessed as Cat.A and was repaired at the unit.

29May42 26th Operational Mission. PLTOFF E.B Martin and crew departed Mount Batten at 0750hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. A message from Base ordered the aircraft to locate and attack a U-boat, which was duly located at 1415hrs. The U-boat dived before the aircraft could reach it but left a small oil trail which the Captain used to direct an attack with 7 x 250lb Torpex depth charges. No result was observed and the aircraft was forced to return to base because of low fuel.

31May42 Aircraft flew eight Operational Missions and one non-operational flights in May 1942

30Jun42 Aircraft flew 11 Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in June 1942

02Jul42 39th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 1025hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The crew completed the mission and were homeward bound at 2000ft approximately 20miles from the Scilly Isles when they flew over a group of fishing trawlers. One of the trawlers opened fire hitting the starboard inner propeller. The Captain chose to ignore the attack reasoning that this close to the UK the trawlers were most definitely of British origin.

05Jul42 40th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 0535hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0655hrs the port outer oil pressure fell to zero so the Captain aborted the mission at 0710hrs when the problem could not be fixed. All ordnance was jettisoned at 0735hrs and all exploded, waterborne Mount Batten at 0802hrs.

15Jul42 40th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 0844hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0655hrs the port outer oil pressure fell to zero so the Captain aborted the mission at 0710hrs when the problem could not be fixed. All ordnance was jettisoned at 0735hrs and all exploded, waterborne Mount Batten at 0802hrs.

26Jul42 43rd Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 0120hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0626hrs two trawlers were seen escorting a 4000 ton freighter at a distance of five miles and the Captain closed to investigate and then sent a report to Base stating he was going to attack the small convoy. Vernon climbed into cloud and manoeuvred to an up sun position before attacking from the starboard beam and dropping 2 x 250lb antisubmarine bombs that exploded 15 and 20 yards from the port side of the merchant vessel. On the approach the enemy ships opened fire with heavy but inaccurate flak. Two further attacks were made, one a machine gun attack and another where two depth charges were dropped that landed close to the merchant. The three enemy ships then turned back toward the Spanish coast and the Sunderland resumed patrol.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew eight Operational Missions and no non-operational flights in July 1942

16Aug42 50th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 0540hrs for an anti-shipping patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0800hrs the port inner engine began running rough and backfiring and by 0820hrs had reached the stage where the Captain informed Base he was aborting the mission. At 0929hrs the crew spotted a fully surfaced U-boat three miles off the port bow travelling at 8 knots on course 320°. As the aircraft approached the U-boat porpoised twice before submerging and left a large oil patch on the surface. The aircraft dropped 6 x 270lb Torpex depth charges set at 25ft depth and 35ft spacing which exploded on the stbd side of the U-boat’s track. No further sightings were made and the aircraft returned to base.

29Aug42 51st Operational Mission. FLTLT R.N Gillies and crew departed Mount Batten at 2020hrs for a flight to Gibraltar carrying four senior Officers to attend a conference. A shipping reconnaissance was performed enroute, waterborne Gibraltar 0655hrs on 30Aug42.

31Aug42 52nd Operational Mission. FLTLT R.N Gillies and crew departed Gibraltar at 1930hrs for a flight to Mount Batten carrying four senior Officers. A shipping reconnaissance was performed enroute, waterborne Mount Batten 0630hrs on 01Sep42

Aircraft flew seven Operational Missions and no non-operational flights in August 1942

11Sep42 54th Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0435hrs on a Fishing Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1425hrs both port engines cut out and the Captain sent an immediate SOS to base and turned for home while rapidly losing height. Five minutes later the Captain sent another message stating both engines restarted without problem and the aircraft would complete the patrol before RTB.

19Sep42 57th Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0305hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0316hrs large flames were noticed emanating from the bottom of the port outer engine the bomb load and some fuel were jettisoned and the aircraft RTB. An inspection found a large hole in the exhaust ring of the port outer.

30sep42 Aircraft flew seven Operational Missions and no non-operational flights in September 1942

26Oct42 62nd Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 2205hrs for a flight to Gibraltar. A shipping reconnaissance was performed enroute, waterborne Mount Batten 0810hrs on 01Sep42

30Oct42 Aircraft flew three Operational Missions and one non-operational flights in October 1942

01Nov42 63rd Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Gibraltar at 0730hrs for a flight to Mount Batten. Nine invalid patients and two nurses were carried back to the UK, waterborne Mount Batten at 1655hrs.

24Nov42 69th Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 1130hrs for an ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1400hrs the aircraft was on patrol at 2500ft when three Ju88s emerged from a thick cloud bank and positioned themselves out of range: one on each beam and one astern. For the next eleven minutes the Ju88s made several attacks firing from long range (900-600 yards) and breaking away outside the range of the Sunderland’s machine guns. Eventually the aircraft made the safety of thick clouds and escaped the Ju88s. No damage or injuries were sustained.

30Nov42 71st Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0125hrs for an antishipping strike in the Bay of Biscay. At 0632hrs a radar target was obtained at four miles and the Captain closed and saw another Sunderland apparently attacking the target. Beeton made two circuits of the ship at a height of 7000ft before setting up for a medium altitude bomb attack. At 0750hrs the aircraft dropped a string of 7 x 250lb amatol bombs spaced at 35ft which straddled the enemy vessel. The Captain remained in the area for another 30min trying to vector other aircraft to the target without success and was eventually forced to withdraw and resume the patrol.

30Nov42 Aircraft flew nine Operational Missions and two non-operational flights in November 1942

32Dec42 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and three non-operational flights in December 1942

01Jan43 77th Operational Mission. FLGOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0825hrs for an antishipping reconnaissance in the Bay of Biscay. A radar contact at 1605hrs led the aircraft to a 7000 ton merchant vessel which was duly reported to Base. The aircraft was then directed to fly to a nearby RN Cruiser and inform the captain of the enemy merchant’s positon. The aircraft found the cruiser and after relaying the information proceeded to lead the cruiser by dropping smoke floats and flare pots to indicate the course. Before contact was made the Sunderland was forced to break away and set course for Base because of extremely low fuel levels.

The following day FLGOFF Beetson received s personal message of congratulations from the Air Officer Commanding No.19 Group informing Beetson that the enemy ship was sunk mainly because of the exceptional work done by Beetson and his crew in the appalling weather conditions.

29Jan43 The London Gazette report on the award of the "Distinguished Flying Cross"

"...awarded the DFC as a result of an air operation on 1/1/1943 in which Flt Lt Beeton and FO Bowley were Captain and Navigator respectively of a Sunderland aircraft which located an enemy merchant ship attempting to evade the blockade. Despite extremely adverse weather, Flt Lt Beeton displayed outstanding determination and maintained patrol over the area until one of our naval vessels arrived and engaged the enemy vessel. On return to base Flt Lt Beeton effected a masterly emergency landing in very difficult circumstances."

04Jan43 78th Operational Mission. FLGOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0825hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1055hrs the port outer engine began cutting out intermittently and this problem steadily grew worse until the Captain decided to abort at 1212hrs.

January 1943 RAF Mount Batten - W4004 after being winched out of the water for servicing


January 1943 - W4004 being returned to the water after servicing

31Jan43 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and one non-operational flights in January 1943

15Feb43 83rd Operational Mission. FLTLT K.C Beeton DFC and crew departed Mount Batten at 0755hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. During the after take-off checks it was discovered that the port float struts had broken away so the Captain aborted the mission at 0808hrs and returned to Base after jettisoning fuel.

28Feb43 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and four non-operational flights in February 1943

11Mar43 89th Operational Mission. SGT G.C Strath and crew departed Mount Batten at 0600hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0700hrs the starboard inner engine failed so the Captain aborted and returned to Base.

23Mar43 94th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.K McKenzie and crew departed Mount Batten at 0600hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1955hrs the exhaust cone on the port inner engine broke away so the Captain aborted and returned to Base.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew nine Operational Missions and four non-operational flights in March 1943

A fine line drawing depicting W4004 in 1943 showing the effects of the harsh conditions the aircraft encountered over the North Atlantic Ocean.

10Apr43 97th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.K McKenzie and crew departed Mount Batten at 0600hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. A radar contact made at 1043hrs proved to be a surfaced U-boat at 300 yards on the port beam on course 090°. As the aircraft turned sharply to port across the track and astern of the boat to attack from the U-boats starboard quarter, the submarine crash dived. Six 270lb Torpex depth charges were dropped from 600ft and fell 100-150 yards ahead of the U-boat swirl. Nothing was observed and the aircraft departed for one hour before returning but no results were seen.

17Apr43 FLTLT M K McKenzie and crew were detached a one week Bombing & Gunnery Course with No.4 Armament Practice Camp at RAF Talbenny, Wales

30Apr43 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and eight non-operational flights in April 1943

17May43 105th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.K McKenzie and crew departed Mount Batten at 0517hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay bounded by positions 47°N 11°30ʺW; 44°40ʺN 11°30ʺW, 44°10ʺN 09°W; and 44°50ʺN 09°W. Nothing further was heard and no trace of the aircraft or crew was ever found. The Commanding Officer at the time, Wing Commanded G.C Hartnell, surmised the aircraft had been shot down by Ju88s at approximately 0830hrs.

20May43 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 139 flights of which 105 were Operational Missions and the remaining 34 were training and transit flights.

RAAF pilot 408662 Flight Lieutenant Malcom Keith McKenzie (27) of Ballarat, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. . He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Ballarat.

RAAF 2nd pilot 416613 Flying Officer Kenneth Lovett Ridings (23) of Brooklyn Park in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 189 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide.

RAAF 3rd pilot 207727 Pilot Officer Norman James McLeod (30) of Artarmon in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 189 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Sydney City roll of honour.

RAAF navigator 416015 Flying Officer Robert George Bowley DFC (21) of Clare in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Honour Board in Clare.

RAAF navigator 401913 Flying Officer Victor James Corless (25) of Armadale, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Armadale.

RAAF Armament Officer 1761 Squadron Leader Thomas Wylie Patrick (33) of Footscray in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Footscray.

RAAF Fitter IIE 20388 Sergeant Terence Henry Doran (25) of Boggabilla. New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Boggabilla.

RAAF Flight Engineer 32834 Sergeant Jack Hamilton Hogg (30) of Coogee in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Coogee.

RAAF wireless air gunner 405209 Warrant Officer John Edward Jackson (22) of Paddington in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 191 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Brisbane.

RAAF air gunner 407986 Warrant Officer John Colwyn Kelly (26) of Urania, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 191 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Honour Board in Maitland, South Australia.

RAAF Wireless Maintenance Mechanic 27195 Sergeant James Andrew Pearce (25) of Kadina, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Honour Board in Adelaide, South Australia.

RAAF Fitter IIA 21704 Leading Aircraftman James Murdoch (25) of Lithgow, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Lithgow.

W4019

00Jan42 Short Brothers Sunderland RAF Serial W4019 was the 9th of 27 Mk.III Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3999-W4037 by Short Bros in their facility at Rochester, Kent. Built to Contract 2227/41 with Shorts Construction Number S1191. Powered by 4 x 1,065hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Feb42 Allocated to No.10 (GR) Sqn RAAF at RAF Mount Batten in Plymouth Sound, Devon

16Feb42 FLGOFF G.B Miedecke and crew arrived by train at Rochester to test and accept the aircraft.

18Feb42 FLGOFF G.B Miedecke and crew departed Rochester at 1505hrs arriving Mount Batten at 1705hrs. The aircraft was taken on charge and allocated the squadron code RB-A.

05Mar42 Ferry flight to RAF Pembroke Dock returned to Mount Batten the next day

07Mar42 Ferry flight to RAF Pembroke Dock returned to Mount Batten the next day

08Mar42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 1955hrs for an anti-shipping sweep for an enemy tanker ‘Germania’. After a 10hr 15mim sweep no sightings were flew and the aircraft was waterborne Mount Batten at 1705hrs.

28Mar42 2nd Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 1955hrs for an ASW patrol. At 0345hrs Yeoman aborted the mission due to excessive fuel consumption and was waterborne at Mount Batten by 0715hrs, a patrol duration of nine hours and twenty minutes

31Mar42 Aircraft flew two operational and six non-operational flights in March 1942

14Apr42 5th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 0700hrs and carried out a nine hour ASW patrol enroute before alighting at Gibraltar, where the aircraft was detached for duty.

20Apr42 8th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Gibraltar at 1855hrs for an ASW patrol. At 1939hrs the port outer engine began to lose power and behave strangely so the pilot aborted the mission. Waterborne at Gibraltar after the 2hr 40min patrol at 2035hrs.

24Apr42 9th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Gibraltar at 0615hrs and carried out a nine hour ASW patrol enroute before alighting at Mount Batten 1620hrs, a 10hr 5min flight. The aircraft carried eight RAF officers as passengers.

30Apr42 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and no non-operational flights in April 1942

08May42 13th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 1115hrs for an antisubmarine strike. At 1302hrs they sighted Sunderland B/10 dead ahead at five miles and three minutes later they were directly above a large oil patch with oil bubbles moving away from the site at a rate of approximately 1 knot. After conversing with the crew of B/10 and ascertaining what had occurred the aircraft attacked at 1335hrs with 4 x 250lb Torpex depth charges dropped 200 yards ahead of the moving bubbles. The aircraft then spent the next 30min circling the site until the Captain decided to search along the U-boats predicted course. The new search proved successful when, at 1505hrs, an oil streak and an oil patch were sighted some 30 miles away from the initial contact area. The bubbles were still rising and moving and the aircraft monitored the movement to see what course the submarine was sailing. At 1641hrs a Hampden arrived and a smoke float was dropped on the submarines estimated position and the Hampden attacked at 1648hrs. After that attack the oil started to thicken and spread but no other sightings were made. Finally, at 1936hrs, W4019 made its last attack and dropped the remaining four depth charges set to 150ft depth, all of which exploded. The aircraft remained on site for a further 33min before it had to return to base.

23May42 17th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 0120hrs for an antishipping patrol. At 0642hrs they sighted and attacked two enemy trawlers, dropping six 250lb AS bombs without effect but gunners raked the decks firing approximately 1000 rounds. The trawlers were well armed with cannon and machine guns and their return fire damaged the port outer engine and holed the hull in several places. The patrol was aborted at this time and the aircraft headed home. The port outer engine eventually seized at 1050hrs and the remaining flight to Mount Batten was completed on three engines.

31May42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in May 1942

07Jun42 18th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 0140hrs for an antisubmarine and antishipping patrol. The crew began the patrol at 0245hrs and proceeded west along the Spanish coast when, at 0740hrs, they passed Cape Mayor and sighted 10Sqn Sunderland W3994/X. At 0743hrs they sighted a surfaced submarine and set course to investigate. As they neared the submarine it opened fire and scored several hits on the aircraft’s tail. Yeoman then attacked and during the run in the nose gunner hosed down the deck causing the light flak to stop, but a heavy flak shell exploded nearby making a large hole in the hull and slightly wounding two crewmen. Yeoman dropped seven 350lb Torpex depth charges from 80ft spaced at 35ft with 25ft depth setting. Two charges exploded under the U-boat amidships and the others hit approximately 30 yards away on the stbd beam. As fuel was critical the aircraft made one more pass over the stricken U-boat then headed for home. At 0747hrs a lone Arado 196 attacked the aircraft making two passes before it broke off and disappeared. The rear gunner fired 800 rounds during the engagement and claimed several hits on the Arado

The submarine attacked was the 1,120 ton Luigi Torelli of the Regia Marina Italiana under the command of Tenente di Vascello Augusto Migliorini. The boat had left Bordeaux on 2nd June for its 2nd War Patrol to the Americas, specifically to patrol off the Bahamas. On the 6th of June the aircraft was attacked on the surface at night by an aircraft and sustained severe damage to the hull. The captain fearing the worst headed for the Spanish coast and ran aground near Cap Penas from where it was towed by a Spanish tugs to Aviles and temporarily repaired. The boat was unable to submerge, had no navigational aids, and was constantly taking on water. Nevertheless, the boat had to depart Spanish waters or be interned so it sailed for Bordeaux on the evening of June 6th. The next day it was attacked by the two Sunderlands and miraculously avoided being sunk. Despite the captain and navigator being wounded and two crewmen killed the submarine somehow limped back to Spain and ran aground in Santander Bay.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and two non-operational flights in June 1942

09Jul42 25th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and 11 crew departed Mount Batten at 1000hrs for an antisubmarine patrol. The patrol was completed and when the aircraft was heading home the starboard outer engine began to leak oil in large amounts, The Captain immediately diverted to Pembroke Dock.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and one non-operational flights in July 1942

09Aug42 25th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and crew departed RAF Mount Batten at 0215hrs for an Anti-Shipping Reconnaissance patrol along the Spanish Coast. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA.

11Aug42 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 46 flights of which 34 were Operational Missions and the remaining 12 were training and transit flights.

RAAF pilot 473 Flight Lieutenant Edwin St. Clair Yeoman (22) of Camberwell, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 108 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Camberwell.

RAAF 2nd pilot 400041 Flying Officer Thomas Michael Gibson (28) of Strathallan, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 109 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Deniliquin, New South Wales.

RAAF 3rd pilot 406469 Flying Officer Reginald Carson (28) of Nedlands in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. . He is commemorated on Panel 109 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the Cenotaph Undercroft. State war Memorial in Kings Park, Perth; and, on the Cottesloe Roll of Honour, Perth.

RAAF Observer 403483 Flying Officer Alan Robert McEnnally (23) of Pymble in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 110 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Pymble.

RAAF Observer 408831 Pilot Officer Geoffrey Moyle Biggin (29) of Maryborough, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 111 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Maryborough, Victoria.

RAAF Fitter IIE 405222 Flight Sergeant William Henry Isle (22) of Moggill in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 111 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Blackall, Queensland.

RAAF air gunner 401841 Sergeant Doctor Dudley Trood (33) of Sale, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Sale, Victoria.

RAAF air gunner 27883 Sergeant Keith Thomas Edwards (27) of Colonel Light Gardens in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 112 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide.

RAAF fitter IIA 21152 Aircraftman Class 1 William Ernest Menzies (22) of Belmont, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Belmont.

RAAF Fitter IIA 20033 Aircraftman Class 1 Lindsay Thomas Ogg (21) of Grafton, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Coutts Crossing near Grafton, NSW.

RAAF Fitter IIE 34656 Aircraftman Class 1 Colyn Arthur Rheuben (20) of Concord West in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Concord West, Sydney.

RAAF Armament Fitter 25061 Aircraftman Class 1 William Ossian Chelman (26) of Telegraph Point, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 113 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Port Macquarie, NSW.

W4020

00Feb42 Short Brothers Sunderland RAF Serial W4020 was the 10th of 27 Mk.III Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range W3999-W4037 by Short Bros in their facility at Rochester, Kent. Built to Contract 2227/41 with Shorts Construction Number S1192. Powered by 4 x 1,065hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Feb42 Allocated to No.10 (GR) Sqn RAAF at RAF Mount Batten in Plymouth Sound, Devon

06Mar42 FLGOFF H.D White and crew proceeded by rail to Rochester and collected the aircraft from the Short Bros works. Two days were used to inspect the boat, check its inventory and to visit the factory for discussions with workmen.

08Mar42 FLGOFF H.D White and crew departed Rochester at 1555hrs for the transit to RAF Mount Batten arriving at 1815hrs. The Aircraft was taken on charge and coded as RB-B.

23Mar42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 1940hrs and completed an uneventful 12hr 45min ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

31Mar42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and four non-operational flights in March 1942

16Apr42 10th Operational Mission. FLTLT R.W Marks and crew departed Mount Batten at 1155hrs for an anti-shipping reconnaissance patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft also carried the Air Officer Commanding No.19 Group Coastal Command Air-Vice Marshal G.R Bromet CBE DSO. Two ships were sighted at 1720hrs and as they neared the rear vessel opened fire at three miles range. As they closed the vessels were seen to be a 2,000 ton merchant escorted by a 500 ton armed trawler. At 1735hrs the aircraft dive-attacked from 4,000ft out of the sun and at 45° angle to the track of the vessels. Eight depth charges with 45ft spacing were released at 600ft and one was seen to explode close to the stbd quarter of the armed trawler. During the attack the armed trawler kept a continuous barrage and the Sunderland gunners expended approximately 1,700 rounds. The aircraft received a six inch hole in the hull and other minor damage; the 2nd pilot and Navigator sustained minor wounds but remained at their stations.

After the attack the Sunderland climbed to 2,000ft in preparation for an all gun attack when a twin engined aircraft (possibly an ME.110) was sighted approaching from two miles astern. At this point the Captain decided to break off the engagement and climbed into nearby clouds before setting a homeward course. The two wounded crewmen PLTOFF Mainprize and PLTOFF Winstanley were treated for minor injuries on the journey back to Base.

30Apr42 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and one non-operational flight in April 1942

03May42 16th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.C Yeoman and crew departed Mount Batten at 2055hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0125hrs the port inner and starboard outer engines began to run rough so the Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base, waterborne at 0425hrs.

05May42 17th Operational Mission. FLTLT D. Vernon and crew departed Mount Batten at 2215hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 2330hrs the starboard outer engine began to run rough so the Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base, waterborne at 0100hrs.

08May42 18th Operational Mission. FLGOFF H. G. Pockley and crew departed Mount Batten at 0605hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. An oil streak was sighted at 0805hrs which led to a submerged U-boat shortly thereafter. The submarine was attacked with three depth charges dropped 200 yards ahead of the oil bubbling to the surface, and a second attack made dropping four depth charges ahead of the moving trail of oil bubbles. The bubbling oil streak then changed course and showed a marked increase in the volume of oil and at 0850hrs a message was sent stating “Have attacked U-boat with depth charges. No hits. More fresh oil moving”. The aircraft continued to orbit the area observing the ever-widening trail of oil and air bubbles all the while awaiting instructions from Base.

At 1005hrs a Hudson aircraft joined up and orbited the area and both aircraft remained on the scene for another three hours before 10Sqn Sunderland W4019/A arrived and took over the attack. Pockley’s aircraft had now reached its endurance level and broke off the attack and headed for base.

09May42 19th Operational Mission. FLTLT R.W Marks and crew departed Mount Batten at 1210hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1630hrs the port inner engine began backfiring intermittently and despite attempts to rectify the issue the problem became worse so the Captain aborted at 1650hrs and returned to base.

27May42. 22nd Operational Mission. PLTOFF T. Brown and crew departed Mount Batten at 0955hrs carrying four RCAF Officers for a passenger flight to RAF St Marys, Scilly Isles. The plan was to stay overnight and return the next day so the aircraft was moored in the approved area and a two man watch crew set before the remaining crew headed ashore. Later that night a severe gale swept in from the Atlantic and lashed the mooring area causing the buoy anchor chain to snap and pushing the aircraft toward the rocky shore. The on-board watch crew started the engines just as it struck rocks and were able to taxy the aircraft away from the rocks and eventually beach the machine.

Unfortunately, the under surface of the hull was breached in several places and the rising tide flooded the beached aircraft, half immersing the engines. Temporary repairs were effected at the next low tide and with the aid of pumps the aircraft was properly beached at the next high tide. Several inspections over the ensuing days determined the aircraft was Cat.B and was beyond Unit repair capability.

31May42 Aircraft issued to No.43 Group for repairs. Further examination by 43 Group and Short Bros engineers showed the aircraft damage was even worse than expected and would take an estimated eight months to repair. Thoughts were given to scrap the aircraft but such was the need for Sunderlands the decision was made to proceed with the lengthy repair.

Aircraft flew eight operational missions and three non-operational flights in May 1942.

08Apr43 Aircraft returned from 43 Group following the completion of extensive repairs. In fact, the aircraft was regarded by many as a new machine given the amount or work performed on the aircraft.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in April 1943.

15May43 33rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF K.G Fry and crew departed Mount Batten at 0425hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Soon after take-off the port outer engine failed so the Captain aborted and returned to Base, waterborne 0550hrs

30May43 FLGOFF K.G Fry and crew were detached a one week Bombing & Gunnery Course with No.4 Armament Practice Camp at RAF Talbenny, Wales

31May43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in May 1943.

30Jun43 Aircraft flew three operational missions and six non-operational flights in June 1943.

31Jul43 Aircraft flew five operational missions and one non-operational flight in July 1943.

01Aug43 45th Operational Mission. FLGOFF K.G Fry and crew departed Mount Batten at 1001hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At approximately 1420hrs the crew sighted a Type VIIC U-boat on the surface heading westward and sent a sighting report as they prepared to attack. The submarine was the U-454 under the command of Kapitanleutnant Burckhard Hackländer which had left La Pallice, France six days earlier on its 10th War patrol. The Royal Navy 2nd Escort Group under the command of Captain Walker DSO and Bar was in the vicinity and intercepted the Sunderlands sighting message. The Escort Group immediately changed course and headed for the reported submarine and soon reached the area and began a box search. As it happens a 10Sqn Sunderland pilot, FLTLT J.B Jewel DFC, was on board HMS Wren for a short tour of exchange duty.

Soon after commencing their search the Escort Group visually acquired U-454 and simultaneously FLTLT Jewel saw a Sunderland dive and attack the submarine. He estimated a full pattern of depth charges was accurately dropped from 50ft but as the Sunderland pulled away heavy AA fire from the submarine repeatedly struck the Sunderland and the aircraft staggered before hitting the wave tops several times until it crashed. HMS Wren immediately broke away from the Escort Flotilla and raced to the downed aircraft’s position arriving on the scene a scant 10 minutes later. All that remained of W4020 was a large section of the mainspar with five survivors, some in the water nearby and one 400 yards away swimming toward the other survivors. The swimmer was picked up first but by the time Wren could get alongside the mainspar only the five on the spar were rescued, no sign remained of any other crewmen.

The action reported by the survivors expanded the account rendered by FLTLT Jewel and some additional information was learned. When U-454 was spotted the Captain (FLGOFF Fry) flew over the U-boat to assess and determine the best course of action, he then made a tight diving turn to port to attack from the submarine’s starboard quarter. All this time the aircraft was subjected to accurate and intense AA fire, first the starboard inner engine was hit and then at 400 yards a large calibre shell exploded in the starboard main fuel tank which flooded the bridge with petrol and seriously wounded all three pilots. The crew however pressed on and delivered a text book attack on the surfaced submarine. The tail gunner reported the depth charge explosions and stated the submarine sank bow first but by this stage the fate of the submarine was of little interest to the crew now fighting to save their crippled aircraft.

All of the six survivors carried a variety of injuries but two were in a very poor condition because of their immersion and near drowning in the frigid waters. The action of the ship’s doctor were instrumental in saving the lives of all six survivors, but especially the two seriously injured men. The trials of the Sunderland crewmen did not abate as the Escort Group spent a further six days on patrol before heading to port and on top of that for most of the time they were battered by an especially vicious Atlantic Ocean Gale.

As stated earlier U-454 was the subject of the attack and was in fact broken in two by the Sunderland’s accurate depth charge attack. The submarine was sunk in the North Atlantic north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain at 45° 36'N 10° 23'W. Of the 46 crewmen the Captain and 13 ratings survived the ordeal and were rescued by HMS Kite.

Three survivors from W4020 being rescued by seamen from HMS Wren from their precarious perch on a piece of the aircraft’s starboard wing

03Aug43 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 63 flights of which 45 were Operational Missions and the remaining 18 were training and transit flights.

Location of U-454 and Sunderland W4020

RAAF Pilot 407057 Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Gregson Fry (29) of Rose Park in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; and, on the Glenelg Roll of Honour, Adelaide.

RAAF 2nd Pilot 416307 Flying Officer Hamilton Roland Dacre Budd (28) of Cremorne in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Honour Board in Cremorne.

RAAF 3rd Pilot 410218 Flying Officer John Maxwell Curtis (22) of Ballarat, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour Board in Ballarat.

RAAF Navigator 418026 Pilot Officer Arthur Maurice Welch (28) of Traralgon, Victoria and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 190 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour Board in Ballarat.

RAAF Flight Engineer 27964 Sergeant Herbert Berry Lydeamore (30) of Port Pirie, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Port Pirie.

RAAF Fitter IIA (Gunner) 29746 Flight Sergeant John Edmund Fryer (34) of Claremont in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. . He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA; on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Perth.

Crash survivors were:

RAAF Navigator 407932 Flying Officer John Hereford Portus (20) of Cessnock, New South Wales survived the War and was discharged from the RAAF on 4th August 1944 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAAF Flight Engineer 17142 Sergeant Frederick Olaf Pettersson (28) of Cottesloe in Perth, Western Australia survived the crash and remained with 10Sqn until War’s end. He was discharged from the RAAF on 28th May 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF 1st Wireless Operator 405965 FSGT Phillip Edward Cook (21) of Goondiwindi, Queensland survived the crash and remained with 10Sqn until War’s end. He was discharged from the RAAF on 30th June 1945 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF 2nd Wireless Operator 416911 Flight Sergeant Ronald Gifford Welfare (27) of Semaphore, South Australia survived the crash and remained with 10Sqn until War’s end. He was commissioned and retired from the RAAF on 24th September 1945 with the rank of flight Lieutenant.

RAAF Air Gunner 420734 FSGT Donald Ian Conacher (20) of Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash and remained with 10Sqn until War’s end. He was commissioned and retired from the RAAF on 30th June 1945 with the rank of flight Lieutenant.

RAAF armourer/air gunner 41635 Acting Sergeant Jack Haslem (23) of Albury, New South Wales survived the crash and remained with 10Sqn until his repatriation back to Australia in 1944. He remained in the RAAF until his discharge on 8th August 145 with the rank of Leading Aircraftsmen

W6054

00May42 Sunderland Mk.II aircraft Serial W6054 was the 5th of 15 Mk.II aircraft manufactured in the serial range W6050-W6064 by Short Brothers& Harland at their factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland under Contract No. B985038/39 with Short & Harland construction number SH55. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed constant speed airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Earth/Dark Green with Aluminium painted undersurfaces

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Aug42 Aircraft was delivered to the Base Servicing Party at RAF Pembroke Dock by a crew from the Sunderland Ferry Flight.

27Aug42 FLGOFF Miedecke and crew flew as passengers in T9110 to Pembroke Dock to collect new aircraft

29Aug42 FLGOFF Miedecke and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1140hrs and ferried the aircraft to RAF Mount Batten arriving 1250hrs. Aircraft taken on charge as RB-D

31Aug42 Aircraft flew no operational missions and made two non-operational flights in August 1942

30Nov42 Aircraft flew three operational mission and made no non-operational flights in November 1942

15Nov42 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 24 flights of which 15 were Operational Missions and the remaining nine were training and transit flights.

11Sep42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT S.R Wood and crew departed Mount Batten at 1425hrs and completed an uneventful 9hr 15min convoy escort patrol.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and made five non-operational flights in September 1942

26Oct42 12th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Mount Batten at 2155hrs and completed an anti-shipping reconnaissance enroute to Gibraltar for detached duty, waterborne Gibraltar at 0800hrs on 27Oct42.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and made two non-operational flights in October 1942

01Nov42 13th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Gibraltar at 0730hrs carrying nine passengers for a flight to Mount Batten, waterborne 1640hrs.

10Nov42 14th Operational Mission. FLGOFF W.P Thorpe and crew departed Mount Batten at 2155hrs carrying seven senior RAF Officers who were to participate in Operation 'Torch', the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa. Waterborne Gibraltar at 0745hrs on 11Nov42.

12Nov42 15th Operational Mission. FLGOFF W.P Thorpe and crew departed Gibraltar at 0630hrs for a return trip to Mount Batten carrying five passengers one of whom was Captain Frederick Peters DSO DSC who, five days earlier, had commanded HMS Walney as it entered Oran harbour in the face of point-blank fire from shore batteries, a cruiser and destroyer. He was recommended for the Victoria Cross, which was posthumously promulgated on 18 May 1943.

The aircraft was subjected to lightning, hail, sleet and turbulent flight conditions for the first five hours of the flight and at 1150hrs Thorpe tried to send a message to Base to obtain the latest weather report from Cape Finnisterre to the Scillies Islands. The large, severe electrical storms delayed a timely reply and it wasn’t until 1348hrs a report was received from Base saying conditions were unchanged along the route home. Battling against 35-40 knot headwinds the fuel supply depleted at an alarming rate and at 1950hrs Thorpe sent another message stating “May be forced to land outside breakwater”. At 1956hrs the pilot made a blind approach relying on his altimeter but overshot the flare path and was forced to climb out and make another blind approach. As they approached for the 2nd attempt at 2005hrs the altimeter was reading 600ft when the aircraft slammed into the sea 1 ½ miles from the breakwater lighthouse. The aircraft was turning with the starboard wing down when it crashed and this caused the machine to turn onto its back and split in half. Thorpe was thrown out into the sea landing near a RN Captain and started to tow the wounded naval officer to where he thought the breakwater was located. They pair were in the sea for over ninety minutes before a rescue pinnace finally found them, but Thorpe’s bravery and determination was to no avail - the Naval Captain was dead and Thorpe very near total collapse.

When the aircraft crashed and broke up the other four passengers in the wardroom were all killed on impact. The eleven members of the aircrew survived, albeit three of them received serious injuries and others suffered minor injuries and exposure. The navigator, Pilot Officer Bill Moore, supported a fellow crewman in the freezing water until they were rescued and was subsequently Mentioned in Despatches for his actions.

The remains of the Sunderland were found spread over a wide area on the north side of the breakwater between the Fort and the lighthouse. The propeller and reduction gear was recovered in 1985 and shipped to the Bull Creek Museum near Perth.

16Nov42 Aircraft struck off charge. In its brief service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 24 flights of which 15 were Operational Missions and the remaining nine were training and transit flights.

RAAF Captain 407014 Pilot Officer Wynton Powell Thorpe (22) of Adelaide, South Australia survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and completed his tour with 10Sqn before returning to Australia via the USA in April 1943. He converted to Catalina aircraft and served with 11Sqn and 20Sqn RAAF until his discharge from the Service on 28th March 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Wynton Thorpe passed away on 12 July 2008 aged 88 years. He is remembered on the Balaklava District WW2 Roll of Honour.

RAAF 1st Pilot 407895 Pilot Officer Richard Rholwyn Gray (25) of Bendigo, Victoria survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and completed his tour with 10Sqn before returning to Australia via the USA in April 1943. He survived the War and was discharged from the RAAF on 26th July 1945 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Richard Gray died of natural causes in Modbury Hospital in South Australia on 30 January 2005 aged 87 years. He was cremated and his ashes placed in Garden Cluster 1, position 023 of the Centennial Park Cemetery, Adelaide.

RAAF 2nd Pilot 407901 Flying Officer Frederick John Lees (28) of Broken Hill, New South Wales survived the crash with minor lacerated scalp, intra-abdominal injuries, contusions and exposure. Lees completed his Captaincy training and flew several combat missions before he was KIA on 3rd October 1943 while in command of Sunderland DP179 (RB-M). See entry for DP179 for full details.

RAAF navigator 296813 Pilot Officer William Sibbald Moore (27) of Perth, Western Australia survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and completed his tour with 10Sqn before returning to Australia via the USA in April 1945. He survived the War and was discharged from the RAAF on 13th December 1945 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. William Moore passed away in 1968 aged 53 years.

RAAF Fitter IIA 33244 Corporal Douglas Edward Bennington, (21) of Dulwich Hill in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and flew several more combat missions before he was KIA on 11th August 1943 while a crewman in Sunderland DP177 (RB-F). See entry for DP177 for full details.

RAAF aircraft rigger 16858 Corporal Douglas Lloyd Graham (24) of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and remained with 10Sqn until the end of the War. Graham was discharged from the RAAF on 17th December 1945 with the rank of Sergeant. Douglas Bennington passed away on the 25th September 1986 aged 86 years, he is buried in the Kalgoorlie Cemetery.

RAAF wireless operator 34000 Sergeant Raymond Barnaby Wilkinson (24) of Epping in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and remained with 10Sqn until the end of the War. Graham was discharged from the RAAF on 17th October 1945 with the rank of Sergeant

RAAF wireless operator 405615 Sergeant Stephen John Smith (25) of Rockhampton, Queensland survived the crash with both arms and right thigh broken, lacerations, contusions and exposure. After a lengthy recuperation he was repatriated back to Australia. Smith survived the War and remained with the RAAF until his discharge on 2nd September 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF air gunner 41449 Sergeant Douglas George Keating (23) of Bendigo, Victoria survived the crash with a fractured pelvis, fractured arms, lacerations, contusions and exposure. He spent a long period of recuperation in hospitals before his repatriation back to Australia. He survived the War and discharged from the RAAF on 31st August 1945 with the rank of Flying Officer.

RAAF Armourer 21903 LAC Philip Stanton (20) of Mosman in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor lacerations, contusions and exposure. He quickly returned to active duty and flew several more combat missions before he was KIA on 17th November 1943 while a crewman in Sunderland DV993 (RB-T). See entry for DV993 for full details.

Passengers:

Royal Artillery Officer 23698 Brigadier Frank William Vogel (41) of Kingston, Surrey was KIA in the crash. He is buried in Grave 474 of the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy

Royal Navy Captain Frederick Thornton Peters VC DSO DSC and Bar was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 61, Column 3 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Royal Navy Captain Geoffrey Wyndham Wadham (50) of Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 61, Column 3 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Royal Navy Commander Rupert Richard Devlin (53) of Croydon, Surrey was KIA in the crash. He is buried in Plymouth (Weston Mill) Cemetery Sec. C. Cons. Grave 3586

RAF Air Gunner 906587 Sergeant Ryall Edward Cordrey (25) of Lewisham, London was KIA in the crash. He is interred in Panel 4 of the Screen Wall in the Camberwell (Honour Oak) Crematorium in London.


DP177

00Oct42 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial DP177 was the 2nd of 25 Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range DP176-DP200 by Short Bros in their factory at Windermere, Cumbria.. Powered by 4 x 1,065hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted under surfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Oct42 First flight at Windermere by a Shorts test pilot.

October 1942 - DP177 awaiting delivery at Lake Windermere, Cumbria.


07Nov42 Aircraft was delivered to the Base Servicing Party at RAF Pembroke Dock by a crew from the Sunderland Ferry Flight.

22Nov42 FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew flew as passengers in W3983 from Mount Batten to collect new aircraft from Base Servicing Party at Pembroke Dock.

25Nov42 FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1220hrs for the 1hr delivery flight to RAF Mount Batten. Aircraft taken on charge and Coded RB-F

12Dec42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0100hrs and completed uneventful ASW patrol at 1050hrs.

30Dec42 4th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Mount Batten at 2310hrs carrying 10 Senior Officers and Government Officials to attend conferences in Gibraltar. Aircraft arrived safely in Gibraltar at 0940hrs on 31Dec42.

31Dec42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and two non-operational flights in December 1942.

06Jan43 5th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Gibraltar at 2125hrs and carried out an anti-ship recce enroute to Mount Batten. A mixed group of Army, RAF and civilian personnel were carried as passengers. Arrived Mount Batten at 0925hrs on 07Jan43.

17Jan43 PLTOFF Gray and crew departed Mount Batten at 1105hrs for a transport flight to Pembroke Dock with five passengers. The aircraft landed with the port wing low which resulted in the port float, float struts and attachments. Repairs were carried out during the period 18-20Jan43 and the aircraft flown back to Mount Batten on 21Jan43.

31Jan43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and three non-operational flights in January 1943.

03Feb43 12th Operational Mission. FLTLT G.B Miedecke and crew departed Mount Batten at 0825hrs for an AW patrol. At 1139hrs from a height of 2500ft a surfaced U-boat was sighted off the starboard bow at 12 miles. The Captain immediately increased speed, headed toward the enemy and started to dive down to a lower altitude. The aircraft closed to approximately two miles before the U-boat began to crash dive. 50 seconds later the Captain released two 250lb Torpex depth charges 175 yards ahead of the submarine’s swirl. After circling for 25min nothing further was seen and the aircraft resumed patrol.

00Feb43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and at least four non-operational flights in February 1943

03Mar43 19th Operational Mission. FLTLT E.D White and crew departed Mount Batten and completed an uneventful ASW patrol. On the homeward leg the aircraft was diverted to Pembroke dock and upon landing at 0002hrs the pilot caused the aircraft to land heavily which damaged the starboard float, float attachments and the wing trailing edge. A repair crew was flown from Mount Batten to fix the aircraft which was accomplished on 07Mar43.

08Mar43 Aircraft returned to Mount Batten.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew five operational missions and at least five non-operational flights in March 1943

07Apr43 26th Operational Mission. FLGOFF N.C Gerrard and crew departed Mount Batten at 1940hrs for an ASW patrol but were forced to abort when the radar failed 25min after take-off.

29Apr43 31st Operational Mission. FLGOFF N.C Gerrard and crew departed Mount Batten at 0310hrs for an ASW patrol. The aircraft was heading to investigate a smoke float when they sighted a U-boat periscope. The boat was in the act of surfacing and the Captain made a quick attack while the submarine was temporarily blinded. Six 270lb Torpex depth charged were dropped from 70ft with 100ft spacing and straddled the boat. An oil patch developed almost immediately after the charges exploded and dense blue/black smoke was seen. During the last stages of the run in the U-boat crew manned the AA guns and opened fire from close range scoring hits on the port inner cowling, port wing tip and starboard mainplane.

The U-boat remained on the surface circling to port and as the aircraft climbed away to set up for a bombing run Sunderland JM676/P of 461 Squadron entered the scene. JM676 then proceeded to drop a string of depth charges which straddled the U-boat and all exploded. The U-boat was reported have sunk horizontally and then the stern reappeared before disappearing vertically. In reality, the attacks just showed how tough U-boats were and how hard they were to kill.

The boat in question was the U-119 a large (2,710 ton) Type XB ocean going mine laying submarine that was outward bound from Bordeaux on its 2nd War Patrol for the US/Canadian east coast. Sunderland JM676/P of 461Sqn was on patrol and had picked up an intermittent radar contact which they stalked until they encountered U-119 at 1035hrs five miles off the starboard bow. The submarine crash dived at once and by the time the Sunderland arrived overhead they could only drop a smoke float, a radar reflector and marine dye to mark the position then withdrew before planning to return at a later time.

No sooner had JM676 departed FLGOFF Gerard in Sunderland DP177/F of 10Sqn entered the scene to investigate the smoke float. As the aircraft neared the float a submarine periscope was sighted and the silhouette of a surfacing U-boat was plain to see. Gerard immediately attacked and dropped a string of six 270lb Torpex depth charges from 70ft with 100ft spacing which straddled the boat and exploded. An oil patch developed almost immediately after the charges exploded and dense blue/black smoke was seen. During the last stages of the run in the U-boat crew had manned the AA guns and opened fire from close range scoring hits on the port inner cowling, port wing tip and starboard mainplane.

Meanwhile, FLGOFF Gipps in JM676/P heard the sighting report by Gerard and swung back to the scene of the action. When he arrived U-119 was on the surface circling to port and engaging DP177 with AA fire as the Sunderland was preparing for another attack. Gipps took advantage of the situation and dived down and dropped an accurate string of depth charges which straddled the U-boat and exploded. At this time Gerard broke off the engagement and headed home in DP177 leaving JM676 to monitor the now stationary U-119. Gipps reported the U-boat emitted a large quantity of oil and air before it slowly sank from view and although they remained in the area for another 40min nothing further was seen.

However, U-119 had survived with minor damage (one crewmember was killed by gunfire) and proceeded on its patrol to the Canadian coast, where it successfully laid mines that subsequently sank one Allied freighter and damaged another. U-119 ran out of luck on its return from the Patrol when it was detected and sunk by the RN Sloop HMS Starling on 24Jun43, very close to where it had been attacked by the two Sunderlands.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and at least three non-operational flights in April 1943

31May43 Aircraft flew two operational missions and at least two non-operational flights in May 1943

30Jun43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and at least three non-operational flights in June 1943

31Jul43 Aircraft flew six operational missions and at least two non-operational flights in July 1943

06Aug43 RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth UK

DP177 was the 2nd 10Sqn Sunderland modified with galley guns and four fixed .303 Brownings in the nose.
L to R: 42051 LAC N. E. Tempest; SQNLDR J. L. Pierce; 60790 LAC W. A. Smith; 60078 LAC N. D. Wilkinson.


08Aug43 48th Operational Mission. FLGOFF N.C Gerrard and crew departed Mount Batten at 0748hrs for a Musketry ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1251hrs the aircraft was in clear skies on course 096° when three Ju88 fighters were sighted two miles dead astern, almost at the same time three more Ju88s were spotted at three miles distant off the starboard quarter and a further two approximately 6 miles astern, the latter two were on a course of 180° and were not seen again.

The captain immediately jettisoned the depth charges, set course due west, firewalled the engines and dived for the ocean. Three Ju88s attacked from astern at long range but registered no hits and passed by to port. The other three spilt to port and starboard before making attacks and the aircraft was hit in the port float and mainplane. At 1258hrs the six Ju88s regrouped then broke off the attack and headed east.

11Aug43 49th Operational Mission. FLGOFF N.C Gerrard and crew departed Mount Batten at 0856hrs for a Musketry ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA and no cause for the disappearance has ever been proved beyond doubt.

The aircraft could have fallen foul to the multitude of engine failures that Sunderlands of that era were prone to endure. Alternatively, the aircraft could have been shot down and one claim bears some credibility and that is the 10th victory claim of Oberleutnant Dieter Meister in Ju88c F8+MK of 13/KG40 who claimed to have shot down a Sunderland on the night of 11August43.

16Aug43 Aircraft struck off charge. While in service with 10 Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew at least 63 flights of which 49 were Operational Missions and an unknown number of non-operational flights.

RAAF pilot 401502 Flight Lieutenant Norman Clive Gerrard (25) of Parkville in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Manly, Sydney.

RAAF 1st pilot 405664 Flying Officer Keith Dermer Smith (21) Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 189 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Sydney.

RAAF 2nd pilot 412372 Flying Officer Ian William Bowen (29) of Double Bay in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Double Bay, Sydney.

RAAF Navigator 421631 Pilot Officer James Inman Rowland (33) of Moree, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 189 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Moree.

RAAF Air Gunner 205795 Pilot Officer Roydon James Adams (30) of Caulfield in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 190 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Caulfield.

RAAF Fitter IIA 33244 Sergeant Douglas Edward Bennington, (21) of Dulwich Hill in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Brooklyn, New South Wales.

RAAF Fitter IIA (Air Gunner) 16949 A/Sgt William Ernest George Matthews (27) of Denmark in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Denmark.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 403746 Warrant Officer Frank Howard Jones (27) of Moorabin in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 191 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Moorabin.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 405658 Warrant Officer James George Hudson Webster (25) of Cunnamulla, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 191 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Cunnamulla.

RAAF Air Gunner 422461 Sergeant John Gordon Dwyer (26) of Drummoyne in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Drummoyne.

RAAF Air Gunner 32957 A/Sergeant James Edward Challinor (23) of Dulwich Hill in Sydney was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Marrickville, Sydney.

RAAF Air Gunner 61002 A/Sergeant John Riviere Dallas (22) of Roseville in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Roseville.

DP179

00Dec42 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial DP179 was the 4th of 25 Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range DP176-DP200 by Short Bros in their factory at Windermere, Cumbria.. Powered by 4 x 1,065hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted under surfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Dec42 First flight at Windermere by a Shorts test pilot.

13Jan43 Issued to a RAF MU for acceptance tests and checks.

00Jan43 Taken on charge with No.119 (GR) Sqn at RAF Castle Archdale near Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

00Jul43 Aircraft allocated to No.10 (GR) Sqn RAAF at RAF Station Mount Batten

06Aug43 Aircraft taken on charge and coded RB-M.

21Aug43 1st Operational Mission. FLGOFF F.J Lees and 10 crew departed Mount Batten at 1343hrs and flew an uneventful 10hr 15min ASW Patrol.

00Aug43 Aircraft was modified with the fitment of four .303 inch fixed Browning machine guns in the nose just below the forward turret, two on either side of the fuselage. Also, two .303 inch Browning machine guns were fitted in the galley, one on each side of the fuselage.

00Sep43 Special Equipment ARI 5083 (Gee Mk.II) installed in the first week of September 1943.

02Oct43 2nd Operational Mission. FLGOFF F.J Lees and 10 crew departed Mount Batten at 2315hrs for an ASW Percussion L-2 patrol. At 0747hrs the crew radioed they had engine problems in position 48° 05' N 09° 48'W and were heading home with an ETA of 1029hrs. The aircraft failed to arrive and was listed as MIA. Information was later received from 10 Group that an aircraft had ditched 20 miles south of the Scillies at 0949hrs and it was assumed DP179 was that aircraft. Despite wide spread searches no trace was ever found of the crew or the aircraft.

04Oct43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft only made four flights of which two were Operational Missions and two were non-operational flights.

RAAF pilot Captain 407901 FLGOFF Frederick John Lees (29) of Broken Hill, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Broken Hill.

RAAF pilot 408946 Flying Officer David Anderson (22) of Hawthorn in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Kew, Victoria.

RAAF pilot 410303 Flying Officer Bruce Alan Bunning (25) of Kew, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Kew, Victoria.

RAAF Navigator 410482 Flying Officer John Bryant Gleeson (25) of Yarraville in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Caulfield, Victoria.

RAAF Flight Engineer 8710 A/Sergeant Humphrey Coldham-Fussel (30) of Toowong in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Toowong, Brisbane.

RAAF Fitter IIA (Air Gunner) 15805 A/Sergeant Bruce Edward Stehr (30) of Warialda, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Warialda, NSW.

RAAF Air Gunner 27191 Sergeant Philip Leslie Johnson (24) of Norwood in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 422010 Flight Sergeant John Ronald Speirs (21) of Griffith, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Griffith, NSW.

RAAF Air Gunner 419671 Sergeant William Henry Powis (30) of Clifton Hill, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Box Hill, Victoria.

RAAF Air Gunner 423203 Flight Sergeant John Galway Lockrey (20) Merriwa, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Coonabarabran, NSW.

RAAF Air Gunner 426651 Sergeant Brian Duncan Michael McDonell (20) of Ashgrove in Brisbane, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Brisbane.

DV969

00Aug42 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial DV969 was the 14th of 25 Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range DV956-DV980 by Short Bros in their factory at Rochester, Kent. Powered by 4 x 1,065hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted under surfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

00Aug42 Received by a RAF MU for acceptance tests and checks

00Aug42 Aircraft allocated to No.10 (GR) Sqn RAAF at RAF Station Mount Batten, Devon

04Sep42 Aircraft delivered to the Flying Boat Maintenance Unit at RAF Station Pembroke Dock

05Sep42 PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew flew as passengers from Mount Batten to Pembroke Dock

06Sep42 PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 0955hrs and delivered the aircraft one hour later to 10Sqn RAAF at RAF Station Mount batten where it was taken on charge as RB-E.

18Sep42 1st Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0750hrs and completed an uneventful ASW patrol being waterborne Mount Batten at 1455hrs.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and two non-operational flights in September 1942

03Oct42 7th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0110hrs for an ASW and anti-shipping patrol. At 0533hrs radar detected a target at 32 miles and as the aircraft homed in on the signal they discovered a merchant ship of approximately 4000 tons three miles ahead on course 270°. Egerton dropped a parachute flare which failed to open correctly but as soon as it ignited the merchant open fired with accurate heavy and light AAA. Egerton decided to back away from the now fully alert armed merchant and attack at a later time. At 0651hrs Egerton returned and made a diving attack from 4000ft dropping two 250lb ASW bombs and six Torpex depth charges which all missed the target. As the Sunderland climbed away it was hit by flak which caused moderate damage to the rear fuselage and tail turret severing the hydraulic lines to the tail and mid-upper turrets and, the electrical circuitry for the intercom system. Returned safely to Base at 1250hrs.

12Oct42 10th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 1415hrs for an anti-shipping strike. At 1730hrs a radar contact was made at 32 miles off the port bow and the aircraft closed to discover a 6-8000 ton tanker. A contact message was sent to base and the pilot then decided to withdraw as there was no cloud cover to conceal their approach. At 1944hrs the aircraft re-established contact and broke through the now present clouds at a range of three miles from the target. The captain them manoeuvered for a low level attack which was made at 2030hrs. The aircraft dropped six 270lb Torpex depth charges set at 40ft depth with 33ft spacing and one 250lb AS bomb with .25 second delay. The bomb missed astern but the depth charges dropped close to the tanker and the rear gunner reported a large explosion. Aircraft then broke off the attack and RTB.

18Oct42 12th Operational Mission. FLGOFF Thorpe and crew departed Mount Batten at 0710hrs for an ASW patrol. At 0805hrs the captain aborted and returned to base when the W/T failed.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and two non-operational flights in October 1942

01Nov42 15th Operational Mission. PLTOFF T.A Egerton and crew departed Mount Batten at 0205hrs for an ASR search for survivors in a dinghy. At 0550hrs they located a dinghy and radioed base with the news and as the dawn broke they could see five live aircrew but could not establish communications. The sea was running with heavy swells so the captain opted not to attempt a landing and radioed base for instructions. They were told to remain on station until relieved by a Whitley and when relieved to return to base. Waterborne Mount Batten at 1405hrs.

30Nov42 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and four non-operational flights in November 1942

31Dec42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and six non-operational flights in December 1942

All RAAF crew of DV969 RB-E at RAF Mount Batten 12th December 1942

From left to right: Air Gunner 205800 SGT Arthur Edwin Couldrey DFM, from NSW; Rigger 29022 CPL George Edward Luck from Kalgoorlie, WA; Pilot 401451 FLGOFF Maxwell Stanley Mainprize from Melbourne, VIC; Navigator 405271 FLGOFF Byron Clifford William Fogg from Brisbane, QLD; Pilot 1941 (3932, O36036) FLGOFF Thomas Ainsworth Egerton from Williamston, WA; Fitter 7104 LAC Frederick Henry Clarke from Mount Hawthorn, WA; Pilot 411679 SGT Clarence Charles Clark from Sydney, NSW; Fitter 10176 SGT Arthur William Reeves from Coburg, VIC; Wireless Operator 30523 SGT Maxwell Raymond Delaney from Hobart, TAS. (KIA over the Atlantic Ocean on 13Nov1944); Wireless Operator 17645 SGT Graham Montgomery Walker from Serpentine, WA (KIA in flying operation on 20May43) and, Armourer 24972 LAC Leonard John Lang from Brisbane, QLD.

02Jan43 29th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.S Mainprize and crew departed Mount Batten at 0845hrs to provide ASW cover for an inbound convoy. At 1023hrs the pilot aborted the mission when the starboard outer engine developed a serious oil leak. Waterborne safely at Mount Batten 1305hrs.

18Jan43 33rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF K.C Beeton and crew departed Mount Batten at 1055hrs to provide ASW cover for an inbound convoy. At 1420hrs the pilot aborted the mission when the starboard outer engine developed a serious oil leak. Waterborne safely at Mount Batten 1845hrs.

31Jan43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and three non-operational flights in January 1943

28Feb43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational flights in February 1943

21Mar43 46th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.S Mainprize and crew departed Mount Batten at 1730hrs for an ASW patrol. The pilot aborted the mission at 0250hrs when the port inner engine functioned erratically.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew three operational missions and two non-operational flights in March 1943.

18Apr43 53rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF E.H Farmer and crew departed Mount Batten at 0500hrs for a Derange patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0855hrs a surfaced U-boat was sighted eight miles on the port beam NW of Cap Finnisterre and the Captain immediately dived to attack but broke away at 1000 yards when the U-boat made no attempt to submerge. The Captain then circled and approached the stern from up sun and dropped two 250lb GP bombs from 1600ft. The rear gunner reported the bombs detonated 30 yards from and level with the stern of the boat. The Captain then climbed to 2000ft and circled up-sun orbiting until 0922hrs when another stern attack was made. At 800ft height and 500 yards from the target the U-boat opened fire with cannon which hit the aircraft three times in the nose and starboard wing. The nose gunner and 2nd WT Operator both sustained non-lethal wounds from shell splinters. The Captain pressed on and turned hard 90° to port and attacked dropping six 270lb Torpex depth charges on the still surfaced submarine from 100ft set at 25ft spacing and 25ft depth. The charges straddled the boat and when the aircraft retuned after making a wide circuit the U-boat was no longer visible and all that could be seen was a patch of oil 35 yards in diameter. The crew estimated it was a German type U-boat of approximately 700 tons.

The U-boat attacked by FLGOFF Farmer was the 704 ton Type VIIC U-634 which had departed Brest on 15Apr43 for its second war patrol under the command of 22 year old Oberleutnant zur See Eberhard Dahlhaus. In his report Dahlhaus stated the Boat only suffered minor damage to the conning tower from strafing and went on to complete the Patrol.

19Apr43 Aircraft damage was assessed as Cat.Ac and was issued to 43 Group for repairs which took the rest of the month to complete.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and three non-operational flights in April 1943.

02May43 FLGOFF M.S Mainprize and crew departed Mount Batten at 1715hrs and arrived Pembroke Dock at 1930hrs. The crew was detached to No.4 Armament Practice Camp at RAF Talbenny, Wales for a seven day Bombing & Gunnery Course.

31May43 59th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.S Mainprize and crew departed Mount Batten 1345hrs for a Derange ASW Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1650hrs they were ordered to locate and attack a damaged U-boat at 46°38ʺN 10°42ʺW. The U-boat was sighted at 1730hrs at position 46°58ʺN, 09°39ʺW with two Halifax aircraft overhead. After assessing the situation Mainprize attacked dropping four 270lb Torpex depth charges which straddled the boat. The second charge exploded close to the submarine on the starboard side just forward of the conning tower and the third charge exploded 20ft off port side just aft of the coning tower. As the Sunderland prepared for another attack the U-boat lost way and came to a halt. The second attack saw four more charges dropped with the first exploding 30ft from the conning tower on the starboard side and the remainder exploding off the port side.

After the second attack the U-boat was down by the bows with the stern well clear of the water and appeared to be slowly sinking. Shortly thereafter a number of crewmen appeared on the deck wearing Mae Wests and soon after that one of the Halifaxes dived on the boat raking the deck with gunfire. At 1705hrs Sunderland 228/X flown by FLFOFF W.M French appeared on the scene and made two attacks dropping four depth charges each time. The U-boat was then seen to disintegrate and wreckage, bodies and oil were spread over a wide area.

The submarine attacked and sunk with the loss of all 49 hands was U-563, a 740 ton Type VIIC boat built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg in 1941. The U-boat had departed Brest Naval Base, France on 29May43 for its 8th War Patrol under the commanded of Oberleutnant Gustav Borchardt. At 1545hrs it was attacked with nine depth charges and damaged north-northwest of Cape Farewell by Halifax HR774/R of 58 Sqn piloted by WNGCDR W.E. Oulton. A second Halifax DT636/J of 58 Sqn piloted by PLTOFF E.L Hartley arrived on the scene at 1710hrs and made two attacks, dropping a further nine depth charges, but U-563 refused to sink. The two Sunderlands arrived minutes after Hartley’s second attack and administered the coup de grace, Hartley’s crew reported seeing the U-boat exploded with a large orange flash leaving nothing but flotsam and crewmen in the water. The submarine was sunk in the North Atlantic north-west of Cape Ortega, Spain, in position 46.35N, 10.40W with the loss of all 49 crewmen.

Final resting place of U-563

The victorious crew of DV969 'E/10'

From L to R standing: Fitter IIA 10452 SGT Ian Victor Speirs from Monea, VIC; Air Gunner 409290 Sgt Frank Colson Callander from Melbourne, VIC; Pilot 411679 SGT Clarence Charles Clark from Muswellbrook, NSW; Navigator 410597 FLGOFF Claude Noel Austin from Skipton, VIC; Pilot 401451 FLTLT Maxwell Stanley Mainprize from Toorak, VIC; Pilot 409231 FLGOFF Thomas Maurice Ryan of Regent, VIC; Flight Engineer 10176 Sgt Arthur William Reeves of Colac, VIC; Fitter IIA 19458 CPL Sidney Charles Leech from Yarraville, VIC (KIA 21Sep43 on flying operations off the UK coast).

From L to R kneeling: RAAF Armourer 24972 SGT Leonard John Lang from Roma, QLD; Fitter IIE 15805 LAC Bruce Edward Stehr from Warialda, NSW (KIA 03Oct43 on flying operations off the UK coast); Wireless Operator 30523 SGT Maxwell Raymond Delaney from Hobart, TAS (KIA 303Nov44 in an accident over the Atlantic Ocean); Wireless Operator/Air Gunner 34889 Sgt Albert Charles Carrett from Dubbo, NSW

31May43 Aircraft flew six operational missions and 10 non-operational flights in May 1943.

17Jun43 FLGOFF M.S Mainprize and crew departed Mount Batten at 1420hrs for an ASW Musketry patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft rendezvoused with DP177/F and DD852/J at position 47°30'N 10°22'W and flew a formation patrol. This was the second occasion that 10Sqn used a formation patrol to counter the new German tactic of massed U-boats remaining on the surface and defending with heavy anti-aircraft armament. The aircraft flew a further four missions of this format in June.

31Jun43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and one non-operational flight in June 1943.

27Jul43 70th Operational Mission. FLGOFF R.C W Humble and crew departed Mount Batten at 0745hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1605hrs three Ju88s were sighted in line astern formation eight miles distant on the starboard quarter at 2500ft and, two minutes later a fourth Ju88 was sighted eight miles off the port quarter. As an imminent attack was probable the depth charges were jettisoned and the crew prepared for action. Soon thereafter and for the next 55 minutes the four Ju88s attacked from all angles in singles and in pairs firing cannon and machine guns. The Sunderland gunners replied whenever the enemy came in range and hits were observed on three Ju88s, two of which were seen trailing black smoke.

During the attacks the 1st pilot was wounded in the head and shoulder but remained at his station. The aircraft took approximately 20 serious hits that damaged the port aileron and wing; the aircraft dinghy and created a large hole in the keel. The port outer oil tank was destroyed resulting in the engine failing which also knocked out the midships turret. After one hour of attacks, three of the Ju88s departed and the fourth enemy made one more pass before he also disappeared. The aircraft set course for base only to be diverted to Pembroke dock because of weather at Mount Batten. The captain informed base that the aircraft’s keel was damaged and when the aircraft was finally waterborne at 2013hrs a maintenance party was ready and towed the aircraft on deck.

30Jul43 Aircraft assessed as Cat.B and was issued to 43 Group for repairs

31Jul43 Aircraft flew five operational missions and no non-operational flights in July 1943.

19Aug43 FLTLT B.A Williams and crew departed Mount Batten as passengers aboard a 461Sqn Sunderland to fly to Pembroke Dock and collect DV969 for 43 Group.

20Aug43 FLTLT B.A Williams and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1310hrs and ferried the aircraft back to Mount Batten being waterborne at 1420hrs.

31Aug43 Aircraft flew one operational mission and two non-operational flights in August 1943.

00Sep43 Special Equipment ARI 5083 (Gee Mk.II) installed in the first week of September 1943.

00Sep43 Aircraft was modified with the fitment of four .303 inch fixed Browning machine guns in the nose just below the forward turret, two on either side of the fuselage. Also, two .303 inch Browning machine guns were fitted in the galley, one on each side of the fuselage.

05Sep43 73rd Operational Mission. FLTLT G.C Strath and crew departed Mount Batten at 1325hrs for an ASW patrol in the Percussion Area of the Bay of Biscay. At 1830hrs the starboard inner failed so the pilot aborted the mission and RTB.

09Sep43 74th Operational Mission. SQNLDR R.W Marks and crew departed Mount Batten at 0230hrs accompanied by FLTLT R.C W Humble and crew in JM684K for an ASR mission to locate a dinghy located the previous day by FLTLT R.R Gray in EK574/Q. At 0802hrs the aircraft located the dinghy containing five survivors at 44°10'N 10°37'W and homed in a RN Escort vessel which arrived on site at 0950hrs and rescued the survivors. The Escort told SQNLD Marks the five survivors were RAF aircrew that spent nine days adrift after being shot down by four JU88s.

21Sep43 77th Operational Mission. FLGOFF A.G Jennison and crew departed Mount Batten at 1159 hours, detailed to carry out an ASW patrol in the Percussion A-C area in the Bay of Biscay. At 1611 hours an incomplete message reading O-A-487-628 was received at base indicating Ju88s were approaching but nothing further was heard and the aircraft failed to return. The crew were listed as KIA in October 1943 and it was assumed they were shot down by Ju88 fighters.

26Sep43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made at least 115 flights of which 78 were Operational Missions and the remainder were non-operational flights.

RAAF Captain 409000 Flying Officer Alexander Glenn Jennison (32) of Deniliquin, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 188 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Echuca. Victoria.

RAAF first pilot 420612 FLGOFF Alfred Neil Buckland (28) of Croydon in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Ashfield, Sydney.

RAAF second pilot 417178 Flying Officer Arthur William Morphett Gunson (30) of Toorak Gardens in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 188 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the National War Memorial of SA on North Terrace in Adelaide.

RAAF Navigator 401768 Flying Officer Albert Lawrence Coomes (25) of Brunswick in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Honour Roll in Brunswick, Melbourne.

RAAF Flight Engineer 17383 Sergeant Jack Thomas Law (34) of Cottesloe in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; on the Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA; and, on the Honour Roll in Cottesloe, Perth.

RAAF Air Gunner 422410 Flight Sergeant Colin Stewart Cameron (19) of Wingham, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Wingham, NSW

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner Flight 408319 Sergeant Norman Douglas Kerr Swinton (22) of Launceston, Tasmania was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 194 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Launceston, Tasmania.

Flight Sergeant Wireless Air Gunner 408410 Lawrence Ernest Waddington (22) of Mole Creek, Tasmania was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 194 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Mole Creek, Tasmania.

RAAF Air Gunner 415529 Flight Sergeant Donald Harris (20) of Mosman Park in Perth, Western Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; on the Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial in Kings Park WA; and, on the Honour Roll in Perth.

RAAF Air Gunner 419929 Sergeant James David Thomas Daley (22) of Hawthorn in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Hawthorn, Melbourne.

RAAF Fitter IIE 19458 Sergeant Sydney Charles Edwin Leech (24) of Yarraville in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 196 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Yarraville, Melbourne.

DV993

00Sep43 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial DV993 was the 9th of 10 Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range DV985-DV994 by Short Bros & Harland in their factory at Belfast, Northern Ireland. Powered by 4 x 1,065hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted under surfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

01Oct43 Received by a RAF No.1 Flying Boat Servicing Unit at RAF Stranraer for acceptance tests and checks. Allocated to No.10 (GR) Sqn RAAF at RAF Station Mount Batten, Devon.

07Oct43 FLGOFF R.C Behrndt and crew departed Mount Batten at 0640hrs in Sunderland DD865/L for a transit flight to Stranraer to collect DV993 from No.1 Flying Boat Servicing Unit. FLGOFF R.C Behrndt and crew departed Stranraer at 1520hrs for the ferry flight to Mount Batten. At 1620hrs the aircraft developed engine problems and diverted to Pembroke Dock.

08Oct43 FLGOFF R.C Behrndt and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1520hrs and were waterborne Mount Batten at 1615hrs. The aircraft was taken on charged with No.10 Sqn RAAF as RB- T.

00Oct43 Aircraft was modified with the fitment of four .303 inch fixed Browning machine guns in the nose just below the forward turret, two on either side of the fuselage. Also, two .303 inch Browning machine guns were fitted in the galley, one on each side of the fuselage.

31Oct43 Aircraft flew three non-operational flights during October 1943.

03Nov43 1st Operational Mission. FLGOFF R.C Behrndt and crew departed Mount Batten at 0406hrs and completed an uneventful 13hhr 26min ASW Percussion patrol in area Z-5 of the Bay of Biscay.

13Nov43 4th Operational Mission. FLGOFF M.H J

rators of both inner engines failed so the pilot aborted the mission and RTB.

17Nov43 6th Operational Mission. FLGOFF R.C Behrndt and crew departed Mount Batten at 1101hrs for an ASW Percussion patrol in area A-2 of the Bay of Biscay. At 1430hrs the Signals Unit at RAF St Eval received a corrupt W/T message from the aircraft indicating they had sighted some aircraft which were assumed to be enemy. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA.

German radio News Service later claimed: “...its long range fighters had shot down a British flying boat over the Bay of Biscay on 17/11. The aircraft caught fire and the tail unit was shot away. The aircraft crashed in flames and there were no survivors”.

19Nov43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with No.10 Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew a total of nine flights of which six were Operational Missions


RAAF Pilot 416406 Flight Lieutenant Raymond Carl Behrndt (27) of Botania Garden in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA and has no known grave. He is remembered on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA in North Terrace, Adelaide; and, on the Honour Roll of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW.

RAAF pilot 421015 Flying Officer Allen George Hartwig (28) of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 188 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Wagga Wagga.

RAAF pilot 424000 Pilot Officer Clarence Furzer (25) of Wahroonga in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 188 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Sydney.

RAAF Observer 418356 Flying Officer Alexander Frederick Davis (29) of Oakleigh in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 187 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Oakleigh.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 403667 Warrant Officer Herbert John Hicks (25) of Hamilton, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 191 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Hamilton.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 424318 Flight Sergeant John Trevor Reid Jones (21) of Granville in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Granville.

RAAF Air Gunner 418134 Flight Sergeant Charles Henry Stringer Leggo (27) of Albert Park in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in South Melbourne.

RAAF Fitter 11A (Air Gunner) 11379 Flight Sergeant Henry Edward Knights (41) of Red Cliffs, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 193 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; and, on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW.

RAAF Air Gunner 419082 Sergeant Alexander Thomas Brooking (19) of Brunswick in Melbourne, Victoria was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 192 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Brunswick, Melbourne.

RAAF Fitter 11E (Air Gunner) 23756 Sergeant Kelvin Coghill (40) of Longreach, Queensland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 195 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Longreach.

RAAF Armourer (Air Gunner) 21903 Sergeant Philip Stanton (21) of Strathfield in Sydney, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial in Coopers Hill Lane, Surrey UK. He is also honoured on Panel 100 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Maroubra, Sydney.

EK574

00Jun43 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial EK574 was the 3rd of 25 Sunderland GR aircraft in the serial range EK572 thru EK596 manufactured under licence by the Blackburn Aircraft Co at Barge Park, Dumbarton Scotland to Contract No.B37753/39. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines driving de Havilland (Hamilton) three-bladed two-pitch airscrews. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Aircraft fitted with ASV Mark IIIC radar operating at a wavelength of 10cm that dispensed with the prominent "stickleback" antennae of earlier Sunderlands. Instead new antennae were mounted in streamlined radar blisters under each wing outboard of the floats and received a magnetron signal, piped to the scanners via a waveguide run through the leading edge of the Sunderland's wings.

00Jun43 Test flown by a Short Bros pilot at Rochester.

00Jul43 Received by No.57 MU at RAF Wig Bay for acceptance tests and checks.

00Aug43 Aircraft allocated to No10 Sqn RAAF at RAF Station Mount Batten, Plymouth UK.

22Aug43 FLGOFF Sampson and crew departed Mount Batten at 0840hrs as passengers aboard 10Sqn Sunderland T9110/C for a flight to Stranraer. FLGOFF Sampson arrived at 57MU to collect EK574 and carry out acceptance and inventory checks.

23Aug43 FLGOFF Sampson and crew departed Stranraer at 1640hrs for the delivery flight to Mount Batten.

24Aug43 Aircraft taken on charge with 10Sqn RAAF as RB-Q

04Sep43 1st Operational Mission. FLGOFF F.J Lees and crew departed Mount Batten at 1330hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1809hrs port inner engine troubles forced the Captain to abort and RTB.

September 1943 - EK574 RB-Q at RAF Station Mount Batten, Plymouth Sound



00Sep43 Special Equipment ARI 5083 (Gee Mk.II) installed in the first week of September 1943.

00Sep43 Aircraft was modified with the fitment of four .303 inch fixed Browning machine guns in the nose just below the forward turret, two on either side of the fuselage. Also, two .303 inch Browning machine guns were fitted in the galley, one on each side of the fuselage. The port side guns can be seen on the above photograph.

10Sep43 3rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF F.J Lees and crew departed Mount Batten at 1030hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 1320hrs oil leaks and a broken inner stub on the port inner engine compelled the Captain to abort and RTB.

19Sep43 FLGOFF J. McCulloch and crew departed Mount Batten at 1453hrs and proceeded to Pembroke Dock where they were detached for a seven day bombing and gunnery training at the nearby Armament Training Camp at RAF Carew Cheriton.

30Sep43 Aircraft flew four operational missions and eight non-operational missions during September 1943.

31Oct43 Aircraft flew four operational missions and six non-operational missions during October 1943.

30Nov43 Aircraft flew five operational missions and one non-operational missions during November 1943.

04Dec43 14th Operational Mission. FLGOFF J. McCulloch and crew departed Mount Batten at 0600hrs for an AS Percussion Patrol in the Bay of Biscay. AT 0620hrs the mid-upper turret failed so the pilot aborted the mission and RTB.

31Dec43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and no non-operational missions during December 1943.

31Jan44 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and three non-operational missions during January 1944.

13Feb44 33rd Operational Mission. FLGOFF J. McCulloch and crew departed Mount Batten at 0437hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. Three minutes after take-off the port inner engine failed so the Captain aborted and RTB.

15Feb44 35th Operational Mission. FLGOFF J. McCulloch and crew departed Mount Batten at 0352hrs for an ASW Percussion patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0525hrs the crew intercepted a message from a Hudson aircraft which was circling over a dinghy containing USN survivors and set course to investigate. At 0543hrs a Hudson was seen circling over two marine markers and McCulloch joined up with the other aircraft then asked Base for further instructions. Base replied that two surface rescue vessels were enroute and the aircraft was to remain and assist with the rescue.

Just over two hours later the two surface vessels appeared and advised the Sunderland Captain they could not locate the survivors. Simultaneously, the Sunderland wireless operator picked up an SOS signal but could not get a bearing because of heavy interference. McCulloch decide to conduct a square search and shortly afterwards at 0915hrs they were searching at 1500ft on course 260° when they spotted a group of 12 aircraft at 300ft approximately five miles away on 140° Green. McCulloch quickly appraised the situation and decided his only course of action was to reach the safety of thick clouds and avoid contact with the (now identified) Ju88 fighters. He ordered the six depth charges to be jettisoned while he turned the aircraft to port on 040° and headed for the nearest clouds some seven miles away. As soon as the aircraft settled on its new course four more Ju88s appeared at six miles off the starboard beam followed by another four Ju88s off the port bow at seven miles. The original group of 12 then attacked as one from the port beam with all 12 opening fire at 500 yards, to which McCulloch responded by making a climbing turn to port into the attack. At the same time another four Ju88s attacked from the starboard quarter but were forced to break away by the other 12 coming in from the port side. The leader of the 12 Ju88s closed to 100 yards but broke away when the Sunderland entered thick cloud.

The Sunderland remained in cloud until 0930hrs and when it re-emerged the Ju88s had departed the scene. The Captain advised base of the attack and stated the aircraft has sustained some damage but was still operable and was heading home. Sadly, McCulloch informed Base that the rear gunner Aus417872 Air Gunner FSGT Gordon Stanley Mills was killed in the attack.

A PR crew photograph of EK574 (Q for Queenie) taken soon after their dramatic encounter with sixteen JU88 fighters of KG/40 over the Bay of Biscay on 15Feb44

Front row, left to right: 407043 Flying Officer (FO, later Flight Lieutenant [Flt Lt]) Geoffrey Keith Ellerton, navigator; 418483 FO (later Flt Lt) William Boris Tilley, 2nd pilot; 409429 Flt Lt John McCulloch, captain; 424756 Pilot Officer (PO, later FO) George Hardy De Beauvoir Hammond, 3rd pilot; 412741 Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt, later FO) Arthur Forbes Stephenson, 1st wireless operator/air gunner. Back row: 422066 Flt Sgt (later Warrant Officer [WO]) Geoffrey John Varcoe, 2nd wireless operator/air gunner; 45564 Sergeant (Sgt, later PO) William Roberts Carlsson, 1st flight engineer; 418251 Flt Sgt (later FO) Gerard Grey Casey, air gunner; 432307 Sgt (later WO) Beverley Dutton Crane, air gunner; 30035 Flt Sgt (later WO) William Thomas Clarke, 2nd flight engineer. PO Hammond was killed in aerial operations over the North Sea on 1 November, 1944 while serving with 455 squadron, RAAF

RAAF Air Gunner 417872 Flight Sergeant Gordon Stanley Mills (20) of Albert Park in Adelaide, South Australia was KIA during air operations over the Bay of Biscay. He is buried in Lot 39. Section. H. Row C. Grave 259 at the Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, United Kingdom. He is honoured on Panel 127 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in Murray Bridge, South Australia.

16Feb44 Aircraft underwent repairs for the nest five days.

29Feb44 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and one non-operational missions during February 1944.

24Mar44 35th Operational Mission. FLTLT J. McCulloch and crew departed Mount Batten at 0757hrs for an ASW Percussion patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0947hrs the Captain decided to abort and RTB when the starboard inner and port outer engines would not perform satisfactorily.

31Mar44 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and no non-operational missions during March 1944.

25Mar44 Aircraft underwent a major inspection from 25Mar to 07Apr 1944.

22Apr44 Because of appalling weather conditions at Mount Batten on this day eight Squadron aircraft were forced to divert to other bases. One aircraft went to Pembroke Dock and seven aircraft diverted to RAF Calshot. FLTLT T.M Ryan and crew in EK854/Q were homeward bound from an ASW patrol when they were diverted to RAF Calshot.

24Apr44 FLTLT T.M Ryan and crew departed Calshot at 1120hrs and circled the Base while six other Sunderlands departed Calshot and formed up for a formation flight to Mount Batten where they flew the largest Sunderland formation flypast ever seen in the United Kingdom over RAF Station Mount Batten and Plymouth. The Sunderlands involved were W4030, DD852, DD865, DW113, EK574, JM684 and JM721

30Apr44 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and two non-operational missions during April 1944.

03May44 54th Operational Mission. FLTLT J.O Mabbett and crew departed Mount Batten at 0442hrs for an ASW Percussion patrol in the Bay of Biscay. At 0838hrs the mid-upper turret failed so the Captain aborted and RTB.

13May44 FLTLT J.O Mabbett and crew departed Mount Batten at 1453hrs and proceeded to Pembroke Dock where they were detached for an eight day bombing and gunnery exercise at No.4 Armament Practice Camp RAF Talbenny, Wales. The aircraft also carried an extra crew that was to take over Sunderland JM678/N of 228Sqn at Pembroke Dock.

31May44 Aircraft flew four Operational Missions and 10 non-operational flights in May 1944

01Jun44 58th Operational Mission. FLTLT R.E Cargeeg and crew were departing Mount Batten at 0735hrs for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay when a medium sized vessel crossed the take-off path forcing the aircraft to abandon the take-off. The Captain then commenced a turn to port near the breakwater when the starboard outer coughed and almost stalled. The captain had to continue the port turn because the breakwater blocked the starboard side and with both starboard engines at full throttle and much less power from the port side the aircraft slewed and struck a Battleship buoy in the channel. The starboard bow compartment was seriously damaged and soon became apparent the aircraft would rapidly sink because of the large influx of water. The crew climbed onto the port wing and tried bailing but this was a hopeless task and within 10min of the accident the nose was fully submerged. The crew transferred to a rescue pinnace and by 0800hrs only the top half of the tail was visible. The aircraft was salvaged and beached at Mount Batten on 3rd June by a RAF Salvage Unit and elements of the Royal Navy.

04Jun44 Aircraft was struck off squadron strength. While serving with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft made 89 flights of which 58 were operational missions and the remaining 31 were a mixture of non-operational type flights.ML829

00Aug44 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial ML829 was the 23rd of 25 Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range ML807 thru ML831 by Short & Harland in their factory at Belfast, Northern Ireland to contract Acft 2227 with construction number SH.1130. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of twelve Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns eight mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.5 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret and, four fixed mounts in the nose (two per side) operated by the pilot. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Aircraft fitted with ASV Mark IIIC radar operating at a wavelength of 10cm that dispensed with the prominent "stickleback" antennae of earlier Sunderlands. Instead new antennae were mounted in streamlined radar blisters under each wing outboard of the floats and received a magnetron signal, piped to the scanners via a waveguide run through the leading edge of the Sunderland's wings.

27Aug44 Received by No.57MU at Wig Bay, Stranraer for acceptance tests and checks.

00Sep44 Allocated to RAF Calshot Station Flight

21Sep44 Received by Calshot Station Flight.

00Dec44 Allocated to RAAF No.10 Sqn at RAF Station Mount Batten, Plymouth.

11Dec44 FLGOFF Harris and crew departed Mount Batten at 0955hrs as passengers aboard Sunderland ML848/X10 for flight to Pembroke Dock. FLGOFF Harris and crew were to take delivery of ML829 and ferry the aircraft back to Mount Batten. After accepting and checking the aircraft Harris and crew departed Pembroke Dock at 1635hrs.

29Dec44 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT S.R Reeve and crew departed Mount Batten at 0740hrs and completed an uneventful 10hr 15min ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

31Dec44 Aircraft flew two Operational Missions and made no non-operational flights in December 1944.

31Jan45 Aircraft flew six Operational Missions and made one non-operational flight in January 1945.

09Feb45 9th Operational Mission. FLTLT S.R Reeve and crew were departing Mount Batten at 0711hrs in marginal weather for an ASW patrol in the Bay of Biscay. The aeroplane failed to become airborne after passing the end of the flare path, struck the boom defence, then broke up and sank almost immediately. One crewman died in the crash; one died later in hospital; four were seriously injured; two were slightly injured; and, three were not physically injured but suffered from shock.

An investigation of the crash suggested the aircraft struck a wave that tossed the aircraft into the air but the machine stalled then crashed near the eastern end of Plymouth breakwater and broke apart on impact.

RAAF pilot 429485 Flight Lieutenant Stanley Robert Hamilton Reeve (27) of Campbelltown in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with serious injuries but eventually returned to active service. He survived the War and resigned his commission on 27th February 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Stanley Reeve passed away aged 93 years on 22 June 2011 and is buried in the Cawdor Uniting Church Cemetery near Camden NSW.

RAAF pilot 4094055 Flight Lieutenant William Hubert Stockdale (27) of Melbourne, Victoria survived the crash with light injuries and returned to active service. He survived the War and resigned his commission on 15th February 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAAF pilot 422798 Flying Officer Ivan Wynn Fielder (29) of Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with light injuries and returned to active service. He survived the War and resigned his commission on 19th February 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAAF navigator 205785 Flight Lieutenant Reginald William Stuart Gross DFC (29) of Adelaide, South Australia survived the crash with serious injuries but eventually returned to active service. He survived the War and resigned his commission on 6h June 1947 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 422888 Flight Sergeant Walter Norman Watts, (21) of Randwick in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with serious injuries but eventually returned to active service. He survived the War was discharged on 9th January 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF Air Gunner 439628 Flight Sergeant Albert Ross Emerton, (20) of Croydon in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with serious injuries but eventually returned to active service. He survived the War was discharged on 18th January 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 435004 Flight Sergeant Malcom Macgregor Summers, (21) of Oakey, Queensland survive the crash without injury but suffered from shock and returned to active service. He survived the War was discharged on 21st September 1945 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF Flight Engineer 8998 Flight Sergeant Clifford Arthur Allison, (30) of Bunbury, Western Australia survive the crash without injury but suffered from shock and returned to active service. He survived the War was discharged on 22nd March 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

RAAF Wireless Air Gunner 411642 Warrant Officer Herbert Douglas Randell, (27) of Haberfield survive the crash without injury but suffered from shock and returned to active service. He survived the War and resigned his commission on 9th October 1945 with the rank of Flying Officer.

Randell found himself outside the aircraft wreck after the crash and could hear the sounds of his fellow crewmen trapped inside the hull. Randell then proceeded to smash a hole in the hull and rescue three of his mates and after inflating their safety jackets he heard more cries for help and went to the aid of the other crewmen. For this this selfless display of courage and fortitude Randell was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Herbert Douglas Randell died in Sydney on the 6th of July 1985 aged 67 years.

RAAF Flight Engineer 15979 Flight Sergeant Harry Thomas Groennou (28) of Leichardt in Sydney, New South Wales was severely injured in the crash and died from his wounds at 0845hrs in the Base hospital. He is buried in Plot 39. Section. H. Row D. Grave 251 of the Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset UK. He is remembered on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in the Sydney Town Hall.

RAAF Air Gunner 434172 Pilot Officer Peter Malcom Hore (21) of Sydney, New South Wales initially survived the crash but drowned in the aircraft before he could get out, his body was recovered when the wreck was salvaged. He is buried in Plot 39. Section. H. Row D. Grave 257 of the Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset UK. He is remembered on Panel 99 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Board of the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, NSW; and, on the Roll of Honour in the Sydney Town Hall.

11Feb Aircraft struck off strength. While in service with 10Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew 13 flights; ten of which were Operational Missions and three were non-operational flights.

ML839

00Oct43 Sunderland Mk.III aircraft Serial ML839 was the 5th of 50 Sunderland GR aircraft manufactured in the serial range ML835 thru ML884 by Blackburn Aircraft Co in their factory at Barge Park, Dumbarton Scotland to Contract Acft.2228. Powered by 4 x 1,065 hp (794 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII two-speed turbo charged, nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial aero engines. Fitted with Rotol constant speed propellers and de-icing boots. The aircraft was painted in the Temperate Sea Scheme on the upper surfaces with White painted undersurfaces.

Defensive armament consisted of eight Browning .303 inch (7.7mm) machine guns mounted in Frazer Nash turrets; two in a FN.11 nose turret; two in a FN.7 dorsal turret; and four in a FN.4A tail turret. Offensive armament consisted of up to 2,000lb (910 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges that were hung on traversing racks under the wing centre section.

Fitted with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) Mark II radar operating at a wavelength of 1.5 m in the 176 MHz range utilising a row of four vertical dipole antennae along the spine and eight horizontal antenna on each side of the aircraft directly below the vertical dipoles. The distinctive Yagi high gain antennae were mounted beneath each wing tip, outboard of the floats and angled outward.

29Oct43 Received by No.57MU at Wig Bay, Stranraer for acceptance tests and checks.

00Nov43 Received by Station Flight RAF Mount Batten

08Dec43 Allocated to RAAF No.10 Sqn at RAF Station Mount Batten, Plymouth as RB-A. 10Sqn was tasked to convert the aircraft to a Sunderland Mk.V and replace the Pegasus XVIII engines with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasps.

02Mar44 A delegation of Ministry of Aircraft Production, Coastal Command, Short Brothers and Pratt & Whitney representatives visited the squadron to discuss the conversion project. Authority for trial installation of Twin Wasp SE C.4.G was issued but work was progressing very slowly, awaiting spares from Short Bros, Rochester. RAAF Fitter IIE 5552 Sergeant George Finlay Beattie was tasked with the implementation of the engine conversion.

16Mar44 The Conversion Project now has priority over operational commitments. The four Pratt & Whitney engines now installed and one propeller. The propellers were of the fully feathering type taken from Albemarle aircraft, with 9 inches clipped off the blades.

04May44 The Commanding Officer of RAF Station Mount Batten RAAF Group Captain J Alexander OBE made the first test flight of the modified aircraft. All reports were very positive and the pilots were extremely pleased with the performance of the new aircraft.

Sunderland Mark III/Mark V prototype conversion, ML839 ‘A’, of No. 10 Squadron based at Mount Batten, Devon, making a test flight off the South Coast.

Colour Print by Benjamin Thomas @ Colours of Yesterday

01Jun44 Aircraft issued to 10Sqn for local and training flights only.

24Jun44 RAAF pilot 3933 SQNLDR T. Brown DFC departed Mount Batten at 0940hrs for a ten day Tour of Bases Flight to show the capabilities and changes made to ML839

30Jun44 Aircraft made five non-operational flight in June

19Aug44 FLTLT J.P Roberts DFC departed Mount Batten at 0755hrs and flew to Pembroke Dock where he embarked His Royal Highness, The Duke of Gloucester for a return flight to Mount Batten.

31Aug44 Aircraft made two non-operational flight in August.

01Sep44 Aircraft authorised to fly operational missions.

12Sep44 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT S.T Chilcott and crew departed Mount Batten at 0715hrs and completed an uneventful 13hr 16min ASW Rover patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

30Sep44 Aircraft flew five Operational Missions and made four non-operational flights in September.

An overhead view of Sunderland Mk III ML839 of No 10 Squadron RAAF, experimentally fitted with Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasps, May 1944. The engines proved a success, and were subsequently fitted to all Sunderland Mk Vs. ASV aerials are clearly visible, but later Mk IIIs and all Mk Vs were fitted with centimetric radar, the scanners neatly enclosed in streamlined radomes below the outer wing panels

12Oct44 A fierce gale struck Plymouth Sound and in the early hours of the morning Mk.V Sunderland ML839/A had disappeared from its moorings. Upon investigation it was revealed the aircraft had sunk at her moorings and was now on the bottom of the Sound. Salvage operations were undertaken by RAF Divers and Naval Personnel to recover whatever they could from the sunken aircraft.

15Oct44 Aircraft struck off charge.

30Oct44 Aircraft flew one Operational Mission in October. While serving with 10Sqn the aircraft flew six operational missions and made at least 12 non-operational flights.

PMcG 2022-04-15

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