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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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24 Squadron Crest
22.09.1949 No. 24 Squadron Dakota C.IV KJ970 Fl/Lt. Quinn

Operation: Operation Plainfare

Date: 22nd March 1949 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 24 Squadron ('In omnia parati' - Prepared for all things/Ready for anything)

Type: Dakota C.IV

Serial: KJ970

Code: Not known

Base:RAF Oakington

Location: Lübec, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Mel Joseph Quinn AUS/412688 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Nav: F/O. Kenneth Arthur Reeves 59342 SAAF Killed

Sig: M/Sig. Alan Penny AFC. 552860 RAF Seriously injured


The pilot had previously served with 453 Squadron as a Spitfire fighter pilot during the war.

The crew were taking part in 'Operation Plainfare' or as more commonly known as the 'Berlin Airlift'. They had delivered their much needed supplies to RAF Gatow in Berlin and were returning with another load but of unknown description.

The weather had deteriorated for their return trip - low cloud and greatly reduced visibility. Three aircraft were on this trip and each pilot were instructed to make a BABS approach into the airfield (Blind Approach Beam System) - a radar guided approach. The pilot experienced problems with this and it is thought that he had perhaps been blinded by the sodium lights, but no definitive cause of the crash was determined.

The Dakota during second attempt to land crashed some 3 KM. south-east of the airfield at Lübec at around 22:15 hrs.

M/Sig. Alan Penny succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Mel Joseph Quinn was buried at11:30 hrs on Saturday the 26th March. Ohlsdorfer Friedhof Cemetery. Plot XI. Row B. Grave 9. Born on 18 June 1922 at West Maitland, New South Wales. Husband of Margaret Irene Quinn. Son of Mr. Matthew Joseph (Dec) and Mary Quinn Surfside Avenue, Clovelly, Sydney, Australia. His brother, W/Cdr. N.T. Quinn also served and received the DFC. and two bars.

We assume that fellow crew members are also buried there - perhaps you are in a position to advise?

F/O. Kenneth Arthur Reeves

M/Sig. Alan Penny AFC

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources indicated below.

KTY 29.09.2018

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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