Operation: Anti-Submarine Patrol
Date: 16 July 1943 (Friday)
Unit: No. 10 Operational Training Unit (detachment)
Type: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk V
Code: Call sign "S"
Base: RAF St. Eval, Cornwall
Location: RAF St. Eval, Cornwall
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Edward Nagle Redway Aus/413426 RAAF Age 30 - Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. John Kirby 1234614 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)
Nav: Sgt. James Sutherland Ogilvy R/97923 RCAF Age 27 - Killed (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Cornelius Wilkinson 1212271 RAFVR Age 19 - Killed (4)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford Eric Mundy 1601188 Age 19 - Safe and uninjured (5)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Carles Stemkoski R/165234 RCAF Age 22 - Safe and uninjured (6)
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On 4 August 1942 a detachment from 10 OTU at RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire was sent to RAF St Eval in Cornwall. Taking part in anti-submarine patrols in the Bay of Biscay the unit flew 16,860 operational hours and 54 attacks were made on German U-Boats. No less than 47 Whitley aircraft were lost during the 11 months of the operation which ended on 23 July 1943.
On 27 June 1943 Tom Redway and his crew were posted to the 10 OTU detachment at St Eval following completion of their training at 19 OTU at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire Scotland. Though London born, Tom's family had emigrated from the UK to Australia before he was two years old, so to all intents and purposes he was an Aussie. Navigator James Ogilvy and rear gunner Peter Stemkoski were both Canadians whilst 2nd pilot John Kirby was a proud Yorkshireman, wireless operator George Wilkinson was a Man of Kent and the mid upper gunner Clifford Mundy, the youngest of nine children born to Jesse and Louisa Mundy, hailed from Botley in Hampshire.
The crew were soon flying anti-submarine sweeps and on 16 July they were detailed for their fourth such operation.
The crew took off in Whitley BD276 at 0551 detailed to carry out an anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay. At 1310 hours a signal was received from the aircraft “MTB1 early 60 minutes”.
At 1408 the aircraft touched down at RAF St Eval, but ballooned back into the air and before the situation could be remedied the bomber crashed into a parked Hampden I P1204 belonging to No 1404 Meteorological Flight. In the explosion of the depth charges that followed another of the Flight’s Hampdens, AD757 was destroyed.
Four of those on board were killed in the accident, Sgt’s Mundy and Stemkoski survived the crash uninjured.
The report on flying accident or forced landing not attributable to enemy action Form 765 of 19 July 1943 includes the following information regarding the incident
Accident at 1408 16 July 1943 at St Eval airfield - Day Operational flight - Anti-Submarine patrol - Whitley V BD276
Duration of flight since last take off 8 hours 15 minutes
The aircraft made a normal approach for a landing but appeared to be overshooting slightly and coming in a little faster than usual. The pilot failed to flatten out in time and the aircraft "flew in". The aircraft bounced very heavily twice (50' and 70'). At the top of the second bounce the pilot opened his throttles to go round again, but the aircraft was already in a stalled attitude with the nose high in the air. The aircraft flew on in this attitude for a short time at 100 feet over the camp. It then went into a stall turn to the left through about 200° narrowly missing No. 3 hangar and finally crashed into a Hampden parked just off the apron in from of No. 2 hangar. The aircraft burst into flames immediately.
Section 11 of the form 'Report of Appropriate Specialist Officers' records 'No technical defect'
Remarks by Unit Commander Wing Commander P Stevens [?] No. 10 OTU 19 July 1943
(A) After bouncing badly twice the pilot attempted to carry out overshoot procedure, opening his throttles when the aircraft was in the stalled position. Control was never regained. The aircraft climbed at a very slow speed to 100 feet, went into a slow stall turn to the left and crashed back on the aerodrome on top of a Hampden aircraft. There were two survivors. The Rear Gunner and Air Bomber
(B) The Air Bomber was at the Elsen just prior to landing. He was instructed by the captain to remain by the step. The Rear Gunner was in the turret also on instructions in spite of an order which lays down that rear gunners are to come forward for landing. The extra weight behind the centre of gravity would make the aircraft quite uncontrollable for overshoot procedures. The positions taken up by the survivors appear to have caused the accident. The captain appears to have been responsible for not positioning his crew correctly before landing.
(c) A Court of Enquiry is being held.
A cypher message of 18 July 1943 to RAAF Headquarters, Melbourne Australia from Overseas Headquarters RAAF, Kingsway, London reporting the loss of this aircraft and the four crew members killed in the accident includes details of four others as follows:
1200997 Cpl. Lewis
1440381 AC2 W. James
1525704 LAC Godfrey
1025175 LAC Durkin [the D in this surname appears to have originally typed as K]
The message contains no further information about these four men, however it is known that 1440381 AC2 Leonard William Melville James (7) died on 16 July 1943 and was buried at St. Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall - Grave 670.
W R Chorley states that although no mention is made of James in the unit records, it was strongly suspected that he died in the accident.
There are no recorded deaths or injuries of the other three. By reference to the Air 78 index two of them are identified as being
1200997 Cpl Herbert Alexander Lewis
1525704 LAC William Frederick Godfrey
However 1025175 LAC Durkin or Kurkin was not found in Air 78 under Kurkin, Durkin or Burkin.
None of the three are recorded in CWGC records, so why were they recorded in the cypher message with those who were killed in the accident.
(1) Fl/Sgt. Thomas Edward Nagle Redway was born on 8 October 1912 at West Ham, London the son of Thomas Nagle Redway (a Printers' Machinery Assistant) and Ethel Redway nee Thyer. He had two siblings: Dorothy Kathleen Redway born 1916 and William Redway (1918-1997)
In 1911 his parents lived at 32a Browns Road/Hoe Street Walthamstow, London
The family sailed from London for Brisbane Australia on 1 July 1914 on the SS Euripides when Thomas senior's occupation was recorded as a Farm Labourer. The family later lived at 109 Clyde Street, Granville, New South Wales
Thomas attended the nearby Parramatta Inter Comm High School (1924-1927) and after leaving school was employed as a Clerk and Salesman for Michael Nairn & Co., Linoleum Manufacturers and at the time of his enlistment was a Self Employed Motor Cycle Agent.
When he enlisted at Sydney on 17 August 1941 he was 5'9½" tall weighing 150lbs with brown hair, hazel eyes and a medium complexion. He enjoyed playing football and cricket, swimming and motor cycling.
He commenced training at 2 Initial Training School and on 7 November he was granted 5 days Special Leave to marry Janet Elizabeth Hawkins. They later lived at 46 William Street, Granville, Sydney.
He resumed training on 13 November at 8 Elementary Flying Training School at RAAF Narrandera, New South Wales followed by postings to 3 SFTS RCAF Amberley Queensland (Course No. 20) and 6 SFTS Mallala South Australia where he was awarded his Flying Badge on 28 May 1942 and on 25 June promoted to Sergeant.
He embarked from Sydney on 24 August and disembarking in the UK on 18 November was posted to 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth. On 26 January 1943 he was posted to 9 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Errol, Perth and Kinross Scotland where he was trained on 32 Advanced Flying Course until 6 March when he was posted to 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire Scotland and on 27 June to a detachment of 10 Operational Training Unit at RAF St Eval Cornwall.
He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 27 February 1943
(2) Sgt. John Kirby was born in 1921 at Sculcoates, East Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Harold Kirby (a Bricklayer) and Mary Kirby nee Ward. He had a sister, Betty Kirby, born in 1923. In 1939 the family lived at Pebble Villa, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire.
(3) Fl/Sgt. James Sutherland Ogilvy was born on 2 July 1916 at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Canada the son of James Grant Ogilvy (an Insurance Agent and Broker died in 1929 aged 45) and Edna Goodeve Ogilvy nee Sutherland. He had three siblings: Helen Cooper Ogilvy born 1911, Margaret Ogilvy born 1915 and LAC Stuart Tresilian Ogilvy RCAF born 1918, killed 7 December 1940 age 22 in a flying accident at Shonberg, Ontario whilst training at No. 1 Service Flying Training School.
The family lived at 1116 1st Avenue, N.W., Moose Jaw.
James Ogilvy was educated at King George School (1922-1930) and Moose Jaw Central Collegiate Institute (1930-1934). After leaving school he was employed as a Bank Clerk at The Dominion Bank and took an Associate in Banking correspondence course with Shaw Schools. He worked at the Bank's Moose Jaw Branch, the Winnipeg Branch and at the Vancouver Branch. He enjoyed ice skating and playing tennis.
When he enlisted on 9 April 1941 at Vancouver he was described as being 6'2" tall weighing 170 lbs with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.
After training at 34 Service Flying Training School, RCAF Medicine Hat, Alberta 15 Elementary Flying Training School, RCAF Regina, Saskatchewan, 4 Service Flying Training School, RCAF Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Combined Training School, RCAF Trenton, Ontario, 3 Manning Depot, RCAF Edmonton Alberta and 2 Air Observer School, RCAF Edmonton he was awarded his Navigators Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 4 December 1942. He then went on leave until 28 December when he reported to Y Depot at Halifax from where he embarked for the UK on 4 January 1943 and disembarked on 12 January. The following day he was posted to 2 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth. On 5 April he was posted to 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire Scotland and on 27 June to a detachment of 10 Operational Training Unit at RAF St. Eval in Cornwall.
(4) Sgt. George Cornelius Wilkinson was born in 1922 at Faversham, Kent the son of John Wilkinson (a Munitions Works Labourer) and Nellie Alice Kate Wilkinson nee Cornelius of 52 Westgate Road, Faversham.
He had four siblings: John Cornelius Wilkinson born 1920, Frederick C. Wilkinson born 1926, Ronald D. Wilkinson born 1930 and Jean N. Wilkinson born 1922.
(5) Sgt. Clifford Eric Mundy was born on 8 August 1923 at South Stoneham, Hampshire the son of Jesse Mundy ( a Pump Assistant - Sewage Disposal) and Louisa Mundy nee Emery.
He had eight siblings: Marjorie Rose Mundy (1906-1969), Irene Lilian Mundy (1908-1987), Donald Mundy born 1910, Ruth Adela Mundy born (1911-1987), Wilfred J. Mundy born 1912, Dulcie Violet Mundy (1915-1991), Gladys E. Mundy (1917-1985) and Douglas Cecil Mundy (1920-1985)
In 1939 the family lived at Dulce Domir, Hobb Lane, Winchester
Clifford Eric Mundy survived the war and in 1947 married Sheila Phyllis Clarke at Winchester.
He later became a School Teacher and died at Botley, Southamton, Hampshire on 28 December 1984 aged 61.
(6) Sgt. Peter Carles Stemkoski was born on 6 January 1921 at Kenora, Ontario, Canada.
He enlisted in the RCAF on 24 March 1942 and was later posted to 158 Squadron from 1658 HCU on 11 December 1943.
He was awarded the DFC on 20 February 1945 (London Gazette 20 Feb 1945)
He married Fixilla Ott on 6 June 1945 at Souix Narrows Ontario and they later had two children.
Peter Carles Stemkoski died on 20 June 1992 at Dryden, Ontario aged 71 and was buried at Wabigoon, Kenora District, Ontario - Memorial ID 147841769.
(7) AC2 Leonard William Melville James was born in 1922 at Lambeth the son of William Thomas James (a taxi driver) and Ethel M. James nee Burton of 193 Camberwell New Road, Camberwell, Surrey
He had one sibling Joan M James born 1920
(1) Fl/Sgt. Thomas Edward Nagle Redway's funeral took place with full Service honours at Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset at 13.30 hours on 21 July 1943 - Plot 51. Sec. H. Row T. Grave 252.
His epitaph reads
Greater love hath no man
(2) Sgt. John Kirby was buried at North Ferriby (All Saints) Churchyard, Grave 188
His epitaph reads:
Of everlasting remembrance
(3) Fl/Sgt. James Sutherland Ogilvy was buried at Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset - Plot 51. Sec. H. Row V. Grave 252.
(4) Sgt George Cornelius Wilkinson was buried at Faversham Borough Cemetery - Sec. E. Grave 24.
His epitaph reads
He sleeps in
God's beautiful garden
In the sunshine
Of perfect peace
(7) AC2 Leonard William Melville James St Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall - Grave 670.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - December 2019
With thanks to the sources quoted below.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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