This comment deserves to be shared. I am hoping someone might help this reader.
It’s been a while since I was last in touch with you (2014) regarding a sand coloured bag from a car boot sale and that it had written on the side of the bag is the name of F/L J R Tracey (John Robert Tracey)
The reason I am asking is I was wondering if you ever got any feedback from anyone regarding this chap you did send me some info I am still very curious and any other info would be greatly appreciated.
You said that you have found out that he was a Flight Lieutenant (War Substantive) 1943 general duties branch that’s all I know so far.
| Date: | 11-APR-1945
| | Time:
| | | Type: | de Havilland Mosquito FB.Mk VI
| | Owner/operator: | 605 (County of Warwick) Sqn RAF
| | Registration: | PZ464
| | C/n / msn:
| | | Fatalities:
| Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
| | Airplane damage: | Written off (damaged beyond repair)
| | Location: | Nr Berlín – Germany
| | Phase: | En route
| | Nature: | Military
| | Departure airport: | B.71 Coxyde (B)
| | Destination airport:
Narrative: PZ464 FBVI 605 Missing from night intruder 11.4.45 Crew: F/Lt (62690) John Robert TRACEY (pilot) RAFVR – killed F/Lt (131.763) Frank BERESFORD (nav.) na PZ464.
Strange as it may seem his family lived in Birmingham six or seven miles from where I live. I live on the West Bromwich/Dudley border in an area called the Black Country due to all the industry or the lack of it these days. I live on top of hill where we can see for miles around Birmingham, West Bromwich Dudley, Halesowen, Cradley Heath, etc. All heavy industrial areas. We had on the top of the hill where I live AAA barracks and anti-aircraft guns one of the large guns inherited the name Big Bertha on one sad occasion they fired a faulty round, It landed a couple of miles away on the boat pub were a wedding party were having there celebration so many killed and injured.
Intruder mission, I think. flying around German aerodromes waiting for night fighters coming in to refuel and rearm.
They were called Night Bandits. I wrote something on the blog.
He may have been a footballer before the war?
I have been trying to find out if he did play for Nott’s County FC I have checked the date of birth and there were no other people born around the same time as he was with the same name so it is still possible he could have played I seem to be drawing a blank, what type of mission do you think he was on and how sad for him to have died less than 1 month from the end of the war in Europe.
I found this on an Aussie site. It says that PZ464 belonged to various squadrons at different stages in its life 605 sqn 464 sqn RAAF 605 sqn and then I presume 23 sqn where it didn’t return from its mission with both on board killed. Where can I find out the date the aircraft was registered? I will have another look tomorrow to see if I can find out anything more about the aircrew. Please keep me informed if you come across info as I find it all very interesting.
You also said you could not find anywhere in your notes about 23 Squadron with those two airmen’s names during that time period. Tracey must have been doing his second or third tour. This is what is most interesting. RAF airmen flew more than one tour of operations. His name is not honoured anywhere!
This is why I want to find more about him and the bag is just a pretext. You have history in your hands my friend! You said we have to write this and pay homage to this pilot and navigator.
I would love to find out what medals he would have been awarded and any other theatres of operations he may have flown in.
Kind Regards (Keep up the good work you do)
What we know…
Ju 88 Destroyed at Foggia, Italy
F/L J.R. Tracey and F/O F. Beresford
Ju 88 Probably destroyed at Foggia, Italy
F/L J.R. Tracey and F/O F. Beresford
Mosquito, Philip E. West The quaint English locomotive steamed through the enchanting Norfolk countryside, tugging its carriages behind it. In one of the first-class compartments, Winnie Winn DFC, 141 Squadron Commanding Officer, en route to his station at West Raynham, sat opposite a USAAF officer. They were alone in the compartment and were soon in […]
One of the forgotten Few…
The text if the blog should disappear.
William Terence Montague Clark was born just outside of Croydon on 11th April 1919.
Having seen a recruiting notice at No. 615 Auxiliary Air Force, RAF Kenley – a succesful interview with the CO in March 1938 saw Terry put forward for training as an air-gunner.
April 1940 saw Terry flying in Fairey Battles & the Bristol Blenheim before his posting to 219 Squadron at Catterick on 12th July 1940 flying the latter. 219 Squadrons primary responsibilities had been night operations which saw in difficult conditions, a lack of engagement with the enemy.
The 12th October 1940 saw 219 Squadron moved further south to RAF Redhill and introduced to the Bristol Beaufighter. Terry now had to familiarise himself with airborne radar to detect the enemy, so trained as a Radio Observer before the squadron then moved to Tangmere on the 10th December. His job now was to detect the enemy, track them and guide the pilot until he could see them to shoot them down.
Terry’s first success with the enemy came on the 16/17th April 1941. Called up to fly with 219’s CO, Wg Cdr Pike after his regular navigator was taken ill, Terry guided to the interception and destruction of a JU88 and He111. Not a bad way to introduce yourself to the Squadron CO!
Further success came on 13th June 1941 when flying with good friend and regular pilot F/O Dudley Hobbis when they destroyed another HE111. Sadly Dudley was later lost during an Op when not flying with Terry, and it hit Terry hard as they had become very close.
Terry was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) for his success – gazetted on 8th July 1941, before a posting to 1455 Flight back at Tangmere flying Havocs. During 1942-1944 Terry had further success in the Mosquito – a JU188 by chance where he was off duty, but volunteered to step in and help 488 (NZ) Squadron who had a navigator fall ill. He left the RAF in November 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.
I was extremely fortunate to get to spend an afternoon with now 100 year old Terry at one of his very good friends, near York. It was a huge honour to chat to Terry for a few hours and I even got to see and read his original logbook which was incredible. Terry was the last of the known UK based ‘Few’ I was still to meet, so it really was a special, personal occasion, and huge thanks to his great friend Steve for making it happen.
A real shame that sometimes the likes of Terry can get overlooked in context of the Battle of Britain – not having been a pilot. To me, and thankfully many others he and all his comrades were just as vital and deserve equal recognition – all heroes.
The activity continued into July and on 4/5 July, 456 Squadron Mosquitoes had a fruitful night: P/O S. Williams and F/O K. Havord in Mosquito HK282/L destroyed a Do 217, and He 177s were destroyed by F/Lt Bob Cowper DFC and F/O W. Watson in HK356/D; F/O E. Radford and F/Sgt W. Atkinson in HK312/G, and P/Os I. Sanderson and G. Nicholas in HK249B.
It was during June that the Germans began their flying-bomb assault. The first attack on 12/13 June was a flop because of lack of equipment and special fuel. Out of ten bombs launched, only four crossed the English coast. Three of these fell in open country and the fourth demolished a railway bridge in the East End of London, killing six people. However, the threat posed by these vengeance weapons was dire. Rings of anti-aircraft batteries were deployed in the flight paths of these incoming `malignant robots’, and `AntiDiver’ patrols by fighters – Tempests, Spitfires, Mustangs, Meteors and Mosquitoes – were set up to intercept. F/Lts K. Roediger and J. Dobson made 456 Squadron’s first definite V-1 kill on 9/10 July and by the end of the month ten had been destroyed. By the end of August, the squadron tally stood at twenty-four, F/Lt Roediger accounting for nine of them.
A lull in flying-bomb attacks saw the squadron training for cross-country navigation in preparation for new work. Prior to this, squadron aircraft were not permitted to penetrate deep into enemy territory because of the highly secret apparatus carried. This was no longer a concern and eight aircraft were deployed to Manston, a forward base, for patrols over the Holland and Belgium fronts. On 6/7 October, W/O J. Mulhall and F/O J. Jones in HK317/Y destroyed a Ju 188. Hopes for more successes were dashed when bad weather restricted flying for most of the rest of the month. On 5 November, W/Cdr Hampshire was promoted to Group captain and succeeded by S/Ldr B. Howard (later promoted to wing commander).
Once more the squadron’s role was changed from Continental patrols to new anti-diver work. This latest role had it searching for and destroying He 111s that were launching flying bombs from over the North Sea. Although successes were achieved, losses were high. On 7 November, an unusual crew was posted missing, Lt E. Woodward and Ensign W. Madden, two of four US Marine fliers attached to 456 Squadron for operational experience. They were to have returned to the USA to instruct on RAF night-fighting techniques. An extended period of poor weather followed and by 18/19 November it had been so bad that No. 2 Group, of which 456 Squadron was part, had been unable to operate for eleven consecutive days and twelve nights. The following day, F/Os D. Arnold and J. Stickley in Mosquito HK246/U destroyed a Heinkel that dropped burning into the sea.
W/O J. Mulhall and F/O J. Jones faded to return from an antidiver patrol on 23/24 November but the following night, F/Os F Stevens and F/O W Kellett in Mosquito HK290/J destroyed a He 111 after a twenty-five-minute chase. It blew up on the sea close to the Dutch coast On 30 December, 456 Squadron was re-located to Church Fenton and re-equipped with Mk XXX Mosquitoes.
The squadron was held in reserve for much of the first quarter of 1945. With its new aircraft, training now centred on another fresh role – that of night fighters for bomber support. Unfortunately, by the time it was ready for operations there were few opportunities left as the Luftwaffe was now a spent force and the battlefronts were almost beyond the range…
W/O Mulhall is on this memorial.
The crash is detailed here.
HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND. 1943-09-23. AIRCREW MEMBERS OF A MOSQUITO NO. 456 SQUADRON RAAF OF FIGHTER COMMAND BASED AT RAF STATION MIDDLE WALLOP.
LEFT TO RIGHT:
409368 FLYING OFFICER (FO) M. N. AUSTIN, MELBOURNE, VIC
411157 WARRANT OFFICER A. S. MCEVOY, SYDNEY, NSW
411411 FO R. S. WILLIAMS, PATONGA BEACH, NSW
404891 FLIGHT LIEUTENANT G. PANITZ, SOUTHPORT, QLD
403330 PILOT OFFICER (PO) G. F. GATENBY, BATEMANS BAY, NSW
404897 PO J. M. FRASER, BRISBANE, QLD
404543 FO J. W. NEWELL, MAREEBA, QLD
403128 PO A. M. ABBEY, COFFS HARBOUR, NSW
414280 FO S. D. P. SMITH, BRISBANE, QLD
403654 FLIGHT SERGEANT A. J. KEATING, SYDNEY, NSW (IN FRONT)
Date 23 September 1943
No. 456 Squadron RAAF was formed on 30 June 1941 at RAF Valley, Isle of Anglesey, Wales, in the United Kingdom under Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme as a night-fighter squadron, equipped with Defiant turret-fighters. The squadron was soon re-equipped with Beaufighters and scored its first kill in January 1942. Throughout the year, the squadron’s aircraft operated in a mainly defensive role over the United Kingdom, but in December 1942, the squadron was re-equipped with Mosquito fighters and began offensive “Ranger” missions over Europe attacking a variety of targets ground targets including German rolling stock, and also attacking German bombers close to their airfields during “Intruder” missions.