George Cross – A Wartime Log

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The Prisoner of War Diary of my father George Cross, who was an Observer/Navigator with his Pilot Jock Irving in his 23 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito on the night of 30th September, 1944 when things went wrong at the end of another successful Intruder mission over Nazi Germany. Please watch, enjoy and share

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Remembering Lloyd William Brown (1913-2017)

Eugene Gagnon knew this staff pilot and instructor at Paulson, Manitoba.

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Lloyd William Brown was a staff pilot in Paulson, Manitoba.

Remembering…

LLOYD WILLIAM BROWN February 28, 1913 – May 8, 2017 Lloyd Brown passed away peacefully at Riverview Health Centre. He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Alice; his sons, Richard (Judy) and Bill. Left to mourn his loss are his grandchildren, Sarah (Keith), Craig (Laura), Glen (Laura), Justin and Andrew, as well as his great-grandchildren, Colleen and Kyle McConnell and Cailan and Camille Brown. Lloyd was born on a large farm just outside of Winnipeg’s West perimeter. He had many happy memories of his time on the farm, helping his parents, Peter and Emma, playing with his four siblings and skating on Sturgeon Creek. One of the greatest highlights in Lloyd’s life was during the Second World War when he was a Flight Lieutenant, training hundreds of airmen. His postings included many areas of Canada and England.

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Remembering Bentley and Causeway

Second row: Bentley and Causeway

Luca Piancastelli sent me this message before he found the 23 Squadron video I had edited a few years ago.

This is the report on the crash of the Mosquito. Since I worked for the Tribunal on many aircraft crashes in recent years, the result is quite clear. Not only fog but also engine failure. 

For the fire I am not sure. If the Mosquito had the covers on ejector exhausts, then the fire is sure. If not the  Merlin at high rpm (single enginel operation) made quite long flames.

Best

After looking at the footage Luca had found his answer.

 


This is what he wrote me…

Facts

The grave of the crew has the propeller on it (in very good condition, it was not powered at the impact).

The propeller came directly from the crash site.

Due to the good condition of the propeller, at the moment of the crash the Mosquito had an engine not working (probably with feathered propeller).

The glow seen by the witnesses in the very thick fog is probably due to a fire onboard. The people heard the noise first and then saw the fire.

The Mosquito had covers on the exhaust to reduce signature in night operations, as it can be seen from numerous photographs of the 23 Squadron ( a detachment) that was based near Naples (Pomigliano). The flames from the exhaust very extremely attenuated even at night.

Therefore, the aircraft went down on fire with an engine stopped (no power).

The fog was (only) a collateral (big) problem.

You may correct the cause of the crash.

The crash time was taken from the watch of the Pilot (see the letter in the first doc I sent you). This hour can be clearly seen on the grave and was confirmed by the witnesses.

They were on the route back.

They had full moon.

On 11-12 November 1943 the Full moon was visible: 100%

Source: https://www.calendar-12.com/moon_calendar/1943/november​


Comments

They may took a hit or they could have had an engine failure. Fire is possible in petrol engines. The same aircraft had a previous aborted mission due to engine failure.

Typically you see the hill of San Marino coming out on a see of fog, if there is enough moon (it happened at night-full moon).

This is a clear reference point for the navigator, clearly visible on the maps.

They may have tried an emergency landing due to the fire (the Mosquito flew “perfectly” on a single engine) or the “wooden wonder” may had a structural problem due to the fire.

Best Piancas

Luca Piancastelli

Professor

DIN University of Bologna

viale Risorgimento,2

40136 Bologna

ITALY


Luca added these images of the funeral of Bentley and Causeway…

Epilogue

Dear all, here is my final report on the accident with new figures and the proof that the Mosquitos of the 23 Squadron at Pomigliano had flame suppressors installed.

I will send it to the ASN aircraft incident Archive to rectify the cause from “fog” to “fog and fire”.

The same Mosquito had a previous full engine stop with aborted mission on de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB Mk VI HX869​. With any probability the engine has been replaced in that occasion. Standard procedure was to replace both engines to avoid big differences in thrust if the remaining engine is old. Ground and flight tests were carried out for this purpose. Therefore, we do not know if a single engine was replaced or if the two engines were replaced. If the two engines were replaced it is possible that the original Merlin Mark was upgraded or modified due to avaliability.

Therefore, my research on Merlin mark is finished. I will write on my scientific papers only Merlin XX, instead of Merlin 21,23 or 25.

Thank you for your contributions to my work.

Best

Piancas

Notes on the Crash of 1943 Mosquito San Marino_Final-1

Donald Hepworth Bentley

This post was written in 2013.

http://wp.me/pSrQ4-Ob

Luca commented this week using the contact form.

I am a professor from the University of Bologna. I make a few works on the engine (the left one?) of the Mosquito of Flight Sergeant Bentley. I was looking for the exact type of the engine (Merlin 21, 23 or 25). In this research I collected a few docs and the exact (maybe) story of the crash. If you like, I can send you the material I have. In any case, I am looking for a contact with an historian of the RAF 23 Squadron.
Can you help me?
Best regards
Luca Piancastelli
DIN – Aerospace div.
viale Risorgimento,2
40136 Bologna
Italy

Night Mosquitoes

Most informative!

Weapons and Warfare

November 1944 saw the same pattern of operations with bomber support and night and day Intruder and Ranger patrols. No. 85 Squadron continued its run of success with a superb individual effort during a night Intruder on 4/5 November when Bomber Command’s main thrust was against Bochum, with smaller raids on the Dortmund–Ems Canal and on Hanover. Three Bf 110s were claimed shot down, one each by Wing Commander K. H. P. Beauchamp and Flying Officer Mony of 157 Squadron, Flight Lieutenants N. W. Young and R. H. Siddons of 239 Squadron, and Squadron Leader Tim Woodman and Flying Officer Arthur F. Witt of 169 Squadron. Bf 110 of II/NJG1 was shot down at 1900 hours at a height of 20,000 ft (6,100 metres). Unteroffizier Gustav Sario, the pilot, was injured and baled out. Unteroffizier Heinrich Conrads, the radar operator and Obergefreiter Roman Talarowski, the air gunner, were both killed…

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Revisiting the Past

This is what I have been doing here on this blog since 2010.

Yesterday someone shared this picture on Facebook.

He took it with his cell phone.

The photo is part of his father’s souvenirs at RAF Tholthorpe. RAF Tholthorpe was where RCAF No. 420 Snowy Owl and RCAF No. 425 Alouettes were stationed. Flight Sergeant John Rawbon was attached to these two Bomber Command’s squadrons. His collection of photos is most impressive.

 

This small photo though really made my day yesterday…

Mosquito PZ313
YP-P

A pilot visited RAF Tholthorpe most probably after VE-Day. I don’t believe it was an emergency landing since RAF Tholthorpe is not anywhere in the vicinity of RAF Little Snoring. Any emergency landing would not have been made at RAF Tholthorpe by a RAF 23 Squadron Mosquito.

This being said who would be visiting after VE-Day RAF Tholthorpe who had the only French-Canadian squadron of the RCAF stationed there?

A French-Canadian Mosquito pilot with RAF 23 Squadron?

Eugène Gagnon DFC

I guess we will never be sure…

FHC Mosquito TV959 – Putting a “Wooden Wonder” Back Together Again

Thanks Deano.

Aces Flying High

de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito T.Mk.III (TV959) is currently a work in progress at the Flying Heritage Collection (FHC) located at Paine Field, Washington. This particular one is currently the third flying Mosquito example (with more to follow) and the second reconstructed and restored to flight by Avspecs Ltd. in New Zealand (FB.Mk.26 fighter bomber KA114 being the first in 2013 and now based in Norfolk, Virginia in the Jerry Yagen collection. There is also a flying B.35 bomber variant, VR796  in British Columbia, Canada that was rebuilt and restored by Victoria Air Maintenance Ltd. to flight in 2014 for Bob Jens).

FHC Mosquito TV959 2017 de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito T.Mk.III (TV959) at the Flying Heritage Collection, February 2017

Checking Out the FHC Mosquito

This week I was at FHC with a fellow aviation enthusiast to take a look at the progress of TV959 and meet the Avspecs crew from New Zealand who are helping put TV959 back into flying…

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In Memoriam Arthur Cockayne

Note

I wrote a post in April 2010 about Tommy Smith’s navigator. I don’t have a picture of Arthur Cockayne just a painting commissioned by Peter Smith, Tommy Smith’s son.

Never_Say_Die

Arthur Cockayne did not survive the war. There is a follow-up to what I wrote back in 2010.

***

Peter received this e-mail from someone in December 2008. It all about his father’s navigator. If you are related to Arthur Cockayne, write me a comment and I will get in touch.

Here is the e-mail he got about Cockie…

Arthur Clarence COCKAYNE

Flying Officer 157435

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died on sortie to Germany on Tuesday 16 January 1945

Arthur was the eldest son of William Charles and Alice Barker Cockayne of 73, Darlaston Road, Walsall.

He was educated at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, where he was a member of the O.T.C., and later took a position as a student teacher at Hillary Street School.

Following this he attended Dudley Training College and was then appointed by the London County Council at their Highgate School.

When the war started and the children were evacuated from London, Arthur moved initially to Bedford High School and then to Northampton.

Volunteering for service in July 1941, he trained as a radio operator/observer and commenced his first tour of 250 flying hours in the Middle East, receiving a commission in 1943.

In March 1943 he was married at St. Gabriel’s Church, Sunderland to Vera Wardle, daughter of Mr and Mrs Wardle of 12, Montrose Gardens, Sunderland and a Domestic Science teacher at Diamond Hall School, Sunderland. Following the wedding the couple honeymooned in the Lake District. A son was born to the marriage in July 1945.

Returning to England, Arthur transferred to 23 Squadron who were based at Little Snoring near Norwich. From July 1944 onwards this squadron flew Mosquitos on night intruder operations. He flew in a Mosquito Mk VI, serial number RS507, coded YP-C with Flight Lieutenant T. Anderson-Smith as his pilot.

Serving as the navigator, Arthur had to do just one more flight to complete his second tour of duty when he was shot down over Germany.

Arthur took off from his base at 5.39pm on Tuesday 16 January 1945 for an intruder sortie over Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. His aircraft crashed at 9.30pm this night at Beckedorf, 3 miles south west of Hermannsburg. Frederick was killed in the crash and initially buried in the local cemetery. Flight Lieutenant Anderson-Smith survived the crash, albeit badly burned, and was taken prisoner.

Arthur is buried in Becklingen War Cemetery in Grave 13.F.9. He was 35 years of age.

***

This is what I received from someone Saturday night.

Hi Pierre

Please find attached the photo of the grave of AC Cockayne.

My uncle, Fl.Lt. Alexander John Fowler 422654 was killed on February 22nd 1945 during operation Clarion. His Mosquito PZ395 from 487 Squadron was piloted by Wing Commander Baker, the Squadron Commander. They were shot down and killed by railway flak, and in close proximity another Mosquito from their squadron was also brought down, crewed by PCW Sage (pilot) and J Cockburn (navigator). Pilot and navigator were buried in a single coffin, and the two coffins (both crews that is) were buried in the village cemetery of Bevern, just south of where they died. Later, they were reburied at Becklingen, where they are buried together. Immediately to the left of these 4 graves is where I spotted AC Cockayne’s final resting place.
My Uncle Alec trained in Canada in 1942, was in 214 Squadron using Short Stirling heavy bombers, then in 161 supplying the French Resistance, then training crews on using H2S Radar, and finally in from December 1944 in Mosquitoes.

Jonathan Markley

headstone-arthur-cockayne

To live in hearts
we leave behind
is not to die.

Photo courtesy Jonathan Markley

Preserving the Past – Toronto, September 1941

Richard Cooper and I are preserving the past. I have been doing it since 2009. Richard joined me in February 2013 when he found this blog and started contributing stories and pictures.

My father-in-law is Theodore Griffiths DFC. He was a Mosquito pilot with 23 Squadron and his navigator was a Rick Maude. Any memories copies of photographs would be much appreciated. Theo suffers from Alzeimer’s and vascular dementia but is still able to recall his time with the squadron.

Richard Cooper

This is another day in the life of Theo Griffiths whose life has been touching so many people’s lives.

group-picture-toronto-september-1941

Click on the image to get a closer view…
Collection Theo Griffiths DFC (courtesy Richard Cooper)

group-picture-toronto-september-1941-theo-griffiths

Theo Griffiths DFC

Theo was one of 90 cadet pilots from England heading down South.

Now look closer at the group picture…

group-picture-toronto-september-1941-george-rushbrook

George Rushbrook

George Rushbrook was also one of the 90 cadet pilots from England, with a friend…

Look closer…

group-picture-toronto-september-1941-bunty

Gerald Thomas Padden
“Bunty”
1921-1942

bunty-and-george

What’s next on this blog?

90 cadet pilots are going south of the border…to Souther Field, Georgia, USA!

Theo in training mod

We will be October 24, 1941…

Another day in the life of Theo Griffiths whose life has been touching so many people’s lives.

Day I soloed 24 October 1941

solo-drink-list-mod