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

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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

Who remembered W/O K.V. ‘Scappa’ Rann?

Scappa’s cousin sending me an email to find an answer…

My cousin WO1 ‘Scappa’ Rann appears in your photos in Sardinia. Why was he called ‘Scappa’? The family album shows him leaning on a Nissan Hut similar to the officers one previous….wearing a Sidcot? suit. Must be England, eh?

Scappa

George Stewart also did remember W/O K.V.Rann in 2010.

‘Scappa’ W/O.K.V.Rann, a squadron navigator who flew with Lt. J.H.Christie, of the Dutch Airforce, is on my right, and Paul to his right.

In 2010 I had sent an e-mail to George Stewart. He had answered back and he had insisted I called him George. I was not the kind of guy to argue with a Mosquito pilot…


George had identified most of the airmen on the pictures that Paul Beaudet’s daughter had sent me. Paul Beaudet was George’s navigator on all his 50 missions. They never suffered any injuries. I would venture to say that they were each other’s good luck charm.

Getting back to the photographs, I had first believed that these pictures were taken at Luqa, Malta, but George had told me they were taken in Alghero in Sardinia and also in Naples, Italy.

This was the first picture I had posted before.

This is what George Stewart had written…

Here were his answers…

This photo shows my navigator F/O J. R. Paul Beaudet, beside F/L J. (Jackie) Curd, a squadron pilot who flew with his navigator F/S P.H.Devlin.

This photo shows me with F/O A.L. (Al) Berry, a squadron navigator, whose pilot was P/O R. A. (Ron) Neil, both members of the RNZAF.

The other officer on the left side of the photo escapes my memory for now, but I think he was our engineering officer. This shot was taken in Naples, and you can see Mount Vesuvius in the background.

We landed here off the Italian cruiser Garibaldi, which sailed us here from Cagliary, Sardinia, after we found out that the squadron was going back to the U.K., in the spring of 1944.

We sailed from here to Liverpool on the Strathnaver.

The picture shows a few of us in Sassari (Sardinia), a city close to our base at Alghero in Sardinia, (after we did a bit of shopping. I bought a lovely small oil painting, for 800 lire).

In the dark battledress to my right, is F/O Ken Eastwood’s navigator F/L G.T.(Griff) Rogers.

‘Scappa’ W/O. K.V.Rann, a squadron navigator who flew with Lt. J.H.Christie, of the Dutch Airforce, is on my right, and Paul to his right.


I’m not sure about the chap in the top picture with his right arm around my navigator Paul, but it may come to me later; it may have been taken a the #1 B.P.D. tent camp in Algiers.


Paul Beaudet and the Vesuvius of course.

Al Berry again, likely taken the same day as the photo on page 1, in Naples.

Please leave a comment if you know why W/O Rann’s nickname was Scappa?

 

Scappa Rann

 

Comments are always most welcomed…

Even on a post published in 2011.

Sticky Murphy

My name is Captain Leo Tabone, South African Airways – Alan Murphy’s grandson Marcus Hanekom is a good friend of mine and we are sometimes rostered to fly together as a crew, he is a very capable and professional pilot and ‘Sticky’ Murphy would be very proud of his grandson following in his footsteps – one night at 40 000 feet over the Atlantic Marcus told me about his grandfather, his exploits which I really enjoyed – He has his grandfather’s logbook, medals and memorabilia proudly displayed in his study today, a tribute to a great and brave airman.

Sticky

More amazing detective work… Really?

I am just curious and then I share what I have found.

My good friend John commented with this

More amazing detective work, as usual. And also, “as usual”, I was so saddened to see just how young Ensign Grinndal was. So, so sad.

This is what I replied…

This story is not by all means over John.
It first started in 2010 with my quest for Eugène Gagnon, a Mosquito pilot with 23 Squadron.
My blogs are not meant to be read, but found like Gunnar Kelly did two weeks ago.
Then when people want to share their little bit of history, I start writing about it because I know that down the line someone will find a lost loved one.
That’s my mission John, and I know you feel the same way just by reading your blog.

As a footnote I just found the reference about 68 Squadron I was looking for here.

RAF 68 Squadron

Lieutenant John Kelly and his navigator Lieutenant Tom Martin

wpid-image1-2

collection Flight Lieutenant John Kelly

John Kelly’s son sent me this picture after he had entered this comment last week.

After the war he went to become a Professor of Pathology at Tufts and then the Head of Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. He eventually quit that profession to go to become an author. He penned several articles for the Navy’s Tailhook magazine and wrote a novel called “The Wooden Wolf” which was published. The plot was about an attempt to kill Hitler while he was on Hermann Goering’s train Asia with an attack from a “Mossie”.

I have his manuals supplied to him while in 68 Squadron of the flight manuals for the Mosquito and Blenheim. In additional to these his letters home recounting his time there. His Squadron mates were Black & Aitken as well as Karl Seda. To read these letters are like steeping back in time.

Chronology: No. 51 O.T.U. Update – Redux

Another update about this post on No. 51 O.T.U. with this comment just received…

John Kelly was my father. After the war he went to become a Professor of Pathology at Tufts and then the Head of Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. He eventually quit that profession to go to become an author. He penned several articles for the Navy’s Tailhook magazine and wrote a novel called “The Wooden Wolf” which was published. The plot was about an attempt to kill Hitler while he was on Hermann Goering’s train Asia with an attack from a “Mossie”. I have his manuals supplied to him while in 68 Squadron of the flight manuals for the Mosquito and Blenheim. In additional to these his letters home recounting his time there. His Squadron mates were Black & Aitken as well as Karl Seda. To read these letters are like steeping back in time.

Source Internet

ORIGINAL POST

Update with this comment…

Hi,
no information about the crew of Lt. Kelly / Lt Martin.

Czech pilot Karel Kuttelwascher DFC & Bar was posted to 23 Sqn.
July 9, 1942 – October 1, 1942

Crew F / Lt Kuttelwascher – P / O Palmer 6x Night Intruder over France and the Netherlands
Navigator P / O Geoffrey Ernest PALMER (116970) DFC

http://aces.safarikovi.org/biography/cz/cz/kuttelwascher.html

http://www.czechspitfireclub.cz/?sekce1=cs_letci&sekce2=kuttelwascher

http://fcafa.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/karel-kuttelwascher/

Regards Pavel

This picture could have been taken at No. 51 O.T.U. but I am not sure.

scan0001

No 51 O.T.U. was stationed at RAF Cranfield.  From 27 March 1944 to 16 October 1944 R.C. Harris was posted there.  He was a navigator radar operator and flew on Beaufighters, Wellingtons, Beauforts, and Airspeed Oxfords.

This page from the logbook is interesting in a way as well as the message from Robert.

Hello Pierre!

I have learned so much from reading the latest blog update.  I had never heard of the Havocs with searchlights linked to the Hurricanes!

One log book scan shows my father as instructor to an American – wonder what happened to him! I have attached some other log book extracts which I hope you will find of some use.

Can’t thank you enough for all the work on 23 squadron and beyond.

Kind regards – Rob

One log book scan shows my father as instructor to an American – wonder what happened to him!

51 OTU August 1944

Four entries from 14 August through 18 August 1944. Richard Harris is an instructor to Ensign Grinndal, U.S. Navy on August 14. Squadron Leader Macandrew was the pilot.

Who was Squadron Leader MacAndrew? I found nothing about him on the Internet.

Who then was Ensign Grinndal? Was he Richard Eric Grinndal who died on November 22, 1944?

Click here for the source and the complete history of RAF 68 Squadron.

During October 68 Squadron made up for all the frustration of the two previous months as they shot down 13 Flying-bombs. The crews were as follows: Fg Off Haskell/Plt Off Bentley – three; Fg Off Humphrey/Fg Off Robertson – two; F/Sgt Bullus/Fg Off Edwards -one; W/O Lauchlan/F/Sgt Bailey – two; Fg Off Gibson/Sgt Lack – one; Sqn Ldr Wright/Fg Off McCullough – two; and Sqn Ldr Mansfeld/Flt Lt Janacek – two.

Part of the Squadron’s training programme at this time was devoted to cross-countrynavigation exercises, and these included trips over France, recently cleared of Germans. Sqn Ldr Evans of ADGB came to give a lecture on ‘Intruding Over Enemy Territory’. The aircrews were shown three films: ‘The Nazis Strike’, ‘The Battle of Russia’, and ‘Divide and Conquer’. Earlier, three American Navy aircrews had been assigned to the Squadron, they were: Lt Peebles/Ens Grinndal; Lt Black/Lt Aitken; and Lt Kelly/Lt Martin. On 27th October the Squadron moved back to Coltishall having had a very good series of farewell parties at Castle Camps. The Squadron continued to fly anti-diver patrols over the North Sea, but seemed to be selected by Control to operate against Heinkels carrying the flying-bombs.

On 5th November F/Sgt Neal/F/Sgt Eastwood caught a He 111 just releasing its bomb and after a long chase shot it down into the sea, and on the 11th F/Sgt Brooking/PIt Off Finn also dealt with a Heinkel in similar circumstances at 700 ft above the sea. W/O Cookson/W/O GravelI claimed a Heinkel probably destroyed. On the 8th the first V2 rocket was seen by a 68 squadron pilot as it was launched from a site in Holland, it was described as a ‘red glow with flames on the outside shooting straight up into the air at great speed and to a great height’.

The Squadron had really taken to the American crews, who though more formal than the RAF, were super chaps, and 68 were most upset when Joe Black and Tom Aitken were killed pursuing a flying-bomb. Apparently they followed the bomb into the gunstrip and tragically the guns missed the bomb, but brought down the Mosquito. Soon after this there was another tragedy when Sam Peebles and Dick Grinndal, having been scrambled for anti-diver activity at 22.30 hours and just airborne, reported going over to channel ‘D’ on the R/T, but crashed near Horstead at 22.33 hours, both were killed. It is good to be able to say that John Kelly and Tom Martin survived the War.

On Find A Grave Website

Ens Richard Eric “Eric” Grinndal

Birth: Jul. 19, 1918
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Nov. 22, 1944
Horstead
Norfolk, England

Casualty of WWII, he was an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve and worked as a ‘navrad’ (Observer) on de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk.XVII Registration: HK344, 68 Squadron RAF. It was described as Britain’s “Wooden Wonder”-it featured two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and was constructed of plywood and balsa wood.He entered the Service from Illinois. His parents were Vidar and Frieda Grinndal from Sweden. His service number was O-325953. He was awarded the Air Medal. He was flying with Lt. Samuel Warmuth Peebles (pilot) US Navy; the aircraft lost an engine on take-off from RAF Coltishall, Norfolk and crashed onto the lawns of Horstead Hall after hitting trees. Sam Peebles was initially interred in Cambridge,England, near Eric but his remains were subsequently repatriated to USA.
  The pilot…

Peebles

Ensign Grinndal and his pilot were flying Mosquitoes that were shooting down Flying-bombs carried by He 111.

800px-Fieseler_Fi103_debajo_de_un_Heinkel_111

Ensign Grinndal is not just a name in a logbook entry anymore…

51 OTU Ensign Grinndal

Message from Dai Whittingham

Dai Whittingham wrote me yesterday. He invited me to celebrate the centenary of 23 Squadron’s formation on 1 Sep 1915.

I wanted to let you know that the No 23 Squadron Association (of which I am Chairman) will be holding a black tie dinner at the Doubletree Hotel in Lincoln, UK, on 5 September to celebrate the Centenary of the Squadron’s formation on 1 Sep 1915.  Our President, Air Chief Marshal Sir William Wratten will be present, as will a number of former Squadron commanders.  If any of your ex-23 readers or family members would like to join us they would be very welcome – we would be especially pleased to hear from any of the Mosquito generation!  The best contact for anyone interested in coming along is Matt Tunaley, who can be reached via matt.tunaley380@mod.uk.

I won’t be able to attend, but I am sending this invitation to my 23 Squadron readers or to family members who would like to join them.

logo

As a footnote, Dai added this about an exceptional pilot…

On a sad note, the Association was represented at the funeral last week of Flt Lt Alastair Lawson (Alec, as he was known by his colleagues).  I am told that the pages of his logbook recording that he “shot down 1 Ju-88 and 1 He-111, witnessed 1 EA shot down by Flak” are being preserved in a frame with Alastair’s photograph above his favoured spot in his favourite London pub, The Churchill, in Kensington Church Street, London.  It is good to know that his deeds will be brought to the attention of the customers there and, who knows, it may even spark some interest in the Squadron as well as in the man himself.