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240 Catalina at Iceland.
Old 03-07-2007, 12:20 PM   #136
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Default 240 Catalina at Iceland.

In May 1941 some of the cats from Lough erne were sent to Iceland to provide air recon. in the event of Bismarck attempting to breakout.
This is IMO one of the most remarkable photos I have seen to date.
(The Sunderlands are 201 squaron aircraft).

Sgt Iverack's crew would hear the exchanges between Hollands squadron and Lutjens force in the Denmark Strait , a 201 Sunderland would see the battle take place.

The photograph was taken by Sgt John Iverach ( navigator) as the Catalina taxied forward.
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File Type: jpg L 240 Iceland May 1941.jpg (35.2 KB, 220 views)

Last edited by behblc; 03-07-2007 at 06:46 PM.
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A few more photos.
Old 03-10-2007, 02:33 PM   #137
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Default A few more photos.

A bomb scow for transporting depth charges out to the aircraft.
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Similar craft today.
Old 03-10-2007, 02:42 PM   #138
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Default Similar craft today.

A bombscow slowly rusting away .
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Last edited by behblc; 03-10-2007 at 03:18 PM.
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1941. Sgts Mess.
Old 03-10-2007, 02:47 PM   #139
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Default 1941. Sgts Mess.

The Sgts. Mess at Castle Archdale as it was in February 1941 - still to be built.
John Iverach gets stuck in before it gets cold.
I will add an account from him of the catalina crash of 21st March 1941 - they heard of it in Enniskillen - from a taxi driver within hours of it occurring.
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240 Flight Office
Old 03-10-2007, 02:51 PM   #140
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Default 240 Flight Office

240 Squadron Flight Office located at Killadeas amid a sea of mud.
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Old 03-10-2007, 03:05 PM   #141
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H. Porteous outside 240 Squadron office 1941.
The operational base was at Castle Archdale - the aircraft were there , accomadation and admin was at Killadeas - as Archdale developed this would change with CA becoming perhaps the major RAF Flying Boat base in 15 Group .
Porteous was decorated for an attack on what was identified as an Italian submarine in September 1941 - at the time it was thought to have been sunk.

The Squadron had a busy time and sadly for the base the Bismarck chase and the location of the disabled battleship by a Dennis Briggs is today what many local people will say when the topic of the RAF presence comes up in conversation.
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HMS Taku
Old 03-10-2007, 03:07 PM   #142
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Default HMS Taku

A submarine which was "lost" , found by "L" of 240 Squadron.
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Promoted.
Old 03-10-2007, 03:09 PM   #143
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Default Promoted.

John Iverach , promoted late 1941.
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Briggs.
Old 03-10-2007, 03:11 PM   #144
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Default Briggs.

Denis Briggs , commander of the aircraft which located the disabled Bismarck some 400 miles west of France.
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Merchant navy surivors.
Old 03-10-2007, 03:15 PM   #145
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Default Merchant navy surivors.

The rescue of some survivors from Merchantman , a 240 squadron aircraft guided the Escort vessel to them .
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Z/209
Old 03-10-2007, 03:21 PM   #146
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Default Z/209

Z/209 which loacted the Bismarck - she would later disappear with the loss of her crew.
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Old 03-10-2007, 05:22 PM   #147
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Default

An interesting piece of history in the photograph.

BTW - Do you know how many flying bases that were in use during WWII?

Thanks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by behblc View Post
Z/209 which loacted the Bismarck - she would later disappear with the loss of her crew.

Last edited by Ralph Pickard; 03-10-2007 at 06:43 PM. Reason: Poor wording in question...
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Bases
Old 03-10-2007, 08:20 PM   #148
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Default Bases

Only two in Nortern ireland Killadeas and Castle Archdale.
In the mainland Uk - a fair few - In Scotland - Invergordon , Oban , Bowmore , Sullom Voe , Pembroke Dock (Wales) and Mount batten ( On the Solent) spring to mind.
there was quite a bit of traffic between bases and pilots were required to "know" the other bases as they might have to divert there at short notice.

The following account proves that sometimes fact can almost be as strange as fiction and how some events get changed and altered.

This is from a gentleman who flew with 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit - from MArston Moor in Yorkshire.
Sgt MacFarlane was an air gunner with a bomber crew "converting" to four engined bombers ( In this case a Halifax ).

"On the night of 12th january (1945) we left 1652 HCU on which was almost our last flight on a halifax. After being airborne for approx. five hours , we ran into a storm and with a fault in our navigation , we became completely lost.
We approached our EYE ( ?) over Yorkshire ( so we thought) no beacon to welcome us home , just complete darkness - we circled overhead until almost out of fuel , and then decided to send out an SOS. In those days the distree call was "DARKIE" , and after a few anxious minutes the pilot ( S.N. Sloan repeated "Hello Darkie you black Basta*d" - Almost immediately it was asnwered by a WAF who said help was on the way.
Sure enough, after a few minutes i spotted an aircraft approaching , and recognised it as a Sunderland flying boat. he guided us back to his base thinking we were another flying boat , and it was at the last moment he discovered his mistake and diverted us to a small airvield nearby ( St. Angelo outside Enniskillen , about 5 miles south of Castle Archdale)
it was only when we landed , that we learned we had been circling a point in the Atlacntic west of Donegal bay , brought back to lough erne and diverte to St. Angelo.
the following day 13th January , we spent in the town of Enniskillen and on 14th after stripping everything from the inside of out halifax "Y" NR277 , wemanaged to take off from this small airfield and return to Marston Moor.
Mr. MacFarlane went on to fly with 158 Squadron from Lisset near Bridlington - doing a few trips on the famous "Friday the 13th".
This letter dates from 1996.

A few months before a 422 veteran ( The late Mr. Bill Parker" ) told me of how a Wellington had been brough back fromDonegal bay by a Sunderland and the Wellington had landed on the "flarepath" thinking he was comig down on dry land and how "the aircraft is still there today".
Bill told me it was in "45" - his "Wellington" turned out to be my Halifax and it is reasonable to say that Bill had heard of the near shavae the crew had only the rumour of the "Wellington" in the Lough started from this.
Fact can almost be as strange as fiction.
fact can something be
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422 RCAF Sunderland which crashed near Belleek.
Old 03-10-2007, 08:25 PM   #149
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Default 422 RCAF Sunderland which crashed near Belleek.

At 11.55 hrs. 12th August 1944 Sunderland NJ175 , 422 RCAF lifted off from Lough Erne and headed out towards Donegal Bay bound for the Bay of Biscay.
As she headed out her starboard outer reduction gear failed and the propellor broke off and lodged in a float.
(The propellor on the pegusus could not be feathered - the prop "windmilled" and broke off - 422 lost an aircraft to the same fault in Sept 43 and no doubt other aircraft were lost as well).
(Will finish this tomorrow).
The Sunderland was ordered to fly out to Donegal Bay and to ditch there , this was impossible - the fullyloaded aircraft was unable to maintain height , loosing airspeed and was becoming increasingly difflcut to control. (Three engines could not sustain a fully loaded aircraft so soon after take off ).
In an attempted to get the weight down an attempt was made to jettison the depth charges , they managed to get rid of some but the rackgoing out further reduced the airspeed and complicated the situation , they managed to start jettisioning fuel just before the force landed
on a piece of bogland which looked level and with great effort Devine managed to get lined up on it and put his aircraft down.
The aircraft broke up on impact and burst into flames , local people ran to the scene and asisted the injured aircrew get some of their colleagues out.
Attached the crew of Cam Devine which crashed at Corlea near Belleek.
The injured and the dead were taken to the Sheils hospital at Ballyshannon , the injured were treatedfor their injuries many of which were serious.

The forcelanding occurred in Eire / The "Free State" and the Irish authorities quickly contacted the base to say what had taken place and allowed the RAF / RCAF to enter the republic and to remove the remains of the aircraft - ensuring that muntions and machine guns were all accounted for.
The Irish Goverment frequently allowed the RAF to enter the republic to recover crashed aircraft and aircrew - few of whom were interned and if so for a short period only before being allowed to return to Britain.
The Irish Army intellignece whilst assisting the RAF on one hand were careful to make notes and observations on the Allied forces - their equipment , standard of training , how they conducted themselves and any information disclosed regarding their base , operations and future intentions.
Within these reports are some excellent snippets of information and some disinformation sown by the RAF officers.

The injuries to the crew Killed F/lt E.C. Devine ( Pilot ) aged 22.
( Buried Irvinestown Church of Ireland ).
P/O. J R Forrest W.Op / AG.
( Buried Irvinestown Roman catholic Churchyard).
F/O. R T Wilkinson Pilot aged 22.
(Buried Irvinestown Church of Ireland).

Surviving crew members. Sgt Allen ( Navigator).
Severe head injuries , burns to hands and legs.
Sgt Jeal. ( Flt/Engineer).
Fracture to spine , extensive burns to his hands and face.
Sgt Colbourne (A/G).
Head injury , fractured right leg.
Sgt Platsko. ( 2nd Pilot).
Head injury.
Sgt Oderskirk.(W.Op/ AG).
hand and facial injuries.
Sgt.Clarke (FME/AG).
Compressed fracture of the spine.
Sgt Singer ( A/G).
Fractured left arm.
P/O A. Locke.
(W.Op/AG).
Head injury.

Mr. Joe O'Loughlin from Belleek along with Mrs Briege McCusker a local historian have been instrumental in erreting a solid and lasting memorial on the site of the crash , this has been visited by members of 422 RCAF Asscoiation who have been regular visitors to Ireland in post war years.

The members of the crew who died were formally handed over to the RAF at Belleek , on the "Border" , the Irish Army from Finner camp providing a guard of honour.

The photo below shows the crew.
Standing.
F/E Sgt Jeal , A/G Sgt. Colburne , A?G Sgt Singer , F/E. P/O. R C Parker.
Seated. W.Op /AG Sgt J Forrest , Nav. F/O Allen , CApt. F/Lt. Devine , 2nd pilot Platsko , W.Op /AG Hawkins.

(F/O Hawkins was not on this final flight , he had been replaced by P/O Locke.)

Something tells me that locke had the misfortune to be on the 423 Sunderland which crashed on Knocklayd Mountain outside ballt castle ( Co. Antrim) 0n 5th December 1943 - this aircraft was en route to Wig Bay for a major service and apart from the crew to take her over had a number of men 2hitching a lift" on their way the bright lights of London on leave. 11 aircrew died in the crash) .
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Last edited by behblc; 03-11-2007 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:50 AM   #150
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James - Thanks for the follow up post about the active bases and interesting story from history.
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