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Old 19th July 2005, 12:41
nick de carteret nick de carteret is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 80
nick de carteret is on a distinguished road
Re: 238 Squadron pilot in the sea 1940

Alex and Peter,

I can tell you quite a bit about 8th August but regretfully not the serial number of the Hurricane that my uncle ditched in the sea that day - his log book does not record any serials after 31 July, I guess things had hotted up to such an extent that minor details such as identification marks were just not relevant by this stage.

According to notes that I have found amongst his papers, Sgt.Bann did not participate in the 12 sorties that were ordered to intercept the raid on convoy "Peewit" on that date.

The twelve were: Fl/Lt Turner, PO Davis, FO Hughes, Sgt Marsh, Sgt Domagala, Sgt Batt, Fl/Lt Walch, PO Steborowski, Sgt Little, PO MacCaw, PO Cawse and Sgt Seabourne.

The rest I can only quote from his privately published memoirs:-

" On the 8th, as usual, we were at readiness at first light. After breakfast, my adjutant Noel David, fetched me to the office for a rare spell of administration. As soon as I left dispersal, the Squadron was scrambled - led by Stuart Walch, and went into action over a shipping convoy a few miles south of the Isle of White intercepting a big raid. During the scrap Eric Turner, the 'A' Flight Commmander was shot down. There was no rescue launch in the area so I went out to have a look for him - on my own, as all the others were being refuelled. I could not find any trace but, while searching, I spotted a German seaplane at sea level. I went down to attack, gave him a long burst but, being much faster, I overshot and his gunner must have got in a lucky one which cut an oil pipe. I turned North but shortly afterwards my engine seized. Having so little height, I had to ditch rather than bail out.
The propeller had stopped, I undid everything, harness and parachute straps, and to this day I can remember holding off above the waves. I was thrown clear but banged my head on the way out - probably on the reflector sight on the windscreen. My unpulled parachute was close by and was as buoyant as a lifebuoy so I bobbed about for half an hour, somewhat dazed from the bang on the head.
Fortunately, I had been seen by HMS Bassett, an Admiralty Armed Trawler. The skipper had been watching my approach, not knowing whether I was friend or foe. They took a bearing on the splash, steamed over and hauled me out. Not long after I was picked up, the convoy was bombed again. Soon afterwards the ship fished out another pilot and he turned out to be German. We shared the cabin for the rest of the day. He had a little English so we managed to converse to some extent. I remember that he hailed from Leipzig and was the pilot of a Bf 110. Like me he had to strip for his clothes to dry and his few possessions comprised a large pack of condoms. I do not know what he thought he was coming for - with the next five years as a POW!
I was put ashore at Gosport late that evening having made some good friends on board. my forehead needed seventeen stitches and the medics sent me on three weeks sick leave to give it time to heal"
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