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Old 24th February 2019, 11:42
Icare9 Icare9 is offline
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Re: V1 interceptions in East Sussex

Dr Dave Sloggett, is/was an Alan Tayler Research Fellow, University of Oxford. A short glance at the Oxford website now shows him as a 'Mathematical Institute Impact Advisory Fellow'. His book, published in 2014, "Drone Warfare - The Development of Unmanned Aerial Conflict", refers to Don is on page 25. Simply states Don lost his life trying to tip a V1.

This information must have an original source that I have yet to trace. I didn't see it referenced in Diver!3.
The interest I have is that the village seems to have had only 2 V1 incidents, a mid air burst that scattered debris in a field near the Church and another ground explosion which damaged the Memorial Hall roof. The mid air was apparently on 1st August as noted after the funeral of a village lad electrocuted when trying to tether a runaway barrage balloon (other lads were helping but he didn't let go in time and was blown into HT cables nearby). Don crashed on 6th August and has not been credited with a V1 "kill" on the day he died. He'd already had claims for involvement in some 14 V1 kills, but not the final one. Photos exist showing men sitting in several impact craters, but not the "typical" single large blast crater.
I'd tried to ignore "heroic airman gave his life saving...." aspect, but my feeling, after reviewing all I have available, including one eyewitness to the crash site, is that he didn't use his cannons, possibly because any overshoots would have hit our village, so he resorted to wing tipping the V1. Apparently the V1 wing or part broke off, possibly hitting the Tempest and rendering Mackerras unable to bale out, or lower the undercarriage before hitting the ground to the west of the village, the V1 exploding in woodland close to the east of the village not far from our Memorial Hall. He had relatives in Croydon, which received the most V1's so had a personal interest in stopping V1's. That the V1 was so low would indicate perhaps that it had been damaged by the nearby coastal AA (proximity fuse?) and was thus heading for the village on the ridge. Choosing to tip the V1 rather than open fire and possibly cause casualties on the ground (it was a Sunday, so more people about) cost him his life.

But, 75 years on, I haven't any concrete proof, just that the facts are that he did not fire at the V1 (why?) as exploding cannon shells in the wreckage were firing across a nearby road. Why was he so low as not to be able to bale out?

So I'm anxious to trace an original first hand source for the wing tipping of the V1 and/or the specific date of the 2nd V1 near the village. There is a sketch map of V1's falling in East Sussex which does show 2 "near" the village, but more "Spot the Ball" than precise locations, and no knowledge of any 3rd V1 at the village. That all points to the V1 to the east of the village and damaging the Hall roof as being on 6th August.
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Old 24th February 2019, 12:55
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: V1 interceptions in East Sussex

Originally Posted by bearoutwest View Post
What do you understand as an "anti-tipping system"? Something like a more robust gyroscope or multiple gyroscopes to recover from tipping, etc?

Not gyros to recover from a tipping maneuver by an a/c but if the V-1 deviated from its flight attitude by a specific roll angle, the V-1 would explode.
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Old 26th February 2019, 12:50
BrianC BrianC is online now
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Re: V1 interceptions in East Sussex

Hi Geoff and others

Just to let you know that the author of the V-1 article on ww2db did use my work as his prime source, and he will have the piece amended to acknowledge that fact.

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Old 26th February 2019, 16:07
Icare9 Icare9 is offline
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Re: V1 interceptions in East Sussex

Brian C: Appreciate the clarification, but if you were his primary source, from what did the phrase " Flight Sergeant Don MacKerras RAAF was killed when his Tempest V fighter spun into the ground whilst he was on patrol; he had attempted to tip a flying bomb over with his wing tip but collided with the missile, losing his wing. ..." originate?

I can't find anything that actually states he was seen to tip and the two craft collided, nor the date.

Sorry if I'm labouring the point, but this incident seems to have gone unnoticed in the village. I know of only 2 V1 incidents near the village.
One was a mid air burst on 1st August which left several impact craters, not one, corroborated by eyewitnesses attending a funeral at the adjacent Church, and another slightly to the north east which did explode on the ground and from the Memorial Hall Committee records it took until the mid fifties for reparation to pay for repairs.

Shooting at a V1 would probably result in an air burst, which a fighter might sustain damage flying through the debris, but a "tip" would usually send it to the ground to explode.

Don didn't use his ammunition, as that was seen to explode from his burning aircraft, and the other V1 is dated to 1st August, therefore I have to conclude that Don deliberately refrained from firing for fear of hitting people and property in the village, but by tipping the V1 he lost control too low to do more than perhaps choose a field.

If I can obtain "proof" of him tipping the V1 that would help convince our Parish Council that the event should be more formally commemorated this coming 6th August, 75 years on.
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