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Old 16th July 2008, 17:33
malcolmjameswilson malcolmjameswilson is offline
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29 MAY 1940

In the recent book titled The Battle Of France Then And Now by Peter D. Cornwell I have come across an interesting reference regarding the loss of Anson I K8773 of 48 Squadron when flying a Shamrock patrol off Dunkerque on 29 May 1940. Page 390 of Peter Cornwell’s book includes the following details:

“RAF Coastal Command
48 Squadron - Detling - Shipping Patrol.
Anson I K8773. Wings and ailerons badly damaged in attack by Lt. Hillecke of Stab II/JG26 off Zeebrugge and ditched off Deal when engine failed 6.06pm. LAC L.S. Dilnutt wounded, F/O S. Wherry, P/O G. Allington and Cpl. A.D.C. Harding unhurt, all rescued by drifter landing at Ramsgate. Aircraft OY-X lost.”

I have information taken from 500 Squadrons ORB which provides the following details relating to this incident:

29 May 1940
Aircraft:
OX-Y (no serial number recorded)

Crew:
P/O Allington
P/O Wherry
AC Harding
AC Dilnutt

Duty:
Shamrock – Time Up 1512 (time down crossed through)

Remarks:
Broke formation with Z/500 and L/500 when attacked by ME.109’s and was shot down and landed in the sea. Crew taken on a drifter to Ramsgate. Air gunner shot down one Me.109.

OX-Y was one of three 48 squadron Ansons on detachment to 500 Squadron. This aircraft was in company with two 500 Squadron Ansons MK-Z and MK-L as recorded in the 500 Squadron ORB entry for this operation.

The entry states:
Aircraft:
MK-Z

Crew:
P/O Chaffey
P/O Jones
LAC Cunningham
Cpl. Elvidge

Duty:
Shamrock – Time Up 1512 – Time Down 1855

Remarks:
A/C returned from patrol after having met 6 Me.109 at VXWY 1357 at 1750 hours. L/500 shot down at VXWY 1357 near DR T61 which itself was sinking. Z/500 signalled another DR to go to L/500. One Me.109 was attacked by rear gunner of Z/500 and was seen to disappear towards the sea, with heavy smoke coming from it.

Aircraft:
MK-L

Crew:
Sgt Hoskins
P/O Leeson
Cpl Rogers
LAC Honnor

Duty:
Shamrock – Time Up 1512 (time down not recorded)

Remarks:
Remarks: Shot down in sea, crew rescued by DR.

Peters book contains the following details relating to Sgt Hoskins and his crew:

“500 Squadron - Detling - Patrol Dutch Coast.
Anson I N5065. Shot down by Fw Meyer of 6/JG26 and ditched off Ramsgate 6.05pm. P/O A. Leeson, Sgt J.H. Hoskins, Cpl R.G. Rogers and LAC R.G. Honnor all wounded and rescued by Royal Daffodil II. Aircraft MK-L lost.”

In his book Peter records Dilnutt as wounded and reveals the name of the Luftwaffe pilot who shot OX-Y down. The squadron ORB makes no mention of Dilnutt being wounded. Therefore other sources of information must have been consulted when preparing the entry.

I have copies of 2 recommendations awarding DFM’s for for this action. They were made to:

523495 LAC Leslie Stewart Dilnutt of 48 Squadron.
812142 LAC Frederick Stephen Cunningham of 500 Squadron

The recommendation for Dilnutt the Air Gunner in P/O Allington’s Anson OY-X states:

“On 29th May 1940, approximately three miles North West of Zeebrugge, L.A.C. Dilnutt was Air Gunner in an Anson, which, in company with two others, was attacked by nine M.E. 109’s. Although the pilot kept his aircraft skidding violently from side to side, and enemy bullets were riddling it, L.A.C. Dilnutt kept his head and used his gun with such skill that he shot down one M.E. 109, and thinks he damaged one or two others. The combined fire of the three Ansons was sufficient to drive off the remaining M.E. 109’s.”

It is interesting to note that no mention is made of wounds sustained by Dilnutt in the action. Does this indicate that if he sustained injuries then they were as a result of the crash landing into the sea? It is also of interest that he is credited with having shot down one M.E. 109 and with damaging either one or two others!

The recommendation for Cunningham, the Wireless Operator in P/O Chaffey’s Anson MK-Z States:

“On 29th May, 1940, whilst working as Wireless Operator in one of three Ansons patrolling off Dunkerque, which were attacked by nine M.E. 109’s L.A.C. Cunningham was shot in the foot, and although in great pain, continued to carry out his duties, by passing messages reporting a sinking Destroyer. He refused morphia, so that he might retain full use of his faculties until his services were no longer required.”

P/O Chaffey’s Anson MK-Z in which Cunningham was the Wireless Operator was the only aircraft of the three on patrol to return to base.

In ‘RAF Coastal Command Losses’ by Ross McNeil details are recorded for the 48 Squadron Anson OX-Y piloted by P/O Allington that match those given in ‘The Battle Of France Then And Now’ - although the date is given for the loss as 30 May 1940, a day later than recorded in the ORB. No entry appears for 500 Squadron Anson MK-L piloted by Sgt Hoskins which is recorded in the ORB as: Shot down in sea, crew rescued by DR.

I am a little confused regarding both the events that transpired that day and who actually took part. I am very keen to try and unravel this mystery and learn more of what happened. I have seen the entry listed on Tony Wood’s site regarding the two Anson claims for 29 May by JG26 but believe that further information must exist. I am not a greatly experienced researcher and I could just be missing the whole point! Therefore I feel that I need a more experienced opinion on the matter as I am at a loss regarding my next step.

Can Forum members help me with advice regarding the location of the sources for the expanded information relating to the events covered in both volumes - in particular I would like to learn more about Dilnutt’s role in these events, the crash into the sea and how the Luftwaffe claims have been assigned to each individual Anson.

Both books by Peter Cornwell and Ross McNeil' are, in my opinion, monumental works and in daily use. This is a serious request for help and any offered will be most gratefully received.

Kind regards, Malcolm.
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Old 16th July 2008, 19:24
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Peter Cornwell Peter Cornwell is offline
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

Hello Malcolm,

You describe yourself as ‘not a greatly experienced researcher’ but certainly seem to have been diligent and thorough in covering all available sources of information on these events. As a consequence, I regret I have no additional sources to offer you.

You query some specifics. My source for stating that LAC Dillnutt was wounded was the excellent Coastal Command Losses by Ross McNeill. And as for assigning the Luftwaffe claims to the two Ansons lost on May 29, 1940, this was purely arbitrary on my part so it is possible that I may have them transposed though, of course, it remains equally possible that I have not.

I hope this helps. Thanks for your comments on my book.
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Old 17th July 2008, 00:56
malcolmjameswilson malcolmjameswilson is offline
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

Hello Peter,

Thank you for the reply. My research skills are limited to the commonly used documents. It is my hope that other sources of information could exist to help to expand these events. One point I would like to address is the possibility that Dilnutt did shoot down a ME109 that day. Would you or any Forum member have any ideas on how I can verify this?

If anyone reading this has knowledge of any photos of the crews or individual crew members mentioned in the original posting – especially Diluntt – and/or their aircraft I would be very interested to hear from them.

Kind regards, Malcolm.
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Old 17th July 2008, 07:00
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Peter Cornwell Peter Cornwell is offline
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

Hello again Malcolm,

I regret that IMO you will be unable to verify DILLNUTT's claim. Luftwaffe losses are quite well documented so we can be fairly sure that no Bf109Es were lost, or even suffered significant damage, on May 29, 1940, during the engagement with the Ansons of Nos. 48 and 500 Squadrons. This applies to all units and not solely II./JG26 who we know was that principally involved.

The original source for this would be the Luftwaffe Quartermaster General's Returns Genst.Gen.Qu.6.Abt.(Ic) a copy of which is held by the Imperial War Museum in London. However, several published sources (and I believe web sites) provide essentially the same information. I recommend the excellent Jagdfliegerverbande der Deutschen Luftwaffe: Teil 3 by Prien, Stemmer, Rodeike, & Bock which documents all losses by German fighter units for the period and incorporates the best current research.

A case of wishful thinking by the RAF I suppose, but the story gained considerable credence at the time and has clearly lost nothing by being repeated fairly regularly over the intervening years.
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Old 17th July 2008, 11:34
malcolmjameswilson malcolmjameswilson is offline
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

Hello Peter,

Thank you for the helpful information. Disapointing news regarding his claim. However, quite an achievement to beat off 9 ME109's between them!

Kind regards, Malcolm.
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Old 27th February 2009, 17:25
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

Did you think on a freindly fire from three Skua of 806 Squadron ?

They claimed two "Ju 88" North-East Ostende at 17.10... one shot down in sea and another one damaged. No Ju 88 reported shot down in sea at that time (This is not confirmed, I need a bit more research).
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Old 27th February 2009, 18:25
malcolmjameswilson malcolmjameswilson is offline
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

Hello Arnaud,

Thank you for the fascinating post. In answer to your question this is not something I had either considered or was aware of! Do you have any other information or suggestions on how I can look further into this possible event?

Do other Forum members have knowledge that might relate to the above?

Kind regards, Malcolm.
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Old 28th February 2009, 11:09
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Re: 29 MAY 1940

I am searching for more informations about those three missions of N° 48, 500 and 806 Squadrons.

I found those two claims in The National Archives in Air 22/9.

There are a lot of mistakes in books about those missions. Things are not clear.

I'm also looking for any information. Let's hope !
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