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  #1  
Old 19th January 2005, 19:05
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Mysterious 127 Sqn loss on 2 October 1944

The Spitfire IX PT772 of 127 Sqn RAF was hit by Flak near Calais (?) during a dive bombing sortie in the morning and crashed. Its pilot, Flt Lt J Whittington was killed and is buried in Schoonselholf Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium.
"Fighter Command losses of the Second World War, vol 3. Operational losses : Aircraft and Crews 1944-1945", by Norman L R Franks, ISBN 1-85780-093-1

The problem is that the last remains of the German Calais garnison surrendered the day before.
And that Antwerp is not the right direction for a Spitfire hit over Calais to go and crash.

So my guess is that the location given here is wrong. The Spitfire was probably hit north or north-east of Antwerp by German Flak and crashed in liberated Belgium.

If anybody has access to the 127 Sqn ORB, or a book about this squadron, I would like to know more about the squadron's operations this day and about this loss.

PS: Fighter Command Diaries part 5 also lists this loss near Calais but probably uses the same source.
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  #2  
Old 21st January 2005, 04:24
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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PT772

Hi,

Fighter Command War Diary vol 5 has one loss for 127 Sqdn on the 2nd Oct 44.
it has the Spitfire as MIA and same for pilot.

"Morning sorties cost two more Spitfire pilots, one to Flak near Calais and the other being killed at Manston on return from a shipping strike."

"The Luftwaffe claimed seven Spitfires,"

127...1spit MIA...pilot MIA
229...1Spit CatE...pilot KIA (?)
401...1Spit MIA... pilot MIA F/Lt. R.R.Bouskill
401...1Spit CatE...pilot W/O.M.Thomas
421...1Spit CatE baled into allied lines F/O J.M.Calvert

Air Brit has only that PT772-127- was hit by flak attacking gun position and crashlanded 2.10.44.

FCWD vol 5 makes no mention of the 308 Spit loss ML316 "T" of Sgt. J.Glowczewski... pilot safe.

Who was the 229 Sqdn pilot lost and which Spitfire was it ?

That would bring the Luftwaffe claim closer to being correct .

Alex :?
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  #3  
Old 21st January 2005, 11:29
Chris Thomas Chris Thomas is offline
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Laurent
Good thinking. Whittington was on a sortie to attack gun positions NE Antwerp, just west of Brecht - so Calais is a bit unlikely! I will do a bit more digging and get back to you.
Chris Thomas
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  #4  
Old 21st January 2005, 11:48
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Alex, this is what I have about the morning battles in the Arnhem-Nijmegen area:

In the late morning, overlapping Spitfire sweeps by 421 and 401 Sqn RCAF engaged German fighters in a running battle between Nijmegen and Arnhem.
Forty-two fighters of the three Gruppen of JG 26 flied a combined Jabojagd mission to the Nijmegen-Arnhem area around noon. The II./JG 26 sprang a successful trap on 401 Sqn RCAF. When a section of Spitfires bounced a seemingly unwary flight of Fw190s north of Nijmegen, the rest of the Gruppe fell on them from above. Three Spitfires were claimed by Oblt Aldof Glunz (67th victory, 12h15, at 3000 m above Oss/Grave) and Ofhr Siegfried Benz (5th victory, 12h16, at 2700 m above Nijmegen) of 6./JG 26 and by Lt Wilhelm Hofmann (40th victory, 12h10, at 4500 m above Kleve-Nijmegen) of 8./JG 26.
Just south of this battle, the I./JG 26 encountered a larger force of Spitfires, as many as fifty. Two victories were claimed by Lt Joachim Günther (7th victory, 12h18, at 4000 m above Wageningen/Arnhem) of 2./JG 26 and Ogfr Josef Leder (1st victory, 12h05, at 4000 m above Ede N. Arnhem) of 1./JG 26 but their opponents have not been identified and suffered no losses. The III./JG 26 did not contact the enemy during this mission.
Other German units claiming victories in this area were 2./JG 76 (Lt Fick claimed a Spitfire at 4500m over Ede at 11h12) and 6./JG 77 (Fw Dieckhoff claimed a Spitfire in Nijmegen-Arnhem area at 900m at 11h17 for his second victory).
Two Spitfire IX of 401 Sqn RCAF were lost in a battle against FW190s in Nijmegen area. Flt Lt Russel Reginald Bouskill, a five victory ace, was killed aboard MJ300 while Wt Off M Thomas baled out from MJ726 over Allied lines and was unhurt. The Spitfire IX MK365 of 421 Sqn RCAF was damaged over Nijmegen. It was later struck of charge due to the damage but the pilot, Flg Off J M Calvert, was unhurt.
421 Sqn RCAF pilots claimed 2 German planes shot down, 1 probable and 5 damaged (one by Flying Officer William Francis Cook), while 401 Sqn claimed one damaged. The only know Luftwaffe losses were two two Bfl09s of 9./JG 53. Uffz Kuno Piecknick disappeared aboard the Bf109G-6 WNr 166016 Yellow 21+I while Uffz Ingo-Rolf Ebel was wounded when he crash-landed his Bf109G-14 WNr 460414 Yellow 4+I.

Sources:
“The JG 26 War Diary. Volume Two 1943-1945”, by Donald Caldwell. ISBN 1-898697-86-8
http://www.luftboard.ndo.co.uk/reichwestsudaugdec.pdf
"Fighter Command losses of the Second World War, vol 3. Operational losses : Aircraft and Crews 1944-1945", by Norman L R Franks, ISBN 1-85780-093-1
"Aces high: a tribute to the most notable fighter pilots of the British and Commonwealth forces in WWII", by Christopher Shores and CliveWilliams, ISBN 1-898697-00-0
http://stonebooks.com/archives/040620.shtml
Chriss Goss on TOCH forum: http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/viewtopic.php?t=322
http://www.airforce.ca/wwii/ALPHA-CO.2.html

For one reason or the other, I haven't noticed the 229 Sqn loss (that is not in FCL tome 3). I had noticed that the 308 Sqn loss was not reported by Foreman, probably becasue the plane was scrapped some times later (or may be a wrong date).

Chris, thanks for the reply. I wait for your next post.

Regards

Laurent
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  #5  
Old 21st January 2005, 17:33
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Jerzy and others attacked a German train near Doordrecht and he got few bullets into the prop. I have a short account in Polish but I may send him an email asking if he can send an English translation (his memoirs are to be published in English). Of course if you are interested.
Anybody of our Dutch friends have any idea about the train attacked?
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  #6  
Old 21st January 2005, 17:36
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Yes Franek I would be very interested.

Glad to hear that one of the actors of this remote day is still alive and well.

Regards

Laurent
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  #7  
Old 19th February 2005, 03:24
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Laurent
Here is the extract from memoirs of Jerzy Główczewski, all due credit solely to him. He is well and going to visit Poland this Spring. Do you want to meet him?
Franek

CHAPTER 8 (P) Squadron 308

The Polish Fighter Wing 131(P) was a self-sufficient unit with its own technical and maintenance personnel. In view of frequent changes of airfields this was necessary to guarantee its constant readiness and top efficiency. Our first airfield worthy of its name, following the previously used mere meadows, was B51 Lille-Vandeville. Wing 131 comprised three squadrons, altogether more than three score Spitfire IXs and auxiliary planes. However, we had to share both the grounds of the base and the airspace with a number of other allied units. One had to queue for landing and woe to the pilot running out of fuel. Something like that happened to me once.

The sun had already set on October 1, 1944, when we were returning to base from a long mission: the successful bombing of German military installations near Dordrecht in Holland and wide ranging reconnaissance. My fuel supply appeared to be dwindling at an alarming rate. I kept glancing at my fuel gauge, increasingly concerned. Why was I in trouble while the others were not? This was my fifth combat flight and I did not like it one little bit. Was the fuel tank leaking, damaged by anti-aircraft fire? I reported to my squadron leader, who instructed me to request ground control permission for an emergency landing. As we neared the landing strip, at about 3000 feet, the air controller instructed me: „O.K., Einsworth 4… hurry up… slide through the slot just ahead of you.”

I was on a 180° course to the runway and reduced the Spitfire’s altitude. I aimed at the small break between two planes the controller had pointed out to me. I jammed the controls and began a left wing glide through a sharp left turn, losing altitude precipitously, a landing manoeuvre that I knew would be effective but smacked of showing-off. I pulled the plane out of its glide just above the runway. I cut the engine, but I was higher than I was supposed to be. Seconds later I was jolted by the hard thud of the undercarriage hitting the ground and, as it gently folded, the plane skidded sideways on its belly, off the hard surface onto the grassy shoulder. The propeller hit the ground and its three blades folded round the boss like flower petals.

An ambulance arrived. Seeing me standing by the plane unharmed the driver shouted at me to jump in. At the dispersal hut, the squadron leader, Major Witold Retinger, was already waiting for my report. He was not particularly concerned and requested a report on the condition of the plane, before and after landing, from service personnel. The next morning the report was in: I had an adequate supply of petrol, but the Spitfire’s fuel gauge had malfunctioned; there was no need for my emergency landing. There was, however, bullet damage in the hydraulic system of the undercarriage; the plane must have been hit during the mission.

Unwittingly, I had managed at the same time to suffer my first hit and crash my first plane. I was admonished and warned to take better care of my takeoffs and landings.
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  #8  
Old 23rd February 2005, 14:07
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Thanks a lot Franek and send my thanks to Mr Główczewski too.

Poland is a bit too far for me to go....

According to his memoirs, the crash took place in the evening of the 1st after sunset. Report on the state of aircraft was probably done the next day, so the loss is listed on 2nd October 1944 in FCL (that is not the most trustworthy book you can find).

Regards

Laurent
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