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Old 8th January 2006, 10:32
alex crawford alex crawford is offline
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Seafox or Seagull?

Hi,

In Hurricanes over Tobruk by Brian Cull and Don Minterne it mentions that on the 21 June 1940 Gladiators attacked, by mistake, a Seagull amphibian from HMAS Sydney, while they were bombarding Bardia.

In The Desert Air War by Richard Townshend Bickers it states that 33 Sqn Gladiators provided protection for naval units that were bombarding Bardia.

I have received the ORB for 33 Sqn for June and July 1940. For the entry for 21 June it states that the Hurricane and Blenheims provided cover for three Seafoxes and one French spotter plane during a naval bombardment of Bardia. Six 'B' Flight Gladiators also co-operated.

The Hurricane and Blenheims had been attached to 33 Sqn due to the Gladiators problem in catching the faster Italian bombers. The Huricane was from 80 Sqn, I don't know where the Blenheims were from.

This then poses a number of questions.

Were the naval aircraft Seafoxes or Seagulls? HMAS Sydney certainly had a Seagull on board. Was it the Hurricane or Blenheims that attacked the Seafox/Seagull? Anyone have the ORB for June for 80 Sqn? Could the attacking Gladiators have been from 80 or 112 Sqns?

Any help in resolving this would be appreciated.

Regards,

Alex
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Old 8th January 2006, 22:48
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Ludovico Slongo Ludovico Slongo is offline
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Dear Mr. Crawford,
the Hurricane was most likely P 2639 piloted by Flying Officer Peter Wykeham-Barnes, because it seems that it was the only operative Hurricane of whatever unit during the day. However the ORB of 80 Squadron didn't report any action for the day (June the 21st). Form 540 states:
"Nothing happened to 16.25 hours when "B" flight were ordered to patrol at 16,000 feet West of Alexandria (...) C flight carried out a short night flying programme (...)."
Form 541 shows only the six Gladiators that carried out the patrol from 16.26 to 16.40. I'll screen the ORB's appendices to see if they contained more details. Regarding the Blenheims they were probably the MK IFs of 30 Squadron attached to 202 Group on the 17th.
Regarding 112 Squadron, the sketchy reconstructed ORB of the unit contained -as usual- very few details and recorded no such action during the day.
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Ludovico
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Old 8th January 2006, 23:10
alex crawford alex crawford is offline
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hi Ludovico,

Thank you for the details. I have still to obtain copies of 80 and 112 Sqns ORB for their Gladiator operations.

The mystery deepens as they say. I'll see if I can come up with anything else. I'll keep you posted.

Alex
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Old 8th January 2006, 23:53
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hello Alex
nothing definite but the British and Australian cruisers participating Bardia bombardment were Orion (Flag), Neptune and Sydney. Now ANZAC cruisers carried Seagull Vs/Walruses but I cannot find from my cruiser books any mentions that HMS Orion or HMS Neptune had got stronger catapult which was needed for the use of Walrus. It seems that of the RN Leanders only Ajax got that more powerful catapult and Walrus in 1940. So it seemed that if Orion and Neptune used their floatplanes they were Seafoxes. But this is only deduction from books which don’t give much info on a/c. And of course if HMAS Sydney used its a/c then it was most probably a Seagull.

Juha
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Old 9th January 2006, 00:43
alex crawford alex crawford is offline
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hi Juha,

I have the FAA aircraft, units and ships 1920-1939 by Sturtivant. It has a section on the Aussie Seagulls from A2-1 to A2-24. There is no info after 12/39, but there is a photo of a Seagull perched on the catapult of HMAS Sydney.

Alex
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Old 9th January 2006, 08:45
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hi Alex,

Not a Seafox but a Seagull.

A2-21
Crew F/lt. T. MacBride RAAF
Lt. J. C. Bacon RN
Attacked by RAF Gladiators while spotting at Bardia.
Port u/c collapsed on landing at Mersa Matru date 21/6/1940.

Ref: Air Brit FAA Aircraft 1939-45 and Profile magazine number224.

A2-2 and A2-4 served in HMAS Sydney followed after A2-21 by K8542 on loan from RN from 26/6/40 until damaged at Mersa Matru and condemed returned to RN 103MU on 23/9/40. In turn was then was L2177 which served in HMAS Sydney from 23/9/1940 until 19/11/1941 when she went down with the ship.

Hope this helps

Yet another blue on blue

Alex
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Old 9th January 2006, 20:31
alex crawford alex crawford is offline
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the details. That's another book on my shopping list. I would assume it has details on the Sea Galdiators as well.

Just had another thought.

Could the Seagull have been attacked by Cr32/42's and reported as Gladiators? Does anyone know if any Italian units were active over Bardia on this day?

Alex
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Last edited by alex crawford; 9th January 2006 at 21:59.
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Old 9th January 2006, 23:55
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Italian fighters did were active during the day and during early morning a quite well known engagement took place over Tobruk harbour between a couple of Cr 42s of 10° Gruppo CT a couple of CR 32s of 8° Gruppo CT and Sunderland “X” L 2160 of 230 Sqd. piloted by Wing Commander G. Francis and Flight Lieutenant Garside. (You can find details of the engagement in the site of Hakan Gustavsson), however it seems that the combat was indeed between the Fiats and a Sunderland so apparently no connection with the Seagull loss. Other morning engagements for the day were an unsuccesfull interception of 55 Squadron's Blenheims made by CR 42s over Tobruk T2 and finally a strafing attack against 11th Hussars armoured vheicles near Bir el Gobi made by CR 32s of 8° Gruppo. You should keep in mind that the records of 10° Gruppo for the period were reconstructed in 1941 and are not complete so it is not possible to exclude with the highest degree of certainty an Italian involvment.
Ludovico.
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Old 11th January 2006, 05:00
Alex Smart Alex Smart is online now
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hi Alex,

Yes details of Sea Gladiators in it.

Re 80 Sqdn's Hurricane's
1st one L1669
Dont know if any in between but then
3 more arrived 13-6-40
then 3 more on the 21-6-40
followed by
5 more by the 26-6-40
Serial numbers included
L1893;N2499;N2624;P2544;P2624;P2627;P2638;P2639;P2 641;P2687;P2695;P2864.

Two Moranes from Syria ex GC1/7, No:826 and 827 with No 833 arrived on 23-6-40. No:826 became AX674, 827 became AX675, No 833 was damaged in landing on arrival.

Some ten Hurricanes of 80 Sqdn "A" flt became 274 Sqdn on the 19-8-40.
First six operational Hurricanes were "YK-T" P2544; P2638; P2639; P2641; P2643; P2651.

On the 19-6-40 2Lt. B. L. Griffiths was S/d and killed in a 1 Sqdn SAAF Hurricane RAF/SAAF serial unknown to me.

Hope this is a help

Alex
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Old 11th January 2006, 05:14
Alex Smart Alex Smart is online now
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Re: Seafox or Seagull?

Hi Again Alex,

re 33 sqdns hurricanes for the period.

First 10 N2624;N2628;P2640;P2646;P3724;P3725;P3726;P3727;P3 728;P3729.

Others were L1893;N2389;N2423;N2483;N2499;N2623;N2627; P2624;P2628;P3732;P3734;P3763;P3765;P3818;P3821;P3 824;P3968;P3969;P3970;P3980.

IIRC Dust Clouds has N2640 when it should be P2640 as there were none between N2631 and N2645.

Again hope this is a help.

Details from the Air Brit books and Dust clouds and Hurricanes over Tobruk

Alex
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