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  #11  
Old 18th June 2020, 10:40
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

UPDATE - Their is a reference in the RNLI Archives to other incidents
on July 19th 1940

JULY 19TH. - SHOREHAM HARBOUR,
SUSSEX. A R.A.F. aeroplane had come
down off Littlehampton, but the life-boat
was recalled as the pilot had got ashore
without help. - Rewards, £7 15s. 6d.

Can this airman be identified and I wonder if this is where Patrick Bishop gets the July 19th date from ?


Other incidents from this time period

JULY 20 T H . - MARGATE, KENT. An
airman was reported to have come down by
parachute in the sea off Kingsgate, but
nothing could be found. - Rewards, £14 3s. 6d.


JULY 20 TH. - SELSEY, SUSSEX. A
£29 3s. 6d. ; Peel, £22 14s.
British aeroplane had been reported down
in the sea fifteen miles south of Bognor, but
nothing was found. - Rewards, £15 10s. 6d.
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  #12  
Old 20th June 2020, 15:52
BrianC BrianC is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Hi guys

Have been following the post with interest.

Firstly, for what it's worth, I feel that Eric Bann's memory is being unfairly treated by the suggestion that the letter's contents had been fabricated for consumption by his family. Surely, he was already a hero and didn't have to exaggerate or embellish - especially to his family.

The fact that there is nothing recorded in 238 Squadron's ORB is not evidence that the
incident didn't occur. Some ORB entries are so lacking in detail as to be literally worthless to researchers. I believe that my version of his 'shooting down on 21 July 1940' to be as feasible as any other interpretation of his account.

Regarding his time in France - this might be explained by the nature of the delivery of replacement aircraft during May. I have never found a list of replacement Hurricanes sent to France - or by whom they were flown. In fact, I only became aware that a pilot of the period, who I came to know very well, had flown a replacement Hurricane when I saw the entry in his logbook; and he was being trained as a bomber pilot and had no experience of flying a Hurricane.

And, after all, we have only recently learned about Jammy Payne's experiences from Forum researchers.

Perhaps Eric was one of those unsung, unrecorded young volunteers (or otherwise).

A a closing note, should you ever find yourself on the Isle of Wight, take a trip to Culver where you'll find a little pub. In the bar you will observe a picture of Eric and details of his death (on 28 September 1940); his Hurricane crashed in the vicinity, although his body was recovered from Brading marshes. You might also like to raise your glass to a hero.

Cheers
Brian
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  #13  
Old 20th June 2020, 16:26
gedburke3 gedburke3 is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Hi all,
Don't really have anything to offer regarding whether or not he was shot down earlier in the war.

I did know Gordon Batt quite well and on one occasion when I went to visit him he showed me, amongst other items, a yellow scarf.
The scarf was made by Eric Banns mother, she produced three, one for each member of yellow section. Bann was killed shortly after that.

Gordon cherished two things relating to his war service, the yellow scarf and a painting of three Hurricanes in flight by Harold Fenton.
I wished I had taken photos of the scarf, paintings and Gordons log books but at the time I didn't really think of it.

Regards
Gerry
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  #14  
Old 20th June 2020, 23:26
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Hello Brian,

Thanks for your reply. As I wrote in my first post I have no wish to offend anyone, particularly his family. I am very, very careful about anything I write here or elsewhere.

We researchers value greatly the personal writings of airmen and others and sometimes treat their written word as ‘gospel’ . Quite often as we know memory plays tricks, so we need to be careful and double-check anything stated as fact where possible. It is not a sin to exaggerate one’s deeds and experiences to one’s family and I am sure Eric never expected his letters to be scrutinized by later generations of strangers. He did not make any boastful claims, such as shooting down enemy aircraft.

However he made reference in two letters to possible operational service in or over France during mid-May 1940 and to a specific case when he was shot down into the Channel. The latter especially was noteworthy, considering how well the Battle of Britain has been researched (and of course there is still more to be learnt). It deserved to be checked for accuracy, not just accepted at face value and that is what I did. The ORB for 238 Squadron is quite good regarding operations, unlike many others as you rightly point out.

I certainly agree with the premise of ‘Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence’ as Paul McMillan wrote, being too long at this this game myself to believe otherwise. That noted I stand by what I wrote earlier, but I would love evidence to come to light to prove me right – or wrong. I wonder if Eric Bann’s log book survives somewhere as that would answer the above issues. One would hope his wife received it at some point.

BTW I have over 20 of the books authored or co-authored by you.

Hello Gerry,

On the subject of log books I wonder if Gordon Batt’s is still around. He and Eric Bann would probably have had very similar flying experiences in May 1940. I saw the references to the three yellow scarves in the letters. Very poignant considering two of the three would soon be lost.

Regards,

Martin.
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  #15  
Old 21st June 2020, 03:37
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Martin
I really do not think that the one would write hairy stories to one's parents. To a girlfriend, perhaps but parents?
That said, there is a problem of verifying the story. I have seen cases of names being mistaken in the ORBs (I can imagine Batt being confused for Bann and vice versa), some flights missed, etc. I am aware of wrongly entered serials or pilots and aircraft being borrowed to other units. By no means I claim your search to be wrong, just trying to find the logic. Have you checked RAF Middle Wallop ORB by any chance?
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  #16  
Old 21st June 2020, 09:17
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Agree Franek. While researching my first book, I found a number of losses not recorded by 213 Sqn & found one on 25 Aug 40 that was only recorded on a casualty card as the pilot was slightly wounded. Trouble is in this case, all avenues to confirm it have been exhausted and yes, the logbook would help but unless the family had it, I fear it was one of many pulped in the early 60s.
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  #17  
Old 21st June 2020, 17:20
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

I would say that too many people are just uncritical in regard of documents. Missing losses, missing flights, erroneus pilot & aircraft data, this is quite common.
In regard of the Bann case, had it been a post-war story, I would not probably bore with it. If all the venues have been used, I doubt it. There are lots of records from various levels of command chain, most of them still gathering dust. Would they help to solve the case, I have no idea, but no doubt it would take a lot of time to review them all.
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  #18  
Old 27th June 2020, 15:40
Peter Cook Peter Cook is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Apologies for the belated reply, I have been away from my computer for several days. Many thanks for the responses, especially Martin for his very detailed analysis -- I think that you nailed this one!
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  #19  
Old 27th June 2020, 20:14
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: Sgt Eric Bann, 238 Squadron - Shot Down 21 July 1940?

Thanks Peter,

Martin.
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