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  #1  
Old 12th August 2013, 20:56
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

610 lost P9496 and R6595 in combat plus R6970 suffered Cat 2 in combat. According to Norman Franks, an unidentified Spitfire coded M crashed and burned out it addition to P9496 & R6595-is he getting mixed up and who was the pilot of this third Spitfire?
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  #2  
Old 12th August 2013, 21:16
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Hi Chris,

From the ORB

M was K9947 Sgt P Else baled out over Hawkinge.

Regards
Ross
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  #3  
Old 12th August 2013, 21:29
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Ross: Spitfire production summary has this as damaged in combat 14 Aug 40 and surviving well past 26 Aug???
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Old 13th August 2013, 10:50
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

It's what is given in the ORB.

Looking back over the month it consistently lists M as K9947 and omits to give serials for X and Y.

From 26th M K9947 does not appear in the daily activity reports.

Generally the scribe for No.610 during this period tallies well with loss and log book info.

So until Form 78 is checked I would plump for the ORB as possible and give the Production list data as a query to be confirmed.

Regards
Ross
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Old 13th August 2013, 11:32
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

A check of Bowman's Aircraft for the Few shows K9947 as M and with the Sqn from 30 Aug to 23 Sep 40?? Presume he got this from the F78?? A Puzzle indeed!
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  #6  
Old 13th August 2013, 15:30
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Looking at the entry for 14th Aug in the ORB

M K9947 is listed as flown by Sgt F G Gardner.

The description records that "Sgt Gardner forced landed at Wye after causing a He 113 to crash in channel"

So the scribe has the forced landing correct if not the e/a type!.

However comparing accounts for the action of 26th throws up a few grimaces!

The aircraft listed as flying as flying are:
W - R6993
N - N3124
X F/O Wilson
M - K9947 Sgt Else
O - X4011 P/O Webster
T - X4064
B - X4166
F - X4028
A - R6976
Q - R6891
Y

ie no list of P9496, R6595 or R6970 despite only 2 aircraft letters not being linked to serials.

In the narrative the losses given are Sgt Else and Sgt Webster suggesting M and O.

So no correlation with Franks et al and the Spitfire Production list suggests X4011 flying until 5/11/40 not lost on 26th as ORB scribe suggests.

One for a lot more inspection I think.

Regards
Ross
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  #7  
Old 14th August 2013, 21:56
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Chris/Ross,
.
Over the last year or two I have been going through the RAF losses for August 1940 with Peter Cornwell. By far and away the two most difficult squadrons to deal with were 610 Squadron and 206 Squadron (Coastal Command). I regret I do not share the nuanced appreciation of Ross for the 610 Squadron scribe, though through gritted teeth I concede August 26th was one of his slightly better efforts.
I was having great difficulty matching pilots/losses/serials/letters, etc. until Peter warned me that this was a unit where the serials were added (much) later to the recorded letters. One prays the latter were at least recorded contemporary with the events in question. Armed with this understanding one can begin to make SOME headway. Even so there are still many serial/letter tie-ups I cannot yet determine, plus one or two losses that defy all efforts to date to properly identify. I have the 610 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/2106) on CD from Kew, but unfortunately no Appendices have survived for 1940. The airfield ORB for Biggin Hill has no detail on their flying activities.
.
Chris, you mention Norman Franks and I assume you are using the first edition of Volume 1 in his FC Losses series. I have the revised second edition and there is no mention of a third Spitfire loss ('M'). Let me say I would not have even considered trying to unravel these losses without the wonderful Air-Britain 'AEROMILITARIA' series some years ago on Spitfire Mark I individual aircraft histories. A fantastic resource, the best work yet done on these Spitfires. Not without errors and omissions, but these are for us to resolve and progress.
.
Here is my best interpretation of 610 Sqn. losses for 26 August 1940.
1/ R6595 'DW-O', Crashed in flames, P/O Webster killed.
2/ P9496 'DW-L', Crashed and burned out, Sgt. Else baled out and seriously wounded.
3/ R6970 'DW-M', Damaged in combat, force-landed at Castle Hill, Hawkinge. Pilot not known, but believed unhurt. This aircraft was repaired and had a flying history up to 1943 at least, latterly with the FAA. (More later on).
.
To begin with one has to check the service dates with 610 Sqn. of each Spitfire that they used during the BoB period. The 'AEROMILITARIA' series referred to allows us to do this, noting my caveat above, because the compilers clearly used the Form 78 Aircraft History Cards as the basis for each Spitfire entry. In many cases they also include the aircraft letter, though I am not sure if the 610 Sqn. ORB was their only source for the letters.
.
Having the service dates for a particular Spitfire one can then check the Form 541 of the ORB for the dates it flew operationally. Unfortunately 610 Sqn. did not record any other types of flights. There are many instances where the serial is recorded after the date it was lost or damaged and sent off for repair. So one can exclude these, but one then has to try to find the appropriate aircraft that became the next ‘DW-M’ or whatever. Unfortunately - again – this does not always work out neatly and there are gaps that make it impossible at present to assign letters to every serial and to explain gaps in certain letter usage.
.
As an aside I would love to see copies of any 610 Sqn. pilot’s logbooks for 1940. Even one or two might help fill in some of the gaps or allow us to make corrections.
.
To look at the three aircraft in more detail.
.
R6595 ‘DW-O’.
This was Taken On Charge by 610 Sqn. on 7 June 1940 and was lost with them on 26 August 1940 with P/O Webster. R6595 has no further service history . The letter ‘O’ is recorded in the ‘AEROMILITARIA’ series.
X4011 quoted in the ORB was not TOC until the following day, 27 August 1940. Yet for every operational flight during August 1940 that ‘DW-O’ flew the serial is shown in the F.541 as X4011 (August 11, 14, 15, 22, 24 (3 times), 25, 26, 28, 29 & 30th). If I am correct X4011 could only have flown operationally with 610 Sqn. on August 28-30th. I am basing this on the TOC date for X4011 being correct and loss date for R6595 likewise.
.
P9496 ‘DW-L’.
This was TOC by 610 Sqn. on 2 June 1940 and lost with them on 26 August 1940 with Sgt Else. Like R6595 above it has no further service history and the letter ‘L’ also is recorded in the ‘AEROMILITARIA’ series.
The problems with ‘DW-L’ are worse. The replacement ‘L’ was P9311 and this Spitfire according to the ‘AEROMILITARIA’ series was TOC on 14 August 1940 and continued with 610 Sqn. up to December 1940. P9496 was not recorded in the August 1940 F.541, but P9311 is throughout the month. P9311 is recorded operationally as ‘L’ on August 14, 15, 16, 18, 25, 28 (but with no letter) and 29th.
If the letter usage for these two Spitfires are correct we have a problem with the TOC/loss dates. Alternatively the letter allocation in August 1940 might not have been as prompt as we at this remove in time think it ought to have been !
Without evidence to the contrary I remain in the belief that P9496 as ‘DW-L’ was lost on 26 August 1940, not least due to its disappearance after this date. There are plenty of other 610 Sqn. examples – unfortunately – of a similar vein.
.
R6970 ‘DW-M’.
If the first two were awkward then ‘DW-M’ is worse !
The easiest way to begin is to record all the aircraft that served as ‘DW-M’ with 610 Sqn. during 1940, at least all that are known.
1/ L1000 2 Oct. 1939 to 10 July 1940 (damaged).
2/ P9540 early July 1940 to 24 July 1940 (damaged).
Its 610 Sqn. service is not recorded in the ‘AEROMILITARIA’ series and presumably therefore not on the F.78 either. According to the F.541 it flew operationally only on 12, 13, 14 & 24 July 1940.
3/ K9947 Probably TOC approximately 5-10 August to 14 August 1940 (damaged).
It flew operationally with 610 Sqn. only on 11, 12 and 14 August 1940 (but see below).
4/ R6970 19 August 1940 to 26 August 1940 (damaged).
Not recorded in the F.541 (see below).
5/ X4245 7 Oct. 1940 to 14 Dec. 1940.
.
A problem arises with the ‘AEROMILITARIA’/F.78 entry for K9947. It is shown going to 4 M.U. on 4 August 1940, then to 610 Sqn. on 30 (sic) August 1940 as ‘DW-M’. In this case I believe the ‘AEROMILITARIA’ entry is incorrect.
During August 1940 the 610 Sqn. F.541 records K9947 flying operationally on these dates; 11, 12, 14, 24(twice) and the 25th. On the 29th ‘M’ was recorded as’ K9974’, but this is clearly a typo since K9974 was SOC as early as January 1940 and never flew with 610 Sqn.
The ‘AEROMILITARIA’ series confirms R6970 was ‘F.B.(2)’ with 610 Sqn. on 26 August 1940 with the next entry being to Heston Aircraft on 13 September 1940 for repair. It continued to fly up to 1943 at least, based on the substantial number of unit allocations, etc.
Therefore on balance I believe R6970 was ‘DW-M’ and damaged on 26 August 1940. The fact that we do not yet know the pilot is unhelpful to say the least.
.
Of the 11 aircraft noted in the ORB flying that day I believe 6 of the serial/letter combinations are correct; R6993/W, X4064/T, X4166/B, X4028/F, R6976/A and R6891/Q. ‘X’ and ‘Y’ I have no idea what their serials might have been. The nearest ‘X’ was R6641 damaged on August 24th and the only ‘Z’ I have a serial for is R6802, lost on August 16th.
N3124/N is suspect as N3124 was apparently TOC only on 11 September 1940, while the previous ‘N’ was R6806 which was damaged on August 12th. No mention of it going for repair but apparently it was damaged with 72 Sqn on 2 September 1940.
So some 50% of the F.541 entries are problematical and this is not unrepresentative for all of August.
.
Please forgive the length and repetition in the above piece but I cannot explain it otherwise. I would be delighted to have any errors highlighted and especially for new information to be revealed (e.g; logbooks, photos).
.
Regards,
.
Martin Gleeson.

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  #8  
Old 15th August 2013, 00:31
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Thanks Martin- superb bit of analysis which helps me with my piece on this raid
Regards
Chris
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Old 16th August 2013, 12:58
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Martin

With regard to K9947 I agree with what you say, but I have some theories of my own. Comparing Aeromilitaria with the older K-files, I notice that K-files only states 610 Sq took K9947 on strength in Aug 1940. The date 30.8.1940 is clearly wrong since on the next line Aeromilitaria clearly states it was damaged as DW-M on 14.8.1940! At this stage I have no idea from where the exact date 30/8 comes from, but I notice that Bowyer in Aircraft of the few also has the same detailed date.
Now, how much was K9947 damaged? I am puzzled by the lack of any given MU after its crash and maybe, just maybe the damage was not very serious and the aircraft repaired and back with 610 Sq later that same month, perhaps 30/8?

There is obviously nothing recorded in any remaining forms anything else than the aircraft entering service with 222 Sq 23.9.1940, no MU, nothing, leading to the conclusion it went straight from 610 Sq to 222 Sq.

Since we lack any aircraft M with 610 Sq between 26.8 to 7.10 there just may be some kind of possibillity here that K9947 went back to 610 Sq and continued as DW-M. They didn't even have to repaint her....

Worth considering?

Cheers
Stig
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Old 17th August 2013, 02:17
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: 610 Sqn 26 Aug 40

Hallo Stig,
.
Yes, K9947 poses considerable problems. I also have the 222 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/1371) for this period and should have checked it before for completeness. K9947 only appears in the 222 Sqn. Form 541 from 25 September 1940, then again on the 29th and 30th (twice) and on into October 1940.
.
The gap in its operational service between 610 Sqn. on August 14th (damaged) and 222 Sqn. on September 25th would be consistent with a period of repair. True, this is not proof but it is hard to imagine a Spitfire at this time not flying operationally for more than 5 weeks if it had not been damaged.
.
Your point about the gap in the use of an aircraft with the 'M' letter is well made. However looking through my notes it has just occurred to me that during August 1940 610 Sqn. need not have had all its regular aircraft letters in use (almost) all of the time. During that month, according to the F.541, 24 different letters were in use - all bar 'C' and 'I'. Indeed 'U', 'W', 'Y' and 'Z' only seemed to come into use in July or August 1940, so there were more letters than aircraft to use them !
.
As you say many aircraft were repaired at unit level without the need to be sent to a repair centre. There are other instances in the 'AEROMILITARIA' series where Spitfires were damaged but there is no record of them going to a repair centre or Maintenance Unit.
.
Regards,
.
Martin.
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