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  #1  
Old 13th September 2011, 19:00
Yeomans Yeomans is offline
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Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

I would be grateful if anyone can supply further information regrading the crash of 3 C-47-A's into Leith Hill, Surrey on 26 November 1944.

I have the following details on the aircraft :

42-93754
Orvel A Bell

42-92837
Willard B Branit

42-47975
Clyde D Taylor

Can anyone confirm which squadron(s) they were attached to and what happened to the crews ?

Thanks
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Old 14th September 2011, 02:00
dp_burke dp_burke is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

There are the following two names buried in Cambridge American cemetery

80th Squadron, 436th Troop Carrier Group

Willard B Branit O-680168
S/Sgt Lester A Knorr 39315615
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Old 14th September 2011, 02:06
dp_burke dp_burke is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

And these must be the crews of each aircraft:

BELL, ORVEL A.;
HERTEL, ST. CLAIR;
HILL, JOHN T.;
BERTWELL, GEORGE B.;
VAN ORDEN, LAWRENCE C.
(LEITH HILL) (45-11-26-518)*

BRANIT, WILLARD B.;
LINK, THOMAS R.;
MARKEY, D. J.;
KNORR, LESTER;
STEWARD, R.
(LEITH HILL) (45- 11-26- 519)*

TAYLOR, CLYDE; STEVENS, MARION;
MILLS, KENNETH H.;
LEWIS, PIERCE P.;
MIHLFRIED, PHILIP G.
(LEITH HILL) (45-11-26-520)

http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/877/396.xml

You can check each name on the wwiimemorial.com website to see if they survived the accident or the war.
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Old 14th September 2011, 02:16
dp_burke dp_burke is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

Kenneth H Mills seems to be listed on ABMC as 3rd Pathfinder Sqn
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Old 14th September 2011, 18:05
Yeomans Yeomans is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

Dennis,

Many thanks for the crew details. Does anyone have a record of what caused the crash of these 3 aircraft ? Where were they heading ?

I don't know where on the hill they crashed but it is only 1,000 ft at its highest point (the tower) so the aircraft will have had to been flying very low, if lack of altitude was the problem.

Nick
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Old 14th September 2011, 18:27
dp_burke dp_burke is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

Email the folks at the

http://newpreview.afnews.af.mil/afhs.../contactus.asp

and ask for the three crash reports, they ought to send them to you by PDF.
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Old 14th September 2011, 18:39
dp_burke dp_burke is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

Seems the RAF Dakota KG584 also crashed on Leith Hill the very next month:

See page 274:
http://www.awm.gov.au/catalogue/rese...9125z007_1.pdf
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Old 14th September 2011, 20:25
Yeomans Yeomans is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

Thanks again Dennis,

Yes - Leith Hill seems to have been something of an obstacle - even though it is only 1,000 ft high perhaps it was the highest point on a particular flightpath ?

Spitfire Vb "March Brown" W3634 of 411 (F) Squadron also crashed there on 19 October 1943. I don't have pilot details I'm afraid, simply a note that it lost control in cloud and crashed on high ground. Again if anyone has any more information on this or the Dakota KG584 crash I would be most interested.
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Old 17th September 2011, 19:54
BigWeeker BigWeeker is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

By co-incidence, a Flying Fortress of the 384th BG crashed just north of Reigate, Surrey into Reigate Hill, after overshooting from trying to make a forced landing at Gatwick and heading north. I wonder if they, (both the B17 and the C47's) followed a Standard Procedure, and set their altimeters on Altitude above Sea level, as opposed to Height, above Ground Level??
Andy Bigweeker
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Old 18th September 2011, 19:53
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Crash of three C-47A's 26 November 1944

The wwiimemorial.com entry for Marion B. Stevens gives a first explanation of what had happened.
The 3 C-47's were on the return leg of a resupply mission when they ran into heavy fog once in England. A fourth C-47 was part of the mission, but escaped the tragedy.

First name of Monkey: Donald.

Unit for St. Clair X. Hertel is given as 434th TCG, 74th TCS on ABMC.

On aviationarchaeology.com unit for the three C-47 is 3rd Pathfinder Squadron, which was part of the 9th TC Pathfinder Group.

ABMC gives 442nd TCG, 305th TCS for Phillip G. Mihlfried.

TCG assignments may have been the original ones, before transfer to pathfinder duties.

Regards,

Leendert
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