1659 HCU Topcliffe , Halifax RV-Y

R. Fulford
R. Fulford

May 19th, 2005, 2:57 pm #11

I couuld be wrong but I think the "Diversionary Ops" flown by OTU and HCU crews were known as "Sweepstake Missions". Exactly to where and what aircraft flew these from what Bases I don't have a clue how to ascertain other than through the ORBs of the various HCUs, OTUs that may have been involved but I believe the term is correct.

Typically I believe the diversions were carried out to draw focus from the Main Force similar to the missions flown by 100 S.D. Group.

I believe the difference is that for the most part the HCU crews turned about on their track before entering enemy airspace though in the cases cited there was some overflight of continental Europe.

I wish I could access a Chorley's (OTU & HCU losses) conveniently here but have had difficulty in even locating a single copy through the libraries or bookstores.

Perhaps the Forum contributors can clarify or confirm if these flights were referrred to as "Sweepstakes" and from there at least is a starting point to gleaning more details.
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Joined: April 22nd, 2005, 10:30 pm

May 21st, 2005, 4:27 pm #12

Gooday Lads!

Could somebody who has this book by Chorley please post it's title and ISBN number? I live in Ottawa, and I'm sure I can get it from the National Library here. It would make interesting reading, for sure.

I just received the following from a decorated 6 Group veteran, and will post it here...

"My last flight from no. 1664 CU at Dishforth, Yorks. was on the night of August 12, 1944 and my log book shows: " x-cty Bullseye 17,000 ft. Diversion off the coast of France nr. Dieppe". I joined 415 Squadron, RCAF 6 Group at East Moor on August 15, 1944. R. Fulford's msge, dated May 19th, suggests that such missions might have been called "Sweepstakes". Perhaps each Conversion Unit had its own terminology for such missions. Hope this information is of use to you."

It helps to illustrate that HCU units not only flew diversionary missions for the main BC squadrons, they did so over the "Operational Areas" that the DVA makes reference to vis-a-vis medal entitlements. In my Dad's case, 1659 HCU, they called them "Cross-Country" missions,so it seems did 1664 HCU as well. Surely, not all x-cty sorties were over contested areas, but quite a few of them certainly were, with some actually over Occupied Europe.

It seems a few years ago the Australian government cleared everything up for Australian aircrew by simply stating that flying AFU-OTU-HCU sorties over these "Operational Areas" would count as service towards the 39-45 Star. From there, other sorties might then count towards either the Aircrew Europe Star or France&Germany Star, depending of course on the 5 June 44 criteria.

Nice and simple, but I don't know if this was adopted by all Commonwealth nations, or is specific to Aussie crews only. This would certainly be an anomaly...and would raise many questions of who got to wear what medals, and why. At any rate, an issue for our own DVA to sort out, I say...and quickly too, since our WW2 vets aren't getting any younger.

Well, I hope to get some answers from DVA soon, although they have told me it will be 6-8 months, since they have to wait for British MoD to send over Dads personal service record for the OTU-HCU time. Apparently, we don't keep that sort of thing here in Canada.

At any rate, RF, I will certainly be posting any and all information I get on this subject, and I hope that it helps out the other vets too.

Dave

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Eddie Fell
Eddie Fell

May 21st, 2005, 6:01 pm #13

The Chorley Books you are looking for are

Volume 7 (OTU's) ISBN 1-85780-132-6

Volume 8 (HCU's etc) ISBN 1-85780-156 - 3

Cross Country Mission were, in the main, to my knowledge just that - trips across the country as part of the training programme both at the Training Units and with the Operational Squadrons. What I suppose today may be called a NavEx (Navigational Exercise)

Cheers

Eddie
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Joined: April 22nd, 2005, 10:30 pm

May 23rd, 2005, 7:16 pm #14

Thanks Eddie...I will hit the library and get a hold of those books. They should have tons of usefull info!
Dave
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Joined: May 4th, 2004, 3:18 am

August 9th, 2005, 6:08 am #15

Gooday Lads!

Could somebody who has this book by Chorley please post it's title and ISBN number? I live in Ottawa, and I'm sure I can get it from the National Library here. It would make interesting reading, for sure.

I just received the following from a decorated 6 Group veteran, and will post it here...

"My last flight from no. 1664 CU at Dishforth, Yorks. was on the night of August 12, 1944 and my log book shows: " x-cty Bullseye 17,000 ft. Diversion off the coast of France nr. Dieppe". I joined 415 Squadron, RCAF 6 Group at East Moor on August 15, 1944. R. Fulford's msge, dated May 19th, suggests that such missions might have been called "Sweepstakes". Perhaps each Conversion Unit had its own terminology for such missions. Hope this information is of use to you."

It helps to illustrate that HCU units not only flew diversionary missions for the main BC squadrons, they did so over the "Operational Areas" that the DVA makes reference to vis-a-vis medal entitlements. In my Dad's case, 1659 HCU, they called them "Cross-Country" missions,so it seems did 1664 HCU as well. Surely, not all x-cty sorties were over contested areas, but quite a few of them certainly were, with some actually over Occupied Europe.

It seems a few years ago the Australian government cleared everything up for Australian aircrew by simply stating that flying AFU-OTU-HCU sorties over these "Operational Areas" would count as service towards the 39-45 Star. From there, other sorties might then count towards either the Aircrew Europe Star or France&Germany Star, depending of course on the 5 June 44 criteria.

Nice and simple, but I don't know if this was adopted by all Commonwealth nations, or is specific to Aussie crews only. This would certainly be an anomaly...and would raise many questions of who got to wear what medals, and why. At any rate, an issue for our own DVA to sort out, I say...and quickly too, since our WW2 vets aren't getting any younger.

Well, I hope to get some answers from DVA soon, although they have told me it will be 6-8 months, since they have to wait for British MoD to send over Dads personal service record for the OTU-HCU time. Apparently, we don't keep that sort of thing here in Canada.

At any rate, RF, I will certainly be posting any and all information I get on this subject, and I hope that it helps out the other vets too.

Dave
Dear Dave, have been reading your comments on Sweepstakes, did they count
for medals.
This is of interest to me as I flew
out of Rufforth with 1663 HCU.
I did two Sweepstakes or Nickel raids
as they were known to The Fresian Islands and Strasbourg, overflying Holland and Northern France, fired on
crossing Dutch coast.
On return from Strasborg we ran out of fuel and baled out, being injured on landing.
We were going to 10 Sqdn the next day
but I never made it.
I live in Australia now,since 1947,
and Aussie aircrew I meet tell me that
HCU ops do count and that being injured
on one counts.
Since your message on the internet
have you found out more?
If you have any information I would be
most grateful to receive it.
Your original message may be old now
but I have just come across it.
Looking forward to your reply
Best regards
Ron Metcalfe
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Joined: April 22nd, 2005, 10:30 pm

December 15th, 2005, 9:15 pm #16

I am researching the Old Mans service in the RCAF. He was an Observer in the above HCU and I have so far the names and hometowns of his aircrew, as well as all the stations he served at. His S/N was R-177317 and is Gerald J. Kerr from East Angus, Quebec.

I also have his his flight log and his complete service records, and these have been quite helpful. Incidently, he is now 84 and is in excellent health...he even went down to Trenton last summer to see the Halifax being restored there. Very impressed!!

Well, to make a long story short, I am at a dead end concerning a sortie he flew in a Halifax III on 24 April 1945.

In his log it is listed as "X-Country: Liseux-Cherbourg" it was a Day mission flown by P/O McBride and lasted 5 hrs 45 mins. The aircraft was coded RV-Y and my father was the Navigator.

I would like to know if these flights would be recorded in some type of official archive someplace...perhaps in Jolly Old England somewhere, but I wouldn't know where to start.

I would like to know the HP build number for RV-Y and this might help me document this little trip over France.

At any rate, I would greatly appreciate any information you might have and have to take this opportunity to say BRAVO ZULU on a great website!

Dave Kerr

PS: I also have one of his old photo albums, and although he has quite a few shots of the Wellingtons at 27 OTU, he only has 2 of the Halifax at 1659 HCU...one is a typical oblique of a Mark III with the word "Topcliffe" pencilled on the back, the other is a shot out the port window showing an engine cowling and another Halifax quite a ways distant, what seens to be flak (?) in the clouds below and written on the back is " Emden, daylight" although I didn't think an HCU would have flown there. Anyways, when I get a scanner I'll post the pictures here.
Thanks again!
This message will be of interest to HCU and OTU aircrew who believe they are entitled to the above campaign star.

It has taken me a full year of research and a lot of correspondence with DVA, but just yesterday my father received a small package from Veterans Affairs Canada with a France and Germany Star and a letter stating that he was, indeed, eligible for this decoration.

I won't bore you with all the details, but the BIG news is that they will now actually consider the HCU/OTU sorties when applying for the F&G Star. Not all sorties would qualify, of course. Routine training flights over England would certainly not, but if you can prove that one of your sorties was flown over Occupied Europe or any other such "Area of Operations", and within the prescribed timeframes, then they will accept that as a qualifying sortie.

I believe the details for my fathers qualifying sortie are contained somewhere within this thread, and indeed, this development will now allow other airmen who might have been overlooked for this award simply because they 'only' served in the HCU or OTU squadrons, will now have an opportunity to present their case to the DVA.

I am still working on the "1939-45 Star", and this will take some doing it seems. It is regrettable that Canada hasn't gone the way of Australia and actually clarified the eligibility criteria when considering OTU and HCU missions. The current Canadian guidelines are almost impossible to interpret, and only seem to recognize service in a "fully operational squadron" thus leaving it in limbo as to exactly what an Operational Training Unit was or actually did.

Or so it seems...rest assured that I will be delving into THAT mess in the very near future.

At any rate, I hope this information will help some of the veterans out there who might have been wondering if they would be eligible for the medal, but never bothered applying for it.

Should you wish to inquire further, just write to...

Honours and Awards Section
Veterans Affairs Canada
66 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4


Best regards to all, and Merry Christmas!

Dave Kerr
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Dennis McAuley
Dennis McAuley

January 15th, 2006, 6:42 pm #17

I am researching the Old Mans service in the RCAF. He was an Observer in the above HCU and I have so far the names and hometowns of his aircrew, as well as all the stations he served at. His S/N was R-177317 and is Gerald J. Kerr from East Angus, Quebec.

I also have his his flight log and his complete service records, and these have been quite helpful. Incidently, he is now 84 and is in excellent health...he even went down to Trenton last summer to see the Halifax being restored there. Very impressed!!

Well, to make a long story short, I am at a dead end concerning a sortie he flew in a Halifax III on 24 April 1945.

In his log it is listed as "X-Country: Liseux-Cherbourg" it was a Day mission flown by P/O McBride and lasted 5 hrs 45 mins. The aircraft was coded RV-Y and my father was the Navigator.

I would like to know if these flights would be recorded in some type of official archive someplace...perhaps in Jolly Old England somewhere, but I wouldn't know where to start.

I would like to know the HP build number for RV-Y and this might help me document this little trip over France.

At any rate, I would greatly appreciate any information you might have and have to take this opportunity to say BRAVO ZULU on a great website!

Dave Kerr

PS: I also have one of his old photo albums, and although he has quite a few shots of the Wellingtons at 27 OTU, he only has 2 of the Halifax at 1659 HCU...one is a typical oblique of a Mark III with the word "Topcliffe" pencilled on the back, the other is a shot out the port window showing an engine cowling and another Halifax quite a ways distant, what seens to be flak (?) in the clouds below and written on the back is " Emden, daylight" although I didn't think an HCU would have flown there. Anyways, when I get a scanner I'll post the pictures here.
Thanks again!
According to my Dad's log, he flew in an "RV-Y" lettered Halifax II on 8/30/1944 as an instructor at HCU 1659 checking out "F/O Milner & Crew". The description of the test is "Dual check C & L". My Dad was Flt. Lt. A. G. (Mike or Mac) McAuley.
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dennis mcauley
dennis mcauley

July 1st, 2006, 11:29 pm #18

I am researching the Old Mans service in the RCAF. He was an Observer in the above HCU and I have so far the names and hometowns of his aircrew, as well as all the stations he served at. His S/N was R-177317 and is Gerald J. Kerr from East Angus, Quebec.

I also have his his flight log and his complete service records, and these have been quite helpful. Incidently, he is now 84 and is in excellent health...he even went down to Trenton last summer to see the Halifax being restored there. Very impressed!!

Well, to make a long story short, I am at a dead end concerning a sortie he flew in a Halifax III on 24 April 1945.

In his log it is listed as "X-Country: Liseux-Cherbourg" it was a Day mission flown by P/O McBride and lasted 5 hrs 45 mins. The aircraft was coded RV-Y and my father was the Navigator.

I would like to know if these flights would be recorded in some type of official archive someplace...perhaps in Jolly Old England somewhere, but I wouldn't know where to start.

I would like to know the HP build number for RV-Y and this might help me document this little trip over France.

At any rate, I would greatly appreciate any information you might have and have to take this opportunity to say BRAVO ZULU on a great website!

Dave Kerr

PS: I also have one of his old photo albums, and although he has quite a few shots of the Wellingtons at 27 OTU, he only has 2 of the Halifax at 1659 HCU...one is a typical oblique of a Mark III with the word "Topcliffe" pencilled on the back, the other is a shot out the port window showing an engine cowling and another Halifax quite a ways distant, what seens to be flak (?) in the clouds below and written on the back is " Emden, daylight" although I didn't think an HCU would have flown there. Anyways, when I get a scanner I'll post the pictures here.
Thanks again!
I have my dad's Log Book (A.G. McAuley) - he was an instructor
at Topcliffe from 7/15/44 to 5/4/45 and flew a Halifax II coded RV-Y on 8/30/04. i have some pictures of the Halifaxes he flew but don't know where they were taken. His operations were at Leeming.
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Paul (MZ924)
Paul (MZ924)

July 3rd, 2006, 12:56 pm #19

perhaps as you state Dave, the sorties from HCUs didn't count as "operations" as such even though Occupied Europe was crossed over.

While no expert on Service Medals, I always wondered why these wouldn't have counted towards qualification for the France & Germany Star. My own Dad didn't have sufficent time to qualify for the 1939-45 Star (2 months on active operations) and as his service overseas was post D-Day so didn't qualify him for the Aircrew Europe Star - still I wondered why these flights wouldn't have qualified him for the France & Germany Star as he did these prior to V-E Day.

Dad never bothered applying for his medals (the ribbon was issued during the war) but the vet had to apply for the actual medal.

I did this for him in '84 or so and the DVA issued him his service medals which he receieved in time for Father's Day (much to his surprise). For some reason forty years of time passage actually made them of much more value to him. It wasn't that he never wanted them - it's just that at the time he couldn't understand why the serviceman had to apply for the medals.

Even though the war in Europe ended before he & his crew were assigned to an operational group or squadron (they were encompassed within No. 7 Group) and the war in the Pacific disbanded Tiger Force - his crew had a few dicey moments wherein they, too could easily have become casualties. While not entirely true, it has been said that Con Units were sometimes more dangerous than Ops for a variety of reasons.

At OTU they lost a member of their crew when they loaned him out to another trainee crew for a Fighter Affiliation exercise and the fighter crashed into the Wimpey. Again I have had no luck tracing down particulars however there but for the grace of God ...

Dad was at 1663 HCU Rufforth from roughly March 15 to May 15 '45 when they did their Cross Country window dropping "diversionary raids" over the Lowlands but I don't have any more specifics. Would definitely love to hear from you if you find a means or way to track down HCU details.

One would think that No. 7 Training Group and the OTUs & HCUs encompassed would have kept records of flights, "missions", duties, etc.
R Fulford

10 Jan 1945 20 OTU Hurricane IIC PG529 Training

W/O J Butterworth + T/o 2107 Lossiemouth for fighter affiliation practice, at night.
Crashed 2122, following a midair collision with Wellington X HE490,
at Crowford's Farm, nearly 3 miles east of Lhanbryde, a village on the main Elgin to Keith road.
W/O Butterworth, who is buried in Heywood Cemetery, is believed to have closed on the bomber in
order to make a positive identification and misjudged his speed.
Of his 560 hours of solo flying experience, 107 had been logged on Hurricanes.

10 Jan 1945 20 OTU Wellington X HE490 Training

F/O B A Read DFC +
F/O R Moyes +
F/S E E Thurston +
Sgt K C Campin +
Sgt N C Swingler +
Sgt J Downie +
F/S R J Vincent +

T/o Lossiemouth similarly tasked and destroyed in the manner outlined above.
F/O Read, one of the unit's screened pilots, rests in Lossiemouth Burial Ground, his crew being taken to churchyards across the United Kingdom.



All eight volumes of Chorley's "Bomber Command Losses" can be found at:-

http://www.ianallanpublishing.com/catal ... 2a&page=10


My appologies if I am too late with this info, but better late than never.

P
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Joined: April 22nd, 2005, 10:30 pm

August 9th, 2006, 9:32 pm #20

I have my dad's Log Book (A.G. McAuley) - he was an instructor
at Topcliffe from 7/15/44 to 5/4/45 and flew a Halifax II coded RV-Y on 8/30/04. i have some pictures of the Halifaxes he flew but don't know where they were taken. His operations were at Leeming.
I have just checked back to this forum after a long absence and have read with interest about your father's time at 1659 HCU.

My own father converted onto the Halifax III there, and indeed served with your dad during that time. Although his logbook makes no mention of flying with your father, he did check out with a few other instructors, such as F/O Anthony, Palmer and Monahan as well as one flight with a F/L Krope. Perhaps your dad checked out the actual pilots of these crews...the pilot's name was P/O Bill McBride.

My dad, F/Sgt Gerry Kerr, the navigator, served there with the rest of their crew from 12 April 45 till 20 May 45 , being posted the next day to 425 "Alouette" Squadron. They were to fly the new Canadian-built Lancaster X but never flew a sortie in the Lanc because they were almost immediately posted back to Canada (Greenwood, NS) to serve in this "Tiger Force" unit being put together that was to serve in the Pacific.

Did your father go on to the "Tiger Force" also? I would certainly like a few JPEGs of 1659 HCU Halifaxes...perhaps you could post them here.

Interesting times and interesting people for sure. No wonder they were nicknamed "The Greatest Generation"...they certainly earned it.

Still working on clarifying the medals issue...rest assured I will keep you posted on any progress.

Best regards!

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