halifax crash site?

Joined: November 17th, 2004, 9:50 am

February 9th, 2005, 11:44 pm #11

<P>Hi Robin,</P>
<P>The date was a big help, thanks.&nbsp; It could be Halifax V LL183 MA-W, a 161 Squadron Hali as KK correctly identified by the code.</P>
<P>The information given re this loss in Bomber Command Losses by W R Chorley is as follows:</P>
<P>Took off 2242 from Tempsford borrowed from 138 Squadron (another SOE Sqdn) for Operation Percy 3, course being established for France.&nbsp; Crashed Rochechouart in the department of Haute Vienne. (not sure where that is in relation to Chabanais/Limoges as stated in your earlier posts as where parts of the a/c were found).</P>
<P>Crew and fate as follows:</P>
<P>F/O A S Coldridge RCAF - evaded
Sgt E Jones - evaded
F/O D A Lennie RCAF - evaded
F/O R C Evans RCAF - evaded
F/O H D Medland RCAF - evaded
Sgt H Blackett - evaded
Sgt R Clark - POW</P>
<P>If you think this is the correct a/c then you could visit the PRO (oops, National Archives) at Kew, London and look for the escape and evasion reports for the evaders and there should also be a document (forget the name but a POW report or something like that) with regard to Sgt Clark.</P>
<P>Will also ask my 161 Sqdn guru if he has any further info on this loss or the crew.</P>
<P>Regards
Linzee</P>
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Robin Rose
Robin Rose

February 11th, 2005, 7:08 pm #12

Hi Linzee / KK
Thanks for your information, I think the time and
locations tie this one up quite nicely as Rochechouart is only
three or four miles down the road. My brother tells me he has a whole bundle of documentation, all in French of course and will be over there this week digging around a bit more, local recolections etc. Apparently the wreck was lying there for some years after the war, coming down into a field and hitting a barn, so sounds as if was in a level rather than vertical attitude when it hit the ground. A few more questions and answers to come! We will look into the possibility of approaching the records office you mentioned, I am intrigued by the mission especially as I used to live not far away from Tempsford years ago.
It's also nice to know that all the boys got out of this one...
once again thanks alot
Robin Rose
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Joined: March 7th, 2005, 4:57 pm

March 7th, 2005, 5:20 pm #13

<P>Hi Robin,</P>
<P>The date was a big help, thanks.&nbsp; It could be Halifax V LL183 MA-W, a 161 Squadron Hali as KK correctly identified by the code.</P>
<P>The information given re this loss in Bomber Command Losses by W R Chorley is as follows:</P>
<P>Took off 2242 from Tempsford borrowed from 138 Squadron (another SOE Sqdn) for Operation Percy 3, course being established for France.&nbsp; Crashed Rochechouart in the department of Haute Vienne. (not sure where that is in relation to Chabanais/Limoges as stated in your earlier posts as where parts of the a/c were found).</P>
<P>Crew and fate as follows:</P>
<P>F/O A S Coldridge RCAF - evaded
Sgt E Jones - evaded
F/O D A Lennie RCAF - evaded
F/O R C Evans RCAF - evaded
F/O H D Medland RCAF - evaded
Sgt H Blackett - evaded
Sgt R Clark - POW</P>
<P>If you think this is the correct a/c then you could visit the PRO (oops, National Archives) at Kew, London and look for the escape and evasion reports for the evaders and there should also be a document (forget the name but a POW report or something like that) with regard to Sgt Clark.</P>
<P>Will also ask my 161 Sqdn guru if he has any further info on this loss or the crew.</P>
<P>Regards
Linzee</P>
After visiting the crash site and speaking to local historian I now have some more info regarding this story.
All crew members escaped by parachute.The aircraft crashed into a potato field at the farm le Groslaud 2km south of Chabanais.All crew escaped exept Sgt Clark who broke his leg and was taken prisoner by the Gendarmerie of St Laurent sur Gorre.
German officers visited the site and after posting a guard on the wreck of two french Policemen,returned to the hotel "La croix blanche" in Chabanais.On the 11th May the guard was attacted by the resistance.They were tied up by an overwhealming force.Two of the crew now dressed in civilian clothing removed material from the cockpit.Ammunition and other items were also taken away before the wreck was blown up .The group took refuge in a local water mill.It is believed that the famous resistance leader Raoul was involved.Also that the crew were then hidden in nearby Pressignac before escaping home to England by air from Cognac,some sixty miles to the west.
I am continuing my research and hope to find more history of the crew and their escape.
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Dwight Williams
Dwight Williams

August 28th, 2007, 4:53 am #14

Hello,
I came across your site while doing work on my family tree. My late uncle, Ted Jones, was the flight engineer on this aircraft, did anyone find out anything further on this?
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Linzee
Linzee

August 28th, 2007, 8:14 am #15

Dwight, if you click on the name 'richard rose' in the left margin of post above yours you should get an e-mail address so you can mail him directly with your request. This is quite an old thread on the forum so he may not be checking in regularly.

Best of luck
Linzee
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Dwight Williams
Dwight Williams

August 29th, 2007, 4:27 am #16

Thanks for the suggestion Linzee, I will do that.

This seems to be a very experienced and technical group, so I have some further questions.
Is there any way of finding out which engines were installed on MA-W, LL183, and where they were manufactured?

I understand the types used at that time were Bristol Hercules, Rolls-Royce built Merlins, and Packard Merlins. What were the differences in power between the engines? On paper? In practice?

MA-W crashed because it was unable to maintain altitude after two of its engines failed. Would a different type have possibly kept it in the air?

Thanks,

Dwight Williams
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Linzee
Linzee

August 29th, 2007, 8:15 am #17

Hi Dwight,

The type of engines and manufacturer will be noted on the a/c loss card A.M. Form 78 (although the info may possibly be available elsewhere of course). The A.M. 78 loss cards are held in the records at 'DORIS' in the RAF Museum at Hendon, see this link for further information about how to visit the records http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/research/index.cfm

I'll leave those who know more about the technical side of engines to give a response on your other questions.

Hope that helps,
Regards
Linzee
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Eddie Fell
Eddie Fell

August 29th, 2007, 8:40 am #18

Thanks for the suggestion Linzee, I will do that.

This seems to be a very experienced and technical group, so I have some further questions.
Is there any way of finding out which engines were installed on MA-W, LL183, and where they were manufactured?

I understand the types used at that time were Bristol Hercules, Rolls-Royce built Merlins, and Packard Merlins. What were the differences in power between the engines? On paper? In practice?

MA-W crashed because it was unable to maintain altitude after two of its engines failed. Would a different type have possibly kept it in the air?

Thanks,

Dwight Williams
Hi Dwight

As a Halifax V, the aircraft will most likely have been fitted with the RR Merlin XX engine. You can confirm this by getting a copy of the Form 78 Aircraft Movement Card (try the RAF Museum - they may even tell you over the phone).
The Mk V was basically a Mk II with a different undercarriage.

Hercules engines were used on the Mk III/VI/VII/VIII/IX.

A Halifax would fly one two engines, in fact it would fly on one but the latter was not recommended, it being safer to bale out! However, the degree of damage sustained (not necessarily confined to the engines)would determine how long it would stay in the air.
It is not possible to compare performance between aircraft with any meaningful results. It is known that considerable variation occurred between individual aircraft even from the same production run (your aircraft was built by Rootes).
I'm sure Karl will be able to advise on flight characteristics for better than I'll ever hope to.

You could always try the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust for specifics

http://www.rolls-royce.com/history/heritage/default.jsp

I hope this is a little help

Cheers

Eddie
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Robert Fulford
Robert Fulford

August 29th, 2007, 2:39 pm #19

LL183 was outfitted with Rolls Royce Merlin 22 engines which produced 1480 hp.

Regardless of power plant any multi-engined aircraft is in trouble when it loses any of its engines. Big trouble if the loss is multiple engines.

The loss of even a single engine is problematic especially if the prop cannot be feathered because of the drag.

The loss of two is almost certain to result in a major struggle to maintain any reasonable altitude and the loss of two on one side or any unequal combination of engines will make the aircraft's handling extremely difficult if not near impossible. Of course different engines powered different other aircraft systems (hydraulics, electrics, etc.)

Although some aircraft were known to be able to make base remaining airborne with just a single power plant there would be a dramatic and steady rate of descent and of course the engine at full power would not last long.

In these circumstance almost any pilot or aircraft Captain would opt to give the order to abandon the aircraft if the conditions allowed. In any event a ditching, forced or crash landing would likely be imminent.

When I ran your scenario by a former Halifax Skipper he recollected that he landed on three once due to a glycol leak and that was exciting enough even though they had no other major problem. A two-engine failure with the likelihood of other damage to the aircraft and you'd best be on good terms with your maker.

Hope that perspective helps, Dwight.




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Dwight Williams
Dwight Williams

August 30th, 2007, 9:38 pm #20

Thank you all for your replies. You are a nice bunch!

I have sent an email off to 'DORIS' asking them to check the Form 78, and I expect that I'll receive a reply in the fullness of time; 20 working days is their estimate.

I understand your point that having only two out of four engines is extremely hazardous regardless of how powerful they are. I hadn't thought of the possible effect on hydraulics and electrics, I guess there were no APU's in those days.

My uncle, Ted Jones, the flight engineer, said more than once that he thought that they could have stayed up if they'd had "proper" RR engines. I don't know what he meant by that, hence my questions. They were 500 miles from base but only 90 miles from the Bay of Biscay where they hoped to ditch and be picked up by an Allied ship. But it sounds like they were doomed no matter what they did. I think he may have been suffering from something like "pilot's guilt" in that he couldn't save the aircraft and get the crew home. He was a conscientious man and probably felt, quite wrongly, that he'd failed in his duty to coax the utmost power out of the remaining engines.

It's also interesting that this crew were from squadron 138 and unfamiliar with MA-W which was a 161 squadron machine. It was borrowed from 161 because their usual 138 machine was under repair. Human nature leads me to suspect that MA-W was an average to below average performer because the squadron 161 pilots would have tended to collar the better machines for themselves, and any loaners would have been what was left over. Is this an accurate perception?

I'll let you know when I get a reply from 'DORIS'

Dwight
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