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Mike M

616 Sqn question

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Hi,

Not exactly a modelling question bit I am hoping that the expertise here might know the answer!

I am researching the history of RAF King's Cliffe and have a question regarding 616 Sqn's time there specifically April 1942.

Looking through various books and the Squadrons Official Record Book and Summary I have the following three pilots as being killed over the course of two days in April 1942;

12/14/42 - P/O M. Lepel-Cointet - Spitfire VB AD456 - Posted missing after a Circus mission escorting 12 Bostons to Hazebrouk mashalling yards.
12/14/42 - P/O Harley Richard Strouts - Spitfire VB Serial Unknown- Posted missing after a Circus mission escorting 12 Bostons to Hazebrouk mashalling yards.
13/14/42 - Sgt. George Leslie Davidson - Spitfire VB AD543 - Aircraft crashed when its pilot rashly attempted a slow roll immediately after taking off from Kings Cliffe during a visit to 616 Squadron by a party of reporters and press photographers.

I have been attempting to find out the serial number of Strouts' Spitfire and in my attempts have found various contradictory details (unfortunately the 616 ORB doesn't list any serials).

Some sources list his name as E.W. Stronts not H.R. Strouts.
Some sources list him as becoming a POW (he is listed on the CWGC website as KIA and commemorated at Runnymede)
Some sources list his aircraft as AD543 (the aircraft I believe Davidson was killed in the following day)
Other sources list his aircraft as AD453 though some sources list this aircraft as surving well beyond this date.

So the basic question is can anyone confirm which aircraft P/O Strouts was flying on 12/04/42 when he was KIA on the Hazebrouk mission?

Thanks,

Mike

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I had a look around, but can't find anything I consider definitive. This thread claims AD543 as Davidson's, but as far as I can see offers only second-hand "confirmation". I see nothing in AD453's history to suggest that its history is erroneous, which would seem to rule it out. There ought to be some record of Strouts' (who seems to be E W, not H R, but you must know?) aircraft not coming home, but pinning it down might be difficult...

bob

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Air Britain AA-AZ file has AD543 missing from raid on Hazebrouck 12/4/42 (with an identical entry for AD456) but AD453 surviving to become a maintenance airframe in 9/43. No pilots mentioned for any of them.

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Hmm, could be. AD375 supposedly went to 72 Sqn, but it was damaged in late March with 616, so being all in a compressed time frame, there's potential for an error or omission creeping in there.

bob

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The 616 Sqn ORB doesn't mention initials. I have his name as Harley Richard Strouts (RCAF J/15207) from the CWGC website that lists his death as 12/4/42 and that he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

There seem to be several websites that list AD453 as being Davidsons including this one: http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=154186

AD375 looks like a good candidate according to http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/home.htmlits life ended "Missing presumed shot down by Fw190s SE of Calais 12-4-42". Only sticking point is as mentioned above supposedly with 72 Sqn.

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72 Sqn ORB lists Spitfire AB375 as being with the Squadron but there is no mention of AD375. No 72 Sqn aircraft missing on 12/04/1942 either.

AB375 shot down with 72 Sqn on 24/04/1942 with P/O R P Frahm killed.

Edited by Mike M

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Well, AB vs AD looks eminently plausible as a reason for some confusion! If you have the 72 Squadron ORB, can you tell me when AB375 first appears?

bob

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Well, AB vs AD looks eminently plausible as a reason for some confusion! If you have the 72 Squadron ORB, can you tell me when AB375 first appears?

bob

I only have the April 1942 part. i just downloaded it in an attempt to solve this puzzle,

It flew on the 03/04/1942 operation with P/O R P Frahm, I don't know anything earlier than that.

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This may or may not help

From Graham Pitchfork's book "The RAF's first Jet Squadron 616 (South Yorkshire)", Appendix VI (616 Squadron Aircraft and Aircrew Losses) Page 154 :-

ZjiMFoG.jpg

The only query that I have is the location of Davidson's crash following a slow roll after t/o. Wansford is some 8 miles to the East of Kings Cliffe and I would have thought that he would have recovered somewhat by the time the aircraft reached there.

HTH

Dennis

Edit. In the same publication there is a photograph on Page 69 of "Pilots of 'B' Flight at Kings Cliffe in January 1942". As well as "Johnnie" Johnson it also includes "Strout (RCAF) (KIA)", at right of picture.

Edited by sloegin57

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The only query that I have is the location of Davidson's crash following a slow roll after t/o. Wansford is some 8 miles to the East of Kings Cliffe and I would have thought that he would have recovered somewhat by the time the aircraft reached there.

Thanks for this it is most useful.

Wansford is about four miles east of King's Cliffe and the airfield is between the two villages. A number of RAF sources refer to the airfield as actually being called Wansford. If Davidson had taken off from the East/West runway in a easterly direction then any crash would have been very close to Wansford village.

I didn't realise that the "The RAF's first Jet Squadron 616 (South Yorkshire)" book covered the earlier years of the Squadron, I assumed it was about their exploits with the Meteor. I'll have to buy a copy now!

Mike

Edited by Mike M

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