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James B

Tips wanted to find more info on grandad's log books

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Hi,

 

One of my grandad's passed away many years ago, and like a lot of veterans he rarely if ever spoke of his time in the services. I recently came across all his old log books, and was amazed to see the missions he flew on, and subsequently made it back from. As far as we knew, he served mostly in Burma, but as you can see from the picture I have included below, he did a lot more than that. Of particular interest to me was the fact he flew into Arnhem on day 2 of Operation Market. Successfully landed, and made it back home in time for his next op.  

 

What I have so far been unable to discover is what aircraft would have towed his Horsa for this op, and how I can find out the tail number etc, and then also how I could locate the same information regarding other operations he flew on.  Finally, as I'd love to work on a diorama of this, is there anyway to know what he carried on the flight?

 

JRBc0nt.jpg

 

xFolSMv.jpg

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Sorry I can't help, but he is well worthy of a :poppy:

RIP with many thanks.

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Posted (edited)

Hi James

 

I reckon the serial number of the Horsa is PW656 as noted next to the aircraft type. Edit- If it is PW656 it was written off on this operation according to the Aviation Safety Network (www.aviation-safety.net/wikibase/140605)

 

Good luck exploring what I am sure is a fascinating story

 

Phil

Edited by Phil Evans

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I'm not sure if there was ever a complete record of which aircraft towed which glider but the Operations Record Books in the National Archives have some detail which may allow you to find out more. It will need some digging though. First you need to find out which tug squadrons were on that operation then look at their ORBs for clues.

 

I recently had a quick look at this for someone else regarding D-Day. See post 6 in https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235056778-hamilcar-glider-d-day-photos/

 

There are no guarantees you will find enough information to make the link I'm afraid. The other place to try would be Army Flying Museum https://www.armyflying.com/ but I've no idea what they offer in the way of records and research. There have been books on the Glider Pilot Regiment but I don't recall the titles, they would probably give an overview of the units involved in different operations.

 

Good luck in your search,

Ross

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Posted (edited)

There are definitely some records which link gliders and the aircraft which towed them. I can't remember what the records are but I'm pretty sure they would have been a squadron ORB. I know I've downloaded them because used them in connection with some work on Arnhem but I'm blowed if I can find them on my system. I remember being astonished at the amount of detail given - it included the gliders' loads. I'll keep looking....

 

Aha! It's the 296 Sqn ORB Appendices for 1944. There's nearly 200 pages. Stand by....

 

Darn! There's no mention of S/Sgt Shirley in the records for 18th September. I guess that confirms that he wasn't towed by a 296 Sqn Albacore out of Brize Norton.

The records don't give the glider serial number, only their chalk numbers but despite this they are really interesting. The National Archives reference number is AIR 27/1647.

Edited by Ivor Ramsden

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G Squadron was based at Fairford so set off from there. 

I can't vouch for the accuracy personally but this reference - 

https://www.supportmanstonairport.org/manstons-role-operation-market-garden-17th-september-1944/

- lists the Market Garden glider tugs by departure base, and says that Fairford departures were towed by Dakotas.

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Air Britain serial registers state against PW656 merely: "lost (Arnhem) 18.9.44": no info re unit allocation (nor for the vast majority of others in the batch).

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295 Squadron towed heavy gliders with Short Stirlings in Market Garden. Not much but a possibility.

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On 6/18/2019 at 7:27 AM, Phil Evans said:

I reckon the serial number of the Horsa is PW656 as noted next to the aircraft type. Edit- If it is PW656 it was written off on this operation 

Every glider on Market Garden was written off on its trip. It's a one way ticket by design...

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Crimea River said:

295 Squadron towed heavy gliders with Short Stirlings in Market Garden. Not much but a possibility.

We know the glider pilot's unit, it's written in his log book, G Squadron, Glider Pilot Regiment. There is no way the CO of that unit would be signing off the logbook for accuracy of a pilot in another unit. 

So we know it's Fairford and Dakota tugs, because that's where G Squadron GPR flew from on Market Garden.

Edited by Work In Progress

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I really appreciate everybody's help and input. It's a shame there isn't more information around, but understandable. I'll continue to dig, and with the directions you've all provided there is plenty more leads for me to follow, so thank you, I really appreciate it.

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Posted (edited)

@James B - Brace yourself.

 

I can't find any specific information on your Grandfather at Arnhem - I'm afraid it appears he's one of the "lost" pilots who aren't properly recorded due to the absence of the relevant glider loading and raid reports having been lost to time. He isn't mentioned in any of the records I have so the log book actually helps fill in a blank in that regard. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say he was towed by a Stirling IV from 190 Squadron from RAF Fairford. I'm basing this on G-Squadron 9 and 10 flight being aligned with 620/190 Squadrons.


Sadly the 190 Squadron glider reports only exist for the 17th September, not the 18th but again, using the knowledge I have and the assumption his flight was attached to 190 Squadron he was probably carrying one of the following loads to LZ "Z":

  • Jeep & trailer plus bicycles of 1st or 3rd Parachute Brigade
  • Jeep & trailer loads of 1 Para Squadron of the Royal engineers
  •  Z-Troop of 1st Air landing AT Battery with 6 pounder anti-tank guns.

Without knowing his chalk number or position in the take-off it's hard to pin it down. :(

 

But, maybe you already knew this but he also flew on D-Day on Operation Mallard. He was towed behind Stirling IV EF264 of B Flight coded L9-O carrying a Jeep, Trailer and 75mm AT gun to LZ "W". The official load list gives him as being in chalk number 214 but the HQ War Diary says he was in 328(?). They are listed as crew 6153122 S/Sgt Shirley A & 2047340 Sgt Puplett R.

 

Here's the official glider raid report which was collected by the 190 Squadron Intel officer once the tug aircraft returned and a picture of the crew.

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

I also noticed that Arnhem is listed as "Operation 3" in his log book - assuming Operation Mallard was one, I wonder what the other one was?

 

Anyway, hope that helps.

Edited by OneEighthBit

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6 hours ago, OneEighthBit said:

 

 

I also noticed that Arnhem is listed as "Operation 3" in his log book - assuming Operation Mallard was one, I wonder what the other one was?

 

 

WOW! I can't thank you enough.

 

He flew in the Sicily invasion from what I recall, which I think was prior to Arnhem. If you're interested, the log books are back with my family in the UK now, but I can get scans for you? There's several log books that go on to Burma and the far east I think. But it's been a while since I looked through them all.

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Truly amazing that 75 year on this sort of information is still coming to light.  What a great shame your grandfather could not have been encouraged to commit his story to paper or even a simple audio diary for future generation read, hear and learn.

The information held within such log books are first and foremost a families story but with the right research I would hope they can be shared with a wider audience.

Can I suggest that you post your grandfathers story on the Flypast Forum many very knowledge people over there who I am sure will be pleased to help and give advice.

www.forum.keypublishing.com/forum/historic-aviation?4-Historic-Aviation=

By simply joining the Forum you can easily link back to Britmodeller

 

 

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I'm also active on the F

1 hour ago, DOUGHNUT said:

Truly amazing that 75 year on this sort of information is still coming to light.  What a great shame your grandfather could not have been encouraged to commit his story to paper or even a simple audio diary for future generation read, hear and learn.

The information held within such log books are first and foremost a families story but with the right research I would hope they can be shared with a wider audience.

Can I suggest that you post your grandfathers story on the Flypast Forum many very knowledge people over there who I am sure will be pleased to help and give advice.

www.forum.keypublishing.com/forum/historic-aviation?4-Historic-Aviation=

By simply joining the Forum you can easily link back to Britmodeller

 

 

I'm active on the Flypast forum too so I'd probably have picked up on it there if not here. Aeronut who posts here occasionally works at the Museum of Army flying and they have a lot of records, certainly the same ones I do. I'm also a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment Society (AN off-shoot from the now defunct regimental association) so I can ask through those channels if anything comes up.

 

As I mentioned in my post there are a lot of "lost" glider pilots because the records of who flew what glider and what they carried are basically gone. The administrative work done on the airfield involved a lot of faffing around with three copies of "Form B", one the pilot kept and two copies sent up the chain of command. Rarely are copies held by glider pilots found and the copies sent up the chain were basically binned after the war. A few have remained due to some RAF adjutant deciding to stick them in the back of the ORB or keeping a personal record (as per the famous secret Tarrant Rushton log book).

 

Myself and a few others are very dedicated to tracking down all these forgotten pilots so when people can post log books and so on it helps us fill in the blanks and make sure they get added to the regimental roll of honour.

 

 

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On 7/3/2019 at 8:57 PM, OneEighthBit said:

I'm also active on the F

I'm active on the Flypast forum too so I'd probably have picked up on it there if not here. Aeronut who posts here occasionally works at the Museum of Army flying and they have a lot of records, certainly the same ones I do. I'm also a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment Society (AN off-shoot from the now defunct regimental association) so I can ask through those channels if anything comes up.

 

As I mentioned in my post there are a lot of "lost" glider pilots because the records of who flew what glider and what they carried are basically gone. The administrative work done on the airfield involved a lot of faffing around with three copies of "Form B", one the pilot kept and two copies sent up the chain of command. Rarely are copies held by glider pilots found and the copies sent up the chain were basically binned after the war. A few have remained due to some RAF adjutant deciding to stick them in the back of the ORB or keeping a personal record (as per the famous secret Tarrant Rushton log book).

 

Myself and a few others are very dedicated to tracking down all these forgotten pilots so when people can post log books and so on it helps us fill in the blanks and make sure they get added to the regimental roll of honour.

 

 

Thanks for the call out Jed.

The archive at Middle Wallop is getting back up to speed answering research requests following its move during the winter when the museum underwent a major revamp; not least was the subtle change of name to ‘The Army Flying Museum’.

 

 

 

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I have now got some good quality scans of his log books sent over to me from back home and, what do you know, in the back he's listed what he carried on each of the major operations he flew!

 

ZNaeyaa.png

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