34 Squadron (South African Air Force) Losses

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by JRCowie, Jul 23, 2015.

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  1. JRCowie

    JRCowie Member

    Hi All

    Looking to find out what happened to James Cowie and the rest of the crew of a Liberator that was lost on 23 November 1944.The information I have to date is as follows, anything else would be a bonus......

    Thanks and Regards

    John

    James Cowie – Sergeant – 1566929 – Air Bomber – 34 (SAAF) Squadron, RAFVR. 34 Squadron was a heavy bomber squadron of the South African Air Force during World War II. It was formed in Egypt on 14 April 1944 and operated from Egypt and Italy until the end of the war. It was equipped with "Liberators". James died 23 November 1944, aged 22. Buried Budapest War Cemetery, Hungary, Collective Grave IV. E. 1-7. James was born 17 November 1922 at 6 Commerce Road, Buckie, the son of Peter and Lily Cowie.

    John Henry Asplin – Air Gunner – 170020.
    Norman Stanley McNeilly – Air Gunner – 540473.
    Basil Thomas Rogers – Air Gunner – 591469.
    William James Turner – Pilot – 189093.
    W G A Pitt – Pilot
    A C W Oddie – Navigator

    All died whilst on operations from Szombatheley Airfield, Hungary?.
     
  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Operations Record Books for SAAF squadrons appear in two places at The National Archives.

    AIR 27 is the RAF version of events and as usual is pay per month.

    I suggest that you aviod those and go to AIR 54 where the SAAF records transferred to the UK are stored. They have much greater detail and appendices.

    Best of all the complete ORBs are on free download.

    For No.34 Sqn it's AIR 54/79

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2707689

    Should give you a few nights reading material.

    Ross
     
  3. JRCowie

    JRCowie Member

    Cheers Ross
    Much appreciated as sleeping is becoming a problem
    Regards
    John
     
  4. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Where did the info on each casualty's trade come from? I'm guessing from a Chorley book.

    Just a bit of Googling that may add to the story -

    PITT, W G A 206450V South African Air Force

    ODDIE, A C W 581602V South African Air Force

    Oddie, Alistair Crompton Williams - http://www.southafricawargraves.org/search/details.php?id=19241

    Cause of death - Killed in action, 8 crew (2 RAF & 3 RAFVR), shot down while bombing the marshalling yards at Szombathely, Hungary, in Liberator B24J Mk VI #KH204
     
  5. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

  6. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

  7. JRCowie

    JRCowie Member

    Thanks for the links Dave they made very interesting reading.
    You were right there was a South African survivor, 2nd Lt Peter van Blerk. I'm sure there is another story here.
    I am still learning as to where to search for information. Thanks again for your help.
    Regards
    John
     
  8. w407594f

    w407594f Junior Member

    34 Sqn

    B-24J Liberator Mk.VI KH-204 “C” Op:
    Shot down by a night fighter whilst bombing the Szombathely marshalling yards, Hungary


    Lt. W.G.A. PITT
    -


    206450V


    Pilot


    SAAF


    33 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E. Collective Grave 1-7


    Plt Off. W.J. TURNER
    William James


    1890093


    Pilot


    RAFVR


    23 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E. Collective Grave 1-7


    Lt. A.C.W. ODDIE
    Alistar Crompton Williams


    81602V


    Nav /Bomber


    SAAF


    32 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E. Collective Grave 1-7


    2nd Lt. P.W. Van BLERK
    Peter Walter


    684220V


    W.Op / Air Gnr


    SAAF


    PoW # ***








    Sgt. J. COWIE
    James


    1566929


    Air Bomber


    RAFVR


    22 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E. Collective Grave 1-7


    Flt Off. J.H. ASPLIN



    170020


    Air Gnr


    RAFVR


    22 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E. Collective Grave 1-7


    Flt Sgt. N.S. McNEILLY



    540473


    Air Gnr


    RAF


    25 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E. Collective Grave 1-7


    Flt Sgt. B.T. ROGERS



    591469


    Air Gnr


    RAF


    22 †


    Budapest War Cemetery,
    Hungary


    Plot IV. Row E.. Collective Grave 1-7
     
  9. w407594f

    w407594f Junior Member

    Peter van Blerk was awarded an American Bronze Star in the 1980's for the assistance he gave a wounded american aviator during a train journey. He was badly burnt and smelt and all others avoided him. van Blerk assisted him and this US aviators daughter eventually tracked van Blerk down in South Africa 40 years later he the Yanks awarded him the Bronze star
     
  10. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    Liberator B.VI Serial KH204

    Ex. 44.44065
    Delivered Dorval 2 September 1944
    To the Middle East
    Arrived Maison Blanche 11 September 1944
    To 34 Squadron SAAF
    Missing from raid on marshalling yards at Szsombathely. Hungary 22 November 1944
    Struck Off Charge 25 November 1944
     
  11. Chris Eley

    Chris Eley Member

    Still on the subject of No.34 Squadron losses...

    Has anybody any knowledge of the location of the crash of EW198 (Skipper ENDLER), night of 10-11 Sep 1944? Reason for asking: I was in Serbia last month and encountered a 90-year old local who described a "4-engine bomber" coming down in the vicinity of the village of Ram at the top end of the Danube Gorge at the beginning of Sep.44. He spoke of there being both fatalities (since traced to Belgrade War Cemetery) and English-speaking survivors.

    My problem: This appears to be the same location as the known (from German naval records) place of shooting down of MM838, a Beaufighter, on the night of 31 Aug / 01 Sept 1944 by the vessels Uta and Bechelaren. In order to validate the detail of the Beaufighter's loss (no survivors), I need to rule out the possibility that the aircraft wreckage in the Danube river, marked on a 'Hazards to Dredging' chart of the Smederevo Port Authority, is EW198 rather than MM838.

    All help appreciated!

    Chris
     
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    http://www.harringtonmuseum.org.uk/...-on-Allied-Forces-Special-Duty-Operations.pdf
    11.9.44 Liberator Mk VI EW198 C
    34 Sqdn SAAF
    205 Group RAF
    Capt Eric Arnold Endler SAAF - Pilot - died
    Lt T.A. Stewart SAAF - Observer - died
    Lt Allan Graham McCabe SAAF - Wireless Op - died
    Lt J.P.W. Chapman SAAF - Co pilot - POW
    F/O Ronald George Devine RAFVR - Gunner - died
    P/O G. Crook RAF - Gunner - POW
    Sgt Clifford Manley RAFVR - Air Bomber - died
    Capt Endler, Lt Stewart, Lt McCabe, F/O Devine
    & Sgt Manley are buried at Belgrade War
    Cemetery, Yugoslavia
    between Skoplje &
    Kumanovo,
    Yugoslavia
    aircraft shot down by Luftwaffe night
    fighter while on the return flight from a
    successful supply dropping mission to
    Polish partisans in Warsaw and
    crashed between Skoplje and
    Kumanovi in Yugoslavia. 5 crew KIA,
    2 MIA. (Ex USAAF B24 42-99884)
    http://mysite.wanad
    oo-members.co.uk/s
    chenck/yu_losses/lo
    sses.htm
    “Heroism Beyond
    Praise”
    CWGC website
    http://bygonesandby
    ways.blogspot.com/
    2008_09_01_archiv
    e.html

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: J P W Chapman
    Rank: Lt.
    Army Number: 205382V
    POW Number: 8020
    Camp Type: Stalag Luft
    Camp Number: L3
    Camp Location: Sagan and Belaria, Poland
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

    Name: G Crook
    Rank: Pilot Officer
    Army Number: 172047
    Regiment: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks
    POW Number: 8021
    Camp Type: Stalag Luft 3
    Camp Number: L3
    Camp Location: Sagan and Belaria, Poland
    Section: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

    The 2 made POW's may have completed Liberation questionnaires or made statements to the RAF following liberation describing the events of what happened - might be worth following that line and seeing where it leads perhaps

    TD

    Just for ref for others - details of MM838
    Accident Bristol Beaufighter Mk VIF MM838, 31 Aug 1944
    MM838 Background
     
  13. Chris Eley

    Chris Eley Member

     
  14. Chris Eley

    Chris Eley Member

    Thanks. Seems to rule that one out. Short of diving on the wreckage, does anyone else have any suggestions? It is not a war grave, because both bodies were recovered.
     
  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Try above

    TD
     
  16. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Perhaps Liberator EW205 "Q" of No. 34 Sqn. ORB is rather blurry (AIR54/79/1) but piloted by Captain John William Capstick, SAAF. Operation is listed as "planting cucumbers in the bed of Danube". Entire crew lost.

    Dave
     
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  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

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  18. Chris Eley

    Chris Eley Member

    All indications received here suggest that EW205's target was in Hungary and that the Liberator 42-99891 came down in Slovakia. That's a considerable distance from Ram, Serbia, which is on the opposite bank to Bazias, Romania. Capstick's final resting place is documented by CWGC as Prague, causing me to rule out EW205 as a possibility.
     
  19. Chris Eley

    Chris Eley Member

    TD ~

    Thanks for suggesting Peter Kassak's book. Appendix 3 on Page 151 was my starting point, but I seem to have run out of "Gardening" Liberator casualties. That leaves two possibilities still to explore - the elderly witness being mistaken as to aircraft type, date or whatever, and the aircraft he reports seeing being on an unrelated mission and just happening to end up at Ram (therefore without qualifying for inclusion on Peter's list).

    Regarding the PoW Liberation Questionnaires: It looks as if WO344/78 should contain the debrief of G.Crook if there is one. It has not been digitised, so I'll have to pop down to Kew and do things the old way. I've never delved into these PoW documents before, for the simple reason that no member of 255 Squadron was ever taken prisoner.

    BTW I already had a copy of Gardening by Moonlight, being the person who supplied most of the photographs for Chapter 12 and a few words of the text too.

    --

     
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  20. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Re a 4-engine bomber crashing in Serbia - I know it isn't much, but you can discount the following possible Special Duties candidates lost over the Balkans that night (all have known crash sites elsewhere):

    Halifax II BB422 148 Sqdn
    Halifax JP288 1586 Flt
    Liberator EW278 1586 Flt

    Cheers, Pat.
     

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