927533 Corporal Cyril RABBITT, RAFVR

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by gash hand, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Corporal Cyril Rabbitt 2 Tactical Air Force Air/No 927533 KIA 1st January 1945 aged 23. CWC Eindhoven
    (Woensel) General Cemetery. Plot KK Grave 261.

    Cyril was killed when readying Typhoon Aircraft on the airfield when the Luftwaffe launched their last major attack called Operation Bodenplatte (not sure about spelling) but it meant Baseplate. Does anyone know the name of the airfield on which he was killed ?and are there any battle reports about that specific airfield on that particular day?

    Cyril was my Father's best friend before he was killed, they lived in Sidcup and Cyril was an electrical engineer
    working for a company in Dorking Surrey prior to signing up. Cyril possibly had a brother who was said to have been a Major in the Royal Artillery fighting in North West Europe at the time?

    Hopefully I will upload a photo of Cyril thank you Dizzy and She

    Corporal Cyril Rabbitt. Royal Air Force.

    Details entered above. thank you
    Dizzy and She
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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I dont know for certain but as Eindhoven was one of the targets and he is buried there - Operation Bodenplatte - Wikipedia

    Eindhoven B.78 RAF / RCAF Hawker Typhoon Mk.IIb /Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V and Mk.IX LF JG 3 "Udet"
    Fw 190A-8 and Fw 190D-9

    I assume there is a connection


    Do you have details about which Squadron he was with at the time??

    9781898697152: The Battle of the Airfields: Operation Bodenplatte 1st January 1945 - AbeBooks - Franks, Norman: 1898697159

    Operation Bodenplatte 1st January 1945 | RAF Memorial Flight Club

    New Year’s Day 1945: New Blows against the Allies - The Ardennes, 1944-1945: Hitler's Winter Offensive
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Ardennes Offensive....the Battle of the Bulge...the supporting air offensive by the Luftwaffe attacks on 2nd TAF Dutch advanced airfields.

    There is a very good insight of the Bodenplatte 2nd TAF operational losses in Norman L R Franks Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War Volume 111 (1944-1945)

    The Luftwaffe with about 70 fighters from NoJG3 No 1 Group (Fw 190s) from Paderborn Nos 111 and 1V Groups (Me 109s) from Lippespringe and Gutersloh respectively attacked Eindhoven airfield (No 83 Group) at about 0920 to 0945 where the three Wings, (No 124 with 4 Squadrons of Typhoons,No 39 (RCAF) with 3 Squadrons of Spitfires and No 143 with 4 Squadrons of Typhoons) were based.Each Wing had dispatched their first sortie of the day and the second dispatch wave were preparing for their first sortie of the day,Some pilots were caught in their aircraft at the time ready for take off of the second wave.

    Casualties for the 2nd TAF were put at 40 personnel dead included 11 pilots,(6 of whom were killed in the air) and a total of 145 personnel wounded.127 aircraft were recorded as destroyed and 133 damaged.

    While the Luftwaffe caught a large number of aircraft on the ground,they in turn were hit hard with over 150 killed or missing,60 taken as POWs and 20 wounded...aircrew that they could not replace readily while the 2nd TAF had no such problem in replacing aircraft and personnel at a critical period for the Third Reich.

    There was no warning via Ultra of Bodenplatte thought to be due to Hitler forbidding wireless traffic before mounting the operation.

    The Battle of the Airfields again by Norman L R Franks gives comprehensive detail of the events of 1 January 1945 together with the detailed losses suffered by the 2nd TAF.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Cyril Alfred Rabbitt was with 182 Squadron when just at 0900 the Germans sent fighters strafing the airfield. Cpl Rabbitt was caught in the open and fatally wounded. One other groundcrew had his foot shot off by a cannon shell. It's the first entry in the ORB for January 1945 (naturally) and can be downloaded for free from the National Archives (as I just did) AIR 27/1136/25. Part of 124 Wing and Airfield designation shown as B86.
    Epitaph reads
    We know the spot
    Though the sea divides us
    He is still with us
    Mum and Dad
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  5. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much TD for the information, certainly worth looking into, sorry we do not know which Squadron he was with.
    many thanks Dizzy and She
  6. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Wow Harry, so much information we are really grateful to you for researching for us, we certainly have a lot to go on now, we will follow up your book references. Many thanks to you. Dizzy and She
  7. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Really grateful to you KevinBattle, we only wish his friend, Dizzy's Father was still around, he would love to have known all this, we have taken a screenshot of the details and will follow them up absolutely terrific thank you so much. Dizzy and She

    Have also screenshot info from Harry and TD, Excellent. Dizzy and She
  8. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Our pleasure is in being able to find things for others who haven't spent so much time in ferreting (oops, sorry, Mr Rabbitt) out bits and pieces over the years.. Location for B-86 Helmond, Netherlands Located: 51°28′41″N 005°39′04″E (approximately).
    Don't forget, the ORB download is free. If you want I can email if you PM your details.

    Thanks to Harry, you now know he was servicing Typhoons (probably "bombphoons") tackling German armour and other targets of opportunity or holding up troops advancing into Germany.
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  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Kevin.just made a note regarding Helmond.

    124 Wing was based at Eindhoven whose 2nd TAF airfield identity was B 78 (B for British it would seem.USAAF airfield occupation had the prefix A for airfield identity but also Y from AY and R ....the latter two associated with the occupation of airfields in Germany)

    B 86 was the airfield at Helmond, also in the Netherlands but not involved as I see with Bodenplatte.

    No 124 Wing,Typhoon equipped, was composed of No 137 Squadron,No 181 Squadron,
    No 182 Squadron and 247 Squadron

    Overall Eindhoven B 78 had 11 Squadrons based there and must have been heavily congested with aircraft with Luftwaffe able to destroy many aircraft on the ground,apart from those who were about to take off.I would think that the RAF could only operate out of these advanced airfields that were found in a fit state,clear of obstacles and made safe from mines and delayed explosive ordnance.
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  10. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Harry, don't often disagree, but the 182 Squadron ORB DOES say it was involved, and on the top left column it shows as B86...

    Attached Files:

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  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I see that also confirms Cpl Rabbitts circumstances as hes mentioned by name

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  12. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much KevinBattle your efforts are much appreciated we are receiving so much good stuff from you boys there, we have our fingers in a couple of pies (not rabbit) on ww2 talk, we have 18th July 3rd Royal Tanks and my uncle Eric, and Dizzy's got Last boy sailor on Waterwitch on the go, so we are trying to cover range of topics, for now we will take screenshots and prioritise. We have also undertaken extensive research into uncle Eric over past 10 years, mostly blind alley stuff, as his name is registered at BDM as Albert Henry Eric Turner. Always an important thing to pass on full names in the family. Thank you She
  13. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Many thanks KevinBattle forB86 182 Sqdn ORB p1.png. Have taken a screenshot, refer to my explanation above. Thank you. She
  14. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Many thanks Harry for all of your efforts together with KevinBattle you have both been extremely kind and informative, as explained to KevinBattle, we have to prioritise our research as we have 18th July 3rd RT on the go and Waterwitch where we have also received much information plus extensive research in finding uncle Eric whose name turned out to be Albert Henry Eric Turner. We have other things to put on this site over the coming weeks, relating to 467 Squadron RAAF. Most grateful to you all. She & Dizzy
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    On the No 182 Squadron ORB presented ,I cannot see B 86 Helmond referenced apart from "No 124 Wing HQ RAF" Nos 124,No 39 and 143 Wings had their HQs at B 78 Eindhoven.

    At first I thought perhaps there could be a detachment at B 86 Helmond which is about 10 miles due east of Eindhoven which I discounted when I realised that the detail of the individual squadron deployments would provide the answer.

    Looking at No 124 Wing and its squadron airfields from Jefford's "RAF Squadrons" during the work up of the 2nd TAF in this area reveals the following deployments.

    No 137 Squadron was based at B 78 Eindhoven from 23 September 1944 to 13 January 1945 when it deployed to B 86 Helmond,then on to Warmwell from 7 March 1945 and back to B 86 Helmond on 19 March 1945.

    No 181 Squadron was based at B 78 Eindhoven from 22 September 1944, then to Warmwell from 12 January 1945,then on to B 86 Helmond from 3 February 1945.

    No 182 Squadron was based at B 78 Eindhoven from 22 September 1944 to 13 January 1945 when it deployed to B 86 Helmond,then to Warmwell from 3 February 1945 and back to B 86 Helmond from 21 February 1945.

    No 247 Squadron was based at B 78 Eindhoven from 22 September 1944 to 13 January 1945 when it deployed to B 86 Helmond, then to Warmwell on 21 February 1945 and back to B 86 Helmond from 7 March 1945.

    From the ORB and the No 168 Squadron reference.This squadron was based at B 78 Eindhoven from 4 October 1944 until 26 February 1945 when the squadron was disbanded.

    From this information,it can be ascertained that the first time B 86 Helmond was used by No 124 Wing was 13 January 1945.The reason was that as an Advanced Landing Ground it still was under construction by REs,protected by RAF Regiment Nos 2875 and 2881 Squadrons.It is recorded that the airfield was strafed by the Luftwaffe at a height too low to bear gunnery against the aircraft...no casualties recorded.

    From this information,I conclude that Corporal Rabbitt was killed at B 78 Eindhoven. It may be that the task of writing up the ORB was done at B 86 Helmond. This would be a task for the squadron adjutant assisted by his Orderly Room clerks...in dynamic warfare,logging up was always subject to be secondary to priorities.
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  16. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Thank you Harry for all your detailed information regarding my fathers dear friend Corporal Cyril Rabbitt I am indebted to you for all knowledgeable help. Also found an original copy of of the book battle of the airfields by Norman Franks which I have just purchased on your recommendation thank you, how my father would have been interested to know all this. Dizzy
  17. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Harry, you are correct
    My apologies, B78 at New Year and B96 from 13 January 1945. :salut:
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  18. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    thank you once again TD for valuable help and info. We have now bought the book The battle of the Airfields as you and Harry have both recommended, my father in law would have been glee to know. thank you. She
  19. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    No apologies are necessary...research is best achieved by team work which is a common feature from members on this site...all in turn can provide a wide dimension of information across the whole range of historical research.
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  20. gash hand

    gash hand Well-Known Member

    Hello Kevin
    Just to let you know we have been through our bags of photos and found one of Cyril Rabbitt with my Father in Law John Darvill and Pilot Officer Groombridge who was a fighter pilot flying spitfires. Photo is old so Dizzy is digitising it and tidying it up, will upload it later, just as a matter of interest. Thank you for your attention. She:)

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