Help to interpret ORB of RAF Sqd 138

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Bandy, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    Hi guy,

    Working on the Operations Record Book of the RAF/Sqd 138 [Ref: Air 27/956]
    I need your help to interprete the end of the text of the two missions at 2005 and 2045.
    "Operation not completed aircraft abandoned ...and after I cant decode.
    For a French guy it's impossible to guess the meaning

    EXTRAIT ORB 138SQD.png

    A zoom
    Thank for your help.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  2. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Aircraft abandoned over East Anglia? (A geographical area in the East of England)
    BFBSM likes this.
  3. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    Thank Peter
    OK for the location, but I dont understand the whys and wherefores an aircraft could be abandoned.
    No reference too of an aerodrome, no reference of a trouble on the engines ??
  4. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Edit: removed, double-post. Oops.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  5. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Andy, I found this reference on the Aircrew Remembered website which mentions these two losses in passing - it's primarily concerned with a third 138 Sqdn Halifax lost that night, that of F/Sgt Watson. He had flown to the Carcassonne region but encountered bad weather on his return and made for RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk (East Anglia) but crashed on landing. Airfields appears to have been fogged-in that night, and apparently a large number of Bomber Command aircrew were lost on their return from operations.

    The relevant paragraph to your research says, "Halifax II LW280 NF-K flown by Flt Sgt T.M. Thomas crashed into the sea, four crew members being killed. Halifax V LL119 NF-L flown by F/O R.W. Johnson was abandoned and crashed into the sea off Felixstowe, Suffolk - all the crew surviving."

    On a 2009 thread from another forum,, Spidge (of this parish, I presume) provides the information that Thomas was ordered to abandon over the sea as a landing was impossible at Woodbridge, and presumably Johnson was the same. They will have been diverted to Woodbridge, an airfield set up for large aircraft in distress to land at, as fog made landing at Tempsford too dangerous.

    Cheers, Pat.
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    East Anglia experienced severe weather with low cloud and fog waiting for aircraft returning to their bases, causing diversions to the Woodbridge emergency airfield.Abandoning aircraft was always an option to cover situations as this,fuel also might be low but there was always a risk to the crew if an aircraft was abandoned over the sea.

    It appears that F/S Watson crashed at Capel Green while on approach to Woodbridge airfield

    Dubbed "Black Thursday", returning aircraft crashes from 16/17 December 1943 operations cost Bomber Command 127 aircrew dead and a further 34 injured.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  7. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    16-17 December 1943

    138 Squadron
    Halifax II LW280 NF-K
    Op. S.O.E

    Took of from Tempsford at 2005 hours on Operation Marc 1 and set course for France. crashed in the sea off the port of Harwich, Essex. It is believed that those who died were recovered from the water.


    F/S. T M. Thomas
    Sgt. T B. Hawkes +
    Sgt. J. Lynch +
    Sgt. R. Marshall +
    Sgt. J J. Hannah +
    Sgt. J A. Vick
    Sgt. J K K. Vincent

    Hailfax V LL119 NF=L
    Op. S.O.E

    Took of from Tempsford on Operation Wheelwright 36 and set course for France. Due to poor weather conditions on return the Halifax was abandoned after which it fell into the sea off Felixstowe, Suffolk. No injuries reported.


    F/O. R W. Johnson
    Sgt. E, Gibbons
    P/O. H G. Vincent
    Sgt. L S. Manson RCAF
    Sgt. D. Stuart
    P/O. K N. James
    Sgt. W A. Bellman RCAF

    Source - RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol.4 - W R. Chorley.
    Harry Ree and Owen like this.
  8. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    Hi and thank Pat, Harry, Peter for your help.

    I think that now all is clear for me about this day 1443 Dec 16/17 in 138 Sqd.
    The problem for me was that the LL115 (take off 20:30) found on Aircrew Remembered website dont appear on the Operations Record Book (ORB) of the Sqd.
    Look at the picture:

    orb 16DEC43.jpg
    TO at 20:20 is OK (W/O PICK)
    TO at 20:00 is OK with a landed on WOODBRIDGE.
    TO at 20:05 is the LW280 (F/Sgt THOMAS) liste KIO is OK on the ORB.
    TO at 20:45 is the LL119 (F/O JOHNSON)
    The TO at 20:30 is absent but the list of killed personals is included in the ORB in perfect concordance with Aircrew Remembered website.
    May be a mistake in the registration ?

    Cheers, Andy
  9. Jaap Vermeer

    Jaap Vermeer Active Member

    Andy,all crashes of 138 SD Squadron are mentioned in the book by Freddie Clark '' Agents by Moonlight
    ISBN 0 7524 1691 X

    Halifax LL115 crashed at Capel Green near Woodbridge,Operation DETECTIVE 3,France with pilot F/Sgt. J.G.A.Watson.

    regards Jaap Vermeer MDE

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