Jubillee Dieppe Raid and RAF High Speed Launches

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by KevinBattle, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    I like to research War Memorials since retiring to the country for various local Branches of the RBL. I'm currently looking at Rye, Sussex.
    One casualty caught my eye, a member of 961 Squadron (Barrage Balloons) based in Dover. He's recorded on Runnymede, for airmen with no known graves..... funny, thought I, how's an Aircraftsman appear on there, long after Dunkirk? Using GSE I found some more 961 Squadron members also on Runnymede, too many for "extra bods" on a bombing mission. So I looked at the date, 19 August 1942 and the Dieppe raid came to mind.... but still, barrage balloons, were they mounted on a ship which was sunk?

    Turns out that they were members of Air Sea Rescue launches attacked by Fw190's.
    DENNIS, DONALD BASIL. Rank: Leading Aircraftman. Service No: 1383647. Date of Death: 19/08/1942. Age: 22. Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference: Panel 97. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information: Son of Basil and Edith Mary Dennis, of Rye, Sussex.
    [961 Squadron was an RAF Anti Aircraft Balloon Section based at Dover. You might question why a member of such a ground based operation would be on the RAF Runnymede to AIRMEN with no known graves. The following accounts will explain

    SUTTON, ARNOLD WEBSTER. Rank: Leading Aircraftman. Service No: 1054416. Date of Death: 19/08/1942. Age: 25. Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 961 Balloon Sqdn.
    Grave Reference: 2. E. 2. Cemetery: PIHEN-LES-GUINES WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of Henry Higginson Sutton and Nellie Maud Sutton, of Wolverhampton.
    Casualties with a Balloon squadron who were, in fact, manning HSLs engaged in rescue duties during “Operation Jubilee” the raid on Dieppe.
    5 RAF crewmen were also captured (F/S S. MacKenzie, AC1 D.B. Bradbury, Cpl R.F. Braddy, G. Butterworth and W.G. Roy) presumably rescued from the wreckage of the launches.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE, AIR-SEA RESCUE CREWS KILLED
    F/O HILL.J.R. H.S.L.122 Skipper 961 Sqn
    Sgt OSBOURNE.F. H.S.L.122 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    Cpl APPLEBY.R.A. H.S.L.122 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. DENNIS.D.B. H.S.L.122 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. GOOD.H.K. H.S.L.122 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. MOSS.R.J. H.S.L.122 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. WILKINS.F.S. H.S.L.123 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. KRAFT.C.W. H.S.L.123 W/Op. 961 Sqn
    F/O BROAD.R. H.S.L.147 Skipper 961 Sqn
    Sgt STEPHENS.J.S. H.S.L.147 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. BAMBRIDGE.E.H. H.S.L.147 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. CURTISS.F. H.S.L.147 M.B.C. 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. SUTTON.A.W. H.S.L.147 N/ORD 961 Sqn
    L.A.C. STEPHENSON.R.F. H.S.L.147 M.B.C. 961.Sqn.
    I then found these medal groups on an auction site which give more details:-
    Lot Details. Lot 1017, 13 Dec 07. Category: Groups and Single Decorations for Gallantry
    Estimate: £2000-£2500. Hammer Price: £4500
    Description
    An outstanding Second World War Dieppe raid B.E.M. group of five awarded to Acting Corporal M. Nunn, Royal Air Force, the last man left standing on his Air Sea Rescue (A.S.R.) High Speed Launch (H.S.L.) after it was attacked by enemy aircraft: rescued by another H.S.L., this too had to be abandoned as a result of 30 minutes at the mercy of half a dozen F.W. 190s, until, at length, a few survivors were plucked to safety by a third launch from No. 27 A.S.R. Dover
    British Empire Medal, (Military) G.VI.R., 1st issue (755120 A.C. 1 M. Nunn, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Defence and War Medals, good very fine (5) £2000-2500
    Footnote: B.E.M. London Gazette 29 December 1942. The original recommendation states:
    ‘On 19 August 1942, A.C.1 Nunn was Wireless Operator in R.A.F. High Speed Launch (H.S.L.) 122. During operations the launch was severely attacked by enemy aircraft. He stuck to his post until the W./T. was shot away and, going on deck, found he was the only member of crew uninjured, the other members being either killed or wounded. He showed great presence of mind by first endeavouring to stop engines until he was almost overcome by fumes. He then ran to the wheel and continued to steer the launch for the British coast until sometime later he was taken off by H.S.L. 123. Shortly afterwards H.S.Ls 122 and 123 were sunk by the enemy. A.C. 1 Nunn has been with H.S.L’s Dover since December 1941 and has carried out numerous operations with skill and efficiency.’
    Michael Nunn was born in South Hadley, Barnsley in August 1920 and enlisted in the Royal Air Force at Cambridge in June 1939. After initial training, he was posted to No. 27 Air Sea Rescue (A.S.R.) at Dover in December 1941, and it was in this capacity that he won his B.E.M. off Dieppe in August 1942.
    Of the 14 High Speed Launches called out on 19 August 1942, in response to no less than 47 “Mayday” calls, three were lost to enemy action, among them, as related above, Nunn’s H.S.L. 122 - five of her crew were killed, including Flying Officer J. R. Hill, four wounded and two taken P.O.W. Her fate - and that of H.S.L. 123 - is best summarised in an official report submitted by Squadron Leader Coates, from which the following extract has been taken:
    ‘At about 16.35, four miles S.E. of the position, going north, 123 was attacked by two out of four F.W. 190s that appeared ahead. L.A.C. Wilkins was wounded and Sergeant Smith slightly wounded. A “Help” signal was sent. The planes did not return and course was maintained. Shortly afterwards the boat was challenged from the shore and the batteries opened fire, the shells falling astern. At 16.50 four F.W. 190s attacked from the port beam and course was altered towards them and no casualties resulted. A second “Help” signal was sent. Course was altered to N.W. to try and shake off the planes, which again disappeared, and to contact 122 [with Nunn aboard] for mutual aid and support ... 122, when sighted, was being bombed by a Heinkel and when closed at 17.15 was found to have been badly damaged by cannon and machine-gun fire, and with only five men left alive. These were being transferred when six or eight F.W. 190s appeared and attacked from the port beam, four serious casualties being sustained. A signal “Urgent Help 182 Dungeness 23” was sent. The boats then became separated. In view of the fact that not a single British fighter had provided cover or was even sighted from the time the English coast was left, and that we had been informed that none could be expected, it was considered that absolutely no possibility remained of making the 25 miles to our coast against the concerted attacks in operation. The boat [122] was therefore abandoned at 17.20. Whilst the survivors were in the water both boats were attacked for about half an hour and set completely on fire. H.S.L. 177, five to six miles distant, apparently saw smoke and having contacted R.M.L. 513 and two Spitfires, proceeded and performed a plucky and skilful rescue at about 18.00, the F.W. 190s making off on their approach ... ’
    Assuming Nunn had been a regular member of H.S.L. 122 since his arrival at No. 27 A.S.R. Dover, he would have been the veteran of numerous rescue operations in the interim, the unit’s O.R.B. revealing another encounter with enemy aircraft on 16 April 1942, when 122 was attacked by a pair of 109s off Folkestone - ‘No casualties but bullet hole damage to hull’ (the unit’s O.R.B. refers, full photocopied extracts from which are included, together with a good deal more information on the Dieppe raid).
    Having received his B.E.M. at a Buckingham Palace investiture held on 16 March 1943, and been advanced to Acting Corporal, Nunn transferred to No. 4 A.S.R. at Wick that September, where he served until being released in October 1945; sold with a copied wedding photograph and images of H.S.L. 122.
    Lot Details: Lot 661, 2 Dec 09. Category: Groups and Single Decorations for Gallantry
    Estimate: £2000-£2500. Hammer Price: £4100
    Description
    ‘There can be no question as to the bravery of these men of the Air Sea Rescue Service who were often working within sight of the French coast. For myself, I would rather meet a FW 190 head-on in my Spitfire than meet one from a rescue launch.’ Flight Lieutenant D. R. “Don” Morrison, D.F.C., D.F.M., No 401 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron, who rescued L.A.C. Dargue off Dieppe - taken from Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork’s Shot Down and in the Drink, R.A.F. and Commonwealth Aircrews Saved from the Sea 1939-45.
    An outstanding Second World War Dieppe raid B.E.M. group of five awarded to Leading Aircraftman A. Dargue, Royal Air Force, for great gallantry as a Nursing Orderly in High Speed Launches of Air Sea Rescue
    British Empire Medal, (Military) G.VI.R., 1st issue (1331108 L.A.C. Albert Dargue, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, good very fine and better (5) £2000-2500
    Footnote: B.E.M. London Gazette 29 December 1942:
    ‘Leading Aircraftman Dargue was Nursing Orderly on a High Speed Launch during the combined operations on 19 August 1942. In spite of wounds, he endeavoured to carry out first-aid to the wounded until he was picked up in a seriously wounded condition. The courage and valuable services rendered by Leading Aircraftman Dargue are typical of the high qualities displayed by the nursing orderlies, who have carried out hazardous operations in High Speed Launches which play an essential part in Air Sea Rescue.’
    Albert Dargue was serving in H.S.L. 122 of No. 27 Air Sea Rescue at Dover at the time of operation “Jubilee”.
    Of the 14 High Speed launches called out on 19 August 1942, in response to no less than 47 “Mayday” calls, three were lost to enemy action, among them H.S.L. 122 - five of her crew were killed, including Flying Officer J. R. Hill, four wounded and two taken P.O.W.
    A full account of the action is to be found in Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork’s Shot Down and in the Drink, R.A.F. and Commonwealth Aircrews Saved from the Sea 1939-45, in which it is revealed that Dargue was plucked from the water by Flight Lieutenant D. R. “Don” Morrison, D.F.C., D.F.M., No 401 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron, himself having been picked up by H.S.L. 177 after being downed earlier that day. Pitchfork takes up the story:
    ‘Morrison noticed a semi-conscious seaman drifting away. He immediately dived into the sea and burning oil to reach the badly injured man, bringing him alongside the launch where he was recovered on board. He was Leading Aircraftman Albert Dargue, the medical orderly of H.S.L. 122, which had been attacked and set on fire by German fighters. Despite being badly hurt himself, Dargue tended the seriously wounded until H.S.L. 123 pulled alongside. Only four men were left alive and Dargue dragged the other three survivors on deck, but just as they were about to be transferred, H.S.L. 123 also came under attack and was severely damaged. As the launch caught fire, the master gave the order to abandon ship. Dargue inflated the Mae Wests of the three injured men and pushed them overboard before he jumped. Exhausted and weak from his wound, he could do little to help himself until Morrison rescued him.
    Once H.S.L. 177 had picked up the 14 survivors the master headed for Newhaven at full speed, where the wounded were quickly evacuated to hospital. Morrison returned to his squadron and was soon back on duty. Following the Dieppe operation there were a number of gallantry awards for the men of the R.A.F’s high speed launches, including an M.B.E. to Conway and a B.E.M. to the brave L.A.C. Albert Dargue.
    Morrison wrote a detailed report of his experiences but made no mention of his own courageous part. He was loud in his praise for the men who manned the R.A.F. rescue launches and concluded his report: ‘There can be no question as to the bravery of these men of the Air Sea Rescue Service who were often working within sight of the French coast. For myself, I would rather meet a FW 190 head-on in my Spitfire than meet one from a rescue launch.’ ’
    Pitchfork continues: ‘There were many lessons to be learnt from the Dieppe raid, in particular the lack of armour plate protection for the gunners on rescue launches operating in the combat area. There was also a clear need for more capable armament, and the Admiralty agreed to supply 15 Oerlikon guns for the R.A.F’s launches at Dover and Newhaven. During October approval was given for 32 launches based at the east and south coast units to be provided with one 20-mm. Oerlikon and four .303 Vickers guns on twin pedestal mountings. It was also agreed that armour plating should be provided for the more vulnerable areas of the launches.’
    Sold with the recipient’s original wartime photograph album, containing some rare and impressive images of A.S.R. craft and personnel (16 in total), the outer cover with R.A.F. cap badge and the inside cover ink inscribed, ‘L.A.C. A. Dargue, R.A.F.’, together with a copy of Air Sea Rescue (H.M.S.O., 1942) and one or two related newspaper cuttings.

    So medals were issued for gallantry for the survivors and I feel that the CWGC description of their Unit as 961 Squadron ought to be clarified that they were either officially or not, as part of No. 27 Air Sea Rescue Squadron at Dover.

    The other sad aspect is that Donalds brother, George Thomas Dennis also died as a PoW in Thailand in October 1943
     
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Kevin

    Attached panels for the Runnymede casualties.
    CURTIS, FREDERICK CHARLES

    Rank:
    Leading Aircraftman
    Service No:
    1453926
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    36
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 97.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Frederick and Alice Curtis; husband of Irena Suzanna Curtis, of West Kensington, London.

    APPLEBY, REX ARTHUR

    Rank:
    Corporal
    Service No:
    1375497
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    27
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 97.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Frank James Appleby and Helen Agnes Appleby; husband of Eileen Maude Appleby, of Morden, Surrey.

    BAMBRIDGE, ERNEST HAROLD

    Rank:
    Leading Aircraftman
    Service No:
    1383840
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    33
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 97.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Alfred and Edna Susannah Bambridge, of Tottenham, Middlesex.

    BROAD, RODNEY

    Rank:
    Flying Officer
    Service No:
    110142
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    38
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 66.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Nelson and Alice Broad; husband of Maud Kathleen Broad.


    GOOD, HAROLD KENNETH

    Rank:
    Leading Aircraftman
    Service No:
    1458804
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    21
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 97.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Harold and Florence May Good, of Hull.

    HILL, JOHN RICHARD LOESSEL

    Rank:
    Flying Officer
    Service No:
    108368
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    30
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 67.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Charles A. R. and Lucia M. Hill; husband of Margaret Blanche Hill, of Essendon, Victoria, Australia.

    STEPHENS, JAMES STANLEY

    Rank:
    Sergeant
    Service No:
    630346
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    31
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 94.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Charles and Lucy Eleanor Stephens, of Scarborough, Yorkshire; husband of Ethel May Stephens, of Scarborough.


    STEPHENSON, RICHARD FREDERICK

    Rank:
    Leading Aircraftman
    Service No:
    1516941
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    32
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 98.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of H. and Alice Stephenson; husband of Constance Mary Stephenson, of Oadby, Leicestershire.

    WILKINS, FRANK STEPHEN

    Rank:
    Leading Aircraftman
    Service No:
    1459634
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    35
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 98.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Matilda Wilkins, of Cricklewood, Middlesex; husband of Hilda Frances Wilkins, of Broadstairs, Kent.

    DENNIS, DONALD BASIL

    Rank:
    Leading Aircraftman
    Service No:
    1383647
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    22
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 97.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Basil and Edith Mary Dennis, of Rye, Sussex.

    OSBORNE, FRANK OSTELL BLAYLOCK

    Rank:
    Sergeant
    Service No:
    1104514
    Date of Death:
    19/08/1942
    Age:
    33
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    961 Sqdn.
    Panel Reference
    Panel 90.
    Memorial
    RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
    Additional Information:
    Son of Henry Hamilton Osborne and Margaret Osborne; husband of Dorothy Osborne, of Redbridge, Hampshire.

    Air Sea Rescue launches
     

    Attached Files:

  3. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Thanks for those. Just getting my head round why a Barrage Balloon section would end up manning High Speed Air Sea Rescue launches with no mentioned of transfer or being attached.
    It did puzzle I as to how he came to be on Runnymede!
     
  4. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Early war posting decision that continued.

    The 1939 RAFVR crews for the barrage balloon units included a waterbourne section to close off the Thames estuary.

    As the divebombing threat to the Channel convoys increased the RN crews on the barrage balloon vessels attached to the convoys were augmented by RAFVR Balloon crews.

    When the A/SR HSLs were then provided for UK waters rather than foreign ports the crews for them continued to be administered by the parent port balloon units despite the fact that the men rarely took part in any balloon operations. The RAF just considered them to be similar to needs/conditions/trade/pay etc as the balloon men that messed about in boats rather than Coastal Command men who lived on RAF Stations beside the seaside.

    So all A/SR launch men were Balloon Command but not all Balloon Command men were A/SR crews.

    Regards
    Ross
     
    CL1 likes this.
  5. Kennedy

    Kennedy Junior Member

    KevinBattle,
    I have been looking for my information on my Paternal father who served on HSLaunches at ASR17 Dover, he was apparently killed or injured during the Dieppe Raid when a number of the launches were sunk. The only information that I have that his name was Sgt. John Kennedy and was crew on either HSL 122 or 123.

    I have tried RAF and the lady there said that she had started looking through the names and that there were so many John Kennedy's that without the O/N or birth date it was impossible find. I keep finding lists of those members of the Dover ASR that were at Dieppe but never uncovered any Kennedy's your list seems more comprehensive than I have found prior to today.
     
  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Hi, that's why we try and post up all the info available, in the hope that it is of use to family and others.
    There was one Kennedy casualty around the Dieppe timescale, but doesn't seem to be YOUR man...
    It's also likely that he wasn't a pilot they pulled out of the drink before being strafed, but that is a possibility unless someone has more definitive info on what he was flying and where he crashed...
    KENNEDY, DONALD NEWTON. Rank: Flight Lieutenant. Trade: Pilot. Service No: 43959. Date of Death: 19/08/1942. Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force. 26 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference: D. 3. Cemetery: DIEPPE CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY, HAUTOT-SUR-MER

    With regard to HSL122 or 123 I think I have only the names of those known to have been killed, not the survivors, but he should then have reappeared in hospital etc so you'd have heard from him.

    As for the compliment, if it wasn't for Geoffs Search Engine and the new CWGC site, these details would not be possible to assemble so quickly. I was just the guy that pressed the buttons.... but "Thanks" anyway!

    There are only 10 J Kennedy RAF deaths as Sergeants, only 3 or possibly 4 who were John.... Only 2 are on Runnymede.
    Of all the Air Force (not just RAF) deaths since 1st August 1942, there are NONE until 1943. In short there doesn't appear to be a CWGC death that matches for Name or time frame.....

    I hate to ask, but where did the HSL info on your Dad come from and do you have any "proof" of it from official records?

    As his Next of Kin, have you applied for his Service Records (some kind Pal will provide the link PDQ as I don't have it to hand) It will cost £30 and may take up to 12 moths and I think if you provide them with as much background info (copy Birth Cert, Marriage Cert and anything else that could help them to help you) then they may well be able to trace him and provide the answers you have been seeking.
    Do you have any idea of his age, place of birth or where he married?

    If you give it a few months after sending in your Application, they may be able to provide Service Number over the phone and that may well assist us finding out the circumstances for you.
    Sorry I can't be of more help....

    Send me a PM by clicking on my user name and following the instructions and I'll see if I can help "off board" but no promises!
     
  7. Kennedy

    Kennedy Junior Member

    Thanks PM sent
     
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Hi Kevin,

    Must have missed this one.

    A short bio for Flying-Officer John Richard Loessel Hill - Another Australian in the RAF.

    Flying-Officer John Richard Loessel Hill, formerly a member of the staff of "The West Australian,"was among those killed in the full-scale raid made upon Dieppe in a combined operations action last week. Flying-Officer Hill was educated at the Perth Modern School and at the University of WA. He spent some time on the staff of "The West Australian" and then went to London where he held a temporary position on "The Times." Later he was associated with other news organisations, but before the war started was selected for a position on the Public Relations Press Section of the Air Ministry. This year he was given the choice of serving in the RAF Air-Sea Rescue Service or the intelligence section, and he chose the former. It is beieved he lost his life when in command of a launch of the Air-Sea Rescue Service which carries out the work of picking up survivors in air and sea actions. He was the only child of Mr and Mrs C. A. R.Hill, of South Perth.

    Parents and Wife must have moved to Melbourne.
    Son of Charles A. R. and Lucia M. Hill; husband of Margaret Blanche Hill, of Essendon, Victoria, Australia.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  9. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    There are 3 RAF airmen . A cpl and 2LAC Harding , Eggleston and Prior buried oostduinkerke dated 19-8-42 along with a Lt RN from the queen Emma and a man from the RHLI
     

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