Photo of Exercise in the UK or Operation in Europe?

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Pember, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Pember

    Pember Junior Member

    Would anyone be able to identify when and where this photo was taken?

    It could be from an Exercise in the UK or an Operation in Europe, during 1944 or 1945.

    I assume that the aircraft may be doing a supply drop, rather than dropping parachutists, and look like Albermarles or B-24 Liberators.

    Any insights appreciated!
     

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  2. CL1

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

    Salisbury Plain?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Great pic. What’s the source?
    B-24’s were used on the supply drop on Varsity ( march 45) but from what I know they were a lot lower than this picture. Could be a training run?
    There were a couple of full scale exercises prior to Varsity, ( called Neptune ) I think? So could be that one?

    Alex
     
  4. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Having looked again I can only see 2 engines on those planes. So, not B-24
     
  5. CL1

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

    a 4x4 website just googled salisbury plain
     
  6. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    And probably 8 Para on the ground looking at the markings on the Oversmock ( chap in the centre)

    Alex
     

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  7. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    As CL1 states, I think it's Sailsbury Plain, possibly the landing ground near Eveleigh. The landscape matches and the aircraft are Albermarles which as far as I can remember were only used to drop paratroops in Normandy. Again, that landscape isn't France.

    So by logical deduction I would say it was pre-D Day training exercise in Wiltshire.
     
  8. Pember

    Pember Junior Member

    Thank you to all for the information and observations so far shared!

    Are there any available pictures of the landing ground near Eveleigh, or a way to match the landscape?

    Regarding the aircraft, I agree that most look to be of the two-engine variety and therefore seem to be Albermarles. However, close examination of the rearmost of the aircraft (which is furthest towards the left of the picture and directly under the uppermost dropping parachutist), shows four engines as well as the twin tailpane (see attached). The assumption that they are making a supply drop is mine and I am open to the contention that they are actually part of the Para drop itself.

    Regarding the gents on the ground, can I ask what the markings on the oversmock looked like? Can you share any pictures? [okay, now seen the other thread on this very topic! :) ]

    The photo is from an album held by the intelligence officer of one of the USAAF Troop Carrier squadrons. However, some of the photos were official photos and not all necessarily taken by the Americans. The individual photos have recently been put for sale on e-Bay.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
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  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Pember,

    In your photo it looks like men dropping rather than supplies as you can see bent legs on a few. The landscape in the following British Pathe video taken in 1944 is somewhat similar. What looks like a smoke screen can be seen as the camera pans to the left. The claim here is that American, British and Canadians Paras all took part in the same exercise. At the very end, though not very clear, one man with a circle DZ flash can be seen walking away with the others.



    DZ Flash -Paratroops En Masse (1944).jpg

    I'm not entirely sure if this is the same event as seen in your photo?

    Regards ...
     
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  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    The above video I believe shows scenes from "Exercise Co-operation" which took place on February 7th, 1944. The Canadian Paras were dropped from Albemarle aircraft during the exercise. I can substantiate that with documents but if not on the right track with a connection to Pember's photo it would be a huge distraction.

    Regards ...
     
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  11. Pember

    Pember Junior Member

    There were two other photos in the same pages of the album, as attached...

    These two are virtually identical to scenes at 0.12 and 0.59 on the video; in the second even the cloud/smoke pattern is the same. As such, this would seem to confirm that the photos were taken during the same exercise. It is then a case of pinning down the exercise; Ex 'Cooperation' or another one? Issue date of the Pathe newsreel is early March 1944, which would seem to be consistent with February 1944 exercise.
     

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  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Pember,

    I already sent this photo to you by PM. I neglected to mention it comes from the document "A Most Irrevocable Step - Canadian Paratroopers on D-Day". The comment on the photo reads:

    "Mass drop during Exercise Co-operation, 7 February 1944 - preparation for D-Day.
    Courtesy of the 1 Cdn Para Bn Assn Archives"

    A Most Irrevocable Step - Cdn Paras on D-Day.jpg


    The aircraft in both your later photos and mine appear to be Dakotas. Now to establish if your original photo shows Canadian Paras. See this post in the Oversmock/DZ Flash thread with photos of Canadian Paras in what looks like a very similar landscape. According to Joyce "C" Coy on this unnamed exercise were dropped first by Albemarle. The rest of the Battalion coming afterwards jumped from Dakotas. No exact date given unfortunately.

    oversmock: painted sign identification

    Regards ...
     
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  13. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    as Cee has pointed out the photograph is one of many of "Exercise Co-Operation" this exercise was cancelled the day before because of heavy fog and "slight rain". The night before the exercise "A movie was shown at the "Y" in the evening."

    The War Diary states on the 7th February 1944;
    I have attached a photograph of the Canadians on the D.Z. once again there is a smock with a white circle, I thought a while back it may have been an imperfection on the negative. The photograph is from the Toronto Star.

    brithm
     

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