Shepherds Grove Operation Varsity gliders

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by HighTow, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    All,

    After much searching I cannot seem to located any pictures from Shepherds Grove for Operation Varsity. Are there any or are they just mislabelled?

    Do any exist?

    One of the volunteers at our museum is an ex RAF pilot who flew from Shepherds grove and was trying to find some pictures to show his family of "his" operation.

    Thanks in advance for any pointers.
     
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  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

  3. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    Yeah, last I was in London I went to the IWM image archive and pulled every Horsa and Operational photo they have and there was nothing from Shepherds grove.

    Point of interest, looking through the RAF and return forms it seems there was only 1 196 Squadron Stirling at Shephards Grove for Varsity being 7T "M" and indicated as a "spare" for the op.
     
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    HighTow,

    What squadron was he with or was he a RAF pilot selected to fly Horsas for Operation Varsity?

    Regards ..
     
  5. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    D Squadron - he went from Shephaerds Grove. He remembers that much :)
     
  6. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    Hello HighTow,

    I too am looking for photos of RAF Shepherds Grove. Have you located any? My father was an RAF Glider Pilot and took part in Operation Varsity, D Squadron, chalk number 305 so was based there January to March 1945.

    Regards
    Jenny
     
  7. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    Hi Jenny,

    No sorry - still no luck. The nearest I've got is some Horsa's in the background of a 1945 French film filmed at Shepherds Grove (http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/60741-le-bataillon-du-cielthey-are-not-angels/)

    Actually, would you be willing to share some details of your father? Glider 305 is one of the one's I don't actually have the crew names for. I'm working on a hunch it may have been towed by Stirling IV EF309 piloted by F/Lt. T Pryde.
     
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi,

    It's not much but you can see a very brief clip of Horsa CN 292 being pulled away for take off in the RAF film "Operation Varsity" at the 10:55 mark. If not a scene stolen from another campaign this would have been a glider carrying 53rd Lt. Regt. RA men out of Shepherds Grove.

    Operation Varsity - 10.55.jpg

    Am I on the right track there?

    Regards ...
     
  9. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    High Tow - CJB has posted the details of personnel in CN 305 under 6th Airborne Division - Prisoners of War, post number 63. Sorry, being new to this, I haven't yet worked out how to create a link (not for want of trying I might add!) but hopefully you'll find it.

    Both pilots were RAF seconded to the GPR after the devastating losses suffered at Arnhem. I know nothing of what happened to Flying Officer B. Kentfield other than he and my dad Flight Sergeant H. David Sparrow were both treated for gunshot wounds at RAF Hospital Cosford on their return to England in April 1945. I would love to hear from anyone who has information about F/O Kentfield. I found his name in my dad's casualty record. If it helps your hunch I have a hunch too that it was a tug from 196 squadron rather than 299 which towed CN 305.

    Cee - I think you're on the right track re CN 292. I've spotted it myself during my research. As far as I know this glider got caught in the slipstream and cast off, force landing 5 miles from Calais. Crew and passengers were all safe and I assume continued via the land route. CN 292 would have been in my dad's group of 28 gliders heading for LZ-P under Capt Strathern, 8 Flight, who was KIA in the operation.

    Jenny
     
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Jenny,

    Here's your link to CJB's post.

    6th Airborne Division - Prisoners of War

    To add a post link hover your cursor over the post number, right click and choose "Copy Link Location". Now go to the reply box in the thread in which you are responding and just paste where you want. You can also get fancy and embed the link by highlighting words of choice. In that case click the link icon (looks like a pair of googly eyes with a tear). When the box pops up paste the URL in the appropriate field. See attachment.

    Here is the same link embedded.

    Embed Link.JPG

    Regards ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  11. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    Thanks for the tip Cee. I'll give that a try next time.

    Jenny
     
  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    IWM Films - Operation Varsity

    A list of official IWM films on Operation Varsity most of which are not viewable. There may be others I've missed.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    [SOLDIERS OF 12TH BATTALION DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT, PART OF 6TH AIRLANDING BRIGADE, IN PREPARATION IN ENGLAND (PART 1] [Allocated]

    Film Number: A70 272-1
    Army Film and Photographic Unit; Oakes, E L (Sergeant) (cameraman)
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/12361

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    [SOLDIERS OF 12TH BATTALION DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT, PART OF 6TH AIRLANDING BRIGADE, IN PREPARATION IN ENGLAND (PART 2)] [Allocated]

    Film Number: A70 272-2
    Army Film and Photographic Unit; Oakes, E L (Sergeant) (cameraman)
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/12365

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    [PREPARATIONS BY SOLDIERS OF 6TH AIRBORNE DIVISION PRIOR TO TAKE-OFF FOR GERMANY (PART 1)] [Allocated]

    Film Number: A70 272-3
    Army Film and Photographic Unit; Lawrie, William Fairlie ((Sergeant): cameraman)
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/12362

    --------------------------------------------------------

    [PREPARATIONS BY SOLDIERS OF 6TH AIRBORNE DIVISION PRIOR TO TAKE-OFF FOR GERMANY (PART 2)] [Allocated]

    Film Number: A70 272-4
    Army Film and Photographic Unit; Lewis, C M ((Sergeant): cameraman)
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/12363

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    [PREPARATIONS BY SOLDIERS OF 6TH AIRBORNE DIVISION PRIOR TO TAKE-OFF FOR GERMANY (PART 3)] [Allocated]

    Film Number: A70 272-5
    Army Film and Photographic Unit; Lewis, C M ((Sergeant): cameraman)
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/12364

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    [SOLDIERS OF 6TH AIRBORNE DIVISION IN ACTION IN THE RIVER RHINE AREA, GERMANY] [Allocated]

    Film Number: A70 278-6
    Army Film and Photographic Unit; Lawrie, William Fairlie (Production individual)
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/12404

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    IWM Film - OPERATION VARSITY : Airborne Invasion East of the Rhine, March 24th 1945 [rough assembly and offcuts] [Main]

    Film Number: APY 140
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/43412

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    OPERATION VARSITY : Airborne Invasion East of the Rhine, March 24th 1945

    Finished Production
    Royal Air Force Film Production Unit
    Film Number: APY 40
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/43410

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    We Cross the Rhine

    Newsreel
    Title: PATHE GAZETTE ISSUE 45/26 (item) [Main]
    Film Number: MGH 109
    http://film.iwmcollections.org.uk/record/index/42256

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Canadian Army Newsreel No. 67

    Rhine Crossing - Starts at 6:46
    1st Canadian Parachute Battalion
    Library and Archives Canada - YouTube
    Warampsofcanada - YouTube
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  13. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    Thank you Cee,

    There are some on your list I haven't seen yet so I'll dive in straightaway.

    Jenny
     
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  14. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    @Cee - I happen to have a copy of that RAF Operation Varsity film and just looking through it I notice a mix of footage. Basically it's all A Squadron at Rivenhall and C/D Squadron at Woodbridge.

    The glider 292 is leaving from Manston on Operation Market and can be seen in this film (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060020734) at 3:50.

    So indeed, as with other newsreels they mix and match footage from previous operations.
     
  15. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    HT,

    I had a feeling that might be the case with CN 292 - so discouraging. For Varsity I'm still trying to figure out who all the cameramen were and what airfields they left from and what clips can be attributed to each one. Probably an impossible task without access to dope sheets, film and photos at the IWM.

    Regards ...
     
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I'll post this here for fear of knocking the 12th Devons thread out of whack. Another puzzler and a demonstration on how messed up some of these compilations might be.

    A photo of a group beside the Hamilcar with "Cumbacks" written on the side is usually claimed to have left with the first lift on D-Day (Peg Archive). I can't find an IWM number for it.

    Pic_3rdAtBtyTakeOff.JPG

    But it's also mentioned in an offcut compilation for Varsity at the IWM (APY 140 ).

    "... the troops board the gliders, after decorating them with slogans "Arnhem Avenger", "Wot No Engines?", "The Cumbacks", "She Dropeth Like a Gentle Rain from Heaven" ..."

    In the Australian Film F02614 said to be OMG you see troops entering the the Cumbacks glider. The film also appears to have scenes from the Op Varsity liftoff.

    F02614.mp4_snapshot_00.06.jpg

    So there is an example of a glider that shows up in three different operations according to various sources. I'm inclined to think that F02614 is one the three cans mentioned for APY 140

    "Much of the material is held in duplicate between cans P1, SP1 and SP3, and the shots do not appear in chronological order."

    Regards ...
     
  17. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    High Tow

    I found this front cover of The Eagle Vol 12 No 1 December 2008 showing Stirling tugs and gliders at Shepherds Grove. The two nearest tugs are clearly marked with their corresponding glider CNs, 290 and 292. Sadly no sign of my Dad's yellow-tailed Horsa in this picture.

    Glider Pilot Regiment Assoc. - The Eagle - Vol. 12 No.1 - December 2008

    Does anyone have a copy of this edition they could share please? I would be very interested to read the accounts of Walter Murton and Ted Giles and also the account of Geoff Fordye.

    Thanks
     
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  18. HighTow

    HighTow Junior Member

    Ironically, I was the one selling that copy! :)

    I'll try and scan the articles for you.
     
  19. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    Thanks High Tow. Much appreciated!

    To All - in his IWM interview Squadron Leader Hugh Grant-Dalton of 299 squadron makes reference to a "lot of photographs" taken by the "station photographer" at Shepherds Grove. Here's the link. Go to Reel 5 from 16:25 onwards.

    recording (26589)

    It's a long shot but does anyone know the whereabouts of Hugh-Dalton's photo collection today? It would make a fascinating addition to the WW2 Talk Gallery!

    Here's hoping the current owner is watching this!
     
  20. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Jenny,

    Some fine digging there! I came across a couple of hits on the web for Hugh Harold Grant-Dalton which you may already have. The clipping from Bomberpilot.blog.com is from Google cache captured July 2016 suggesting the original site has gone offline or changed? He died 12th September, 2015. The Hornet Newsletter (page 12) has his obituary but there is no mention of surviving family members.

    Squadron Leader Hugh Grant-Dalton DFC

    http://www.socterwolde.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/HORNET-111-Single-Page.pdf

    Grant-Dalton Clipping.jpg Obit. The Hornet Newsletter-1.jpg Obit. The Hornet Newsletter-2.jpg

    Regards ...
     

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