Transfer into 78 Squadron from 'Holme'?

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by RE864CoyPaul, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Understood, the other individual would have been the RG, F/Sgt Joe Le Blanc RCAF

    This is an image of the memorials close to the crash site, with the "X" marking the actual crash site location

    More images to follow . . .
    Crash Site.JPG
  2. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    The information board adjacent to the memorial is bi-lingual in Dutch & English (on either side) - this is English version . . .

  3. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    A 78 Sqn Merlin returning to a improvised HLS after conducting a flypast of 78 Sqn Halifax LV905 EY-W's crash site at Hank, the Netherlands on 16/10/2010

  4. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Following the recovery of the missing crew and the remaining aircraft wreckage, one engine and propeller unit was donated to a local Dutch Museum. A second propeller was incorporated into the memorial close to the crash site. The remains of the SI Engine were donated to the RAC (Real Aeroplane Company) at Breighton from where LV905 EY-W had departed on it's last flight. The SI Engine now forms part of a memorial to the crew of LV905 EY-W and all other airmen who lost their lives operating from Breighton during WWII as members of either 460 (RAAF) Sqn or 78 Sqn . . .

    EY Breighton 4.JPG
  5. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

  6. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

  7. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    The propeller from the SI Engine (now back at Breighton) was donated back to 78 Sqn by the ARU (Aircraft Recovery Unit) of the RNLAF, based at Woensdrecht Air Base, the Netherlands. When collected, it was discovered to be still leaking oil - despite all the years in the ground. As a homage to it's service in 4 Gp Bomber Command, the propeller formed the centre piece to the 78 Sqn Memorial, mounted on a three tonne block of Yorkstone airlifted out of a quarry on the outskirts of Halifax . . .

    OX Benson 1.jpg OX Benson 2.jpg OX Benson 3.jpg OX Benson 4.jpg

  8. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    On 01/11/11, 78 Sqn celebrated its 95th Anniversary and an aircraft could receive temporary special markings noting it was mandatory that Tiger Stripes featured as a homage to Tiger in the Sqn Badge. There was no real plan of how else to decorate it, so the most obvious solution was to include the markings of the aircraft featured in the Sqn Memorial

    As a result and for a very short time, a 78 Sqn Merlin carried the wartime codes of 78 Sqn Halifax LV905 EY-W . . .

    HPIM5154 - Copy.JPG

    HPIM5156 - Copy.JPG
  9. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Finally at Breighton, one of the members of the RAC also paid tribute to the crew of LV905 EY-W in the shape of a hand built RCM Halifax that had the ability to drop poppies at their annual RD service

  10. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Nearly forgot!!

    Not long after the 95th Anniversary, a well known company produced a 1/48 scale kit of the Merlin, including several finished colour scheme options for both 28 Sqn, 78 Sqn and Op Herrick / Op Telic. It also included the anniversary markings as well

    So apologies if this thread is now slightly off track, but the crew of Halifax LV905 EY-W including Sgt "Tex" Butler are still remembered

    Nemo Non Paratus - Nobody Unprepared (78 Sqn Motto)

    Airfix 78 1.jpg

    Airfix 78 2.jpg
  11. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Thank you for the wealth of information Tony! I really appreciate it!
  12. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Delighted and honoured to be of assistance. More is available if required/interested ?

    Tex is also directly remembered at the IBCC, Lincoln as per the attached link (as are the rest of the crew)

    Butler G - International Bomber Command Centre

    They are also indirectly remembered on the 78 Sqn Memorials at Bubwith Church

    Bubwith 1.jpg
    Bubwith 2.jpg

    Bubwith 3.jpg
  13. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Thank you again Tony, and everyone else.
    Apologies for being AWOL for a while but I've been digging deeper into Uncle George's service record (I have a copy of a letter that my aunt has) the RAF sent my nan in the 90s that's basically a typed up version if his service record, so I've been busy deciphering all of that and doing more investigations on JB788, the Halifax from 1652 HCU that came down in December 42 - I have a copy of the accident card but no crew info other than the pilot.
    Whilst researching him I came across a forum thread from 2008 that he actually replied multiple times on! And on that he mentions his autobiography, a 314 page book that has a whole chapter on the crash! Ive ordered a copy and it's due this week!
    He sadly passed in 2012 in his home country of Australia, bit his family are still selling his books and also a cd with 266 personal wartime photos on it, so I've ordered that too in the hope that it might have crash photos possibly, and if I can confirm George was on that flight, it might even have him in a photo or two, which would be huge not only to confirm when he earned his caterpillar club badge but also we only have two photos of him, so any others would be a big deal for my family.

    Via his record, I've located three other training courses involving flights, so I've got docs on order at Kew to look through their records, although I know the otu he was at only had one crash when he was there and it wasn't him, so that leaves 11AGS on the Isle of Man and 1 (o) AFU at Wigtown, Scotland as posdible locations for his bail out.
    I'm hoping I can get concrete proof via the 1652HCU Pilot but if not I can gather as much evidence as I can to disprove all other possibilities and then get to as close as I can to pricing he was in the Halifax in December 43.

    Tony - what other stuff do you have please? I've got the eyewitness report of the LV905 crash typed up by Michael Moore LeBlanc that I can post here if you don't already have it? He sent it to my nan in the 90s
  14. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Received the pilots autobiography and it's not George - the Butler in JB788 was a Bill from Devon.
    There were 13 crashes in 1652 HCU whilst he was there, the above crash was the only one with a butler and with bailouts.
    He was at 10 OTU for a month or so before but so far I can only find one crash and it had no survivors.
    Before that he was at 11AGSin the Isle of Man and then the only other flight training is from 1 (o) AFU a year or so before, in RAF Wigtown. I've pre-booked all the documents I can find to all of those, to go through when I go to Kew later this month
  15. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Yes please to the eyewitness report, I was in contact with Michael about ten years ago, tho' never received a copy of that specific doc!!
  16. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member


    Here you go Tony. They're only photos of the documents at the moment, but I'll see if I can borrow the original letter and scan it properly the next time I visit my aunt and uncle (hopefully within the next few weeks). The original letter is dated 31/3/95
  17. Tony H

    Tony H Junior Member

    Brilliant - many thanks and greatly appreciated !!
  18. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    No problem Tony!

    I was wondering if you could help me understand the crash site a bit more please, using your knowledge and experience.
    I've taken a screenshot of Google earth below. The red circle is the location of the memorial.
    Going by the eyewitness accounts and other info from the letter my nan received in the 90s, my best guess would be it travelled in the direction of the blue arrow, hit the ground (where the dark markings are, which might be the oil/fuel spoilage in the field?) whereby the tail end broke off and the front of the fuselage slid on through the dyke and came to a stop in the marshy/watery area north of the field?
    Does any of that tie up with what you know about the crash site and direction of travel at all, please? I'm sure the angle isn't as perpendicular to the sides of the field as my crudely drawn arrows below! (I'll draw it up more neatly once I've got better information to work with).

    I'm currently writing up George's full service record with information about every event and so I want to add a map of the crash site to that (the documents currently about 20+ pages but it'll be bigger than that when done as I haven't added any info on the crash yet), and once it's all done, I'll be giving copies to my aunt and mum (George's nieces) and printing off copies for my brother, cousins and all of our children so they can all learn about his time in the RAF. (Then I'll be moving on to repeating it all for my grandad, George's brother, who was an RAF mechanic!).
    I'm also hoping at some point in the next year or two, to visit Hank myself and to visit the graves of George and his aircrew.

    Hank google earth~4.png
  19. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    Actually, I think Google earth may have skewed the bearings lol

    Looking at Google maps, I think north is the other way around...
    I believe they we shot down 15km north of Breda, and Hank itself is only 25km north of Breda.
    If Hank is north of Breda, I'd assume they would've been flying roughly north when they crashed, so the arrows should be the other way around perhaps, as per below? Tony, do you know of any more details of the crash please, that could shed light on the crash site, direction etc?

    Also, if they were shot at 17,000 feet, 15kmnkrth of Breda and Hank is about 25km north of Breda, that means they lost 17,000 feet of altitude in that a realistic rate? Especially of they were seen trying to land it with feathered engines?
  20. RE864CoyPaul

    RE864CoyPaul Active Member

    I was thinking losing 17000 feet of altitude over 10km sounded too 'steep' to be able to try landing with feathered engines (eg they'd be falling like a rock), but some quick calculations and a correctly scaled graph (apologies but it's on my son's Spiderman notepaper lol), shows it wasn't too extreme an angle I believe. (Obviously it wouldn't have been a steady, straight line of descent, or in one direction, bit it gives a rough idea of what the rate of descent would have been)

    17000feet - 5.18km.
    Breda to Hank is ~25km.
    LV905 shot down 15km north of Breda, according to Luftwaffe accounts (and at 17000feet altitude)
    so it's 5.18km lost over 10km of distance, which gives the approximate angle seen by the red line below.

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020

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