Vickers Wellington 1C DV652

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by willfry, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. willfry

    willfry Junior Member

    I am researching the loss of Wellington DV652, thought to be of 40 sqn on 25th June 1942. She ran out of fuel and crashed, killing my friend's uncle Sgt Paul Derrick Rees. He is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial. Any further information or photos would be much appreciated.

    Thank you
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    There are several RAF experts that will no doubt reply as soon as they see your post.

    I have looked around the internet and although there are sites that confirm 40 Sqn was in North Africa at the time and flying Wellington 1C's I cannot find any details on losses.

    Several of our members have copies of Chorleys, the RAF Bible and I am sure that you will get very positive feedback.

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hello Willfry, welcome to the forum.

    I expect you have the following info but I'll post it for other forum members to see, hopefully one will be in a position to add more......

    24-25 June 1942.

    40 Squadron
    Wellington IC DV652 E
    Op. Benghazi

    The aircraft took off from Shallufa to attack the harbour and shipping at Benghazi. excessive fuel consumpson led to fuel exhaustion. Both engines cut and the aircraft crashed 19 km south of LG 115, Egypt, and caught fire. Sgt. Rees is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.


    Sgt. R E. White injured
    Sgt. L W H. Chappell injured
    P/O. E H. Laithwaite injured
    Sg. Price.
    Sgt. P D. Rees +
    Sgt. Wheetley.

    Taken from..... 'RAF Bomber Losses In The Middle East And Mediterranean' - David Gunby & Pelham Temple.


    On 24 June the target was shipping at Benghazi. For this operation 82 Wellingtons were detailed along with 12 USAAF B-24 Liberators. The attack was a success, with fires and explosions observed in the harbour, the moles and the town. 8 Wellingtons of 40 Squadron operated in this operation and one, Sgt. R E. White failed to return, crash landing in the desert 12 miles south of LG 117 after engine failure. The engines cut almost simultaneously, and although the altimeter was reading 600 feet, the Wellington flew into the ground at close to cruising speed, the undercarriage retracted.

    The observer, P/O. Laithwaite recalls......

    "In no time she was one mass of flame. there were four of us out - the 2nd Pilot badly hurt and dazed, the Captain dazed with a black eye, the W/Op unhurt and cool, and myself bruised and dazed. The rear gunner could not get out, but the W/Op got him out shortly by using the butt of his revolver to widen the gap between the turret and airframe. There was no sound from the front gunner and no hope of getting to him"

    Laithwaite and the wireless operator, Sgt. Price walked north and were spotted by SAAF personnel, who rescued the others.

    Taken from 'Sweeping the Skies' - David Gunby
  4. willfry

    willfry Junior Member

    Very many thanks for all contributions. It has been a great help and Sgt Rees's now finally knows what happened to her brother. Can you tell me to what the LG references mean, i.e. LG 117? Is it possible to get map references for this? Many thanks sgain for your assistance.
  5. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

    Can you tell me to what the LG references mean, i.e. LG 117? Is it possible to get map references for this? Many thanks sgain for your assistance.

    Airfields in the North African campaign were referred to as Landing grounds or LG's, they were also numbered therfore the LG 117 refers to Landing Ground 117.
  6. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Landing Ground No.117 is No.59 on this map of Egypt.

    Made a mess of the first attachment, can't seem to be able to delete it.

    Attached Files:

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    This operation reflects the acute state of British forces in Egypt before the big push from El Alamain having to base their bomb squadrons in the Suez Canal Zone.On the other hand,it did mean that the RAF was within striking distance of affairs in Iraq and on RAF Iraq airfields.

    The distance to Bengazi from Shallufa, which virtually on the Suez Canal, a few miles north of Suez must have been at about the maximum range of the Wellington,which means a full overflight of Egypt to Benghazi or larger distance if a dog leg to the coastal strip was made..The reason why Shallufa was chosen as a base for Wellingtons is that it must have been considered secure enough against the threat of a push of axis forces from the western desert into Egypt.Nevertheless such distances over the desert where the terrain and nomads could be quite hostile to crews who were forced down required the utmost in fuel consumption management.I am not surprised that there was little flexibility in fuel consumption.

    Incidentally Shallufa was a permanent RAF airfield within the Suez Canal Zone and enforced by the Anglo Egytian Treaty of 1936.The airfield was in continual use by the RAF until the withdrawal from Egypt in the mid 1950s.There was bomb range facilities here and one feature of aircraft being rotated there was the Egyptian ack ack were always liable to have a go at RAF aircraft.A case of misidentification they would claim.

    Hampden operations into Germany were also at about the aircraft's maximuim range, leaving little scope for extra fuel consumption caused by engine or navigational problems.Many crews were lost on return due to running out of fuel before they could make safe landings in eastern England airfields.

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