Stirlings near Ipswich, mid Apr, 1944?

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Aplomado
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Stirlings near Ipswich, mid Apr, 1944?

Post by Aplomado » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:11 am

Thank you for accepting me as a new member. I cannot say that I will be able to contribute more to this forum than I shall take from it. My connection to WWII was my father, who flew with the 8th USAAF out of Hethel during Apr/May 1944. He was a navigator in B-24s and flew 19 missions with the Leininger crew. I and my brother have his well penned memoir that covers training, combat, POW, and the endkampf in Bavaria. What it made plain was that his view of events always had a restricted one. I am attempting to illuminate his narrative with the increased access to details not available when he wrote it.
Q: Did the RAF have a Stirling unit based near Ipswich in Apr 1944?
My search has come up inconclusive. Dad wrote that on 21 Apr '44 his crew ferried another south to pick up their B-24 that made a forced landing at an RAF base near Ipswich due to battle damage. It had been repaired enough for the return trip. He said they flew 1/2 hour south, which is about right. While the pilots were sorting out the paperwork, dad and the others took a close look at the flight line. A friendly RAF flight officer gave them a close look at one of the Short Stirlings.
RAF Bentwaters was the obvious choice with its designation as an emergency airfield. The other is Wattisham. But did they have Stirlings? My experience so far with dad's writings is that he gets the big things correct and any 'license' taken, is with the insignificant details, e.g. the flight officer's name. A review of his individual flight record shows that he logged 2:45 non-mission combat hours on the 21st in a B-24D. This flight time seems adequate for a flight to Manston down in Kent.... but Stirlings?
Anybody have any thoughts?

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K4KittyCrew
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Re: Stirlings near Ipswich, mid Apr, 1944?

Post by K4KittyCrew » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:16 am

Hello Aplomado and welcome to the forum.

Your details are verying interesting and l / members here, will endeavour to pass on what information we find, if any.
Please give a bit of time and we'll see if we can find some details.
regards,
John
K for Kitty Crew - Winthorpe, 1661 HCU's - stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org/
630 Squadron - East Kirkby
" There is nothing glorious about war with the exception of those who served us so valiantly"

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AlanW
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Re: Stirlings near Ipswich, mid Apr, 1944?

Post by AlanW » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:41 pm

Possibly RAF Stradishall, which was home to 1657 HCU, flying Stirlings.
There is no paralell in warfare, to such courage and determination in the face of danger, over so long a period. Such devotion, should never be forgotten.

Aplomado
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Re: Stirlings near Ipswich, mid Apr, 1944?

Post by Aplomado » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:22 am

Thanks Alan for your response.
If RAF Stradishall was the active Stirling base in the area at that time, I am inclined to rethink this narrative. Given the lack of specifics in dad's note, I have taken a conservative perspective and decided a couple of things: 1. assume the event actually happened. 2. proceed from the facts that don't absolutely depend on his memory.
A pilot by the name he mentions did fly with the 389th. This doesn't prove much, but isn't demonstratively false. I don't know the mission when their bomber was shot up; just a couple of weeks before.
Dad's flight record has non-mission combat hours recorded for the approximate date. I assume that all hours not for training flown in a war plane in the ETO counted as 'combat'(?) All other flying hours bracketing the 21st were combat missions. These were careful records compiled by clerical/tower/groundcrew for other reasons than just his personal tally of flying time. It says he was in the air for 2 and 3/4 hours. I prefer to depend on this figure than his statement of "about a half an hour south" of Hethel, (a distance which would indicate 1/2 to 3/4 hour air time). This conflicts with the fact that he was the navigator, and recorded the details at the time. Whatever diary or personal log that he may have kept did not make it back from Europe with his effects later after he was reported as MIA. When the narrative was written in the 1980s, most of these details were from memory.
It's hard to unify this story. A damaged B-24 was notoriously unstable and the nearest emergency fields were Manston or Bentwaters, depending on damage and where they came off the continent. If they still had hydraulics, they could have landed at any of the bases near the coast. The crew navigator would have planned for one if they thought that they could cross the channel. Their home base was to the north, just wsw of Norwich.
Dad says the base they went to "...flew Stirling bombers,... As we stared at one...", (as opposed to a lone plane). I can imagine a scenario where they would put down at Stradishall, but without details of their emergency it isn't the obvious choice.
Were any Stirlings in Sussex? That would satisfy the official flight time. In Apr '44, transport and V-sites were being hit by the 8th in France and their entry/exit for those was Beachy Head down south.
It's obvious that I am missing some important points. I hate to torture the narrative too much.

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Re: Stirlings near Ipswich, mid Apr, 1944?

Post by Aplomado » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:14 am

So no Stirlings were based in the south during Apr 1944? I just want to be clear on that. Sussex, Kent were not used by Stirling groups at that time?
Is there a website that is searchable for RAF Bomber Command missions in WWII?
I am interested in targets bombed in Ingolstadt and the vicinity in the last year of the war... all A/C. Munitions targets were important there and the 8th USAAF bombed them during 1945. Their history, that I can find, glosses over their military importance. I'm looking for RAF targets/missions.

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