Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

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K4KittyCrew
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Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Hi folks, As some of already know, I'm also a 'mod' over on the 630 Sqn Homepage forum http://www.630squadron.co.uk/ and had a post on the below listed details.

Just got a photo of a crew, standing under a Stirling but who were lost flying Lancaster ME737. Benny from "Planehunters Recovery team" are currently doing a dig / search, on ME737 but this photo was posted. Benny mentioned that this photo of the crew was taken whilst in training.

As you can see, 'R' is listed on the nose but 'Blondie' is written along the side. Any ideas as to where this Stirling may have been situated?
John
http://630forum.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=5166264
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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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Peter Fox
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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by Peter Fox »

Is that a stylalized "Maple Leaf" behind Blondie? Could this be a Canadian aircraft?

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smudgersmith218
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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by smudgersmith218 »

Hi John,

If you know the crew it would be a simple case of just back tracking via the posting in / out documents of No.630 Squadron ORB. Given that it is a No.5 Group squadron I would guess at No.1661 HCU.

Cheers

Steve
No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron 1918-1945
The Nomads

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K4KittyCrew
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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Thanks Peter and Steve.
This is an old post but it is always interesting to know the outcome of such events.
Cheers,
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"

jono67
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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by jono67 »

That's my dad second left Gerald Victor Prettejohns and the crew lost before he went onto ix special ops including the 3 Tirpitz raids.

1661 HCU happy to send images but cannot on here as too large.
Ceulaers knows about this and me.

Jonathan Prettjohns

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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by jono67 »

A BOY FROM HACKNEY


I began my working life in 1938 and was employed in a coal office as a junior clerk, however, the war soon took off and the manager was called up. There were 10,000 citizens to keep supplied with coal and eventually I was made Depot Manager, on behalf of the National Coal Board. My job besides my own duties on the wharf, were to collect NCB delivery forms, stock, future coal requirements etc. Every Saturday these were posted to the NCB HQ.
I was due to be called up in 1943, so to use the time from 1941- 1943, I joined the local Air Defence Cadet Corp (ADCC), - 53rd Squadron (Hackney). The ADCC became the Air Training Corps on 10 April 1941. On 7 August 1942, I moved to 1826 Squadron at Berkshire Road School, then to Laura Place School in Upper Clapton. Overall, I did 600 hours of training, teaching morse code and aldis signalling and drill instruction, the latter, when I was asked by my ATC CO, to form a unit at Wimbledon, known as 18(F) Sqdn, which I believe still exists today. One sunny afternoon, I was walking down the coal yard when the irregular rhythm of an aircraft was heard. There it was, a German twin engined bomber hopping in and out of the clouds. The pilot and his crew were about to shoot down Balloon Barrages on Hackney Marshes. No air raid had sounded, no RAF planes were seen and no ack-ack fire was heard. How the pilot had come so far in land, I didn’t know. He deserved to get away with it. The country was getting on a war footing, and one of the exercises was searchlight affiliation with RAF Wellington bombers. Another exercise was an anti-aircraft battery on Hackney Marshes, “firing” on a Wellington bomber straffing at ground level, (this field was built up to road level during the WW 2 years, with the bomb damaged rubble of London). Post war, it became 110 football pitches.
I was called up in 1943 and trained at Bridlington in Yorkshire, I then completed my Flight Engineer training at St Athans in Wales. I was posted to Winthorpe, on 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit where I was mad enough to go up as a ‘spare bod’, to learn all I could about Stirlings during Feb and March of 1944. I then moved to Lancaster finishing school No.5 at Syerston, where I met up with a new crew, after two months in Lincoln Military Hospital. I found out that my first crew were shot down over a village in Belgium, on their fourth op. Five crew were buried in Belgium, two other crewmembers baled out, and became POW. I joined 106 Squadron at RAF Metheringham on 11 June 1944 and completed 21 ops. On 31 Aug 1944, I was posted to IX(B) Squadron at RAF Bardney and completed a further 11 ops crewed with Sqn Ldr A G Williams. IX(B) were the senior squadron in the RAF and I felt very proud that a boy from Hackney should have joined this great Squadron. On 11 September we flew from Bardney to Yagonik, Russia, in WS-N, which was unable to fly the next leg to the TIRPITZ as one engine had a broken exhaust valve. We were billeted on the IVAN KALYEV and in the blackout some young Russian children exchanged cigarettes and metal uniform buttons, and a cloth with officers’ insignia on it. I still look at them today, including some rouble notes.
On the 12 November 1944 we flew to Tromso Fjord where the combined effort turned the Tirpitz over, to rest upturned on a bed of sand. On 12 January 1945 we went to Bergen and hit the U-Boat pens. Lord ‘Haw Haw’ was giving wrong wind vectors, and the Squadron Leader spoke on the open radio to our crews to ignore these, and to use the briefed winds. On the way home, our Rear Gunner fired at a F.W.190, which caught fire. We had raced down to sea level, and stayed at very low level until our Skipper resumed normal altitude. On 3 February 1945, we bombed the boat pens at Ijmuiden. The flak was very close and our Skipper was cut by Perspex, as shrapnel hit his window. The bomb aimer said he had also been hit. I went down into his area, tore his shirt open and picked a hot piece of shrapnel off his chest. He swore at me saying “He had only got the new shirt out of store that morning”.

Gerald Prettejohns
IX(B) Squadron Lancaster Flight Engineer

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Bruno
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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by Bruno »

Hello Jonathan,

A great thanks for your posts.
jono67 wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:39 pm
1661 HCU happy to send images but cannot on here as too large.
:arrow: If you want I can help to publish the photos.

Regards.

Bruno
Bruno LECAPLAIN, Webmaster.
www.raf38group.org

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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by jono67 »

Sorry very late replies but flat out and will get some more images soon.

Anyone I can send these to via mail?

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Re: Stirling Photo at HCU's ?

Post by Bruno »

Hello,

You can send it at raf38groupATgmail.com (replace AT with @).
Regards.

Bruno
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