Stirling Over Lorient !!

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smudgersmith218
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Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by smudgersmith218 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:17 pm

A photograph that I chanced upon, thought you may enjoy. Taken over Lorient 13/14th February 1943. Note Stirling bottom of photo. !!
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No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron 1918-1945
The Nomads

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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by Bruno » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:52 am

Steve,

Thanks for this amazing photo.
Have you an idea of what can be all the lights on the photo? Ground lights from the flak positions?
Thanks in advance.

Bruno
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K4KittyCrew
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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by K4KittyCrew » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:57 am

HI Steve & Bruno,

Would also be interesting to know / guess, the approximate height the Stirling was at.

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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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by smudgersmith218 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:24 pm

Photo taken of a Short Stirling over the Keroman Submarrine Yards on the 13/14th February attack, details below taken from the draft copy of my forth coming book on the history of No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron, titled " In - Time ".


Bomber Command carried out the heaviest attack of the war on Lorient on the 13th, four-hundred and sixty six aircraft were dispatched dropping for the first time over 1,000 tons on a target. Group dispatched sixty Stirling’s and four Wellingtons, 218 contribution was a credible fifteen aircraft. The attack was planned in three phases, the 1st phase was for twenty four aircraft of the PFF to mark the aiming points between 2031hrs to 2041hrs, phase 2 was for two hundred and eighteen bombers of No.1, 3 and 6 Group to bomb aiming points ‘A’ & ‘B’ (the old town) and aiming point ‘Z’ (Keroman peninsular) between Zero Hour + 2 to + 30. The final phase would see two hundred and thirty two aircraft of No.4 & 5 Groups attacked between Zero Hour + 30 to + 60 with the same aiming points. The aircraft from Phase 2 were instructed to make timed runs from Ile de Groix if the marking was insufficient. A number of squadron crews arriving from the south made timed runs from Ile De Groix while other bombed on a number of well placed markers. Flak over the target was described as heavy, searchlights were active and working in conjunction with the naval flak batteries. Pilot Officer E Cozens and S/Ldr A Beck both reported flak damage, S/Ldr Becks windscreen was shattered while over the target area resulting in a very drafty trip home. Visibility was perfect over both aiming points, most crews reported dropping their HE loads from between 6,000ft to 13,500ft in the target area which on leaving was a mass of flames. On route home F/O J Downey and crew were shadowed by a single engine fighter which stayed out of firing range, the crew braced themselves for the inevitable attack, however the fighter slipped from view and was not seen again. The long awaited debut of the Short Stirling Mk.III was finally realised on this raid. Austin Motors built a Stirling BK650 arrived via No.44 M.U on February 6th followed by BK687 the following day. Stirling BK650 was allocated the individual letter ‘L’ while BK687 was given ‘R’. The honour of first airborne on operations was taken by BK650 HA-L flown by S/Ldr W.H Hiles with Sgt W Hoar as second pilot. On leaving the target area S/Ldr Hiles impulsively shot-up and stopped a train at ground level 10 miles east of Lorient, he was fast becoming a expert at train busting. On his returned Hiles commented he was “very pleased with the Mk.III”. ! Likewise S/Ldr E.F Sly AFM in his report was enthusiastic on the Mk.III performance.
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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by K4KittyCrew » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:43 am

Hi Steve,

Sincerely look forward to your book coming out, please keep us all advised as to when and where the book will be available.
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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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by smudgersmith218 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:29 pm

Hi John,

Thanks mate, to be honest only work on it a few hours a week, so it will be a few years yet if I survive that is, currently over 300 pages and only up to June 1943. !!! :o :o

Have around 200 odd photo's to pick between. :shock:

So don't hold your breath mate :D :D

Smudge
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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by K4KittyCrew » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:04 am

smudgersmith218 wrote:Hi John,

Thanks mate, to be honest only work on it a few hours a week, so it will be a few years yet if I survive that is, currently over 300 pages and only up to June 1943. !!! :o :o

Have around 200 odd photo's to pick between. :shock:

So don't hold your breath mate :D :D

Smudge
Wow, that much information and that many photos, what are the chances Steve, of maybe having two volumes?

I don't think I can wait ( only up to 1943 ) much longer !

Seriously, this sounds like this book is going to be a 'must have' by all. Keep us posted please, Steve.
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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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by Bruno » Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:53 am

Hello,

This will surely be a 'must have'. Steve is the best!
Perhaps could we vote for 2 volumes or not. We'll send the result to the publisher!
;)

Bruno
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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by smudgersmith218 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:42 pm

To be honest gents and thanks for the thumbs up, the chance of getting the book published is remote, Chris Wards and I first book on No.3 Group was only published because of Chris's established friendship with Pen & Sword. :lol:

I will see what happens.

Anyway must dash, up at 0400hrs for work. :cry: :cry:

Smudge
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Re: Stirling Over Lorient !!

Post by thegypsy » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:01 am

I was interested in coming across this article as my father was on that Lorient raid. He was a Stirling pilot from RAF Bourn 15 Squadron as was F/O Downey mentioned in the article.

This was my father's second visit to Lorient as he went there the night of 9th February and I have a copy of a Combat Report submitted after the flight where the rear gunner claimed a ME 109.

Unfortunately the next night the 14th Feb my father's aircraft was shot down over Belgium on the way to Cologne and the whole crew were killed.

This summer my son and I visited the crash site thanks to two local Belgians and collected a few items still scattered in the maize field and was given a piece of an oxygen valve which had been found years ago on the site.

Also visited the crew's mass graves at Heverlee War Cemetry

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