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Oakington 7 Sqn Stirling info share

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:34 pm
by legs
Hi All,

Apologies if I mess this up in any way.....I'm a new member and new to forums in general.

I have posted this topic for a couple of reasons. Firstly to share what limited info I have found to date, in case it may be of interest to others and secondly, in the hope that others might be able to provide any further info regarding my grandfathers operational service with 7 Sqn.

This information found was sourced from the website when starting my search for info, beginning from a story passed around the family of my grandfather ditching his Stirling off the Welsh coast:

Sqn Ldr Herbert L Legh-Smith - Pilot (My grandfather)
Sgt Bird - ?
Sgt Fenton - ?
Sgt Cooper - ?
Sgt Bentham - ?
Sgt William - ?
Sgt Hudson - ?

Short S.29 Stirling Mk1, Serial N6074, Sqn identifier MG-G. Delivered to operational Sqn 27th Feb 42. This aircraft was part of a batch (N6065-N6084) which were built at Aldegrove, Northern Ireland, contract number 774677/38 by Short & Harland and manufactured between Sept 41 and Mar 42.

Operational Unit:
7 Squadron, Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Mission detail known:
Detailed for Ops 25th March 1942, Target St-Nazaire. The aircraft took off at 1911 heading for the target. The aircraft was later ditched in Barmouth Bay at the NE end of Cardigan Bay at 0200 26th March as it ran out of fuel. At the time of the ditching the Stirling was many miles off track and shortly before going into the sea, 4 crew members baled out. Fortunately there were no casualties from either those who took to the silk or those that remained aboard for the ditching. The aircraft is recorded as later being salvaged and taken to RAF Llanbedr.

I was hoping to be able to get some corroborative detail from my Grandfather's log book which my parents have somewhere, but which has not surfaced...we're still looking. Beyond that info I have found images online of a couple of MG-G designated aircraft, reputedly taken at Oakington but the serials do not match the serial in the report above or they are illegible. I would love to know if anyone has any further info regarding this incident, my grandfathers service at the squadron or that of his crew, images of the station at that time or of the crew and aircraft.

Chatting to mum about it, she recalls her father in law talking of the incident as an amusing anecdote. Her recollection of the detail of the tale differs slightly in that she thinks only 1 crew member was said to have remained aboard with my grandfather during the ditching (apparently because he had forgotten his 'chute, which I find very hard to believe!!). I would love to have been able to pick dad's brain about it but 10 years of Alzheimer related degradation has blown that option - a cruel and ignoble fate for a once quick witted, razor sharp, RAF career served Navigator.

Well I hope this info is of use and interest. Kind regards all.

Re: Oakington 7 Sqn Stirling info share

Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:23 am
by jamesinnewcastle
Hi Legs

There are various things to find out about particular aircraft and crew, a log book is a very good start. Other stuff in brief:

AM1180 - report on particular aircraft accident
AM78 - Report on the maint/repair history of a particular aircraft
AIB 765c (I think) Air Investigation of an accident not in combat (yours may have had one of these, but the MOD burned most of them)
ORBs - Operation Record Book, two types one about each mission and one about the airfield in general
The airmans personal service history from AHB - in full if you are a direct relative
Log Book - very interesting - hope they find it
Google - try all sorts of searches.

Have a look at this page too - this sort of report seems to have happened if there was something a little suspicious about a crash that related to aircraft design rather than a flying accident.


I have a lot of photos which I'll look through tonight.


Re: Oakington 7 Sqn Stirling info share

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:07 pm
by legs
Hi James,

Thanks very much for all those pointers....they'll keep me busy for a while in my moments of downtime. Interesting expanded detail in the link too thanks. Much obliged for your efforts trawling your photographs; I would think that a pic is more than likely to have been taken of my Grandfather and his crew, considering it appears that it seems as though it was the thing to do. Quite frustrating to think there might be one out there somewhere, but as yet, inaccessible.

I recall as a child rummaging through some great pics of his from his earlier flying days but I don't recall seeing any from his operational days. I am still trying to pin down which member of the family ended up with them. I'd like to get copies of the lot ultimately.

Thanks again and I'll keep you posted if I come up with anything of interest.