Update Sept 8th - LK147 Stirling 196 Sqn- Mission completed

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Gunnar
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Update Sept 8th - LK147 Stirling 196 Sqn- Mission completed

Post by Gunnar »

I`m trying to find as many relatives as possible of the 20 men who died in this tragic Short Stirling LK147 crash during the liberation of Norway, Operation Doomsday, on May the 10th 1945.

A short film that I made this autumn at the crashsite: http://vimeo.com/29142049

On saturday may the 12th 2012 there will be a memorial at the crash site located just 1500 meters south of the western runway at Gardermoen international airport, Norway. I would therefore like to get in touch with the families of the men onboard, so that the families can participate in this commemoration.

Please let me know If you have any ideas on how to track down the last 4 family members (Welch, Phipps, Seabury and F. Brown) - look at the names in this e-mail and click on the link behind every name - it takes you to the commonwealth war graves comission website, where additional information on everyone is listed (names of their mother, father, wife and the area in UK they came from).

If anyone have pictures of the crew and the soldiers onboard, the aircraft LK147, the crash site (1945), the small Cemetary established at the crash site, reports, and other documents, I would be most greatful. The remains were moved to the commonwealth war graves at Vestre gravlund in Oslo by the end of November 1945.

10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn 2 miles south-west of Gardermoen. 20 men died. No survivors.
The aircraft was seen to emerge from cloud which had a base of 200 to 300 feet. The pilot attempted an immediate climb to avoid the surrounding high ground but the aircraft stalled, dived into the ground and burst into flames. The weather was extremely poor and there was bad visibility and low cloud covering the mountainous area surrounding Oslo and to the north. -There was no radio contact with the aircraft and the pilot had descended below his safety height in an attempt to land, having not heard or failed to respond to the recall signal.


So far I have got in contact with relatives of 16 of the 20 men (marked in red):


ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE:
Flying Officer John Leonard BREED 24 RAAF Pilot
Warrant Officer Hugh Joseph KILDAY 31 RAAF

ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE:
Flight Sergeant Harold Alfred BELL 32 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186124
Flight Sergeant David WELCH 34 Wireless Operator http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186213
Flight Sergeant Lionel James Douglas GILYEAD 21 Flight Engineer http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186146
Warrant Officer Raymond Charles IMPETT 32 Navigator http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186154

THE LEICESTERSHIRE REGIMENT:
Lieutenant Frederick Geoffrey SAVILLE 20 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186193

THE BORDER REGIMENT 1ST AIRBORNE BATTALION:
Private Frederick BROWN 25 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186130
Private Thomas Dalrymple BROWN 26 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186131
Corporal Charles GAVAGHAN 34 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186145
Private Thomas LAYCOCK 26 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186168
Private George Alan LITTLE 25 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186169
Private Robert MCKEOWN 30 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186172
Private Horace NEWBY 33 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186178
Private Joseph PAGAN 25 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186180
Private George Thomas PHIPPS 25 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186181
Lance Corporal Thomas Errington RICHARDSON 25 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186186
Lance Sergeant Frank Raymond SEABURY 29 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186195
Private Joseph SMETHURST 38 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186197
Lance Corporal Alexander Barr TODD 25 http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_det ... ty=2186205


Regards,
Gunnar, Norway
E-mail: stirlingLK147(at)gmail.com
Last edited by Gunnar on Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:29 pm, edited 54 times in total.

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K4KittyCrew
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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Hello Gunnar and welcome to the forum. Many thanks for your informative post. We will look for some photos & details for you through our records. I know some of our members can point you in the right direction in the best ways to contact / source, making contact with family members here in Oz.
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: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Also, from 'The Stirling Story' by MJ Bowyer, page 381 ...........

Stirling LK147 - 6 MU 28 June 44, ZO-Z 196 Sqn 23 Sept 44, battle damage 23 Sept 44, ZO-Q 196 Sqn 28 Oct 44, EFA (Write off as a result of flying accident during non operational flying ) 10 May 45, loss of control in bad visibility, broke cloud too low like LJ899 and LK297 when approaching Gardermoen, Norway, stalled and crashed 2 miles SW of airfield.
John
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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"

Gunnar
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Location: Gardermoen - Norway

Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by Gunnar »

John,

Thank you very much for your quick response and information. And thanx for the picture - great!!!

Do we know if Mr. Breed was the pilot on LK147 during the battle damage 23 Sept 44, and what were the mission and geografical location?

Looking forward to get even more information from you and other forum members.

Regards,
Gunnar

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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by Dave_Richardson »

Gunnar

John Leonard Breed's service record is available in digital format here:

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/ ... ?B=5373575

It looks like he was the pilot. There's a one liner about the accident but no detail. According to the record he was Mentioned in Dispatches and awarded the DFC. The records might give you a start on trying to find any relatives of him as it gives the address of his wife. Aussie based forumites maybe able to assist here?

There's also a photograph of him here:

http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/r ... p?p=553225

There's a photograph of his gravestone here:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=18484958

I found a reference to the crash on an old WW2 Talk Forum posting here:

http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/war-air/22 ... peace.html

it's post number 6

The details come from a book called "The Price of Peace: A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses Between VE-Day and End of 1945" by Colin Cummings:
"10-May 1945

Stirling IV LK147
196 Sqn
2 miles south-west of Gardermoen

The aircraft was seen to emerge from cloud which had a base of 200 to 300 feet. The pilot attempted an immediate climb to avoid the surrounding high ground but the aircraft stalled, dived into the ground and burst into flames. The weather was extremely poor and there was bad visibility and low cloud covering the mountainous area surrounding Oslo and to the north. There was no radio contact with the aircraft and the pilot had descended below his safety height in an attempt to land, having not heard or failed to respond to the recall signal."

There may be some other information on the aircraft loss available from official sources, Form 1180?

Hope this helps

Dave

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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by Dave_Richardson »

Sorry Gunnar I should have read your 1st post more carefully, I see you've already contacted the family of john breed!

As for finding the others it's a big ask just down to the volume of numbers and the research needed.

You could try contacting the BBC and see if they would be interested in running the memorial story and the search for relatives as a news story. That way it would get national coverage in th UK and you may pick up some relatives.

I'm doing a similar exercise myself to find the relatives of my uncle's crew. Of the six crew members I've found relatives of four and that's taken nearly nine months. One came from an appeal in a local newspaper (five other similar appeals produced nothing) and the other three from genealogical research with a large dose of luck and guesswork.

Dave

Gunnar
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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by Gunnar »

Dave_Richardson wrote:Sorry Gunnar I should have read your 1st post more carefully, I see you've already contacted the family of john breed!

As for finding the others it's a big ask just down to the volume of numbers and the research needed.

You could try contacting the BBC and see if they would be interested in running the memorial story and the search for relatives as a news story. That way it would get national coverage in th UK and you may pick up some relatives.

I'm doing a similar exercise myself to find the relatives of my uncle's crew. Of the six crew members I've found relatives of four and that's taken nearly nine months. One came from an appeal in a local newspaper (five other similar appeals produced nothing) and the other three from genealogical research with a large dose of luck and guesswork.

Dave
Thank you for your help Dave! I found the personal record of both Breed and Kilday on the link you sent me :D And I also found portret photos of them both on awm.gov.au. I see that you live in the UK - is there a similar database there were I might find the personal records and photos of the soldiers onboard, that were all british as far as I understand? I tried to find some information on the british national archive, but didn`t have any luck. I might have done something incorrect in the search field and choice of criteria.

I also found some information on CWGC and http://www.paradata.org.uk but no pictures of the other men onboard. Great suggestion you had there on contacting the BBC. And I understand that it means hard work trying to track down the relatives in time, before the memorial in may next year.

Last sunday I joined the remembrance day for the first time at Vestre Gravlund in Oslo, were the 20 men are burried today. A very special moment, standing there with my camera, looking at the white gravestones while wearing a red poppy.

This friday I am going to make an interview with the last eyewitness still alive (91 years old), that saw the whole crash and that rushed to the site imediately, just to see that there was nothing they could do. I will take him back to the farm he lived on this period, close to the crash site. He is convinced that some germans stationed at Gardermoen airport and the surrounding areas and farms shot down the aircraft, and that he saw fire occure in one of the engines just before the crash. But there is no official evidence or records that proves that this really happened. But I am still exited to hear his story; "he saw what he saw, and he was there".

Regards,
Gunnar

Gunnar
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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by Gunnar »

K4KittyCrew wrote:Also, from 'The Stirling Story' by MJ Bowyer, page 381 ...........

Stirling LK147 - 6 MU 28 June 44, ZO-Z 196 Sqn 23 Sept 44, battle damage 23 Sept 44, ZO-Q 196 Sqn 28 Oct 44, EFA (Write off as a result of flying accident during non operational flying ) 10 May 45, loss of control in bad visibility, broke cloud too low like LJ899 and LK297 when approaching Gardermoen, Norway, stalled and crashed 2 miles SW of airfield.
John
Image
John, I have just ordered the book "Stirling Story" by MJ Bowyer, thank you for the information :)

Regards,
Gunnar

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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by Dave_Richardson »

Hi Gunnar

Unfortunately the UK government isn't as enlightened as our Aussie cousins! They haven't digitised any WW2 service records. The only way to get a copy is to apply to the Army and the RAF, As you're not a next of kin you won't be able to get the full record. You get an abbreviated version which doesn't include any next of kin information. British service records don't generally include photographs, well not in the ones I've seen. There's also a really long wait for Army records. About a month ago I received my uncles army record from WW2. I applied for it in November 2010, it took nearly 11 months to come! And it will cost you £30 (about €35) per record!

A better alternative for the soldiers would be to contact the Regimental Museum. I think they were all from the 1st Battalion, The Border Regiment. The regimental museum can be found here:

http://kingsownbordermuseum.btck.co.uk/

They may well have some information on the individuals as it was a notable event in the Regiments history and so tragic to have happened just after the war ended, particularly as some of the soldiers fought at Arnhem.

For the RAF chaps you could try contacting the 196 Squadron Association. Their contact details can be found here:

http://www.associations.rafinfo.org.uk/squadron.htm

In the email address replace the AT with @ (it's just a way of stopping the email addresses being picke up by spammers)

Hope this helps

Dave

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Re: 10-May-45 LK147 Stirling IV ' 196 Sqn - info wanted

Post by K4KittyCrew »

John, I have just ordered the book "Stirling Story" by MJ Bowyer, thank you for the information

Regards,
Gunnar
That's great news, Gunnar ................. this book is regarded as the 'bible' for Short Stirlings and has no peer.
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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