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78 Sqn Halifax W7698

February 26 2016 at 3:30 PM
Ally  (Login AllyH)
from IP address 93.109.106.137

 
Hi All,

I'm after a bit more information regarding Halifax S/N W7698.

My Great Grandfather, 1378938 Sgt James Strang, was an Air Gunner on the aircraft (Rear I believe).

I've done a bit of research already and found what I seem to be able to online:

I know that it took off from RAF Croft at 2255hrs on 1 Jun 42 as part of the Thousand Bomber Raid of Essen. I believe it was involved in a collision before crashing on 2 Jun 42.

I have also found the details of the other members of the crew:

45071 Sqn Ldr Geoffrey Douglas Leyland (PoW)
J/4773 Plt Off Lloyd George 'Hap' Geddes, RCAF (PoW)
1307368 Sgt Claude George Pugsley (PoW)
1069578 Sgt Wilfred Brookes (KIA)
335281 Sgt Joseph Edward Richard Lyons (KIA)

My Gt Grandfather and the other two who were killed, are all buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Holland.

I've also found out through the National Archives that it was the same crew and airframe involved in the Thousand Bomber Raid of Cologne on 30/31 May 42.

What I would really like to know is, is it possible to find the fuselage code? Everywhere I have looked so far lists it simply as EY-?. It would be good to know whether or not it would be likely that I would find this out. Also it's probably a longshot but would anyone have any photographs of this particular airframe? I'm quite keen to get a model made up that would be as historically accurate as possible.

Anymore information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Ally

 
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AuthorReply
jettisoning
(no login)
95.145.207.168

W7698

February 28 2016, 11:52 AM 

did you relise that there were just 6 crew on board - not the usual 7 ?

 
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Ally
(Login AllyH)
93.109.106.137

W7698

February 28 2016, 5:45 PM 

Yes, I've only got the ORB entries for May/Jun 42 but it seems that the majority of aircraft in the sqn had 6 on board at that time rather than 7. I wouldn't know why though - I'd guess at manning issues unless anyone on here knows more?

Ally

 
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Tony H
(no login)
2.124.131.203

78 Sqn Halifax W7968

March 11 2016, 6:00 PM 

Hi Ally

Apologies for the delay in replying to this thread, I’ve been off line for a while and just noticed it

According to Dr Theo Boiten’s updated Nachtjagd War Diaries Vol 1, W7698 EY-? was probably intercepted and shot down by Oblt Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (IX/NJG2). He claimed this as an outbound Halifax for his 4th Abschusse (victory) at 0043.
The aircraft was also reported as being intercepted and shot down in flames at 0023 before it exploded between Krannenburg and Grafwegen in the Reichswald Forest on the Dutch/German border.

Oblt Sayn-Wittgenstein went on to become one of the Luftwaffe’s Nachtjagd’s top “Experten” with a total of 83 confirmed Abschusse (victories) before he too was killed.

Do you have the list of Ops completed by Sgt Strang before this last flight, I am happy to provide if needed?
Finally, in addition to his grave at Groesbeek, Sgt Strang (RG), Sgt Lyons (FE) and Sgt Brookes (WOP) the other crew killed are also indirectly remembered via the following;

The Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park, London
The WWII 78 Sqn Memorial, All Saints Church, Bubwith, East Yorkshire
The Airfield Memorial at Breighton, East Yorkshire
The 78 Sqn Memorial, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire
In the 78 Sqn Rolls of Honour now on display in the Real Aeroplane Company Clubhouse, Breighton Airfield

I have images or copies of all if interested?

Sadly, No 78 Sqn disbanded on 30 September 2014 at RAF Benson

I hope this is of use/interest

Kind Regards & Nemo Non Paratus ~ Nobody Unprepared (78 Sqn Motto)

Tony H
Ex 78 Sqn

 
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Ally
(Login AllyH)
31.153.4.116

W7698

March 12 2016, 1:05 PM 

Thank you for your reply Tony.

The only Ops I know about so far were the thousand bomber raids. I've got my grandfather to send off for the Record of Service, so I'm currently waiting out for that, as we don't know if he was always with 78 Sqn. My grandfather was young at the time but believes they spent some time based in Wales and also that he'd been on Stirlings in the past. I've also found out that the batch of Halifaxes that W7698 had come from had only started to be delivered on 06 May 42, so I haven't gone any further back in the ORBs, as I thought there wasn't much point in paying for them before we received the return from the Record of Service. If the information about the Ops is to hand and not too much hassle it would be good to know please.

Again with the images from the memorials, if they're easily accessible, they would definitely be interesting to see.

Thank you very much,

Ally

 
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Tony
(no login)
2.124.131.203

W7698

March 14 2016, 6:54 AM 

Hi Ally

Give me a couple of days on the ORB's (I have the ORB's from Sep '39 up to the end of '43) as I'll check backwards from the date of the last flight to see how many other Ops that specific crew flew. No problem in sending you the memorial images and should you need any further info on 78 Sqn please ask when convenient

Kind Regards

Tony H

tonyhibberd752@yahoo.co.uk

 
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Tony H
(no login)
2.124.131.203

W7698

March 14 2016, 10:01 PM 

Hi Ally

A very quick search of the ORB's has revealed that Sgt Strang flew eleven Ops with 78 Sqn - although one, possibly two were DNCO'd. These Ops were all between 12 Oct 1941 and 01 Jun 42

He flew nine Ops on Whitley's and two on Halifax. It appears he was not part of a regular crew as the majority of his Ops were with completely different crews almost every time - I have no explanation for this, albeit it is unusual.

1. Nuremburg 12/10/41 Whitley Z6491
2. Ostend 16/10/41 Whitley Z9151
3. Cherbourg 28/10/41 Whitley Z6948
4. Kiel 01/11/41 Whitley Z9132
5. Kiel 30/11/41 Whitley Z9300
6. Brest 18/12/41 Whitley Z6656 DNCO
7. Cherbourg 05/01/42 Whitley Z9302
8. Le Havre 31/01/42 Whitley Z9386
9. Le Havre 13/02/42 Whitley Z9312
10.Cologne 30/05/42 Halifax W7698
11.Essen 01/06/42 Halifax W7698 FTR

For your interest, given this exact time period, 78 Sqn who were operating Whitley's were stood down from Ops to begin their conversion to Halifax. At the end of this conversion, approximately Apr/May '42 (exact date not known) a photo was taken of 78 Sqn to mark the occasion. I have a good quality copy of this photo and I suspect Sgt Strang is "highly likely" to be(somewhere)on this photo. To me it will literally be just be another face in the crowd, but you might be able to spot him as you'll know exactly who you're looking for . . . ??

Further info on the Ops listed available if interested?

Hope this is of use/interest

Kind Regards

Tony H
Ex 78 Sqn


 
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Ally
(no login)
31.153.86.205

W7698

March 15 2016, 7:35 PM 

Tony,

Thank you very much for your response. All very interesting. I believe my Grandfather has a copy of that photo - he certainly has a group photo from some point in the war. It would be interesting to see the further information from the Ops and to see the photograph if that's alright. I will ping you an email now.

Thank you very much once again.

Ally

 
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Sarah Lothian
(Login SarahLothian)
220.244.126.212

Sgt Joseph Edward Richard Lyons

November 8 2017, 2:11 AM 

Hi Ally,

I have just come across your thread in this forum.

I am the great granddaughter of Sgt Joseph Edward Richard Lyons 335281 of the 78th Squadron.

I am just starting to look into my great grandfather. As I reside in Sydney, Australia it makes things a little bit more difficult as I would really love to have a look at his file in the National Archives.

I noticed in one of your message that you mentioned you may have some group photos of the squadron.

I was wondering whether you have any of my great grandfather and if so, would you mind sharing it and any info you may have on him?

Hope to hear from you. Thanking you in advance.

Kind regards

Sarah Lothian

 
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