Wednesday, 21 October 2015

21.X.15

Lightning F.1 XM135 in Airspace
Glimpse of PV202 while doors open for the Taifun to be moved in.
Sally B in situ for the winter and cowlings off engines already.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

F/O James Flood 421 Squadron - A mystery...

Back in 2011 I posted a request on the FlyPast forum after I found the squadron ORB entry which matched the date of a gun camera clip I'd watched. The clip in question showed an aircraft ahead which, as the gap was closed, appeared to me to be another Spitfire. The 'target' slipped out of the top of the frame as it got closer then briefly reappeared showing the lower half of the fuselage and under wing radiators (by now, definitely a Spitfire radiator set up) and then what appeared to be a round/s striking the rear of the right wing.

The 453 Sqn ORB entry for that day records the incident -

26/8/44 0900-1020. ARMED RECCE - ROUEN-FLEURY SUR ANDELLE
1 Spitfire flying right in among gaggle of Me 109's in Aumale area was inadvertently fired at by F/L J.F.Olver at approximately 0945 hours after leaving gaggle until recognised as a Spitfire. There were no other Spitfires in the vicinity. The A/C lettering was AU-G or AU-C. The Spitfire which took absolutely no evasive action was seen to have been already extensively damaged and had holes along the fuselage. The aircraft which gave out a little black smoke was followed and seen to crash in a field to the SE of Dieppe. The pilot did not bail out. 1 ME 109 probably destroyed by F/O Carter, 1 ME 109 probably destroyed by W/O Duff, 1 ME 109 probably destroyed by S/L Smith(?) 20 ME109's sighted NE Paris at 20,000 feet to 25,000 feet when squadron were at 26,000 feet. Dog-fight ensued.


The AU codes were for 421 ‘Red Indian’ (Canadian) Squadron
From 16 Jun 44, 127 Wing was based at B.2 Bazenville, Normandy then from 28 Aug 44, 127 Wing moved to B.26 Iliers l'Eveque, Normandy so they were operating in the area.

I've now been contacted by a historian/researcher looking into the loss of F/O James FLOOD, 421 Squadron who died on August 26, 1944 -
"James Flood's Spitfire crashed not very far from my family farm on August 26th, 1944.
I was able to obtain his Individual Deceased Personal File from the National Archives of Canada.
His aircraft was coded AU-CI got in touch with James Flood's younger brother. He would like to find out about a potential case of "friendly fire"".


From reading the above extract from the squadron ORB, I wonder if Flood was incapacitated in some way from a previous dogfight and the aircraft was flying itself - but it seems like a good opportunity to perhaps go some way towards clearing up his death.


Hopefully the existence of this short 8 second clip will be of some use to help clear up a tragedy of war. 

Update:

http://www.aircrewremembered.com/flood-james.html

I came across this image of F/O Olver with other squadron members dated July 44.


BAYEUX, FRANCE. C. 1944-07. PILOTS OF NO. 453 (SPITFIRE) SQUADRON RAAF SIGHTSEEING OUTSIDE BAYEUX CATHEDRAL DURING A REST FROM PATROLLING THE NORMANDY BATTLEFIELDS. LEFT TO RIGHT: SQUADRON LEADER D. H. SMITH; FLYING OFFICER (FO) K. K. LAWRENCE; FO J. F. OLVER; FLIGHT LIEUTENANT (FLT LT) V. A. LANCASTER; FO M. WEST; FLT LT P. V. McDADE.