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Author Topic: Air Sea Rescue. Sheerness 1939-1945  (Read 2398 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Air Sea Rescue. Sheerness 1939-1945
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 22:52:27 »
It is interesting to look back on older posts to see what can be added and/or corrected.


9 September 1942.
Landed two dead crewmen from a 23 Squadron RAF. Mosquito, the crew originally found by the Sheerness Patrol drifter Lord Keith near B6a bouy.


In September 1942 No. 23 Squadron RAF was based at Bradwell in Essex and flying the de Havilland Mosquito Night Fighter Mk ll. On the night of 8/9 September 1942 the squadron was flying night intruder missions over the Netherlands. Three aircraft were lost over the North Sea and the Thames Estuary.

Mosquito DD 683. YP-O. Dived into sea 15 miles SE of RAF Bradwell. Both crew killed.
 Flying Officer Ian N Stein. RAFVR. Age 21.
     Lost at sea. Commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.
 Sergeant Henry G Challicombe. RAFVR. Age 22.
     Buried Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery.

Mosquito DD 684. YP-U. Lost over North Sea. Crew commemorated on Runnymede Memorial.
 Sergeant Arthur M F Cook. RAFVR. Age 22.
 Flight Sergeant Gordon R Wright. RCAF. Age 20.

Mosquito DD 689. YP-S. Lost over North Sea.
 Flight Lieutenant Neil A Buchanan. RAFVR. Age 28.
     Died of exposure. Charing (Kent County) Crematorium.
 Flying Officer Victor G Brewis. Rescued.

27 August 1943.
Rescued ten USAAF Flying Fortress crewmen from two dinghies off the Medway.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 42-30617 Miss Billie Jnr. of the 327th Bomber Squadron, 92nd Bomber Group USAAF based at Alconbury.
On the 27th August 1943 Miss Billie Jnr was one of 185 B-17s attacking the V-2 launching bunker under construction in the Foret D'eperlecques near Watten in France, the raid carefully timed to occur after the concrete had been poured, but before it had set. Miss Billie Jnr was damaged by flak and ditched off the Isle of Sheppey. The crew were all rescued and the aircraft was dragged up onto Sheerness beach to be broken up.
See also http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=520.msg80025#msg80025
Crew.
 Winston Tucker: Pilot.
 Carl Carlson: Co-pilot.
 Joe Liebman: Navigator.
 Tom Thompson: Bombardier.
 Dick Bragdon: Flight engineer/Top turret gunner.
 Dave Stewart: Radio Operator.
 Theo Thurston: Ball turret gunner.
 Lewis Kuhnz: Waist gunner.
 Cloe Crutchfield: Waist gunner.
 Bob Gailey: Tail gunner.
     All returned to duty.
Debe  Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Air Sea Rescue. Sheerness 1939-1945
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2016, 22:22:43 »

12 May 1944.
Nine USAAF crewmen rescued from near the B5 bouy.


Boeing B-17G 42-31345 Lady Stardust ll.
728 Bombardment Squadron USAAF, based at Deopham Green, Norfolk.

Lost 12 May 1944. Target: Brux Oil Refinery, Czechosolvakia. Enemy aircraft knocked out two of Lady Stardust's engines before the bomber formation turned onto the bombing run. Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Staff Sergeant Merl Orcutt was killed and six others wounded. The aircraft returned at low level and ditched in the Thames Estuary about one mile west of Knock John seafort.
The surviving crew members were picked up by Seaplane Tender ST 441 based at Sheerness.

Those rescued.
Second Lieutenant Milan Mareck, Pilot.
Flight Officer Harold Eastman Jr, Co-Pilot.
Second Lieutenant Larry Defeo, Navigator.
Second Lieutenant Cornelius Kohlman, Bombardier.
Staff Sergeant Dwight Miller, Radio Operator/Gunner.
Sergeant Sam Fain, Ball Turret Gunner.
Sergeant Donald Kemman, Waist Gunner.
Sergeant Ernie Hughingson, Waist Gunner.
Staff Sergeant George Bouckek, Tail Gunner.
All returned to duty.
The body of Merl Orcutt was lost with the aircraft.

New link for Seaplane Tender ST 441 http://www.airsearescue441.com/

Photo.
© IWM http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/21578 Licensed under CC-BY-NC 3.0

Part of the "Lady Stardust ll" crew. From left to right: F/O Harold Eastman Jr (Co-Pilot); SSgt Merl D. Orcutt (Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner); SSgt Sam N. Fain (Ball Turret Gunner); 2nd Lt Milan Marecek (Pilot); 2nd Lt Cornelius A. Kohlman (Bombardier). This photo was taken on 11 May 1944. The next day SSgt Orcutt was KIA over Brux, Czechosolvakia.
Debe  Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Air Sea Rescue. Sheerness 1939-1945
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 20:23:29 »
Sheerness was an early ARB (Air-Sea Rescue Boat) base. In May 1942 the unit became the 31st Air/Sea Rescue and Marine Craft Unit RAF. Part of No. 16 Group.
As well as rescues its duties included range safety work as well as general duties in support of the RAF. Because allied aircraft avoided the extensive barrage balloons over the Thames Estuary the unit was not a busy one and employed seaplane tenders rather than the larger faster rescue launches.

Between 1942 and 1945 the unit took part in 5 rescues.

9 September 1942.
Landed two dead crewmen from a 23 Squadron RAF. Mosquito, the crew originally found by the Sheerness Patrol drifter Lord Keith near B6a bouy.

27 August 1943.
Rescued ten USAAF Flying Fortress crewmen from two dinghies off the Medway.

4 October 1943.
Ten USAAF crewmen were taken from the Lord Keith.

3 March 1944.
Five USAAF crewmen ferried from drifter.

13 April 1944.
USAAF Lightning pilot rescued.

12 May 1944.
Nine USAAF crewmen rescued from near the B5 bouy.

Boats used.
Early war. The Jamarma, Little Miss Hampton, Springtail and White Wings.
These were replaced by Seaplane Tenders Nos. ST 441, 442, 443 and 444. ST 441 has been restored and took part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.  http://www.asrmcs.org.uk/ST441.htm. The other three boats may still survive. ST 444 was last heard of at Gillingham (Kent? Dorset?) in the mid 1980's.

Air Sea Rescue Dumb Barges.
The Sheerness ASR unit also maintained the ASR. 1, 2, 8 and 16. These were simple brightly painted 'barges' moored at various points around the coast and designed to shelter airmen and sailors until help arrived. See http://www.scubadolphins.org.uk/images/Cuckoo/Cuckoo Research Write Up.pdf PDF file.
Four of these were moored in the outer Thames Estuary.
Debe  Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté

 

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