How to Search for Unsung Heroes on this Blog?

Use the search button on the right side to look for someone’s name among more than 170 posts I wrote about RAF 238 squadron.

238

Either use the comment section or the contact form below to write a comment like someone whose father was Robert Davis’ pilot.

Ray, Phil, Jock, Bob in a reunion in Calcutta

Courtesy Richard Hall

Collection Robert Davis

Request – Searching for information on R.C. Bailey DFC

I have been contacted by a reader who has this request.

Greetings,

I am the owner of the 576 Squadron Digital Archive and researching one of our pilots, R C Bailey DFC, who, having completed his tour on 576, joined 238 Sqn at Merryfield.

On 17 Feb 45 he was the co-pilot of Dakota KN251 which crashed just after take-off in Castle Benito, Libya, on a planned trip to Lydda, following starboard engine trouble and the aircraft being overloaded. It went through the wire at the end of the runway and caught fire.

Flt Lt Rose was captain and Bailey was flying as P2. Injuries to pilots and crew not known.

I am in possession of his logbook, kindly loaned by his son.

If anyone can provide any further information or photos, I would be most grateful and will pass them on to his son.

Many thanks

Matt Wood

More about him here:

https://www.northlincsweb.net/576Sqn/html/r_c_bailey_and_crew_576_sqn.html

Objective, Burma! The Sequel

You learn so much about history.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrill%27s_Marauders

Could 238 Squadron have participated in the Merrill’s Marauders operation?

This is a snapshot taken from a scene of the movie Objective Burma!

Robert Davis’ daughter has shared that snapshot with these two.

Those are American C-47s.

This one is still a mystery. Is it one of the Dakotas flown by 238 Squadron or just a coincidence?

More about Merrill’s Marauders…

More about the Fallen

The Legacy of the 5307th Merrill’s Marauders: Wisconsin MIAs in Burma

 

Excerpt

In the winter of 1944, while many Americans were tracing the progress of Allied island hopping throughout the Pacific, a special unit of U.S. soldiers set out on foot across hundreds of miles of mountains and thick jungle on a mission that commanders estimated would result in at least eighty-five percent casualties.

They were right. By the end of the summer, the nearly 3,000 infantrymen of the “Merrill’s Marauders,” the Army’s 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), had been reduced to about 200 survivors. And yet, their story — across Burma (now known as Myanmar), behind enemy Japanese lines, and into the hard-fought, costly Battle of Myitkyina — remains largely unknown, even among many history buffs.

Is it one of the Dakotas flown by 238 Squadron or just a coincidence?

Now we know the answer…

We can clearly see part of the American insignia with the white bar.

 

Even if it was not part of 238 squadron, we can see what 238 squadron did which in reality was the same.

More snapshots of Objective Burma!

Wolf Jacob Morris’ log book – 13 November to 26 November 1942

Updated 19 November 2021

Information from a reader

William Edward George Cordwell (1260984) was shot down in Hurricane BP161 and taken PoW.


David Morris and I are preserving the past. These are the next pages from his father’s log book for November 1942.

The complete transcription is below.

1942

November 13 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Ground straff of roard 20 mls south of Bengazi

3⋅25

LG 125 Southern Libya

Destroyed two six tonnes diesels, damaged three other M/T


November 15 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Ground straff of M/T on road at El Aguila

2⋅55

Destroyed two trucks on raod, damaged three others. Destroyed

a Ju 52 on drome by the road. Shot up twenty five large trucks filled with troops, two at least were badly

damaged. Sgt. Cordwell (?) shot down. Landed 5  miles south of the road.

probably P.O.W.


November 16 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

LG.125 to LG. 101

2⋅00

Marples Posted Escorted 8 Hudsons


November 17 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

LG. 101 to El Adem

1⋅30


November 19 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Escort five Hudsons to El Z. Msus and return

3⋅20

El Adem unvisible due to dust storm. Landed at Gazala 2.


November 19 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Attempt to return to base

0⋅45

El Adem still u/s. returned to Gazala 2.


November 20 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Return to base

0⋅20 (40 hrs inspection)


November 21 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Cannon test

0⋅15 Cannons perfect

(Nov. 22 Commissioned)


November 25 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

El Adem to Martuba and return

1⋅40


November 25 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

El Adem to Martuba and return

1⋅40


Notes

Sgt. Cordwell (?) shot down. Landed 5  miles south of the road.

I could not find anything on Sgt Cordwell or Cardwell (see update)

Msus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Msus

(Nov. 22 Commissioned)

Probably commmissioned Pilot Officer

Objective, Burma!

Coming soon to a theater near you…

To learn more about the movie…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objective,_Burma!

Excerpt

Controversies
Even though it was based on the exploits of Merrill’s Marauders, Objective Burma was withdrawn from release in the United Kingdom after it infuriated the British public. Prime Minister Winston Churchill protested the Americanization of the huge and almost entirely British, Indian, and Commonwealth conflict (‘1 million men’).[21][22]

Objective, Burma! London 1945 premiere was remarkable: At a line in the script, (by an American, to the effect) “We should head north, I hear there might be a few brits somewhere over there” – The entire (English) audience walked out in outrage. It got a second release in the United Kingdom in 1952 when it was shown with an accompanying apology. The movie was also banned in Singapore although it was seen in Burma and India.[23][24]

An editorial in The Times said:

It is essential both for the enemy and the Allies to understand how it came about that the war was won … nations should know and appreciate the efforts other countries than their own made to the common cause.
There were also objections to Errol Flynn playing the hero as he had stayed in Hollywood during the war, unlike actors like David Niven or James Stewart.[25][26] Flynn, however, had tried to enlist but had been declared medically unfit for military service. His studio suppressed the news of his medical problems to preserve his public image.

Wolf Jacob Morris’ log book – 3 November to 13 November 1942

David Morris and I are preserving the past. These are the next pages from his father’s log book for November 1942.

The complete transcription is below.

1942

November 3 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Ground straff M/T in the Daba District 0.40

Attacked four M/T, a staff car, one folks wagon and two three ton trucks. Hits scored on all four. Serious damage done to the first two. Returned low over sea.


November 3 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Ground straff M/T W of Daba 0.45

Attacked three trucks and a group of tents. Strikes observed on all targets. Second truck set on fire. Returned low over sea. 

(F/O Hay and Sgt Wise missing on ground straff. Blanchford baled over enemy lines) Hay returned OK, Blanchford

Note about F/O Hay

Finding the Few – Cyril Thomas McAll

Note about Blachford, Blanchford or Bletchford

A request – Flying Officer Hay

 

 

 


November 4 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Three cannon tests (cannons still u/s)

0.45


November 5 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Two cannon tests (unsuccessful)

0.30


November 7 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

From LG 172 to LG Daba

0.50

The Advance begins at last

L.G. 20


November 10 Hurricane IIc KC-A

Security patrol of shipping in Matru Harbour

2.10 No E/A seen


November 11 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

LG 20 to LG 101

0.45


November 12 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Cannon test

0.30


November 13 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

LG 101 to LG 125 (115 miles south of Derna)

2.05 An attempt at “Comands” raiding byt the R.A.F.

 

Finding the “Few” Flight Sergeant William Thomas Allen

Flight Sergeant William Thomas Allen is not on that group photo taken in 1943.

Gil Gillis in the desert with Hawker Hurricane

He was killed on November 2, 1942 according to the log book.

This is what I found while searching the Internet

On the 2/11/42, 1378857 Flight Sergeant William Thomas Allen (ORB records him as Sgt., CWGC as F/Sgt.) was shot down and killed, possibly by Hauptmann Homuth of I/JG27. F/Sgt Allen was flying Hurricane IIc HL888 of 238Squadron coded ‘N’. 

F/Sgt Allen was likely killed shortly after 12:30 as I/JG27 was scrambled to help Stukas under attack from 238 Squadron at 12:18. This was Allen’s third sortie of the day and it appears it was his 8th operational sortie with the Squadron. 

I am aware that a photograph of his grave appears in Missing Believed Killed by Stuart Hadaway. The ORB mentions that a photograph of his grave appeared in a M E magazine. I am in fact now aware of two photos of the grave. I have emailed the AHB about the possibility of obtaining the MREU report on F/Sgt. Allen should one exist.

 

And then…

Hello,

My great-grandfather served in North Africa during the Second World War. I have a photo of him next to Sgt. Allen’s grave. I’ve posted the photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/corey_edmunds/8665604779/

Corey.

 

 

Wolf Jacob Morris’ log book – 30 October to 2 November 1942

Contribution from David Morris who had previously commented on the blog.

My father was a pilot in this squadron and fought with Marples out of Lg125… and is mentioned in articles but never got to get his Distinguished medal that he was put forward for…
I have his log books

The complete transcription is below.

page 68 and next

1942

October 30 Hurricane IIc KC-M

Anti Stuka patrols of El Alermain (sic) line 33 sq top cover 1.10


October 30 Hurricane IIc KC-J

Dusk patrols of El Alermain line 1.10


Summary for October 1942

Unit: – 238 Squadron

Date: 1⋅11⋅42

Signature: Warrant Officer J. Morris.

Aircraft Types 1. Hurricane IIc

Day 25⋅10

Night 4⋅00  

Total Hurricane Time – 314 hrs 50 mts.

Roy Marples S/Ldr O/C 238 Squadron


Notes

880px-2_Battle_of_El_Alamein_001

https://thereaderwiki.com/en/Second_Battle_of_El_Alamein

The Australian and British attacks had alerted Montgomery that Rommel had committed his reserve, the 90th Light Division, to the front and that its presence in the coastal sector suggested that Rommel was expecting the next major Eighth Army offensive there. Montgomery decided to attack further south on a 4,000 yd (2.3 mi; 3.7 km) front south of Point 29. The attack was to take place on the night of 31 October/1 November, as soon as he had completed the reorganisation of his front line to create reserves for the offensive (although in the event it was postponed by 24 hours). To keep Rommel’s attention on the coastal sector, Montgomery ordered the renewal of the 9th Australian Division operation on the night of 30/31 October.[83]

The night of 30 October saw the third Australian attempt to reach the paved road and by the end of the night they were astride the road and the railway, making the position of the Axis troops in the salient precarious. A battlegroup from the 21st Panzer Division launched four attacks against Thompson’s Post on 31 October, all being repulsed. Sergeant William Kibby (2/48th Australian Infantry Battalion) who, for his actions from 23 October until his death on the 31 October, including a lone attack on a machine-gun position at his own initiative, was awarded the Victoria Cross (posthumous). On 1 November, contact with Panzergrenadier-Regiment 125 in the nose of the salient was restored; the supporting X Bersaglieri Battalion resisted several Australian attacks.[84][85]

On 1 November, the tankers Tripolino and Ostia were torpedoed and sunk by aircraft, north-west of Tobruk. The shortage forced Rommel to rely increasingly on fuel flown in from Crete on the orders of Albert Kesselring, Luftwaffe Oberbefehlshaber Süd (OB Süd, Supreme Commander South), despite the restrictions imposed by the bombing of the airfields in Crete and Desert Air Force interceptions of the transport aircraft.[86] Rommel began to plan a retirement to Fuka, some 50 mi (80 km) to the west, as he had only 90 tanks remaining, against 800 British tanks.[59] Large amounts of fuel arrived at Benghazi after the German forces had started to retreat but little of it reached the front, a fact Kesselring tried to change by delivering it more closely to the fighting forces.[87]

About 33 Squadron

http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/33_wwII.html


November 2 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Dawn patrols 15 mls W of Alermain  1.20

Many fired below (Army had attacked on the night of 1/2nd Nov)


November 2 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Patrols 15 mls W of Alermain  1.15

Still more fires. Several formation of A/C seen but not identified


November 2 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Anti Stuka patrols 15 mls W of El Alermain  1.20

Told of Stuka party by controls while on patrol. Saw Stukas two thousands feet above. Stukas bombed and formation gave chase. I attacked a Stuka from below and fired three shots ??? Stuka last seen gliding down with smoke pouring from its engine. Sgt Allen missing killed. Credited with 2 Stuka damaged.


November 2 Hurricane IIc KC-Y

Cannon test 0.10 Stoppage in both guns


Notes

Source below

Junkers Ju 87 Stuka shot down over El Alamein

Source below

Junkers Ju87B North Africa 1943

Source Airfix

A request – Flying Officer Hay

Comment from David Morris

Does anybody know P/O Hay’s christian name… My dad used to mention a Hay who could run fast as a deer.. so fast according to dad he caught one time… I wonder if it was this Hay?

IMG_20211110_153412

IMG_20211110_153503

IMG_20211110_153820

The answer (source https://www.rcafassociation.ca/heritage/search-awards/?search=hay&searchfield=lastname&type=all

HAY, F/O Wellington Bart (J5489)

– Mention in Despatches

– Award effective 1 June 1943 as per London Gazette dated 2 June 1943 and AFRO 1247/43 dated 2 July 1943.

American in the RCAF; born 25 May 1917 at Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. Family moved to London when he was three and he was educated at St. Aubyn’s School and Stowe School. Back to United States, graduated from Yale University. Home in Millbrook, New York.

First impulse was to join RAF. Enlisted in RCAF, Ottawa, 19 September 1940.

To No.1 WS, 11 October 1940.

To No.1 ITS, 15 November 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 22 December 1940 when posted to No.4 EFTS; graduated 21 February 1941 but posted to No.4 Manning Depot. To No.9 SFTS, 9 March 1941; graduated and commissioned 28 May 1941. To Embarkation Depot, 9 June 1941.

To RAF overseas, 21 June 1941. Initially served on No.242 Squadron. He accompanied the unit to Gibraltar, and then moved on to Malta. Late in November (1941), P/O Hay had a spectacular crash (exact date unknown), overshooting Hal Far in bad visibility, and ending up in a muddy field at the end of the runway. Hay was uninjured (Hurricanes Over Malta by Brian Cull).

Ended up in Egypt, serving on No.238 Squadron. He claimed a damaged Ju 87, west of El Alamein (flying Hurricane IIb ‘J’), on 16th July, 1942. On 31 August 1942 his Hurricane, BP359 ‘H’, was hit by flak and crash-landed at base (damage Cat I). Hay was uninjured. (HMAW2/320-1). On 4th November, 1942, F/O Hay was shot down by flak at Galal (in Hurricane II HL980 ‘H’). He baled out safely, paddled ashore, and evaded capture, reported safe, 15 November 1942.

Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 29 May 1943.

Attained rank of Squadron Leader, 13 March 1944.

Repatriated 19 May 1945.

Retired 12 July 1945.

Settled in New Canaan, Connecticut; worked for Cushing Book Store; opened Sandpiper Bookshops and Sandpiper Book Services.

Died in New Canaan, 19 November 2012.

RCAF photo PL-27170 (ex UK-9690 dated 17 May 1944) shows him alone. RCAF Photo PL-27171 (ex UK-9691 dated 17 May 1944) shows S/L Wellington B. Hay (new CO of No.417 Squadron) talking to one of his flight commanders, F/L George “Topsey” Turvey.

HAY, S/L Wellington Bart (J5489) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.417 Squadron – Award effective 2 October 1944 as per London Gazette dated 10 October 1944 and AFRO 2534/44 dated 24 November 1944.

Squadron Leader Hay served with distinction throughout the last Western Desert campaign. More recently he has led his section against many difficult targets in Italy. He has always displayed outstanding coolness and resource and under his leadership the squadron has inflicted considerable damage on the enemy’s lines of communications and mechanical transport.

RCAF Press Release No. 7277 by S/L K.A. MacGillvray, dated 7 November 1944 reads as follows:

WITH RCAF IN THE MIDDLE EAST –

On the conclusion of his second distinguished tour of operations, which he finished as Commanding Officer of the crack RCAF “City of Windsor” squadron in Italy, Squadron Leader Wellington Burt Hay has been awarded the DFC. S/L Hay, an Anglo-American, was raised and educated in England but his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Hay, Sr., now reside in Millbrook, New York State.

S/L Hay achieved prominence early in his first tour more than two years ago when serving with an R.A.F. fighter squadron in the Western Desert. He was shot down into the sea, and made his way in his rubber dinghy to the shore-line deep behind the enemy lines. After hiding for some days, he set out for the British lines. His shoes became worn out and Hay completed the arduous journey with his rubber dinghy paddles fastened to his feet with torn strips of cloth, in lieu of footwear. For this exploit, he received a mention in dispatches.

Hay’s subsequent operational career throughout his first and second tours included service in Tripolitania, Malta, Sicily, Italy, and the Anzio Beachhead. He relinquished his command of the “City of Windsor” squadron early last summer on the conclusion of his second tour. At present he is attached to a Training Unit of the Desert Air Force in an executive instructional capacity.

Finding the Few – More from Cyril Thomas McAll and friends

This research had started with a comment from David.

My father Cyril Thomas McAll flew with 238 Squadron from Nov 1st 1942 to Jan 28th 1943. Thanks to this blog I have just read the account from the book « Spirit of the Blue: Peter Ayerst » where on Nov 4th Peter Ayerst is shot down. My father was on that flight and his log book describes the heavy flak and the 109s etc who shot down three Hurricanes that day – F. Lt. Ayerst, F/O Hay and Sgt Bletchford. Hay obviously also survived as he signs my fathers log a few days later, as does Ayerst.

I have many photographs but almost none have labels so difficult to know which are from this period as he also flew with 1411 (Met) and 94 Squadron.

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wp-1634748736022

David sent me this…

ct_mcall_group_of_five

Cyril Thomas McAll

David added this…

I attach a photo of a group of five in which he is in the back row, second from the left (or at least it is a picture with a label on the back, ‘dad’s friends 1942’ and we are pretty sure that is him). As 238 was his first squadron after training – apart from a few days with 243 Wing immediately before – this must be with 238 squadron. I can imagine that I recognise a couple of the others from your ‘sitting on a plane’ image but you know them best so I’ll be interested what you think. He left 238 squadron on January 28th 1943 so would just have missed being in that one as it is February 1943.

The Few…

Gil Gillis in the desert with Hawker Hurricane

Gil Gillis in the red circle

David is adding this photo where some pilots were seen with most probably ground crew affectionately called erks.

ctmcall_group2
ctmcall_group comparing