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Short Stirling Bomber

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Ann B

Guest
These photographs are dated 10. 11. 12. 31 03.1943. Taken by Harold G. Lansdowne of 96 Golden Hillock Rd. Birmingham. Taken just before leaving for a mission from Longbridge. John Weston , an engineer who worked on the Short Stirling, also went on the mission. They could boast 5 targets hit. It would be good to post these photographs on an appropriate site. Any suggestions?

Ann
 

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Ann B

Guest
Jim,
Although they are taken at Longbridge, so local airfield, but the R.A.F. crew won't be. It would be good to find a site where perhaps these air crew could be identified. On the back of the photos shows R Gunner , Navigator etc.
Ann
 

Graham

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Ann,

great photos but you forgot to ask me if there were any rllies of mine on there! :D I say this as I've just learnt today that my dad was in a bomber group with the RAF, but I can't see him or anyone I know on your photos. And as an aircraft freak I thank you for sharing them with us.
 
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Ann B

Guest
Lencops,
Could you perhaps post them on that site? Someone, somewhere will be related to one of those guys. Someone will be pleased to spot them.
Ann
 
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Ann B

Guest
Graham,

I didn't have to ask, because I recognised your uncle's brother's sister's husband, by her second marriage, (or was it her third) at the back of the plane cleaning the windows.

Ann
 
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Ann B

Guest
Lencops,

That's great. I hope someone on your site knows them.

Ann
 
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Ann B

Guest
Graham,

I hope you find out more about your dad's time as a bomber with the R.A.F. It was so exciting for me to find out more about Jacques Herbots, I can understand the'buzz' you are getting at the moment.
Ann
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wonderful pictures, Ann.

The RAF Commands forum would be another possible destination for these. https://www.rafcommands.com/forum/index.php

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, one can find out what happened to this aircraft - 218 Squadron, lost on 12th/13th May 1943, ditched in the North Sea after being damaged over Duisburg. See https://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=9666 for further details of its short history. One has to wonder whether any of the men in your March photographs were crew members when the aircraft was lost in May. It has to be a strong probability. By no means all those in the photographs were aircrew, but most were.

Chris
 
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Ann B

Guest
Yes. what you say, is sadly a strong possibility. The first photograph is only crew. On back of photo R. Gunner, Navigator, W. Operator (Front), F. Engineer, Skipper, Bombadier, M. U. Gunner.
My sister in law's father was on this flight. He was an engineer at Longbridge.
The photo with more men on is 'air and ground'.
I suppose we knew it would have been lost, as I understand it there are no Short Sterlings still in existence.
 
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Ann B

Guest
Thank you for the link. I have printed it out and will send it to my sister in law. So it went down in May the same year. One photo is showing 31. 04 1943. A date that doesn't exist. Anyway it wasn't long after.
Ann
 

lencops

gone but not forgotten
Ann B, Have posted Short Stirlig Bomber photos on my exmilitarymates site, will pass on any replies.
 
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Ann B

Guest
Thank you Lencops. Good to know they are now on a relevant site, having been in a box in a loft for years.
Ann
 
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wtagg

Guest
Here is more info Reference the Short Stirling in Photo: Stirling Mark III HA-K 218 Squadron, Downham Market. Did not return from raid to Duisburg on 13 May, 1943. Crashed in North Sea. Aircraft was delivered to 218 Sqdn between Dec/43 - Feb/43.

Took off from Downham Market @0044hrs on 13May,1943 for Duisburg, Germany. Hit by flak and crashed into North Sea. No survivors. Crew: Pilot P/O R.J. Bryans-RCAF; Flt Engineer Sgt F.B.Holmes-RAF; Navigator Sgt. J.R. Thompson-RAF; air bomber Sgt J.Davies-RAF; Wireless Operator Sgt.J.Fitton-RAF; Air gunner Sgt. K.L.Garman-RCAF; Air Gunner Sgt K.G.Money-RAF Sgt Fitton's boby recovered from North Sea on 1 Aug/43. (Sgt Garman was an American from Republic, Kansas serving with the RCAF.) Not known if this crew were ones in any of the photos. - Wayne
 
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Ann B

Guest
Wayne,

Thank you for the additional information. I now know that the pilot on these photographs did survive the war. My sister in law spoke to her older sister, who remembered that her dad exchanged christmas cards with the pilot for a good number of years, after the pilot went out to Canada. So perhaps none of this crew were on that last flight.

Ann
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Here is more info Reference the Short Stirling in Photo: Stirling Mark III HA-K 218 Squadron, Downham Market. Did not return from raid to Duisburg on 13 May, 1943. Crashed in North Sea. Aircraft was delivered to 218 Sqdn between Dec/43 - Feb/43.

Took off from Downham Market @0044hrs on 13May,1943 for Duisburg, Germany. Hit by flak and crashed into North Sea. No survivors. Crew: Pilot P/O R.J. Bryans-RCAF; Flt Engineer Sgt F.B.Holmes-RAF; Navigator Sgt. J.R. Thompson-RAF; air bomber Sgt J.Davies-RAF; Wireless Operator Sgt.J.Fitton-RAF; Air gunner Sgt. K.L.Garman-RCAF; Air Gunner Sgt K.G.Money-RAF Sgt Fitton's boby recovered from North Sea on 1 Aug/43. (Sgt Garman was an American from Republic, Kansas serving with the RCAF.) Not known if this crew were ones in any of the photos. - Wayne
The above must be one of the last long-range usage of Stirlings, as most of them were retired from bombing operations by December 1943. The Stirling was described as an excellent aircraft to fly, with few vices, but suffered from being unable to climb much about 15000ft with a full load, and was also slow compared with the Lancaster and Halifax. However, Stirlings served until the end of the War as glider-tugs, mine-layers, troop transports and so on. Sadly not one flying example survives.

When I first started work as an aircraft-mad youth, I got pally with a bloke I worked with who was a rear-gunner ('Tail-end Charlie') on Stirlings, and he said he felt much safer in a Stirling that in either the Halifax or the Lanc, as the Stirling was much more manoeverable than either of the latter, and able to out-dive and out-turn Luftwaffe night-fighters. It was also extremely strong and able to absorb a huge amount of battle-damage. I can (just) recall seeing a Stirling parked on an airfield (can't recall which one) when as a wee lad we drove up the old A1.

Hope this is of interest.

Big Gee
 
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Ann B

Guest
And because it couldn't climb, that is exactly why it was always shot down.

Ann
 

Big Gee

master brummie
And because it couldn't climb, that is exactly why it was always shot down.

Ann
Ann,

I hope you're not implying that every Stirling ever despatched upon a sortie to Germany was shot down. The survival of a bomber over enemy territory depended upon many, many factors, including the ability to climb to an altitude at which flak became less effective. In this respect, the Stirling was at a disadvantage compared with the Halifax and Lancaster. It is true that the losses of Stirlings became unacceptable, which is why they were withdrawn from regular operations over the Continent. But later in the War, with the development of radar-sighted flak and vast improvements in Luftwaffe night-fighter technology, just about any bomber was a potential death-trap. A loss of more than about 5% of a bombing force in any one raid over Germany was considered disastrous. Yet they pressed on. The Luftwaffe more or less abandoned the bombing of the UK for these very reasons - we too had highly-efficient AA and night-fighters.

One of the most astonishing facts about WW2 is that Bomber Command personnel never received a campaign medal for their efforts - even before the War ended there were serious doubts as to the morality of blanket-bombing, yet there is little doubt that Air Marshall Harris' policy of hammering Germany at every opportunity shortened the War.

Sorry, bit of a bee in my bonnet about this aspect of WW2.

Regards,

Big Gee
 
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