Aircraft close to "Horsa Bridge"... ?

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by horsapilot, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    If everyone is agreed or at least convinced it is KG426 that is in the aerial photograph, here is some of the evidence from the squadron Operation Record Book.

    After aircraft released their gliders pilots from 48 Squadron, all in Dakotas, saw Le Huray’s aircraft crash. Flak seems to be very strong around the mouth of the Orne and Cabourg, it is unclear whether Allied or Axis fire.

    At 21.10 F/O. J.G. Wills of KG.417 saw F/O. LE HURAY'S aircraft crashed”
    F/Lt. W.F. Stone of KG.423, saw after his“Glider released at 2107 and landed safely. At 2108 the aircraft was hit by A.A. fire but returned safely. F/O. Le HURAY'S aircraft observed to crash with Starboard engine on fire - two crew bailed out and the other two were seen to leave the aircraft after a crash landing”
    F/O. Le Huray, pilot of the said aircraft, recorded wht happened Glider released at 2107. At 2109 aircraft was hit in Starboard engine and began to lose height. Pilot ordered F/O. WOODCOCK and SGT. CARR to bale out – successfully crash landed aircraft and pilot and F/O. FARRELL got out. Starboard engine fire out. F/O. WOODCOCK and SGT. CARR. parachuted into canal where SGT. CARR was unfortunately drowned before assistance could be rendered. F/O. LE HURAY and F/O. WOODCOCK arrived back in England at 1810 on 7th June. F/O. FARRELL. Was detained in hospital with an injured ankle.
    the 48 Squadron Operation record Book gives a full explanation It was on this operation that the Squadron experienced it first loss in personnel, it is with deepest regret that we record the death of SGT CARR, Wireless Operator in the crew of F/O LE HURAY. This aircraft UV was hit at 2109, two minutes after successfully releasing glider and the starboard engine caught fire, causing the aircraft to lose height rapidly. The Pilot gave the order to jump and he and his co-pilot – F/O FARRELL – ran towards the rear of the aircraft from which F/O WOODCOCK and SGT CARR had already jumped. Before the two pilots reached the rear, F/O LE HURAY realised the aircraft was too low to attempt a jump and decided to crash land, so he and F/O FARRELL returned to the front and regained control of the machine. The cockpit, by now, was full of smoke and in attempt to let down the flaps, the Pilot inadvertently lowered the undercarriage. The aircraft hit the ground with the starboard wheel, the shock of which carried away the starboard engine, performed a ground loop and came to rest within 75 yards. F/O’s LE HURAY and FARRELL climbed out of the machine and fearing effects of the fire on the petrol tank, covered a distance of some 50 yards in record time. It was only at the completion of this epic run, that F/O FARRELL realised that he had hurt his leg badly, it was later confirmed that it was broken in two places. Meanwhile F/O WOODCOCK and SGT CARR had come down by parachute and dropped into the CAEN CANAL. F/O WOODCOCK saw that CARR was struggling violently and shouted and shouted to him to hang on and began swimming towards him, having got free of his parachute. Before he could reach CARR, who did not seem able to free his parachute, CARR disappeared and was not seen again. WOODCOCK then swam to the bank where he was helped out by some Frenchman, taken to nearby house and given whisky and milk a change of clothing whilst his own clothes were drying. The next morning he returned to the river but could see no sign of CARR’s parachute which had gone under with CARR, and was then led back to the British Lines. He eventually arrived at the beach and was taken aboard a landing craft with some Glider Pilots and brought back to England, where he met F/O LE HURAY and they returned to DOWN AMPNEY together. F/O FARRELL had been left at a casualty clearing station and rejoined the squadron on the 17th June.
    All the evidence above is from AIR 27/473 48 Squadron Operation Record Book
     
  2. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    I cannot see the starboard engine on the aircraft in the aerial photograph unlike the port wing shown by its shadow, which might finally confirm it is KG426. The engine can be seen 75 yards north of the aircraft and you can see its line of path.

    As Paul Curran points out in the link below there is an L shaped depression which may indicate the aircraft crashed from South to North the direction it would be taking after towing the Horsa glider, might be why the starboard engine came off the aircraft.

    Paul Woodadge - DDay Historian - Travel & Normandy WWII History Forum :: View topic - markings on aerial photograph
     
  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    brithm,

    Brilliant material from the Squadron Operation Record Book and nicely presented! It all seems supportive to me at his time. It was sad to read a more detailed version of Carr's drowning in the canal. Can you actually see the lost engine on the aerial?

    Cheers
     
  4. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    This is fantastic -- the story has really come together nicely!

    I've been unable to post for a few days -- no time, and then a major storm hit the Washington, DC area Friday night. I still have no Internet at home (writing this from work), but at least I have electricity again, unlike thousands in my area.

    Last week I popped over to the US National Archives to quickly check microfilmed reconnaissance flight overlays. Potentially there are quite a few sets of imagery, but IF it still exists (the staff doesn't know...one orders it and hopes it is delivered from underground storage in the central US) eventually I might be able to take some digital images to share. Unfortunately, I'm time-challenged...and I need a decent digital camera. But eventually I'll surprise everyone with a gem or two, I hope.

    Cheers to all who have contributed to this intriguing investigation.

    Back to work I go...boss looking over my shoulder...

    Matt
     
  5. patelie

    patelie Junior Member

    The engine can be seen 75 yards north of the aircraft and you can see its line of path.
    As Paul Curran points out in the link below there is an L shaped depression which may indicate the aircraft crashed from South to North the direction it would be taking after towing the Horsa glider, might be why the starboard engine came off the aircraft.
    Hi
    I think that the plane crash-landed from NORTH to South, lost her starboard engine when the starboard wheel hit the ground and then came to rest 75 yards after making a ground loop to the right caused by the loose of the right leg of her landing gear. (on the aerial it's clear that the right wing is on the ground).
     
  6. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    After aircraft released their gliders; pilots from 48 Squadron, all in Dakotas, saw Le Huray’s aircraft crash. Flak seems to be very strong around the mouth of the Orne and Cabourg, it is unclear whether Allied or Axis fire.

    F/O. J.G. Wills of KG.417 and F/Lt. W.F. Stone of KG.423, saw the aircraft crash respectivelyF/O. LE HURAY'S aircraft crashed
    and Glider released at 2107 and landed safely. At 2108 the aircraft was hit by A.A. fire but returned safely. F/O. Le HURAY'S aircraft observed to crash with Starboard engine on fire - two crew bailed out and the other two were seen to leave the aircraft after a crash landing

    PERSONAL STORY OF F/O. J. LE HURAY (55070)

    We Were briefed for OPERATION MALLARD. Self – Skipper, F/O. Linn Farrell – 2nd. Pilot, F/O. Bill Woodcock – Navigator and Sgt. Charlie Carr – Wireless Operator., in tug No. 72 of 74 tugs briefed. Our glider was carrying 28 troops and a trailer full of ammunition. The take-off and trip to the French Coast went without incident and in beautiful weather we crossed the coast at 1000 feet and made a straight run in down the river. The glider pulled off directly over he bridge. I could see a Glider on fire on the L.Z. and to starboard the kites in front were under fire from a light flak position about 3 miles N.W. of CAEN. Three bursts of flak hit us, the first starting at the tail and running up the fuselage, the second in the starboard engine setting it on fire, and the last which hit in the fuselage and wings filling the cockpit with smoke and fumes. Our height was 700 feet, decreasing rapidly, I pressed the feathering button, regained my height and told Linn to tell the blokes to jump. Bill and Charlie got out and Linn got half way down the fuselage as I left the controls. By the time I had got to the Navigator’s door, the kite was on its side starting a right hand spiral and going down rapidly again, so I went back to the controls and regained partial control by closing the port throttle and reducing speed. At about 150 feet the starboard engine fell out giving me much better control. I saw a field to starboard about 100 yards long, so I put the flaps down, switched off the ignition and went in, landing down wind, port wing tip first, and ending up with a ground loop. Linn and I rushed out of the still burning wreck and came to a standstill in a ditch not less than 50 yards away whereupon Linn discovered he had hurt his foot. We were hailed by a couple of Tommies and later a Major arrived to take us to a First Aid Post. There was an Australian M.O. dressed Linn’s foot, gave him a shot of morphine and put him to bed.


    You can spot the line with which the engine took on crash landing from South to North, which I believe illustrates the aircraft was heading North back towards the coast.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. patelie

    patelie Junior Member

    Hello Brithm

    If you think that the engine is in the red circle, at the moment of the crash landing the plane was flying North to South. (North is on the left of your picture)
    The aircraft hit the ground with the starboard wheel, the shock of which carried away the starboard engine, performed a ground loop and came to rest within 75 yards.
     
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    There seems to be a discrepancy between Le Huray's account and that of the Squadron record book regarding the loss of the starboard engine. The impression I get from Le Huray is the engine was loss while still in the air:

    "At about 150 feet the starboard engine fell out giving me much better control."

    Whereas the the Record book states it was loss after impact as quoted by Patrick.

    "The aircraft hit the ground with the starboard wheel, the shock of which carried away the starboard engine, performed a ground loop and came to rest within 75 yards."

    Would the term "landing down wind" give any indication of direction? I can see what brithm is thinking as there appears to be a drag mark from north to south leading to the plane in it's final resting place. Le Hurray mentions that after he left the controls "the kite was on its side starting a right hand spiral and going down rapidly again" which indicates a turning of some degree took place. How much I don't know?

    Cheers ...
     
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  9. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

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  11. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Reviving an old thread to finally post what I said I'd post over four years ago. In Dec 2012 I did take digital photos of the surviving US National Archives imagery covering the crashed Dakota, but of the better-scaled offerings, I found only 3 cans of imagery, all from July 1945. Unfortunately, the quality of the imagery from these three different recon overflights is not very detailed, but for the sake of completeness here are three cropped bits, and further closeups (for what they're worth) from the following:

    Film can #E747, Frame 057, 13 or 14 July 1945
    Film can #E725, Frame 024, 21 July 1945
    Film can #E749, Frame 123, 25 July 1945.

    You can see the Dakota, but this adds nothing of value!

    These are just digital camera shots that aren't quite as good as can be taken with a better camera. Some out of focus edges, too. However, there's more than enough quality for me to know that the negative was just not very good. It was at least a second generation duplicate and may be a third generation.

    Cheers,

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
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