No. 4 (Continental) Ferry Pilot Pool

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Ceri Stennett, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. Ceri Stennett

    Ceri Stennett Member

    I have recently bought some letters, note book and photographs to a Sergeant (Air Gunner) in the RAFVR who was killed whilst serving with No. 4 (Continental) Ferry Pilot Pool. His name was Dennis Patrick Humphrey McGovern (though his christian names change order depending on what records you look at). His number was 903042. He was killed when his Bristol Blenheim IV. L9317 crashed in bad weather over France, en route to Malta from Tangmere on 18th June 1940. My query is what medals he would have been entitled to given his death in 1940. Only the 1939-45 War Medal came with the items, but it had a 1939-45 Star ribbon with it. I am wondering if those two medals would have been his only entitlement, or whether because of death during service, he would have been entitled to an Air Crew Europe Star. Would crews that ferried aircraft to different locations be considered to have been on 'operational duties' or not? Many thanks for any help. Ceri.
     
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Interesting question. Given that someone considered it prudent to have an air gunner on an aircraft being ferried this would suggest that the possibility of encountering hostiles must have been considered which would seem to make it operational duties but possibly the minds of military bureaucrats work differently.
     
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    No 4 Continental Ferry Pilot Pool as a unit was initially based at Filton (Bristol) but early in the summer was posted to Cardiff (RAF Pengam Moors).I would think that the aircraft staged from Tangmere as others are recorded having done so,being flown in from their home base at Cardiff.I would appear that there was also operational activity in relocating pilots to other bases in order to fulfil ferry operations.......ferrying operations would be regarded as air operations.

    Considering the squadrons overseas converting to the Blenheim IV,the only squadron receiving the Mark IV at this time would appear to be No 203 Squadron which was converting from the obsolete Singapore III flying boat in the New Year of 1940 and started to take on the Blenheim IV from May 1940 while based at RAF Khormaksar (Aden).RAF staging posts to the Middle East and Far East were traditionally through Malta and other RAF bases to the east. Gib was used as a staging post after France fell.Cannot see that the aircraft being a replacement aircraft since No 203 Squadron,it would appear,was the first squadron overseas to receive the Blenheim Mark IV

    An interesting point regarding the loss of this Blenheim is the crewing.The normal operational crewing would be Pilot, At the time before the Navigator designation was introduced there would be an Observer for navigating and bombing duties,An Air Gunner would man the gun turret.

    This aircraft being ferried was manned as below.

    P/O C W Handley is designated as a pilot....would be the pilot.
    Sgt D P H McGovern...... designated as an Air Gunner
    LAC T J G Broadbent........trade not declared

    The question would be who was carrying out navigation...was P/O Handley undertaking this role as well as his main responsibility.It may have been the case that Sgt McGovern and LAC Broadbent were travelling to join the squadron at RAF Khormaksar.

    Information on service awards below.

    Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility
     
  4. Ceri Stennett

    Ceri Stennett Member

    My thanks to both Robert and Harry for their input on this question. The box of assorted papers etc., does also include several family items, so it is possible that the ribbon for the 1939-45 Star may have belonged to another family member, which could mean that McGovern's only entitlement was the 1939-45 War Medal that is present. The connection with RAF Pengam Moors in Cardiff is interesting to me given that I live in the city.
     
  5. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    May have qualified for the 1939-45 Star if his service on the ferry flight over France or other flights he had made were counted as Operational Service, as if he had not anyway accumulated 60 operational days, termination of qualifying period by his death would do it.
    Also there was a special criteria for where one or part of one operational days service in the Battle of France from from 10 May to 19 June 1940 qualified the serviceman.
    1939–1945 Star - Wikipedia

    Not sure about the Defence Medal, but maybe his 1939-45 Star or premature death qualified, depending on how the death was classified.
    Defence Medal (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    With the Air Crew Europe Star, again looks like it depends on wether his trips were operational flying, and qualifying period as long as it was started considered complete by his death.
    Air Crew Europe Star - Wikipedia
     

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