Wellington Lost in Desert

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Fychan1, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. Fychan1

    Fychan1 Member

    Wellington in the Desert.jpg
    After a great deal of searching I've found a photograph taken by my father in the Desert of North Africa sometime between No 1941 and 1943. It shows a Wellington that had made an emergency landing. My recollection of our chats about this were he had come across this far from anywhere. Beside it were the graves of two of the crew - including the pilot. The pilot was either South African or Australian.

    Looking at the print there are what appears to be other vehicles in the distance, but my fathers comments were that after they discovered it, it was left there.

    The aircraft markings are obscured though I am sure someone will be able perhaps to pin details down on the approximate dates and possible squadrons due to the engines and other features.

    As for timings Dad was in the 281st Battery 88th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery. He drove Matadors, both towing the guns but also moving supplies. The Battery first moved up into the desert in November 1941 to defend the railhead near Landing Grounds 75 & 76. Later they accompanied the South African Airforce 3rd Wing moving westward towards Gambut, El Adem and Bu Amoud. They were at Fuka in Feb 1942 and El Baheura by May before scuttling back eastwards.

    Following the break out in November 1942 the Battery again followed hot on the heals of the advance westward revisiting many of the airfields they had defended 12 months previously.

    I'd welcome any information that may help pin down more details on the plane in the photograph.
    alieneyes likes this.
  2. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    No.37 Squadron operated with the Wellington IC from October 1940 to March 1943 and had a detachment at LG76 but from what I can make out that was in December 1940.

    Couldn't find any Wellington equipped squadrons operating out of LG75.
  3. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    38 squadron where also out there with Wellington.

    Is it a Cartoon pic of a Foreign Legion soldier on the nose?
  4. Fychan1

    Fychan1 Member

    Thanks - have tried filtering and enlarging the scan of the photo to try and pick out any feature on the nose - but with no success. As you can imagine the original is quite small. I can certainly see what you mean by the cartoon. As dad traveled extensively the aircraft could have been anywhere. I can only guess that finding this aircraft may have been earlier rather than later in his desert travels as finding such things may have been note worthy initially before they become only too common place?. Does anyone know how I can track down squadron details which may identify aircraft losses?
  5. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    I've started picking my way through Gunby/Temple's RAF Bomber Losses in the Mediterranean vol1 (which only goes up to 1942) but nothing matches yet. If I find anything I will let you know.

    As to Wellingtons flying from LG75, a small detachment did fly from the landing ground. They were from 109 Squadron and their task was to jam wireless communications used by enemy armour.
    Alun Granfield looks at their activities on pages 76-78 of Bombers over Sand and Snow 205 Group RAF in World War Two. Popularly known as 'Winston's Wellingtons" , they were six in total and operated for a very short time in Nov-Dec 1941. They eventually evolved into 162 Squadron. They did suffer losses when based at LG75 but none that seem to match the picture you've provided.
    Below are some threads dealing with the unit.

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