HALIFAX MkV LL 114 - Crash

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Bandy, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes I noted that John 35 was missing from the operation information

    I scanned the records twice attempting to trace Johnson as a Commandant and Lecointre on his former role in Attorney which might have been an envisaged SOE reseau which never was commissioned.(Paul Johnson as Heslop's wireless operator is given a good account in his role and also that of being Heslop's assistant.)

    Then checking further found that Attorney whose name suggests a F Section reseau was indeed one.It transpires that it has been described by MRD Foot in his SOE in France as "an abortive circuit".The reseau is in the records as being set up in October 1942 and on the books until August 1943 but its record is recorded as being "disjointed".The reseau was small and intended for small sabotage on railways between Amiens and Boulogne.It never got off to a start. As I see it, Andre Girard (Carte) thought his reseau in South Eastern France should take priority over Attorney.

    However Attorney is shown on a later map in the area of John R2 as "Area of Operations For Main Circuits" from Major Robert Bourne-Paterson's SOE in France 1941-1945 which was written as a restricted document in June 1945.Perhaps Lecointre's presence in South Eastern France accounted for this record.
  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    I received a PM from member "Ferrieu" this morning questioning the authenticity of the photo of J22367 F/O Arthur Edward Reid that I posted some time back. The reason given is that Reid's service number was J22367 and the photo shows a service number of R124718. And apparently his uniform is incorrect.

    Rather than get into a long winded ramble about commissionings I think it best to just post a page from his service file, upper left corner, showing NCO number scratched out following his commissioning on 30 December 1942.

    reid service file numbers.jpg
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  3. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    I have no doubt about the authenticity of picture of F/O REID.
    The explanation is on the Record of service, as the comment of Alieneyes.

    Our investigations about the circumstance of this crash come on. We have checked more of 100 JOHN operations in the south-east part of France. In the exact area JOHN (R1), but always nothing about this "hide" opération JOHN 35.
  4. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    New informations about Gerald Denis CARROLL (137405) the pilot.
    I have found in:

    The Supplement of London Gazette (31th August 1943) Pg 3929.
    In RAFVR General Duty Branch these infos:

    At the date of 20 August 1943:

    Plt.Offs (prob) to be Flg Offs on prob. (War Subs):

    What is the meaning of this short text with a lot of abbreviations ?

    It's not easy for a French guy, I suppose that is promotion in a new rank.

  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    P/O and F/O promotions are Probationary while War Subs is abbreviation for War Substantial ..quite common with RAFVR,ie,servicemen who joined the RAF from 3 September 1939.

    General Duties Branch refers to flying duties branch and only applied to Officer Aircrew...a legacy from the founding of the RAF, the fact that officers were not trained in any trade category........ ....classed as gentlemen and gentlemen were not allocated trade training.

    Probationary in this case meaning subject to ongoing satisfactory service.

    War Substantial meaning for the duration of the war.

    From the records, overall,it means that unless a candidate's personal assessment /circumstances changed,he would not be offered a permanent commission during the war.

    During the war,quite a number of RAF commissioned ranks on promotion were subject to War Substantial clauses..served under a prewar regular...Sergeant Aircrew in 1940.then Group Captain in 1943 (War
    Substantial) but held the Substantial rank of Group Captain 10 years later.

    War Substantial officers relinquished the W.S rank after the war and dropped back to their Substantial rank....this particular officer's rank dropped back to Wing Commander after the war end which was his wartime Substantial rank.After the war he was eventually promoted to Group Captain,then to Air Commodore,both Substantial.
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  6. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    Thank Harry,
    Now all is clear for the sucessive ranks:

    1/ LDG (Leading air Craftman) G.D CARROLL (1457099) is promoted Plt. Offs on prob. (emergency) the 20/02/1943.
    I see that is with a new matricule number (137405).

    2/ Exactly six months latter:
    The Plt. Offs (Prob) is promoted Flg. Offs on prob. for the duration of the war, the 20/08/1943.

    3/ 5 months and 19 days latter he dies in operation, after only 57 days in the Sqd 138, during his fifth operational mission. (8/02/1944)
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    LDG would be LAC classification as in normal RAF abbreviations and would be an interim stage in F/O Carroll's pilot aircrew training retaining his OR service number of 1457099.After flying training he could have passed out as an NCO,with the rank of Sergeant or commissioned as he clearly was with an officer service number of 127405.

    Incidentally F/O Carroll's OR (Other Ranks) service number suggests he joined the service at RAF Cardington,Bedfordshire in April 1941.His entry rank would have been AC2 as other recruits but his trade would have been ACH (Aircrafthand) which was the trade category for those destined for flying training.It was also the trade category for those destined for technical training as groundcrew.

    One other point about flying training,pilot trainees were assessed during the course according to their ability/suitability/personality traits and a decision made via the Chief Flying Instructor on passing out as to their future role.

    Some were assessed as better suited to be deployed as fighter pilots and their training continued for this role while others were better suited to be pilots within Bomber,Coastal and Transport Commands.Their training followed a syllabus as appropriate to the command that they would be ultimately posted to.There was certainly a distinction between the selection for fighter pilots and those selected for piloting lower airspeed aircraft.
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  8. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    I've just looked at the Mayor's letter again, and I wonder what the reference to distress signals might mean? I'd be surprised if a Special Duties aircraft in trouble over Occupied France would use distress flares or whatever in such circumstances. Maybe an insignificant detail, but it piqued my interest.

    Cheers, Pat
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As I see it,how the Halifax was lost has not been established.

    However just thinking about the circumstances,the aircraft might have been a victim of a night fighter and the sight of the reported distress flares might have been an attempted deception by the crew.The practice was that aircraft being intercepted would fire off "colours of the day"appertaining to the Luftwaffe daily operations and falsely indicating a friendly aircraft.

    The intelligence on the Luftwaffe operations may have been drawn from Ultra and the practice appears to been in use since early in the war.
  10. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member


    Do you remember what was my question in my first post:

    " My specific question is about the aim of this mission and also about the operation JOHN 35."

    After two years of search this is the answer to this question:

    The Halifax engaged in the Op. JOHN 35 was going on the pin-point ABRIS in the département of VAUCLUSE (S-E of France) in 6bf/59 near SAVOUILLON in 44°00'37,73" N / 5° 25' 40,62" E

    The reception team was on the ground but no plane heard this night.
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  11. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    On the ground in august

    "The Halifax was not on the sky, of course !"

    ABRI pin-point location


    Attached Files:

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  12. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Thanks Bandy for finally solving the the puzzle of the background to the John 35 operation.

    The Halifax must have been way off course when it crashed as his DZ was in the vicinity of Mt Ventoux. Nearby is Sault where Francis Cammaerts (Jockey Circuit) operated, so I think that the drop was related to Jockey.
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  13. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    I have a recent contact with a family member of the P/O REID living in Canada
    I have received a picture with the Reid medals.
    I need you help to identify these one.
    Nota : I can confirm now that the letter of the major of Autrans (show before) was sent to the REID family.
    In this 2d of January, I wish an HNY 2020 to all the readers


    Attached Files:

  14. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Happy New Year to you as well, Andy.

    The box at the top of the photo contained the Memorial Cross sent to his mother. The Memorial Cross and it's box are shown far right, next row down. I cannot tell you how many times families have confused this with a Distinguished Flying Cross.

    To its left are what was called "sweetheart brooches" There seems to be quite the niche for them these days.

    Next row down, far right is the Defence Medal. To its left is the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. Next to the CVSM is the War Medal 1939 - 1945.

    The other two on that row have no ribbons but presumably Air Crew Europe and France and Germany Star.

    Photos of all medals and ribbons in the links.

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  15. Bandy

    Bandy Junior Member

    Thank a lot Dave for this detailed and quick answer.
    I appreciate always to come on this forum.
  16. pepin

    pepin New Member

  17. pepin

    pepin New Member


    I am new to your forum. I am a French Canadian friend of a French friend making a research with others since a few years on the crash of an RAF bomber in Vercors on Feb 8 1944. I was asked by my French friend to try to find information on the 2 Cdn airmen who died in this crash, including pictures of them. I am presently in contact with some of their family members in Canada trying to get as much info on them.

    I read the exchange you had on the purpose of the mission and found the pictures of these 2 Cdn airmen on a message placed by one of your members: Arthur Edward REID and James Alvin Taylor. Do you know a way to access the pictures of the 5 other British crewmen who died that day.? Can we have access to those photos by Internet? Thanks!
    Gilles Pépin

    PS My father was a member of the Escadrille Alouette as a tail gunner on an Halifax bomber during the war.
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  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hello Gilles

    Halifax Mark V LL 114......... RAF crew individual photographs think either alieneyes (Dave) or Bandy (Andy) might be able to help you with the individual photographs of the 5 RAF crew from what has been posted under #8 and #9 as the thread has progressed.

    As an aside,I initially misread your point about your father's service and thought it was associated with the FAF squadrons based at Elvington,Nos 346 and 347 Squadrons.

    The Alouette squadron was No 425 Squadron RCAF which belonged to No 6 Group Bomber Command,a dedicated Group of 14 RCAF squadrons serving in North Yorkshire and south Durham.Looking at your father's period of service,the squadron was based at Tholthorpe Moor (Moor actual location of the airfield) which is a few miles south west of Easingwold across the main trunk road,from York,the A19. Both Nos 420 and 425 Squadrons based here were selected for Tiger Force at the end of the European War. Both squadrons converted to the Canadian built Lancaster Mark X for the purpose in May 1945.On 10-11 June 1945 both squadrons flew home to Debert, Nova Scotia with their new Lancasters to work up for the forthcoming task. However the atomic bomb raids on Japan intervened and the Tiger Force project was cancelled.
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  19. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Salut Gilles,

    It is very difficult to source portrait photographs of RAF airmen. Why? They were destroyed post war. I have been looking for a photo of one man for 30 years.

    While an RCAF service file might have 300-500 pages, all that survives from an RAF service file is 3 or 4 pages with all postings etc. Nothing like what is available at the LAC in Ottawa.

    I wonder if your father knew the airman this book is about? An Alouette airman who met a terrible fate. This happened 6 March 1945 so your dad may have been finished his tour of operations already.


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  20. pepin

    pepin New Member

    Thanks very much for your info.

    Thanks for this precious info. When I go back home, I will post for you a few pictures of my father's group taken during WW2

    My father was back in November 1944. Thanks again

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