RAF Swannington at War

A tribute to the men and machines of 85 and 157 squadrons


       
[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

A 157 sqn NFXIX at dipersal near St Peters church, Haveringland, 1944

The same view in 2000

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

Swannington in the snow, winter 1944-45

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

From left to right: F/Lt 'Bunny' Bunch, S/L 'Dolly' Doleman, S/L'Jimmy' Matthews, W/C Buchan.

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

157 sqn's F/Lts James Benson (second left) & Brian Blundell (second right)

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

W/C W K Davison OC 85 sqn from Jan 1945 with his flight crews at Swannington

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

NFXIX TA446/RS-Q, of 157 sqn and flown by F/Lt MacKinnon and F/O Waddell, was a 'write-off' after an emergency landing at USAF base at Shipdham

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

Swannington at dusk, late 1944

[Photograph: Crecy Publishing Ltd]

Wing Com. James Benson DSO DFC & Bar

[Photograph: Crecy Publishing Ltd]

Sqn Leader Lewis Brandon DSO, DFC & Bar

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

157 sqn, A Flight, Swannington winter 1944-45 OC S/L J Benson is centre front.

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

Swannington in late 1944. OC 157 sqn W/Co KHP Beauchamp with his navigator F/Lt L Scholefield.

[Photograph: Martin Bowman]

An NF30 of 85 sqn, Swannington

[photograph: Nicholas Bunch]

Fl Lt 'Bunny' Bunch on the right, - but who is his pilot here?

[photograph:Crecy Publishing Ltd]

Fl.Lt Benson & Fl. Lt Brandon One of the crack crews of 157 sqn In front of their 'Eager Beaver'.

I am indebted to the following for permitting me to use photographs from their books: Martin Bowman and Osprey Publishing: 'Combat Aircraft No.9-Mosquito' Martin Bowman & Patrick Stephens publishing: 'The Men who Flew the Mosquito' Lewis Brandon & Crecy Publishing Ltd: 'Night Flyer'

The following is believed to be a complete list of incidents involving crashed aircraft of 85 and 157 squadrons whilst based at RAF Swannington.

The information is taken from the exhaustive works: 'RAF Bomber Command Losses' (Midland Countiespublisher) by WR Chorley, who kindly granted me permission to use it in the text below.


Abbreviations used below: inj. = injured; + = killed; pow = prisoner of war; BS = Bomber support; u/c = undercarraige; ASR = Air sea rescue; evd = evaded capture: 10 May 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XVII HK157 RS:? t/o 1730 Training Tweedale J F/Lt Cunningham J F/Lt Crash-landed on return to base at 19.15, losing its starboard u/c. No injuries. 02 July 1944 85 sqn Mosquito XIX MM625 VY-P t/o 1405 Training Virgo R T F/S inj. Checkley F/S Mechanical problems resulted in cras-landing at base at 1540. The pilot suffered a fractured spine. 01 Sept 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM672 RS-? t/o ? Training Woodcock C N F/O + Butt L G F/O + Collided with another Mosquito MM676 and plunged to earth at Heydon, 5m north of base. 15 Sept 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX TA396 RS-W t/o 2340 Patrol Chisholm J H S/L + Wilde E L F/L + Lost without trace. Click here to see page on 'S/L "Chis" Chisholm' 26 Sept 1944 85 sqn Mosquito XIX MM648 VY-? t/o 1510 Training Jones C J F/S + Warham A S F/S + Lost control and dived into the ground from 3000' at East Barsham, near Fakenham, Norfolk. 29 Sept 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM646 RS-R t/o 0100 BS to Munster Fry PW F/O + Smith H F/O + Crashed at Geesburg (Drenthe), Holland at 0300. 29 Sept 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX TA398 RS-B t/o 0150 BS Matthews J O F/L Penrose W/O Hit by flak, crash-landed at base at 0600. No injuries. 29 Sept 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM643 RS-F t/o 0800 ASR Waddington S A F/L + Lomas E H F/O + Shot down by a ME109 at 1111 in sea off Lowestoft. 06 Oct 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM678 RS-A t/o 1805 BS Vale W S P/O RAAF + Ashcroft A E P/O RAAF + Crashed whilst supporting raid on Dortmund. 07 Oct 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM639 RS-Q t/o 1825 BS Leigh J F/S Lucas L Sgt Turned back with port engine failure 20 miles west of Heligoland. Overshot runway on return to base at 2110. No injuries. 16 Oct 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM674 RS-T t/o 1957 Training Mackinnon A F/O Overshot runway on return to base at 2237 and was wrecked. No injuries. 19 Oct 1944 85 sqn Mosquito XIX TA400 VY-J t/o1915 BS Hill A M F/L pow Brooker G B F/L + F/L Brooker lies buried in Durnbeck War Cemetery. 25 Oct 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM671 RS-C t/o/1148 Air test Miller B W/O RAAF Lost power on t/o, crashing into an obstruction. No injuries. 30 Oct 1944 85 sqn Mosquito XIX MM628 VY-V t/o ? BS Potts J F/S + Copp P F J F/S + Crashed at Barchem. Buried in Laren General Cemetery, Holland. 06 Nov 1944 85 sqn Mosquito XIX MM624 VY-Q t/o/1730 BS Phillips M H C F/L pow Smith D V F/L pow Supporting raid on Koblenz. 12 Nov 1944 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV525 VY-? t/o 1440 Training Keele B R F/L DFC + Wright R C F/L inj. Stalled at 200' on landing approach. Burst into flames on impact. F/L Wright was pulled from the flames by Cpl.Woodhead, who was awarded the BEM. 21 Nov 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM629 RS-Y t/o 1715 BS Mackinnon A F/O evd Waddell G F/O evd Shot down by another Mosquito MM630 over Dutch occupied territory. Both crewmen uninjured and walked to allied lines. 18 Dec 1944 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV549 VY-T t/o 1945 BS Trull D T F/O DFC + Cowgill P J F/O DFC + Heading for Ruhr. Buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. 22 Dec 1944 157 sqn Mosquito XIX TA 392 RS-K t/o 1625 BS Taylor W F/L + Edwards J N F/O + Aileron problems. Crashed near base at 2110. F/O Edwards was buried in St Peters churchyard, Haveringland, adjacent base. 05 Jan 1945 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV 558 VY-? t/o 1407 Air test Lomas J F/L Port engine controls failed, u/c raised in order to stop. No injuries. The aircraft was a write-off. 14 Jan 1945 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV565 VY-? t/o ? BS Bryan C B F/L + Wood H F/L + High level support for Leun raid over Ruhr. Believed to have run out of petrol on return to Suffolk coast. ROC reported spotting a plane crash into the sea at the corresponding time. 17 Jan 1945 157 sqn Mosquito XIX TA446 RS-Q t/o ? Air test Gale B F/O Lang G T F/O Landed with wheels retracted on grass at Shipdham, Norfolk. No injuries. 26 Jan 1945 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV546 VY-P t/o ? Training Redfern TW F/L + Witt A F F/O + Night flight exercise in bad weather. Dived into the ground at Oulton aerodrome, 4 miles north of base. 16 Feb 1945 157 sqn Mosquito XIX TA402 RS-F t/o 2200 BS Basan L W F/S + Keefe R D F/S Op to Stuttgart, ran out of fuel and abandoned plane near Cherbourg. 03 Mar 1945 157 sqn Mosquito XIX TA404 RS-M t/o 1956 BS Leigh J A F/S + Lucas L R J F/S + Supporting raid over Kamen. Lost without trace. 14 Mar 1945 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV541 VY-B t/o 1910 BS Dobie I A F/L Grimstone A R DFM P/O + Whilst supporting raid over Lutzendorf hit by US AA over battle line. Crashed near Koblenz. 14 Mar 1945 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM650 RS-J t/o 1930 BS Miller B E P/O RAAF + Crisford R G P/O RAAF + Supprting raid over Lutzendorf. 17 Mar 1945 85 sqn Mosquito VI NT254 VY-? t/o ? Anti-intruder Harrop S J P/O + Redmond G C W/O + Patrolling over Freisan coast. Lost without trace. 20 Mar 1944 85 sqn Mosquito VI NS998 VY-? t/o ? Training Ellis G H F/L + Reidy W P Sgt + Stalled and spun over the Wash. 02 Ap 1945 157 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV551 RS-W t/o2055 Anti-intruder Hunt T L F/L Mulroy F F/O Engine fault on take-off. Ran off runway, crashed and caught fire. No injuries. 12 Ap 1945 157 sqn Mosquito XIX MM677 RS-? t/o ? Training Moore J M F/S + Westoby T J H Sgt + Crashed, on fire, near Feltwell, Norfolk. 12 Ap 1945 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MV555 VY-? t/o ? BS Baker W J F/O Lees F E F/O Overshot on return to base. No injuries reported. 13Ap 1945 85 sqn Mosquito NF30 MT494 VY-N t/o 2153 BS Thomas H B F/L pow Hamilton C B F/O DFC + Struck by German nightfighter on return from Heligoland, 180 miles off the east coast.

R GIBBONS © 2001