I am searching for the Serial Number and all other relevant information regarding the Bristol Baufighter TF.X P6-A of the 489 Squadron at Dallachy in Scotland, operating at the coast of Norway in 1944-45.
P6-A was hot down on January 28, in 1945, at the island of Stord - situated at the South/West coast of Norway, close to my home town of Haugesund.
The name of the Pilot is Leslie, Raymond W. G.
P6-A, P6-E and P6-P participated in the same operation, a late night attacking on south bound German Destroyers. P6-A and P6-E were both shot down by German FLAK. The Torpedo exploded when P6-A hit a small rock close to shore, and the crew was instantly killed.
The Navigator of P6-E was rescued and survived the War.
I will be very pleased if anyone can provide me with some information regarding P6-A - as it was by the time of January 1945.
Sunday 28 January 1945 Coastal Command
Rover patrol off Bommel Fjord, near Haugesund
489 Squadron,RNZAF (Dallachy, Morayshire -18 Group)
Beaufighter TF.X NE779/A - took off at 1907, being one of five to leave at intervals throughout the evening and one of two which failed to return. Later discovered to have exploded on striking a rock 30metres off the rocky shore of the small island of Foeuroy at 2115 while still carrying its torpedo. The bodies of the two crew, which had been thrown clear, were buried on15 February in a joint grave at Bergen.
Pilot: NZ415702 Warrant Officer Raymond William Gibson LESLIE. RNZAF - Age 24. 1061hrs, 25th op.
Navigator: NZ423669 Flying Officer Neville Alexander HEFFERNAN, RNZAF - Age 23. 362hrs, 34th op.
My plan is now to make a 1:48 scale model of this aircraft, representing as close as possible to the real aircraft. The new 1:48 scale Revell kit looks very nice for this project.
I understand that the NE series Baufighter had a plane nose cap, and not the ASV Mk.XII radar nose installed, as was the case wit the late-production TF.X, like the RD... series.
I also wonder if NE779/A might have been converted to the Mod T361 tailplane and Mod T375 fin during maintenance (as TF.X P6-X NE210)?
And, as far as I know, the 489 Sqn TF.X Beaufighters did not use the standard Rocket Projectile, Strike Wing rig,
Please correct me if I am wrong.
Today I actually managed to get hold of the 489 Squadron ORB from January 28 1945.
The time difference between Dallachy/Scotland and Norway was in 1945 1 hour. NE779/A take-off time at Dallachy was 19:07. About one hour and fifteen minutes later, at 21:21local time, the Air Raid Alarm sounded in Haugesund.
The aircraft turned north following the Bomlofjord and passing the island of Stord, flying along the Langenuen Fjord, towards the Hardanger Fjord. At the end of the fjord, NE779/A was shot dovn by German FLAK from the Osteroy Coastal Battery. The weather was nice and cold, and the Moon was 99,9% full.
I have tried to mark the approximate position of the crash site on this google map:
Thanks for providing the ORB from 28 Jan 1945. It adds a little more from the established accounts.
I see from the records I have that NE779 was from an order placed with Bristol for 500 Beaufighter TF.X's that ranged in serial number allocation from NE193-NE832. These aircraft were built at Bristol's shadow factory at Old Mixton, Weston.
489 Squadron was a specialist torpedo squadron that carried over from its days when equipped with torpedo equipped Hampdons. The only times when the squadron didn't use torpedo's is when operational requirements called for cannon sorties only. 489 never carried R.P.'s.
I see the dilemma on whether NE779 was fitted with Mod T361 & T375. These mods are said to have been introduced on the production line in September 1944 beginning with RD130. The proposed Beaufighter Mk.XII wing was also introduced on the production line on RD130. Retro-fitting of existing TF.X's with Mod T361 & T375 appears to have begun in late 1944 as existing airframes were rotated through Maintenance Units. The first mention found of 489 Beau's being retrofitted begins in early January 1945. By March, many had been retro-fitted. I have not found any references to NE779 being retro-fitted with the mods but it could well have been.
The radar nose was first fitted on the Weston production TF.X's beginning with RD420 onward. This would place production around late 1944 on the Weston line. It was a mod that was retrofitted to earlier airframes but that process would not likely have started until around March 1945.
Interestingly enough, the camera nose was interchangeable with the plain nose cap and could be fitted according to the mission. I also read that not all Beau's were fitted with the camera nose and looking at photos of TorBeau's, they have either no camera or camera's fitted so this is another unanswered mystery for NE779. Many of the R.P. fitted Beau's all appear to have the camera nose, probably because rocket attack accuracy and strike rates were vital intelligence.
I'll keep reading through my TF.X references and see if anything else crops up relating to NE779 etc.and let you know, but that's it for now.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Oystein Ostensjo
I guess I now have a pretty good impression of how the aircraft looked like.
I am impressed by all effort you have put into this "archeology", to help me create a model looking as close as possible to the original.
The people at Aviaeology in Canada are putting thorough research into their decals and documentations on Baufighter ond Mosquito Squadrons belonging to the Strike Wings at Dallachy and Banff. Each of them representing operational aircraft on missions, along the coastline of Norway, including my hometown of Haugesund.
I will also recommend those of you who ar interested to buy this book. Telling the little known, but very important, part of the WW2 history.
Many aircrew from New Zealand, Australia and Canada lost their young lives here on the South-West Coast of Norway.
In Haugesund we have 42 graves representing some of them.