LETTER FROM KEN TWEEDIE - NAVIGATOR
460 SQUADRON RAAF
REGARDING CREWS OF JIM FRY, BOB WHITE
AND LOSS OF LANCASTER JB 662

 

I received the following letter from Ken Tweedie on 9 June 2000:-

 

Rowes Bay,
Townsville
Q. 4810
7 June 2000

Dear Peter,

It was good to see so much of 460 Squadron now on the Net - we saw it while at the Gazebo last month. Congratulations on putting together such an interesting and informative program.

I wonder if the enclosed are of interest to you. If the picture is not suitable, but you would like to use a photo of it, I have the original, & could get a photo made of it. The photo was taken about March/April 1944, so it is not the "Q" - Queenie which came to Australia. Most of Bob White's crew are on the photo, but I cannot name any others.

Hoping these are of some use, & wishing the Net all success in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Ken Tweedie

P.S. The story goes that the London press came to Binbrook to photograph "G" George, but as it had landed away (at the next airfield by mistake) they used this aircraft.

Ken

 

q01.jpg (48277 bytes)

Lancaster "Q" for Queenie at Binbrook in March/April 1944

 

Lancaster JB 662

On the 18th April 1944, Lancaster JB 662, did more damage to the main runway at Binbrook than the Luftwaffe had managed.

Jim Fry's crew had been flying Short Stirling aircraft, probably at a Heavy Conversion Unit, and were, for some reason, posted to Binbrook to fly Lancasters. After the normal circuits and a cross country flight, they were to be given operational experience by flying with some of Bob White's crew, who had completed more than 10 Operations - only a half of the crews would, at that time, survive so long.

On that night, AR-R had a crew of 9. They were Bob White pilot, Jim Fry 2nd pilot, J. Holloway engineer, John Bailey bomb aimer, with W. Elgar also bomb aimer, myself Ken Tweedie navigator, K. Applegarth wireless operator, T. Winstanley mid upper gunner and C. Graham rear gunner. We were to attack the marshalling yards at Rouen, an early preparation for the coming invasion of Normandy.

On take off, any swing of the aircraft while on the runway would be corrected by our own engineer operating the appropriate throttle control, while Bob concentrated on the flying controls. No word would be needed between them during such an occurrence However, this happened on the night of the 18th - a swing to port, taking us to the edge of the runway. This swing was not corrected, and the aircraft ran over the runway lights, collapsing one of the undercarriage legs, and the port wing struck the ground. Fire started, and soon Bob gave the order to abandon aircraft, as it would be hopeless to attack the fire while we had a full bomb load.

The escape hatch for the forward crew on the Stirling could have been the astrodome, as I saw the wireless operator jumping up and trying to dislodge this - it seemed funny later, when I thought back on it. I opened the appropriate hatch, just aft of the astrodome, and helped the wireless operator through that, then climbed out onto the port wing, remembering that radio aerials were to be avoided.

We were all running together in one direction, not certain where. By this time, the aircraft was well alight. Bob was checking that all were out, and not having seen me, called out, "Where are you, Snowy?" My voice came back from some distance away. We eventually came over a small rise in the ground, and lay down, until the aircraft exploded.

We were surprised to see a vehicle rush out to the burning aircraft, circle it, then go back to the control tower. We learned later that this was driven by Dr. Roberts, the station MO, who told those in the control tower that it was no good, the whole crew were lost.

Eventually we got back to the mess. I don't know how that happened - how far we walked before we were seen and picked up by transport. We were greeted with cheers, as we had been assumed dead. We also were given many free beers!

Col Wheatley, who was in the aircraft second behind us waiting to take off, described how they acted. They switched off engines, and lay about on the grass, watching. After the explosion, they heard a hail of bullets and parts of the aircraft hissing over, but no one of the aircrews was hit.

The next day, the remains of the AR-R were dumped in a large heap, and the hole in the runway was repaired. An enquiry was held, but we heard no more about it.

Counselling in those days was effective. It consisted of being sent to Cologne 2 days later!

Sadly Jim Fry and his crew only managed 5 operations, and were shot down and all killed on 3rd of May, just over 2 weeks later.

Ken Tweedie

 

LOSS OF JIM FRY'S CREW

Jim Fry's crew were all killed on 4 May 1944 during a raid on Mailly-Le-Camp.  They all have a Coll. grave at MARIGNY-LE-GRAND CHURCHYARD (Index No. Fr. 1426).

Marigny-le-Grand is a village and commune some 50 kilometres south-west of Chalons-sur-Marne, and 11 kilometres south-east of Sezanne. A good train service from Paris to Sezanne exists and taxis are available from Sezanne. In the churchyard, on the right of the main entrance, is the collective grave of four British, one Canadian and two Australian airmen.

 

In Memory of HERBERT JAMES GEORGE FRY

Flight Sergeant
416945
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944. Age 26.

Son of Herbert James Cyril and Elizabeth Fry, of Walkerville, South Australia.

 

In Memory of JOSEPH HORACE HOLLOWAY

Sergeant
1816266
Flt. Engr.
460 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944. Age 28.

Son of Joseph and Alice Holloway; husband of Lilian Mary Holloway, of Cheylesmore, Coventry.

 

In Memory of WILLIAM RALPH ELGAR

Flight Sergeant
426563
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944. Age 23.

Son of William Bulimba Elgar and Mabel Ellen Elgar, of Gympie, Queensland, Australia.

 

In Memory of LESLIE SUMNER

Flying Officer
151228
460 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944. Age 30.

Son of Thomas and Clara Sumner, of Bolton, Lancashire; husband of Constance Mary Sumner, of Smithhills, Bolton.

 

In Memory of KENNETH APPLEGARTH

Sergeant
1600645
460 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944. Age 20.

Son of Henry and Mary E. Applegarth, of Sutton, Surrey.

 

In Memory of THOMAS SUDWORTH WINSTANLEY

Pilot Officer
J/88893
Air Gnr.
460 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Canadian Air Force
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944. Age 22.

Son of Richard and Margaret Winstanley, of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

In Memory of CECIL GEORGE GRAHAM

Sergeant
950628
460 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on
Thursday, 4th May 1944.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 9  June 2000

This page last updated 04 February 2015