Collision 51 / 347 Sqn

 

 On 13/14th January 1945 (Saturday/Sunday) on the way back from a mission to Saarbrücken railway yards two bombers both Halifax III one from 347 Squadron (Serial: LL590 Code: L8-L) from Elvington and the other from 51 Squadron (Serial: MZ465 Code: MH-Y) from Snaith 


The Crews


LL590:
Pilot: Adj. E Jouzier F.F.A.F. Killed

Fl/Eng: Adj. M. Humbert F.F.A.F. Survived.

Nav: Cne. R. Brachet F.F.A.F. Killed

Air/Bmr: Ltn. C. Habez F.F.A.F. Survived.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R. Rigade F.F.A.F. Survived.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Memin F.F.A.F. Survived. 

Air/Gnr: Sgc. R. Malterre F.F.A.F. Killed.

MZ465:

Pilot: F/O. Leighton Wilson

Nav: P/O. Thomas Stanley Harris Whitehouse 189679 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Glyndor Parsons Age 20. Survived (Died 2003)

W/Op/Air Gnr: Sgt. David Llewellyn Hewitt. Survived.

Air/Bmr: P/O. David Hauber 189795 R.A.F.V.R. Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. G.R. Cole. Survived.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.A. Richardson. Survived.


The Accident

Reports differ on how these two aircraft who were returning back to England collided after a very accurate raid on the railway yards. Some say that LL590 was struck from behind by MZ465 and others say that LL590 flew across the front of MZ45. LL590 crew partially abandoned the aircraft before it crashed with 3 F.F.A.F. crew on board.
Seldom, if ever, during World War 2 did an RAF bomber land on an English airfield with more damage than No. 51 Squadron's Halifax III MZ465 "Y-Yorker" after it's bombing attack on Saarbrücken on 13/14th January 1945.

 


(Courtesy N/A via Michael Wright)

Nine feet of the nose was chopped completely off when the Halifax collided with another bomber, but it struggled back to Ford Airfield, Sussex, England with only three of it's flying instruments still working, to make a perfect landing. Some of the skin on the nose was bent round and gave some protection against the wind which whistled through the aircraft as it flew home at 7,000 feet. But the captain, Flying Officer A.L. Wilson, of Leicester, and the rest of his crew were frozen as they struggled to keep the aircraft flying. (The navigator and the bomb-aimer, neither of whom were then wearing parachutes, had fallen out of the aircraft at the time of the collision).

 

The four engines continued to function perfectly after the collision, although the propellers were dented, probably by bits of wreckage which shook loose and flew off the fuselage. The radio was still working five minutes after the collision, but had to be shut off because of shorting; blue sparks were playing around the aircraft and there was danger of fire. In that short five minutes, before the radio was cut off, the operator was able to send out an SOS which was received in England. As a result "Y - Yorker" was given special landing aids when it landed on an emergency airfield. The intercom was unserviceable as well as the ASI, the DR compass, and many other vital instruments for flying and navigation.


(Courtesy N/A via Michael Wright)

"Y - Yorker" dived 1,500 feet after the collision, with the pilot struggling to gain control. He managed to do this and brought the aircraft up to 11,000 feet again. At this height it stalled, but he managed to keep it at 7,000 feet and at this height flew home.


S/L Andrew Leighton Wilson (Courtesy Neil Smith)

  
P/O. Thomas Stanley Harris Whitehouse (Courtesy of Mike Hopkinson)

  
Halifax III MZ465 Crew Left to right: Sgt. Thomas Glyndor Parsons, Sgt. G.R. Cole or Sgt. R.A. Richardson, F/O. Leighton Wilson, Sgt. G.R. Cole or Sgt. R.A. Richardson and Sgt. David Llewellyn Hewitt (Can you assist in identification of the air gunners?) Courtesy Mrs Kathleen Parsons. Who's husband is the nephew of Sgt. Thomas Glyndor Parsons.




(Courtesy N/A via Michael Wright)

 

With thanks to www.aircrewremembered.com/

for there permission