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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 191625
Last updated: 11 October 2020
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Date:24-JUL-1941
Time:
Type:Handley Page Halifax Mk I
Owner/operator:35 (Madras Presidency) Squadron Royal Air Force (35 (Madras Presidency) Sqn RAF)
Registration: L9527
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Le Terrier Du Four Farm, near Angles, Vendee -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Stanston Harcourt, Oxfordshire, UK
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Halifax B.Mk.I L9527 ("TL-M") was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

CA Godwin (Pilot)
GG Esnouf (2nd Pilot)
AG Eperon (Observer)
RT Rudlin (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner)
EOT Balcomb (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner)
SHJ Shirley (Air Gunner)
CH Newstead (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows: “The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility."

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft. The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle. The squadron proceeded in echelon formation as planned but the intensity of the A.A. fire not only damaged several aircraft, but one, L9527, captained by Flt Sgt. Godwin, was seen to go down in a slow spiral with smoke coming from one or two of its engines. The aircraft was hit by flak and attacked by day fighters from I Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 2 (I/JG 2) which was based at Brest Nord and 2 Staffel Ergänzungsgruppe/JG 53 (2 Erg/JG 53) based at Vannes-Meucon. It crashed at a farm (“Le Terrier Du Four”) near the small town of Angles, Vendee, in France

The squadron record book shows the following notifications were received in relation to the crew:

07/08/1941: Telegram received from International Red Cross Society states that PO Eperon (Wounded) and Sgt Balcomb of F/S Godwin’s crew are prisoners of war.

17/08/1941: Information received, passed on from International Red Cross Society that F/S Godwin, captain of an aircraft missing during the attack on the Scharnhorst on 24th July 1941 and the remainder of the crew, except PO Eperon and Sgt Balcomb, already reported prisoners of war, were killed. Both survived the War and were repatriated to the UK in May 1945. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s (CWGC) records show that the remains of the five missing crew members were located at Angles Communal Cemetery.

Sources:

1. https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1WMXE_halifax-l-9527?guid=e13549c2-4c24-4d25-b964-2e032326d4b8
2. http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=804
3. [LINK NOT WORKING ANYMORE:https://35squadron.wordpress.com/world-war-two-years/aircraft-wwii/handley-page-halifax-2/halifax-incidents-and-losses-1941/halifax-l9527-tl-m/]
4. https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/494834-halifax-l-9527-crashed-near-angles-france-after-bombing-scharnhorst.html
5. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?5965-Sgt-Greville-Esnouf-35-squadron
6. http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2016-08-01/family-of-ww2-pilot-killed-in-action-tracked/
7. http://www.100548.activeboard.com/t60653064/memorial-in-vendee-to-the-crew-of-35-squadron-halifax-l9527/


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-Nov-2016 16:27 gerard57 Added
05-Mar-2017 23:28 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
26-Oct-2018 18:34 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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