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eMedals-The Particularly Fine Flying Log Book of Pilot Officer Burrell

Item: GB1796

The Particularly Fine Flying Log Book of Pilot Officer Burrell

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The Particularly Fine Flying Log Book of Pilot Officer Burrell

Royal Air Force, a long-served Coastal Command W.O./A.G. who was present in no less than four U-Boat interceptions in Ansons of No. 25 Squadron - one of them a highly controversial action which resulted in claims of cold-blooded murder comprising original R.A.F. (Form 1767) Observers and Air Gunners Flying Log Book, with opening endorsement Original log destroyed by enemy action, Detling, 13.8.40. Totals carried forward: operational 98 hours, non-operational 45 hours, and thence covering the period November 1941 to July 1946, with several photographic inserts, including U-Boats under attack, and an old copy of a congratulatory message from the A.O.C. Eastern Command regarding a spate of successful U-Boat attacks carried out by No. 500 Squadron in November 1942, taped/detached spine, tears and worn overall, but content generally good and a fine record of active service in Coastal Command. Footnote: Burrell commenced his operational career as a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner in No. 500 (County of Kent) Squadrom, Auxiliary Air Force, in September 1939, and was indeed based at Detling on 13 August 1940 when an enemy raid by 40 Ju. 87s resulted in the loss of 66 service and civilian personnel. However, it was on No. 500s move to Gibraltar, and thence Blida, towards the end of the year, that the Squadron really entered its finest hour, the whole under the leadership of Wing Commander Spotswood, afterwards Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Spotswood, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., D.F.C. Among his most distinguished pilots at this time was Flying Officer Mike Ensor, who gained a D.S.O. and two D.F.Cs with the Squadron, and with whom Burrell flew on several occasions, but it was as a member of Squadron Leader Ian Patersons crew that he was to witness no less than four spectacular U-Boat strikes in the winter 1942. 8 November 1942: Attacked large U-Boat with D.C.I. Good results seen.; At 1014 a U-Boat was sighted on the surface 15 miles ahead and the aircraft dived to attack crossing directly over the U-Boat as it had just started to dive. The depth charges hung up so the aircraft made a half-turn and then released the depth charges (four) three seconds after the U-Boat submerged, at an angle of 70 degrees to the U-Boats track and 50 yards ahead of the swirl, the centre of the stick being under the U-Boats track. Three minutes later a stream of dark bubbles appeared and these continued for ten minutes. Nothing further was seen although the aircraft returned to the scene after 30 minutes and searched along the U-Boats track. 13 November 1942: A./S. sweep - Mediterranean. Sighted and attacked large U-Boat which was badly damaged if not destroyed; This aircraft saw three U-Boats on this patrol. The first one at 0801 had dived before the aircraft could attack. At 0930 a second u-Boat was sighted and attacked on the surface. The depth charges straddled the U-Boat astern and after the attack the stern rose vertically out of the water and then slowly subsided, to be followed two minutes later by a large number of air bubbles. Nothing further was seen and the aircraft continued its patrol. At 1128 a third U-Boat was sighted, but although Z immediately dived to 600 feet the U-Boat had submerged and an attack was not deemed to be feasible with the one remaining A./S. bomb. 17 November 1942: A./S. sweep - Mediterranean. Sighted large German U-Boat on surface. Attacked with D.Cs and machine-guns for 45 minutes killing 50% of crew. U-Boat then surrendered and we returned to Maison BLanc (Algiers) for Naval assistance. Returned to U-Boat with destroyer to escort it into Algiers. Just before destroyer arrived U-Boat was torpedoed by an Albacore (Did we run the F.A.A. down!!!), Returned to Maison Blanc.Here, then, what might have amounted to one of the most important incidents of the War, but for an over-zealous Albacore pilot. Seek and Strike, by Andrew Hendrie, takes up the story: On the 17th, an anti-submarine sweep was laid on using five Hudsons operating from Tafaraouri, and which included Z captained by Squadron Leader Patterson, the O.C. of B Flight. All five aircraft were airborne just after 0800 hours. Patterson on sighting a surfaced U-boat, attacked with three depth charges which straddled the vessel causing it to lift out of the water at the bows. The Hudson followed with a second attack using an anti-submarine bomb and machine-gun fire, as by this time some of the U-boats crew had emerged from the conning tower. Sergeant Young, the Captain of C, now arrived on the scene and also attacked using three depth charges and machine-gun fire. A final attack on the U-boat was made by Flight Lieutenant Barwood with the release of four more depth charges from Hudson L/500. Both Barwood and Young then left the scene. Patterson remained circling the U-boat, and again machine-gunned the vessel. Shortly afterwards black smoke was seen coming from the stern of the U-boat. Several of the crew were by now on its deck and waving white pieces of material in token of surrender. Squadron Leader Patterson had transmitted a radio report, but having received no reply, at 1327 hours flew to Maison Blanche and informed the Naval authorities there. They arranged to send a destroyer to the scene of the surrender. A Hurricane fighter took off with the Hudson to confirm the surrender. The U-boat crew were by now sitting on boxes on the deck of their vessel and were obviously waiting to be rescued. (Please Contact eMedals for Full Story)
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