Daily Archives: February 4, 2013

Bradwell Bay…..but who and when?

Stirling bommbers AA-U and AA-H, plus another unidentified at Bradwell Bay sometime between Christmas 1943 and May 1944. From Reg Mitchell album collection.

Stirling bombers AA-U and AA-H, plus another unidentified at Bradwell Bay sometime between Christmas 1943 and May 1944. From Reg Mitchell album collection.

I got all excited about 7 months ago when a new thread appeared on the WONZ forum regarding Bradwell Bay. My interest stemmed from an unexplained posting to the Bay by Bob and his crew after the Leverkusen raid on the 19th of November 1943. From the Squadron ORB, it seems the weather was too bad for flying for the following 2 days. In Bob’s logbook he records ‘From Bradwell Bay’ on the 21st.

For no obvious reason I dropped back in on the thread last week and was amazed to see the photograph above included in a numbered posted by Peter from the photo album of Reg Mitchell, a Pilot with 488 Squadron.

Now of course, I jumped to the obvious assumption that this was a photo of some of the aircraft from the Leverkusen raid – I knew straightaway it wasn’t Bob – he was in EH939 JN-Johnny. Peter was able to pretty swiftly burst my bubble – Reg was at Bradwell between Christmas 1943 and May 1944 – so the Leverkusen raid was out of the window.

The early months of 1944 saw the conversion of the Squadron from Stirling to Lancasters. As the months progressed, The remaining Stirlings were used on Mining ops. Scouring through the ORB’s, the only op that comes close to this picture is from 18th April 1944, Mining in Kiel Bay. The Form 540 states;”On return they landed away owing to an enemy intruder having dropped bombs on the runway”.

The Stirlings on this op were:
EF152 – letter unknown.
ND768 – AA-F.
EE958 – possibly AA-V.
LK396 – letter unknown.
BF207 – letter unknown.
EH955 – Failed to Return.

So – after all that, no closer to an answer, though if EF152, LK396 or BF207 were ‘U’ or ‘H’, we might be closer to an answer………