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Crash of Liberator AL516 at Gibraltar

Discussion in 'Allied Aviation Of WWII' started by Neil T., Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Neil T.

    Neil T. New Member

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    I am looking for information on the crash of Liberator AL516 of RAF 511 Sqn. on Oct. 31, 1942. The aircraft, carrying wounded and tour-expired fighter pilots from Malta back to Britain, overshot the runway at Gibraltar and crashed into the ocean. I am particularly interested in any information on the crew of Liberator AL516 - pilot, F/L R. Walton; 2nd pilot, P/O E.J. Saunders; navigator, P/O G.W.R. Frampton; flight engineer, Sgt. E.J. Booker; WOp, F/Sgt. I. Watson; and, WOp, F/Sgt. J. McCulloch.
     
  2. Liberator

    Liberator Ace

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    I have the following re the above loss....

    31 October 1942

    Liberator AL516
    511 Squadron

    The aircraft was returning to the UK and crashed at Gibraltar. There were a number of survivors, amongst whom was ' Screwball' Beurling, the Canadian fighter pilot......

    Casualties.

    F/L. E L. Hetherington DFC RAFVR
    F/O. J W. Williams DFC RCAF
    F/S. C E. Mutch RCAF
    F/L. E H. Glazebrook RCAF
    Sgt. R H. Davey RCAF
    Sgt. D W. Spencer RAF

    + 8 Civilians who are believed to be.....

    Isabella Josephine Aston (wife of Major W G S. Aston RM)
    Simon Aston aged 2
    Thomas Chase (Infant)
    Edna Patricia Chase 27 (wife of K M. Chase)
    Mabel Hucklebridge 30 (wife of Marine Hucklebridge)
    Edward James Rowe 40 BEM
    Hannah Eunice Rowe 44
    Elizabeth Priscilla Sheldon (widow of Herbert Sheldon)

    The above is taken from 'Though Without Anger' C. Cummings.

    Liberator II AL516 movement history.....

    Construction No. 14
    Took on charge Dorval 26-9-1941
    Dorval to Gander 15-10-1941
    Gander to Ayr 17-10-1941
    To Scottish Aviation 17-10-1941
    To 150 Sqn 28-11-1941
    to 1653 CU 30-5-1942
    to 1445 Flt 10-6-1942
    To Scottish Aviation 1-8-1942 for Bomber Command mods, changed to Transport mods
    To 1425 Flt 30-9-1942
    To 511 Sqn 10-10- 1942
    Overshot landing at Gibraltar 31-10-1942
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  3. Neil T.

    Neil T. New Member

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  4. Neil T.

    Neil T. New Member

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    Liberator,
    Thanks for the listing of those killed aboard AL516 (and sorry for the mistake in the reply above - I hit post too soon). I had the information on the military personnel but I much appreciate receiving the names of the passengers killed. By your 'tag' are you quite familiar with the Liberator? Would you have schematics or interior shots of the transport version of the Liberator - particularly those used by the RAF (and 511 Sqn.)?
     
  5. Liberator

    Liberator Ace

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    Hi, yes I'm quite familiar with the Liberator but mostly concerning its service with 120 Sqn RAF Coastal Command. If I come across the details you want then I'll post them on here.

    Would it be F/L Rae Walton and Sgt. Ernest J Booker you are interested in? if so. they both served with 120 Squadron. I met Walton some years ago at a reunion and corresponded with Booker for a while.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  6. Neil T.

    Neil T. New Member

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    The two individuals you mentioned - F/L Rae Walton (pilot) and Sgt. E.J. Booker (flight engineer) - were crew on Liberator AL516 the night of its crash. Would you have any background information on these gentlemen or contact information for family members? I would like to learn more about their RAF service and anything they might have said or recorded about the crash in question. If you know of family members perhaps you could forward my request to them in private and see if they would be interested in corresponding further. Again, any assistance or advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers, Neil
     
  7. Liberator

    Liberator Ace

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    I Have the following obituary re Rae Walton, sorry to say I no longer have contact detail for either of their families.

    Rae Walton, MC, AFC, TD


    Rae Walton died on the 28th of December 2015, aged 96.

    He was born in Tynemouth in January 1919. After Durham School (where he rowed and played rugby for the school), he joined the Territorial Army in Tynemouth in 1938 but was seconded to the Royal Air Force as a pilot in April 1940; he was first posted to 53 Squadron, flying Bristol Blenheims on anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols.
    He went on to fly Liberators with 120 Squadron, carrying out bombing and reconnaissance missions across the North Sea and Scandinavia. On one mission in May 1942, he flew a Liberator off the coast of Norway. While in search of the German battleship “Tirpitz”, his aircraft was damaged by enemy aircraft fire and forced to ditch into the sea. He and the three other surviving crew members managed to reach the Lofoten Islands after two days in a dinghy. They managed to evade capture by the occupying German forces and, with help from several brave locals, made their way across the mountains to neutral Sweden over the course of the following few weeks, where they were interned before being returned to the UK. In recognition of his leadership and courage, he was awarded the Military Cross in December 1942, a rare honour for a pilot.

    After a period of recovery back in the UK, Rae helped to reform 511 Squadron at RAF Lyneham in 1944, flying Liberators and Yorks in a transport capacity. In 1945, he moved on to 232 Squadron based in Delhi, India, where he acted as Lord Louis Mountbatten’s personal pilot while he was Supreme Commander of Forces in South East Asia. By the end of this period, he had risen to the rank of Squadron Leader.

    After the war, he trained to be a solicitor with Stanton & Lambert in Newcastle before spending a year in London with Coward Chance. He returned to the north east in 1950 to form his own solicitors’ and notary public firm, Rae Walton & Hogg, with offices in Northumberland Square, North Shields, where he practised until the early 1980s. He subsequently became a District Judge in the courts in Newcastle and surrounding areas. He was elected president of the Newcastle Law Society in 1982/3. He retired from the law in 1991 at the age of 72.

    Throughout his life, Rae also took on many volunteer positions. These include acting as an independent councillor with Tynemouth Council during the 1960s and as vice-chairman of the North Tyneside Health Authority.

    He sailed dinghies and yachts for most of his life. He was a long-standing member of the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club at Blyth, where he kept a yacht until the early 2000s. He played rugby for Percy Park during his teens, squash at Tynemouth Squash Club and latterly, golf at Tynemouth Golf Club. He was an active member of Tynemouth Regent Club.

    He and Anne, who survives him, married in 1952 in Tynemouth.
     
  8. Neil T.

    Neil T. New Member

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    Thanks for sending me Walton's obituary - I've actually seen it before and I've been working to track down the family in Tynemouth. Do you know what city Booker or his family members lived in when you lost contact? If you'd like, feel free to e-mail me directly at tayinfo@telus.net. Cheers.
     
  9. Liberator

    Liberator Ace

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    If memory serves me right the Booker family lived in Hockley Heath, West Midlands near Birmingham. Hockley heath is a small village.
     
  10. Liberator

    Liberator Ace

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    Neil, please see your inbox, you should have a message from me, if I've posted it right :)
     

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