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BOAC DC-3-194 Flight 777-A lost 1943-06-01, Captured KLM Aircraft

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Fred Wilson, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

    Sep 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Vernon BC Canada
    On June 1st 1943 the British Overseas Airways Corporation suffered THE most famous and headline grabbing commercial airline loss of WW2.
    See: http://www.lostaircraft.com/database.php?mode=viewentry&e=30403

    BOAC Flight 777-A Nicknamed Ibis was a scheduled British Overseas Airways Corporation civilian airline flight
    from Portela Airport in Lisbon, Portugal, to Whitchurch Airport near Bristol, England, on 1 June 1943.

    When Germany invaded in May 1940, KLM had several airliners en route outside The Netherlands.
    Some managed to fly to Britain while others stranded east of Italy continued to link British and Dutch territories from Palestine to Indonesia (and Australia).
    The British government interned the Dutch aircraft at Shoreham Airport and after negotiations the Air Ministry
    and the Dutch government-in-exile contracted to use the former KLM aircraft and crews to replace de Havilland Albatross aircraft
    on a scheduled service between Britain and Portugal which BOAC started in June 1940 from Heston Aerodrome.

    It was attacked en route by eight German Junkers Ju 88s and crashed into the Bay of Biscay at 46.116667° N 10.25°W
    - resulting in the deaths of all 17 on board. There were several notable passengers, amongst them actor Leslie Howard.

    Start Airport: Portela Airport Lisbon, Portugal
    Destination: Whitchurch Airport Bristol, England
    Loss Location: Bay of Biscay 46.116667° N 10.25°W

    Three parachutists exited the burning aircraft, but their chutes did not open as they were on fire.
    The aircraft then crashed into the ocean where it floated and then sank. There were no signs of survivors.

    Known Junkers Ju 88 pilots who flew on that strike force from Gruppe V Kampfgeschwader 40 are Staffelführer Oberleutnant (Oblt) Herbert Hintze, Leutnant Max Wittmer-Eigenbrot, Oblt Albrecht Bellstedt, and Oberfeldwebel (Ofw) Hans Rakow

    Theories abound that the aircraft, a Douglas DC-3, was attacked because the Germans believed that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was aboard.
    Other theories suggest the DC-3 was targeted because several passengers, including Leslie Howard, were British spies.
    More likely, they were after Tyrrell Mildmay Shervington, agent H.100 of the Special Operations Executive in its Iberian operation
    and / or Wilfrid B. Israel, a prominent British-Jewish activist working to save Jews from the Holocaust;

    By all accounts, SOE was completely broken by German Intelligence throughout this period.
    See: Das Englandspiel (The England Game), also called Unternehmen Nordpol (Operation North Pole) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englandspiel

    During the Second World War, British and German civilian aircraft operated out of the same facilities at Portela and the incoming and outgoing traffic was watched by Allied and Axis spies.
    The Lisbon–Whitchurch route frequently carried agents and escaped POWs to Britain.

    While aircraft flying the Lisbon–Whitchurch route were left unmolested at the beginning of the war, and both Allied and Axis powers respected
    the neutrality of Portugal, the air war over the Bay of Biscay, north of Spain and off the west coast of France, had begun to heat up in 1942,
    and the Douglas DC-3 lost in this attack had twice survived attacks by Luftwaffe fighters in November 1942 and April 1943.

    The Dutch Aircrew, from KLM, Royal Dutch Airline flew their (captured aircraft) KLM DC-3s for BOAC throughout the war on this route
    (exclusively... BOAC had no commonwealth crew on this route) is a particularly interesting segment to read in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BOAC_Flight_777
    (Initially, a British copilot (carrying a concealed firearm) was included in the crew.)

    Aircraft Crew: all killed.
    Captain Quirinus Tepas OBE;
    Second in command, Captain Dirk de Koning (also aboard the first attack on 15 November 1942);
    Wireless operator, Cornelis van Brugge (also known from the London-Melbourne race)
    Flight engineer Engbertus Rosevink

    Passengers: all killed.
    Tyrrell Mildmay Shervington, agent H.100 of the Special Operations Executive in its Iberian operation, and director of Shell-Mex Oil Company in Lisbon;
    Film actor Leslie Howard, a British Spy working for British Intelligence to keep Spain and Portugal neutral;
    Alfred T. Chenfalls, Howards friend and accountant;
    British journalist Kenneth Stonehouse, a Washington, D.C. correspondent of Reuters news agency; and
    his wife Evelyn Peggy Margetts Stonehouse;
    Mrs. Rotha Hutcheon and her daughters, Petra, 11, and Carolina, 18 months;
    Mrs. Cecelia Emilia Falla Paton
    ; (on way to secretarial job at a consulate in England)
    Ivan James Sharp, a senior official of the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation (UKCC) who attended meetingson Tuesday
    mornings at the Ministry of Economic Warfare and was commissioned by the government to purchase tungsten for the war effort;
    Wilfrid B. Israel, a prominent British-Jewish activist working to save Jews from the Holocaust;
    Francis German Cowlrick; (elderly engineer) and
    Gordon Thompson MacLean. (British Foreign Office)

    Flight 777 was full and several people were turned back, including British Squadron Leader Wally Lashbrook

    Film Actor Raymond Burr states that his wife, Annette Sutherland, was also lost in this aircraft disaster. This has been widely reported elsewhere.

    The following day, a search of the Bay of Biscay was undertaken by N/461, a Short Sunderland flying boat from the Royal Australian Air Forces 461 Squadron.
    Near the same coordinates where the DC-3 was downed, the Sunderland was attacked by eight V/KG40 Ju 88s and after a furious battle,
    managed to shoot down three of the attackers, scoring an additional three possibles, before crash-landing at Penzance.
    In the aftermath of these two actions, all BOAC flights from Lisbon were subsequently re-routed and operated only under cover of darkness.

    See more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BOAC_Flight_777

    Jean Pratten remembers Quirinus Tepas pilot of Flight 777


  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

    Sep 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Vernon BC Canada
    Corrected Youtube Url


    Looking for the image. above


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