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RAF Pembroke Dock

Discussion in 'Allied Bomber Planes' started by Spitfire XIV-E, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    The RAF established a Flying Boat base at Pembroke Dock in 1930 after the Royal Navy closed the Ship Building facilities in 1926, which had produced many famous warships & 5 Royal Yachts during it's time. At first just a few Aircraft were stationed there but as war was approaching it gradually became one of the most important Coastal Command bases of the conflict. Being situated at the South Western tip of Wales it was ideal for the coverage of the Western Approaches by Long Range Patrol Aircraft such as the Short Sunderland & Consolidated PBY Catalina both of which saw service at "PD" as it became known to Airmen who were stationed there. The first Aircraft to be based at PD were of an older generation - The Short Singapore and Supermarine Southampton & Stranraer Bi-Plane Flying Boats. But once the war started in earnest the Empire Flying Boats of BOAC were commandeered by the RAF for use as Patrol Aircraft until more suitable replacements could be built. Short Brothers immediately came up with a militarised version of it's S.23 Empire Flying Boat which was designated S.25 and this was to become the famous Sunderland. Built in Belfast, Rochester and the Lake District this famous aircraft would become a deadly adversary of the U-Boats operating in the Western Approaches & the Bay of Biscay.







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    Some of the early types to operate from PD - Short Singapore, Supermarine Southampton & Supermarine Stranraer. The Short Sunderland Mk V & Mk III.
     
  2. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    Squadrons from the RAF, RAAF, RCAF & the US Navy were all stationed at "PD" at different stages of the war. There is a very interesting museum near the Port. Housed in the one remaining Martello Gun Tower (Formerly there were 2). There is lots of information about Pembroke Dock's Military past which saw all 3 services in residence at one time or another. Well worth a visit.
     
  3. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    The other Aircraft used at PD was the Consolidated PBY Catalina. These were used by various RAF & Commonwealth Squadrons plus one US Navy unit VP-63 which was the first US Navy Squadron deployed to the European Theatre during WW2.



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    A PBY Catalina of US Navy Squadron VP-44
     
  4. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    Although closed in 1959, there are still reminders of the RAF's presence in Pembroke Dock. One of the 2 "Type C" Hangars is seen in this view looking a bit worse for wear. But thanks to being Grade 2 Listed and a £900,000 Facelift they are being used in other capacities. Alas the old slipway that was used to see the mighty Sunderland & Catalina Flying Boats come in to & out of the water for maintenance was demolished to make way for the new Port Facilities which sees Daily Sailings to Rosslare in Ireland.



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  5. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    Caught on the Surface : July 30th 1943

    A VLR Liberator from 53 Squadron RAF (Aircraft O) was patrolling in the Bay of Biscay when it spotted 3 Outbound U-Boats. These were U-461 & U-462 both Milch Cowe Re-Supply & Tanker Submarines & U-504 a Type 9. Sending out a sighting message to nearby Air & Sea Units. In the area was another Liberator from the US Navy's 19th Squadron, 2 Halifaxes from RAF 502 Squadron & Aircraft U from RAAF 461 Squadron a Sunderland Mk III piloted by Flight Lieutenant Dudley Marrows. Also giving chase was the 2nd Support Group Destroyers Commanded by Captain Walker of the Royal Navy. First to try their luck was the Liberator from 53 Squadron which made an ineffectual attack. The Submarines stayed in formation on the surface keeping their bows pointed at the attacking Aircraft and their Anti-Aircraft guns blazing away. Next was one of the 502 Squadron's Halifaxes which attacked out of the sun and dropped 3 600 lb bombs one of which hit U-462 but it sustained damage from AA fire and had to head home. Whilst these 2 attacks were going on nobody had seen Marrows' Sunderland (U) coming in low. So low in fact that he was virtually skimming the waves. Taking the U-461's crew by surprise and not giving the other 2 U-Boats a clear shot, Marrows dropped depth charges, 7 of which hit their target literally blowing U-461 apart. Marrows' aircraft just clearing the Conning Tower before the explosions. Only 53 men got off U-461 before it went under, 30 of which were in the water. Now the 2nd Halifax from 502 Squadron (Aircraft S) made another attack on U-462 this time causing more damage and the Submarine began trailing oil. Marrows had by this time dropped a life raft off to the survivors of U-461 as he passed over them. Now he went after the 3rd submarine, U-504. But this crew was ready & waiting as he pressed home his attack and a withering Anti-Aircraft Fire caused damage to the Sunderland and the attack was unsuccessful. However the 2nd 502 Squadron Halifax (S) pressed home it's attack on U-462 successfully and this U-Boat went under as well. That left U-504 which by this time had submerged due to the arrival of 2nd Support Group's Destroyers and other warships. After a hunt with Sonar it was cornered and sunk with Depth Charges by 2nd Support Group's ships making a very satisfactory end to the day. On returning to Pembroke Dock, Marrows' Sunderland was deemed so badly damaged that it had to be written off although he did manage to salvage some items as souveniers.



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    Aircraft U of 461 Squadron attacks U-461 - a strange co-inicdence !!


    This picture is a painting which was done of Dudley Marrows' attack on U-461. He was later awarded the DFC & DSO for his actions that day.
     
  6. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    At it's height during WW2, PD was home to nearly 100 Aircraft of various types, all Flying Boats. Mostly Sunderlands & Catalinas along with Supermarine Walrusses. After the War it bacame home to just 2 Sunderland Squadrons No's 30 & 228 which saw out their days at PD until the type was retired from the RAF in the UK in 1957. PD was then closed in 1959, the sight being sold off to Private Industry. Most of the original Buildings have long gone but the 2 "Type C" Hangars remain as a reminder of this once vital base and it's operations.
     
  7. Jamie 111

    Jamie 111 New Member

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    You have covered the subject really well mate. Most informative. And great photos too. Well done!
     
  8. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    That was our 2nd holiday down there in 3 years. It's a beautiful part of the country. There's a Martello Gun Tower which is now a museum very close to the Port. So me & the boy paid another visit to get some more info on the subject. Luckily there's quite a bit on the web as well which helped. A very interesting subject I thought.
     
  9. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Got to simply agree, a really interesting place and subject, a rip-roaring account of the battle with the U-Boats, and well done all-round Spit !
    :happy:
     
  10. Kelly War44

    Kelly War44 New Member

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    Wonderful account Spitfire:thumb: But hadn't we better camouflage this thread, just in case The Americans decide to make a film about it:smirk:
     
  11. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    Heh :wink: I wouldn't mind betting they'd do that. I would like to see something on History Channel or Discovery about it though ...
     

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