The Spitfire Forums

Historic Aviation => People and Units => Topic started by: 41StALA on June 23, 2011, 02:38:58 PM

Title: Eagle Squadron Flt Lt. Tommy Allen Eagle Squadron
Post by: 41StALA on June 23, 2011, 02:38:58 PM
In the book about the Eagle Squadrons by Vern Haugland, he describes the Spitfire that FltLt. Allen was killed in as being marked with a Confederate battle flag.. Allen was killed 31 May, 1942 while flying with 121 Squadron. I am interested if there is a way of determining the markings of this aircraft.

  In Memory of FltLt. Tommy Allen, a Hero of Dixie who died for a free England
  William H. Tippins Jr.

Title: Re: Eagle Squadron Flt Lt. Tommy Allen Eagle Squadron
Post by: Edgar Brooks on June 26, 2011, 07:30:26 AM
I looked in the ORB, yesterday, but, as so often, there's nothing about the codes; the serial was W3804, though.

Title: Re: Eagle Squadron Flt Lt. Tommy Allen Eagle Squadron
Post by: Antoni on July 13, 2011, 05:21:58 PM
W3804 was shot down by a Fw 190 while escorting Bostons to St Omer on 26th April 1942. The pilot was P/O LeRoy A Skinner. Later reported a PoW in Stalag Luft III.

Allen's Spitfire was W3645, individual letter unkown. It was first given the presentation name Joseph Smouha later changed, when with 485 Squadron, to Waikato.

Title: Re: Eagle Squadron Flt Lt. Tommy Allen Eagle Squadron
Post by: Edgar Brooks on July 23, 2011, 04:51:41 PM
ACCording to the ORB, Skinner was not shot down in W3804 on 26-4-42, he was lost on the 28th. True, he was slated to fly her on that day, but she either went unserviceable, or someone went over to France, picked up the bits, and rebuilt her in time for Daley to carry out an air test on May 1st. Stepp flew her on the 4th., and Taylor and Allen took her up on the 5th., and various sorties continued through the month. 31-5-42, Kelley flew her from 08.20 - 09.50, then Allen from 13.45 - 14.10; Allen then took her up, again, at 15.15, and never came back, being seen to try to land on the sea, and immediately disappear. If you would like a copy of the ORB report, let me know.
For now, the serial no. of Skinner's a/c remains unknown; I suppose the only way might be a process of elimination, but that won't be easy.
Should anyone disbelieve this, and wish to verify it, the ORB is on microfilm, in Kew, under reference AIR 27/914

Title: Re: Eagle Squadron Flt Lt. Tommy Allen Eagle Squadron
Post by: Antoni on August 01, 2011, 04:04:23 PM
The date 26th April 1942 came from Morgan and Shacklady and is also on the Spitfire site, probably because that is the date on the Form 78. Phil Listemann gives the correct date, 28th April 1942.

So, why do Morgan and Shacklady state W3804 FTR 26/04/42 (sic) and W3645 as FTR 30/04/42? Why is it everywhere you look, Gifts of War, squadron histories, here and also here
that Allens’s Spitfire is recorded as W3645? If it is so plain and obvious from the ORB that it was W3804 why do they keep getting it wrong? And where does W3645 come from?

The answer is that academic and serious historians, knowing that ORBs can be unreliable, check and verify everything with other documentation. What those other documents reveal is that W3804 was the Spitfire shot down on 28th April and W3645 was the Spitfire that Allen was flying on 31st May. W3804 is what some historians call a ‘ghost’, a serial number that occurs in the ORB after the aircraft has been lost or transferred. The most common reason for them is that the compiler of the ORB had either memorised the serial numbers and individual letters or had a list of them and continued to write the old serial number in the ORB for a replacement aircraft with the same individual letter allocated to it. It is very probable that something like this happened with W3645 as it was allocated to 121 Squadron on 30th April and was almost certainly a replacement for the two losses the squadron suffered on the 28th April. As Phil Listemann has recently published his study of 121 Squadron and lists Skinner as lost with W3804 and Allen as lost in W3645 I asked him if the reason this differs from the ORB is because he found the ORB to be in error. Here is his replay.

Dear Antoni,

Oh yes, the ORB contains a lot of mistakes regarding the serials made by the diarist, of the 3 Eagles ORBs it is the worst. I took time to know which aircraft was involved in many cases, and I had to cross check with the other Air Ministry Forms, accident or movement cards. Generaly speaking, the ORB gives only a track to follow, but not necessary gives the truth, all depending of the diarist. Sometime it is very accurate, sometimes not at all. 

Hope this helps



Title: Re: Eagle Squadron Flt Lt. Tommy Allen Eagle Squadron
Post by: Edgar Brooks on August 02, 2011, 12:23:57 PM
What "serious" historians do not do is malign the character of a serving RAF officer, without a shred of evidence to back it up. The premise is that, over a period of four weeks, he cheated, and lied, while compiling the book, all the while never bothering to check whether the numbers tallied. We also have to believe that the Ops Board also displayed the wrong information, for the same length of time, and pilots, having been sent out to fly a non-existent airframe, to a man, failed to report back that it wasn't there. The records do not tally, that is clear, but to make assumptions, simply to keep everything "tidy," is not the way to carry out research.