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Lancaster, err Wellington wreck

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    Thanks for the detailed explanation of the MREU teams. I'm still hoping to find some evidence as to why the pilots signet ring alone got back to his widow from Halifax HR732 which came back via America with just the wedding date and their initials engraved on it! There is no record of a grave for him and his crew so we're speculating that an American team came across it while reclaiming some Americans.....

    Back to this thread, we seem to have a Wellington wreckage, rather than a Lancaster. However Marco seems to believe that the LM339 crew were the ones brought down the mountain from that crash site. Unless he can find proof from reliable local sources such as a Report for the Mayor or police chief then I think we have to think which Wellington it could be. Poor kev35 is no doubt trawling through all 392 burials in Milan War Cemetery to see which ones came from Wellington Sqdns (see earlier posts for potential crash dates and Sqdns).

    It might also be necessary to contact the CWGC to see if their records detail from which initial burial sites these bodies were recovered from.

    Marcos: Is the original location a place called Issime or would it have had some other name? Once you confirm the original burial place, I'll contact the CWGC for you, to see if they can cross reference with any of the burials. If they can, we'll have the crew, which will give us the identity of the aircraft.

    I hope that takes us further forward. Any one else got ideas, please join in!!


      The Hadaway book is well worth reading, detailed, well researched and in places very moving. Judging by the appalling state of the machine gun it is possible there was nothing of some of the crew to bury, which will not help a CWGC search. Did the aircraft fly into rocks, Marco?


        Im with Ian on this. Judging by the condition of the gun, there would probably have been very little to identify the aircraft, let alone the crew. I think the crew may be "unknow" in official circles.
        Those who,
        Those who can not.....teach (that's me!)


          Poor Kev35 received Icare's message just a tad too late......

          I think we have to accept that it could literally be any date, sixty odd years on memories are lost and stories change with time and with re telling.

          Rather than list all the casualties I'll just give the number of burials by Squadron and date.

          37 Squadron.

          24/11/43 - 6. (Normal crew complement of five so perhaps a second dickey aboard? Or might these six be the dead from two crews lost?)

          13-14/11/44 - 2

          14/11/44 - 3. (I suspect these to be one crew.)

          40 Squadron.

          11/7/44 - 5.

          70 Squadron.

          2/5/44 - 1.

          13/7/44 - 2.

          104 Squadron.

          17/9/44 - 1.

          142 Squadron.

          24/11/43 - 2.

          13/7/44 - 4.

          14/7/44 - 4. (These two lots of four must imply the loss of two aircraft.)

          150 squadron.

          14/7/44 - 5.

          Australians of unknown Squadrons.

          24/11/43 - 2.

          13/7/44 - 2.

          I think we have to assume that losses dated 13/7/44, 13-14/7/44 and 14/7/44 are all from the same operation.

          Therefore we have 10 burials for the 24/11/43, 5 for 11/7/44 and 22 for the 13-14/7/44.

          Of course, the problem is further compounded by this statement from the CWGC regarding Milan War Cemetery.....

          Most of the graves in Milan War Cemetery were those of prisoners-of-war or airmen and were brought in from the surrounding towns and villages - places such as Bergamo, Boves, Carpi, Cicagna, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Turin and Val d'Isere - after the war. Milan War Cemetery contains 417 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 27 of them unidentified.

          I'm not quite sure where to go next.

          Edited to add I'm beginning to think it could be one of those incidents where, as far as the RAF are concerned, the aircraft and crew remain missing.


          Last edited by kev35; 1st October 2009, 23:47.
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            Kev, you've done a great job there, well done.

            One of your Australians of unknown Sqdn is likely to be this Sgt I found on the National Archives of Australia website (unfortunately file not digitised)

            GLENWRIGHT, Albert Clive - (Sergeant); Service Number - 410323; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Wellington X LN466; Place - Issime Milan, Italy; Date - 24 November 1943

            Entry for him on Australian Roll of Honour gives the Sqdn as 142

            The thing that caught my eye here is the name 'Issime' before Milan. Others I've seen who are buried in Milan only said 'Milan'. In post #35 of this thread Marco mentions Issime so I'm wondering if this could be one to look at in a bit more detail?

            Perhaps Marco should consider ordering a digitised copy of the record from the Australian Archives. The link for the file is here



              Excellent work! Certainly one to examine in more detail.

              There is a discrepancy with dates but only August-November; maybe Kev is correct and the witness is mistaken. Or is this the difference between crash and burial in Issime? When was Wellington LN466 lost?

              I wonder what the difference is in the climate between August-November? After all, Marco says the crash site is under snow for eleven months of the year...

              ...and the key witness had his windows blown-in!


                Hello again,

                I just found I could expand on the information provided on the Australian Archives website by ticking a few extra boxes which gave me the following additional information:

                In addition to the file subject (Sgt Glenwright), the following servicemen are mentioned in this record:

                WADE, James Gordon - (Flight Sergeant); Service Number - 413050; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Wellington LN466; Place - Italy; Date - 24 November 1943

                KNAPP, Jack Frederick - (Flight Sergeant); Service Number - 415664; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Wellington LN466; Place - Issime, Italy; Date - 24 November 1943

                LAWRENCE E W – (Flight Sergeant); Service Number – 1392140

                CARTER K R – (Sergeant); Service Number – 933794

                That's the good news. Now the bad news..........none of the files appear to have been digitised for online viewing to date so it's not possible to view them for further details until that is done.

                Australian files can contain a wealth of information, correspondence between Australian and British authorities plus letters from the family requesting information about their lost sons etc.

                Unless the name of Milan Cemetery is Issime then I think this loss is certainly one to take a further look at.

                Unfortunately this loss is not covered in the loss books by W R Chorley so no help from them.

                Since the info above gives a loss date, aircraft type and serial number it could be worth trying to get hold of the aircraft loss card. I know previous ones I've got hold of have come via the RAF Museum at Hendon but they were for losses that took off from UK bases. I'm not sure if they also hold loss cards for aircraft that took off from overseas bases as this one surely did. One of you clever people will probably know



                  LN466 was lost on the 24/11/43. 142 Squadron was operating from Oudna and was flying Wellington X's.

                  933794 Sgt. Kenneth Ross Carter, WOp/AG.

                  1392140 F/Sgt. Eric Walter Lawrence, Nav/AB.

                  41023 Sgt. Albert Clive Glenwright.

                  All the above died on the 24/11/43 and are buried in Collective Grave VI. B.6.

                  This all points to Linzee's findings about Glenwright and Issime. It is possible that we now have the aircraft identity and a partial crew. The Collective Grave points to the bodies having been moved.

                  Maybe we're a step closer?

                  Edited to add Linzee beat me to it with the rest of the crew. All five are buried in the same collective grave. Now does anyone have the Air Britain Serials Book to tell us about LN466?


                  Last edited by kev35; 2nd October 2009, 01:12.
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                    Thank you all,

                    You have done an excellent search!

                    GLENWRIGHT, Albert Clive - (Sergeant); Service Number - 410323; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Wellington X LN466; Place - Issime Milan, Italy; Date - 24 November 1943

                    ..when I read this, I simply could not believe.. You right, Issime is the village in the Lys Valley where the bodies had been buried at first, from partisans of the Lys Brigade. I met one of them, an aged and extremely kind man, at the end of this August. He was one of thos guys who climbed up there looking for weapons or support packages, the ones usually launched from Allied planes to support partisans in Northern Italy.
                    The plane crashed on the rocks. I supposed it exploded, because the small parts I found were placed in an area of about 500 meters, and about 200 meters high. And some of them seemed burned. Maybe only flames from fuel tanks, not a real explosion, I don't know.

                    When I still supposed to look for Lancaster LM339, in effect, I heard five different aged inhabitants of Issime. They all said "November", "Winter", "the first heavy snow". Even the partisans arrived there under hard rain. I just could not explaine this.

                    Please, if you find more, I will be grateful to you!
                    I will publish more images of the joint.


                      Originally posted by Marco S. View Post
                      When I still supposed to look for Lancaster LM339, in effect, I heard five different aged inhabitants of Issime. They all said "November", "Winter", "the first heavy snow".

                      I just could not explaine this.
                      Well I would say that was pretty conclusive.

                      Five witnesses all remembering the same time of year; it is difficult to discount this as life in the mountains must be very dependant on the weather.

                      It just goes to show the danger of having an answer that you want and trying to make the facts fit.

                      But you had done exactly the right thing to interview so many witnesses.


                        That's for sure,

                        I know that the most part of the answers we need have been already written or told somewhere.. And aged persons are usually good listeners, if we only have the patience to hear from them. The problem is, Northern Italy' mountaineers are not very expansive, friendly, with "foreigners" as me.

                        You have to understand me, Creaking Door, I was persuaded to look for a plane, it was difficult to believe I found a different one! Anyway, as a researcher, I only look for evidence. If you say that these parts come from a Wellington, I found a Wellington.
                        I only need sources and, if possible, more datas.. And be sure, I will thanks officially and write your names, if you would appreciate this, when I'll publish my essay.

                        As promised, two new large format images of the joint..



                        Last edited by Marco S.; 2nd October 2009, 11:03.


                          Originally posted by Marco S. View Post
                          And be sure, I will thanks officially and write your names, if you would appreciate this, when I'll publish my essay.
                          Thanks for the offer but there is no need on my account; I just enjoy playing Air-Crash Detective...

                 is better than any whodunit novel!



                            If anything, I think this will make your essay or article even more interesting. What has actually happened here is that an incorrect assumption is almost certainly being put right. It is not often that an opportunity like that arises. Plus, you've still got a Lancaster to find!

                            Just for completeness I am adding the details of the crew as recorded by the CWGC.

                            410323 Sergeant Albert Clive Glenwright, RAAF.

                            Son of Albert Victor and Gladys Edith Glenwright of Richmond, Victoria, Australia. He was aged 21.

                            413050 Flight Sergeant James Gordon Wade, RAAF.

                            Son of Abraham Michael and Jane Ann Wade of Manly, New South Wales, Australia. He was 26.

                            415664 Flight Sergeant Jack Frederick Knapp, RAAF.

                            Son of Harry Lee and Daisy Amelia Knapp of East Fremantle, Western Australia. He was 23.

                            1392140 Flight Sergeant Eric Walter Lawrence, RAFVR. (Navigator/Air Bomber.)

                            Son of Walter and Dorothy May Lawrence of Colchester, Essex. He was 21.

                            933794 Sergeant Kenneth Ross Carter, RAFVR. (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.)

                            Son of Alfred and Gertrude Carter; husband of Lena Myrtle Carter of Snodland, Kent.


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                              Some more information on the Australian contingent:

                              Albert Clive Glenwright was born on the 20th of May 1922. At the time of his enlistment at Melbourne on the 6th December 1941 he was living at 57, Baker Street, Richmond and he was a 3rd year chemistry student. It seems his Father had served with the 6th Battalion Australian Imperial Forces, presumably in the Great War.

                              James Gordon Wade was born on the 25th of June 1917 at Marrar, new South Wales and enlisted on thy 15th of August 1941 at Sydney. His address was 21, Pacific Street, Manly and he was a labourer.

                              Jack Frederick Knapp was born on the 19th October 1920 at Fremantle and enlisted in Perth on the 7th December 1941.

                              Marco has asked for the sources of information and so far the basic information has come from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The personal information on the Australian crew has come from the Roll of Honour and Nominal Roll of the Australian War Memorial. Through the AWM Linzee found the mention of Glenwright, Wellington LN466 and Issime.

                              Marco has suggested by PM that he is having trouble persuading local historians that this is indeed NOT the wreck of a Lancaster. I will post this here so others can check that what we have here, so far, is correct. The evidence is now pretty compelling.

                              In the first instance we have an aircraft which crashed near Issime, the crew of whom were founf and buried at Issime by partisans. Witnesses refer to winter, November, first heavy snow. If those witnesses are correct wouldn't that rule out the Lancaster LM339 in August? How many bodies do the witnesses remember being recovered?

                              It seems certain from the experts here that the wreckage found by Marco IS from a Wellington. I won't question that. Which means you are now looking for a Wellington crew. Linzee has found a Wellington crew which matches what you require. Glenwright's file has a mention of Issime. It is therefore safe to assume that the rest of his crew were buried by locals, with Glenwright, at Issime. This seems to be further confirmed by the fact that this crew is now buried in a single collective grave in Milan. Are there any local records of when this crew were buried at Issime? Remember, five crew for a Wellington, seven for a Lancaster.

                              The most vital piece of evidence is the wreckage of a Wellington. It appears you have almost certainly found LN466 which was a Wellington belonging to 142 Squadron operating from Oudna and carrying the crew of Glenwright, Lawrence, Carter, Wade and Knapp.

                              What you haven't got is a single piece of Lancaster wreckage to imply that the wreckage found is LM339.


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                                Thank you Kev,

                                absolutely perfect.
                                Following Archieraf suggestion, I ordered the online copied from NAA, for these three members:

                                410323 Sergeant Albert Clive Glenwright, RAAF.

                                413050 Flight Sergeant James Gordon Wade, RAAF.

                                415664 Flight Sergeant Jack Frederick Knapp, RAAF.

                                They were the only ones I found, writing as keywords "Issime" or "LN466" here,
                                I paid about 9 Euro for every copy. They answered it will takes at least one month to receive this material.

                                Unluckily, due to the worst conditions of these poor bodies, partisans could not understand how many of the crew they found.. This is for sure, I heard the sad details from the only one I met at the end of August. He still remembered this horrible crash site and what they found up there.

                                Edited at 16.23:

                                Ok, I found all the five Casualties reports on the CWGC, as Kev kindly suggested.
                                I was looking for Oudna airbase, and I found this.. But it does not talk about British planes, nor Wellingtons.

                                Maybe I've to look for a deeper and better source than wiki!
                                Last edited by Marco S.; 2nd October 2009, 15:24.


                                  kev35: Sorry I didn't get message to you in time to help your search, but as usual, you've crammed a fantastic amount of work into the last day!

                                  To add to all the previous postings, the browning machine gun looks to be a single mounted, whereas on the Lancaster they were in double or quadruple fittings in the turrets. Wellingtons had side (waist single gun positions.
                                  As has been said, you appear to have wreckage that is more likely to be from a Wellington and NOTHING that could be from a Lancaster.

                                  If an aircraft crashed there in the August, surely someone would have noticed and recovered the bodies before November. If it crashed in the November with enough force to blow in windows of an Alpine hut, the fire would have attracted attention and still been reachable before more heavy snow, whereas an August crash would have been long burnt out and so quickly buried under snow.

                                  We have 5 crew initially buried in Issime, and I assume that there were no other memories of other aircrew being recovered from any other crash site near Issime.

                                  With only one aircraft, one crew and a month, what you found can only be the Wellington LN466 of 142 Squadron (OK, we haven't got the Squadron Code letters - yet!!) and we have now located its crew. Is it possible to locate a MREU report to definitively confirm this?

                                  I'd like to express my appreciation for the partisans and others who must have risked their lives to try and rescue the crew, and for ensuring proper burial of them. Whilst they may not have known how many they buried, the CWGC at least had sufficient identification for the 5 members of a Wellington crew, even if not knowing who was who, hence the collective grave. Together in life, now together in death.

                                  Marco, I hope you will come back to us with the finished article!!

                                  You haven't found a Lancaster but you have found another small thread of the tapestry of WW2 for us. As has already been said, we enjoy a good puzzle to try and find the answers. To everyone who pitched in to help, "Thanks" it's been another interesting thread!


                                    Hello Marco,
                                    I would like to tell you what conditions were like on that night in November 1943. My father was pilot of another Wellington (LN317 of 70 squadron). I'll quote from his war diary:
                                    "Target was Turin - ball bearing works. Bomb load was 6 500lb bombs. The trip was undertaken through pretty terrible weather. Cloud obscured practically everything. Snow, rain and icing conditions were encountered. The target was totally obscured by cloud so it was not pranged. However on the return we dropped our bombs near a busy road near Savona. After the P/F had exploded etc. Six heavy guns opened up from the coast but the flak was easily evaded. The sack of nickels (leaflets) was scattered in the Turin area. On return to base learnt that 15 aircraft were missing of which 5 were 70 Squadron aircraft".


                                      Originally posted by Ballykellybrat View Post
                                      After the P/F had exploded etc. Six heavy guns opened up from the coast but the flak was easily evaded.
                                      Very, very interesting to be reading something written at the time; thanks for posting.

                                      I assume P/F refers to Photo-Flash (an intense flare dropped with the bomb-load that exploded in the air so that a photograph of where the bombs were dropped could be taken).


                                        It just gets better and better doesn't it? The amount of information people are coming up with and are willing to share is astonishing. It seems we're not paying tribute here to the Lancaster LM339 but the crew of Wellington LN466 have certainly been brought back to living memory.

                                        It is now certain that the target on the night of 24/25 November 1943. It is certain that the following six Wellington Squadrons operated that night as all suffered losses.

                                        37 Squadron flew from Djedeida, Tunisia.
                                        40 Squadron flew from Oudna, Tunisia.
                                        70 Squadron flew from Djedeida.
                                        104 Squadron flew from Oudna.
                                        142 Squadron flew from Oudna.
                                        150 Squadron flew from Oudna.

                                        And just for Icare9, the Squadron code for 142 was QT but the individual aircraft letter is not known.

                                        Linzee has just emailed some extracts from Wellington Wings kindly provided by Anne Storm. Although connected with 40 Squadron, this goes to further confirm the conditions described by the Father of Ballykellybrat.

                                        "The 24th/25th November 1943 was the worst night for 205 Group aircraft that I can recall (I believe it was 17 out of 70 aircraft operating or 24%) and it was due entirely to the weather conditions and not to enemy action. In the weather experienced, navigation must have been extremely difficult and some of the missing aircraft probably came down off track and hit mountains when they expected to be over the sea."

                                        None of the 30 aircraft of 40 and 104 Squadrons bombed the target which was a ball bearing factory at Turin.

                                        The following appears in a book called Wise Without Eyes recalling 37 Squadron's part in the operation.....

                                        "On the 24th, fourteen aircraft of the Squadron took off to attack a ball bearing factory in Turin. This operation went disastrously wrong due to the weather. Not one aircraft of the Squadron reached the target. The aircraft of F/L Taaffe and crew... (and) F/S Saunders and crew failed to return. The crews of F/O Gilbert and W/O Griffin baled out successfully over Corsica and Megrine respectively."

                                        Hope this is all helpful as it all goes towards completing the puzzle.


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                                          Here is an account from 205 Group navigator Flight Lieutenant William (Bill) Turner RCAF that I found on the web:

                                          Raid on Turin Ball Bearing Factory 24th November 1943:

                                          "A pronounced cold front was very active over the area we were to traverse. It was hoped the front would weaken before we arrived at the Italian coast; but it grew more intense with winds 50-70 knots - this was not to helpful for an aircraft flying at 120 knots. We were blown off course and we were unable to get a specific pinpoint. We were confronted by masses of cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. We couldn’t reach a higher altitude as our dear old Wimpy had troubles. We had to go below the cloud to try to get an accurate pinpoint to put us on the right course to the target.

                                          We descended to a planned altitude of 3000 ft. I suddenly spotted a light that should not have been there. The WOP dropped a small flare and immediately lit up the ground below us revealing an Italian Villa with a marble statue in the garden. We were less than 300 ft, I anxiously told our Pilot to pull up and told the bomb aimer, who was in the nose of the craft, to drop our bomb load. We were just about blown to pieces by our own bombs. Our pilot (Eric) saw more than the rest of the crew - he never spoke the rest of the way home.

                                          We then went down the coast of Sardinia. We saw two or three explosions, which were later, discovered as being crashed Wellingtons. We finally got a pinpoint and headed to our landing strip at El Oudna in Tunisia. The de-briefing was not a happy one - the losses were in the neighbourhood of 25% with very few aircraft reaching the target."

                                 (Page 8)

                                          This excellent account comes from the January 2008 edition of the ‘Clarion Newsletter’ from the Sidney Unit #302 website:

                                          Last edited by Creaking Door; 14th October 2009, 21:04.