[Emergency landing by Sunderland 'E' for Emu of 461 Squadron RAAF at Angle airfield Pembroke Dock Wales 29 May 1943]

Unit No. 461 Squadron
Accession Number F04759
Collection type Film
Measurement 3 min 59 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Douglas, Desmond Lloyd George
Place made United Kingdom: Wales, Pembroke Dock
Date made 29 May 1943
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


"This is an eyewitness film which shows Sunderland 'E' of 461 Squadron RAAF landing on Angle aerodrome near Pembroke Dock Wales on 29 May 1943. It was shot from a moving car by Wing Commander D L G Douglas, DFC squadron Commanding Officer. Aircraft 'E' for Emu sustained a large hole in the hull plates in the region of the toilet when taking off in a lumpy sea 150 nautical miles beyond Bishop Rock, after rescuing crews of two other Coastal Command aircraft. One of these was a Whitley and the other was Sunderland 'O' of 461 Squadron RAAF which had crashed while attempting to land to rescue the Whitley crew. Sunderland 'E' landed in the open sea at 7.00 hours (Double British Summer Time) at a spot 175 nautical miles southwest of Bishop Rock and picked up the two crews from dinghies. As the sea was too rough for a take off the Sunderland began taxying towards England and at about 10.00 hours was met by the Free French destroyer La Combattanter. The destroyer took 21 persons including five of the Sunderland 'E' crew on board and sent an armourer to disarm the aircraft's depth charges which were then jettisoned. At 13.00 hours the destroyer took the Sunderland in tow but many difficulties were met. Finally at 15.00 hours the towline broke and at 18.00 hours preparations were completed for take off. This had to be commenced across wind because of the state of the sea and took three or four times as long as usual. It was finally achieved after turning head-on to the wind and striking large waves, the last one of which hurled the Sunderland into the air but also ripped a large hole in the hull. This ruled out any possibility of a sea landing. At 20.00 hours Sunderland 'E' was near the entrance to Milford Haven and its skeleton crew spent the next half hour throwing overboard flares and loose heavy items in preparation for a crash landing. These preparations proved unnecessary when a gentle landing was made at 20.40 hours on the grassy Angle airfield. Half of 461 Squadron was at Angle airfield to see the landing and the unorthodox disembarkation of the crew. The motley uniforms worn by the crew were what was left after wet survivors of the two rescued crews had been given an open go at the clothing originally worn and carried by the crew of 'E'. The destroyers delivered all of its passengers safely including a pilot of Sunderland 'O' of 461 Squadron RAAF who had been very badly injured. Apart from him all the others were able to continue with their duties as soon as aircraft could be found for them. Sunderland 'E' for Emu never flew or floated again." (Commentary written by Harry Winstanley, DFC) Crew members: Captain 400841 Pilot Officer (PO) Gordon O. Singleton of St Kilda, Vic; Co-Pilot 415195 Flight Sergeant (Flt/Sgt) Pearce E. Taplin of Midland Junction, WA; Navigator 401356 PO Harry Winstanley DFC of Geelong, Vic; Engineer 9429 Sergeant (Sgt) H. Hall of Moonee Ponds, Vic; Wireless operator-mechanic Flt/Sgt Hughie Church, RAF; Wireless operator-gunner 405228 Sgt Johnny Lewis of Brisbane, Qld; Airgunner 407210 Flight Officer George Viner of Adelaide, SA.

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