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Author Topic: Stirling Bomber R9313 crash, Lurgashall, West Sussex, May 5th 1942  (Read 3125 times)
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AnDy
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« on: November 09, 2012, 03:23:58 AM »

On the evening of 4-5th May 1942,  a Stirling aircraft R9313, of 218 squadron, was shot down by 'friendly fire' when it was mistaken for a German plane. The plane, which had been returning from a raid to drop propaganda leaflets over German occupied territory, crashed into a field near Lurgashall in West Sussex.

The R9313 debis is significant as no Stirling bombers remain anywhere in the world and there are no plans in existance showing the design of the aircraft. However, the remains of the West Sussex crash will help to further an ongoing specialist project that aims to re-create the historic plane.

Immediately following the 1942 crash an RAF Maintenance Unit cleared away surface wreckage and it is likely that local souvenir hunters at the time would have picked up anything interesting that had been left behind. In 1977, excavation work was carried out to uncover more of the aircraft but recent survey work showed that there was still part of the plane buried deep underground.

In January 2012 a group of archaeologists and a TV production company came to the South Downs to revist the site of the crash. They were also joined by a number of serviceman from Operation Nightingale, an army project which uses archaeology to help rehabilitate injured soldiers.

The team hope that their new excavation work will help to faithfully replicate a Stirling Bomber and discover more about the events that led to the crash. They are also hoping to find out whether any of the proaganda leaflets from the mission had survived.

(taken from South Downs View July-December 2012)
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 23:19:18 PM »

Let's hope that they are successful!
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Easy
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2014, 17:02:10 PM »

My father A W Green was the Navigator on this aircraft. I have been researching his WW2 bomber command history and intend to visit the site soon. He was shot down again in June 1942with some of this crew (3 of whom died including s/l Ashworth). After a few days on the run in holland where he was helped by Dutch farmers he was taken PoW and sent to Stalag Luft 3. I recently met members of the Dutch family who gave me the buckles from his parachute!
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Icare9
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2014, 21:53:42 PM »

... so how did the gunners explain away this 4 engined "German" aircraft, a bomber type that had been in standard RAF operational use for at least 15 months by May 1942?
"Please, we thought it was a Kondor shipping reconnaissance aircraft...."?
I suppose they actually hit something, but then the crew wouldn't have been expecting to be a target!

For what it's worth, it doesn't show in the RAF Loss Cards, so I can't provide any further background.
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John
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2016, 14:14:30 PM »

There's a part of this aircraft for sale on eBay at the moment.

Massive engine crank RAF Stirling R9313
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pomme homme
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2016, 22:01:57 PM »

That seller has something of a reputation. And I don't believe that it's one which does him credit. The veracity of the items he offers for sale has been discussed in detail on another forum (send me a PM if you want a hyperlink to it). I'd suggest that it would be prudent carefully to check the provenance of his wares before parting company with money to buy them.
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John
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 07:32:02 AM »

Yes, I thought that might be the same guy who has been mentioned elsewhere!
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Cressim
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2016, 18:48:26 PM »

I was researching R9313 and stumble across your very interesting forum and wanted to add the following postscript.

I've just finished watching the TV production referred to on the Discovery History channel. It is called 'War Digs - Harry Harris'. Series 1, episode 5 for information.

Quite a fascinating programme - hard to know how the inputs historically accurate the inputs are or whether exaggerated by journalistic licence but i report briefly on simply what the presenters say they discovered. The team assisted by the Army dug up many well preserved parts of the 4 Hercules engines - one in particular was nearly whole and a miraculous discovery. Looks like the cockpit & fuselage either disintegrated or disappeared around the time of the previous dig in the seventies. The Crown agreed that he parts could be donated to theStirling Project apparently.
The most interesting part of the program was the direct claim that the Stirling was shot down in a 'friendly fire' incident. And more surprising they went on to claim that R9313 was the only example of an aircraft shot down by the infamous 'Turbanlite' project - the use of an adapted Douglas Havoc with a searchlight to spot E/A for night fighters to attack. Everything I had previously read about this project suggests that it was a German Bomber that was destroyed in the one & only successful intervention before it was terminated. The tv program claimed that a Hurricane BD770 flown by a P/O Murray was the night fighter in question! No one knows what really happened but I wondered if any of your readers could shed more light on this incident - which had a reasonably happy ending I guess since the 7 man crew all baled out successfully.
Thanks

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