Traces of World War 2 
RAF - 48 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 26 February 2008

48 SQUADRON - Avro Anson
Coastal Command

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Based at Thorney Island, Hampshire. The Squadron began flying anti-submarine patrols and maintained anti-E-Boat patrols during the evacuation of Dunkirk. In July 1940, the Squadron moved to Mersyside to carry on with anti-submarine patrols.

In May 1940 the squadron began to receive Beauforts but owing to problems with the engines, the squadron handed over its aircraft to No 217 Squadron at Sat Eval and moved to Hooton Park where it resumed GR patrols over the Irish Sea. Following a detachment being sent to the Shetlands, the whole squadron re-located there in July 1941 and it carried out the same duties as before over the North Sea and along the Norwegian coast. At this time the squadron was re-equipping with the Hudsons, which it was to fly, in various forms until early 1944.

Avro Anson

In 1939 RAF Coastal Command's standard reconnaissance aircraft was the Avro Anson. The Avro 652 monoplane airliner entered Imperial Airways service in 1934 and it was from this design that the long-serving Anson was derived.

The Anson entered RAF Coastal Command service in February 1936 on general reconnaissance duties and was the RAF's first monoplane and its first aircraft with a retractable undercarriage.

On 5 September 1939 an Anson of No. 500 Squadron made the first RAF attack of the war on a German submarine. In June 1940, three Ansons attacked over the English Channel by nine Messerschmitt 109s succeeded in shooting down two and damaging another of the fighters. For most of its long service, however, the Anson was used in light transport and training roles and most RAF and Commonwealth navigators, wireless operators and air gunners trained on 'Annies'. The Anson officially retired from RAF service in June 1968.

Source: Imperial War Museum Duxford - Avro Anson

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Losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

: Dutch Patrol. 1 Plane lost, 4 MIA
: Thistle Patrol. 1 Plane lost, 1 WIA
: Shamrock Patrol. 1 Plane lost, 1 WIA
: Anti-Sub Convoy Patrol. 1 Plane lost, 1 WIA

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Flying Officer (Pilot) Humphrey B.M. Pearson, RAF 37983 (Ireland), 48 Sqdn., age 23, 06/01/1940, West Thorney (St. Nicholas) Churchyard, UK
Sergeant (Pilot) Follett M. Pennell, RAF 580304, 48 Sqdn., age 23, 06/01/1940, West Thorney (St. Nicholas) Churchyard, UK
Aircraftman 1st Class (Air Gnr. U/T) Francis H. Rook, RAF 527377, 48 Sqdn., age 22, 06/01/1940, West Thorney (St. Nicholas) Churchyard, UK

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20/05/1940: Dutch Patrol

Type: Avro Anson I
Serial number: K8772, OY-G
Operation: Dutch Patrol
Lost: 20/05/1940
Flight Lieutenant [Pilot] Stephen Dodds, RAF 37086, 48 Sqdn., age 24, Mentioned in Despatches, 20/05/1940, missing
Pilot Officer Bryan S. Booth, RAF 42045, 48 Sqdn., age 27, 20/05/1940, missing
Leading Aircraftman Arthur H. Gumbleton, RAF 538552, 48 Sqdn., age 24, 20/05/1940, missing
Leading Aircraftman Norman E. Jacobs, RAF 526265, 48 Sqdn., age 22, 20/05/1940, missing

Took off 17.10 hrs from Detling, in company with two other Ansons to attack nine German Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB's) in position CPOX 2706. At 19.00 hrs 35 km SW of Texerl, they sighted eight or nine MTB's in convoy and attacked. F/Lt Dodds led the attack and was hit by flak from an E-boat in the starboard wing and was forced to ditch.
All crew members are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Sources: CWGC and Ross McNeill, Coastal Command Losses

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30/05/1940: Thistle Patrol

Type: Avro Anson I
Serial number: N9919, OY-J
Operation: Thistle Patrol
Lost: 30/05/1940
P/O Tilson - safe
Sgt Cadenne - safe
LAC O'Reilly - injured
LAC Fish - safe
Took off 15.35 hrs from Detling. Damaged by friendly fire from a trawler at 20.20 hrs while trying to signal the position of shipping survivors. The port engine seized and height could not be maintained so the Anson was put down off Ramsgate, Kent, within sight of three ships. The crew was subsequently rescued by HMS Vega.

The aircraft stayed afloat during the rescue and was later sunk by gunfire from another armed trawler. It was not until the next day that the crew was landed at Sheerness and LAC O'Reilly was admitted to RN Hospital, Gillingham.

Source: Ross McNeill, Coastal Command Losses

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30/05/1940: Shamrock Patrol

Type: Avro Anson I
Serial number: K8773, OY-X
Operation: Shamrock Patrol
Lost: 30/05/1940
F/O S. Wherry - safe
P/O G. Alington - safe
Cpl A.D.C. Harding, 568952 - safe
Leading Aircraftman Leslie S Dilnutt, 523495 - wounded
Took off 14.50 hrs from Detling. Attacked by three Me 109s of JG26, 2 miles off Oostende (Belgium) and suffered extensive damage to the wings and aileron controls. After beating off the attack an engine failed and a forced landing was made into the Channel of Deal at 18.30 hrs. The crew were rescued by a destroyer then transferred to a drifter before being landed at Ramsgate.

LAC Leslie S. Dilnutt, DFM, died as a Flight Sergeant with 210 Sqdn on 21/04/1941.

Sources: CWGC and Ross McNeill, Coastal Command Losses

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03/06/1940: Anti-Sub Convoy Patrol

Type: Avro Anson I
Serial number: L7047, OY-?
Operation: Anti-Sub Convoy Patrol
Lost: 03/06/1940
P/O Carson C. Proby, RCAF 41321 - safe
Names other crew members unknown. Two safe, one injured

Took off 22.30 hrs from Thorney island. Blinded by searchlight on the approach to Thorney Island and ditched off Hayling Island. Located by another 48 Squadron Anson, R3305, piloted by P/O P.W. Dunn, he returned to base and reported the position, returning again to the scene of the accident and remaining in the vicinity until the crew were rescued by the Hayling lifeboat, the motor lifeboat Jesse Lumb.

Carson C. Proby died as a Flying Officer with 413 (R.C.A.F.) Sqdn., age 27, 22/10/1941. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Sources: CWGC and Ross McNeill, Coastal Command Losses

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Air of Authority - 48 Squadron
Air Force POWs 1939-1945
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database
Australian War Memorial
Bail-outs for 1940
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The London Gazette
Prisoners of War captured in Europe 1940
British Aircraft Directory - Avro Anson
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
Rickard, J (24 November 2007), Avro Anson
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, by Major L.F. Ellis, 1954

War over Holland
World War 2 ex - 48 Squadron


Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Ross McNeill, Coastal Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 1 (1939-1941), Midland publishing, 2003. ISBN: 1 85780 128 8


Discussion Groups
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Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
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Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
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Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
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British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
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Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
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Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Dutch Pilots in RAF Squadrons
Eagles Squadrons (American pilots in the RAF)
Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland 1939-1946
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
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Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
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This page is dedicated to the men of 48 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2007-2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source and the original sources are mentioned with a link to