59 History
- The Lockheed Hudson - No. 59 Squadron Service History -

A Lockheed Model 14 - Electra with a more civilian guise... (source)

------ Civilian Transporter... in Disguise ------

A Domestic Plane Goes to War: The Hudson Bomber was actually a Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra 12 passenger transport plane (derived from the Lockheed 10 Electra), designed and built for the growing domestic air travel industry but was re-equipped for war service as the Lockheed Hudson Mk I (complete with the passenger windows on the fuselage intact). As an adapted civilian aircraft and not a specifically designed war machine, its use in operations was often questioned (more so in hindsight) due to the high casualty rates associated with the aircraft. In regards to Coastal Command, one of the major problems with the use of the Hudson for anti-shipping strikes was that the pilot was required to attack at mast level height (approx 50ft or less), thus rendering the plane and its crew very vulnerable to A.A (anti-aircraft) fire. This was due primarily to the dynamics of the 100pb bomb they were initially equipped with. I have come across reports (so far not of 59 Squadron), that the 100lb bombs were known to have bounced back off the ships and hit the planes that dropped them. More so, that the bombs would skim accross the water after release and explode beneath the aircraft. The crews were also required to fly at low level altitude to avoid German radar when patrolling the Dutch coast. E.E. Allen, a Canadian pilot flying Hudson's with 59 Sqn, notes in his memoirs that to avoid detection from German radar (and then having German fighters sent out to "splash" them) they were sometimes required to fly at about 20ft above the water, not a lot of room there for error... Herbert Tuckwood, a Canadian gunner with F/O Alex Neilson & crew, recalls on one particular shipping strike, lying on his stomach aiming a Lewis gun through an opening in the rear floor and raking the ships deck as they flew over!

Mast Level Attack: No. 16 Group (Nos. 53, 59, 320 (Dutch) Squadrons, and No. 407 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force) concentrated on the traffic between the estuary of the Elbe and the Hook of Holland. With iron determination the pilots of these squadrons dived through the flak and released their bombs from mast-height--or so near it that damage from impact with ship or sea was distressingly frequent. On 28th May, for instance, No. 59 Squadron recorded that one of its aircraft 'struck the sea with port prop--badly bent and homed on one engine at 60 m.p.h.'. The next day No. 407 Squadron reported a still more telling incident.' For the second time in two nights Pilot Officer O'Connell successfully bombed enemy shipping. After this last episode he is seriously thinking of taking up paper-hanging after the war. He went in so low to attack that he struck a mast and hung one of the bomb-doors thereon'. As material for an impressive 'line' this was probably surpassed only by an incident two years later, when a pilot of No. 455 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, returned from a shipping attack near the Dutch coast with several feet of mast attached to his aircraft. Tactics--and courage--of this kind reaped their reward, and during May alone Coastal Command claimed twelve ships, ten of which have since been confirmed. Many others were damaged. Unfortunately attacks at so low a level also involved severe losses; and at forty-three aircraft for the month these were greater than the Command could possibly continue to accept. (www.ibiblio.org)

Deadly Missions: The following excerpt regarding the Hudson era, speaks of S/L Taylor DFC & Bar of 407 Sqn which formed at Thorney Island whilst 59 Sqn were stationed there and his time flying the Hudson.

"...S/L Taylor was one of the original pilots on 407 Squadron when it was formed at Thorney Island in April 1941. He was one of the few survivors from the 'short life expectancy' era of flying Hudson's on the deadly enemy shipping strikes off the Dutch coast, and also on the first 1000-bomber raids on Germany. Thus he was a highly experienced airman and a force to be reckoned with..." (www.angelfire.com)

In the book, The Maw (James R. Stevens) it is stated that (Coastal Command) Hudson squadrons with a total strength of between 16-24 planes (of which 59 Sqn was one) would have had their strengths entirely replaced at least once, if not twice (meaning the squadron lost all of their aircraft once or twice). Of the 27 squadrons surveyed in the book, 59 operated the hudson for the shortest period of time, 8 months. So far I have found 19 Hudson losses for 59 Sqn, which would be about an "entire strength".


Is a passenger liner - a machine of war? Roy Thomas (whose uncle flew Hudson's on anti-shipping strikes) writes his opinion on the RAF's choice to use the Hudson for this purpose...

"...(the choice) is partly the result of (Coastal Command HQ) having no policy about how to attack shipping from the air. Inter-service rivalry may be blamed for leaving the question of dealing with enemy merchant ships to the RN but it is obscene to note that a twin-engine civilian airliner derivative was being used to attack freighters at the same time other nations were using dive-bombers with success even against warships..." (www.vanguardcanada.com)

Anti-shipping strikes off the Dutch coast were notorious for their "low survival expectancy rate" throughout Coastal Command. By mid 1941, the first waves of Commonwealth airmen had started to arrive to the UK and later Coastal squadrons such as 59. According to Alwyn Jay, in his book Endurance, 500 RAAF personnel served with Coastal Command squadrons during WWII (on Liberator aircraft) from 1941-1945. Of course many of these would have started out on the Liberator's predocessors, such as those of 59 Sqn who started operations on the Lockheed Hudson. In his memoirs, one of the Canadian pilots, F/L EE Allen (Can) recalls that when the squadron switched to the Liberator in late 1942 the general consensus was that everybody would now survive the war, whereas before whilst flying the Hudson, every mission was considered a death sentence...


------ Conversion from the Blenheim to the Hudson ------

The 59 Sqn Lockheed Hudson Mk III - IIIA - VI: Amidst talk of the squadron being disbanded due to the lack of aircraft available after heavy Blenheim losses and quite possibly available to Coastal Command in general, Air Commodore Bill Tacon (the famous New Zealander known as "Shipbuster") was given credit for procuring 59 Sqn a replacement force, the Lockheed Hudson Mk.III. They would go on to fly the Mk.IV, V and Mk.VI variations before rearming with the B-24 Liberator in August 1942. The Squadron began conversion to the Hudson Mk.III in July 1941, the squadron ORB notes:

"On the 22 July 1941, "B" Flight returned to THORNEY ISLAND [from Detling] to commence re-arming with HUDSON A/C, and "A" Flight remained on a detached flight on BLENHEIM A/C at DETLING...".

Operations on the Blenheim continued from Detling for the month of August 1941, with 'A' Flight receiving orders to return to Thorney Island on the 21st. On the 1st Sept, Hudson operations began wth 'B' Flight returning to flying whilst 'A' Flight undertook their training for conversion to the Hudson. The last Blenheim operation was on 30/09 when P/O Crouchen & crew (Sgt's Murrin, Peek & Drabble) in TR-P - flew a "HACH" patrol over Cherbourg, nothing seen.


Operational: Sept 1941 - Hudson Mk.III: After 5 weeks of training up on the MK IIIA's, the squadron began flying "HACH"(Le HAvre & CHerbourg) & "BEND" patrols over the Dutch & French Coastlines. The first mission was flown by P/O Richards & crew (Sgt's Longworth, McEwan & Major) - a "BEND" patrol over Dunkirk. The mission report shows that three enemy aircraft affronted their Hudson but were evaded. Tine Up: 2005 - Time Down: 2250. It was a fairly quiet start to Hudson operations with most patrols succesfully completed but with no attacks on either side. Those that weren't completed were either due to bad weather or mechanical issues. The first attempted attack on enemy shipping by a 59 Sqn crew ocurred on the 12th, when P/O Boyce & crew (Sgt's Hogarth, July & Dunn) attempted to attack a 3/4000ton M/V in convoy with two E/V's near Dunkirk. P/O Boyce circled to attack but the bombs hung up due to the release switch not being armed. All ships fired on the A/C with 1 hit to the starboard engine cowling. The rear gunner opened fire with 40/50 rounds as they passed over, no results seen.

2000th Sortie: On the 26th - P/O O'Kelly & crew (Sgt's White, Page & Lunan) flew the 2000th operational sortie for 59 Sqn, since the beginning of hostilities... The patrol was abandoned due to poor visibility...

On the 28th, Three aircraft:

  • TR-P - P/O Richards & crew (Sgt's Longworth, McEwan & Major)
  • TR-U - P/O Gee & crew (Sgt's Bolle, Pascoe & F/Sgt Pitcher)
  • TR-Z - F/O Selby-Price & crew (Sgt's Tomkin, White & Page)

Set out at 1935 hours, on the first "Search" patrols carried out by the squadron. They were sent in search of two German invasion barges reported in the Channel. Nothing was seen. During their first month on Hudson operations, there were no a/c or crew losses sustained by the squadron.

Oct-Dec 1941: In October the "HACH" and the new "HABO"(Le HAvre & BOlougne) patrols continued. On the night of the 3rd, 59 Sqn lost their first Hudson crew when P/O Rogerson & crew (P/O Gee, F/Sgt Sharpe & Sgt Riddell) in TR-D failed to return from a patrol to Le Havre. The crew sent a "first sighting report" that 3 vessels had been sighted 3 miles west of Le Havre at 2000hrs. Nothing more was heard. The following day, four crews set out to find the crew of TR-D but nothing was seen. One of these was P/O Sherley-Price & crew (Sgt's White, Tomkins & Page) in TR-O, who would later on the 16th of Oct, become 59 Sqn's second Hudson crew loss when they failed to return from a night patrol. The only fatality from this crew listed on the CWGC is that of Sgt. Tomkins and although I haven't found mention of it in the ORB so far... it's possible that the other three crew members survived and became POW's.

The crew of 59 Sqn Hudson 'N' - L-R: Sgt WAG Grayson, Pilot Dick Luckwell, Nav. Roddy Wecker RAAF and Sgt WAG Tubby Gamble, North Coates 1942. The name of the dog is unstated, though it could be 'stinker' - taken from the book - Searching For the Hudson Bombers by James R Stevens.

PRINZ EUGEN SIGHTED: On the 23rd, P/O Luckwell & crew (P/O Pennycuick, Sgt's King, Grayson) flew a photographic recce of the docks at Brest, from 12000ft. After releasing the flash bombs and taking two runs over the target area they captured two good pictures showing the Port de Commerce, with camouflage over Prinz Eugen, despite heavy flak...

Anti-Shipping strikes: The second attack on enemy shipping occurred in the early morning of the 13th when P/O Tiller & crew (Sgt's Hunt, Couchman & Barrett) in TR-J attacked on E-boat N.E. of Alderney. 3 x 250lb G.P bombs were dropped. One bomb failed to release. near misses sighted. E-Boat fired 4 star red cartridge. First contact by S.E. First sighting report sent. The following morning, P/O Boggon & crew (P/O Argent, Sgt's Howell & Drabble) in TR-T attacked a C/V of 1 M/V of 5000tons and 2 small ships near Guernsey, from 3000ft with 3x250lb G.P in salvo. Results unobserved. Later sighted another C/V further south. First sighting reports sent. An interesting sortie was flown on this day by P/O Foster & crew (Sgt's Murray, Cordy & Goldsmith) in TR-B when they took off at 1650 to escort an Heinkel boat-plane off the Isle of Wight... The mission report states "HE. not airborne, so A/C recalled to base".

More on operations during November and December 1941 to follow soon...


------ Dec. 1941 - Squadron Stood Down From Duty ------
59 Sqn Airmen fight the Japanese: In late December of 1941, due to the growing threat in the Pacific region, 18 aircrews along with their Hudson aircraft were reassigned to the Far East. Of these 18 crews, only half of them made it to Sumatra where they were attached to No.8 Squadron RAAF, who were busy fighting the invading Japanese forces. Whilst their old squadron at home in the UK replenished its forces and trained up to recommence operations over Europe, the future in the Far East was looking grim... READ MORE
Destruction of trucks at port of Oosthaven, Sumatra Island 1942 (dutcheastindies.iblogger.org)


------ Jan. 1942 - New Crews & New Hudsons ------
Flight Commanders, Duty Leaders & Officers take the opportunity for a group photo, on a day off from operations. Several of them were posted out early to mid May. Unfortunately a few days later on the 21st April, P/O St. Ours (observer) and P/O Boggon (pilot) were lost when their Hudson was shot down by a German fighter. (image submitted by Simon Muggleton)

Upgrades! The Lockheed Hudson Mk.IV to Mk.VI & IIIA: In January 1942, they began training up on the MK.IV and by mid 1942, they were flying the Mk.V. Some records I have found state that they flew the Mk.III, Mk.V then the Mk.VI but it appears that regardless of which order, these variants were not flown "exclusively". There is also record of 59 Sqn having on their force atleast two Mk.IIIA variants of the Hudson.

(above) 59 Sqn Hudson's fly in Vic formation. (L-R) TR-T S/L Phil Evans & crew: TR-V S/L Dunkerley & crew: TR-M W/C Grece & crew. (Longmuir)
(above) 1942: Three Lockheed Hudson's of No. 59 Squadron RAF based at Thorney Island, Hampshire, flying in 'vic' formation along the south coast of England. The formation leader, V9169 'TR-R', is a Mark IIIA, the other aircraft, 'TR-T' and 'TR-M', being Mark Vs bearing AM- serial numbers.

Coastal Command - The Cindarella Force - Although not widely acknowledged, Coastal Commands needs in terms of available aircraft and technology came second to the needs of others. When aircraft were required in other theatres of war, those in service with Coastal, were quickly withdrawn and sent elsewhere. With Coastal resources already stretched thin, such an event occurred between Dec 1941 and Jan 1942, when 36 Hudson aircraft and their crews were sent to the Far East (where the threat of Japanese domination was growing). 18 of these crews were from 59 Sqn, taking with them the Squadrons Mk.III's and also many of the most experienced crews. 59 flew their last operational sortie of 1941on the 17th of Dec (F/O Gee (p) with Sgt's Bolle, Pascoe & Pitcher) and the next day, stood down from duty. On the 27th, the 18 selected crews were attached O.A.D.U, Kemble - pending posting overseas. Of these 18, only 7 would make it safely to Sumatra. (see bottom of page for more info).

The Commonwealth Arrival: From mid 1941onwards, many of the Australian and Canadian airmen began to finish their training under the Empire Air Training Scheme and would soon after arrive in the UK. The stream of new recruits continued to build up into early 1942 and they filtered into the Coastal ranks to replenish the dwindling numbers. However much training was needed and certainly for 59 Sqn aircrew, January 1942 was a busy month spent so. One operational sortie was however carried out during January. On the 5th, F/O Tiller & crew (Sgt's Black, Gamble & Elliot) flew an Air/Sea Rescue "SEEK" mission in Hudson TR-F. (Nothing Seen).

Thrown into the Deep End! Of the new Commonwealth recruits on the squadron, P/O H.R Longmuir's story highlights the lack of experience in early 1942 and perhaps indeed, Coastal Command in general. P/O Longmuir (Obs) arrived to 59 Squadron on the 28th of Jan 1942 after completion of his training in Canada. The Squadron were at the time non-operational and training up on the Hudson Mk.V at RAF Thorney Island and by the 2nd Feb they had relocated to RAF North Coates to begin operations. The log book of P/O Longmuir shows that by the end of April, he had only been on one operational sortie (although he had been on many training, air test and x-country flights) and this solitary sortie had been aborted due to bad weather. Thus he had only a total of 2hrs 15mins "operational flying time" at the end of April. Then in May he was sent to No.1 A.A.S Manby to undertake the No.38 Bomber Leaders course. Upon completion of the course, he passed "Grade A" with a recommendation that he was qualified for the post of Bomber Leader "despite his lack of experience"... Although Longmuir would go on to prove himself more than capable of carrying out his duties, the fact that an airmen with so little operational experience would even be considered for the duty of Bomber Leader, shows that the Squadron was lacking experienced airmen to do so.


------ The Channel Dash ------
(above) L-R: The Gneisenau - The Scharnhorst - The Prinz Eugen

February 1942: 59 Sqn Hudson aircraft and crews were called upon to make attacks on the German naval vessels Scharnhorst, Prinz Eugen and Gneisenau as they crossed through the English channel to return to ports in Germany... These ships were recalled from service in and around the Bay of Biscay due to Hitler's firm belief that Britain was about to invade Norway. Nos. 59 and 407 Squadrons made their attack on the German ships on 12 February, loosing two aircraft (www.historyofwar.org) - Nil 59 Sqn losses are recorded on this date, so they must have been of 407 Sqn).

The 59 ORB shows little from early 1942, with only Form 540's (Summary of Events) available and no Form 541's (Detail of Work Carried Out). It does however state the following for the 12th of Feb, 1942...

"On return to base, the hunt for the "S" and "G" (Scharnhorst & Gneisenau) was already up. F/O Tiller in "J", with F/L Miekelreid, P/O La Forme and Sgt Couchman, had taken off at 1327 to make rendezvous at Manston with a fighter escort for an attack on the E/C, which had been reported moving up the Channel. Tiller circled Manston for approx. an hour, but the fighter escort did not arrive, he S/C for base and landed at 1704...

A 626 Squadron site makes mention of the 407 Squadron involvement on this day. It notes that when the 407 Hudsons located the convoy and attacked, the second wave included an aircraft from 59 Squadron. It further notes that they lost 2 aircraft, which is in agreement with the "historyofwar.org" site. I have not yet been able to confirm this attack using the 59 ORB however... The above extract from the 59 ORB, although it only notes one crew, does however suggest that other a/c were already up... "the hunt for the "S" and "G" was already up". But with next to nothing else recorded (or lost), the memoirs of H.F. Tuckwood, a W.Op on the squadron at the time, provides the only other lead...

"...when the German battleships slipped up the channel from France to Germany. We, on the Hudson, were sent out to try and locate the Prinz Eugen. It was foggy all of the way and we flew between Denmark and Sweden. We almost felt relieved when we didn't find it. We could have been blown out of the sky..."

The 626 Squadron site does note that the 2nd wave of 407 Squadron Hudsons, in formation with an a/c from 59, did bomb the convoy from 1500ft, with 407 losing an a/c.

An Embarrassing Affair: "When the German ships sailed from Brest just before midnight on February 11 (1942), they did so with a modest escort of 13 motor torpedo boats and five destroyers, and with expectation of air cover for most of their journey. They sailed in foul weather ; a sensible precaution ; and they steamed into the English Channel.

The Royal Navy did not see them. Coastal Command did not spot them (reportedly because of problems with their air-to-ship radar). The radar stations along the coast of Britain noted them and ignored them. Not until 11:30 a.m., when the ships were almost entering the Straits of Dover, were they spotted accidentally by a pilot with Fighter Command and reported to the authorities. Two hours later, at 1:35 p.m., the first aircraft of Bomber Command were airborne: by this time Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen were through the Straits of Dover. Between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., 242 sorties were flown by Bomber Command against the ships, though many aircraft could not locate them because of the inclement weather. In addition, elements of Coastal and Fighter Command, together with Fleet Air Arm "Swordfish", joined in the attack. So did the Royal Navy, with World War I destroyers and MTBs. No damage was inflicted. Only later did Scharnhorst and Gneisenau strike mines dropped by 5 Group aircraft and incur some damage. By daybreak of 13 February all three ships were safe in German ports.

"The Channel Dash" was a tremendous blow to the prestige of the Royal Navy: the English Channel was, after all, the closest of 'home waters', and the RN clearly did not control it. The 'Dash' was also one more all-too-familiar blow to Bomber Command, which demonstrated once again that it had no means of navigating or target-finding in poor weather and no ability to press home a strike against targets that were heavily defended (as these ships undoubtedly were). (www.militaryhistoryonline.com)


::: THE 1000 BOMBER RAIDS :::...

Operation Millennium - Cologne: 30/31 May 1942: No Coastal Command aircraft officially took part in the raid on Cologne, as their participation was refused to Bomber Command by the Admiralty...


1000 Bomber raid - Essen: 01/02 June 1942: Only two a/c flew operational sorties on the 1/2nd of June 1942. No known involvement in diversionary strikes for main raid.

F/Sgt DuPlooy & crew operated from Thorney Island and were detailed to carry out a LIGHT sortie. After taking off at 2300on the 1st, they failed to locate the naval force at the agreed location but did sight 2 M/Vs, 1500tons each off the French Coast. They dropped flares and sent a sighting report.

F/O Luckwell & crew took off at 0001hrs on the 2nd, duty "Strike". They were to rendezvous with 4 Hampdens of 415 Sqn and attack a convoy off the Frisian Islands... The Hudson failed to locate target, experiencing heavy flak from land.


Operation Millennium II - Bremen: 25/26 June 1942: On the night of the 25-26th of June 1942, twelve 59 Sqn crews officially took part in the third 1000 bomber raid on Bremen...

:::::: READ MORE ::::::



(bottom) No.59 Squadron Officers in front of a Hudson. Back row (L-R)Fox, Collie, Wright, LaForme, Smith, Cole, Tumbridge, Evans, Pennyquick, Longmuir, ?, ?, Winton, Stevenson: Front row(L-R) Allen, Osborne, Kelvin, Meiklereid, Tiller, S/L Evans, W/C Bartlett, S/L Dunkerley, Luckwell, Barson, Neilson, Moran, Charlton.

(above) 59 Sqn airmen meet and greet Lord Sherwood and Lord Cowdray at RAF North Coates 9/5/1942. click here to view larger image. This image was kindly sent in by Dave Lefurgey, nephew of W/C Niven (fourth from right).
(above) This image was sent in by Dave Lefurgey, the nephew of W/C Robert Niven. Niven, along with his crew was lost (on the pictured date), when his Hudson was shot down whilst attacking a convoy off the Frisian Islands. It is believed that this wheel belonged to the 59 Sqn Hudson. Dave is currently seeking information as to the identity of the above ship. If you have any information, please contact me. Thank you. (read more about W/C Niven & crew)




Hudson FH426 TR-B - at RAF North Coates with wing damage from flak. Aircraft captained by S/L Phil Evans (Evans far right on the tail section, middle P/O Fleiger (WAG), P/O Smith (Obs) far left) . Fleiger was not a member of Evans crew although he did take part in the mission with F/O E.E Allen and crew. The mission dated 5/8/42 was a night strike on a convoy off Den Helder. The Narborough Airfield site dates this as August 5th 1942 as does the North Coates ORB but according to Brian Stafford, an RAF North Coates historian, the picture above is dated 6th of August by the IWM. The later is the correct date as the photo was taken sometime on the 6th, after the crews had returned home in the early hours.

The ORB states the following for FH426:

"Target convoy off Den Helder. Homed towards flare dropped by another A/C.Intense light and heavy flak experienced by A/C which was hit in the Starboard wing by cannon shell. Bombs jettisoned. C/V estimated to consist of 9-12 M/V's. S/E satisfactory A/C landed safely despite damage to flaps and Starboard wheel."

In the book Allied Bombers of WWII (Chris Chant) there is a picture of FH426 with full camouflage, red lettering (TR-H) and a yellow bordered roundel (dated as mid 1942).

(above L-R) P/O JF Smith - S/L P Evans - P/O J.R Fox - crew of FH426. Not pictured is Sgt Goad.



(left) 4 May 1942 : Low-level oblique aerial photograph showing a Lockheed Hudson Mark V of No. 59 Squadron dropping its torpedo during an attack by six aircraft from North Coates, Norfolk, on an enemy convoy off Ijmuiden, Holland. They pressed home the attack in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, and three merchant vessels were seriously damaged, including the German freighter JANJE FRITZEN, visible on the left. The spray in the background is caused by a shell from a shore battery, which also engaged the Hudson's. (Australian War Memorial).

The ORB states the following:

"Three a/c went out on "Strike", T.N & M. Pilots F/O Collie, Luckwell & Sgt Scouller, in conjunction with 53 Squadron. An Enemy c/v comprising 10 m/v's was attacked, two vessels of 3000 tons and one of 6000 tons were picked out and the attack pressed home in spite of heavy flak, near misses were obtained by T & N but no direct hits. T being holed in the star board wing and petrol tank. All three a/c witnessed W/53 ditch. M being able to obtain some excellent photographs depicting the a/c ditched with three of the crew standing on the wing and the inflated dinghy floating nearby."

Although it's stated above that the Hudson is dropping a torpedo, I have not come across any evidence to support this. It is more likely that it was armed with 250lb general purpose bombs.


The Lockheed Hudson was the first significant aircraft construction contract for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. The initial RAF order for 200 Hudson's far surpassed any previous order the company had received. The Hudson served throughout the war, mainly with Coastal Command but also in transport and training roles as well as delivering agents into occupied France. The Hudson was also operated by the USAAF, US Navy, RAAF, RCAF and RNZAF.

The Hudson achieved some significant feats during the war. On 8 October, 1939, over Jutland, a Hudson Mk I N7217 (flown by F/L Wormesley of No. 224 Sqn) became the first UK based RAF aircraft and also the first American built to shoot down a German aircraft. (The accolade of the first British built aircraft to shoot down a German aircraft went to the Blackburn Skua of the Fleet Air Arm on 26 September, 1939.) They operated as fighters during the Battle of Dunkirk. A PBO-1 Hudson of USN squadron VP-82 became the first US aircraft to sink a German submarine when it sank U-656 southwest of Newfoundland on 1 March, 1942. Hudson's were operated by RAF Special Duties squadrons for clandestine operations; No. 161 Squadron in Europe and No. 357 Squadron in Burma. (www.spiritus-temporis.com) It was also the first Coastal Command aircraft to be fitted with ASV radar and was also the first aircraft to sink a U-boat with rocket projectiles, in 1943. (www.skovheim.org)

(above) RAF Lockheed Hudson Mk II's and III's of No. 223 Sqn fly in formation over Northern Ireland.

(above) A crewman on board an RAF Coastal Command Lockheed Hudson of No. 269 Squadron, using an F.24 camera during an ice patrol from Kaldadarnes in Iceland, 5 May 1942. Hensser H (F/O) - IWM
(above) The interior of a Lockheed Hudson Mk I of No. 206 Squadron RAF, June 1940. Hensser H (F/O) - IWM
(above) The navigator at work in a Lockheed Hudson of No. 269 Squadron flying an 'ice patrol' over the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, May 1942. Hensser H (F/O) - IWM
(above) Cockpit of a Lockheed Hudson Mk III at Eastleigh, Hampshire, 24 July 1942. Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP) - IWM


Serial Number
Squadron/Aircraft Code
Service Notes
AM524 TR-V Mk.V
AM568 TR-T Mk.V
AM580 TR-A Mk.V
AM527 TR-R Mk.V
EW904 TR-S  ?
AM830 TR-G Mk.V
AM836 TR-N Mk.V
AM632 TR-M Mk.V
AM639 TR-Z Mk.V
AM796 TR-? Mk.V
AM9163 TR-V  ?
AM554 TR-N Mk.V
AM649 TR-P Mk.V
AM842 TR-S Mk.V
AM857 TR-J Mk.V
Do you know of any other Hudson aircraft that flew with 59?


------ Conversion to a Big Boy -The B-24 Liberator! ------

Air Crews United: On the 17th August 1942, the squadron was stood down from operations to begin conversion to the Liberator. The crew size needed was doubled. The Hudson crew was four people, Liberator was 7-10 (depending on armament) and the inclusion of a 2nd navigator. It appears that pre-existing Hudson crews were combined and one of the pilot's became co-pilot. I'm sure that this would have caused some discontent amongst the pilot ranks to varying degrees. Such a combination was that of F/O Blair's crew with F/O Barson's crew. In the logbook of Ace Bailey (WAG) a member of Blair's Hudson crew, it shows Blair as pilot and then after the switch to the Liberator and Fortress (briefly) it shows Barson as pilot and Blair as co-pilot (in P/O Longmuir's logbook). Both of course, were experienced and exceptional skippers!

(Above L-R): Sgt Alon Pilon, F/O CE Blair, Sgt AJ Bailey, Unknown. (Hudson crew)
(Back LR): P/O Massina, Sgt Bailey, Sgt Pilon, P/O Lees (Front LR): F/O Blair, F/O Barson, P/O Longmuir: Liberator/Fortress crew.
This site was created by and information compiled by L.Del Mann - © 2008