Date: 01/08/1943
Squadron Code: 'K'
Serial Number: Liberator Mk.V - BZ719
U-Boat details : Unknown
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: St.Eval
Take off time: 0955 hrs

According to the book Endurance (Alwyn Jay).. On this date, F/L Murray Charlton and crew attacked a U-boat in the Bay (of Biscay) but the attack was spoiled by a faulty bomb release. Despite flak from the U-boat, Charlton and crew crossed it over at 100ft and managed to release two D/C's. Smoke was seen to be coming from the conning tower, but the U-boat submerged and escaped.

ORB states the following: "At 2055 a message was received "HUNT U/B position 4724.N 1212.W". Aircraft proceeded to position indicated and at 2147 while aircraft was flying at 4000 ft in 5/10 cloud. Sgt Harris (2nd Pilot) sighted a fully surfaced U/B 4 miles ahead bearing 60 degrees green. Pilot turned to starboard down sun and wind and losing height. When at right angles to U/B and 400 yards ahead, pilot turned 90 degrees and attack up track from bow. When 200 yards U/B turned hard to port and opened fire with multiple M.G's. At 2150 hours Navigator released 2 DC's, spaced 80ft from 100ft at 176 mph, angle 30 degrees to U/B (a third hung up). Rear gunner opened fire as aircraft passed over U/B. First DC hit approx 95 yards and second DC 65 yards from U/Bs bow. Thick black smoke was emitted abaft of C/T and firing ceased temporarily but then recommenced with 20mm cannons. Aircraft continued to circle until PLE was reached, U/B remaining on surface and turning in same direction and was last seen heading on a course of 360 degrees T at about 10 knots. U/B was 517 ton class, grey in colour with 2 guns on C/T."

Further Details: At 2055, K/59 had been ordered to search an area where an aircraft, V/228 had reported the attack and probable sinking of U-383, at 2013. The Sunderland had been badly damaged it it's second and fatal (for the U-boat) run and had left the scene quickly, making for base. V/228 landed at Pembroke Dock at 2350. The coordinates given by V/228 may have been wrong, as BdU reported the attack in area BF4453, which is approx. 47.03N/10.35W. This being the case, if K/59 had indeed reached the area given by V/228, they probably would not have sighted U-383 in any case. It's unknown whether U-383 was still afloat at 2055 when 19 Group sent K/59 the order, but naught was found of her during the night or the following morning, by the six vessels (3 U-boats and 3 Torpedo boats) sent out to aid her.

A signal sent to 19 Group HQ, shows that U-106 was first sighted by K/59 at 2147, in position 46.49N/11.26W", and then attacked in position 46.44N/11.26W.

Crew on this day: F/L M. Charlton (Capt) - Sgt E.W. Harris (2nd pilot) - F/O F.R. Short (Nav) - Sgt D.E Peacock - F/O G.M Harvey - F/O F.J Bradley - F/O M.D Hutchings - Sgt L.E Proudfoot.


On the same day whilst on another patrol and investigating a radar contact, H.A.L Moran and crew in S/59 surprised a FW-200 Condor that was approaching the convoy. They were only able to damage the Focke-Wolfe as it escaped into clouds.

:::: More U-boat Details ::::....

Although this attack caused no structural damage to the boat, it's possible that the thick black smoke reported abaft the conning tower, was as a result of damage to the quadruple flak gun, as K/59's rear gunner strafed the boat as they passed over. His fire had been accurate, killing one and injuring two of the gunners. Most probably the two machine gunners on the conning tower, as the fire was recommenced with 20mm cannon only.

It appears that K/59's unserviceable bomb release system prevented them from being able to make a further attack with bombs so the crew shadowed U-106, which remained on the surface throughout, until leaving when PLE (prudent level of endurance) was reached. No doubt relaying, position, speed and course of U-106 to group HQ as they set course for base. Landing at St. Eval at 0135.

At 0700 the following morning, visual contact with U-106 was made by Wellington C/407 and an attack was made, causing extensive damages to the U-boat and leaving her unable to dive. C/407 was driven back by accurate return fire and proceeded to shadow the U-boat until PLE was reached, once again reporting to group HQ, position, speed and course of U-106 as they left to return to base.

It appears that by that evening, whatever the issue preventing U-106 from diving after the attack by C/407 was at some point fixed, as it appears the boat was caught surfacing by Sunderland N/220 at 1952 which was quickly joined by another Sunderland, M/461. The two Sunderland aircraft had been shadowing three German Torpedo boats (the same three sent to aid U-383 - now rushing to defend U-106), when the U-106 was sighted for the third time. In the ensuing battle, U-106 was sunk by four attacks by the two aircraft, north west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 46.35N, 11.55W, 22 dead and 36 survivors. The survivors were picked up by the German torpedo boats, who had been 15 miles away when she was sunk.

:::: Source - Various ::::....

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950