Date: 21/07/1944
Squadron Code: 'Z'
Serial Number: Liberator GR.Mk.V -Z/120
U-Boat details : U-995 - Type VIIC - minor damages
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: Tain
Time UP: 1725 Hrs - Time DOWN - 0945 hrs (Stornaway) - 21st - DURATION - 16hrs 20mins
Op: A/U Patrol

note: This mission was undertaken in an aircraft from 120 Sqn - Z/120

ORB states the following: "Z" was on its way to its patrol area in Norwegian waters on a course of 023'T flying at 800 ft when a radar contact Red 45'/16 miles was obtained at 0005hrs. Course was not altered immediately in case contact was another A/C but when the bearing was Red 90'/ 18 miles Captain altered course gradually to post, keeping target constantly on port beam until finally "Z" reached a position north of the target. Cloud was broken at 0018hrs and with the A/C now on a Co.140'T a large fully surfaced U-boat was sighted by nose look-out 30' on port beam course 120'/15 knots, estimated posn. 69'57'N, 08'56'E. "Z" altered Co. towards target immediately but flak from the U-boat was so intense from 2 miles to one mile from target that the Captain took avoiding action to starboard. Immediately after this the U-boat was seen to be submerging and the Captain manoevured for his attack by losing height and banking in a wide sweep to port.

At 3/4 mile range the port beam and rear gunners opened fire, straddling the conning tower of the disapearing U-boat. The U-boat was under the surface when the aircraft was half a mile away. The Captain made his final approach from a narrow angle on the U-boat's starboard beam and as he tracked over 6 DC's spacing 55 feet were released from 75 feet, using Mark III Bombsight at 0020hrs. The first DC was seen by the rear gunner to enter the water 30 yards ahead of the leading edge of the swirl. The time interval between complete submergence and release was 10 seconds exactly (Astro watch).

After the attack the aircraft circled the position, dropping a marker and a few minutes later some oil came to the surface which developed into an oil slick 4 miles long by 200 yards broad by the time the aircraft left. An ERSB pattern was laid beginning at 0040hrs but no submarine noises could be heard although buoys seemed to be operating correctly, The rear gunner claims that he saw several pieces of yellow wreckage at 0120 in posn of attack. Aircraft remained in vicinity until PLE at 0303B/21.

Crew on this day: S/L B.A Sisson DFC (capt) - F/L R.A. Williams (sec pilot) - P/O W. Whittaker (nav) - F/L A.A. Fox - F/S N.W. Beames DFM - W/O W. McLoughlin - F/S A.R. Playford - Sgt J. Kelly - F/O H. Humphries

This crew sunk U-990 on the 25th of May 1944. S/L Sisson received a DFC for his efforts and F/S Beames a DFM.

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

More to follow soon.

:::: Source - AIR27/557 - ::::....

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