Bill Allom has asked for some more information on a number of incidents at Dunsfold during 1944 that don’t appear in our limited records. Bills father was stationed at Dunsfold with 180 Sqdn.
1 – The first is about a Mitchell FL 217 that crashed on landing on 20/6/1944. Bill states: “I think this date is correct my ORB copy is poor and hard to read”
2 – The second query: Bill says: ” My father returned on a mission with the hydraulics shot out. While the ORB does not indicate the plane crashed on landing it appears to never fly again. This occurred on 24/7/1944 in Mitchell FW 185. Dad records 40 hits a/c badly holed, hydraulics shot up. Could the undercarriage still be lowered with damaged hydraulics? I am unable to confirm if this aircraft returned to service or was written off. I hope you can help solve these mysteries.”
The North American B-25 Mitchell is an American twin-engine, medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation (NAA). It was named in honour of Major General William “Billy” Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theatre of World War II and after the war ended many remained in service, operating across four decades. Produced in numerous variants, nearly 10,000 Mitchells rolled from NAA factories.
At Dunsfold three RAF squadrons operated Mitchells – 98, 180 and 320 Squadrons. They were initially equipped with Mitchell II’s ( equivalent to the variant that the Americans used, the Mitchell B25 C ) and in 1944 were upgraded with Mitchell III’s (B25 J).
The evolution in the European theatre showed that the ventral positioned remote turret was not popular and later removed. The majority of Dunsfold based operations were utilising the Mitchell II. Later, repositioning of the top turret and the addition of waist gun positions was the primary change seen in the later Mitchell III.