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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…January 13th

January 13, 2019 · in News · · 14 ≡

B17-G Flying Fortress (42-31604) ditched in Loch Quoich, Western Scotland on 13th January 1944. The aircraft was on a transatlantic ferry flight from Goose Bay, Canada to Nutts Corner (Northern Ireland) when, 600 miles off the Scottish coast, it suffered an engine failure, the wireless went u/s and the pilot decided to ditch in Loch Quoich on the western coast of Scotland.
Four crew bailed out into the loch but sadly Sgt Leonard (waist gunner) was drowned.

The wreckage resulting from Avenger JZ121 bouncing over the barriers and hitting the tail of Avenger JZ234 in the forward aircraft park on HMS Shah, January 13th 1945. The pilot, S/Lt Whitehead, was fine.

On 13th January 1942, Heinkel company test pilot Helmut Schenk became the first person to eject from an airborne aircraft when he bailed from a He-280 prototype which he was ‘flying’. The new jet pulse engines didn’t provide enough power for takeoff, so the Heinkel was attached to an He-111 tow plane. The 111 threw up so much snow that when Schenk reached 8,000 feet and the bomber crew dropped the very heavy towline, it remained frozen in place on the He-280. Flying was impossible; Schenk recalls, “I jettisoned the canopy and then pulled the release lever for the seat, and was thrown clear of the aircraft without coming in contact with it.” A blast of compressed air fired him, seat and all, out of the cockpit. His parachute carried him safely to the ground. Lucky for him, as in previous tests, two German pilots were found still in the cockpit of their crashed aircraft, minus their arms, due to malfunctioning ejectors...


The USS Langley (CVL-27) in a typhoon in the South China Sea as part of ‘Task Force 58’ on the morning of 13 Jan 1944. USS Washington is riding the storm much better in the background.

In the same storm and on the same day, this photo from USS Essex shows Fleet Oiler USS Aucilla riding the rough seeas with USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) behind.

B-17 of the 427BS/303Bomber Group shot down over Germersheim after a direct flak hit to the tail - 13th January, 1945. Sadly all crew were listed as KIA.

A Panther Ausf A being transported on January 13th,1945 - belonging to SS Panzer Regiment 3 (Totenkopf - ‘Death’s Head).

Raymond King grew up in North Braddock, Pennsylvania. In 1940, still only at the age of 16, he was living with his father Harry King, a policeman at a steel works, his mother Margaret and his older brother, Harold King. Raymond was Killed in Action on 13 January 1945, aged 20, when his P-51D Mustang (serial number 44-14574), 'Little Zippie', suffered mechanical difficulties and crashed into the sea. The D-10 models the 436th were using at the time of King’s last mission were felt by the squadron to be rather ‘war weary’.

King had been shepherding a squadron mate, whose P-51D had been experiencing engine trouble, back to England. While escorting his friend, King’s own Mustang developed engine trouble. King ditched half-a-mile to a mile off the seaside town of Clacton, and took to the water as his aircraft sank. The first life boat reached the pilot boat within ten minutes. However, it was still in the depths of winter, and the water was freezing. The young pilot, some way off his 21st birthday, could not be revived. The wreckage of ‘Little Zippie’ was recovered in 1987 and is on display at the East Essex Aviation Society museum...

Reader reactions:
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1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. A fine group, David. Thanks, Mate!

  2. Thanks, Jeff. Up pretty early for a Sunday morning?

  3. Great collection to boost the Sunday spirit David, thanks a lot and best regards from Belgium.

  4. Thank you, Michel. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  5. I really appreciate your blog; meanwhile it is more important for me than my update I have been doing so far in the morning (like wheather, news and so on). Each time it is a little look through something like a telescope back in time and very often touching.
    One question: are the pictures from a database which you have built up during years?

    • Thanks for the kind words, Michael.

      In terms of the photos, I’ve been keeping images I like for a while and some time ago started putting the dates on them of when they were taken. Or if a story hits me as interesting I’ll file it away. There’s a few historical sites to look at and I cross reference with Google to verify dates. I commute at least two and a half hours a day, this keeps me sane. Well, almost...

  6. that shot of the oiler getting swamped is very sobering...reminds me of edmund fitzgerald...that was only three weeks after halsey's infamous typhoon cobra and tf 58 and tf38 were combined..mitscher,spruance,halsey and mccain..that south china sea to the straits of taiwan is a wicked venturi...that's also where the khans forces were destroyed twice by the kamikaze winds while attacking japan...halsey had three destroyers low on fuel capsize with the loss of 800 men in Cobra the same typhoon season as your storm...a mean piece of dad was chief-of-staff taiwan patrol force...they ran from those storms but he told me a few sea stories that would curl your hair

  7. I had to save that sunken Fort picture - it begs to be modeled one day!
    Thanks David for coming up with these great snippets of past each day; dunno how you do it...

  8. Aleks, I had the same thought, then started thing about the Wellington in Loch Ness - begging for a monster day.

    Cheers to you, too!

  9. Those typhoon pictures are actually from December 13, 1944, Typhoon Cobra, aka "Halsey's Typhoon." On January 13, 1945, TF 58 was in the South China Sea attacking Japanese forces in French Indochina. (read "Tidal Wave"). Titles and dates of US World War II photos are notoriously unreliable - people who didn't know squat and didn't care that they didn't know had way too much to do with the labeling and filing of photos.

  10. Thanks, Tom. That one was my fault entirely as I do know about ‘Cobra’ but just made a boo-boo. Appreciate you keeping me honest!

  11. Thank the British for developing the angle deck that would in the future help eliminate what happened in photo 2.

  12. another great post!

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