Tracing a WWII Perth RAF man (MIA): where to begin?

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Camilla
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 8:18 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Tracing a WWII Perth RAF man (MIA): where to begin?

Post by Camilla » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:28 pm

Many thanks to everyone for your helpful and interesting posts -- I have only just seen the later ones, as I've been logged out and the wee alerts about new posts on this thread don't seem to have been reaching my email address. So, I'm sorry I haven't acknowledged earlier.

I visited the Scotland's People centre today and was finally able to work out the answer to this mystery. It's simple, in a sort of maddening way ... and it makes me feel a bit bad for wasting some of your time, but I just didn't know the circumstances and neither did my mum. :oops:

Charles Duncan Gray was born in 1915; I found his birth cert. and confirmed that he was the right man with the right parents. So far, so good, but still mysterious.

I then learned that his father died in 1916, as did his only sibling (I didn't even know about her until today; she was only 13 months at the time of her death, and Chick was about 2 months old). His mother Catherine went on to remarry in 1924. We had been aware she remarried, but had struggled to find the evidence, and believed it to have happened considerably later, after Chick was an adult. It looks as if the young Charles took his stepfather's surname, becoming Charles Duncan Powrie -- at least, that is the name under which he is recorded as presumed dead in 1940 whilst engaged in "air operations". It was (unsurprisingly) easy to find once we knew about the surname change.

He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey. I'm so, so pleased to know this and hope it may be at least mildly interesting to anyone who was kind enough to post on this thread earlier. Thanks again -- the information and tips you provided have been useful and interesting, despite the fact I had you barking up the wrong tree on my behalf (sorry again).

Liz Turner
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Location: Renfrewshire, Scotland

Re: Tracing a WWII Perth RAF man (MIA): where to begin?

Post by Liz Turner » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:43 pm

Hey Camilla

Never worry about that - sometimes a thread like this will help point someone else in the direction of information they are searching for; so even if you didn't eventually get what you needed here, it may yet help someone else! Many a time I've found helpful stuff on TS just by browsing around!

I'm glad to hear that you managed to resolve your hunt successfully!

Liz
Fife: Nicolson, Cornfoot, Walker, Gibson, Balsillie, Galt, Elder
NE Scot: Nicolson, Lindsay, Haliburton, Ross
Edin & Central: Nicolson, Blaikie, Stevenson, Ross, Hotchkiss, Suttie, Christie, Clelland, Gray, Purvis, Lang, Dickson
Ross & Cromarty: Ross

Alcluith
Posts: 310
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:19 pm

Re: Tracing a WWII Perth RAF man (MIA): where to begin?

Post by Alcluith » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:28 am

Camilla

This is what is readily available about the crash that Sgt. Charles D Powrie was killed. It was a night attack by 214 Sqn on Düsseldorf.

On 7 December 1940 three crews were despatched half an hour ahead of the main force to act as pathfinders by locating and marking the target, Düsseldorf, with incendiaries.

The following is an excerpt from the personnel entry of Sqn/Ldr Geoff Cole:
“On 7 December 1940 his crew and two others were despatched half an hour ahead of the main force to act as pathfinders by locating and marking the target, Düsseldorf, with incendiaries. The weather was atrocious and Geoff Cole's aircraft lost both engines, falling several thousand feet before he was able to start them again. The other two 'pathfinder' aircraft, captained by **Flight Lieutenant Harris** and Flying Officer Dadswell, were both lost.”

Wellington Mark I C R2476

Date of loss : 7 December 1940

Crew of Wellington Mark I C R2476 consisted of :


Fg/Off David Allan Dadswell, 40367, Pilot, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, Aged 26
Sgt. Francis Thomas Buckingham, 758023, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom,
Sgt. William Henry James, 972478, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom,
Sgt. Edward Cooper Lee, 969132, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, Aged 28
Sgt. John Cunningham Macaskie, 936778, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, Aged 25
Sgt. Charles Duncan Powrie, 745352, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, Aged 24


It does not tell if the aircraft were damaged/lost because of the weather or enemy action, most likely the latter.
You may be able to pursue finding if the crash site had been located? There is certainly more on the how dangerous it was to be a member of the crew of a "pathfinder" aircraft.

regards

alcluith
Burns, Quinn - Glasgow, N.Ireland
McLeod, Mackay, Nicholson, McNeil - Skye
James, McLeod, Sinclair, Smith - Renton
Davidson,Adie, Gibb - Aberdeen
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Usher - Newcastle
Mullen, Roe - Dublin
O'Donnell - Ireland, Alexandria

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