Tag Archives: Shore

S/Ldr Donald Ross-Shore

Thursday, 10 October 1940

RAF Tangmere

Tonight the weather is better: fine and clear. Take-off is earlier, at 21.45 according to Farley, again flying as Second Pilot to F/O Oettle. The crew is probably the same as the night before. So is the Whitley.

This time there is no mist over the Fontainebleau forest. The target is found easily and Schneidau is dropped successfully, The ‘A’ type harness has a container which sits between his head and the canopy. In the container is a rucksack with two pigeons inside, immobilised by socks placed over their bodies, their heads poking out from holes cut in the toes. The ‘A’ type harness is an adapted cargo parachute with 11-foot strops beneath to carry the agent. It cannot be steered by the parachutist.

The Whitley and its crew return to Tangmere, landing at 04.05.

Wednesday, 9 October 1940

RAF Tangmere

With the new Moon period, a fresh attempt is made to parachute Philip Schneidau into the Bourron-Marlotte sand-quarry. Take-off is scheduled for 23.00.

The Flight is using its new Whitley, P5025, which has arrived on the 6th. The revised establishment for 419 Flight is for two Lysanders plus two in reserve, and one Whitley with another in reserve. (The Flight will actually have only three Lysanders, because the one lost on 17 August has not been officially declared lost; R2625 will remain on 138 Squadron’s books for several months until it is quietly dropped.) There is only one Whitley crew: P/O Jack Oettle, with F/Lt Farley as 2nd Pilot. Sergeants David Bernard and Dai Davies are almost certainly aboard as Wireless Operator and Rear Gunner, and the navigator will be identified by Hugh Verity only as ‘Jacky’ Martin. S/Ldr Ross Shore flies as a ‘passenger’, in his role as coach to Philip Schneidau.

They take off at 2300 hours, and land back at Tangmere seven hours later, foiled yet again by bad weather.

Saturday, 21 September 1940

Tangmere — Fontainebleau, France

Probably the third attempt to parachute Philip Schneidau: F/O Jack Oettle makes his debut in 419 Flight as Whitley P5029’s skipper. F/Lt Farley is his Second Pilot, with Sergeants Bernard and Davis as Wireless Operator & Air Gunner, and S/Ldr Ross Shore as Despatcher. Other crew remain unidentified.

Friday, 20 September 1940

RAF Tangmere

The second attempt to drop Philip Schneidau is probably made on the night of 20-21 September. F/Lt Walter Farley, who flew as Second Pilot on the first attempt, appears to be the skipper this time. He does not record the Second Pilot in his logbook. S/Ldr Ross Shore and Sergeants Davis and Bernard are all in Farley’s crew. A crossed-out entry in Farley’s logbook lists Sgt Cameron in the crew; he would become the Flight’s first Despatcher, but at the time he was a corporal. (Farley’s logbook for this period appears to have been filled in several months later.)

Farley’s logbook records the sortie as lasting 3 hours 55 minutes. Ross Shore’s logbook records a sortie lasting 8 hours with Farley as skipper. It is not stated where this sortie was mounted from, but it was probably from Tangmere.

Tuesday, 17 September 1940

RAF North Weald

F/Lt Tony O’Neill flies S/Ldr Ross Shore to Dishforth in Lysander R2626.  This Lysander is non-operational: like R2625 (lost on 17-18 August) it is a standard-range Lysander, without the underslung Harrow-derived fuel tank, so cannot be used on operations. It becomes 419 Flight’s unofficial liaison aircraft, but it is also used for training agents in the selection and and laying out of landing-fields in Occupied territory.

According to its AM78 record card, R2626 continues serving with 138 and 161 squadrons until mid-March 1942, when 138 Squadron moves to Tempsford.

Shortly afterwards F/Lt O’Neill is posted away to another squadron within Fighter Command, where he excels as a fighter pilot.