17 Dec

Because of the nature of their work over the western approaches the Whirlwinds of 263 and 137 Squadrons were often suited to striking shipping, trains and aerodromes across Brittany and Normandy. The fact that they had two engines gave their pilots a better chance of returning home than perhaps a single engined fighter bomber. They were fist converted to carry bombs at Manston these being 250Lb ones, very soon they were also carrying 500Lb bombs under each wing. Several Whirlwinds were shot down in the sea around Jersey one is a known war grave. 

One of our members lives on Jersey and sent us some photographs of the gun battery supposed to have claimed two Whirlwinds, P7105 (HE-N) S/Ldr Robert Woodward 263  Squadron (pictured) and P6978 (HE-L) flown by W/O Donald McPhail RCAF if the same Squadron, both shot down into the Baie du St Brelade on the 7th of December 1942 while attacking a convoy. There is a memorial to the 2 Whirlwinds that were lost inside the main bunker, which is run as a museum through the summer months. Peter Le Boustouller visited Noirmont headland where battery Lothringen is situated, and he tells us that “There is a great 6-minute film on YouTube produced by the CIOS (channel island occupation society), just type in battery Lothringen. This will give you a good idea of the fortifications. I think there were 4 anti-aircraft bunkers, 3 are still visible”. 

Another German gun battery, Battery Moltke is located on the north west of the island and again is under the care of the Channel Occupation society. "I met with the person this morning who runs the bunker through the summer months, when it is open to the public. I have attached a photo of the gun emplacement. Also, the Whirlwind propeller, glad to see the tail wheel as well. The president of the society was there to. Asked about when the prop was recovered and who by. He explained that is was found by a scrap diver who worked through the 70s. He does not believe that there are any photos of the wreck or any were taken when the prop was recovered from the sea".

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