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Library Reference Number: 025

No 216 Squadron - North Africa Campaign

Seth 'Taff' Owens, Scottish Saltire Branch, ACA

Branch member Seth 'Taff' Owens has responded to Newsletter 6 Item on the shooting down of a 216 Sqn.Bristol 'Bombay'on 7th August 1942. This incident changed the face of the entire N.African campaign, as the newly-appointed Commander ofthe 8th Army (Gen. Gott) was killed and replaced by 2nd choice for the post - General Montgomery.

Seth has first hand info on this historic event, as he visited the pilot of the 'Bombay' (F/Sgt Jimmy James) in hospital where he was recovering from being shot down by 6 ME109s and strafed by gunfire while lying on the crash-site. At the Abu Suweir Hospital, the pilot told Seth Owens that he had been 'jumped' by 6 MEs, then strafed from nose to tail. Jimmy said he managed to get the plane down but while still moving (brakes gone) they were strafed again, as they seemed determined that nobody should survive.

For many years, Seth found it difficult to convince people that the pilot had survived. He was very interested to learn that TV producer Pierre Haneuse intends to make a documentary relating to this incident. Seth was even more pleased when Jimmy James (now S/Ldr) also made contact with him; the outcome hopefully will lead to a visit to the Scottish Saltire Branch by pilot Jimmy James who will confirm Seth's long-held conviction that he really did survive that historic air-crash.

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