Find My Past Found a Hidden Wartime Secret!

Sergeant Ronald Stone  Copyright Nell Rose
Sergeant Ronald Stone Copyright Nell Rose

Bomber Pilot Shock!


Findmypast is an online Genealogy site that helps you connect with your past. Or should I say your ancestors and their fascinating past. I have been meaning to do it for a while, and found the Ancestry Genealogy site a bit daunting. So after finding the Find My Past site I logged in, paid my dues and off I went.

Sort of. The trouble with me is that I tend to be impatient. So, after making a mess of it for about two hours I started from the beginning, and began putting together my family tree.

So far so good. But then something rather strange happened.

I say Find my past found an anomaly. That isn't altogether true.Well it is in a way. I noticed something odd when adding my own info.

I was searching through my own records, photos birth and death certificates etc when I suddenly thought of Ron.

Ron is our hero. He was my uncle on my mother's side. In 1941 he was training to be in Bomber Command, and after a few months overseas, Miami and Vancouver, he came back to join the War. Soon he was a Sergeant in the RAF.

On the 16th November 1942 he was flying with his flight crew over Scotland where they had just come back from a bombing raid over Germany. His plane had been badly damaged, and they crashed in a river and all on board were killed.

Or so we thought.

A sad day...

My family were told the next day, and as you can imagine they were totally heartbroken. Evidently my gran had lost her husband six months before, so she was crushed.

The fact that after the plane crashed into the river, my uncle got out, but dived back in to help his colleague and friend, was made worse by the fact that they then both drowned.

For over 70 years we were made to believe that Ron was coming back from a night time raid and the plane was badly damaged. He was a navigator in a Lancaster Bomber.

After starting my online search I suddenly discovered something new. A couple of years ago I found a site called Remembering Today.

I wrote about my uncle on there and left it to see if anyone would add anything.

Then I totally forgot about it. Until yesterday.

And what I found shocked me!

Whitley V bomber
Whitley V bomber

What on earth....?

The is some of the script from that site. Thanks to a man called Peter Clare who had done the research for me.


16 November 1942

19 O.T.U.
Whitley V P5105
Operation Training.

They took off from Kinloss, for a night cross-country. Both engines failed ...!!! and while attempting to alight in the River Dee, 2 miles west of the Aberdeenshire town of Ballater the plane smashed into a suspension bridge (Polhollick bridge) and crashed at 2225 hrs.

Crew.

P/O. D L C. Thomas. Injured
Sgt. R. Stone +
Sgt. R L. Pett +
Sgt. H S. Fraser RCAF. Injured
Sgt. Williams.


What?

So three of the crew survived? And what the heck was a 'Whitley V P5105'?

I had never heard of this type of war plane before! What happened to the Lancaster Bomber? And more importantly, how come it says 'Training' and what does it mean by two engines failing?

I then noticed the words 19 OTU op. Training, and put those in the search engine.

And boy was I surprised!

RAF Air Force Kinloss Scotland
RAF Air Force Kinloss Scotland
Polhollick bridge near Aberdeen Scotland on the river Dee where my uncle Ron crashed in the whitley.
Polhollick bridge near Aberdeen Scotland on the river Dee where my uncle Ron crashed in the whitley.

Have you found any Secrets in your genealogy search?

  • I have never looked, but I will now!
  • Yes loads! Talk about Skeletons in closets!
  • No never, my family are pretty straight forward
See results without voting

Is there something wrong with the Planes....?


First of all I found my uncle's name in the Roll of Honour. Then looked to see if I could find out more about the Whitley plane and how many accidents and losses it had. And I was stunned to see at least 200 planes had crashed or been shot down.

Now don't get me wrong. I would imagine that all of the planes in the war, whatever make, probably suffered hundreds of losses.

But something was niggling me. So I looked further.

And found this:

There are many aircraft accidents in the O.R.Bs.

Any twin engine aircraft suffering an engine fire or loss at heavy weights was a major problem, and in the hands of a solo less-experienced pilot possibly a tragedy waiting to happen.

Not all the accidents were in the air or pilot error. There are one or two ground incidents listed, in particular, where an engine fitter has just cleaned down an oil covered engine, when unknown to him, an electrician comes along to clear the 700 of a problem. The record does not show the fate as result of the consequent engine fire!


And:

No 19 O.T.U continued to fly the Whitley long after the type was removed from front line operations!! Wow!

Sergeant Ronald Stone.
Sergeant Ronald Stone.

Time will tell.....

So, as you can see I have a bit of searching to do. If it does turn out to be an accident or fault of the plane it will be a shock.

But that will never stop our feeling so proud of him, especially going back in the water to save his friend.

I believe that the Ministry of Defence, if proven that it was an accidental engine failure compared to being shot down, as we believed, probably said it to save my gran's feelings which I totally understand.

To be told he was a hero is all that matters as he was so brave. But the truth should have been told after the war.

I will still carry on looking for more evidence. Till then I am concentrating on all my dads ancestors, and boy there are a lot of them!

Did you know.....? No, that will wait till next time!

Till then, here's another hero in my family....My mum! Sergeant Georgina Stone.

© 2015 Nell Rose

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66 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

Glad you were able to uncover some of your family's past, Nell. It's important that the truth be known.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Flourish, this one was a shock. but I can't believe the amount of family I have found on my dads side! going back to, wait for it.....1747! lol! thanks as always, nell


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 10 months ago from Arkansas

Thank you for sharing this story, Nell. It is so much fun to go back and look at our ancestors, both the heroes and the scoundrels. I hope you find out much more on your family and share it with us. I love to read about the pasts of other people's colorful families. Your uncle was still a hero because he lost his life trying to save his friend. I guess this hidden truth was kind of like the shame of today's troops being killed by friendly fire.

Now I must read your hub on Sgt. Georgina Stone. My mom's sister was in the WAVES during WWII, and my Dad's family produced a couple of "Rosie the Riveters". I think that war produced some really brave patriotic people. No wonder they are called the Greatest Generation.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Yes that's it exactly! friendly fire so to speak! your family sound awesome too! thanks so much for reading, nell


drbj profile image

drbj 10 months ago from south Florida

What a shock that must have been, Nell, to learn that the story you knew regarding your beloved uncle's death may not have been true. I'll have to check out the Find My Past site for myself thanks to you.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks drbj, its a fascinating site, I have gone back so far on both sides of my family. my dads side were farmers and virtually took over a whole village back in the 1800s! lol and on my mums side, well this of course but other great stuff too!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 10 months ago from Taos, NM

Really interesting, Nell. Your uncle was a brave man especially for going beck in the river to try to save others. Many times in war the defense departments don't always tell the whole truth. It has happened here in the U.S. Too. Glad you are finding out about your ancestors. It is so interesting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Suzette, yes its so fascinating, even my brother was shocked, but he was still a hero, and its so amazing finding all these long lost relatives! thank as always, and congrats on your ebook!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 10 months ago from Dubai

Finding out about our ancestors can be rewarding or surprising. It is sad that people lose their lives due to a fault in the plane. I hope you find out what actually happened.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

Thank you for sharing your interesting research into your ancestors Nell. It seems if we aren't prepared to unearth a few surprises it's best not to delve. I have always meant to look into my family tree but I am a little wary at what I might find...there were a few "black sheep" that I know of. Still, this hub has rekindled my interest in doing just that. I hope you get to the bottom of what really happened.


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 10 months ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Always riveting; you can be proud of your uncle... lily


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Vellur, yes I will keep looking into it, and thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Jodah, on a good note I found the Sadlers who I wrote about a while ago, the sleeping girl of turville hub! she was my great aunt! so not always black sheep here either! lol! thanks for reading.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi lily, thanks so much, and its always great to see you!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 10 months ago from TEXAS

A thrilling discovery, Nell! Glad you've gotten into the genealogy! It just gets more and more interesting as you go along!

Nice report here on what you found!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 10 months ago from South Africa

When we start researching our ancestors, we often open a few cans filled with worms. The details can either be delighting or shocking.

Good luck with your research, Nell, and thanks for sharing :)


PAINTDRIPS profile image

PAINTDRIPS 10 months ago from Fresno CA

It is thrilling when you find a bit of history that was meaningful to more than just your family. Heroes abound. I'm happy for you.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

I have often thought about looking into my family tree. Your find is amazing and piques my interest even more. I know on my mother's side were of German origin and my father was 1/4 Indian. It will be interesting to find out more. Thank you for sharing..


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 10 months ago

What an interesting discovery Nell, keep searching see what more you can dig up from the past, no matter what, dying to try to save someone else to my way of thinking is definitely a hero in every sense of the word. I found out in my ancestry that my great, great grandfather boarded a boat headed for Halifax N.S. Canada back in 1754 and who was on board with him but the ancestor of our current past Prime Minister. They left Yorkshire England together.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Nellieanna, I can't stop looking at it! lol! so far on my dads side I have gone back to 1795! and now found my mums side too, its amazing! thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Martie, yes its something I always wanted to do, but never got the time to do it before, thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Paintdrips, I love doing this I wish I had done it long ago, thanks for reading it, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Ruby, that sounds fascinating! so far I am just boring English all the way, but you never know! lol!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Vincent! you're back! great to see you! yes he was definitely a hero above and beyond wasn't he? I am so proud of him, my only regret is never getting to meet him. He was a great musician and in a 40s band that had someone called Snake Hips Johnson with him, they would have been famous. Unfortunately Johnson died around the same time through a bomb, what a waste for both of them.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 10 months ago from Central Florida

Nell, this find has set your curiosity on fire! You've done the same for me. My mom says one of my aunts started working on our family tree many years ago and came upon a blank snag, halting her efforts. Now, I'm really curious to see if today's technology can find the missing link.

How much does it cost to join FindMyPast?

I wasn't aware your mom was in the military. I'll be checking out that article as soon as I post this comment.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 10 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Genealogy is a fascinating project. Tracing our roots is so interesting. I learned so many stories about my grandmother on my mothers side. She was brought up in an orphanage. I didn't know this. She had such a hard childhood. Discovering this has given me a whole new appreciation for her. I miss her.

Thanks for sharing your interesting story. Sharing.

Audrey


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Genealogy is fascinating. I've done some investigation into my family background, but I've been meaning to do more. Your hub is inspirational, Nell. Even if I discover something unexpected about my family, I still want to know! Good luck with the rest of your research.


emge profile image

emge 10 months ago from Abu Dhabi

Neil, this is a fascinating account. As a Air force pilot I could connect with the tale. Sinply wonderful


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 10 months ago from Shelton

wow Nell, I bet the research alone must have been heart racing and it looks like a lot of fun.. I'm going to try it now.. thanks for the share Frank


MsDora profile image

MsDora 10 months ago from The Caribbean

Nell, you find some interesting things to do. This one is also very important. I admire your research skills, and believe that you will get to the bottom of this query. Great honor to Sergeant Ronald Stone and all the crew!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hiya Bravewarrior, it is around 10 dollars/pounds for a months search, or 8 dollars/pounds a month for a years subscription. and the reason why your aunt got stuck is because she probably had one piece of info wrong. it can be really really easy in places, other times you may find yourself backtracking. I am going to write a really easy tips hub about it soon, so I hope it helps, and thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Audrey, that's so fascinating! I am sure you must be so proud of her, yes its an amazing thing to look into, thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Yes its great finding out all sorts of things! so far I have found out my connection to the 'Sleeping girl' hub, and on my dads side we were all farmers! thanks as always, nell


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 10 months ago from Victoria, Australia

This was so interesting and you've written it so well! Family tree research can be fun, but also frustrating when we hit one of those 'brick walls.' Thank you for sharing the story of one of the people on your family tree. I wish you great success as you continue. I put mine into a book and people still buy it occasionally as, amazingly, it won a prize from a local historical society.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi emge, thanks so much for reading, and yes I am sure being a pilot does bring it home to you how dangerous it could be back then, and even now if the truth be told. how amazing! never met a pilot before, well apart from this story! lol!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Frank, yes I can't stop checking all the ancestors! so far about 40 on my dads side and ten on my mums! thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks so much MsDora, and yes its fascinating! I will go back as far as possible, you never know who I will find! and thanks for such kind words About Ron too, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Wow! Blossom! that's wonderful! I may do that with mine too! what a great idea! I hope I get it as popular as yours, thank you!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 10 months ago from New York

Better than reading a new novel! I think Blossom's book is a good idea for you. You have so many interesting ancestors and write about them so well. Thanks for sharing about your Uncle.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Mary, they seem to be coming out of the woodwork! lol! its funny! thanks as always, nell


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 10 months ago from The Beautiful South

I love reading about brave military and I respect yours as much as ours; all just innocent men (and women) sticking out their neck for their country. I cannot stand to listen to anyone that put them down. Where would we be without them; and I cannot imagine I could start to be that brave. We have men fighting now that if they are killed it won't be called combat and I have no idea what that is all about...either to cheat them from honor, money or something and the government we have now has absolutely no respect for our military and thinning it out as much as possible in probably the worst time since WWII. I can't wait until they are out of office and we can have new respect in this country and a new strong military.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 10 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

I'm on my tablet when i saw your article on my Google+ feed and had to read your story...so very interesting...my mother was in the airforce during worldwar II in the UK. Because Holland was occupied. Look forward to your next article.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Jackie, I totally agree with you, it seems that the way we treat them these days is appalling! things need to change when someone is injured or comes out of the services, simple as that. thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Nadine, I wonder if they both knew each other? how amazing that would have been wouldn't it? thanks as always, nell


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 10 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Nell, great story and video. Love war stories and to be able to read about the people. The video was great and so was Harry's music. I will look forward for the story of Georgina.


DDE profile image

DDE 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and well-thought out hub. When you find out more about family history it is surprising of what you can find


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks ladyguitar, doing my family tree is absolutely fascinating! I am going farther and farther back, its amazing! thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks DDE, yes and it gets better and better! lol! thanks for reading, nell


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 10 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Hello, Nell

First of all, by an amazing coincidence, I read this Hub while listening to a repeat from September of a tribute to the Battle of Britain on BBC Radio 2!

I've never heard of this site but one of my cousins is currently researching the loss of our great-grandfather at Flanders in World War I so I'll need to get in touch with him about this. I hope your digging turns up more info for you. I have always meant to get involved in research like this as I'm the eldest of my generation on both sides of the family and hold all the medals and memorabilia. I don't even know what some of the medals are.

Thanks for the interesting read, the inspiration and the prompt :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Gordon, long time no see? great to see you! yes its so easy on findmypast, all you do is put up your family tree that you know, and you get hints which pop up, you then have to work out if they are right or not, its pretty easy!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 10 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

What an amazing find, Nell! This is an extraordinary journey for you, in researching your family's past, some of which I hope you will be able to share with us. Family history is a fascinating and enriching tapestry.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 10 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Wow, you have some real heroes in your family. Can't wait to read about your mum, too.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Genna, yes they seem to be popping out of the woodwork so to speak! lol! I am loving it, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Deb, thanks so much yes I am really proud of them, thanks for reading, nell


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Nell

We all have those 'skeletons' whether we like them or not!

We always had 'family stories' passed down that showed a 'chequered' history and a veritable 'rogues gallery' some of which were hilarious stories!

One that did intrigue me that I actually found out was a distant relative who was a hero and survivor of the Titanic!

Great read though

Lawrence


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi lawrence, that sounds fascinating! Did you follow it up to find out who and how? thanks for reading, nell


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Nell

I did do some, and a family hustorian said the same, we don't thi k he's an ancestor but more like a brother of an ancestor.

Apparently he was in charge of the lifeboat that went back for those in the water.

Apparently all those in the lifeboats survived but only four of those in the water (he rescued most of them)

Lawrence


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 9 months ago from England Author

Thanks Lawrence, sorry for the delay, brother was in hospital, made rush time!


annart profile image

annart 9 months ago from SW England

This is great, Nell! My sister and I have looked into our family tree and there is quite a lot there. My grandfather continues to be a mystery as to his activities during WWII (he served in both); we cannot unearth much and it seems he did lots undercover. The story continues.....!

My mum had some funny stories too; she was in the WAAFs. Good job they had something to laugh about in those days of horror.

I enjoyed reading this. You never know what you might find but it's always interesting and there are others' stories along the way which are equally fascinating.

Thanks for a great read, Nell.

Ann


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 9 months ago from England Author

Yes my mum too! lol! its really fascinating isn't it? to try and find your ancestors, I am still going strong with my family, thanks so much for reading, nell


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 9 months ago

My cousin delved into our past and came up with some interesting facts. I'm glad you were able to uncover some wonderful moments from your family background. It is all so fascinating!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 9 months ago from England Author

Hi Dianna, thanks so much, I would love to know about your background too! have a great Christmas, nell


Besarien profile image

Besarien 8 months ago

Hello Nell Rose! This is a wonderful bit of detective work! Your uncle was indeed brave to try to rescue his comrade in arms. Perhaps he was more injured than he first realized. That's a common occurrence even in auto accidents. I definitely agree that his heroic chops still stand even though the facts have changed a bit.

Thank you for another wonderful hub, no less intriguing than your supernatural hubs or the tales from your well (mis?)spent youth. I think family history is thrilling though and love it warts and all. Happy New Year to you and yours.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Thanks so much Besarien, glad you liked it. I hope you had an awesome New Year, nell


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Oh Nell....Fascinating and exciting. I'm sure you are glad you got yourself into "digging!" I've read several stories from people who have discovered so much, as you did. Some of the tales are of "mixed" review, if you know what I mean.

It's wonderful to know these things from generations ago.....has it made you feel differently in certain ways, Nell? I'd love to sit and talk to you all about this.

I always say that I'm going to explore....I don't know why I haven't yet! Maybe you've just convinced me!! Happy New Year, Nell!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Happy New Year Paula! yes its great digging around in my ancestors, but I have come to a complete blank on three sides at the moment, its driving me insane! I would love to sit and talk to you, it would definitely be great! thanks as always, and always lovely to see you, nell

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