Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Private D.R. Hurley was in Dakota KG314

After reading his impressive account of the assault on the Merville Battery, I sent an email to author and researcher Neil Barber, and was more than happy to get this response earlier today:

Many thanks for the message.  I’ve only had time to have a quick look at your site, but it looks very impressive.  I’ll have a longer look when I get the chance.

For the past 18 months I have been trying to form a list of men who served in the 9th Battalion at any time from its inception to disbandment.  This is an ongoing project and will hopefully feed some further analysis of events when I’m happy with the amount of content. 
  I’ve looked at this list and the information I have on your uncle is as follows:

His  Para Course was 79.   Travelled in Dakota KG314, Chalk ?, jumped No 15.  Could have been wounded during the bombing of Brigadier Hill’s group as he was a member of Lt Catlin’s plane, many of which joined this party.  I also have that he died of wounds, but where that come from, I’d have to check.  Being in Catlin’s plane he was almost certainly a member of ‘A’ Company.  If you look at the ‘A’ Company photo, can you see him ?

Operation Tonga - The part of D-Day involving 9 Para
Being on the Merville Battery Museum Committee, obviously I’m involved in the maintenance and improvement of the Battalion’s history there.  I am trying to increase the amount of photos on display (in casemate 2) of the men themselves and so I just wondered if you had a wartime photo of him that could be mounted there.  It would be a marvellous addition.
I have been told that it's possible that Private D.R. Hurley may have been injured on the 6th of June, and died of those injuries on the 7th. This seems to be the understanding of his mother (my nan, Ann Hurley) as recalled by my own mother.

If this is the case, then it's possible that Private Hurley died after the assault at Merville. According to one account of the assault, A Company (which Mr Barber thinks was Private Hurley's company) jointly led the assault.

The main item to be discerned, it seems, is where and when Private Hurley was wounded and/or died, at Merville on the 6th to die the next day, or at Hauger on the 7th. 

Another researcher on the forum 12 O'Clock High, states that Dakota KG314 was part of 512 Squadron. The full list of planes in that squadron is as follows:

A C-47A Dakota involved in a fly-past.
 512 Squadron - Dakota III

KG392 'V'
KG390 'E'
KG422 'B1'
FZ647 'H'
KG322 'C'
KG314 'C1'
KG480 'G'
KG373 'B'
KG486 'A1'
KG407 'D'
KG324 'A'
KG333 'N'
FZ649 'J1'
FZ610 'O'
FZ694 'R'
FZ651 'J'
KG344 'L'
KG348 'K'
FZ658 'M'
FZ696 'Q'
FZ609 'P'
FZ656 'K'
KG368 'Y'
KG323 'U1'
KG418 'T1'
KG371 'X'
KG330 'T'
KG347 'S1'
KG361 'U'
KG379 'W'

As a post script, the list of casualties of the drop and the assault on the Merville Battery, according to Appendix "A", Capture of Coastal Bty Position at 155775 by 9 Para Bn 6 Jun 44, Point 5. Execution:
"Casualties - 1 Officer killed and 4 wounded, 65 ORs killed, wounded and missing.  This does not include severe casualties."
 As stated previously, this left the 9 Para battalion with 80 men at the end of D-Day.

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