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Stirling N3725/HA:D, of No 218 Squadron

(Rus)  Maintenance work on N3725/HA:D, of No 218 Squadron, at Downham Market in June 1942. In common with many other aircraft of the Gold Coast Squadron, it carried the name of a town in that country, in this case Mamprusi. At this time No 3 Group had six Stirling-equipped squadrons and there would be no expansion of the force until the following spring. The Stirling suffered the highest loss rate of the three four-engine bomber types, principally because of its poor ceiling, which made it more vulnerable to enemy defences. A cumbersome brute on the ground, it was, however, surprisingly manoeuvrable in flight. With one engine out of action it required careful handling; if two failed it did not want to remain in the sky. On its 31st operational sortie, on 14/15 September 1942, with P Off J. С Frankcombe and crew, N3725 lost the starboard outer over Wilhemshaven. It was nursed back to the vicinity of home base, only to have the remaining engine on the starboard wing cease to function. The aircraft immediately did a wing-over and crashed near Stoke Ferry. Only the wirless operator and the mid-upper gunner survived, badly injured. (IWM CHI7887)