View Full Version : HELP and INFO - 121 "Eagle Saudron" P/O Warren Vincent Shenk

Sep-06-2018, 06:45

My boy is now beginning to study WW2 at school and has been set a project about how the war affected Lincolnshire. His natural dad's house was, on 27th July 1941 hit by either Hurricane Z3317 or Z3422 from 121 Squadron based at Kirton In Lindsey and its top floor and roof demolished. The lady of the house was, at the time,reportedly in the back garden and fortunately escaped injury. The aircraft that hit the house was one of a pair that collided over the city.

Whilst there were no injuries at Drake Street or to the aircrew, who both bailed out successfully, 3 people were killed and 9 injured by the other aircraft that crashed onto Oxford St in the centre of Lincoln about a mile away (a lady in the house the aircraft stuck died a month later of her injures and 2 men passing in the street where killed instantly by debris from the aircraft). The wreckage of this aircraft is still, in part, present albeit now buried under Lincoln's new Transport "Hub" (a carpark and bus station in one - novel eh?).

He wants to do his project on this event and Ive encouraged him to expand it into researching 121 Squadron and the pilots who were involved that day. 121 Sdn was an "Eagle" unit. The second formed after the 71st. Speaking to my elderly neighbour and my lads Grandad both refer to the crash as being caused by "two bloody Americans messing about" the ignorance of which greatly pisses me off and completely ignores the circumstances of the time and the crash (which both mix up with another, that of an RAF Hampden). I don't want my lad falling into the same trap of decrying anything not of the Union Flag as an instinctive reaction.

I also think its important, especially in these days of immigration and isolationistic debates, that he understands Britain didn't stand completely alone until 1942 as is sometimes cited but was aided, at least in part, by people from all over the world, many of whom volunteered and even potentially broke the law to come thousands of miles from home in the process.


The Pilots were Bradley Smith from Yonkers NY and Warren Vincent Shenk PL. I decided to start with Shenk because, after looking at the Squadron's ORBs there are many entries that refer to "P/O Smith" but often there are no initials making pinning down Smith quite difficult. I understand he leaves the unit to transfer to 440 Sdn and the middle east but this is only from one dubious reference.

Shenk as a name however is easier but this Shenk is mysterious. He's from PA ( Pennsylvania?) He's trained on Course 18 6 OTU in Dunnville Canada between 16/01/41 - 29/03/41. He embarks for the ETO shortly afterwards and finally I know he joins 121 on 1st July from 56 OTU at Sutton Bridge (Hurricanes). On 27th July the crash occurs but Shenk remains active on the Squadron until late November 1941 then ...NOTHING.

In the Summary of Events for December 41 a single line states "Sgt Shenk has received his commission" but that is the last mention i can find for him in the Squadron ORB. There is no reord of him flying in December/jan/feb and im reluctant to keep throwing money at random records. I checked the units final Orb before their formation as 335th but no trace there either. Finally I checked a very sobering list of USAAF casualties and the CWGC but found no trace of either pilot.

Searching the name again I then came across a F/L Warren Vincent "Vince" Shenk in 442 Squadron RCAF. Other than a very good photo of him standing in front of a Mustang in Early 1945 I have nothing else - I dont think its the same person but im only going off a very low quality image of 121 in July 1941 that identifies him in group shot.

Can anyone shed any light on P/Os Smith or Shenk or point me in a direction other that the AIR27s? I'll post up an pictures and the press cuttings from the time of the accident when i can sort them.

Thanks in advance.

Sep-06-2018, 08:20
Hi Boo,

Youve probably already visited this site - sorry if u have and im being FLTLT Obvious - but just in case you havent there might be people there that could assist perhaps?



Sep-06-2018, 09:33
Thanks Ezzie - wasn't aware of this at all. Cheers!!

Sep-06-2018, 09:56
From http://www.rafcommands.com

Sgt Smith (R67560 or R67550), RCAF was injured on the 28th March 1941 when he crash landed Spitfire L1030 of 57 OTU in Shropshire. The accident card gives no initials and the ORB does not give any details on the accident so it's just the surname and service number (numbers) to go on.

Bradley Smith (R.67550 and J.15010) was an American citizen, born 7 December 1913. Enlisted in the RCAF, Windsor, Ontario, 1 July 1940. Promoted Sergeant 17 January 1941. To Embarkation Depot, 4 February 1941; to RAF overseas, 7 February 1941. Commissioned 2 August 1941. Promoted Flying Officer, 2 August 1942. Retired (meaning transfer to American forces), 15 February 1943.

Eagles of the RAF: The World War II Eagle Squadrons by Philip D. Caine describes the accident on p 180 - 181.

I think Schenk stayed with the RCAF, you can request his details here.


Sep-06-2018, 11:29
Thanks Oskar! - great info. I was aware RAF commands site but Id never seen it laid out like that. Now Im getting on a bit but im I really seeing the "Duh" moment when the very aircraft that I was searching for 2 days ago is used as the exact example of how to search for it?? Would have saved a heap of scrolling!!

Ive ordered a read of the Cas packs for the incident (along with another for Hampden AD871, my partner's great Uncle's aircraft) a couple of days ago. Some debate about B or E Smith but im sure I can bottom that one out! EDIT - no E smith in 121 Squadron so that was easy enough!

Thanks again!