Thursday, 5 May 2016

Uncle Cyril Orwin and the Second World War


Today is the 5th of May, bevrijdings dag in the Netherlands, the day that the 2nd World War ended here in Europe. Above is a drawing of my uncle Cyril, my Mum's elder brother, drawn by a fellow prisoner of war in Stalag VII.
Cyril William Orwin was born on the 13th February 1923 in Kingston upon Hull, the eldest child of Herbert Cyril Orwin and Violet Orwin nee Popplewell. In 1939 after finishing his education he won an apprenticeship to the Royal Airforce, he was sixteen years old.
Cyril did some of his training in Canada and I have a wonderful photo of him flying a Harvard and taken by a fellow pilot.
Uncle Cyril was shot down on the 10th September 1944. He was flying back from a reconisence mission, and was flying over the Hoek of Holland when he saw a military train, he flew low over the train to see whether he could take a shot of it but on the last carriage there was a large machine gun which gunned him down. He was thankfully close to the coast and was able to crash into the sea, and he was also able to loosen his seat belts. He was pulled out of his wreak by German soldiers and taken captive and interrogated, probably in the Fort at the Hoek of Holland.
This is the official R.A.F. report of his crash and capture - " 10 September 1944

Between 13.55 and 15.45 hours 24 Tempests were sent out for an armed recognizance  flight over the Netherlands. Ships, trains and other ground targets were attacked. One Tempest had to make an emergency landing in the Sea SW of The Hague. The flyer was able to save himself.

The Tempest that was lost was from Number 3 squadron and it was F/S. C. Orwin who came into the water south west of The Hague, he was able to save himself and was taken prisoner."

When my Grandparents where notified that he had been shot down it was not certain that he had survived the crash, thankfully a Dutch resistance worker was able to inform the British that he had survived and had been taken as a prisoner. 

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