6080 & 6341 Light Warning Units (LWUs)

At the start of September 1944, 6080 & 6341 Light Warning Units (LWUs) were transferred from No.60 (Signals) Group to No.38 Group RAF and attached to Headquarters 1st British Airborne Corps.
The Commanding Officer of the 2 LWUs was Wing Commander Brown MBE, an expert Senior Ground Control Interceptor serving with Headquarters No.38 Group RAF.
6080 & 6341 Light Warning Units were each equipped with the A.M.E.S. (Air Ministry Experimental Station) Type 6 Light Warning Set which was the only small set available for airborne forces and, with a lot of ingenuity, could be loaded into 2 Horsa gliders instead of 30 vehicles for other existing models!
4 Horsa gliders were so needed for Operation MARKET in the Netherlands (airborne part of Operation MARKET GARDEN) where 6080 & 6341 LWUs would have to co-ordinate fighter aircraft cover for airborne troops as rapidly as possible from the ground.
The 4 Horsa gliders with onboard 6080 & 6341 Light Warning Units were sent to Arnhem area with the second glider lift on 18 September 1944.
Each Team consisted of Controllers, Technicians and Operators for a total of 6 Officers (5 RAF, including Wing Commander Brown MBE, plus the First Lieutenant Bruce Davis, a volunteer American ground controller from the U.S. 9th Army Air Force) and 19(?) ‘other ranks’.
Wing Commander Brown MBE flew before the others on the first lift on 17 September. Shortly after landing he was wounded by a strafing German fighter. He died the next day from his wounds.
The 4 Gilders took off on 18 September from RAF Harwell (RAF Station of Nos.295 & 570 Squadrons, No.38 Group) just after 1200 hours and were numbered from 5000 to 5003.
5000 (6080 LWU) had to land prematurely because the tug aircraft (Stirling IV LK121 piloted by Flight Sergeant Cullings of No.570 Squadron) was hit by flak and crashed killing all the crew.
5001& 5002 landed as ordered.
5003 (6341 LWU) came in the same concentration of flak as 5000 and was hit and crashed killing 6 troops of 6341 LWU plus the 2 pilots.
To operate each Light Warning Unit needed a transmitter (in one glider) and a receiver (in the second glider). Unfortunately 5000 & 5003 which were lost had identical loads. 5001 & 5002 which landed safely also carried the same load so the material couldn’t be used and in more 5001 was later shot on fire by Germans.
Finally casualties were very high among the 2 units and the 8 pilots of the Horsa gliders:
10 men plus 3 glider pilots were killed.
Only 4 officers (including the American officer) and 2 glider pilots escaped.
11 LWUs’ men plus 3 glider pilots were captured.


Officer Commanding 6080 & 6341 Light Warning units:
Wing Commander BROWN MBE

6080 Light Warning Unit:
Flight Sergeant LIEVENSE
Leading Aircraftman EDEN

6341 Light Warning Unit:
Flight Lieutenant TISSHAW
Leading Aircraftman ANDERSON
Leading Aircraftman BROOKS
Leading Aircraftman LASCELLES
Leading Aircraftman SAMWELLS
Aircraftman 1st Class SWANN
Aircraftman 2nd Class HIGHTON

Gilder Pilot Regiment:
Staff Sergeant CUMMINGS
Staff Sergeant HARRIS
Sergeant BOSLEY

Taken prisoners

6080 Light Warning Unit:
Corporal AUSTIN
Leading Aircraftman FOSTER
Leading Aircraftman MANDERS
Leading Aircraftman THOMAS
Aircraftman 1st Class BELL
Aircraftman 1st Class GREEN

6341 Light Warning Unit:
Sergeant QUIGLEY
Leading Aircraftman BRITLAND
Leading Aircraftman CLARK
Leading Aircraftman MOWATT
Leading Aircraftman YOUNG

Glider Pilot Regiment:
Staff Sergeant KENNEDY
Sergeant McINNES


6080 Light Warning Unit:
Squadron Leader COXON
First Lieutenant DAVIS (USAAF)

6341 Light Warning Unit:
Squadron Leader WHEELER
Flight Lieutenant RICHARDSON

Glider Pilot Regiment:
Staff Sergeant EDWARDS
Sergeant WATSON

The superb book of Arie-Jan VAN HEES, “TUGS AND GLIDERS TO ARNHEM” (A must!)

A special thanks to Jon and Ian