Welply became Acting Sub Lt. (A) 13th March 1939 and attended No.5 Course at 20 E&RFTS, Gravesend, commencing his course on 26th June 1939.
He was promoted to Sub. Lt. (A) 13th March 1940 and was flying Fairey Swordfishes aboard HMS Furious.
The German invasion of Norway
commenced on 3rd April 1940. On 21st May the Allied Norwegian Campaign
was in full swing.
263 Sqn. Gladiators flew off HMS Furious into Bardufossas as part of the plan to recapture Narvik, and French, Polish and British forces had reached Rombaksfiord near Narvik.
HMS Ark Royal, HMS Furious and HMS Glorious were in company off Narvik, intent on successfully ferrying the 18 Gladiator II’s of 263 Squadron from HMS Furious to Bardufoss landing ground.
HMS Furious began dispatching
the RAF fighters in sections, each led by a Swordfish of 818 Squadron.
The process ended up being both dangerous and extended,
but eventually 16 of the precious fighters reached the field successfully. Tragically, one Swordfish and the two Gladiators following it crashed into the mountain
Høystakktind between Sifjord and Osterfjord in severe fog and snow, killing one Gladiator pilot, P/O Walter Phillip Richards, RAFVR, and badly injuring the other,
FL R. S. Mills DFC, RAF (who was rescued and shipped back to England). The Swordfish crew survived the crash, and were rescued - Lt. J. A. Welply, RN (pilot),
S-Lt. G. P. Simpson, RN (observer), and Leading Airman H. H. Simpson, RN (gunner).
Below, this 2004 photograph
shows the wreckage of Welply’s Swordfish P4216 still on Høystakktind
From this photo, it looks like the three aircraft may have flown up this blind fjord, from which there was no escape.
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