Sometime on Wednesday the 21st of July 1943, 14 young men arrived at an airfield in Cambridgeshire.
By the end of the following month, 2 would have left, 1 would be a prisoner of war and 6 would be dead.
The 5 that remained would be at the airfield for another 3 months. One of those 5 was my father.
This is his story, the story of the boys he flew with, of those that arrived before them and those that arrived after them.
My father was Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville and the airfield was Mepal, the home of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.
On the 29th August 2011 my father died. I knew he had flown in the war, but when sitting down to write a eulogy for his funeral service, I realised I knew nothing about that time in his life. Probably as a way of dealing with his loss I decided to start to try to find out about this period of Bob’s life and perhaps, why he had never spoken about it. A little over 12 months have now passed since I started researching. In this time I have found out a lot – not just about dad, but his squadron and the boys that flew in it, some with him, some before him and some after.
My eventual goal is to put up a website with the same address as this blog and feed the blog into it. I knew the website would be a big task, but I had no idea how big! The summer has come and gone and my rather optimistic hope of getting the site up by the time I went back to work end up going up in smoke (along with my computers graphics card as it happens). I managed to layout all of Dad’s operational raids – 51 in total, including the 9 that his second tour crew flew before his arrival back at Mepal in1945. Additionally, I have laid out his flying records from his Advanced Flying Unit (AFU), Operational Training Unit (OTU) and Conversion Unit (1651 CU) – the crew training prior to operational deployment with a squadron.
I realise already that this blog needs to be filled with a history of my activity to date – to this end there will be entries that exist in the past, as well as hopefully an ongoing record of what I am doing. I have never tried to run a blog before, so who knows whether it will work or what it will become – we’ll both have to wait and see……..
If you read this and either have an interest in 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, or have a story about a relative who flew with the squadron, please contact me, the stories of these brave boys need to be told and understood before they are lost forever. You can contact me at
many thanks for your interest and care.