Tag Archives: 1944

Eric Wilkes, Navigator – Bruhns crew. Request for information

Eric portrait

Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513, Navigator with the Bruhns crew. Lost without trace February 24th 1944 whilst mining in the Kiel Bay area.

Many thanks to Helen for reaching out to us regarding information about her Great Uncle, Eric Wilkes, Navigator with Henry Bruhn’s crew, all of whom were lost on the night of the 22nd of February 1944 on a Gardening Op to Kiel Bay.

Like many relatives, Helen knows very little about Eric’s time with the Squadron and it was quite humbling to hear back from her after I had sent the Op history below, to realise that this was more of Eric’s Wartime career than any of the family knew of.

As always in these request for information posts, fingers crossed that someone, perhaps another relative of the crew might see this and be able to tell us all a little more about the Bruhns crew.

The Bruhns crew arrives from 1651 Conversion Unit:
NZ42367. F/S. PIL. BRUHNS, H. Posted from 1651 C.U., w.e.f. 3/1/44. (Authy.P/N.3G/3580/43 dtd. 20/12/43)
NZ421672. Sgt. A/B. BUTLER, L. Posted from 1651 C.U., w.e.f. 3/1/44. (Authy.P/N.3G/3580/43 dtd. 20/12/43)
1575513. SGT. NAV. WILKES, E. 1395702. SGT. W/AIR. SUMMERS, W. 1601839. SGT. F/ENG. HARRY, J. 1392121. SGT. A/G HALL,R. Posted from 1651 C.U. w.e.f. 3/1/44. (Authy. P/N.3G/3580/43 dated 23/12/44)
AUS447521. SGT. A/G. SAWTELL, A. Posted from 1651 C.U. w.e.f. 3/1/44 (Authy. P/N. 3G/3580/43 dtd. 22/12/43).

Harold Bruhns undertook 2 ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops before becoming skipper of his own crew. On the 6th of January 1944 he flew with S/L James Climie, Gardening in the Gironde Estuary and 8 days later on the 16th of January with David Gibb’s crew to a ‘Special Target’.

4 days later, the Bruhns crew began their operational tour with 75(NZ) Squadron.

20/01/1944 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Seven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. One aircraft was withdrawn but the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area. No opposition was met and the trip was uneventful. The weather was good and visibility clear except for slight sea haze. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK695 AA-N (9)

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Piers Trevor Stevens, RAFVR 1813627 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:00 – Landed 20:00
Flight Time 03:00

21/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large bomb bursts and some fires being observed. Very little opposition was encountered and this proved to be negligible. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK695 AA-N (10)
Listed as BK605, but no record of this A/C – I suspect its actually BK695

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Piers Trevor Stevens, RAFVR 1813627 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:20 – Landed 21:30
Flight Time 03:10

25/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs. One aircraft failed to take-off, & four brought their bombs back. The remainder however, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This operation did not appear to be very successful, the bombing being rather scattered, some large explosions were seen, however. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EH945 ?-? (1)

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James William Harry, RAFVR 1601839 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:44 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 04:16

30/01/1944 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs. Five of the aircraft brought their mines back as bad visibility prevented them from finding the mining area. One aircraft successfully dropped its mines in the allotted area although the parachutes were not seen to open. No opposition was met and the trip was uneventful. The weather was bad and there was 10/10ths cloud in the mining area. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III EF948 ?-? (1)

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. L. Buckley,   – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James William Harry, RAFVR 1601839 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:00 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 08:45

19/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to lay mines of 1500 lbs from a high level, but two aircraft failed to take off owing to engine trouble. The remaining thirteen aircraft completed their operation without incident, and the pathfinder markers were dropped accurately for the final run, being identified by all.

Stirling Mk.III EF217 ?-? (12)

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James William Harry, RAFVR 1601839 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 05:50
Flight Time 06:00

22/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to lay mines of 1,500 lbs in Kiel Bay. After being airborne for one hour all of the aircraft were recalled owing to unsuitable weather conditions.

Stirling Mk.III EH948 AA-Q (15)

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James William Harry, RAFVR 1601839 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:45 – Landed 19:20
Flight Time 02:35

24/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed with a large force to lay mines of 1500 lbs in Kiel Bay, and fourteen returned after completing their mission successfully. One aircraft (Captain NZ42367 F/S. Bruhns H.) is missing, and no news was heard after take-off.

Stirling Mk.III EH948 AA-Q (16)

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns, RNZAF NZ42367 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Arthur Wilkes, RAFVR 1575513 – Navigator.
Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler, RNZAF NZ421672 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers, RAFVR 1395702 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James William Harry, RAFVR 1601839 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell, RAAF AUS.417521 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall, RAFVR 1392121 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:10 – Landed MISSING

It is presumed that EH948 crashed in the target area – nothing being heard from it after take-off. Of the 7 crew, only the body of F/S Athur Sawtell was recovered.

F/S Harold Henry Bruhns – Pilot. Died age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 263 Runnymede Memorial.

F/S Eric Arthur Wilkes – Navigator. Died age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 240 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt. Laurie Licence Butler – Air Bomber. Died age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 253 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt. Woolf Jack Summers – Wireless Operator. Died age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 238 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt. James William Harry – Flight Engineer. Died age 20.
Commemorated on Panel 231 Runnymede Memorial.

F/S Arthur Hertley Sawtell – Mid Upper Gunner. Died age 19.
Buried Aabenraa Cemetery Denmark.

Sgt. Robert Ewen Hall – Rear Gunner. Died age 25.
Commemorated on Panel 230 Runnymede Memorial.

 If anybody has any more information on the Bruhns crew, I know that Helen would love to see it.

The Crawford crew – some new information

Dad 3

The Crawford crew – left to right, back row ( I believe) : Francis Geoffrey Boulton (Navigator), Sgt. C. Bullock (Air Bomber), Roderick Bruce Crawford (Skipper), Sgt. J. Tutty (Rear Gunner) & Sgt. D. Scott (Wireless Operator). Front row, left to right: Sgt. D. Scott, Flight Engineer & Arthur George Smith (Mid Upper Gunner) © Rosalind Ebbrell

It never ceases to amaze and please me when, after a post, a relative of another of the crew contacts me. I have to confess, Rosalind probably broke all records to date, when after posting the story about Arthur Smith, the Crawford crew and the crash of ND801 ‘Get Sum Inn’ she had placed a comment on the post within 30mins! I am a little ashamed that I have only just got round to posting this remarkable set of photographs of Rosalind’s Father and the rest of the Crawford crew.

Rosalind’s Father was Francis Geoffrey Boulton, Navigator with the Crawford crew. Known as Geoff, he suffered a broken neck in the February 3rd crash and this explains  his absence from the last recorded flight by the crew on the 26th of May 1945 (Form 541).

Ros has passed on a number of photographs and a puzzle exists in terms of who is in some these photographs if we subtract Geoff, Bruce Crawford and Mike Smith……..

Dad 4

Geoff Boulton, sat front row, 4th from left. © Rosalind Ebbrell

Taken obviously at some point through Geoff’s training, in my mind, the white flashes on the caps and the generally plump and happy demeanor of the individuals in the photograph suggest that this might actually be No 1 Aircrew Reception Centre, RAF Regent’s Park.

Dad 1

© Rosalind Ebbrell

This second picture of Geoff, is possibly from his trade training – none of the individuals in the picture, apart from the chap with his hands on the shoulders of the little boy, have brevets or stripes – both awarded after this stage of training, prior to crew formation at O.T.U.

Dad 8

© Rosalind Ebbrell

My suspicion is that these 2 pictures are also from Geoff’s time, training as a Navigator.

Dad 9

© Rosalind Ebbrell

As will all trainee aircrew, after completion of ‘trade training’, he would have gone To O.T.U, formed into a crew, progressed through a Conversion Unit and at this point in the War, completed a final week at a Lancaster Finishing School, before being posted to an OPerational Squadron – in the case of Geoff and the rest of his crew, 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

Dad 5

Picture 1 – The Crawford crew: from Left to Right (I think) Sgt. R. Allred, Geoff Boulton, Sgt. C. Bullock, Bruce Crawford, Sgt. J. Tutty, Sgt. D. Scott and Arthur Smith.

The following 2 images (above and below) provided me with enough to go on, in terms of known individuals and visible brevets to make a stab at identifying all the airmen in the photographs. My logic was as follows, based on the known identities of 3 – Geoff the Navigator, Bruce Crawford the Pilot and Arthur Smith the Rear Gunner. Picture 1 (top image) – obviously I have begun with Bruce, Geoff and Arthur. At this point I did not know who the other members of the crew in this photograph were.

Picture 2 – Looking at the individuals to the right of this photograph, the airman second in has what appears to be a 2 letter brevet (uniform badge). This means he is the other air gunner in the crew, thus, I believe Sgt. J. Tutty.

The airman on the far right of the photograph I think has a ‘B’ brevet – thus I think he is Sgt. C. Bullock. The airman on the far left of the picture seems to have a WOAG (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) badge on his right shoulder – I think therefore he is the Wireless Operator Sgt. D. Scott. By a process of simple elimination this means that the 7th member in the top picture is missing from this lower photograph and thus must be Sgt. R. Allred, the crew’s Flight Engineer. Based on this, I then named the individuals in Picture 1

Dad 2

Picture 2 the Crawford crew:from left to right (again I think) Sgt. R. Allred, Arthur Smith, Bruce Crawford, Geoff Boulton, Sgt. J. Tutty and Sgt C. Bullock. © Rosalind Ebbrell

This third group photograph has provided far more discussion in the Sommerville household. Bev’s vehement refusal to believe the individual on the front row far right was Arthur Smith, finally was infact proved to be correct – having latterly shown the image to Arthur’s daughter Pauline, she also felt this wasn’t Arthur.

Dad 6

© Rosalind Ebbrell

After the Dormund crash on the 3rd of February 1945, The Crawford crew did not fly together again until the 25th of May. On this Op, Geoff was still absent and his position of Navigator was taken by P/O McGarry. Geoff returned to the crew, first under taking a formation flying exercise on the 15th June 1944. Three more training flights took place during the rest of June.

IMG_1196cropped for post

© Rosalind Ebbrell

Through July of ’44, Geoff and at least Bruce, flew another 4 times – interestingly, the logbook page for July seems to suggest through the ‘Summary for 75 NZ Squadron’ that perhaps at this point the crew’s time with the Squadron was at an end – I have never seen however a final tally entry like this, only to then see another flight after it – perhaps an indication of the lack of necessary immediacy to ‘get out’, now the War in Europe, at least, was 2 months over………

IMG_1197cropped for posting

© Rosalind Ebbrell

The crew history that I originally posted in my first post about the Crawford crew and ND801 “Get Summ Inn’  (here) shows that certainly the 2 gunners in the crew, Arthur Smith and Sgt. Tutty completed a number of Ops after Dortmund, both surviving the crash relatively unscathed. This might in some part suggest at least their absence from this picture.

Frustratingly, Form 541 ceases to exist at the beginning of July, so unless we hear from someone else, it might be difficult to put names to the faces in this last photograph.

Dad 7

A picture of the ‘Skipper’ Roderick Bruce Crawford. © Rosalind Ebbrell

I am aware, though not of the specific details of Geoff’s career after his time in 75(NZ) Squadron, but the final photograph shows Geoff and 3 unknown individuals in sunnier climes, in front of the Taj Mahal in India – now sporting an “R.A.F. moustache”

Dad 10

Geoff Boulton, by this time, ex-Navigator with the Crawford crew, second from left. © Rosalind Ebbrell

 

 

Melvin Sumner, Mid Upper Gunner – Young crew

dad's crew picture1

The front and back of a Christmas card that Melvin sent to his family, Christmas 1943. © Mary Thompson

Many thanks to Mary for sending me this Christmas card, sent by her Father, Melvin Sumner, who was Rear Gunner with  Arthur Russell Young’s crew between November 1943 and June 1944.

Of course, like the idiot I am, it took up until replying to Mary, for me to realise that of course Colin Burch, who I made a number of posts about about a year ago was Russ Young’s Air Bomber. You can read the original posts here:

Original, less detailed Op history with Colin’s diary additions here.

Colin’s full memoirs of his time in the RAF here.

Colin’s logbook can be seen here.

A creditable operational career with the Squadron, flying War Ops in Stirlings, SOE operations, before converting to Lancasters and then supplying in support of the Normandy Landings and invasion before switching back to main War Ops…..

Melvin’s Pilot, Arthur Young, to add a small personal note to this story, also flew one of his ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops with my Father’s (Mayfield) crew on the 19th of November 1943 to Leverkusen.
Arthur ‘Russ’ Young’s logbook showing 2nd Dickie Op with Mayfield crew can be viewed here.

I have re-posted the Young crew’s Op history below in the more detailed format the database now allows me to generate.

25/11/1943 – Mining in the Frisian Islands
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500lbs which were successfully dropped in the allotted area, and the majority of the parachutes were seen to open. No opposition was encountered and the trip was uneventful. There was 5-8/10ths cloud in the Mining Area and visibility was poor. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EF507 JN-P  (12)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570/ 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:30 – Landed 20:45
Flight Time 03:15

30/11/1943 – Mining in the Baltic Sea
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., which were successfully dropped in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. No opposition was encountered and the trip was uneventful. The weather was good in the Mining area and visibility was excellent. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (1)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570/ 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Baverstock, RAFVR 610905 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:20 – Landed 00:20
Flight Time 07:00

dad's crew picture

The inside of Melvin’s Christmas card to his family, to the left a picture of the Young crew: Russ Young (Pilot), Fred Holt (Flight Engineer), Ron Axten (Wireless Operator), Ron Burrows (Rear Gunner), Colin Burch (Air Bomber) and Doug McDonald (Navigator). Its difficult to tell from the ordering of the crew whether it is strictly left to right or perhaps the back four and the front 2 airmen and obviously Melvin doesn’t identify himself in the photograph! © Mary Thompson

30/12/1943 – Mining between Le Havre and Cherbourg
One aircraft was detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500lbs, which were successfully dropped in the allotted area. No opposition was met and the trip was uneventful. There was ten tenths cloud in the mining area but visibility was very good. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (3)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570/ 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:14 – Landed 20:16
Flight Time 03:02

04/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs.  All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area.  The attack was very concentrated and appeared to be a success.  Some slight heavy A.A. Fire and a few enemy aircraft were encountered but proved negligible.  In spite of 3-4 10ths. cloud at the target, visibility was good.  Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (4)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
Sgt. J. Wainwright, RAFVR 1320248 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570/ 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:15 – Landed 04:55
Flight Time 02:40

21/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs.  All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large bomb bursts and some fires being observed.  Very little opposition was encountered and this proved to be negligible.  The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility.  Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (7)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570/ 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:10 – Landed 21:30
Flight Time 03:20

28/01/1944 – Mining in the Kiel Bay
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500 lbs.  Three aircraft returned early, two dropped their mines in alternative areas, but the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area.  Some light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, and one aircraft received slight damage.  A few enemy aircraft were seen and the aircraft captained by P/O C. BAKER, whilst on the homeward journey was attacked by a M.E.110, which raked our aircraft with machine gun and cannon fire, from the tailplane to the Navigator’s compartment, causing considerable damage.  The mid-upper gunner, Sgt. RENWICK, H. was slightly injured and the Flight Engineer Sgt. WATSON, W. was seriously injured.  On return the aircraft crash-landed at COLTISHALL.  The weather was variable with 5-10/10ths cloud, but fairly clear in the mining area.  Severe icing was encountered on the return journey.  Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (9)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:56 – Landed 00:56
Flight Time 06:00

03/02/1944 – Mining off Cherbourg
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs, both of which successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area.  No opposition was encountered.  One aircraft had its starboard inner catch fire ten minutes before reaching the area and this had to be feathered.  The weather was squally but otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (10)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:54 – Landed 06:54
Flight Time 03:00

11/02/1944 – Mining off Mouth of River Ardour
Of the nine aircraft which were laying mines of 1500 lbs off the mouth of the river ADOUR, all but one did so though it meant flying down through very bad icing cloud and in these conditions one jettisoned to lighten the load.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (12)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:35 – Landed 02:00
Flight Time 07:25

15/02/1944 – Mining in the Mouth of River Ardour
Six aircraft dropped mines of 1500 lbs in the mouth of the river Adour.  The visibility was excellent and all crews reported a successful operation.  Photographs taken show the aiming point in three cases, and the factory is covered in two more.  Unfortunately the sixth aircraft did not carry a photo-flash bomb.  The Bomb Development Unit have, however, got the evidence from which to calculate where the mines dropped.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (13)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:36 – Landed 07:16
Flight Time 07:40

19/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to lay mines of 1500 lbs from a high level, but two aircraft failed to take off owing to engine trouble.  The remaining thirteen aircraft completed their operation without incident, and the pathfinder markers were dropped accurately for the final run, being identified by all.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (14)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:36 – Landed 05:16
Flight Time 05:40

02/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 115b (SUCCESSFUL)
Operation TRAINER 115b (Successful). The main crew in Stirling III JN ‘X’ took off at 20.45 hours. The target was reached at 00.26 hours, being pin pointed by junction of river, canal and railway. Fifteen containers were dropped from 450 feet at 00.35 hours and a flashing light was seen. Meteorological conditions were fairly good, visibility being 10 miles, cloud two tenths at 4,000 feet. Course was set for Base at 00.35 hours, leaflets being dropped at Agen. The aircraft, without further incident, landed at Base at 04.26 hours.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (15)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:45 – Landed 04:26
Flight Time 07:41

04/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 129 (SUCCESSFUL)
Operation TRAINER 129 (Successful). The m/n. crew in Stirling III JN “X” took off at 20.45 hours. The target area was reached at 23.52 hours and pin pointed by a road through a wood N/S. Lights and the letter flashed were unmistakable, and 16 containers were dropped from 600 feet between 00.14 and 00.17 hours. Visibility was good except for slight haze. Course was set for Base at 00.18 hours, and four packages of leaflets were dropped at the Brive area. The aircraft returned to base, without further incident, and landed at 04.10 hours.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (16)

F/S Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:45 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 07:25

05/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 149 (SUCCESSFUL)
Operation TRAINER 149 (Successful). The m/n crew in Stirling III JN ‘X’ took off at 21.04 hours. The target area was reached at 23.54 hours and pin pointed. Reception lights were obscured by woods and difficult to see except when overhead, flashing of correct letter was good, fifteen containers were dropped from 500′ at 00.22 hours. There was slight ground haze, but no cloud. Course was set for Base at 00.22 hrs, one package of leaflets was also dropped in the Limoges … (end of sentence missing from copy of sheet)

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (17)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:04 – Landed down time cut off on ORB
Flight Time no record

10/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period MONGREL 20 (SUCCESSFUL)
Operation MONGREL 20 (Successful). The m/n crew in Stirling III JN ‘X’ took off at 20.13 hrs. The target area was reached at 23.45 hrs and pin pointed by a deep ravine running N. and S. with tops about 7,000′. Reception lights were good but flashing light was not very clear against the snow, twelve containers were then dropped from 600′ at 23.57 hrs. The weather was good in the reception area, except for haze in the valleys. Course was set for Base at 23.59 hours, two packages of leaflets being dropped at Chambery. The aircraft, without further incident, landed at Base at 03.43 hours.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 JN-X ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (18)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:13 – Landed 03:43
Flight Time 07:30

15/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TOM 46 (ABORTIVE)
Operation TOM 46 (Abortive). The target area was reached but no reception was seen and a truck with very bright lights was driving along a road within the target area. The aircraft was caught in searchlights N. of Mons area and approximately three light guns opened up 15 miles N. On the return journey two packages of leaflets were dropped in the Mons area. The aircraft brought its load back to Base and landed safely.

Stirling Mk.III LK384 – ‘Excuse please Mr, I go, I come back’ (20)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O Thomas Bolgar Bradley, RAAF AUS413338 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed -
Flight Time no record

24/04/1944 – Attack Against Karlsruhe
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack Karlsruhe.  One was withdrawn but the remainder carried out a successful attack with little opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (1)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 05:00

26/04/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Fifteen aircraft (Lancasters) were detailed to attack Essen.  Two were withdrawn, but the remaining thirteen took part in a successful and very concentrated attack.  The defences were considered to be moderate and all the aircraft returned safely.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (2)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 04:25

27/04/1944 – Attack Against Friedrichshafen
Sixteen Lancasters were detailed to attack Friedrichshafen.  Fourteen successfully carried out their mission, one aircraft bombed a decoy in error and another failed to return (Captain NZ42282 F/O. R. Herron).

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (3)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:07 – Landed 05:37
Flight Time 07:30

01/05/1944 – Attack Against Chambly
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the marshalling yards at Chambly.  Fifteen of these successfully attacked in clear weather, bombing being accurate.  Two brief encounters with enemy aircraft took place and resulted in one being possibly damaged.  One of our aircraft (Captain NZ41362 F/L. A/S/L. E.W. Sachtler) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (4)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 02:15
Flight Time 03:25

09/05/1944 – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack Cap Gris Nez and all successfully completed their mission.  Only slight opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (5)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:10 – Landed 05:10
Flight Time 02:00

19/05/1944 – Attack Against Le Mans
Twenty for aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Le Mans.  Good results being reported.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (8)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
F/S James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 04:50

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target.  Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis).  Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (9)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:57 – Landed 02:52
Flight Time 03:55

22/05/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund of which eighteen completed their mission successfully.  Three aircraft returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and NZ42354 P/O. C. Armstrong).  The raid was well concentrated and carried out in good weather with excellent visibility.  One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU 88.  Otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (10)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 04:30

24/05/1944 – Attack Against Aachen
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack Aachen and eleven to attack a target at Boulogne.  They all were successful in attacking their respective targets and good concentrated bombing was reported.  Two aircraft attacking Aachen had combats with enemy aircraft, NZ40750 F/L. R. Berney claiming the destruction of an enemy night fighter and 170664 P/O. T. Buckley claimed strikes on a F.W. 190.  There was no opposition from the Boulogne target.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (11)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:35 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 03:45

27/05/1944 – Attack Against Aachen
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Aachen, one of which returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ414971 F/L. S. Fauvel and NZ421105 Sgt. Scott, F.).  The remaining fifteen successfully bombed the target in clear weather, one aircraft (Captain NZ40750 F/L. R. Berney) had five successive inconclusive combats with an ME 410 in the Courtrai area.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (12)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:50 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 03:45

28/05/1944 – Attack Against Angers
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack the marshalling yards at Angers.  Six of these were withdrawn, two returned early with engine trouble, but the remaining fourteen aircraft successfully bombed the target in good weather.  A good concentrated attack was reported, and opposition was only slight.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (13)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 06:50

31/05/1944 – Attack Against Trappes
Twenty four aircraft were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Trappes.  One was withdrawn and another returned early through technical trouble.  The remainder, however, bombed in good visibility, reporting an accurate attack.  One aircraft (Captain NZ422098 P/O. L. Bonisch) had a combat with an enemy aircraft which was seen to be shot down by another of our aircraft.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (15)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:05 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 04:55

05/06/1944 – Attack Against Ouistreham
The target for No.3 Group was the coastal battery at Ouistreham in N. France.  This target, and others in the same area were attacked by strong forces of Bomber Command aircraft immediately prior to the Anglo-American Invasion of the Continent.  Twenty six aircraft from this Squadron participated and all were successful in bombing their target with the aid of markers.  Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III ND904 AA-B  (7)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:45 – Landed 07:10
Flight Time 03:25

06/06/1944 – Attack Against Lisieux
Twenty four aircraft took off, as detailed, to attack a target at Lisieux, in support of the invading forces which were establishing a bridge head in Normandy.  All aircraft successfully bombed the target and an accurate attack was reported.  Only slight opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III ND904 AA-B  (8)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:58 – Landed 03:23
Flight Time 03:25

08/06/1944 – Attack Against Fougeres
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack Fougeres in N. France.  Nineteen aircraft bombed successfully, one bringing its bombs back owing to the Bomb sight being unserviceable when over the target area.  Two aircraft had inconclusive combats with enemy aircraft, but the remainder carried out their mission without incident, there being no opposition in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (18)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 02:25
Flight Time 04:20

10/06/1944 – Attack Against Dreux
Of the twenty four aircraft detailed to bomb Dreux, twenty two successfully attacked in good weather, the marshalling yards being visually identified until they were obscured by smoke.  One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU.88.  The aircrafts captained by NZ422098 P/O. L. Bonisch and NZ422267 F/S. Donaghy, T. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (19)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 04:45

11/06/1944 – Attack Against Nantes
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack a military target at Nantes.  All aircraft successfully bombing the target.  Large fires and explosions were reported.  Intense light A.A. Fire was encountered in the target area.  the aircraft captained by NZ421072 P/O. C. McCardle, shortly after leaving the target area, was damaged by what is now thought to have been a light A.A. Shell exploding in the cockpit.  The Captain received severe injuries and the Flight Engineer Sgt. Benfold, R., superficial injuries.  The Air Bomber, AUS410489 W/O. Hurse, A. took over the controls, and with the assistance of the Navigator NZ4310159 F/O. A. Zillwood, brought the aircraft safely back to this country, where a perfect landing was executed.

Lancaster Mk.I LL888 JN-X  (20)

P/O Arthur Russell Young, RNZAF NZ421133 – Pilot.
P/O Douglas Dean McDonald, RAAF AUS.422632 – Navigator.
P/O James Colin Burch, RAFVR 1434570, 175383 – Air Bomber.
W/O Ronald Charles Axten, RNZAF NZ404589 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick Holt, RAFVR 1590363 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Melvin Sumner, RAFVR 1685755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ronald Burrows, RAFVR 1388459 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 05:22
Flight Time 05:32

More Battle Orders

Many thanks to Kevin for passing these Battle Orders onto me at the Association Reunion this weekend, having had them passed to him by Jack Richards, our last Association President before he passed away. The Battle Orders presented here add to the modest collection already gathered and when I get time I will create a new menu item in the ’75(NZ) Squadron RAF Records’ section of the blog to present them together in chronological order.

12/6/41 ?
12 6 41

This first ‘Battle Order’ is perhaps a little perplexing – the date on it appears to be 12/6/41, however looking at the OP for that date, the raid on Hamm lists only 10 participating aircraft. In discussion with Kevin, he wondered out loud whether the numbers in brackets after each airman was an Ops tally. Looking at this document more closely and with my difficulty in fitting the list to a specific raid, I wonder now whether this is in fact a crew muster for the Squadron for that date – the bottom rows seem to fall away regarding a full crew, being minus the Captain and Pilot. If you look carefully, the list seems to have been written on the back of a form which seems to be a report form. for “Officers, W/O or Airmen that (I think) have completed courses for instruction” – I suspect this in itself perhaps has nothing to do with this list of airmen, but I include it a second time below, in reverse, in case anybody can shed more light on it……..

12 6 41 reversed

Interestingly, within the first crew listed under ‘B Flight’, is Sgt. James Allen Ward, second Pilot to S/L Reuben Widdowson at this time.

10/9/44 War Ops – Montvilliers
9th 10th September 1944

Twenty seven aircraft attacked Montivilliers in the Le Havre area, as detailed.  All crews dropped their bombs on the target and a very concentrated raid developed.  No fighters were encountered and only slight opposition was met from ground defences.

27/9/44 War Ops – Calais
27th September 1944

Fourteen aircraft attacked Calais as detailed, taking off in the morning during doubtful weather.  Crews bombed visually under instructions from the Master Bomber and a good concentrated raid was carried out.  Some accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was met over the target.

1/1/45 War Ops – Vohwinkel
Vohwinkel 1st January 1945

Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Vohwinkel, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM, 500 G.P. and 500 M.C. and Munro bombs. Nineteen aircraft took off, seventeen of which attacked primary target. NZ403980 P/O McMillan attacked a last resort target. NZ40984 W/Cdr. R.J. Newton and P/O R. Aitchison (NZ429286) as second pilot failed to return. There was very little opposition in the target area.

3/1/45 War Ops – Dortmund
3rd January 1945 dortmund

Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund Oil Refineries in daylight. Crews bombed by instruments in ten tenths cloud. Results were unobserved. The aircraft carried 4,000 H.C., 500 M.C. 500 G.P. 500 ANM and Munro bombs. NZ42397 F/L L. Hannan landed at Mendalsham on return, but reached base later the same evening.

12/3/45 War Ops – Dortmund
12th March 1945

Dortmund was the target for 21 aircraft carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., and Smoke Puffs (red). Flak was slight to moderate, cloud ten tenths with tops 5/6000ft. Aircraft reported good results. Smoke was already pushing through cloud when aircraft left. Bombing was well concentrated.

 

 

A bit of an Announcement…..

I’ve been a bit busy of late, trying to clear the decks as it were, last week, before travelling down to Mepal on Thursday , to stay a night at the 3 Pickerells. We would then move onto the Dolphin at St. Ives for the annual  Friends of 75 (NZ) Squadron Association.

As always I was keen to get there, but I was also very conscious that we were gathering this year to say goodbye to our last President, Jack Richards and to lay his ashes in the Memorial Garden prior to our Service of Remembrance on Sunday morning. The subject of Jack’s replacement had, I must admit occupied my thoughts recently and I wondered who was going to be made the new President.

I will make another more detailed post about the weekend, hopefully by the end of this week, but I had no idea to be honest, the turn of events that were to take place.

I must thank the Association Committee with all of my heart for the decision they came to regarding the next President of the Association, when they asked me and I accepted.

Honestly, I felt a little bit numb after the discussion and after the announcement on the Saturday night. I’ll make it clear now, that I will do my utmost to fill the space that Jack’s death has left in the Association, but, Jack is now legend and the honour I feel is as much as being given the opportunity to continue in the title that Jack so wisely carried for so many years, as in the taking of the title itself.

Talking at the weekend to a few people, it struck me that what I feel as my biggest regret, that I never spoke to Dad about his time with the Squadron, perhaps had a reason in itself. Perhaps if I had and I had found out from him all the things I still do not know, it might have ended there – Bob would pass away, but I would have known about these times and I would keep them as memories of my Father. Perhaps the fact that I didn’t was for the best – it meant that I started my search, found Kevin and the Association and created the blog and am now here, writing this to tell you all that I am now President of the Association – I have just read this back and I still can’t believe it.

As an Association, we will continue to move forward. The blog has proved to me that there is still a deep respect and desire to know the stories of our Fathers, Grandfathers, and Uncles and it is this task that they have entrusted to us. We must all ensure that their stories are told and never forgotten and most importantly I believe, that these stories of 75(NZ) Squadron and the braves boys that flew in it are held for younger generations to discover and understand.

Jack, I will try to not let you down.

Simon

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Charles Wilfred Wheeler, Air Gunner – Berney, White and Stott crew

It is with great sadness that I must report the death of Charles Wilfred Wheeler, Air Gunner, who flew with the Berney, White and Stott crew between April and September 1944.

The news was passed to me by Clive Turvey, President of Harborne Golf Club, where Wilf was a member for almost 50 years.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Jack Richards – Memorial bench, Fakenham

image

Glad, Jack’s widow sat on the newly unveiled bench in Fakenham (image from edp.co.uk.)

Thanks to Kevin for bring to my attention the unveiling of a memorial seat to Jack Richards in Fakenham. The following text is from edp24.co.uk:

A bench has been erected in Fakenham in honour of haulage entrepreneur Jack Richards, whose yellow lorries are recognisable across the country.

The bench, which features an image of a lorry with a plaque, is next to the traffic lights on Highfield Road opposite the junction with Queens Road.

His son Anthony Richards said it was a fitting tribute to his father, who founded haulage firm Jack Richards and Son.

He said: “It is absolutely wonderful that my father is remembered in this way, he would have been so proud.

“Before the bypass came in our vehicles came past these traffic lights. It is nice that he is remembered in Fakenham, I just wish that he was here to see it.”

Read the full article on edp24 here.