Tag Archives: 1944

Henry Smulovitch, Flight Engineer – Osborne crew

Crew of L Lucy cropped and contfromHR

The Osborne crew, one assumes taken at some point during their stay at Mepal. Henry Smulovitch is stood second from the right in the main back row. The identities of the rest of the crew are sadly not known at this time. © David Smulovitch

David has contacted me about his Father, Henry Smulovitch, who was Flight Engineer with Roy Osborne’s crew between September and December 1944.

The Osbourne crew arrived at Mepal on the 8th of September 1944, Roy flying 2 ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops with Harry Yates and Jim Johnson on the 10th and 16th of September, before joining his tour on the 20th for their first Operational flight to Calais. David says that Henry, as Flight Engineer used to say that if Roy was injured, he would have to take the controls of the aircraft – Henry and the rest of the crew prayed that would never happen!

The details of Roy’s 2nd Pilot ops are as follows:

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
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.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S Sugar (3)

F/O Henry Charles ‘Harry’ Yates, RAFVR 141776 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O William George ‘Bill’ Birnie, RNZAF NZ429291 – Navigator.
F/S Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka, RNZAF NZ421741 – Air Bomber.
W/O Sinclair Archibald ‘Archie’ Bain, RNZAF NZ415983 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Denys ‘Tubby’ Westell, RAFVR 2221192/ 188789 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Geoffrey Fallowfield, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Norrie Close, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:21 – Landed 19:09
Flight Time 03:48

16/09/1944 – Attack Against Moerdijk
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack Moerdijk Bridge. The operation was successfully carried out in good weather. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O Oboe (19)

F/O James Johnson, RAFVR 176437 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
W/O Thomas Talbot Murdoch, RAFVR 1345478 – Navigator.
F/O Alexander Mitchell Penman, RNZAF NZ416154 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. James Smith, RAFVR 1604615 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lorenzo Marfil, RAFVR 1893899 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alexander Reid, RAFVR 2211424 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald McLeod, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:36 – Landed 00:26
Flight Time 02:50

Its perhaps fortunate for us that Harry Yates was Pilot on one of these familarisation flights – within the pages of Harry’s book ‘Luck and a Lancaster‘, I found the following piece that relates to Roy – or apparently ‘Bill’ Osborne:

“Of the three second dickeys whom we initiated, only the first, Bill Osborne survived a tour. He became quite a character on the station. He had a great knack of capturing anyone’s essential features with a few affectionate strokes of the pen. At most times, an Osborne caricature was to be found on the mess notice board.

On the day of my de-mob I bumped into Bill in the corridor of a railway carriage. I was dressed in regulation civvy suit; he, a career pilot flying jets in uniform. Time was moving on and the great days of the Lancaster were already gone”.

Its a tantalising thought that perhaps one of ‘Bill’ Osborne’s caricatures maybe still exists somewhere………

It was now time for the Osborne crew to join the other crews, taking off from Mepal on a late summer afternoon………..

20/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft set out as detailed to attack enemy strong points at Calais. They all successfully bombed the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O ‘Oboe’ (20)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:45 – Landed 17:45
Flight Time 03:00

23/09/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Neuss. The target was obscured by ten tenths cloud with tops of 11,000 ft. Most crews bombed below cloud, some explosions and flashes were seen, but results were difficult to assess. One aircraft returned early through the complete failure of the electrical system and a further aircraft bombed the target, but owing to a technical failure, landed at Woodbridge on return. Moderate but inaccurate A.A. Fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N (5)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:25 – Landed 23:55
Flight Time 04:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (10)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 08:15
Flight Time 20:50

26/09/1944 – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack a defended locality near Cap Gris Nez. They all attacked the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was negligible.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (11)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 14:26
Flight Time 02:46

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to make an early morning attack on the defended localities near Calais. One aircraft landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure discovered shortly after take off. Of the remainder only one aircraft found a break in the clouds through which to bomb the Markers. Ten aircraft had to abandon their mission after circling the target area for a considerable time.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (12)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:54 – Landed 10:49
Flight Time 02:55

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (36)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:00 – Landed 11:05
Flight Time 04:05

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (37)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 14:05
Flight Time 02:40

22/10/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack Neuss. Eight attacked the target through ten tenths cloud, but results were unsatisfactory. One aircraft attacked Munchen Gladbach being unable to reach the primary target on time.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (38)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:30 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 04:05

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (39)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:50 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 04:50

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Twenty three of these attacked the target and bombing was good, built up areas and factories being identified visually. One aircraft brought its bombs back owing to the failure of the bombing equipment when over the target and two other aircraft returned early owing to technical failures.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (46)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:20 – Landed 16:40
Flight Time 03:20

26/10/1944 – Attack Against Leverkusen
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Leverkusen. They all bombed the target in formation and a successful raid was reported. A.A. opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y (47)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:00 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 04:25

28/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Seven aircraft took off a few hours later to participate in an attack on Cologne. They all bombed in clear weather and identified the target visually. Bombing was concentrated and a large smoke pall was seen on leaving. A.A. opposition was moderate, but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (40)
Hit by flak 4 times

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:15 – Landed 17:15
Flight Time 04:00

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Eighteen aircraft took off in the evening to make a further attack on Cologne. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target area, but markers were well placed and a good glow from fires beneath the clouds was observed on leaving. A.A. opposition was slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III NN710 AA-Q (23)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 04:55

11/11/1944 – Sea Mining in Oslo Fjord
Five aircraft were detailed for minelaying off Horten in the Oslo Fjord. Four aircraft took off and planted their mines successfully in their allotted position but on return the aircraft were diverted to Tain, owing to doubtful weather at base.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q (28)
A/C returned to Tain, owing to unsatisfactory weather at Base

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:25 – Landed 23:00
Flight Time 07:35

16/11/1944 – Attack Against Heinsberg
Twenty five aircraft were detailed to attack an Oil Refinery target at Sterkrade but this operation was cancelled, and the 25 aircraft later took off to attack Heinsberg in support of the advancing American Army, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All crews were successful in bombing the town which was identified visually. On leaving, the whole town appeared to be covered in a thick pall of smoke. Flak was fairly intense but only two of our aircraft received minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (48)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:28 – Landed 17:34
Flight Time 04:06

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (49)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:47 – Landed 17:28
Flight Time 04:41

21/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make another daylight attack on the Oil Refinery plant at Homberg, carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. On this occasion weather over the target was clear, and crews reported the bombing to be quite good, both the target and town being identified visually. Several good explosions were observed in the target area. Flak opposition was moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (50)
Hit by flak once

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:28 – Landed 16:52
Flight Time 04:24

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P  (19)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:40 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 04:46

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (51)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 17:03
Flight Time 04:48

28/11/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack on Neuss, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb and Incendiary bombs, together with one 12,000 lb bomb. Twenty aircraft were successful in dropping their bombs using navigational aids and a good concentration of fires was reported. Flak was very slight, the enemy defences appearing to be completely foxed. One aircraft captained by W/C R.J.A. Leslie, D.S.O., A.F.C. carrying the 12,000 lb bomb got in the wrong stream of bombers and bombed Essen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (52)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:50 – Landed 07:25
Flight Time 04:35

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (53)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:48 – Landed 15:15
Flight Time 04:27

02/12/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Seventeen aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on the Coking Plant at Dortmund. All crews were successful in attacking the target which was covered by 10/10 cloud, tops being about 12,000 ft. and the raid was thought to be successful, though the Bomber stream was not as concentrated as usual. Flak was moderate, but very erratic, and none of our aircraft suffered damage. Bombs carried on this attack were 4,000 lb H.C., 1,000 lb. M.C. and 1,000 lb ANM.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (54)

P/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 17:36
Flight Time 05:00

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (56)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:00 – Landed 14:07
Flight Time 05:07

08/12/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on Duisburg Marshalling Yards carrying 1,000 M.C., 1,000 A.N.M. and Munro Bombs. All aircraft successfully attacked the target and a very concentrated attack was reported, but apart from one report of smoke coming through the tops of the cloud at 15,000 ft., no results were observed. One aircraft “D” captain F/S Wood, J., landed at Woodbridge on return.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (8)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:37 – Landed 12:37
Flight Time 04:00

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (60)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:50 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:20

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (61)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:22 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:15

28/12/1944 – Attack Against Gremberg M/Y at Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Gremberg Marshalling yard at Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Nineteen aircraft bombed the target and one bombed short due to technical failure. One aircraft AA”S” captained by NZ425292 F/O D. Sadgrove returned early owing to engine trouble. Crews were satisfied that the attack was successful, many reporting smoke rising well above the cloud tops. Slight H/F was experienced, but no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (62)
Hit by flak once
F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:01 – Landed 16:57
Flight Time 04:56

30/12/1944 – Mining in the Heligoland Bight
No bombing operations were laid on but four aircraft were required for mining by special equipment in the Heligoland Bight area. All were successful and planted mines as ordered. There was some enemy air activity, three of our aircraft reporting fighters of E/A. One of these, AA”J” captained by F/O E. Parsons, was in combat in which E/A was claimed as damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (15)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:35 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 04:05

This and that……..

I am currently very busy at work with Semester 1 assessment, so probably, I may not be able to post much over the next week or so, but rather than just fall silent again, I thought it might be useful to just update you on a few things – I am mindful that the blog suggests a certain level of activity, but much like a swan – serene above the surface, but all frantic thrashing below the water – things are constantly happening off the pages as it were…..

Relative contacts
Firstly, I am really pleased to say that the traffic to the blog keeps up unabated – which is fantastic. As I often remark to people when I talk about the blog, one of the amazingly satisfying, but initially unforeseen consequences of the blog is the ability to reconnect people. I am pleased to say in the last week or so this has happened a few more times. I have been able to connect Ann, daughter of Albert ‘Titch’ Haliday with Ginny – her Father, Ben Barton flew with ‘Titch’ in Mart Kilpatrick’s crew. I have also been contacted by David, after first meeting him, his wife and his Father-in-law Jim Mulhall at the November Reunion of the Association – it took a while for my gears to whir, but they are now in touch with Hubert, whose Father, Jim flew with as his Flight Engineer, until they were shot down on the 21st of November 1944 on the Homberg Op. Also, George contacted me last week regarding his Father Sidney, who flew as a Mid Upper Gunner with Maurice Thorogood, so now George and Maurice’s Daughter, Mary, are back in contact.

75(NZ) Squadron Database
Work continues on the database. A recent post about Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J forced me into 1941 and it showed to me the relative difficulty of identifying individuals in the Operational Record Books. I am acutely aware that I have a fair few replies to make to relatives of boys who flew during the early part of the War – this is partly because of the difficulty in putting together a thorough and accurate Op history, owing to firstly being able to identify and separate an individual from others of the same surname (you’d be surprised how many of the same surnames their are) and then to be able to confidently track them sometimes between a number of crew. Before I began the database, I was just about able to do an Op history for an individual in the later years of the war, simply by looking through the ORB’s and recording occurrences by hand/ eye – at this early point I quickly became aware this was almost impossible for these early War years.

As I have mentioned numerous times already – my entry into the database work was rather random – perhaps because of Dad’s service I decided to start in the middle of 1943 and then began to work forward as it were – being randomly distracted with other aspects of data based discovery along the way. Relative contact would then send me off somewhere else to find and complete an Op history and this could be way ahead of where I was currently working……..

Currently, the database is complete as follows:
All aircraft, Pilots and Op diary descriptions from January 1941, to the end of recorded Ops, Post – War, end of June 1945.
All additional aircrew surnames added to all Ops 1943.
Approx 50% of all additional aircrew information added to 1941 Ops.
Approx 40% of all additional aircrew information added to 1942 Ops.
Approx 75% of all additional aircrew information added to 1944 Ops.
Approx 50% of all additional aircrew information added to 1945 Ops.

In addition, there are obviously the ‘complete’ crew Op histories that have been focused on regarding relative contact – in real terms this represents at this point about 8% of records being ‘complete’

Now, this rather random approach I have taken, has sat under a few made up stages I have imagined to try to make it feel like the database won’t become a never ending Herculean task.

They are as follows:
Phase 1. – Pilots, aircraft, Raid and Raid description complete.

Phase 2. – Addition of all aircrew information for each crew, flying under each Pilot.

Phase 3. – Additional secondary aircrew detail – arrival and departure dates, fatality information, citations for awards, DoB and DoD information.

Phase 4. – Addition of extra information on Aircraft – designator letter confirmation (logbooks and various AIR Records), damage, pre and post Squadron information, nose art etc.

Phase 5. – Aircraft Op History verification. Re-checking to identify abortive or ‘non’ counting Ops to arrive at definitive final Op history and Ops tally for each aircraft.

As I mentioned above, my rather haphazard approach means at the moment that I have no actual stage complete! Therefore I am currently focusing  on 1941 full crew entry (i know this isn’t the start at 1940 – but relatively speaking there is more demand for information from 1941 ). I will then go back and enter full crew data for 1940, before then working through from 1942 onwards to complete full aircrew data for the War. This will take me to completion of Phase 2 – the database currently has approx 7,500 rows (this doesn’t include 1940), each row containing (currently) approximately 65 data entry cells – more will be needed as I move through the later phases of data entry……..

As its going at the moment, I would estimate Phase 2 completion is about 18 months off……..

Squadron Nominal Roll
Off of the back of the Squadron database, I also wish to use data captured within it and other sources to create and present a full Squadron Nominal Roll. Seasoned readers might recall the brief existence of a Nominal roll on the blog a few years back – permission was (I thought) granted for its presentation by The New Zealand Association, as a very sensible approach to adding to it and correcting it – sadly, that permission was revoked rather speedily, after it was originally put up on the blog.

The sad shame of this is that currently, a relative searching for information might only come across the blog if 1.) they know the individual flew with 75(NZ) Squadron or 2.) that individual already features in a tagged post on the blog – which I find very frustrating and which I fear, prevents relatives from making contact to provide new information about the individual – so everybody loses out.

Whilst maintaining the blog and researching crews and individuals, I have since, manged to record approximately 650 additions, corrections or expansions to individual entries in this original document – (ironically, the Squadron database allows a far more detailed overview of an individual airman within the Squadron by simple dint of it now existing). I do not have the time, or interest to argue the toss over ownership of what essentially is information that is all publicly accessible, so I will simply build another one from the gathered and sorted data and credit and reference everybody and every research source that has contributed to it.

The End Goal
I am still undecided how this information will be presented – however I know that it will be web based and freely available to anybody who wishes to access it. Many people have remarked to me that ‘there must be a book of the Squadron somewhere in you‘.

I am still of the feeling that an attempt to collate and present the data in physical book form would be little more that an act of incredible vanity and stupidity. Whilst it makes sense to record small sets of stories or the life of an individual, something as large as ‘The Squadron’ is simply too big to attempt a definitive record on the printed page.

Despite the age of the subject matter, what excites me is that information is still coming in every week and to use the metaphor of painting the Forth Road Bridge, a book would never be finished and at the point of publication would probably be already out of date. Add to this the actually VERY small potential market and the therefore, intrinsically high unit cost and I think it would be the folly of a supreme egotist, or a lunatic to try such a thing……….

Having said all of this, I do not envisage the database trying to live within the relative constraints of this blog – it was an initial idea to produce a website, but WordPress thankfully provided me with a far more immediate and efficient method of contacting and communicating with all of you. It might well be that the arrival at the end point of the database will be the point that I turn my attention to a dedicated website – but rest assure dear readers, the physical blog section will always remain!

Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association
Something that I do want to get sorted fairly quickly is the addition of a series of pages within the blog for Association business and communication. I envisage the top menu link currently occupied by the Memorial Garden to be replaced by an ‘Association’ one, under which will exist a series of sub set pages – I hope to include something about the History of the Association, its Mission statement (I know I hate the phrase as well, but it sounds better than ‘what we do’) and certainly a section advertising events and activities – most specifically the annual Winter reunion.

In discussion with members of other squadron associations, I think I have now, a far better understanding of what is possible, viable and useful and what is not. My first initial thoughts are that we should use the reach of the blog to grow the UK Association membership, we should give thought to some appeals for specific projects, for things like memorial stones at crash sites here and in Europe and that we need to seek opportunities to educate and inform younger generations about the role 75(NZ) Squadron RAF played during the War in Bomber Command.

Also, whilst I plan to make a more detailed and considered statement at a later point, I think also that  we need to let people know that the Association needs to be considered as an option regarding the donation of loved ones items, photographs, logbooks, uniforms etc.

I think an ongoing project should be the collection of objects and that if we were able to build one, that it could be made available through a catalogue for loan to third party organisations for short displays, exhibitions etc. In this way, these precious objects have a chance to be seen, understood and valued, rather than hidden away in the dark of a cupboard or a drawer….

I am aware that perhaps a museum appears to be a first, sensible point of donation, but I think these things value, both actual and emotional can be understood much better by the Association and it’s membership and in this respect, if they can, they need to be kept together.

I have also been recently exploring the world of PayPal and WordPress and I think with a little bit of thought we should be able allow people who visit the blog and then the Association section to buy Association membership, and also contribute donations if they wish – I am acutely aware that the reach and apparent interest in the blog should try to be tapped for the benefit of the Association and I suppose with my Presidential hat on, we need to take a wider view, regarding the direction that the Association could possibly take and what it might do in the future and that, put simply, will probably require cash…………

 

Now of course, having read that ramble back, it strikes me in the same time, I could actually have put another post up about someone………

 

 

Francis Cassidy McIntyre, Wireless Operator – Bateson crew

Francis portrait

Sgt Francis McIntyre, Wireless Operator with Benjamin Bateson’s crew, all who were lost on the 25th of June 1944 during an attack on Rimeux. © Archie McIntyre

Many thanks to Archie for contacting me about his Father, Francis McIntyre, Wireless Operator with the Bateson crew, who were all killed on the  25th of June 1944 during an attack on Rimeux.

The story that Archie bought to me was deeply disturbing regarding the possible fate of the crew  – I would like to thank Kevin and Errol for responding to my request for information on the crew and the information, particularly that Errol was able to provide to perhaps put Archie and his family’s worries to rest regarding the events of the 25th of June.

In Archie’s own words, his Fathers story is a tragic one:
“He was the old man on the plane being 25 when he died. His one year old daughter died in 1942 and his 20 year old wife also died in 1942, yet he still few on for another 18 months. Surely they could have spared him this as he was all I had left. He was by all accounts very depressed at this time.”

Rescue training

A group of airmen during their training undertaking life raft drill (location and date unknown) Francis is sat on the left of the dinghy. © Archie McIntyre

The Bateson crew first met at No. 11 Operational Training Unit on the 16th November 1943, moving to 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit on the 18th March 1944. The crew began their final stage of training at Feltwell at No.3 Lancaster Finishing School on the 19th of May. 8 days later the Bateson crew arrived at their first Operational unit – 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

29 days later the Bateson crew would be dead.

As was normal at this time, Ben Bateson flew a single Op with Richie Millar and his crew to Trappes on the 31st of May. On the 2nd of June the Bateson crew flew their first Op to Wissant.

The bateson crew

The Bateson crew, stood in front of the rear tail plane of what we must deduce to be ND756. From left to right: Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan ( Air Bomber), Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre (Wireless Operator), F/S Bruce Milne (Rear Gunner), F/S Benjamin William Bateson (Pilot), Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, (Flight Engineer), Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin (Navigator) & Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett (Mid Upper Gunner). © Archie McIntyre

The picture above of the Bateson crew and ND756 is perhaps a little strange and worth exploring. Firstly, there appears to be at least 3 bomb silhouettes that have been painted over – suggesting perhaps that this aircraft had been based elsewhere before arriving at Mepal – in fact, according to ‘Lancaster – the Definitive History’ by Harry Holmes, ND756 came straight to 75(NZ) Squadron on the 13th March 1944. Next, based on Ops in the database, The Bateson crew made their only flight in ND756 on the 10th of June to Dreux – according to records this would have been the aircraft’s 19th Op – and thus, if one assumes the photograph was taken pre-Op, it should show 18, however, even factoring in the apparently rather inaccurate tally of only 9 (rather than I assume the more normal 10) in the second row, the tally sits at 22 – suggesting this is the 23rd Op – which would place it on the 21st of June, or simply a ‘random’ photo opportunity with the aircraft sometime between the 17th and 21st of June.

02/06/1944 – Attack Against Wissant
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack a target at Wissant, N. France. Owing to thick cloud over the target, twelve aircraft were unable to identify the markers and brought their bombs back. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (20)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:20 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 02:35

03/06/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Calais, and all crews were successful in contributing to a good concentrated raid in clear weather. Defences were slight to moderate and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (21)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:35 – Landed 02:35
Flight Time 02:00

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.I ME702 AA-Q (7)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:45 – Landed 06:50
Flight Time 03:05

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 HK557 AA-P ‘Peter’ (3)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 03:38
Flight Time 03:48

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.III ND753 AA-G (10)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 04:40

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.III ND756 AA-M (19)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 04:20

21/06/1944 – Attack Against Domleger
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the constructional works at Domleger during daylight. Two aircraft failed to take off and the remainder were unable [to] locate the target, the markers not being visible owing to 10/10th cloud. they were instructed by the master bomber to abandon their mission, and apart from some aircraft which jettisoned their load, bombs were brought back. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R (26)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 20:50
Flight Time 02:50

23/06/1944 – Attack Against L’Hey
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the constructional works at L’Hey. All crews bombed on instructions from the Master bomber, and the glow of fires seen through clouds indicated a concentrated raid. Opposition was very slight, although one aircraft had an inconclusive combat with two enemy fighters.

Lancaster Mk.III ND920 AA-P (22)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:15 – Landed 01:35
Flight Time 02:20

24/06/1944 – Attack Against Rimeux
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack the constructional works at Rimeux. Twenty four crews bombed successfully with the aid of markers, and an accurate raid was reported.   There were numerous searchlights in action, but the A.A. opposition was not serious. The aircraft captained by NZ424788 F/S. Bateson, B. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND920 AA-P (23)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:18 – Landed –
Flight Time MISSING

F/S Benjamin William Bateson – Pilot. Died age 22.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin – Navigator. Died age 20.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan – Air Bomber. Died age 23.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre – Wireless Operator. Died age 25.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater – Flight Engineer. Died age 20.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett – Mid Upper Gunner. Died age 21
F/S Bruce Milne – Rear Gunner. Died age 21.

All are buried in Collective Grave No.7, Fruges Communal Cemetery, France.

As I mentioned at the top of this post. Archie came to me with a shocking and potentially very serious story regarding the fate of the Bateson crew:

“My name is Archie McIntyre, I am 74 years old and living in Falkirk , Scotland. My Father was a wireless operator on a Lancaster which was shot down in Fruges, France, near Pas de Calais where he and the rest of the crew were buried. This was on 25th June 1944. In the early 1960’s his older sister went on holiday to France and visited the grave. While she was standing at the grave a French woman spoke to her and said she saw the plane come down and the local people buried all the crew of whom none had survived. That was the story for 70 years until the sister was on her death bed when she confided in another relative the real details. It appears that the plane came down on the German side, (this was shortly after D-Day) and the Gestapo ran up and shot all the crew. All the crew survived the landing although some were injured. The young New Zealand Pilot, I think 22 years old, must have done an amazing job getting it down.”

I must confess, on reading this, I was speechless and quite shocked – the implication was that clearly a war crime had been committed and suddenly I was acutely aware that my sphere of knowledge simply did not extend to this sort of thing. An email to Kevin bought, as always, sound and good council – the possibility of other relatives coming a cross a post of this nature was far too problematic to simply post to see what came back and, I must confess, Kevin suggested a very obvious (only in hindsight to me) route of inquiry and he contacted Errol Martyn.

‘Pleased’ is wholly not the right word to describe the material that Errol returned via Kevin  – but I was pleased and relieved at what I read, even though the contents of the Missing Research Enquiry Unit (MREU) made very cold and uncomfortable reading.

The Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was set up in 1944 to trace the 42,000 personnel who were listed as ‘missing, believed killed’. The demand was so great that the department was expanded in 1945.

These men had no special training, and did not have the benefits that modern technology offers; only a strong desire to bring home those who had not returned. Despite the obstacles caused by the lack of tools, the MRES was able to account for over two thirds of the missing personnel by a thorough combing of the globe. Those found were identified and reinterred in Commonwealth War Graves Commission plots.

Without the commitment shown by the dedicated teams of the MRES, many families would go on not knowing what had happened to their loved one or of the location of their Final resting place. The MRES allowed families the dignity to finally grieve. The unit was disbanded in 1952. (Royal Airforce Museum)

image001

A letter from the New Zealand Air Department to the Father of Ben Bateson. “According to local eye witnesses of the crash, the plane exploded on impact and buried itself in a deep crater, all the members of the crew being instantly killed, such remains as were recovered were buried by French civilians in Grave No.7 in the Fruges Communal Cemetery. Supplied by Errol Martyn

image002

Supplied by Errol Martyn

 

Hopefully this information has bought some closure to Archie and his family – certainly the reportage of the events of the 25th are precise and clinical, but as I said in the email to Archie that contained these documents, at least the boys felt no pain.

I know Archie is keen to try to reconnect with relatives of the crew – so hopefully one, or someone that knows one, might see this post and help Archie reach further closure regarding the loss of his Father

 

A Seasonal Post…..

P1070195 cropped and cleaned

Courtesy Kerry Foster

Kerry has kindly passed these items to me and given the nature of them I felt it was fitting to post them today. The top image is the outside cover of an RAF Christmas card from Feltwell, 1941. Below is the inside of the card. Kerry says not much is known of ‘Ted’ other than he was apparently Ground crew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF for the duration of the war.

joining of christmas card 1941

Courtesy Kerry Foster

The second item is a NAAFI purchased 75(NZ)  Squadron RAF calender for 1943.

P1070194

Courtesy Kerry Foster

So, from 75nzsquadron.com to all of you:

Have a Merry Christmas

and a

Prosperous New Year

Don Day, Navigator – Leadley crew

Don Day portraits

Sgt. Donald A. Day, Navigator with the Leadley crew – 12th October 1944 to 18th February 1945. © Peter Day

Many thanks to Peter for passing on a wonderful set of photographs of his Father, Donald Day and the Leadley crew. In talking to Peter, I realised I was listening again to the recollections of the admiration that the crew held for their Skipper. Peter said he viewed Donald ‘Like a God‘ and I have heard this exact phrase used by others. No doubt each airman viewed their crew mates with respect and belief in their ability to do their job, but i think that ultimately, they all put their lives and trust in the hands of their ‘Skip’ – and they believed, come hell or high water that he would get them ‘back for breakfast’ after every Op.

Middle row far left 41 Air School Colindale East London South Africa Training

Don during his early training: middle row far left, whilst at No. 41 Air School, Colindale, East London, South Africa. © Peter Day

front row middle the Leadley crew

The Leadley crew on base, 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal, Cambridgeshire. Don is stood in the middle of the front row – I think, Bob Gill is stood behind Don, in the middle of the group. If this is Bob Gill, then based on the visibility of brevets as basic shapes within the photograph, I think that to the left of Bob, id Don Leadley, the Skipper. © Peter Day

The Leadley crew arrived at Mepal on the 12th of October 1944 from No.31 Base. Donald, the Skipper flew with Alan Baxter’s crew on the night of the 19th of October to Stuttgart. The Leadley crew flew their first Operational flight on the 21st of October to Flushing. The boys went on to complete their tour, their final Op with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF being to Munchen Gladbach on the 1st of February 1945 – ironically, the Op that marked my own Father’s return to the Squadron……..

front row rhs D Day lhs Bob Gill

The Leadley crew in front of an unknown Lancaster at Mepal. Don is knelt to the right in the front row, next to Bob Gill, the crew’s Air Bomber. © Peter Day

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (14)
Listed as a MK.III PB524 10 times (AC) (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:05 – Landed 13:53
Flight Time 02:48

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Twenty three of these attacked the target and bombing was good, built up areas and factories being identified visually. One aircraft brought its bombs back owing to the failure of the bombing equipment when over the target and two other aircraft returned early owing to technical failures.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (15)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:02 – Landed 17:20
Flight Time 04:18

26/10/1944 – Attack Against Leverkusen
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Leverkusen. They all bombed the target in formation and a successful raid was reported. A.A. opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (16)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:04 – Landed 17:20
Flight Time 04:16

29/10/1944 – Attack Against West Kapelle
Fourteen aircraft took off to attack a target at West Kappelle. They all bombed as instructed by the Master Bomber and bombing was reported as concentrated, although it was thought to be slightly away from the correct aiming point. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (18)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:10 – Landed 12:37
Flight Time 02:27

30/10/1944 – Attack Against Wessling
Six aircraft took off to attack a target at Wesselling. Bombing was reported as being rather scattered. A.A. opposition was moderate to intense, but only one aircraft suffered damage.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K (26)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:06 – Landed 13:33
Flight Time 04:27

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Bottrop
Six aircraft took off as detailed to attack a target at Bottrop. they all attacked the target in formation and a fairly concentrated raid was achieved. A.A. fire over the target was intense but all of our aircraft returned safely.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (22)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:49 – Landed 16:32
Flight Time 04:43

02/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery at Homberg, carrying 7 x 8,000 lb, 13 x 4,000, 99 x 1,000 and 132 x 500 lb Bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing the target in clear weather, and a concentrated raid developed. A large pall of black smoke was soon burning in the target area, and many crews saw their bombs burst in the smoke, through which parts of the factory were observed. Flak opposition was moderate to intense and eight aircraft suffered minor damage, but one aircraft captained by NZ421343 F/L V.J. Andrew, was hit by heavy flak when over the target and the starboard engine caught fire which the crew only managed to extinguish with great difficulty.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K (28)
Hit by flak once (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 15:40
Flight Time 04:06

05/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Eighteen aircraft detailed to make a second attack in daylight on Solingen carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb inc. No.17 Clusters. All crews were successful in bombing in formation and reports indicate that bombing was more concentrated than in the previous raid.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H (7)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:16 – Landed 15:30
Flight Time 05:14

06/10/1944 – Attack Against Coblenz
Sixteen aircraft were detailed for a night attack against Coblenz carrying 8,000 lb; 4,000 lb; No.14 clusters; No.17 clusters; 4lb inc. Fifteen aircraft were successful. The aircraft captained by F/O T. Winter (152351) returned early on account of engine trouble. Crews were able to identify the target visually in clear weather and a good concentrated raid developed, with smoke rising to 10,000 feet. NZ421919 F/O Kilpatrick, M had a short inconclusive encounter with a JU.88. Flak was moderate to slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H (8)

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S S. Cooke, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:57 – Landed 22:12
Flight Time 05:15

08/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twelve aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery at Homberg in daylight carrying 8,000 lb., 4,000 lb., 1,000 lb., 500 lb., and No 14 Clusters.  All crews report identifying the target visually through breaks in the clouds, and bombing was fairly concentrated, much smoke and many explosions were seen around the target.  Flak defences were moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (25)

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
P/O Henry James Abrahams, RAFVR 1313153/ 183761 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:01 – Landed 12:16
Flight Time 04:1

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

As is sometimes the case, the reportage of the Form 541 Raid Summary barely fails to describe the actual events for the Leadley crew this night. As noted by Ron Mayhill, A/B with Jake Aitken’s crew HK 593 was, he thinks. one of the aircraft that he saw get hit by flak over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-M (16)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 16 x 500 M.C.,
Primary target Cologne M/Y.
Landed at Manston on two engines

Hit by flak 20 times (AC) Landed at Manston, crew unhurt. (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

Cologne extract from logbook

From Don Day’s logbook ‘s/c on 3 engines, bomber late – shot up by flak landed Marston with 1 1/2 engines.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Kidd, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:13 – Landed 17:10
Flight Time 04:57

For his efforts and skill on the return flight, F/O Donald Percy Leadley was awarded an Immediate Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation for this raid adds extra detail to the events of that night:

Citation DFC (Imm) 21st Dec 1944): In November 1944 this officer was pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. Early on the outward flight the propeller of the starboard outer engine had to be feathered. Although some height was lost, Flying Officer Leadley went on to the target and executed his attack. During the operation the aircraft was hit by shrapnel . Some time later, en-route for home, the port inner engine commenced to emit smoke , whilst oil poured from it. Soon afterwards yet a third engine became defective. In spite of this Flying Officer Leadley flew to the nearest available airfield in this country and effected a safe landing. This officer has completed numerous sorties and has invariably displayed a high degree of skill, coolness and courage.

02/12/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Seventeen aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on the Coking Plant at Dortmund. All crews were successful in attacking the target which was covered by 10/10 cloud, tops being about 12,000 ft. and the raid was thought to be successful, though the Bomber stream was not as concentrated as usual. Flak was moderate, but very erratic, and none of our aircraft suffered damage. Bombs carried on this attack were 4,000 lb H.C., 1,000 lb. M.C. and 1,000 lb ANM.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (33)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 5 x 1,000 M.C., 4 x 1,000 ANM.
Primary target Dortmund.
Scattered attack.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:47 – Landed 17:18
Flight Time 04:31

04/12/1944 – Attack Against Oberhausen
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack an Oil target at Oberhausen, carrying 1 x 12,000 lb, 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM, 500 G.P., 500 M.C. and 4 lb I.B. bombs. Nineteen aircraft attacked the target using navigational aids and the raid was reported as well concentrated though results were unobserved owing to 10/10 cloud with tops 10,000 ft covering the target. One aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen, having been damaged by flak.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (34)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 6 x 1,000 ANM, 6 x 500 G.P.
Primary target Oberhausen.
Second wave well concentrated bombing.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:24 – Landed 16:08
Flight Time 03:44

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (35)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 12 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 G.P. LD 6hrs
Primary target Hamm M/Y.
Good concentration.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/L Stanley William Galloway, RAFVR 148919 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:09 – Landed 13:50
Flight Time 04:41

06/12/1944 – Attack Against Mersburg Leuna Oil Refinery
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack o the Merseburg Leuna Oil Refinery, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P.(LD) bombs. The target was covered with 10/10 cloud, tops about 14,000 ft and all aircraft were successful in bombing the target with navigational aids. The attack was considered to be concentrated, though bombing results could not be seen, apart from the glow of fires seen beneath the cloud. Flak was intense in the target area and a few enemy fighters were seen en route but no attacks were reported. One aircraft, AA “R” captained by 1585981 F/O D. Atkin, had engine trouble after leaving the target, the starboard inner catching fire, and it was with great difficulty that the crew managed to keep the fire under control. When approaching this country the starboard inner engine went u/s and after jettisoning all equipment and with the aircraft losing height at 100 feet per minute, the Captain made a very good ditching in the River Orwell. None of the crew were hurt.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (36)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 6 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 G.P.L.D. 6hrs
Primary target Meresburg Oil Refinery.
Fairly good concentration on markers.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/L Stanley William Galloway, RAFVR 148919 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:05 – Landed 00:16
Flight Time 07:11

12/12/1944 – Attack Against Witten
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack Witten in daylight and again found their target obscured by ten tenths cloud. Moderate flak was encountered and enemy fighters were seen attacking the first wave of aircraft ahead. No results were observed owing to cloud. The aircraft captained by F/Lt Hannan collided with another aircraft just before reaching the target, however the target was bombed and base reached safely. The a/c captained by F/S Zinzan was damaged in landing and the Air Bomber F/O Mesure sustained a broken leg.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (39)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 14 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 M.C.
Primary target Witten.
Lead in first wave somewhat scattered due to attack by enemy fighter.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:19 – Landed 15:54
Flight Time 04:35

21/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target in daylight. Crews bombed by instruments in ten tenths cloud. Results were unobserved. NZ42397 F/L I. Hannan landed at Mendlesham on return, but reached Base later the same evening.

Lancaster Mk.I PB132 AA-X (55)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 6 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Trier.
Gunners saw target through gap, seemed well hit.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:19 – Landed 16:50
Flight Time 04:31

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J (76)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 6 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Trier.
Very good concentration of bombs in target area.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:53

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F  (49)
Bomb load 6 x 1,000 ANM, 4 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Rheydt.
Very good concentration of bombing over target. AA-O dropped bombs from 23,000ft. after being directly above for 3 minutes and had to take violent evasive action to avoid being hit.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:27 – Landed 16:45
Flight Time 04:18

28/12/1944 – Attack Against Gremberg M/Y at Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Gremberg Marshalling yard at Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Nineteen aircraft bombed the target and one bombed short due to technical failure. One aircraft AA”S” captained by NZ425292 F/O D. Sadgrove returned early owing to engine trouble. Crews were satisfied that the attack was successful, many reporting smoke rising well above the cloud tops. Slight H/F was experienced, but no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (41)
Bomb load 2 x 1,000 ANM, 15 x 500 ANM.
Primary target Grenberg M/Y.
A bit too concentrated to be safe.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 16:58
Flight Time 04:43

31/12/1944 – Attack Against Vohwinkel
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack Vohwinkel in daylight. Moderate accurate heavy flak was met over the target, but all aircraft returned safely. A scattered raid was reported.

Lancaster Mk.I PB741 AA-E (16)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C. 4 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Vohwinkel.
Generally good but some scattered bombing.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:23
Flight Time 04:39

01/01/1945 – Attack Against Vohwinkel
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Vohwinkel, in datlight. Nineteen aircraft took off, seventeen of which attacked the primary target. F/O McMillan attacked a last resort target. NZ40984 W/Cdr. R.J. Newton and NZ429286 P/O R. Aitchison as second pilot, failed to return. There was very little opposition in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-U (44)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 12 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C. 4 x 250 T.I.
Primary target Vohwinkel.
Uneventful trip.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:01 – Landed 21:38
Flight Time 05:37

03/01/1945 – Attack Against Dortmund Oil Refinery
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.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F (53)
Bomb load 1x 1,000 H.C., 13 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 M.C. 1 Munro.
Primary target Dortmund oil refinery.
Good concentration on flares.

Hit by flak once (AIR14/ 3463 Damage reports)

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Noel Thorpe, RNZAF NZ428168 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W. Pugh, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:39 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 04:56

11/01/1945 – Attack Against Krefeld
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack Krefeld, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500AMN., 500G.P., 500 M.C., 250 G.P., and Munro bombs. Seventeen aircraft bombed the target in tenths cloud with special equipment and two aircraft bombed last resort. Slight H/F was met over the target, but no fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (48)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P., 1 x 350 Munroe.
Primary target Krefeld.
Fairly good bombing around flares.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Brazier , RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 16:46
Flight Time 05:12

13/01/1945 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
Eighteen of nineteen aircraft detailed carried out a successful daylight attack on Saarbrucken Marshalling Yard, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500AMN., 500G.P., 500 M.C., 250 G.P., and Munro bombs. W/Cdr Baigent in ‘A’ had to return with his full load after reaching the target owing to technical trouble which prevented release of bombs. Crews bombed on special equipment. The Marshalling Yard was visible and many bursts were seen on the target. No opposition reported. All aircraft were diverted owing to bad visibility at Base.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (49)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 7 x 500 ANM, 4 x 250 G.P., 1 x 350 Munroe.
Primary target Saarbrucken.
A very good attack. Blue markers a great improvement.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
W/O John Smyrk, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 17:14
Flight Time 05:43

15/01/1945 – Attack Against Langendreer
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Langendreer, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500AMN., 500 M.C., 250 G.P., and Munro bombs. One aircraft ‘D’ captained by F/O Leadley failed to reach the target owing to starboard inner engine failing. No results were observed owing to ten tenths cloud. Flak was slight over the target. No fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 X AA-D (1)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P. 1 x 350 Munroe.
Primary target Langendreer, but abortive.
Furthest point reached 5027/0530 E 14:14hrs 16,000ft. Bombs jettisoned, stbd. inner failed.

Confirmed in Don Day’s logbook – ‘Engine failiure – returned’

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
P/O F. Power – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 17:02
Flight Time 05:31

16/01/1945 – Attack Against Wanne Eickel
Seventeen aircraft attacked Wanne Hickel in ten tenths cloud, tops 6/7000 feet, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P. 500 ANM, 500 M.C. 250 G.P. and Munro bombs. Crews bombed with the aid of instruments and sky markers. Flak was moderate. The general impression was that bombing was concentrated on markers and red glow seen through cloud. The aircraft captained by NZ426235 F/S Wood, J, was attacked by a F.W. 190. The rear gunner opened fire, but no hits were observed and our aircraft suffered no damage. The aircraft captained by NZ414376 F/L T. Blewett unfortunately crashed in this country. The captain and Air Bomber NZ426234 F/O J. Wilson were killed. The Navigator 1398282 F/S Cornell, B.T. died later as a result of severe injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A (18)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 10 x 500 G.P, 2 x 500 M.C., 2 x 250 G.p, 1 x Munroe.
Primary target Wanne Eickel.
Bombing scattered – saw red glow – S/L followed stream in and out this side of front line.

Hit by flak twice (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Brazier , RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:35 – Landed 04:09
Flight Time 04:34
28/01/1945 – Attack Against Cologne (Gremberg)
Twenty aircraft attacked Cologne (Gremberg) as ordered, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. “50 G.P. and Munro bombs. Cloud broke to nil just before the target and crews were able to identify the marshalling yard. Accurate slight to moderate H/F was met over the target. No fighters were seen. Bursts were seen on the marshalling yard. All returned to base.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (50)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 2 x 250 G.P, 1 Munro.
Cologne (Gremburg).
Target seemed to get a good plastering with tendency to overshoot.

Hit by Flak twice (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Campin, RAFVR 1673010 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:20 – Landed 16:24
Flight Time 06:04

29/01/1945 – Attack Against Krefeld M/Y
Nineteen aircraft attacked Krefeld marshalling yard in ten tenths cloud, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Aircraft bombed in formation with the aid of instruments. A good concentration was reported. Slight H/F over the target was the only opposition encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-G (63)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Krefeld M/Y.
Other aircraft were bearing through the target and upset the formation after owing to slipstream.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Campin, RAFVR 1673010 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:02 – Landed 15:40
Flight Time 05:38

01/02/1945 – Attack Against Munchen Gladbach
Seventeen aircraft bomber Munchen Gladbach. No results were observed owing to cloud being ten tenths over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (51)
Bomb load 1x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 3 x 250 G.P., 1 x 240 Smoke Puff.
Primary target Munchen Gladbach.
Seemed a scattered affair. Blue puffs over a wide area. A shakey port inner which caught fire on way home was cause of low maximum height.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Campin, RAFVR 1673010 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 18:19
Flight Time 05:43

 

2nd right Brother Daves wedding

Don stood second from right on his Brother, Dave’s wedding day. © Peter Day

 

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