Tag Archives: 1944

Request for information – Solingen, 4th of November 1944

soligen

Target photo taken by Jack Wall, A/B with Jack Bailey’s crew over Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. The information at the foot of the photograph contains the following information: Squadron Base – Mep is Mepal. Date. Height. Compass bearing. Time. Target. Bomb Load. Camera and Flash setting. Pilots Rank and Name. Aircraft letter and Squadron number.

I was contacted by Matthias last week with information of a potentially fascinating project. Matthias works for the local TV station in Wermelskirchen who are preparing to make a programme about the raid on Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. He is keen to gather as much information as possible – and has contacted me to put out a request to any relatives of the boys who flew on the Op, who might have any information, whether it be stories, photographs or even perhaps logbook notes. Matthias is particularly keen to try to make contact with any relatives of Harry Scott’s crew, who were all lost on the Solingen Op.

Having put together the complete crew list for this Op, I was fascinated to see perhaps a tie up in a detail mentioned in this post and elsewhere on the blog. The first aircraft in the Op list below is LM266 AA-A. The AIR14/3463 Damage Report for this Op lists this aircraft as being hit by debris from an exploding aircraft. Putting in a blind, but optimistic search into the blog through up a post I had made about the myth of the ‘Scarecrow’ and amazingly, the logbook entry by John Dickinson (Mid Upper Gunner with Charlie Spain’s crew) that recorded a ‘Scarecrow’ was Solingen – Whilst I cannot be sure, the proximity of the 195 Squadron aircraft  (HK658 ) to LM266, the fact that John witnessed it, I think, makes it quite a possibility – of the 4 aircraft lost on this Op (3 from 195 and ND917 from 75(NZ) Squadron), only HK658 is listed in the AIR14/3463 Damage Report as exploding – and in fact identifies 2 other aircraft, both from 195 Squadron being hit, Like LM266, with the debris.

log27&28 scarecrow crop

Extract form John Dickinson’s logbook for the Solingen raid, 4th November 1944, noting the loss of a Lancaster by a ‘Scarecrow’. © Dickinson Estate

04/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Twenty one aircraft took off to attack Solingen in daylight, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb incendiaries and No.17 Clusters. All crews dropped their bombs in the target area, but the raid appeared to be scattered. Flak opposition was moderate. One aircraft captained by NZ428797 F/O J. Scott, failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-A ” (43)
Damage not due to Enemy Action – Hit by debris from an exploding Lancaster – thought to be 195 Sqdn HK658 ‘C’ (exploded)

F/L Alan Roy Bidwell Barton, RNZAF NZ413930 – Pilot.
P/O John Gerald Birch, RNZAF NZ429035 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Semple, RAFVR 1558692/ 190519 – Air Bomber.
P/O John Alister MacDonald Stuart, RNZAF NZ404633 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. Smith, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie John Moore, RAFVR 2219346/ 188668 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. F. Williams, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:51 – Landed 16:23
Flight Time 04:32
Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B  (15)

W/C Roy John Alexander Leslie, RAFVR/ RNZAF 36255/ NZ2427 – Pilot.
F/L Frank Ross Dawes, RNZAF NZ417273 – Navigator.
P/O Raymond Alexander Ramsay, RNZAF NZ416866 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Vincent Kemp, RAFVR 1492881/ 188505 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Funnell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Woods, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Cliff Newman, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

This appears to essentially be Nelson Bright’s crew – though I have no information to explain why Nelson is absent.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:07
Flight Time 04:22
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H  (6)

F/O Jeffery Baines, RNZAF NZ414577 – Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Allen Holt, RNZAF NZ4211049 – Navigator.
F/S John Kennedy Clements, RAAF AUS.418070 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Aldridge, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. McCleod?, ? – Mid Upper Gunner. No apparent record of this individual
Sgt. E. Bates, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:31
Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G  (25)

F/O Raymond Arthur Cumberpatch, RNZAF NZ427543 – Pilot.
Sgt. Norman Frederick Wilson, RAFVR 1584666/ 190665 – Navigator.
F/S Clayton Dickson Williams, RNZAF NZ4214071 – Air Bomber.
W/O Lindsay Roy Switzer, RNZAF NZ422008 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Sinclair, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Tom Grady, RNZAF NZ416829 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Walter Dalziel Sneddon, RNZAF NZ425436 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:01
Flight Time 04:16
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C  (32)

F/L Leslie Arthur Martyn, RNZAF NZ417082 – Pilot.
P/O Thomas Issac Elliot, RNZAF NZ421364 – Navigator.
P/O Allan Roy Frank Dunkerley, RAAF AUS.423083 – Air Bomber.
P/O Henry James Abrahams, RAFVR 1313153/ 183761 – Wireless Operator.
F/S A. Golembeck, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Lindsay, RAFVR 1624589 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P/O Andrew Roy Wright, RCAF J.88789 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:42 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:28
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J  (60)

F/O Maurice Edward Dare, RNZAF NZ425238 – Pilot.
F/O Gordon Howe Warren, RNZAF NZ4212904 – Navigator.
F/S Norman Farquhar McDonald, RNZAF NZ429073 – Air Bomber.
F/S William Donovan Neville, RNZAF NZ425538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Dunbar, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Alfred Thomas Bannan, RNZAF NZ425760 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Gordon Lawton, RNZAF NZ4210874 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:08
Flight Time 04:28

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K  (29)

S/L Roy Campbell Earl, RNZAF NZ411388 – Pilot.
F/O Edgar William Lovejoy, RAFVR 745516/ 142868 – Navigator.
F/O J. Rich, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
P/O Patrick Hugh Finnegan, RAFVR 1344819/ 159025 – Wireless Operator.
W/O Leslie Howells, RAFVR 1417820/ 187820 – Flight Engineer.
W/O W. Brown, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O William Henry Goodridge, RAFVR 635318/ 53370 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:41 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 04:22
Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (50)

F/L Wylie James Wakelin, RNZAF NZ391390 – Pilot.
P/O Percival McDowell Johnston, RNZAF NZ4215865 – Navigator.
P/O Graham Barker Appleby, RNZAF NZ422653 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John De Hoop, RAFVR 1810752/ 191161 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Leveridge, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Watts, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Kennedy, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R  (39)

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Madden, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:30
Flight Time 04:45
Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U  (19)

F/O Charles Thomas Spain, RAFVR 921159/ 178068 – Pilot.
F/S P. Johnson,   – Navigator
F/S Leonard Charles James, RNZAF NZ4211046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Laurence Percy Bergman, RAAF AUS.424579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. D. McNeil, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Townson Dickinson, RAFVR 2221282 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John ‘Steve’ Chamberlain, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:35 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q  (25)

F/O Kenneth William Cooper, RAFVR 1440684 – Pilot.
F/S Ian Campbell Cowie, RNZAF NZ425738 – Navigator.
Sgt. J.J. Fitzgerald, RAFVR 658963 – Air Bomber.
F/S Vernon John Smith, RNZAF NZ416826 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Alderson, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Cousins, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Clayton, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:35
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (42)

F/O Martin Adam Kilpatrick, RNZAF NZ421919 – Pilot.
P/O Raymond Sinclair Tait, RNZAF NZ4213951 – Navigator.
Sgt. M. ‘ Jock’ Cattenach, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Wesley Geoffrey ‘Geoff’ Davenport, RAFVR 1817811/ 196353 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Benjamin Charles ‘Ben’ Barton, RAFVR 56702 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Albert ‘Titch’ Halliday, RAFVR 1899145 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert ‘Bob’ Olive, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (30)

P/O Douglas Ross Sadgrove, RNZAF NZ425292 – Pilot.
F/S Robert Trevor Dixon, RNZAF NZ4212652 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Stimpson, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick Flemming, RNZAF NZ425241 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Bernard John Mahoney, RAFVR 1628335/ 190539 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Robert Samuel Bawden, RNZAF NZ4212629 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Dallimore, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.III ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’ (69)

F/L Thomas Christie Waugh, RAFVR 159174 – Pilot.
P/O Colin William Hannam Woonton, RNZAF NZ429055 – Navigator.
F/S Robert Irwin Swetland, RAFVR 1098818, 186577 – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Kidd, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. N. Southgate, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S James Baird Nickels, RNZAF NZ425852 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S David Frank Sage, RNZAF NZ424824 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 16:24
Flight Time 04:53
Lancaster Mk.III NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ (73)

S/L John Mathers ‘Jack’ Bailey, RNZAF NZ412183 – Pilot.
P/O Jack Geoffrey Brewster, RNZAF 130520 – Navigator.
F/O Jack Christopher Wall, RAFVR 143421 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Richard Pickup, RAFVR 98926/ 188816 – Wireless Operator.
F/O Norman Bartlett, RAFVR 54290 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Thomas Douglas Gregory, RAFVR 1283636/ 183718 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Roy Corfield, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:29 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 04:34
Lancaster Mk.I HK597 JN-P ‘Bad Penny IV’ (29)

F/O Francis Colin Wood, RNZAF NZ414715 – Pilot.
F/S R. Johnson, RAFVR – Navigator.
P/O Leslie Ronald Hurcombe, RAFVR 153900 – Air Bomber.
F/S Arthur Albert Charles Taylor, RAFVR 1583883, 186770 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Gibbs, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. A. Wolley, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Mahoney, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 16:04
Flight Time 04:33
Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W ‘The Paper Doll’ (51)

F/O Leonard Boyer, RAFVR 1602332/ 184498 – Pilot.
F/S M. Mendes, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Allan Jospeph Couper, RAAF AUS.430013 – Air Bomber.
F/S Roderick Wilfred Blue, RNZAF NZ426307 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Burkell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. R. Adlard, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Davies, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:33 – Landed 16:00
Flight Time 04:27
Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-T ” (20)

P/O Patrick Leo McCartin, RAAF AUS.419328 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Miles, RAFVR 845847/ 187426 – Navigator.
P/O Leonard Arthur Martin, RAFVR 153528 – Air Bomber.
F/S Phillip Francis Smith, RAAF AUS. 427206 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William John Warlow, RAFVR 1653307 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Dennis George Albert Bryer, RAFVR 1874880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Gray, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 15:59
Flight Time 04:25
Lancaster Mk.III ND917 JN-O ” (70)

F/O John Harold Scott, RNZAF NZ428797 – Pilot.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 29, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Alister Henry Scott, RNZAF NZ428259 – Navigator.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 27, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Kenneth Peder Christian Andersen, RNZAF NZ429128 – Air Bomber.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 28, during a raid on Solingen, Germany. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/S Edward John Francis Howard, RNZAF NZ424469 – Wireless Operator.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 24, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Howard Mansel Thomas, RAFVR 1895708 – Flight Engineer.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 26, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt. John Thomas Beardmore, RAFVR 1818755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 19, during a raid on Solingen, Germany, Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Joseph Thomas Bayes, RAFVR 1595589, 185783 – Rear Gunner.
Died Saturday 4 November 1944, age 35, during a raid on Solingen, Germany. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed Missing
Flight Time Missing
Lancaster Mk.III ND911 JN-V  (65)

F/O Robert Gordon Cuming, RNZAF NZ428083 – Pilot.
F/S John Gilbert ‘Jack’ Scott, RNZAF NZ4213321 – Navigator.
F/S Sydney George Sewell, RNZAF NZ423916 – Air Bomber.
F/S John Durant ‘Jack’ Christie, RNZAF NZ426309 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.C. Lambert, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Scott, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. McElligott, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:35 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:45
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D  (38)

F/L Victor John Andrew, RNZAF NZ421343 – Pilot.
P/O Eric James Osborne, RNZAF NZ422795 – Navigator.
F/S Edward James Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428261 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Roberts, RAAF AUS.426010 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Huckle, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E. Hadigate, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry Grout, RCAF R.109213 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:30 – Landed 16:05
Flight Time 04:35

150,000+ views – Thanks as always

Many thanks to all our readers  – we have recently hit another milestone regarding the blog – now, over 150,000 views.

It seems my recent posts regarding every extra 10,000 views are getting so close and simultaneously, my struggling efforts to get posts up means that it feels a little awkward to keep thanking you all for what seems so little new added to the blog!

A particular thanks to Chris for keeping posts coming through over the last few weeks – very much appreciated and also many thanks to Peter and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association for feeding Chris with what seems to be an almost continuous supply of new images related to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

I was also notified by WordPress last week that we seem to have hit another milestone – 1,000 ‘Likes’ – so its good to see that not only are the posts being viewed, but also liked!

Additionally, over all the ‘platforms’ the the blog communicates through, we now have 400+ followers  – another fabulous figure.

The volume of traffic with the blog as it now is, I have decided to limit my ‘traffic appreciation’ (if there is such a term) to 25,000 view increases – for no reason other than to hopefully prevent you all from getting bored of my continuing thanks to everybody who is supporting the blog – You all have to take as constant and tacit my daily appreciation of interest – but my energies have to be put into adding new content……..

We’ll have another little party at 175,000 – see you there!

cheers

Simon

A “Who’s Who” – 1945.

CHBaigent-4-45

Wing Commander “Mac” Baigent, DFC*. – NZBCA archives.

Many thanks as always to Chris for keeping the posts going! – this time with a Who’s Who of Commanding Officers from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF in 1945. In putting the post together, I realised that at the foot of a page in Dad’s logbook, there was Mac Baigent’s signature, on Bobs sign off from his second tour – I had looked at these pages a thousand times and never noticed it………

As Chris does at the foot of this post, I must, as always, thank Peter and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association for more pictures that I certainly haven’t seen before from their archive.

Cyril Henry Baigent, DFC*, DSO, AFC, RNZAF. (NZ411973, 70038).
Cyril Baigent, usually known as “Mac”, or “Baige”, came from Ashburton, New Zealand.
He enlisted in March 1941, aged 17, and was posted to the RAF in September that year. He served his first tour of duty (32 operations) with 15 Squadron, including participation in the first two, Thousand Bomber raids, and second tour (33 Operations) with 115 Squadron in 1943. He was appointed Squadron Leader, November 1943.

Mac took over as Commanding Officer (CO) of 75 (NZ) Squadron on 6 January 1945, after the loss of W/C Ray Newton on 1st January.

Baigent was still ten days short of his 22nd birthday at the time, the youngest squadron commander in RAF Bomber Command.

Apparently some on Base gave him the nickname “Boy”, but only behind his back! Despite the baby-face and clear complexion, he was tall and apparently physically quite strong.

He was also very popular, and acknowledged for looking after new crews, often taking them on their first op’s. He flew 15 op’s in his time as CO, for a total of 70 by war’s end.

He also led three Operation Manna trips, including the Squadron’s very first on 29 April, one of the post-war flights to evaluate German radar, a farewell salute flypast for RNZAF airmen on the SS Andes, and one Operation Spasm (trip to Berlin to view the City on the ground).

He commanded the Squadron for the rest of the war, through the move to RAF Spilsby for Tiger Force training, and right up until it was disbanded in September 1945. He was awarded the DSO just as they moved to Splisby.

Citation – Distinguished Service Order
17 July 1945, 75 (NZ) Squadron, RNZAF
Throughout three years of operational duty this officer has displayed conspicuous gallantry and exceptional determination.  Since the award of a bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, he has taken part in many attacks against important and highly defended targets.  Both in the air and on the ground, Wing Commander Baigent has proved to be an able, keen and courageous leader, who has invariably set an inspiring example to all under his command.

He later rejoined 75 Squadron for the RNZAF’s deHavilland Mosquito ferry flights from England to New Zealand.

Citation – Air Force Cross
New Year 1948, 75 Squadron, RNZAF
This officer was posted to 75 Squadron as a Flight Commander in October 1946 for Mosquito ferry training duties.  Early in 1947 he proceeded to the United Kingdom and delivered his first Mosquito to New Zealand.  Since then this officer has delivered two more aircraft from the United Kingdom.  Furthermore he has assumed command of the Squadron and despite the time occupied in flying, he has completed much valuable work in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and on the ferry route to make this difficult task of ferrying easier and more practical.  By his keenness and fine leadership he has maintained a high morale amongst aircrew of his Squadron and his never failing enthusiasm and energy have made him an outstanding figure and he has won the admiration and respect of all ranks.  Squadron Leader Baigent has now completed 1,572 hours flying of which 279 hours have been flown within the past six months

WingCoAdjutant1945-RonBaker

Wing Commander “Mac” Baigent, DFC*, and Squadron Adjutant, Flight Lieutenant Charles Bewsher. Probably RNZAF official – appears in “Forever Strong”, by Norman Franks, incorrectly captioned as “F/L Paul Bewsher”. – NZBCA archives, Ron Baker collection.

SONY DSC

Mac Baigent’s signature, signing off the second tour of Air Bomber Jock Sommerville

Flt Lt. Charles Crossfield Bewsher, RAF (100122).
Charles Bewsher was 75 (NZ) Squadron Adjutant from November 1943 to May 1945.

He features in several of the Squadron group photos on this site, from 1943, 1944 and 1945.

The Squadron Adjutant’s role was as administrative assistant to the Commanding Officer, non-flying, essentially to keep the CO’s desk clear of as much paper as possible so that “the boss” could concentrate on operational matters. One of his responsibilities was probably the maintenance of the Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) as Bewsher’s name appears on some of these forms.

ABCFlightCommanders-late-1944-RonBaker

Flight Commanders: Squadron Leader Bob Rodgers DFC, DFM, Commander of “B” Flight; Squadron Leader Jack Wright DSO, DFC, Commander of “A” Flight, and Squadron Leader Jack Bailey DFC and bar, Commander of “C” Flight. Probably RNZAF official – appears in “Forever Strong”, by Norman Franks. – NZBCA archives, Ron Baker collection.

Sqn Ldr. John Robert “Bob” Rodgers, DFC, DFM, RNZAF. (NZ413956)

Bob Rodgers came from Timaru in New Zealand. After initially enlisting in the Army, he was accepted into the RNZAF on 4 July 1941. He trained on Tiger Moths at No. 1 EFTS, Taieri, and then on twin-engined Airspeed Oxfords at 1 SFTS Wigram. He graduated as a pilot on 29 January 1942 and a week later was on his way to England by sea.

He completed a refresher course on Oxfords at Little Rissington, converted to Wellingtons, then on 10 September 1942 he and his crew were posted to 115 Squadron at Mildenhall. Within five days they were in action on a raid to the Ger­man city of Essen. After 22 op’s, he was seconded to 105 (Mosquito) Squadron at RAF Marham as a Gee instructor in February 1943, but returned to 115 Sqdn to complete his tour on Lancasters on 12 May 1943.

He was posted to instructional duties at Lancaster Finishing School at Waterbeach, and on 6 June, D-Day, he applied to take a day off from instructing at the conversion unit to command a Lancaster on a raid on the Lisieux marshalling yards. His DFM came through on June 8.

Rodgers was posted to 75 (NZ) Squadron on 20 September 1944 and promoted to Squadron Leader, after the Squadron lost its B Flight Commander Garth Gunn, who was seriously injured on 17 September when he crash-landed at RAF Hawkinge on return from a daylight raid on Boulogne, and later died of injuries sustained in the crash.

In his book “Luck and a Lancaster”, Pilot Harry Yates DFC describes his boss:
“Squadron Leader Rodgers was a New Zealander and rather taciturn by nature. His post required him to be something of a communicator, and to this he responded with typi­cal Kiwi straightforwardness and informality.”

JAck Rodgers signature

Bob Rodgers sign off at the bottom of the page for February 1945 in the logbook of Air Bomber Jock Sommerville

BAIGENT, Wg Cdr Cyril Henry, DSO, DFC*, AFC, RNZAF. (NZ411973, 70038). Pilot, CO 6 Jan to 27 Sep 1945 RODGERS A/Sqn Ldr. John Robert DFC, DFM, RNZAF. (NZ413956) Pilot 20 Sep 1944 to 28 Mar 1945 “B” Flt Cmdr.

B Flight Commander Bob Rodgers, stood with Wing Commander Mac Baigent at Mepal, 1945

As Flight Commander and something of a Gee H specialist, Rodgers often flew as G-H leader and/or master bomber. He com­pleted his operational career on 6 March 1945 when he flew his fifty-sixth op’ to Salzbergen in Lancaster RF159, AA-X, as G-H leader.

Citation DFC
22 May 1945 75 (NZ) Sdqn:
This officer has completed numerous operational sorties as pilot and captain of aircraft and has invariably displayed outstanding courage and devotion to duty. As a Flight Commander his fearlessness and resource have proved an inspiration to those under his command. He has always shown great enthusiam for operations.

S/L John Leonard “Jack” Wright, DSO, DFC, RNZAF. NZ405781
Lesley Family021

Jack Wright was born in Tirau, in the Waikato.

He flew his first tour as Pilot with 75 (NZ) Squadron on Wellingtons, flying 32 op’s from 29 May to 20 Oct 1942. His crew’s Wellington was BJ772, AA-D, “Donald Duck”.

Citation DFC (Imm) 23 Dec 1942:
This officer has participated in many attacks on some of the most heavily defended targets in Germany. His painstaking search to identify and attack the target is worthy of the highest praise. One night in September,1942, when returning from an attack on the Ruhr a Junkers 88 was observed. By skilfully manoeuvering his aircraft Pilot Officer Wright enabled his gunner to open fire and destroy the enemy aircraft. At all times he has displayed courage and devotion to duty of the highest order.

He and his crew volunteered for the new specialist Pathfinder force and completed a second tour (24 op’s) with 156 (PFF) Squadron, forming the famous ‘Thomas Frederick Duck’ crew.

Lesley Family027

The crew of ‘Thomas Frederick Duck’ at 156 PFF Squadron May – November 1943. Standing, L to R: Nick Carter, Jack Wright, Podge Reynolds, Charlie Kelly Front, L to R: Alf Drew, Ken Cranshaw, Wally Hamond

Jack was awarded an Immediate DSO while with 156 Sqn (16 November 1943).

After various staff appointments he rejoined 75 (NZ) Sqdn on 28 Nov 1944 as a Squadron Leader, and “A” Flight Commander.

He flew a further 14 op’s, bringing his total to 70.

Squadron Leader) John Mathers “Jack” Bailey, DFC*, NZ412183 RNZAF
Jack Bailey was from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, but moved to New Zealand just before the war to farm in Ohingaiti, in the Manawatu. He enlisted in the R.N.Z.A.F. in 1941, was trained in New Zealand and then shipped to England.

He trained at 11 OTU, then completed a tour of operations as a Pilot with 75 (NZ) Squadron 9 (Sep 1942 – 4 May 1943), flying first Wellingtons, then Stirlings.

He received the DFC in June 1943.

Citation Distinguished Flying Cross
9 June 1943 [75 (NZ) Sqn]:
Throughout his operational career Pilot Officer Bailey has invariably displayed the utmost eagerness to proceed on operations. He always attacks his targets with skill and determination and has taken part in missions over heavily defended areas in enemy territory, such as Berlin, Cologne, Turin and Essen. Pilot Officer Bailey is an excellent captain of aircraft, who has performed all his duties in an exemplary manner.

On 75 Sq. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Sixth from left is P/O Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

On 75 Sq. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Sixth from left is P/O Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

After a period of instructional duty, S/L Bailey returned to the New Zealand squadron in late 1944 and began his second tour of operations. Bailey posted in as F/L, appointed to acting rank of S/L w.e.f. 10/11/44.

The Navigator from his first crew, Fray Ormerod DFC, held the posts of Navigation Leader and Operations Officer while Bailey was at Mepal.

Bailey became famous as the Pilot who took his Lancaster, NE181, JN-M “Mike”, The Captain’s Fancy” on her 100th op’ to Krefeld on 29 January 1945, the first New Zealand bomber to pass the magic “ton”.

NE181 100th & aircrew VHD cleaned

He also flew a memorable op’ to Osterfeld on 22 February, which led to the award of a bar to his DFC.

Citation Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (Imm)
1 March 1945) [75 (NZ) Sqn]:
Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Bailey has participated in many sorties against some of the most heavily defended targets in enemy territory. He has consistently displayed a high standard of courage and skill, qualities which were well evident on a recent occasion in February, 1945, when he led the squadron in an attack on an oil refinery at Osterfeld. Whilst over the target the aircraft was hit in several places. The starboard inner engine was rendered unserviceable and the propeller had to be feathered. In spite of this, Squadron Leader Bailey executed a successful attack. The attack on the Osterfeld refinery took place on afternoon of 22/2/45, and the bomb load of this particular aircraft was one 8,000 pound HC, and six 500 pond MC bombs. The ORB merely commented “Flak accurate and intense, several aircraft damaged”.

Jack was posted out on 14 May 1945.

References: Errol Martyn, Wings Over New Zealand forum, Obituary – S/Ldr J. R. Rodgers, DFC, DFM, “Pacific Wings”, October 2000 issue, “Dying For Democracy”, by F/Lt G Alan Russell DFC, and 75 (NZ) Squadron personnel records, compiled by Group Captain C M Hanson OBE RNZAF.

As always, thanks to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn., for permission to reproduce these photos.

NE191 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ – a new photograph…….

NE181 100th & aircrew VHD cleaned

A new photograph of the Bailey crew, taken prior to their 100th Op in NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ on the 29th January 1945, to Krefeld. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG). Picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks to Tony, son of Dave Pickup, Wireless Operator with the Bailey crew for sending in another, we believe, unseen photograph of The Bailey crew and NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’, prior to their departure to Krefeld on the 29th of January 1945 on ‘Mikes’ 100th Op.

It’s interesting to compare this picture with an earlier one that Tony supplied, which include the ground crew – it seems that the positions are barely changed – we can only guess which picture was taken first………

NE181 100th Jan 1945 tu low file

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’, just after ‘bombing up’ 29th January 1945. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Sgt. Phillips (Ground crew), LAC Thompson (Ground crew), Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

LAC Thompson

 

 

Unidentified crew photos – who are they? – an answer already!

lancaster_9 (2)

Excellent news – Reg has come back very quickly with an answer to the identities of the airmen in the first photograph I posted last night and it seems Chris was pretty much on target with his thoughts on who they are and the relevance of the cheese. WordPress seems to be doing somethings differently now regarding visibility of posts and comments, so I thought it worth reposting this photograph with the information Reg has found:

During a daylight bombing of enemy forces at Villers-Bocage on 30 June 1944, No 75 Squadron Lancaster ND917 was hit by flak splinters, one striking flight engineer Sgt P. McDevitt in the knee and causing excessive bleeding. The pilot, Sqn Ldr N. Williamson, seeing that McDevitt was losing blood rapidly, elected to land on one of the Advanced Landing Grounds on the Normandy beach-head, where medical attention could be sought. This was the first RAF ‘heavy’ to make use of one of these small strips. The photograph, taken next day, shows Williamson presenting bomb-aimer Fg Off G. Couth with Camembert cheese produced in the district to mark his 23rd birthday. Other members of the crew are Fg Off J. Watts, navigator; Sgt J. Russell, rear gunner; Sgt R. Jones, mid-upper gunner; and Sgt S.Cooke, wireless operator.’

http://www.airpages.ru/eng/uk/lancaster_9.shtml

And on a French forum, about 2/3’s of the way down (for French speakers…..)
http://www.crash-aerien.aero/forum/post422629.html

And finally in an image collection:

Normandy
31 June 1944 75 Lancaster ND917 Lancaster ND917 of No 75 Squadron on one of the Advanced Landing Grounds on the Normandy beach-head on 31 June 1944. This was the first RAF ‘heavy’ to make use of one of these small strips.

http://www.airpages.ru/eng/uk/aircraft5.shtml

 Reading through the accompanying information for the photograph and adding some tags to the post, it has occurred to me that there does not seem to be a ‘F/O G. Couth’ that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, so we must assume therefore that in fact, F/O G. Couth is in fact F/O Graham Coull (RNZAF), the Williamson crew’s regular Air Bomber

Unidentified crew photos – who are they?

lancaster_9 (2)

– Photo courtesy of NZ Bomber Command Assn.

Thanks as always to Chris for keeping the posts going whilst I struggle to stay on top of things and now have to turn my attention the the start of a new year at University. This post is equally frustrating and exciting – the first of the 2 pictures, as Chris notes later on, I have also seen before and I am sure when and or wherever I saw it, that it was captioned as well – which makes the arrival of this post doubly infuriating! The second photograph I have never seen before, so hopefully we might be able to add names and a story to the boys in the picture, as always, fingers crossed………

These two wonderful crew photos come from the NCBCA archives, and in both cases, the story behind the photo, and identity of the crews have been lost.

Any help in identifying them will be greatly appreciated by Peter Wheeler, the NZBCA archivist.

The first, above, has the staged look of a newspaper shot, as the crew members, perhaps sitting on the back of a truck, study some round objects, with a JN-coded Lancaster parked behind. The Pilot (right) appears to have Squadron Leader’s stripes and a DFC ribbon.

My theory was that this is S/L Nick Williamson, DFC (RNZAF) and his crew, around the time that they made the very first heavy bomber landing in France after D-Day, on a fighter strip in the Normandy beach-head on 30 June 1944. They were flying ND917, JN-O back from Villers Bocage, when they put down, possibly at Plumetot, in order to seek medical aid for his flight engineer, who had been wounded by flak.

The round objects look to me like they could be camembert cheese boxes (one of the crew seems to have removed the lid while another looks at it or smells it?). Perhaps they had picked up souvenirs from their sortie into France?

The Pilot looks a bit like Williamson, going by another photo that I have seen, however he doesn’t have the “New Zealand” shoulder flashes, which Williamson would have worn. So that probably shoots down my theory.

So who are they, and what was the occasion?

The second photo, is a very interesting one in that it shows the rear gunner’s turret in detail, and G-H stripes on the inside of the tail fin:

DSC_0069

– Photo courtesy of the NZ Bomber Command Assn, Jack Meehan collection.

This photo came from P/O Jack Meehan, Wireless Operator with the Glossop crew, 22 Jul to 24 Dec 1944, however he can’t remember who the individuals are or how he came into possession of the photo.

And I’m sure I have seen at least one of these faces before, but I can’t remember where.

Again, anyone who recognises the photo, or an individual, please let us know and help the NZBCA fill in the gaps in their information, and re-establish the provenance of these historic pictures.

Thanks very much, and thanks, as always, to Peter Wheeler for permission to publish these photos.

Confirmation of identity – Lancaster Mk.III ND914……….maybe

DSC_0242

A slightly larger photograph of the crashed 75(NZ) Squadron RAF Lancaster at Mepal. The back of the photograph says it is ND914, but the date does not tally with any of the Ops the aircraft flew. Courtesy Peter Wheeler/ NZBCA archive

Last December I posted a series of wonderful images from Arthur Rhys Williams, Flight Engineer with Fred Hubbard’s crew. One of the photographs was of an obviously crashed Lancaster. The images clearly showed the aircraft’s lettering – AA-H, but tantalisingly, the serial number was indecipherable. A search through the ORB for the period that Arthur, Fred and the boys were at Mepal, suggested 2 possible candidates:

ND914 ‘swung on landing’
ND782 ‘written off on an air test’

I am very pleased to say – and thanks as always to Peter for passing it onto Chris – a photograph from the NZBCA archive collection seems to have provided us with the answer.

DSC_0241

The reverse of the photograph above identifying AA-H as ND914 – however the quoted date does not tally with an of the 4 Ops flew with the Squadron before it was written off in this crash……….Courtesy Peter Wheeler/ NZBCA archive

As of writing I am not sure the origin of the photograph – though I am sure if Chris can find out he will lets us know – but it seems at least that we can now be sure that the aircraft in the photograph is in fact Lancaster Mk.III ND914 AA-H. Based on this fact, the database shows a rather short career for ND914, however, the final Op listed for ND914 is the 31st of March 1944 – apparently 3 days after this photograph was taken……..

I would be very interested if anybody could shed some further light on ND914 and the crash – my gut feeling is that this is certainly ND914, I suppose however, the question exists around the date – either the date on the photograph is wrong, or the ORB’s have a mistake regarding the identification of ND914, when in fact perhaps another aircraft was flown

The 4 Ops flown by ND914, whislt with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF and its crew details are as follows:

10/05/1944 – Attack Against Courtrai
Lancaster Mk.III ND914 AA-H (1)

S/L Lindsay Johnson Drummond , RNZAF NZ413043 – Pilot.
F/S P. Dean, RAFVR – – Navigator.
F/S William Philip Matthews, RAAF AUS.426258 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. A. Lyon, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator.
P/O Hugh Henry, RAFVR 621460/ 54218 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Gordon Ross Ellis, RCAF J.89174 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O William Henry Cotterill, RAFVR 51720 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:55 – Landed 00:42
Flight Time 01:47

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Lancaster Mk.III ND914 AA-H (2)

F/L Henry Leonard Burton, RNZAF NZ415863 – Pilot.
P/O Samuel Seymour, RAFVR 147993/ 173885 – Navigator.
P/O Herbert Donald Pitt Becker, RAFVR 171280 – Air Bomber.
F/S Robert Carroll, RAFVR 1367069 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. Sturminger, RAFVR 1803026 – Flight Engineer.
F/S R. McGregor, RAFVR 1699864 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O Thomas Andrew Anderson, RAFVR 1021289/ 172814 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 04:15

22/05/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.III ND914 AA-H (3)

P/O Colin Roy Baker, RNZAF NZ42999 – Pilot.
F/S Charles Le Gallals Gardner, RNZAF NZ425204 – Navigator.
F/O Raymond Alexander Ramsay, RNZAF NZ416866 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. G. Marden, RAFVR 1585273 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W. P. Watson, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. H. R. Renwick, RAFVR 1002868 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. R. Cornish, RAFVR 1280506 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:40 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 04:25

31/05/1944 – Attack Against Trappes
Lancaster Mk.III ND914 AA-H (4)

F/L Richard Bruce Berney, RNZAF NZ40750 – Pilot.
F/O Murray Charles Fearon, RNZAF NZ425190 – Navigator.
F/S Roy John Robert Young, RNZAF NZ425410 – Air Bomber.
F/S Eric Stephen McNamara, RNZAF NZ417220 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W. J. Todd, RAFVR 546595 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. F. Hubbard, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. S. Bellis, RAFVR 2215940 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:08 – Landed 04:38
Flight Time 04:30