A portrait of Dad, I believe taken after he was commissioned in late 1943.

Sometime on Wednesday the 21st of July 1943, 14 young men arrived at an airfield in Cambridgeshire.

By the end of the following month, 2 would have left, 1 would be a prisoner of war and 6 would be dead.

The 5 that remained would be at the airfield for another 3 months. One of those 5 was my father.

This is his story, the story of the boys he flew with, of those that arrived before them and those that arrived after them.

My father was Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville and the airfield was Mepal, the home of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.



On the 29th August 2011 my father died. I knew he had flown in the war, but when sitting down to write a eulogy for his funeral service, I realised I knew nothing about that time in his life. Probably as a way of dealing with his loss I decided to start to try to find out about this period of Bob’s life and perhaps, why he had never spoken about it.

So far, its been an amazing journey. I have come into contact with so many people and it is their interest and generosity that has built the blog to the point where its currently is.

Starting with a simple desire to find out more about my own Father, it rapidly grew to provide information for relatives of other airmen in the Squadron and it is this constant contact that has let it grow beyond anything I imagined.

At the 2014 Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association winter reunion I was taken aback to be asked to be the Associations new President – an honour that I now carry so proudly and something, despite Bob’s quietness about his time during the War, I know that he would be tickled pink about.

As time has progressed and my understanding of the Squadron has become clearer, I have found my efforts splitting between maintaining the blog and answering inquiries and trying to order and make sense of the Squadron records. A significant activity I have started is to transfer the Squadron Operational Record Books into a searchable database – by doing this, we will be able to see every airman who flew in every crew, in every Operation flown during the War. It will take a few years to complete, but will ultimately provide a definitive record of those that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

I have no doubt that things will have to change once the database is complete. My original intention was to start with a website, but perhaps the task of starting from scratch was, at the time, simply too big a task. A dedicated website is now an inevitability – but the blog section of this WordPress site will stay come what may – it’s where this incredible journey began.

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

If you read this and either have an interest in 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, or have a story about a relative who flew with the squadron, please contact me, the stories of these brave boys need to be told and understood before they are lost forever.

You can contact me at


many thanks for your interest and care.


81 thoughts on “About

  1. Kevin King

    Wonderful. Not only a tribute to your father but to all those that served on 75 (NZ) Squadron. Lest we forget.


    Ake Ake Kia Kaha

  2. Margaret Still

    Love what you are doing Simon, hope family of some of the 75ers read this and give us some of the stories about their Dads. My uncle Pilot Officer Edgar Burke flew out of Mepal and was killed in May 1944 over Belgium. Have been to the site of the crash and a stained glass window of the 75 Squadron is in the church in Lommell. The locals think my uncle kept the plane up so as not to crash in the village, when I visited everyone was so lovely hugging and kissing me and not letting me pay saying, you paid with your Uncles life I will pay for you now, very emotional as you can imagine, Love you being onboard with the Friends of the 75 NZ Squadron here in England you Bev and Sandra are treasures to us.

    1. David Downing

      I do you that you receive this note. My uncle John Wallace Downing was part of the crew in the plane that your uncle was the pilot when shot down in May 1944. Recently with the death of my cousin we have inherited my uncles school prizes and have donated them to his old school, Kingston Grammar. As a result of this they have written a small article about him in the Alumni magazine with his war record and a picture that we had of him in uniform. It’s a really great story about the skill of you uncle to guide a crippled plane away from civilians. Brave men all of them.
      David Downing

  3. Karl Butler

    Hi Simon,

    Great insight into the sacrifices made (some the ultimate sacrifice) by the boys of 75Sqn. My Grandfather, R.J. Butler WOAG is listed in your nominal role. Unfortunately I can’t give you many details at this stage, I too am searching for more information, for the construction of a 1:48scale Lanc I in commemoration to Granddad. Best of luck with your venture. My best wishes to remaining 75Sqn members, and too their friends and families. AKE AKE KIA KAHA.

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Many thanks for getting in contact Karl. If you do come across any information regarding your Grandfather, I would love to see it. I see from the Nominal Roll, that there are 2 Butlers listed – as daft as it sounds, am I am to assume he was Raymond Joseph who flew with Albert Bone ? – its just that the other Butler also has R as his first initial??


  4. Tony Pringle

    I must find time to read all on this site since we are looking after 13 of the 75 (New Zealand) Squadron lads here in Newmarket Cemetery. I have photos of a few, but seek more..check out http://www.newmarket-remembers.info and the lads are there under “CWGC buried in Newmarket cemetery. I can appreciate how much work has been done here by Simon. Hopefully we can help each other to get to know more about these lads who came so many miles to help us when we needed it.

  5. Brian Butler

    Hi Simon, following up on my son’s comments, and isn’t wonderful to see a younger generation doing this wonderful research, yes, my Dad, R J Butler was in Albert Bone’s (known as Bert) crew. I have also met two others, Roy Chapman and Vic Kramer(?), sadly both gone now. Vic was the baby of the crew and the only Pom. He stayed in the RAF, and went on to fly Victors and Valliants. He retired as a Group Captain as far as I know and immigrated to Australia and lived in Melbourne. One of Bert’s sons was also in the RNZAF, flew for the Aerobatic team in
    CT4’s and then went on to helicopters. As far as I know, he’s still flying choppers out of New Plymouth for the off-shore gas project.
    Good luck with your work and I wish you every success. Brian Butler

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      HI Brian
      Lovely to hear from you and I am so glad you approve of what I am trying to do. Also, thanks for the clarification of which Butler he was – as the nominal roll doesn’t list his full name, I wonder if you let me know what it was – as small a piece of information as it sounds – it adds to the research.
      Once again many thanks for your interest


  6. Michel Darribehaude

    What a great site. Wish I could do the same about my father, a wireless op with 346 (French) Squadron, based at Elvington, Yorks.
    All the best,

  7. 75nzsquadron Post author

    Thanks for your words of support Mike – I am sure you could – 346 Squadron ORB’S are digitised in the National Archives, so you could begin by downloading the months your Father was there and then expand from there – that’s how I started!


    1. Michel Darribehaude

      Thanks for the advice, Simon. Fortunately, a friend already has a great site on 346 Squadron/Groupe Guyenne, where you can see pics of my father and two of his mates (see below), It’s just that I was thinking of something more personal:
      “Equipage du Capitaine Brion” here, among many others : http://halifax346et347.canalblog.com/archives/p20-10.html
      Cheers and a Happy New Year

  8. Sue Dunne

    Hi Simon – well done with this project! My mother’s first husband is also one of these men. He was killed in action and is buried at Crooswijk Rotterdam. Robert Leslie Owen Ryder is his name so not sure if you have anything further on him?

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Sue – many thanks for your feedback!. Unfortunately I don’t have the 1941 ORB’s, but if you don’t have it I can probably put together his crew list………

  9. sarah llewellyn

    Searching for a photo of my great Uncle Carl Arthur Warburton…K.I.A May 1944…any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  10. 75nzsquadron Post author

    Hi Sarah
    Firstly, let me apologise for me delay in replying to you – I saw your message on the blog.
    I am not sure what information you have on Carl. From the Nominal Roll information I have, the crew on the Dortmund raid were as follows;
    ARMSTRONG, Plt Off. Cecil Ernest, RNZAF. (NZ42354), Pilot, 10 Jan to 23 May 1944. Died Tuesday 23 May 1944, age 27, during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
    a little more here

    PAYNE F/Sgt Douglas Beardsley RNZAF. (NZ426917) Navigator 10 Jan to 23 May 1944. c/w C E Armstrong. Died Tuesday 23rd May 1944, age 22, during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

    MARSHALL F/Sgt Eric William Elliott RNZAF. (NZ415637) AB 10 Jan to 23 May 1944. c/w C E Armstrong. Died Tuesday 23rd May 1944, age 31, during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Germany.
    a little more here

    WARBURTON Sgt Carl Arthur, RAF. (1484107) WOAG x May to 23 May 1944. c/w C E Armstrong as W/Op. Died Tuesday 23rd May1944 during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Germany.

    SLEIGHTHOLM Sgt David RAF. (1684309) FE 10 Jan to 23 May 1944. c/w C E Armstrong. Died Tuesday 23rd May 1944, age 22, during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Germany.

    DAVIES Sgt Roy Joseph RAF (1603898) AG10 Jan to 23 May 1944. c/w C E Armstrong as R then MU/Gnr. Died Tuesday 23rd May 1944, age 21, during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Reichs Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

    PEPPER F/Sgt James RAF. (1682572) AG 10 Jan to 23 May 1944. c/w C E Armstrong as MU then R/Gnr. Died Tuesday 23rd May 1944, age 23, during a raid on Dortmund. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Germany.

    The crew were flying a MK. III Lancaster serial no. ND768 designator AA-F (AA denotes the aircraft was either ‘A’ or ‘B’ flight).

    Also when I get home this evening, I’ll put up some information on your great uncle on the blog and a request for further information. my experience so far is that there is a chance we might get something back from another relative or possibly an interested party that has information.

    Do you have any information on carl or the crew?

    Hope this is of interest to you

    best regards


  11. David Cox

    I sent some photos to you today of my Father-in-Law Mr Arthur Rhys Williams 90yrs in August.
    Flew from Mepal to Ouistreham on D Day as a flight engineer.
    I’ts about time these men had the recognition they deserved.
    David Cox

    1. Tony Pringle

      Not all forgotten here in Newmarket. Thursday being Anzac Day, at 11 am, I am arranging a placing of Dolores Crosses at the graves of 8 Kiwis resting here. 7 are from this squadron. It would be great to meet any friends.

    2. Tony Pringle

      In case anyone can make it, 11 am on Anzac Day, coming THURSDAY a little ceremony at Newmarket Cemetery where we will remember 8 Kiwis resting here, 7 of them 75 NZ Sqdn
      Selwyn Clubb
      Benjamin Franklin
      Robert Harvey
      John Johnston
      John Walsh
      Harold Welch
      William Whitcombe
      not forgetting the other 75 NZ Sqdn men
      Stankey Curtis RAFVR
      Stanley Drayton RAFVR
      William Lawrence RCAF
      Bertram Moffat RCAF
      Francis Reddicliffe RAFVR
      Phillip Stuart RCAF

  12. Pierre Lagacé

    Peter Smith, who is a friend, follow the same path.
    Peter and I have this blog about his father Tommy Smith. He was a Mosquito pilot.
    This blog was started in 2010 when I found Peter’s post on a forum. With this 23 Squadron grew from there.

    This is the presentation page…


    I have other blogs… You will like this post on my blog Lest We Forget


    Have a nice day


  13. 75nzsquadron Post author

    Hello again Pierre
    Many thanks for the links – wonderful stuff – we all need to make sure that the incredible things these boys did are never forgotten


      1. Karl Butler

        For anyone in Australia, I have discovered a RSL pin badge of a Lancaster being sold in shopping centres. Even though here it is aimed at remembering their boys, there are no squadron or RAAF markings on the pin, so will be wearing it with pride on Thursday!

  14. Val Morrison

    My dad was in 75 Squadron and flew in Stirlings and Lancasters. He got the DFC and died quite young at 60 years. He was W/OP. I have his Log book which is very interesting reading. He never said much and being a daughter I didnt really ask. He was a cool Dad. His name was Trevor James Nation DFC. I do know that they never wanted to crash land a ‘Lanc’ into the ‘ditch’ cause it wouldnt float and would sink straight away.

  15. 75nzsquadron Post author

    Hi Val
    Many thanks for contacting me about your Father – I have had a quick look in the records and Trevor crewed, as you probably know from his logbook with Warick Batger, I’ll send you information about the rest of the crew at the weekend when I have some spare time.
    Many thanks for contacting me


  16. Joseph

    Hamburg Raid 23 sep 1943 Cliff Logans Crew Caught By Flak or nite fighter …. Three survived POW’s Tail Gunner , BL Cooksley NZ , A Robinson Navigator , One other …. Sterling Ok Just trying to find rest of Logans Crew

  17. 75nzsquadron Post author

    Hi Joe
    Many thanks for making contact – I’ll have a look through the information I have acess to and mail you with what I can find


    1. Joseph

      Hullo Simon ,
      We visited Mepal village and also was on the old Mepal Air Station with Ely Spire in the Distance …. I can see why it was a Home aiming Beacon for the Mepal circuit join and point above the Fog …. having driven up and down the A141 towards the Wash …

      Additionally I worked in in and around Thame closest Market Town to Oakley OTU just under Brill hill and short distance from Westacott to the east …. The M40 Now separates Oakley Drome From the Accomadation in the forest to the north West ..

      Brill Hill caused numerous issues will low powered Wellingtons Especially with power Plant Fires and Failures on take off . to the north east vector … With My fathers training crew ending up in St Hughes College Hospital Oxford …. Sort of thing that happened trying to shoe horn as Many airfields into the small space ( Take the Air field at Wantage Where Glenn Miller Tucked Under the Ridge Way Vail of the White Horse was flying to Paris )



  18. Mike Watts

    Hi Simon, my dad flew rear Gunner in V Jn 75 NZ , he didn’t talk about it much either, FRANK WATTS…

  19. Paul Wiggins

    Thank you for doing this. My father is mentioned on your blog in fine print details about conversion units. Now my mother has died family finds it appropriate to do the next of kin requests for stuff he didn’t want to burden her with. We have a few pics dad took of friends.

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Paul
      Lovely to hear from you and I am glad you approve of what I am trying to do with the blog. Its a massive story, that I am sure I have only scratched the surface of – bit its a story that needs to be told before it’s all lost. If you want to share anything, please contact me at info@75nzsquadron.com.

      thanks again


  20. David Bawden

    Dear Simon Sorry about the delay in answering your welcome email but I have had a few health issues of late.Yes my father was a proud member of 75th Squadron. My wife and I have visited Mepal and Sutton as well as the graves of the 75th heroes in the Civil Cemetery in Cambridge. All going well we will visit 2014 UK summer and will make a point of going to Newmarket. I have quite a bit of information about Dad’s time in the Squadron, which I am happy to share with you.We have great friends in Whanganui so perhaps we could meet up sometime soon on our way through to see them
    David Bawden.

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hello David
      Lovely to hear from you. I am actually in the UK – so perhaps if you get over the the UK next year, we might be able to meet up – perhaps time it for the UK Association Summer Reunion ?

      I look forward to receiving anything you have on your father and it would be my pleasure to present it on the blog.

      All the best


  21. Malcolm Wood

    I wonder if there is still anyone out there who might have known my father, Cpl. Ronald Wood, who served at Mepal from 1943 until his demob in August 1945. He was a radar technician on Lancasters. While awaiting demob he used to make bracelets and the like from Perspex. I’m not sure if any of them survive amongst stuff of my mother’s in our loft.

    What I do have is his “hussif” marked 614, his last three, together with an engineering test piece being a brass triangle and a perfect fit in anyone of the six possible configurations in a triangular hole. Much more difficult than the square one I made as an apprentice.

    The one souvenir he brought home was a couple of cannon shells from a Lancaster’s armaments. It’s OK, they are quite safe! He said that what they did was to take out the shell, remove the powder and place the cartridge in a vice. Then they’d explode the detonator presumably with a hammer and a drift.

    I think I have some photographs but only of himself and other groundcrew members

    When on holiday in Suffolk about thirty years ago we took a trip out to Mepal to see if we could identify the airfield but all we found was a small section of perimeter track and, in the distance, a Nissan hut presumably being used for storage by a farmer. And I think that Mepal was still a sleepy little village that had but one shop that sold everything. But things had moved on because there were two shops!

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Malcolm
      Lovely to hear from you. It would be great to hear anything you have about Ron – I am keen to record anything I can about the ground crews – often the forgotten members of the squadrons – if you have photos of your father and the boys he worked with I am sure people would love to see them and hopefully might be able to name some of them.

      hopefully hear back from you

      all the best


      1. Malcolm Wood


        I seem to remember some photos taken inside a Nisson Hut at Mepal – it’s a question of being able to find them


        Malcolm Wood

  22. Keith Springer

    Hello Simon,

    a great effort you’ve gone to there – absorbing stuff. Good on you!

    Re your original request for information, I imagine you have it by the gallon by now (oops – litre) so not sure what else you may be looking for. What sort of thing are you still after?

    I’m pretty sure my father is in the squadron photo at your blog header (somewhere – can’t pick him out though!) – but my mother has a copy of the same photo still wrapped up in the paper it arrived in. Dad had a bit of ‘memorabilia’ from his time with 75 Squadron but gave a lot to the Ohakea museum from where some of it unfortunately ‘disappeared’. He did a little bit of homework on some of the squadron history when he was president of the 75 Squadron association until shortly before his death in 2004. There are a number of his photos, including some he took on operations as a WO/AG, in an album in Wanganui. I am sure they could be scanned. Luckily (for me!) he arrived on the squadron toward the end of the war (March 1945, ‘A’ Flight) but flew on some of the operations in the last couple of months of the war, and the Operation Manna flights to Holland.

    I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the memorial chapel at the church in Sutton and the memorial garden at Mepal, and also visited the widow of the bloke who tended the garden for many years. She had an amazing (and large) oil painting in her living room of a Lancaster above cloud.


    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Keith
      great to hear from you – I am keen to get anything you might have about your father – despite the huge amount of information I have gathered so far, nothing is duplicative and everything is relevant regarding joining stories and linking individuals within the squadron. I’m on vacation at the moment, but if you can pass your fathers name onto me – I assume surname springer – I’ll do a bit of digging – sadly, you are not the first person who has noted that information has gone missing once its gone to Ohakea – which I find rather concerning…….

      hopefully hear back from you – and many thanks for contacting me.

      take care


      1. Keith Springer

        Hi Simon,

        thanks for your response. I’ll be in Wanganui in 10 days or so (currently Australia resident) and will see if i can scan some photos. I did pester Dad to write up a bit about his life 20 years or so ago and obviously for most young men of his generation the war was a pretty major part of their lives, so he’s recorded a fair bit on his training in Canada (Winnipeg wireless op school) and England and his few months with 75 (and then 9) Squadron. I’ll be in touch in a couple of weeks, but yes if you are able to dig up anything his name was G.R. Springer (Randal).

  23. David Ian Torbitt

    Fascinating reading through all of this. I’m proud to say my late father (Robert John Torbitt D.F.C. 1033159) gets a mention, I have the photo that’s at the top of the website (although not in as good condition) and another similar to those of group B and C…same aircraft…different people?. I’ve been going through his “Airgunner Log Book” searching out other names etc. The burning question I have always looked for an answer was “what was the DFC awarded for? I know some were issued for the number of tours/missions etc, but I don’t know how to find what his was awarded for.

    Anyway, back to reading this website…it’s incredible…I will try and go through some of the old photos my dad kept to see if I can tie up the names etc.

    Well done for a wonderful site

    David Ian Torbitt

  24. Keith Springer

    Hi Simon,
    just wrapping up a flying visit to Wanganui and dug out some photos, have scanned them and will forward some to you in the near future when back in Aus. There was a copy of the same photo as your banner and I could pick out my father standing on the starboard wing, just in from the starboard inner engine, 32 in from the left. Also a similar but smaller photo which he had numbered his crew (1-7) in the photo but not with a key to names that I could find.

    PS David – many of the DFC citations are in the London Gazette issues on-line, might be worth a search on-line. He is shown in the supplement in 1945 at http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/37001/supplements/1656/page.pdf although not what it was awarded for.

  25. Keith Springer

    Simon, I see you’ve posted photos of B and C Flights taken in March 1945. Do you also have a similar one for A Flight? The photo I mentioned above with Dad’s crew numbered is the same format and aircraft as the B and C pics by the look of it, so may have been all taken at the same time.

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Keith
      The mythical ‘A’ Flight group photograph still eludes us I am afraid. We have established that all the photographs (‘B’, ‘C’ and full Squadron) were taken at the same time around the middle of March 1945. David, son of Robert Torbitt seems to suggest that he may have a copy, so finger crossed that he can find it and that it is this missing image……..

  26. Keith Springer

    Hi Simon,

    I’m not tech-savvy enough to know how to load a photo to a blog, so will email you the one I found amongst Dad’s photos earlier this week and scanned. It looks very similar to the B and C flight photos you have posted on this site, but he was in A Flight. It’s not labelled, but would be a reasonable assumption that is an A Flight photo, I think. I am sure someone with more familiarity will know.

    Ref the photo dates of the middle of March – I also came across a mention in Dad’s notes about the sortie to Potsdam on 14th April 1945 (he flew in RF190 ‘F’). He mentions that one of the aircraft had the flight engineer killed by cannon fire from a night fighter that night (presumably Sgt Alan Sliman in PB132 ‘X’), and goes on to note that ‘this was the same aircraft in front of which the squadron photo was taken only a couple of days later’.


  27. jennie

    Hi there very interesting reading. My father was John Leonard Wright, who flew for the 75th squadron. My sister has recently been doing quite a lot of research on his time during the war and I also found some very interesting stories, one especially about him and his crew during one of their missions over Germany, in a book called New Zealanders in the Air war. I am always interested in finding out more information.
    Thank you

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Jennie
      Many thanks for your comment, so you will know about the post i put up on behalf of Leslie a while ago. It’s ironic that you mention the book – I have it and put up an extract relating the Jimmy Ward’s V.C. – looking back at the post, I even mention that there is something in it about Jack!! – so I will present that story in the next week or so.

      thanks for making contact


  28. annette Kernahan

    Hello I am looking for more info on my father John Kirby who i believe was a flight engineer in 75 squadron.He was english and bases at various airfields in England.I do not have a lot of info however i do have a few photos.Can anyone help Annette

  29. tony

    Hi Simon excellent work and a fine tribute to so many brave young men. I am seeking to find out any information on my late father wilfred charles west. my information is very patchy he was born 12 or 15/1/1922 and served with 75 and 102 squadrons on wellingtons and halifax’s . the only picture i have is of him in his uniform with sgt stripes and full RAF wings. he was at some stage billeted in or around blackpool and i have recollections of him saying he knew his way around york. his flight log has long been misplaced so no idea of his service number.
    any information would be a huge bonus or some direction regarding records and where to look
    best wishes

    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Tony
      Many thanks for contacting me. Looking through the records I have, there doesn’t seem to be any record of your Father – but this is certainly not definitive – do you know, firstly when he was with 75(NZ), secondly what his ‘trade’ was and finally – long shot perhaps, what his Pilot’s name was (assuming Wilfred wasn’t a Pilot himself)

      look forward to hearing back from you

      all the best


      1. tony

        Hi Simon,
        sorry for the delay in responding but the situation with the family is that we are widespread and i have been reliant on people getting back to me with information. I have found out my fathers service number via my sisters birth certificate.
        His number was 1208861 d.o.b 15/01/1922 and his occupation given as aircraftsman? another name associated with my fathers at the time was a man named sid sampeon i have no other information save to say if this man can be identified he may give a rough time frame as i believe it would be around 1940-1941. i know that he married in 1943 to a gwenn ellison.
        the only other information i have is of another squadron he was attached to which was 102 during which it is stated he was promoted to pilot officer?
        many thanks for your time and patience

  30. Keith Gill

    Looking for info on my Uncle Jack Truman, mid upper gunner with crew Ack Ack U or Ack Ack Love. Anything gratefully received.

    1. David Smulovitch

      Hi Keith, The only connection that i can make is that my father said he flew on L-Love. He was co-pilot, Henry Smulovitch and flew from Mepal and left in 1945 to marry. There was a Jack in his crew. I know there was a man from Wales and from Australia. Aussie was the pilot I think.
      I have just found this site for the first time.

      That is all I can tell you.

      All the best, David Smulovitch.

      1. KEITH GILL

        Simon,  Thank you for all the information you sent me on my uncle, Sgt Jack Truman (without an e). Yes it took a while, but the end results were delightful and most informative. Sadly my uncle passed away a few years ago, but I will send all the information on to his daughters. They will be both delighted and moved. I have watched with mild amusement the film about the American crew of the celebrated “Memphis Belle” who successfully completed a tour of twenty five missions.  Just to mention that my uncle (probably with many other crews), completed two tours of 30 missions each ! He was known as “The quiet man”. His opinion was that there was a war on and the crews did what was expected of them.He didn’t consider himself a hero, but to my mind,  those men who climbed into metal coffins time after time, knowing that their chance of survival was minimal, were all heroes. I find it disgusting that the powers that be took so long to recognize the sacrifices that these men made. Once again, thank you for all your efforts in finding out about my uncle.

        Kindest regards

        Keith Gill


      2. 75nzsquadron Post author

        Hi Keith
        I’m pleased you finally got the information on Jack – and I am very interested to hear that he flew a second tour – which Squadron was it with? I agree that its a shame that it took so long for the boys to be recognised, but I’d like to think that we can all do our bit through this blog to tell their stories and hopefully let them live on for others to discover.

  31. Jacqui Barwell

    I have a picture of an airman that would have lodged with my grandparents – only have the name Bill on it. I cannot see any numbers. He is wearing a wedding ring. My grandfather as a civilian worked at the airbase.

    1. Murray

      Hi Jacqui

      My name is Murray Kereama, the photo is of my father William Laurence Kereama who passed away on the 25th May 1988. I have my father’s logue book and diary. I would love to receive Any other information you have regarding dad.

  32. lapointe dominique

    Je recherche des photos. De l equipages. Du ll888 enterree a rieux en cambresis
    Metci d`avance

  33. Bruce John Fernie

    Wonderful Blog.

    I received the following info from Andy Ingram via a great RAF friend of my Dads Ted Smith,

    John Alexander Fernie
    NCO – 980003
    Officer – 127783
    Joined 75 Sqn in November 1941 as a Wireless Operator. At this time 75 Sqn were based at Feltwell and operated Wellington III bombers.
    Initially your dad was crewed with Sgt R A Colville as W/Opr, his first ops was on 23 Nov 41.
    The last op he took part in with this crew was on 2 Jan 42.
    Colville was injured in a crash on 28/2/42 while on an air test. It would appear that your dad was not on board.
    It was not uncommon for certain crew members not to take part in local Air tests.
    Two crew members were killed in the crash, the other 3 including the pilot were injured.
    Your dad joined a new crew skippered by E G D Jarman. He took part in his first op with this crew on 23 Mar 42.
    Wounded Thursday 23 April 1942 after their aircraft (Wellington X3487) was attacked by a Junkers 88 night-fighter while returning from a raid on Cologne.
    Again two crew members were killed, three injured and one safe following the crash landing on the way back to base.
    He was back on ops as W/Opr from 15 May – 10 July 42.
    Commissioned as a Pilot Officer 3 July 1942
    Promoted to Flying Officer 3 July 1944
    Promoted to Flight Lieutenant 3 July 1944
    Transferred to RNVR on 13 July 1945.

    I loved his stories and as a kid many of his RAF buddies and I have some photos if anyone is interested.

    Thanks, Bruce John Fernie

    1. James Ogilvie

      Hi Bruce, just read your post. My mother’s uncle was Pilot officer on a Wellington bomber that was attacked on 23 April coming back from a raid on Cologne. He died from abdominal wounds once they had crashed landed. His name was Trafford McRae Nicol. I have a few photos that I would be happy to share. Kind regards, James. (my email is james@morepork1999.com

  34. mick de buid

    Hi I wonder if you can help. My uncle was C T Black of the New Zealand 75 th. He was shot down over Soarremoarre Holland in 1941. The story I was told by aunt Mary (died 1983) that the plane also contained his younger brother. but due to rules 2 brothers could not fly on the same plane so he had changed his name. Sadly she did not know the name he used. I wonder is there more details available to prove or disprove this story. CT Black was born in Waterford Ireland.

  35. Chris Newey

    Hi Bruce, your Dad’s story has intrigued me ever since coming across photos of the Jarman crew – I believe copies of these came into the possession of John “Stan” Brooks (75 Squadron Assn) from your father. Stan’s great-niece posted them on the 75 Sdqn Assn Facebook page a few months ago, and we now have copies of them in the archives of the NZ Bomber Command Assn. I have been meaning to put together your Dad’s operational history for a post here because as you mention, it includes several notable incidents. Both Colville and Jarman went on to make their marks in different ways. I can probably help with more detail if you are interested. Regards, Chris

  36. Lois Cubis

    My Dad was a pilot in the 75th NZ squadron flying lancasters. He was also stationed in Mepal. His name was Louis Eldon Bernhardt Klitscher and was shot down over Germany and taken as POW.
    I’d love to find out more details. Can you help?

  37. Chris Newey

    Hi Lois, yes I’m sure we can help. Your Dad was known as Ben I believe. KLITSCHER, F/O Louis Eldon Bernhardt, RNZAF, (NZ415262) Pilot 30 Jan to POW 25 Feb 1945. c/w E J Abraham as 2P then own crew. Shot down night of 24-25 Feb 1945 during a raid on the Kamen synthetic oil plant. The aircraft was hit by heavy flak north-west of Wesel. It turned for home with one propeller feathered but
    was abandoned soon after. All seven crew members became prisoners. Safe UK 11 May 1945. I think he appears (far left) in a wonderful photo with other aircrew in full flying gear, about to board the crew bus to be taken out to their ‘planes. Hope you can see this: https://scontent-b-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/t31.0-8/1272397_152871488253280_310897622_o.jpg . If not email me at chris@foodworks.co.nz and I will send you a copy.

    1. cuebo

      Thanks Chris. That’s a great photo of Dad. One we haven’t seen before. Mum has said that when the Lancaster was hit and they realised that it wasn’t going to make it, Dad ordered the crew to jump! But they refused. Hence they landed safely but in enemy territory and were captured. I’d love to know exactly where they landed.

  38. cuebo

    Thanks for the brilliant photo. None of us had seen that one before.
    Mum says that when Dad realised they were in trouble, he ordered the crew to abandon the plane – but they refused! Hence they managed to land safely, but in enemy territory and were captured. I would love to know where they came down.

  39. Cliff Isherwood

    I went to the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede today and saw a name on the wall. Although we are not directly related he shared my surname and that made me want to find out more about him. Thanks to your informative site I found out much more about his service and how he lost his life. Thank you for bringing Sgt Joseph Isherwood back into our memories.

  40. Mark

    Hi im look for some info on my grandad
    Philip William Cook. 03-02-1925 ( rear gunner )
    I’m 99% sure he was in Sgt Roy Clark crew who Died 22-04-1945 when he was hit by flak
    My nan was married to Roy untill he died and then married Philip ( my grandad )
    I would be very great full for any info

  41. Alison Byrne

    My Grandfather (Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay) also flew with this squadron as a wireless operator. My Mum and myself have been to Mepal today to pay our respects as we do every year.
    I would love to be in touch to swap the information that we all have.
    On a side note, were you able to put a plaque up.on the wall at the memorial? I would like to pay my respects to my Grandfather by adding one on there for him but am not sure how.
    Kind regards,
    Alison Byrne

  42. Chris Newey

    Hi Alison, great to have you here, and of course some of us have read about your grandfather in “Bombs On Target”, by Ron Mayhill, DFC, his Bomb Aimer crewmate. Ron is fit and well, living here in Auckland, New Zealand, and I believe has just been over to the UK – maybe he caught up with your family? I know Simon will be along here any moment, and will be very keen to talk to you. Cheers, Chris

  43. Tony Johnson

    Hi I’m mighty glad that you are tackling this huge task.I am the youngest son of Ralph Valentine Johnson who was a navigator and conditions pilot of a Stirling bomber with the the 75th. He was shot down and the only survivor and evaded capture. I’m rubbish at this Internet stuff but have some fascinating correspondence with a family member of the Belgian family he surrendered to when he had run out of energy and options…. Thanks for being here.
    Tony Johnson

  44. andrew devlin

    Hello, my Uncle Harry Fraser was a Flight Engineer with 75th Squadron and I used to love visiting him to hear his stories about the New Zealand crew that he flew with. I was talking to 2 of his daughters on Sunday as we had a cousins reunion and were recollecting how brave these men were flying over Germany all these years ago. They were truly real heroes, sadly Harry passed away in 1992 but I still think of my favourite Uncle from time to time.


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