Battle Orders for Dortmund 3/1/45 from Kevin

I get a reply back from Kevin regarding any details on Dad’s second tour crew. Disappointingly nothing, though an unexpected surprise Kevin sends me a copy of the Battle Orders for the daylight raid on Dortmund, 3rd January 1945. This raid is before Bob goes back to 75(NZ), but the gap under Air Bomber suggests that perhaps until his arrival, there was no ‘fixed’ member in that position for the Zinzan crew.

From a Squadron point of view, the Battle Order is also very useful as it not only provides another check regarding the aircraft flown on that raid, but also perhaps more interestingly, given the rarity ( or as I have found it) of information identifying crews in the 3 flights that 75(NZ) operated.

3 thoughts on “Battle Orders for Dortmund 3/1/45 from Kevin

  1. Phil Smyrk

    Hi there, a great job you are doing here Simon.
    I just noticed my dads name on the Battle Orders for Dortmund 3/1/45. His name W/O J Smyrk. He died a couple of years ago at his home in Kent UK. I have recently acquired his log books and other papers related to his RAF exploits. Before joining 75 squadron he was based in North Africa with 150 squadron. I am not sure how long he was with the NZ 75 Squadron and his time was cut short as when returning from one of those German raids the plane crashed in a place called Kirtling near Newmarket . Three crew were killed, dad was a lucky one and survived although badly burnt which put him out of the rest of the war. There is a memorial at the village of Kirtling which was set up a few years ago and which he attended with a couple of my brothers. You probably already know of this site but just in case you don’t, here is the link http://www.kirtlingandupend.org.uk/html/the_last_flight_of_the_lancast.html
    Keep up the good work
    Kind regards
    Phil Smyrk

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    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hi Phil
      Many thanks for getting in contact with me and letting me know about your father. The Operational Records for 1945 are rather scant on detail regarding crew movements – certainly relative to the early part of the war- but the Blewett crew are recorded under administration as arriving from 31 Base on the 6th December. On the 11th of December Doug Blewitt flew with the Yates crew on his ‘2nd Dickie’ flight – Harry Yates wrote a book about his time in the Squadron called ‘Luck and a Lancaster’. What follows is Harry’s recollections of Tim…….

      “As luck would have it, we also had a 2nd Dickie with us. Flying Officer T.D. Blewitt was atall but slight, quiet mannered New Zealander. He had waited 5 days for this. Now, at last, he was getting started. But here was little sign of the pounding heart and sweating palms that I was sure Messers Aitken & Co. would have divined in me back on 8th August. My strongest impression of Tim, for that was his name, was how self assure he was. I could only wish him 30 trips that did nothing to alter that, the least remarkable of them Osterfeld today.”

      Then in the Epilogue at the end of the book……

      “Tim Blewitt, the middle of our initiatives, died in the early hours of 17th January 1945. The previous evening Tim and his crew had boarded PB761 Y-Yoke, the kite in which the boys and I had taken him to Osterfeld. The target this time was a Benzol plant at Wanne-Eickel.They bombed successfully but came down on the journey home at Wood-Ditton in Suffolk. Tim and his Bomb Aimer were killed on impact. Y-Yoke quickly became an inferno. the surviving crew members dragged the navigator clear but he was beyond help and succumbed in hospital 2 days later.

      The cause of the crash was pilot error.In the official accident report Tim’s relative unfamiliarity with night flying was cited as a contributory factor. This seemed a harsh and convenient judgement to me.Immediately prior to the Wanne-Eickel raid Tim and his crew had twice experienced the tensions of briefing, gearing up and the long wait at dispersal only for control to call them back. One can only guess at their feelings as they climbed aboard for a third time in 21 hours.

      A few days after this event I returned from leave to collect my remaining possessions and be signed off by Mac Baigent. I found that my treasured American flying jacket was missing. Tim had ‘borrowed’ it that night. I couldn’t resent the fact, of course. I’d just wished it had bought him some luck.”

      If you would like to contribute anything of John’s to the site, I would be honoured to present it.

      Once again, many thanks for contacting me and I hope the extracts from Harry Yate’s book was of interest

      All the best and hopefully hear from you again

      Simon

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      1. Phil Smyrk

        Many thanks Simon, all such interesting stuff.
        I will have a look through dads papers and see if I can find anything of interest and get back to you. I do know dad was a keen poet and writer of verse and I remember seeing Tim’s name in them so will have a dig to see what there is. Do you know if there are any photo’s about of the Blewitt crew. I do agree with your comment about Tims night flying inexperience being the cause of pilot error, typical beaurocratic bs, those guys must have been exhausted.
        Cheers Phil (Brisbane Aus.)

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