Monthly Archives: December 2012

Seasons Greetings

Happy Christmas to everyone who has visited over the last few months. The level of interest has really amazed me and I think its incredible that already the counter on the site is almost at 2,500.

I would like to thank you all for your support so far and hopefully your interest will continue in the New Year.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

All the best


Grimsby Cemetery

Sgt Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF & Sgt David Leo Nola RNZAF

Sgt Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF & Sgt David Leo Nola RNZAF

Over in Grimsby for Christmas with the in-laws, so I took the opportunity to visit Alex and David and leave some flowers with them. There was a flower holder next to Alex’s stone that wasn’t there last time I visited – not sure if that means something……

Sgt. Norman ‘Paddy’ Allen, Air Gunner – Banks crew

It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of Norman Allen at the age of 90, after a short illness.

I first met Norman and his son Marshall at the Winter reunion of the ‘Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association’ when Dad’s ashes were laid in the Memorial Garden. Marshall took the service and I spent a short time talking to Norman after the church service in the village. He struck me as a lovely gentle man.

I saw Norman for a second time after the Bomber Command Memorial unveiling this last summer, albeit very briefly. After suffering the heat of the day Bev and I had returned to a local pub down a side street not far from the RAF Club. Looking back up the road, we suddenly recognised Margaret, his daughter-in-law, following behind Norman in a wheelchair, being propelled it seemed at impressive speed by another Irish 75(NZ) Squadron veteran John McFarland!

The third and final time I saw Norman was at this years Winter Reunion – and it was with great pleasure that he signed my copy of ‘Forever Strong’.

I feel glad that I new Norman and sad that it was only for such a short while.
Ake Ake Kia Kaha

I include a piece from the Portadown Times recording Normans passing:

Mr Norman Allen, veteran of Bomber Command during WW2, with his daughter Mrs Janet Kells, who is holding a picture of his Lancaster crew - the young airman is second left back row. They were in London yesterday - along with his daughter-in-law Mrs Margaret Allen - to see the Queen unveil the £7m Memorial to the 55,000 men of Bomber Command who died during the raids on Germany. INPT27-950.

Mr Norman Allen, veteran of Bomber Command during WW2, with his daughter Mrs Janet Kells, who is holding a picture of his Lancaster crew – the young airman is second left back row. They were in London yesterday – along with his daughter-in-law Mrs Margaret Allen – to see the Queen unveil the £7m Memorial to the 55,000 men of Bomber Command who died during the raids on Germany. INPT27-950.

Published on Sunday 30 December 2012 09:01

SECOND World War veteran and leading County Armagh Orangeman Norman Allen has died after a short illness. He was 90.

Mr Allen was a veteran of the dangerous Second World War Bomber Command which flew deep into German territory to carry out missions on cities like Dresden, Wesel, Dortmond and Leipzig, with the loss of over 55,000 airmen – 50 per cent of the personnel.

And while his family mourn the death of a true Christian gentleman, they are gratified that he lived to see the unveiling by the Queen – in June this year – of the £7m Bomber Command Memorial in London, designed by architect Liam O’Connor and made possible through public donations.
Mr Allen, his daughter Janet Kells and daughter-in-law Margaret Allen, were among the 5,000 who attended the London ceremony, which ended six decades of controversy. Successive British Government’s, starting with Winston Churchill’s wartime administration, had tried to airbrush Bomber Command out of history, on the back on international criticism on the blanket bombing of German cities. But, in an interview with the Portadown Times after he returned from London, Mr Allen told us, “We were simply carrying out orders. So many of us put our lives on the line.”

A gunner on one of the famous Lancaster bombers, he took part in 15 missions. He was just 22 at the time and said in his Times interview, “I was one of the lucky ones. True, it was dangerous, but it was exciting and I have to admit I look back of my wartime service as the most enjoyable time of my life.”

In his personal life, Mr Allen – whose home is at Derryloughan Road Loughgall – had many diverse interests, notably the Orange Order, of which he was County Grand Master during the bicentenary year 1995. It was totally appropriate as he lived close to the Battle of the Diamond site which prompted the formation of the Order in nearby Loughgall in 1795.

At one stage, he travelled to New Zealand to meet the Brethren there, and that, too, was appropriate as he actually served in the 75th New Zealand Squadron of Bomber Command. They were based at Ely in England, and the young Norman Allen volunteered to join their ranks.

Officers of the County Armagh Grand Lodge and of Loughgall District No 3 have paid their tributes and respects. His funeral, on Boxing Day at Cranagill Methodist Church – of which he was a devout member – was well-attended, with Orangemen and women coming from all over the province to pay their respects. He was a member of Diamond Memorial LOL No 85, its former Grand Master, and loved to welcome members of the worldwide Orange family to the area where the Order was founded.

Mr Allen was a renowned apple grower and respected throughout the farming industry. Even though he was 90, he continued to “dabble” in farming, his main hobby being the keeping of free-range chickens, “just to keep me occupied”.

He was deeply loved by his entire family circle, who were proud of his wartime service and delighted that he lived to see the Bomber Command finally recognised. The Allen party flew to London with veteran John McFarland and his family, John’s plane having been shot down in April 1944, and he finished the wart in the notorious Stalag Luft III. The two heroes had much to discuss during that momentous trip.

A fortnight after the London ceremony, Mr Allen attended the County Armagh Twelfth demonstration in Keady, and as ever enjoyed the occasion.

He was a staunch unionist, being a member of the Newry-Armagh Ulster Unionist Association, and was a Justice of the Peace.

Norman Allen is survived by sons and daughters Marshall, Ronnie, Gordon, Janet and Carol, and was the father-in-law of Margaret, Gail, Phyllis, Maurice and Eddie and a devoted grandfather and great-grandfather.

After the service of thanksgiving at Cranagill Methodist Church, burial was in Cranagill Cemetery. Donations, if desired, are to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, c/o Joseph Poots Funeral Directors, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AE.

Read the original article in the Portadown Times here

A mistake and an apology

It has just been bought to my attention that, despite my belief to the contrary, full permission from the 75 Squadron Association New Zealand for the presentation of the information contained in the Squadron Nominal Roll had not been granted.

I have therefore no option at this point in time, other than to remove this information from the site and I have done this as a matter of urgency, in order to respect the wishes of the Association.

It has always been my objective to fully attribute ownership and seek permission for the display of materials on this site. In this case I thought I had, but it would appear I didn’t and for this mistake/ oversight I sincerely apologise.

I would hope that this situation might be rectified and that the Nominal Roll in some form might be able to be re-presented on this site. I maintain my original belief that the record can be added to and refined by people being able to view it and offer additional or corrected information.


Just Jane: Third Lancaster bomber ‘could fly soon’ – BBC Lincolnshire News

Jane could very well be the third flying LamcasterJane could very well be the third flying Lancaster

The bomber, Just Jane, is currently used for taxi rides at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. Fred and Harold Panton, the centre’s owners, are restoring it as a tribute to their brother – who was killed in a Lancaster in 1944. They have taken delivery of a fourth Rolls Royce Merlin engine, which they said was key to getting it airborne.

Night and day
Fred Panton said: “We are hoping she will fly one day soon, and as sure as night follows day she will. But before we start, we want to get everything in airworthy condition, so when we do we can do the whole job in 14 months. If we were to take the engines out of Just Jane and send them away [to be repaired] it could take up to three years. The new engines will save time.”
Mr Panton added:
“I didn’t realise until the last engine was handed over that there are 11,000 parts in a Merlin engine – it gives you some idea how complicated it is. And to think these were built just before the war.”

Mr Panton and his brother bought the Lancaster (Avro NX611) in 1983 and brought it from RAF Scampton to their museum in East Kirkby. It last flew in 1971.

At the moment there are only two airworthy Lancasters – one in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby and one at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.

Read the full article here


Richard Pickup, the Bailey crew and ‘Mike’

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks to Kevin for passing a contact onto me regarding a member of the Bailey crew and many thanks also to Tony  for being so generous with the information he has shared with me regarding his father, Richard Pickup, who was the Wireless Operator with the crew and also flew on the 100th op of NE181 JN-Mike. I’ll let Tony pick up the story about ‘Mike’

“There has been quite a bit of discussion over the years about when the 100th op was and who flew it and I know that in the book “Forever Strong”, the 100th was credited to a different crew. Some years ago I was in contact with John (Jack) Wall, the bomb aimer in Jack Bailey’s crew, and he took great exception to the fact that, in the book, an assertion was made that Jack Bailey wouldn’t fly the 100th and so someone else did it.  He said they were really keen to fly the 100th and did so.  The photograph, which I’ve attached, was taken after the aircraft had been bombed up but just before boarding. I have got quite a lot of correspondence from Jack (Wall) about this (and the missions of this second tour on 75).  If you wanted it I would have to get Jack Wall’s family to release it, but I am pretty certain that it will be in the Squadron Association Archives.  I will include here the page of my father’s log book that covers January ’45, and the period of M Mike’s 100th operation. As I understand it from Jack Wall, the 100th mission which took place on the 29th Jan to Krefeld.  This date and operation is also confirmed as the 100th for M Mike in Jack Bailey’s citation for the bar on his DFC, of which I have a copy”.

The relevant page from Dick Pickup's logbook, showing the Krefeld raid on the 29th of January - JN-Mike's 100th op with 75(NZ) Squadron.picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

The relevant page from Dick Pickup’s logbook, showing the Krefeld raid on the 29th of January – JN-Mike’s 100th op with 75(NZ) Squadron.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Richard was a W/Op with 117 Squadron in North Africa betwee 1940 and 1943. At the end of that campaign, the Squadron was posted to the Far East, but Richard and others were posted back to the UK to be re-mustered with Bomber Command. After arriving at 149 Squadron at Methwold, he lost his new skipper after only 4 ops when he took a new crew on an op over France. Dick and the rest of the crew were posted for re-crewing and it was at Feltwell that Dick met Jack Bailey who was forming a crew for his second tour with 75(NZ). Jack just happened to be short of a W/Op, Dick joined the crew and the rest, as they say is history………….

A little more information on Allan……

I finally got hold of the March ORB for 128 LNSF Squadron from the National Archives. The raids that Allan flew in March, on arriving at the Squadron, bring his total to 20. At this point I am not sure whether this equated to his 20 total of a second tour, or whether the war ended before he was required to fly again – My understanding is that as part of Path Finder Force the ‘tour total’ was higher than it was for a a main bomber squadron.

2/3 March 1945 Kassel
4/5 March 1945 Essen
5/6 March 1945 Gelsenkirchen
7/8 March 1945 Frankfurt
10/11 March 1945 Berlin
10/11 March 1945 Berlin
13/14 March 1945 Berlin
15/16 March 1945 Berlin
16/17 March 1945 Berlin
20/21 March 1945 Berlin
29/30 March 1945 Berlin

Annoyingly, The document downloaded for the National Archive only included the raid diary, not the station diary, so I still need to try to find out where Allan came from, regarding possible conversion training prior to arriving at 128 Squadron.