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”.
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………….