I got a great email from Chris Newey this morning regarding me seemingly inadvertently assisting with a research problem he’d been grappling with for a few weeks. Chris had been trying to understand a number of references to Lancastes coded ‘MU’ in his Uncle’s (Gerry Newey) log book. Another eagle eyed 75(NZ) researcher Wayne, noticed something in Reuben Birch‘s logbook, that was so generously donated by Martyn at the end of the week.
I’ll let Chris tell the story……………
“Had to let you know that your blog has just provided another fascinating piece in the giant jigsaw:
I had an email from Wayne this afternoon who spotted the fact that Ron Birch’s logbook also contains entries for Lancasters coded “MU”: MU-F, and MU-D.
The entries are under “Feltwell”, for the 17, 18 and 19 April 1945, training flights for G-H bombing, gyro, film and fighter affiliation, just prior to his crew being posted to Mepal.
I hadn’t registered the codes when I first browsed through Martyn’s/Ron’s logbook pages, and had assumed that the Feltwell entries were for No. 3 Lancaster Finishing School, as per Gerry’s training.
But looking back through the logbook, Ron’s crew had already trained on Lancasters at 1653 HCU, and as Wayne pointed out, 3 LFS wound up at the end of January 45.
A bit of Googling pulled up a history of Feltwell (http://www.feltwell.net/raffeltwell/articles/raf_feltwell.htm ) and reference to the formation of a special G-H Training Flight there in January 1945: “All the RAF training resources were now concentrated on the production of crews for long range flights in the Pacific, so that a G.H. Flight came into being in January 1945 to train navigators in the use of new long range navigation devices.”
So this raises the strong possibility that the GH Training Flight at Feltwell used “MU” a/c codes, not the “A5” codes used by 3LFS. I also found reference to a “No 1 GH Course” which took place at Feltwell from 22 January to 3 February 1945: so I’m picking that the Meharry crew were on a G-H training course at Feltwell during 17-19 April.
And the two entries for MU coded a/c in Gerry’s logbook either mean:
– he and his crew attended a G-H course at Feltwell on 21, 22 March, or
– two Feltwell-based Lancasters were used for G-H training at Mepal ..? (Gerry flew 75-coded a/c JN-Z and JN-W on G-H training exercises on the 25th)
This is all quite exciting – litlle snippets of information, often looking you in the face, and next thing another door opens …! OK I’m getting a bit carried away, but I think this is very cool stuff indeed!
So thank you again for all your efforts, I’m sure you will want to know that they are already proving a big help to us old plane spotters!
I suppose over the last couple of months particularly, I have realised through the number of daily visits that there is clearly massive interest in the Squadron. When I get an email like the one above from Chris, I know ‘Jock’ would be tickled pink at how people are still interested and so willing to contribute information about their relatives for the wider benefit of the 75(NZ) Squadron research community and to the memory of all of those brave boys.
It makes me feel I made the right decision when I decided to start this journey 18 months ago.