Glad to be going

jimmy wood  leaving party BLOG

“Leaving Do” – The Red Lion, Granchester, Cambridgeshire 1945.
Back row, L to R: Alex Hirst, Jack Britnall, Russell Banks.
Front row, L to R: Jock Fraser, Maurice Wiggins, Norman Allen (apparently wearing Russell’s jacket).
Foreground: Jimmy Wood.
© Jimmy Wood collection.

Though perhaps tinged with a little sadness that they would now be split up, I think this  picture captures the relief that any crew that were lucky enough to complete their tour would feel. Based on the changing responsibilities of the Squadron, with the creation of ‘Tiger Force’, it could well be that Russell and Alex found themselves initially preparing to stay, only to leave after the surrender of Japan. Once again, the records by this point are scant in detail and the sudden collapse of the Squadron regarding the end of the need for a bomber force for the Far East simply lists the large scale demobilisation of aircrew, rather than the specific departure of named individuals.

Surprisingly perhaps, I learnt from Jack Jarmy, my father’s navigator, that as a crew, they went out only occasionally. After they had learnt they were to be screened in 1943 after 21 ops, they all went on a final trip out to Cambridge – the faces in the picture would be different, but I am sure the sentiments would have been the same..

1 thought on “Glad to be going

  1. Christopher Simmins

    I’m writing a small piece on 75 (NZ) Squadron for a local aviation museum (Old Aviators Flying Museum) Maryborough Victoria Australia ,in particular on a chap called Alec Hurse who was a Australian farmer from Carisbrook / Moolort district of Central Victoria . Alexander Hurse was a Bomb – aimer with the 75(NZ) sq.
    Alec was awarded the very rare ‘Conspicuous Gallantry Medal’ for his actions in successfully flying and landing his flacked Lancaster back to Boscombe Down U.K, after the NZ pilots (name? ) side was “reduced to pulp” . The Flight Engineer (name? ) was also disabled by shrapnel. It was Alec’s 29 sortie on a solid cloud filled night on 11 th June 1944. The crew had briefly ducked down below cloud to get a accurate fix on their target, which was a railway junction at Nantes near the French Coast. It was then, that German search lights and flack opened up and struck their bomber.The crew were playing their part in Operation Overlord or the ‘D’ Day Campaign .
    Q -1 , I’m keen to find the names of the pilot & crew of this mission .The pilot apparently survived a couple of years after the war .

    Q-2 ,I the correct spelling of Alec’s surname is Hurst . (Hirst is incorrect,) The confusion or the phonetic spelling by the note taker at that time.
    Some details of the story above have come from the Author Michael Veitch who wrote a book called ‘Flack’ and published 2006, see chapter 4, ‘Alec Hurse ,Bomb-aimer ‘For Conspicuous Gallantry ‘.
    Unfortunately Alec’s Log Book was burnt in a house cleaning mishap some year later !
    I will be meeting up with Alec Hurse’s son (Alec is deceased) in the next few weeks in the hope of checking out a couple of Alec’s service photographs.

    Christopher Simmins Newstead Victoria Australia. 9-6-2014

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