Its with great pleasure and a slight apology that I finally add the log book of Leo McCartin to the site. Early in my research I began talking to Paul and Jim about their relatives who were both lost in ND911 on the 20th November 1944 on a raid to Homberg. I would like to thank Paul and his wife, who is Leo’s niece for this kind donation to the collection.
Leo’s logbook is held in the Australian War Memorial and Paul had to photograph what is physically a very large logbook in perhaps was not the most ideal photographic conditions. Nevertheless, I have now managed to clean them up.
Homberg as a target proved to be in Harry Yate’s words a ‘jinx’ target for the Squadron. Across 4 visits, the Squadron lost a total of 10 aircraft and 54 airmen were lost, a further 15 ended up as PoW’s and one, F/Sgt. William Edward McGee, managed to evade
In ‘Luck and a Lancaster’ Harry Yates reflected on the aftermath of the 20th November trip to Homberg;
“The terrible news, though, was that three others were logged missing. All three were fine and experienced crews, close to the end of their tours. Ron Gordon and his five English crewmates were on number twenty eight. They all died, together with a pool W/Op who had just married and moved to the village. The W/Op whose place he had taken was a New Zealander, F/S Bill Otway. A throat infection had saved his life. Despite pleading with the MO to let him stay, he had been dispatched to Ely Hospital for 2 days. Now he must come to terms with the severance of six friendships and ask himself a thousand times the unanswerable question, ‘Why them and not me?’
Flying Officer P.L. McCartin and crew also failed to return. McCartin had been a pupil of mine at South Cerney. He and his W/Op were Australian, the rest English. They had arrived on station in mid-August, ten days after us. This trip was their twenty second. Only the rear gunner extricated himself from the aircraft and he was captured.”