Daily Archives: July 14, 2013

A request for information – Bennett crew, lost 30th May 1943, Wuppertal

Michael, from Germany is looking for information on the above crew – he is keen to find out information on the crew and or make contact with relatives of the airman – hopefully somebody might be able help.

The Bennett crew arrived on or around 26th December from 1651 Conversion Unit. Raymond appears to have flown only a single 2nd dickie op with the Charles Davey crew on the 12th of January, gardening in the Gironde Estuary. The Bennett crew then began their tour.

On going through the Operational Record Book for 1943, I realised there was a very high turnover of certain positions – namely A/B and W/Op. Including 2nd Pilots, no fewer than 22 individuals made up this crew over the 25 Ops it flew. To reflect a very confusing and changing crew rosta, an Op will show changes relative to the previous raid – if there is nothing under a raid, the crew remained unchanged.

18.1.43. Gardening in the Gironde Estuary. Stirling Mk.I BK624
R.F. Bennett – Pilot
A.L. Davidson – Navigator
G.W. Cook – Air Bomber (killed 3rd February 1943, Hamburg)
I.R. Furness – Wireless Operator
J.B. Harrison – Flight Engineer
C.P. Middleton – Mid Upper Gunner
J.A. Pirie – Rear Gunner

5.2.43. Mining off the Frisian Islands. Stirling Mk.I R9243 AA-C
George Cook is replaced by Bill Berriman as Air Bomber.
Irvine Furness is replaced by Frank Stevens as Wireless Operator.
Chris Middleton and Jim Pirie swap gunnery positions respectively – they will stay in these positions till Wuppertal on the 30th May 1943.

7.2.43. Attack Against Targets at Lorient. Stirling Mk.I N6123 AA-Q
Frank Stevens is replaced by Edward Gray as Wireless Operator.

13.2.43. Attack Against Targets at Lorient. Stirling Mk.I BF398 AA-P
14.2.43. Attack Against Targets at Cologne. Stirling Mk.I W7469

26.2.43. Attack Against Targets at Cologne. Stirling Mk.I BK647 AA-M
BIll Berriman is replaced by Bill Kane as Air Bomber.
Edward Gray is replaced by Sgt. R.V. Weavers as Wireless Operator.

27.2.43. Mining off St. Jean de Lurz. Stirling Mk.I BK647 AA-M
Bill Kane is replaced by Dick Wanstall as Air Bomber (killed 17th April 1943, Ludwidshaven).

1.3.43. Attack Against Targets at Berlin. Stirling Mk.III BK664 AA-M
Dick Wanstall replaced by Fred Bandy as Air Bomber.

3.3.43. Attack Against Targets at Hamburg. Stirling Mk.I W7469 AA-T/C
Sgt. R.V. Weavers is replaced by F/S D.J. McIver as Wireless Operator.

5.3.43. Attack Against Targets at Essen. Stirling Mk.III BK664 AA-M
Fred Bandy is replaced by Earl Belford as Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.V. Weavers returns to  replace F/S D.J. McIver as Wireless Operator.

8.3.43. Attack Against Targets at Nurenberg. Stirling Mk.I W7513 AA-G
Fred Bandy returns to Earl Belford as Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.V. Weavers is replaced by Sgt. W.E. Rogers as Wireless Operator.

12.3.45. Attack Against Essen. Stirling Mk.I N3683
Fred Bandy is replaced by Bill Berriman as Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Rogers is replaced by F/S D.J. McIver as Wireless Operator.

27.3.43. Attack Against Targets at Berlin. Stirling Mk.III BF456 AA-J/K

28.3.43. Attack Against Targets at Berlin. Stirling Mk.III BF456 AA-J/K
F/S D.J. McIver is replaced by Irvine Furnace as Wireless Operator.

8.4.43. Attack Against Targets at Duisberg. Stirling Mk. III BF456 AA-J/K
10.4.43. Attack Against Targets at Frankfurt. Stirling Mk.I W7513 AA-G
14.4.43. Attack Against Targets at Stuttgart. Stirling Mk.III BF456 AA-J/K

16.4.43. Attack Against Targets at Ludwigshaven. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B
Irvine Furnace is replaced by Sgt. H.W. Rossiter as Wireless Operator.

20.4.43. Attack Against Targets at Rostock. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B
Sgt. H.W. Rossiter is replaced by Doug Moss as Wireless Operator.

22.4.43. Mine Laying in the Gironde Estuary. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B

12.5.43. Attack Against Targets at Duisburg. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B
Bill Perrott flies with the crew as 2nd Pilot.
Doug Moss is replaced by Stan Kavanagh as Wireless Operator.
13.5.43. Attack Against Targets at Bochum. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B
Bill Perrott flies his second op with the crew as 2nd Pilot. (killed 26th June 1943, Gelsenkirchen).

23.5.43. Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B
Ernest Wilkinson flies with the crew as 2nd Pilot. (killed 6th September 1943, Mannheim).
Bill Berriman is replaced by Fred Bandy as Air Bomber.

25.5.43. Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf. Stirling Mk.III BK776 JN-B

30.5.43. Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal.
The Bennett crew were lost on the 30th May 1943 during the raid on Wuppertal. The aircraft, Stirling Mk.III BK776  JN-‘B’ crashed in flames at Odenspiel. The Squadron lost another 3 aircraft on this raid – EF398 captained by F/O Richard Vernazoni, EH881 captained by F/S John Carey and BF561 captained by F/S Sidney Thornley.

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot. Died age 29.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/S Raymond Francis Norman, RNZAF NZ416145 – Pilot.
Flew with Bennett crew as 2nd pilot. Died age 24. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Shot down night of 29-30 May 1943 during a raid on Wuppertal. PoW camps –Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft 1. Luft VI and 357. Safe UK 7 May 1945.

F/S Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948) – Air Bomber.
Died age 23. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

W/O Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Died age 24. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt J B Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Shot down and wounded. PoW no. 10646. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft III. Date of repatriation, not known.

F/S James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Died age 22. Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.
Shot down by flak, in flames, baled out. PoW no. 212, PoW Camps – Dulag Luft, Stalags VI then 357. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe U.K. 7 May 1945.

‘C’ Flight group photograph, March 1945 in front of PB820 JN-V

75 Sqdn C flight March 1944

‘C’ Flight group photograph, March 1945 in front of PB820 JN-V
© Tony Pickup

Many thanks to Tony, son of Dick Pickup, wireless operator with the Bailey crew for passing on this fantastic photograph, of ‘C’ Flight, taken at the same time as the ‘B’ Flight image I posted into the new ‘Group Photographs’ section yesterday.

I know there are quite a few relatives of ‘C’ Flight boys that are blog regulars, so I will give you the pleasure of ‘naming and numbering them on the main image page which can be accessed here.

C’mon people – there HAS to be an ‘A’ Flight group photograph out there somewhere!!