Daily Archives: August 22, 2013

A remarkable find and another game of chance……..

Young page 001

Arrival page of Arthur Young, Pilot. Arthur undertook  his 2nd dickie Op with my Fathers crew in 1943.

Haliburton page 001

Arrival page of Keith Halliburton, Pilot. Keith and all of his crew were lost on a Gardening Op to Kiel Bay on the 28th April 1943.

McFarland page 002

Arrival page for John McFarland, Navigator with the Murray crew. Shot down on the night of 18/19th April 1944 on a Gardening Op to Kiel Bay. John and the Air Bomber, Douglas Hill were the only survivors and spent the remainder of the war as PoW’s.

Sachtler page 001

Arrival page for Euan Sachtler, Pilot. Euan and the rest of his crew were lost on the night of 2nd May 1944 on the Chambly Op.

Many many thanks to Steve for passing on these log book pages from 4 airmen who served with 75(NZ) Squadron. Steve cannot recall how he came by these pages, but once I had looked through them, I was astonished (again) by the chance and coincidence of the pages he had sent to me.

The first set of pages comes from the logbook of Arthur Russell Young. Arthur completed his 2nd dickie Op with the Mayfield crew on the 19th November to Leverkusen. Whilst Dad and the rest of the boys didn’t know it, this was to be their last Op with the Squadron before being screened – a certain irony therefore that it was Arthur’s first!
View the pages from Arthur’s logbook here

The second logbook is Keith Halliburton’s. Keith and the rest of his crew were lost on the 28th April 1943 on a gardening Op to Kiel Bay. I know the relatives of both David Church, Wireless Operator and Devinder Singh Sidhu, the Flight Engineer with the crew. All of the crew are commemorated on Panel 147 Runnymede Memorial. I hope Dave, Michael and Tony find this little fragment of their shared history of interest.
View the pages from Keith’s logbook here

The third logbook took a little bit of digging to establish the identity of the navigator (partly because the other 3 had the owners names written at the foot of the first page……..:P).
I was astonished to discover it was from the logbook of John McFarland, Navigator with the Murray crew – John’s grand daughter had only contacted me some 2 weeks ago about her grand father and his time in with the Squadron and I had in fact managed to get John to sign my copy of ‘Forever Strong’ the previous November at the UK Squadron Association reunion…….
View the pages from John’s logbook here

The final logbook pages are those of Euan Sachtler, Pilot who was lost with all of his crew on the 2nd May 1944, during a raid on Chambly.
View the pages from Euan’s logbook here

Request for information – John Perry, George Franks & Edward Sims.

Reg_doc_Nov_1943

Scout Group registration form from November 1943

A fascinating contact for information from Charlie – Scout Leader, 1st Sutton Cambridgeshire.

Charlie is currently researching the history of his Scout group and has discovered that it was originally formed in 1943 as ‘1st Sutton in the Isle’. Charlies had found the original registration form for the group and it lists 3 members of 75(NZ) Squadron as the founding members!

The Scoutmaster was John W. Perry his two assistants were George Franks and Edward Sims.

I have looked through the information I have and there appears to be no record of these individuals – a query to Kevin suggests they might be ground crew, simply because air crew would not have the time to undertake such activities.

If you know anything about any of these chaps, please get in contact, I know Charlies would love to find out more about them and as they don’t exist in the records, so would I.

 

Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook – Pilot

Untitled

© National Archives, Kew.

Whilst transcribing Bob’s tour and crew histories, early in my research on him, I hit a brick wall regarding the identity of  a second pilot added to the Form 541 by hand for the Dessau Op of 7th March 1945.

On the Sunday morning of the summer reunion at Mepal 2012, my sister, mother and I went to the memorial garden so mum could see it and the plaque for Dad. while we were there, an old couple, their daughter and her husband arrived. A brief discussion about their whereabouts (i.e. that this was the memorial garden for 75(NZ) Squadron) led to a discussion in the garden and then the 3 Pickerels. The elderly gentleman was called Owen Cook and he had been at the squadron towards the end of the war. On returning home I looked through the nominal roll and the ORB and found Owen’s arrival and Op history. Finding his serial number suddenly made me realise that the Pilot that flew with the Zinzan crew on this raid was in fact, Owen Cook……..

0wen2

Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook RAAF AUS.428456 – Pilot.
© Owen Cook

I was really pleased to hear from Campbell, Owen’s son-in-law, a few weeks ago and am doubly pleased to report that Owen is still fit and well!

Not long after posting the ‘B’ Flight group picture , I was contacted by Jan, who on coming across the blog and then discovering Owen’s name on the ‘B’ Flight photograph, then saw her own father – Owens navigator Jack Mitcherson. Not only have I found out more about the crew, I have also been able to put Jan in contact with Campbell – Jack is still alive and it would be fantastic if the ‘old’ boys could met up again….

wings day2

Owen receiving his Pilot’s Wings at 7S.F.T.S. in Ontario, Lake Erie, September 1943.
© Owen Cook

crew front

The Cook crew, taken Nottingham, November 1944.
Back row L to R; Ken Saunders Mid Upper Gunner, Owen Cook Pilot, John Gray Navigator.
Front row L to R; Peter Fletcher Rear Gunner, R. Fisher Air Bomber and Jack Mitcherson Wireless Operator. (Duncan Walker, Flight Engineer not present in photograph).
© Owen Cook

crew back

Reverse of group photograph. The hand written note at the bottom identifies this photograph was taken before the Flight Engineer Duncan Walker joined the crew – as opposed to simply being in it, so would suggest it was taken at an O.T.U.
© Owen Cook

The Cook crew were;
P/O Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook, RAAF AUS.428456 – Pilot
F/Sgt John ‘Jock’ Gray, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt R. ‘Fishpond’ Fisher, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/Sgt Jack ‘Mitch’ Mitcherson, RAAF AUS.432532 – Wireless Operator
F/Sgt Duncan Walker, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt Kenneth Saunders, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Peter ‘Butch’ Fletcher, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

2.3.45
ADMINISTRATION.
Pilot Officer O.J.Cook and crew arrive from No.72 Base.

4.3.45. War Ops – Wanne Eickel. P/O Cook 2nd pilot with Egglestone crew.

5.3.45. War Ops – Gelsenkirchen.
Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S.

6.3.45. War Ops – Salzbergen.
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L.

7/8/.3.45. War Ops – Dessau. P/O Cook 2nd pilot with Zinzan crew.

18.3.45. War Ops.- Heligoland.
Lancaster Mk.I PB762 AA-B.

17.3.45. War Ops – Auguste Viktoria.
Lancaster Mk.III LM733 AA-R

1.5.45. Operation ‘Manna’ – supply dropping over Delft.
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L
Supplies Carried – 31/2 Packs – Saw white cross and T.I. with lots of bags. Good dropping with white signals, and “Thanks Boys” was written on the roof of one house. All packs were dropped.

7.5.45. Operation ‘Manna’ – supply dropping over the Hague.
The ORB shows that Sgt. Saunders not present for this Op – there were no Mid Upper Gunners on this mission, instead his place was taken by ‘LAC Saunders K.’, however there is no record of such an individual, so one must assume this is in fact is Ken Saunders.

10.5.45. Prisoner of War repatriation – Juvincourt.
12.5.45. Prisoner of War repatriation – Juvincourt.
15.5.45. Prisoner of War repatriation – Juvincourt.

3.7.45.
POSTINGS
All the Australian members of the Squadron were posted to R.A.F. Gamston pending repatriation. The squadron was very sorry to say goodbye to these gallant companions.

4.7.45.
POSTINGS
23 members of the Squadron (R.A.F. Personnel) who were declared redundant when the Australians left the Squadron were today posted to R.A.F. Station Burn,

JN X composite image

This set of 3 photographs of JN-X are fascinating. The 2 images above, I have seen a number of times before – first as part of the Imperial War Museum collection and then as part of the personal collection of Jimmy Wood, AB with Russell Bank’s crew. What is interesting is the image below – it clearly shows another – to me never before seem view of JN-X, taken one would assume just before the armourers arrived in the top right hand image.

lanc refuelling2

A ‘new’ view of JN-X. Mepal 1945
© Owen Cook

Daily H9115Trieste warning

A clipping from the Daily Herald, 1945, describing the repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt.

ANDES_in suez cana_Oct1945

A photograph from the bridge of H.M.S. Andes during its passage (with Owen on board), through the Suez Canal on its trip back to Australia.
© Owen Cook

75th Sq Icon cropped

75(NZ) Squadron RAF Crest. The Crest was painted by a man named Greenham, a commercial artist who was from Caulfield in Melbourne Victoria where Owen lived at the time. They were both waiting for the troop ship to bring them home after the war. Someone had drawn the little black and white sketch of the mascot and Owen paid 10 shillings for the man to paint it for him.
© Owen Cook

Sadly, as a footnote to this post, I hear last week from Campbell that Jack Mitcherson has recently passed away – such a shame that to first have the boys discover they were still with us, that they then ran out of time to see each other again. I and I am sure all of the 75(NZ) community pass their heartfelt condolences on to Jan and her family.

Aki Aki Kia Kaha