Monthly Archives: October 2013

Are there any relatives out there…..? – The Meharry crew

RW Birch crew 75 Squadron photo 1 B&W ramped up dpi

Another picture of the Meharry crew.
L to R: Reuben Birch, Tom Robinson, Eric Meharry, Joseph Spiers, R. Dale, Lawrence Wilson and Gordon Gunter.
Martyn/ Ernest Birch ©

Martyn has asked me to just ‘stoke the fire’ a bit regarding an updated request for any information regarding the Meharry crew. Since the original posts relating to the crew, Martyn has made contact with relatives of Eric Meharry.

Martyn knows that his Uncle, Ron Birch was in contact with Gordon Gunter after leaving the Squadron and is hope there might be an opportunity to reconnect with Gordon’s surviving relatives, or in fact any of the relatives of the boys that flew with Eric and Ron.

Fingers crossed………..

50,000 Views – Thank you everybody

I make a point of always acknowledging the point where the blog clocks up another significant increase in traffic – but I think this one is quite an achievement – an utterly incredible figure, given how long the blog has been running and perhaps the more remarkable that the last 1,000 views were logged only in the last 3 days.

I have to, once again, thank everybody who has been so generous in contributing material to the blog and also to those of you that have come here regularly, or perhaps for the first time since we clocked up 40,000

Many Thanks to you all….

Simon

Request for Information – Angers, 28th May 1944

I have been contacted by Yves, regarding the raid on Angers on the 28th May 1944. Yves is currently researching the raid with an eye to documenting the history and subsequent liberation of his town. I have supplied him with the ORB extract for the OP, but frustratingly the ORB does not list bomb loads………

Yves own research shows that 514 Squadron at Angers carried: 5 x 1000 MC, 1 x 1000 USA, 4 x 500 MC, for all aircraft. He is keen to understand if this bomb load was standard across the participating Squadrons, or whether perhaps they varied.

28.5.44.
Attack Against Angers
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Angers, of these six were withdrawn and two returned early with engine trouble. The remaining fourteen aircraft successfully bombed the target in good weather. A good concentrated attack was reported, and opposition was only slight.

Anything anybody is able to add to the information on this raid from the perspective of 75(NZ), I am sure Yves will most gratefully receive.

Richard Melville Curtis RAF 42200 – Pilot. 1939

IMG_2741

Many thanks to Kerry for donating the logbook of Richard Melville Curtis to the blog, from his collection. By Kerry’s own observation, this represents the earliest logbook in the collection for the Squadron. There is also a connection from a previous post about Leonard Gould and his Pilot Frederick John ‘Popeye’ Lucas – Richard flew as 2nd Pilot with their crew before taking his  own crew into combat.

Richard was a Pilot with 75(NZ) between 9th December 1939 and 10th October 1940. The citation for his D.F.C., which was awarded on the 11th February 1941 reads as follows;

“Flying Officer Curtis has been continuously employed on operational work since May 1940, during which time he has completed 34 major operations over enemy and enemy occupied territory. On one occasion he was captain of an aircraft detailed to bomb shipping in Ostende harbour and to cooperate with certain naval forces operating off the port. Although weather conditions were extremely difficult, Flying Officer Curtis performed the allotted task with complete success and received congratulations and thanks from the Admiralty the next day.”

Fascinatingly, the event described in the citation is also recorded in the logbook, with a copy of the note of thanks sent to the Squadron from the Admiralty.

Read through Richard’s logbook here.

Leonard Roy Gould, Wireless Operator – Lucas crew, 1940

P1050765

Wellington AA-H X3468, with one assumes, Leonard Gould and others stood in front of it.
© Kerry Foster

P1050766

Wellington X3597 AA-C (Charlie)
© Kerry Foster

Many thanks to Kerry for contacting me, initially regarding some additional information for the Wellington database, which included the above 2 images as proof of the serial no. information.

Kerry is a keen collector of 75(NZ) memorabilia and I hope to be able to share further items from Kerry on the blog in the near future. These 2 pictures came from what Kerry described as ‘a small photo & document grouping from the estate of 552462 Sgt Leonard Roy GOULD DFM’

Leonard Gould was the Wireless Operator with Frederick John ‘Popeye’ Lucas and I think from the little I can find on him, flew on 2 occasions with the Squadron and with ‘Popeye’, between April and November 1940 and then between July 1941 and July 1942.

Unfortunately, as with my previous post regarding Cliff Page, my lack of a complete set of ORB’s from the earlier years of the war prevents me from adding my normal crew Op history to a posting like this – which perhaps means a trip to the National Archive Website when I get paid next month……….

P/O Clifford Frederick Page, Observer – Nola crew

Aircrew Remembered Archive Collection 20 copy

P/O Clifford Frederick Page, Navigator with David Nola’s crew.
courtesy of Kelvin Youngs, Aircrew Remembrance Society.

Many thanks to Kelvin for passing on a wonderful collection of images of Clifford Page, Observer with the David Nola’s crew, were all killed apart from the Rear Gunner on their return from an Op to Hamburg on the 8th May 1941 , when their Wellington struck a barrage balloon cable in the Humber Estuary. This crew has been of special interest to me since I first came across the graves of David Nola and the 2nd Pilot Alex Mee, in Grimsby cemetery, not longer after I began to research 75(NZ) Squadron.

Kelvin has passed them on with the sole desire that they should be seen by the wider 75(NZ) community and that by doing so, a little more might be learnt about some of the photographs – I think a laudable and sensible wish. I am sure that we have all benefited from the generous donation by individuals to the blog so far and it has always been my intention to present all of the material I have been sent – it’s only by doing this that everyone can see it and then perhaps contribute more to our knowledge of the squadron – and long may this continue.

View this remarkable collection here. If you are able to add  information to any of the images in the collection, please quote the photograph number so I can add to the caption.

Perhaps annoyingly and also ironically given so little is known of the photographs, I am currently not able to tell you much about the crew – my ORB collection for 1941 is sadly fragmented.

I present what I have in the hope that somebody else might be able to fill the gaps…….

February 1941 From 541
From 18.40 HRs. 10/2/41 to 04.30 HRS 11/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Rotterdam
Wellington T.2503
P/O Falconer Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
P/O Muir Navigator
Sgt. Morrison W/Operator
Sgt. Hellier Front Gunner
Sgt. Brodie Rear Gunner

From 18.30 HRS. 14/2/41 to 01.15 HRS. 15/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Wellington T.2503
P/O Falconer Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
P/O Muir Navigator
Sgt. Morrison W/Operator
Sgt. Hellier Front Gunner
Sgt. Brodie Rear Gunner

From 18.55HRS, 21/2/41 to 00.30 HRS, 22/2/41
Bombing Attacks on Willemshaven
Wellington MK.Ic R.1161
P/O Burton Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Revitt Navigator
Sgt. Milborne W/Operator
Sgt. Brown Front Gunner
Sgt. George Rear Gunner

From 18.50 HRS, 23/2/41 to 23.05 HRS. 23/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Boulogne
Wellington Mk.Ic R.7818
P/O Kimberley Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Williams Navigator
Sgt. Fairlam W/Operator
Sgt. McCracken Front Gunner
Sgt. Watts Rear Gunner

From 18.50 HRS, 26/2/41 to 00.40 HRS. 27/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818
P/O Kimberley Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Williams Navigator
Sgt. Fairlam W/Operator
Sgt. McCracken Front Gunner
Sgt. Watts Rear Gunner

March Records not present

April 1941 Form 541
From 21.35 Hours 14.4.41 to 04.30 Hours 15.4.41
Bombing Attacks on Brest
Wellington Mk.Ic (no serial code listed)
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

From 20.25 Hours 16.4.41 to 03.50 Hours 17.4.41
Bombing Attacks on Bremen
Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

From 20.35 Hours 17.4.41 to 05.35 Hours 18.4.41
Bombing Attacks on Berlin
Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

From 20.35 Hours 20.4.41 to 04.25 Hours 30.4.41
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Rotterdam
Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

Form 540 for May
May 8
Operations
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, TBO.404, returned to base with bombs on account rear turret and guns being out of order. The remaining aircraft all dropped their bombs and bursts were seen in target areas, as a result of which many fires were started. A.A. fire was intense and fairly accurate, and searchlights were active. Enemy aircraft were numerous but no attacks were made. The weather was good, but a little too clear. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T, map reading.

Similarly to the loss of James Ward, his crew and the Hawkins crew  on the night of 15th September 1941, the loss of the crew is not even recorded in this summary of the raid.

Sgt David Leo Nola RNZAF NZ39930. Pilot. Died age 25.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

P/O Clifford Frederick Page RAFVR 60780. Navigator.Died age 22.
Buried Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery England.

Sgt Alexander Coutts Mee RNZAF NZ40656. 2nd Pilot. Died age.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt Walter Russell RAFVR 949560 Wireless Operator. Died age 23.
Buried West Bromwich Churchyard Staffordshire England.

Sgt John Hall RAFVR 988980. Front Gunner. Died age 20. Buried Hull Northern Cemetery, England.

Sgt Craven RAFVR. Rear Gunner. AG x Mar to 7 May 1941. c/w D A Nola as R/Gnr.

Another new section to the menu – ‘Collections’

As the blog has grown, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of relatives regarding the astonishing things they have donated for presentation on this site. Initially perhaps, a logbook donation would also sometimes include additional photographs of airmen, or documents etc. When this occurred, it made sense in my mind at least, to nest these additional documents with the logbook in the logbook section of the blog. As time has progressed and items have continued to come in, this rather simplistic grouping system is looking a little shaky and is perhaps not good enough to provide a (new) visitor with a clear indication and route to documents, photographs etc.

I have therefore decided to add another section to the top menu bar – ‘Collections’.

This section will contain multiple, or grouped items that have been donated, or that I have. I hope in this way that some of these amazing things will be easier to find on a wander through the blog. I will begin to move items that now fall under this new category from where they currently reside in the blog – I hope this will allow the logbook section to contain just logbooks and all associated documents from these logbooks will now be placed in the ‘Collections’ section.

I apologise in advance if any links from posts now do not work regarding the original location of a document – I will try to update them as I move documents…….