Monthly Archives: November 2013

Henry John Price RNZAF NZ404095 – Wireless Operator. 1942

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Thanks to Russell for a second time for his contribution of the logbook of Henry John Price, who was killed on the 12th March, as part of John Sandy’s crew on an Op to Kiel.

This was only Henry’s 2nd Op with the Squadron. When I get some time I will check back through the ORB for this period – it seems strange that Henry does a substantial amount of training with (who I take to be ) John Fisher, only to then fly his first Op with Reg Sawrey-Cookson, befor flying to Kiel with John Sandys.

F/O John Frederick Kelly Sandys RCAF J.4814. Pilot.
Died age 25.
Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 99 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt. Roy Desmond Joffre Woodcock RNZAF NZ404985. 2nd Pilot.
Died age 26.
Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 118 Runnymede Memorial.

P/O John Earle RNZAF NZ401756. Observer.
Died age 29.
Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 115 Runnymede Memorial.

F/Sgt Henry John Price RNZAF NZ404095. Wireless Operator.
Died age 25.
Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 117 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt. Leslie Joseph Dunn RAFVR 1001633. Front Gunner.
Died age 19.
Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 82 Runnymede Memorial.

F/Lt. Thomas James Desmond Baber, mid, Czech Medal for Bravery. RNZAF NZ39857. Rear Gunner.
Died age 23.
Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 114, Runnymede Memorial.

Read Henry’s logbook here.

Richard Melville Curtis RAF 42200 – Pilot. 1939. Uniforms

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Many thanks indeed to Kerry for passing on these images of his collection of dress and flying uniforms of Richard Melville Curtis. Kerry was kind enough to pass on a copy of Richard’s logbook a month ago and you can see it here. This  represents an astonishingly diverse and well preserved collection of period clothing. the full set of images can be seen here, in the ‘collections’ section.

Paul Burton Chamberlain RAF 33229 – Pilot. 1941

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Many thanks to Russell for contacting me and passing on this extract from Squadron Leaders Paul Chamberlain’s log book. Paul was in the RAF before the outbreak of war and served in the following Squadrons before arriving at Feltwell on the 20th of September 1941;

31 (A.C.) Squadron
Risalpur, India (December 1936 to January 1939)

Station HQ
Habinaya, Iraq (January 1939 to September 1940)

‘S’ Squadron
(September to October 1940)

244 Squadron
Shaibah (November 1940 to March 1941)

23 OTU
Pershore (August to September 1941)

Paul was only with 75(NZ) Squadron until the 12th October when he was killed along with the rest of his crew during a raid on Bremen and Nurenburg.

Sqn/Ldr. Paul Burton Chamberlain RAF 33229. Pilot .
Died age 25.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley RAF 1190121. 2nd Pilot.
Died age 19.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.

P/O Joseph Allan Robinson RCAF J.5684. Observer
Died age 23.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery Belgium.

Sgt. Raymond George Butt RAF 930644. Wireless Operator.
Died age 20.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery Belgium.

Sgt. Francis Edward Austin RAF 1262243. Front Gunner.
Died age 27.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery Belgium.

Sgt. John Richard Ashley RAF 908768. Rear Gunner
Died age 29.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery Belgium.

View Paul Chamberlain’s logbook here.

Waving or Drowning…..?

Drowning………….

I’d just like to apologise to anybody who has contacted me, or supplied me with information in the last few weeks – I have a significant backlog of information to process and research to undertake for a number of relatives. In reality, this is absolutely fantastic – and there is some amazing information to share with you all, but it all takes, time, which is something of a rare commodity for me at the moment………

SO, please bare with me and watch this space – I’ll post as and when I can and hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible…

Cheers

Simon

Letters home – Jim Haworth. Mallon/ Butler crew.

About a month ago I posted an update to Vic Jays blog ‘Bob Jay’s War’, regarding Vic’s presentation of letters from his Fathers Navigator Jim Haworth.

Jim wrote numerous letters to his wife, Sally, while he was overseas. They contain lots of fascinating information that fills in some of the gaps in his crews story and gives an insight into life with the air force during and shortly after the war and the importance of humour in difficult times! At 34 Jim was the oldest member of the crew and the only one with children. He had two daughters before the war and had only spent 6 weeks with the younger, Maryann. He was away from home for the next three years and this helps to explain the home sickness that is evident in almost everything he wrote.

As is always the case when these sort of documents come to light, an astonishing secondary level of information can be added to the ‘cold’ details that are present within the official history within Forms 540 and 541 of the Squadron Operational Record Books.

My massive thanks goes to Ruth, Jim’s daughter, via Vic for passing on a significant portion of transcribed copies of Jim’s letters for display on the blog.

The letters can be seen here in the ‘Collections’ section of the blog

Bob Jay’s war – some new updates

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Thanks to Vic for letting me know he has added some more posts to his blog about his Father, Bob Jay.

The first adds some more of Jim Haworth’s letters home after the war in Europe has ended and clearly shows the unease and frustration (certainly in Jim’s mind) regarding the departure of some of the Squadrons aircrew of other nationalities and the possible roles the New Zealand crews might be facing in the Far East.

The second post explores Eric Butler’s arrival as skipper with the crew after the departure of their original Pilot, Bill Mallon, on compassionate grounds.

I continue to be impressed by the dogged determination that Vic is showing with his blog – the level of detail is now amazing regarding the story of his Father’s crew and it really seems, despite Vic’s frustration regarding finding information on the other members of the crew, that the pieces of the jigsaw are really beginning to ‘fall into place’. I’d love to think that eventually I might be able to do the same for Dad’s 2 crews and their stays with the Squadron – though I think it might take considerably longer to achieve.

Read Vic’s 2 new posts here.

Lest we forget……

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It now seems a tradition that whatever the weather throws at us on the Saturday, Sunday morning is always bright and crisp for the Remembrance Service at Mepal.

As always, the gathering of friends and family is a bitter sweet experience – its wonderful to catch up with friends over the weekend, but the Sunday service is what we actually gather for and it’s always and perhaps rightly, and emotional and reflective time.

Before the Remembrance service, the ashes of Mike and Pam Molony were committed to the Garden. Mike flew with the crew of Victor John Andrew between their first op on the 27/28 of June 1944 to Biennais and the 26/27 August op to Kiel – where he was seriously injured by flak that hit the fuselage and mid upper turret. The Kiel op was Mike’s 20th with the Andrew crew – he never flew with them again, however, the crew continued without Mike and final achieved a total of 38 ops.

I will post a further appreciation of Mike’s life later this week.

It was also lovely to see the Association President Jack Richards at the service – something I know he was determined not to miss. His presence was appreciated by all who attended.