Monthly Archives: February 2014

Interview with Radio New Zealand

What an incredible day after the Radio New Zealand interview – all previous daily visit totals wiped cleanly off the slate – today the blog had an amazing 1,070 visits, the vast majority from New Zealand – and already some new contacts from relatives, so hopefully some new stories about the boys from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF will be posted soon

Thanks to everybody

Just in case you missed it, you can listen to Radio New Zealand’s interview with me here

Another new group photograph – Pilots & Flight Engineers May 1945

Pilot Engineers May 1945 numbers copy

Many thanks to Vic for sending in this group photograph that was, very interestingly taken in May 1945. The Photograph is labelled ‘Pilots and Engineers, May 1945’. The presence of Vic’s Father, Bob Jay in the photograph is very noteworthy – as neither Bob or the rest of the boys in his crew feature in the Full Squadron, or Flight group photographs, as they were away at Feltwell between the 11th and 17th of March undertaking G-H training. His presence in this photograph, even if you ignore the date attached to it, clearly marks this (and perhaps others) as being later than the other group photographs already on display.

Vic has already identified his Father Bob Jay and Les Hoffert and I instantly spotted Jock Fraser, of the Banks crew, though, no Russell Banks……

As with all of these fantastic group photographs, if you recognise a face, please let me know!

View the numbered picture here.

Form 540 November & December 1944 complete for Project ORB

My repeated  thanks to Hubert for his continuing efforts transcribing the Squadron ORB’s. I am pleased to announce and present  another 2 new complete Form 540′s for November and December 1944.

I will once again, repeat my call out to all of you for volunteers to join Hubert, Martyn and Dave in the ORB project – every month that someone finds the time to transcribe, completes another small part of the overall Squadron record and provides more information for people visiting the website.

View November here
View December here.


Well, I’d really like to thank New Zealand Radio, and particularly Paul Brennan for their interest in the the blog.

I just finished a half hour interview with Paul about Dad, the blog and the 75(NZ)Squadron. Not sure when it will go out, but if anybody hears it, please let me know – hopefully it will spread the word a little bit further and we might get some more new, amazing stories about the boys in the Squadron.


Lancasters to fly together in English skies again – ‘Once in a Lanc time’……


If any of our readers, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere, were thinking of coming to the UK this year, it looks like August might well be the month to come. It was announced yesterday that FM213 VR-A will fly from Canada in August to join the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, PA474, for a series of flights during August 2014.

From the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight website;


The last two Lancaster bombers still flying in the world will come together in a series of events this summer, in a meeting unlikely to happen ever again.

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAF BBMF) based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire will welcome the arrival of a very special guest during August 2014 when the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM) fly their prized Avro Lancaster to the UK for a month long visit.

The Canadian Lancaster will join the only other airworthy Lancaster in the world, owned and operated by the RAF BBMF, and participate in several events and activities while overseas.

The CWHM Lancaster will depart from Hamilton, Ontario on August 4th with plans to arrive in England on August 8th. The North Atlantic crossing will include en-route stops at Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada, Narsarsuaq, Greenland, and Keflavik, Iceland, prior to arriving in the UK.

Shortly after arriving, the Lancaster will undergo a scheduled maintenance inspection. The CWHM crews will then complete a short training program with the BBMF in preparation to participate in several air displays and fly pasts with the BBMF Lancaster and fighters starting on August 14th. These displays will celebrate the exceptionally close British/Canadian relationship and to commemorate the sacrifice and dedication of Commonwealth Bomber crews and the professionalism of both nations’ air forces today. The CWHM Lancaster will also conduct a limited number of UK Bomber Membership flights from Humberside Airport, flying over historic Lincolnshire for those fortunate few who have obtained CWHM UK Bomber Memberships. Further information on the UK Bomber Memberships can be found at

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum President and CEO, Sqn Ldr (Ret.) David G. Rohrer C.D. who is a current Lancaster pilot, stated that this Trans Atlantic crossing and visit to the BBMF and England is a “Once in a Lanc Time” event as it will not happen again. Rohrer indicated that this year, “a rare window of opportunity was identified to bring the last two flying Lancasters in the world together as a special salute to all the veterans of Bomber Command, many of whom are in their late 80s or older now.” It is also an opportunity for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum to fly together and showcase a flying display and tribute to all those who served in the time of need, in Canada, Britain, and the entire Commonwealth, that likely will never be seen again.

Officer Commanding the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Sqn Ldr Dunc Mason said “To see these two aircraft flying at events together will be a unique sight and also the opportunity to truly commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Lest We Forget.”

75,000 for

I often berate my students for not fully reading project briefs I set them – ‘ read the whole thing, it contains useful information that will help you’……….

After my post a couple of weeks ago, thanking everybody for their support regarding us reaching 70,000 views, I offered by way of thanks a challenge to anybody who could take a screen grab of the blog counter as close to 75,000 as they could. For anyone hitting the target as it were, I would sent a half bottle of single malt whiskey, to the value of £75. Any screen grab, any number above or below the magic figure would have that value subtracted from £75, to the point where you would probably just get a miniature of ‘cooking’ whiskey.

Leaving for work this morning I saw we were close to the target and expected to see a winner in the mail box when I got to work……..

Well, I am pleased to say that the winner of a £75 bottle of single malt is……………


I didn’t get a single person, and before any wag sends a screenshot, currently the counter is at 75,302 – working on my reductive scale, that means you will owe me a bottle of Scotch worth £227…………..

Competition is closed, lets try again as we approach 100,000


Mepal from the air

Broadbent (22)

‘Bombing’ photo taken from 16,000 feet by S/L Dickie Broadbent’s Bomb Aimer on 20 October 1943.
Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © Ron Mayhill collection.

Thanks to Chris for putting together this post on the Mepal airfield and sharing with us all, more pictures from his visit to the New Zealand Bomber Command archive.

One of the frustrations I had early in my search for information about my uncle’s time at Mepal, was the lack of photos of the place during the War years. Most of the photos I came across were aircraft and crews in front of aircraft, with the occasional glimpse of Nissen huts, a few trees, fences, and flat, featureless farmland in the background.

The  three photos from the NZBCA archives give a good idea of the layout of the Base, and how it sat amongst the surrounding countryside.

RAF Mepal  was located near Ely, just north of Cambridge, between the villages of Mepal, Sutton and Witcham. You can still see the outline of the runways and taxiways on Google Earth.

75 (NZ Squadron had moved from Newmarket to Mepal in late June 1943. The June Form 540 records the transfer from Newmarket as follows;

The Squadron was moved to R.A.F. Station, Mepal (Satellite to Waterbeach). The advanced party proceeded on the 27th. June 1943, the Main Party on the 28th. June, and the Rear Party on the 29th. June 1943. This was successfully carried out with the assistance of Motor transport provided by No. 2 M.T. Coy. Cambridge.

This photo at the top of the post is oriented with North at the bottom, South at the top. Mepal village is at the bottom of photo, Sutton at the top and Witcham is out of picture, left. The twin Bedford River canals are visible at bottom right.

At least 34 Stirlings can be seen parked around the various dispersals. Aircraft were kept in the open, dispersed around the airfield, for safety reasons, and to present less of a target. A perimeter road around the outside of the three runways connected the aircraft dispersal ‘pans’ (circular concrete pads about 130 feet in diameter, accessed off the perimeter road by 50 ft-wide taxiways) – crew were delivered out to their aircraft by Bedford bus or truck.

The main runways were about 1 mile long.

Buildings were mostly “tin can” Nissen huts; two messes catered for 1,884 males and 346 females. there was a single B1 and  T2 hanger for maintenance. The photograph was taken from an aircraft piloted by S/L ‘Dickie’ Broadbent, Commanding Officer, ‘C’ Flight, in 1943

From the RAF website ‘Bomber Command Mepal’
Mepal airfield was built to Class A specification as one of the two satellite stations for the Waterbeach cluster. The site on a 20-foot rise out of the Cambridgeshire fens, was confined by the New and Old Bedford Rivers to the west; the villages of Sutton to the south, Mepal to the north and Witcham due east. As the A142 between Mepal and Sutton ran across the middle of the site it was closed off and diverted to run on the road through Withham. Construction began in July 1942 on a £810,000 contract. The concrete runways were: main 08-26 at 2,000 yards, and OS-23 and 14-32 both at 1,400 yards. Thirty-six hardstandings were provided, all being the loop type. Hangars were a T2 and a B1 positioned on the technical site between runway heads 26 and 32, the Bl being to the north, with another T2 on the north side of the airfield between runway heads 23 and 26. The bomb store lay to the north-west, between 08 and 14. The 11 dispersed sites were all to the east of the airfield around Witcham and consisted of two mess, one communal and eight domestic catering for 1,884 males and 346 females.

Officially opened in June 1943, its first occupants were the Stirlings of No. 75 Squadron, removed from the turf of Newmarket Heath, which conducted its first operation from Mepal on the night of July 3. Named the New Zealand Squadron and manned largely by citizens of that country, No. 75 was to remain in residence for a little over two years, seeing out the war from Mepal. No other squadron was based there during this period as No. 75 maintained three flights, their complements often totalling more than 30 aircraft, particularly after Lancasters replaced the Stirlings in March 1944. The squadron lost 104 bombers in operations from Mepal, 50 being Stirlings and 52 Lancasters.

No. 75 Squadron moved out in July 1945 to make way for the assembly and training of Tiger Force, the RAF bomber contingent scheduled to move to the north-east Pacific for operations against the Japanese homeland. These were Nos. 7 and 44 Squadrons, although the latter was soon replaced by No. 49 Squadron. However, the contraction of the RAF during the first year of peace provided several stations with better accommodation than the `tin can huts’ at Mepal and the Lancasters left in July 1946. Thereafter Mepal remained empty of active units for 12 years.

In 1957, the airfield was one of the sites selected to deploy Thor medium-range missiles and three emplacements were built in the north-east corner of the original airfield. When the missiles became active, the operating unit was No. 113 Squadron. By 1963 the Thors were considered obsolete and were removed, the airfield later surrendering to commercial and agricultural use.

The road between Mepal and Sutton villages had been re-opened in the 1950s and in the 1970s the A142 from Chatteris to Ely was established on a new three mile stretch of highway built right across the airfield, bypassing all three of the local villages. Today little of the airfield remains apart from odd lengths of perimeter track used as farm roads. On the south-eastern corner of the airfield site the largest agricultural machinery sale yard in the country was opened in 1997 where monthly hundreds of farm tractors echo the thunder of long-gone heavy bombers.

The photo below was taken by F/L John Aitken, probably some time in 1944, approaching the airfield from a direction equivalent to the top left of the first photo. Sutton village at left. Comparing the two, a new hangar (?) can be seen at  the right (large dark building).

Ron Mayhill (5)

Aerial view from Lancaster approaching Mepal.
Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © John Aitken via Ron Mayhill collection.

After the cessation of the Bombing Campaign, the Squadron was slowly re configured regarding the reformation of Tiger force, built solely around RNZAF crew. In preparation for the formation of Tiger Force, which at the time was planned to be deployed to the Far East, the Squadron left Mepal after 2 years and a month.

The Squadron moved from R.A.F. Station Mepal, No. 3 Group, to R.A.F. Station, Spilsby, No.5. Group. The journey was made by rail and the whole move was carried out very smoothly. We owe a debt of gratitude to both stations for their excellent cooperation in the movement.

Once again, many thanks to Peter Wheeler and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association for the permission to present these pictures.

Maori aircrew who served with 75 (NZ) Squadron, 1939-45 – Ta Tio Tuaine “Tai” Nicholas

DSC_0239 (2) - Copy

Tai Nicholas (front right) with the Layton crew.
Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © Clive Estcourt.

Many thanks to Chris for adding this new photograph and individual details, to the original post he wrote about Maori aircrew in 75(NZ) Squadron.

See the new information and the original article here.

75(NZ) Squadron group photograph March 1945 – an update

Full Squadron 1945 heald UNNUMBERED

Many thanks indeed to Chris for an additional 28 names for the March 1945 full Squadron photograph. This contribution, plus the initial 23 names I put up on Sunday brings the grand total of identified airmen in this photograph to 51, although with 341 individuals in the photograph, this represents just 15% of the names we need to try and find – so come on everybody, out with all those old photographs – lets try and get some more of the boys named!

View the numbered version of the photograph here.

75(NZ) Squadron group photograph March 1945 – significant progress!

Full Squadron 1945 heald UNNUMBERED

I am really pleased to say I received a number of very swift responses to my request for a better quality version of the full Squadron photograph yesterday. Many thanks to David, son of Stan Heald for passing on the above version. As time allows, David will try to scan the photograph again at a higher resolution.

Thanks also to Chris for passing on a panel from the photograph that he obtained on his recent visit to the NZBCA – relative to David’s version, the quality seems very similar. I am a little concerned that the sheer scale of the subject in this photograph, coupled with the relatively limited photographic technology of the day, might mean that there is a finite practical limit to the ultimate quality of this image we might ever see. This said, I wonder if the production process of the paper prints from the negative might have been sensitive enough to mean that the miniscule difference in paper position when being printed might, just might, mean that there are sharper versions out there – I think we should keep looking.

Many thanks also to Keith, who also has a copy of this photograph and will check his when he gets back home.

Lets keep looking for other versions of this picture – there might be a pin-sharp version out there somewhere……..

View the full Squadron photograph here.

Ooops – I forgot
Hopefully we should get a fair flurry of activity on this photograp regarding the naming of individuals – to save time, I’d be really grateful if you could try to provide as much information if you do spot somebody in the following format;

196. F/Lt. Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville RAFVR 1562617/ 161049 – Air Bomber. Zinzan crew. confirmed – Simon Sommerville

Obviously you may not know all of the information – but it will represent a massive time saving for me if you can provide as much information as possible.

Cheers – Simon

Can anybody help me? – Complete Squadron photograph March 1945


I’ve been putting out a few feelers this afternoon to try to get a good quality version of the above photograph for the ‘Group Photographs’ collection – especially after all the activity in this section of the blog over the last week. There seem to be a few useful potential possibilities, but then it struck me I might as well as ask everyone here, just in case………

Does anybody have a print copy of this photograph? It contains all the boys of the Squadron, (including my Father and his 2nd Tour crew) and was taken in March 1945.

Whilst this image is the header image for the blog, it simply isn’t of the size or resolution to usefully be used, as with the other group photographs, to number and allow easy identification of individuals

Rather than (hopefully) someone putting their hand up and then regretting doing it, based on what I will ask, I’ll spell it out now………

What I would like is a scanned copy of the original photograph at at least 800dpi. If the photograph is framed, this will, unfortunately, mean it has to be removed from the frame. From what I understand of the photograph, it will also have to be scanned probably in a series of overlapping portions, as it might not fit in a standard A4 scanner. I would also like the picture scanned in ‘colour’ mode, to retain all the information in the image and saved as a series of TIFF files (again, to preserve image information). This will create a series of massive files – which will have to probably sent to me via a file transfer site such as DropBox……

As I said – I am being a massive pain in the ass, regarding what I need, but I’d rather be upfront about what and how I need the scans, so someone can make the decision prior to perhaps contacting me, as to whether they want to, or are able to do this.

I’m crossing my fingers now.

Hopefully thanks in advance – Simon

1943 Squadron group photographs – December

On posting the 1943 group photographs of the Squadron, I mused about when they were taken. Looking through previous blog posts for something else, I came across a post based on a query from Adrian regarding the identity of the aircraft in the photograph(s). His initial speculation was based on the period that his Uncle and his crew were at Mepal.

In a comment reply on the post, Kevin identified the month as December – based around the presence of his uncle, Alf Newnham and previous confirmation from surviving aircrew.

So, December 1943 it is then!


Form 540 March 1945 complete for Project ORB

Many thanks to Martyn for completing a new month for the ORB project. I am pleased to announce and present a new complete Form 540 for March 1945.

This is Martyn’s first experience at a transcription activity and he noted in his email with the month that the concentrated process of reading, typing and reviewing  made him feel that he was actually within the events being described on the pages of the document – I know this feeling and from personal experience, I have also felt a real sense of sadness when a crew, who through a protracted transcription activity, becomes a regular and familiar set of names, are it feels, suddenly lost again in front of your eyes.

I was told repeatedly at school, that the best way to learn and understand something is to copy it down – I think this is doubly true for the ORB’s.

There are plenty of pages left – maybe some of you might like to see the events of a month with the Squadron in a new light.

See March 1945 here.

From the Somme to the Lancaster Bomber – 1 Family 2 World Wars, by Mark Rae

Regular readers of the blog will recognise Mark’s name, as it featured rather heavily leading up to last Novembers Winter 75(NZ) Squadron Association reunion. Mark’s Grandfather was Jack Bell, Navigator with Ronald Gordon’s crew, one of 3 aircraft lost on the 20th November 1944 on one of the trips to what is widely recognised as 75(NZ) Squadron’s ‘bogey’ target, the Fischer Tropsch oil refinery at Homberg.

This is a video Mark has made with Ed Pitt on a trip to try to discover lost relatives. Starting in the fields of France, Mark travels to Reichswald War Cemetery in Berlin to see his Grandfather, John Bell’s grave for the first time, then to East Kirby to sit in a Lancaster with Hamish Ottway, the grandson of Bill Ottway, Mark’s Grandfather’s Wireless Operator, who, owing to a throat infection was prevented from flying with his crew on the 18th fateful Op to Homberg on the 21st November 1944. The film then finishes with the first public performance of ‘Forever Fallen’, a song that Mark wrote with Gita Langley for Jack, at the 2013 Winter Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association reunion.

This is the full version of ‘Forever Fallen’ – purchase it on iTunes and money goes to the Poppy Appeal and also, the  75(NZ) Squadron Memorial Garden in Mepal.

‘C’ Flight 75(NZ) Squadron RAF 1943

C flight 1943

© National Library of New Zealand

The final group photograph for tonight – this time a better quality image from the National Library of New Zealand, showing ‘C’ Flight, one assumes based on the Squadron photographs taken in 1944 and 1945, at the same time as the last post showing the full Squadron.

As with the previous posted full Squadron photograph I am interested to ascertain the location and date of this photograph.

The photograph is certainly good enough to see faces, so as with all these posted photographs tonight – names to face please people!



75(NZ) Squadron RAF group photograph 1943

Full Squadron 1943

The second posting tonight fills another gap as it were regarding a new year recorded in a series of Squadron Photographs – this time, 1943.

I originally came across this Squadron photograph at the National Library of New Zealand website, though having purchased a copy, I was a little bit disappointed to realise that the photograph was a bit over exposed, resulting in the faces of the airmen being quite bleached out. Once again, Kevin stepped in with a better lit version which shows some remarkable detail of the individuals.

I’d be grateful for clarification of place and date for this photograph.

Thanks to Kevin for already identifying his Uncle, Alf Newnham (complete with lucky mascot toy elephant), George Wilks, Des Horgan, Edgar Burke and Bill Allen.

As always with photographs of this kind, lets try to add to this list.

View the full Squadron photograph here.

75(NZ) Squadron RAF Ground Crew March/ May 1944 in front of ‘P’

March May 1944 ground crew

Inspired by the 2 group photographs I posted last night I had a rummage through my folders, sure that I had some more – in some respects I was simultaneously excited and disappointed – excited I had found some, but disappointed as to why I hadn’t put them up sooner.

To make amends, here is the first new group photograph to add to the ‘Group Photographs’ collection. I believe it was taken at the same time as the aircrew photographs in 1944 in front of one of the Squadron’s new Lancasters. If memory serves me correctly, this photograph was passed onto me by Kevin, Chairman of the UK Association – so Kevin, many thanks.

I am particularly keen to try to put some names to the faces of these boys – the ground crews were and are probably too easily forgotten regarding their utterly invaluable contribution to the operational success of a Squadron and thus in turn to the effectiveness of Bomber Command.

Lets name some of these boys!

See the numbered full size version of the photograph here.

Form 540 September & October 1944 complete for Project ORB

Many thanks to Hubert for his continuing efforts transcribing the Squadron ORB’s. I am pleased to announce and present 2 new complete Form 540’s for September and October 1944.

I will repeat my call out to all of you for volunteers to join Hubert, Martyn and Dave in the ORB project – every month that someone finds the time to transcribe, completes another small part of the overall Squadron record and provides more information for people visiting the website.

View September hereView October here.

‘B’ Flight 75(NZ) Squadron RAF March/ May 1944

75SqnBFlightMay1944 copy

Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © NZBCA Archives

This second image shows members of ‘B’ Flight. Again, the image is of very high quality and should ensure ( I hope) that we can put some names to faces!

See the enlargeable photograph here.

75(NZ) Squadron RAF March/ May 1944

75SqnMay1944 copy

Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © NZBCA Archives

The first image to be presented from the NZBCA archive is this wonderful photograph of the Squadron after the arrival of Lancasters to Mepal. Interestingly this photograph is dated ‘May 1944’ – up until this point, I was under the impression that this and the individual Flight photographs had been taken in March of this year – hence my wonderfully vague ‘March/May’ dating – I am happy to let weight of opinion ultimately set the date!

As with the other group photographs in this section, if you go to the image page via the link at the bottom of this post and then click on the image, a magnifying glass will appear – another click and you will see this photograph contains astonishingly good detail of the individuals – lets hope people recognise some faces. What I think is really nice as well, is that the photograph also shows some WAAFs and under No.221, is a small dog – I am guessing a crew mascot – I wonder, what are the chances of finding out his, or her name………??

Take a closer look at the photograph here.

Many thanks to Peter Wheeler and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association

In advance of a number of new images relating to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF appearing on the blog, I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to Peter Wheeler of the New Zealand Bomber Command Association for very generously letting Chris visit the Association archive and search it for images relating to the Squadron.

It is a credit to Peter and the other members of the Association that so much time and effort has been spent in visiting  veterans, copying material, capturing stories, “cleaning up”, cataloguing, and presenting it back to veterans organisations, interest groups, researchers and the public, including displays at MoTaT, contributions to online forums, NZBCA newsletters, and publications such as “Wednesday Bomber Boys” and “Kiwis Do Fly”.

Clearly, the archive has been built up from contributions and donations and as is always the case with such a gathering activity, many images are unattributed regarding exact ownership and copyright – the original photo archive was all prints, many with nothing on the reverse to identify them. To this end, all images will be presented from the archive as ‘Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © NZBCA Archives’. If direct attribution of an image is known, or is able to be established, either by Chris prior to presentation, or after its presentation, the credit will read ‘Courtesy New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ © the individual or family’.

Chris has already begun to pass some photographs through and they will appear shortly after this post.

Hopefully as these images are published we might all be able to return something back to the Association regarding more information on the pictures.

Once again many thanks to Peter and the NZBCA for this generous assistance


David John Moriarty CGM – Pilot. Another incredible contact…..


David Moriarty, CGM.
“On a morning in July, 1944, Flying Officer Moriarty was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack an objective in Northern France. Whilst over the target area, his aircraft was hit by an enemy anti-aircraft shell, which exploded in the cockpit. Flying Officer Moriarty was severely injured about the face, being completely blinded in one eye, which was badly lacerated by flying glass or shell fragments, and he also sustained a nasty scalp wound. After receiving first aid, he insisted on remaining at the controls. In spite of the distress he succeeded in flying the aircraft safely home. He has displayed courage, fortitude and determination of a high order.”

I put up a post after a contact with Nick, regarding his Grandfather Adam Scott, Flight Engineer with David Moriarty’s crew, just after this last Christmas. Nick had contacted me after finding David Moriarty’s obituary and within it an amazing story regarding the events of the Cagny Op that the crew flew on, on the 18th July 1944.

Within the obituary, there was a reference to David’s son, Brian and I wondered/ wished out loud at the end of this original post that maybe by mentioning Brian’s name, he or someone that knew him, might see the post.

Having just finished a Skype call to Brian, I remarked that maybe with this sort of luck, I should perhaps start betting on the horses……….

Brian has very kindly passed on a portion of his research into his family history that covers David’s time in the Air Force and more specifically his time with 75(NZ) Squadron and of course, details of the events of the Cagny raid.

Listening to David, what was clear was the tightness of the boys in the crew. Even after David’s injury on the Cagny Op and despite the remaining crew continuing their tour with the Squadron under another 2 Pilots, David remained in their hearts and minds, their Skipper. The boys remained close after the war and managed to meet up a number of times.

What follows is the abstract from Brian’s family research that relates to his Father, P/O David John Moriarty, CGM, Pilot.

Dave Moriarty was highly decorated in World War 2. His story has been told in a number of books, among them being:

In Action with the Enemy, by Alan W. Cooper. This book is about the rare decoration of CGM (Flying). There were only 110 ever awarded.

Forever Strong, by Norman Franks. This tells the story of No. 75 (NZ) Squadron, famous for its exploits in Bomber Command from 1939 to 1945.

Luck and a Lancaster, by Harry Yates DFC. This is a special book taking you, raid by raid, through the author’s tour of operational duty over the last five months of 1944. It is dedicated to Inia (Mac) Maaka, one of dad’s great mates of “75”.

Bombs on Target, by Ron Mayhill DFC. This book is based on the diaries and letters of Ron Mayhill, a bomb-aimer in John Aitken’s crew. John Aitken is another of Dave’s close friends from”75”. This book brings to life the wartime routine of a bomber station, the procedures for take-off drill, bombing and marking techniques, as well as individual sorties.

My account takes excerpts from those books, but also includes a more detailed record of Dave’s training through New Zealand and Canada, as well as some comments that have not been recorded previously.

My father, Dave, applied to join the RNZAF in May 1941, aged 19. At this time he was already a member of the New Zealand Territorials, attached to the 2nd Hawkes Bay Regiment. His application form shows that his first preference was to be trained as an air gunner, secondly as an air observer and thirdly as an airman pilot. After leaving Wanganui Technical College in 1937, his first job was a summer stint as a clerk with Jamieson Brothers Ltd., Ice Cream Manufacturers, in Wanganui. He joined Johnston & Co, Ltd., in June 1938 and was with them until he was called up for his enlistment at Rongotai on February 27th, 1942. He spent a week there before being posted to Ohakea for 6 months training. He spent a month in Rotorua, a few days in New Plymouth and 3 months in Ashburton doing his elementary flying training in Tiger Moths. He embarked for Canada on January 9th, 1943, and spent a brief time in Edmonton before being posted to No. 3 Service Flying Training School at Calgary, where he was stationed for 4 months. He was awarded his Pilot’s Flying Badge on May 28th, 1943. While in Canada he trained in an aircraft called the Cessna Crane. This 5 seater, twin-engined aircraft was primarily used to train pilots who, after receiving their initial training, were to learn to fly multi-engined aircraft and eventually to become bomber pilots.

In early June 1943, Dave travelled with a group from Calgary to Halifax, detouring through New York on the way, embarking from Halifax on 23rd June 1943 and arriving in Britain on July 1st. He joined the 12 (RNZAF) P.R.C. on his arrival and was posted to the 20 (P) A.F.U. (Advanced Flying Unit) on 10th August 1943. He was then sent to the 11 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) at Oakley, the satellite aerodrome for Westcott, where he was trained to fly the larger, twin-engined Wellington bombers. It was here that they “crewed up” in early January 1944, and that was an experience in itself. The mixture of pilots, navigators, bomb aimers etc. were all put in a hangar and the pilots, as skippers, given the challenge of sorting out their own crews.

Dave formed a crew of five with Ian Ward from Hastings N.Z. as Bomb Aimer, Dave “Foxy” Fox from Oamaru N.Z as Rear Gunner, Alan “Tex” Teverson from England as Wireless Operator, and another Kiwi, Harry Willis, as Navigator. Unfortunately Harry went on a training flight over the North Sea with a makeshift crew on the night of Jan 3rd 1944 and the plane never returned. No trace was ever found of it. Dave’s new navigator was Thomas Patrick “Blue” Monaghan from Mataura New Zealand. Ian Ward was the only commissioned officer in the crew, being a Flying Officer at that time. “Foxy” had approached Dave to join his crew because he remembered meeting him at Ohakea early on in their training. Dave was working in the pay section and had delivered Foxy’s pay to him while he was in the base hospital.


The crew of K-King, from left; Tex Teverson, Wireless Operator, England. Blue Monaghan, Navigator, Mataura, NZ. Alf Williams, Mid-upper Gunner, Cardiff, Wales. Dave Moriarty, Pilot and Skipper, Wanganui, NZ. Adam Scott, Engineer, Dumfries, Scotland. Ian Ward, Bomb Aimer, Hastings, NZ. Dave Fox, Rear Gunner, Hastings, NZ.
© Dave Moriarty

On the 7th April 1944 the crew was posted to 31 Base. Further training was carried out at various airfields. In May they went to the H.C.U. (Heavy Conversion Unit) at Chedburgh to learn to fly the 4-engined Sterlings.

It was here that Dave picked up the last two members of his crew for the larger aircraft. Adam “Scotty” Scott from Dumfries, Scotland, was the Flight Engineer and Alf Williams from Cardiff, Wales, was the Mid-upper Gunner. The crew then went to No.3 L.F.S (Lancaster Finishing School) at Feltwell in early June before being posted to No.75 (NZ) Squadron at Mepal on the 12th June, 1944. They flew their first operation over Le Havre on the 14th June.

Bomber Command experienced horrific casualties during the war. For any given 100 aircrew in Bomber Command, 1939-1945, the statistical breakdown was:

Killed on Operations                          51%

Killed in crashes in England              9%

Seriously injured                                 3%

Prisoner of War                                   12%

Evaded Capture                                   1%

Survived unharmed                            24%

The day of the Allied break-out, 18th July 1944, Bomber Command and the USAAF dispatched nearly a thousand bombers apiece to the Normandy battle area, the largest concentrated deployment of the entire war. Twenty-eight aircraft took off in the gloom from 75 Squadron’s base at Mepal for a dawn attack on Cagny, amongst them Dave and his crew in K-King. Cagny was one of the villages fortified by Rommel’s men and lay 5 miles or so from Caen. Operation “Goodwood” was the codename for the British Second Army’s armoured assault from Caen. It was a total success and has been recorded as being perhaps the most useful raid by Bomber Command in direct support of Allied armies in the war.


Target photograph from AA-K ‘King’. Cagny 18th July 1944
© Dave Moriarty

Just a minute after bombing the target amidst heavy flak fire, the aircraft was hit and Dave seriously wounded. His story follows:

We were at 7500 feet when we were hit, which in daylight is not very high. When I came to my senses we were at 8000 feet, so I must have fallen backwards with the stick in my tummy. There was a hole in the windscreen, not big, but big enough to do a fair bit of damage to the guy sitting in front of it – me! I had quite a bit of gunk and stuff all over my parachute harness and I realised when I put my hand over what turned out to be my good eye, there was nothing of the other one at all. A flak splinter had penetrated my head beside my left eye and exited behind my left ear. Scotty, my Engineer, put a field dressing across the top of my helmet and I could feel warm blood inside it which didn’t please me a great deal. None of the boys could fly and as the aircraft seemed alright, we decided to head for base with its familiar circuit.

It took us an hour and a half, and by this time my good eye was watering so badly I could hardly see the instruments, so gave the boys the choice of baling out, but they all agreed to stay. Scotty read out the heights as I came in and when we eventually got over the runway I levelled out and kind of fell in a heap but did no damage. Once I’d got off the runway the ambulancemen took over and the first thing I asked for was a cigarette – and I didn’t even smoke.”

His Flight Engineer, Sergeant Adam Scott, and Bomb Aimer, Ian Ward, got the bandage round Dave’s injured eye, Ward thinking that if they didn’t work fast, he was going to bleed to death. Dave lost his eye but he’d got his crew and his Lancaster back. In recognition of his valour he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM), one of only three from 75 Squadron to receive this high honour and only one of 110 ever awarded.

He returned to New Zealand on board a British vessel to India, then on an American Liberty ship from India, via Freemantle, to Auckland, New Zealand. He was accompanied on the voyage by Joe Murphy of Taumarunui. They are still friends today.

Three things stand out to me about these horrific experiences:

  1. The camaraderie of the crew was extremely strong and is enduring. Even though Dave was replaced by another pilot, the crew still keep in touch and still regard Dave as their “skipper”.
  2. They were a professional unit. While some films have depicted WW2 airmen as having a very social life during the war, Dave recalls that their crew knew what their task was and set about to do it as effectively as they could. There was no high life for them.
  3. Dave displayed amazing cool-headedness under extreme pressure. I once asked him why he had not headed for one of the airfields on the coast on Britain especially set up for aircraft in trouble. He said that while that was an option, he dismissed it early because it would have taken his aircraft out of the bomber stream that was protected by the allied fighter aircraft. To have done so would have put his crew at greater risk. He said that he was determined to get back to base as he was carrying some extremely valuable cargo on board – his crew – and his priority was to return them safely to base.

Dave was awarded the CGM on the 1st August 1944. On December 1st 1944 he was promoted from Flight Sergeant to the rank of Pilot Officer, effective from 17th July, the day before his last operational tour. He was promoted to Flying Officer a few months later. He received his medal from the Governor-General on Thursday, the 25th October, 1945.

The official citation reads:
“On a morning in July, 1944, Flying Officer Moriarty was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack an objective in Northern France. Whilst over the target area, his aircraft was hit by an enemy anti-aircraft shell, which exploded in the cockpit. Flying Officer Moriarty was severely injured about the face, being completely blinded in one eye, which was badly lacerated by flying glass or shell fragments, and he also sustained a nasty scalp wound. After receiving first aid, he insisted on remaining at the controls. In spite of the distress he succeeded in flying the aircraft safely home. He has displayed courage, fortitude and determination of a high order.”

I have included a copy of the letter received from the Official Secretary to the Governor-General inviting Dave to the Investiture service.


© Dave Moriarty

I have also copied a letter from the War Pensions Office, sent in 1948, which makes amusing reading considering the Accident Compensation Commission’s lump sum payments today – and we are not at war!!! As Dave had been paid out a gratuity of £20 from the Air Department, they pointed out that they had to deduct this from his pension as a result. It was difficult to beat bureaucracy even then!

War pensions

© Dave Moriarty

David in uniform

Dave Moriarty in his Officer’s uniform. This picture was taken in Wanganui after Dave’s return from England.
© Dave Moriarty


David and the family returned to Cagny in 2004, on the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy landings, the Cagny Op being in support of the invasion. Despite 95% of Cagny being destroyed by the raid, there were no civilian casualties – the Germans had moved the villagers out 10 days before.
© Dave Moriarty

The original post about the Moriarty crew can be read here

Request for information. Douglas Armitage Air Gunner – Bluck crew

DA1 001b corrected

Judging by his Sergeants stripes, a picture of Douglas possibly taken either during final training or while with 75(NZ) Squadron in 1943.
© Douglas Armitage

Douglas Armitage

An earlier picture of Douglas, clearly taken either after enlistment, or during early training
© Douglas Armitage

Many thanks to Douglas for passing on these 2 pictures of his Uncle, Douglas Armitage who was lost with the rest of his crew on the night of 24th June 1943 on a raid to Wuppertal. Doug is interested to find out more about his Uncle and this covers any information regarding his crew and stay at Newmarket with 75(NZ) Squadron, or even his training prior to operational flying.

The Bluck crew arrive at Newmarket on the 4th of May 1943 from 1651 Conversion Unit.

As is normal for this period of the war,  Norman undertakes 2 ‘2nd Dickie’ flights before flying with his own crew.

12.5.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Stirling Mk.III BK778 JN-U
2nd Pilot with S/L Dickie Broadbent

13.5.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Bochum
Stirling Mk.III BK778  JN-U
2nd Pilot with S/L Dickie Broadbent

16.5.43. Gardening –  Frisian Islands
Stirling Mk.III BK465 AA-J/K
Sgt. Norman Bradford. Bluck RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett. Cooksey  RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John William Gilliard RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Michael Kendlam  RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant  RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage , RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

21.5.43. Gardening – Gironde Estuary
Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-J/K
Same crew

23.5.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Stirling Mk.I BK434 AA-X
Same crew

25.5.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-J/K
Same crew

29.5.43. War Ops –  Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Stirling Mk.I BF465 AA-J/K
Same crew

11.6.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Düsseldorf
Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-J/K
Same crew

19.6.43. War Ops – Attatck Against Targets at Krefeld
Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-J/K
Leslie Cant replaces Douglas as Rear Gunner. Sgt. Ray Kennedy joins crew as Mid Upper Gunner.

21.6.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Krefeld
Stirling Mk.I BF461 AA-B
Leslie Cant and Ray Kennedy retain gunnery positions.

22.6.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Mülheim
Stirling Mk.I BF461 AA-B
Douglas returns as rear gunner to crew, Leslie returns to Mid Upper Gun.

24.6.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Stirling Mk.I EH902
Douglas moves to Mid Upper Gun, Leslie goes to Rear Gun.
EH902 was brought down either by AA fire or a night-fighter, crashing into the sea off Wissenkerke on the Dutch island of Beveland. There were no survivors. The bodies were all recovered and four of the crew buried in Vlissingen Northern Cemetery. The other three were buried at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery.

P/O Norman Bradford. Bluck RNZAF NZ40364. Pilot.
Died age 22.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Netherlands.

F/S James Brett. Cooksey  RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Died age 23.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery, Netherlands.

F/S Geoffrey Walter Strong RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Died age 31.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery Netherlands.

Sgt. John William Gilliard RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Died age 24.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery, Netherlands.

Sgt. Michael Kendlam  RAFVR 1072258. Wireless Operator.
Died age 23.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands.

Sgt. Douglas Armitage  RAFVR 1434609. Mid Upper Gunner.
Died age 19.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Netherlands.

Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant  RAFVR 1397680. Rear Gunner.
Died age 20.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Netherlands.

Another time…………….’To Attention’!

2-8-2014_001.jpg copy

Many thanks to my sister, Sandra for passing on this image of Dad and me – saluting the sea I suppose, I think at Daymer Beach, in Cornwall – I reckon about 1973.

Its wonderful to see this image – I don’t think I even knew it existed, but it has a poignancy for me now, knowing as I do now of Bob’s time with 75(NZ) Squadron and that at the time the picture was taken, I didn’t even know there had been 2 World Wars.

A new group photograph from ‘Dying for Democracy’ by Grant Russell – Air Bomber, Stevenson crew


‘Some of the Bomb Aimers of 75(NZ) Squadron, yours truely in the front row, 5th from left as you look at the photograph. A Lancaster bomber in the background’.
Front row: 2nd from left Stan Heald (Ware crew), 5th from Left :F/Lt. Grant Alan Russell
Middle row: 2nd from right Jim Saunders (Stevens crew), 6th from Right: F/O Jimmy Wood (A/B Banks crew)
Photograph from ‘DYING FOR DEMOCRACY’, Flt Lt G A Russell DFC, 1997, self-published (Russell), Wanganui, NZ

Many thanks to Chris for this photograph from ‘Dying for Democracy’, written and self published by Grant Russell, who was the 75(NZ) Squadron Bombing Leader from March 44 to May 45. In this role, which seems more of a training and admin role, he would occasionally fly op’s as fill-in for ill or absent A/B’s. During his stay with the Squadron he flew with amongst others, the Stevenson and Zinzan crew. He also flew a number of times with the Thomson crew – Don Thomson was his old Pilot from OTU and 218 Squadron, who ended up at 75(NZ) on his second tour.

I must confess, I was quite taken a back and excited when I saw the photograph, titled as it is ‘Some of the Bomb Aimers from 75(NZ) Squadron – especially as I instantly saw the grinning face of Jimmy Wood (Russell Bank’s A/B)………But no, sadly my Father is not in it.

As a self published book, this is a very scarce publication. Chris is currently reading through it, but he passed on the following extract that has a direct relevance to me;

Flight No 35. Wanne-Einkle, Germany. Date 16/1/1945.
Mk III Lancaster NoPB427.
Pilot: F/O Zinzan.
Load carried:  1 x 4,0001b H.C. bomb, plus 12 x 500 M64 bombs, plus 4 x 2501b G.P. bombs1. Total weight = 11,466 lbs or 5.12 tons.
Distance flown: 1,055 miles.
Time airborne:       5hrs l0min.
This was a night flight and once again against Germany. Over the target, things became exciting and exasperating as I unhappily watched a Lancaster at our level, and only a few yards in front, explode into many small pieces. Very unnerving. The Germans had assessed our level of flying and great masses of enemy shells were exploding all around us. But it was always like that at every target. Pilots had to have wonderful nerve control to be able to fly their aircraft straight and level under such conditions, yet they all did. It was absolutely necessary, otherwise bomb aimers would never be able to take aim at the target. At each pre-flight briefing, a certain point of a broad target was invariably indicated as the aiming point and that aiming point was usually a very industrious war producing business.
We were coned by search lights just as we cleared the target but my very experi­enced pilot quickly whisked us out of that by dropping the nose of our kite, diving downwards while banking steeply to port and cleared the cone of search lights. We then swooped smartly up to 20,000ft again from which height I had just dropped our load. Our considerably reduced all up weight rendered our kite readily manoeuvrable.
Jerry must have been as thick as two planks not to have got the British message by now. But we would keep on and on until he really and fully understood.
This night was my pilot’s second consecutive almost all-night flight, all of which was of course under high tension. Coming in to land, he made a slight miscalculation. He levelled out while the aircraft was still some 15 or so feet above the runway, causing the kite to drop with a considerable thump. Our heavy landing was at 15 minutes after four in the morning. No one was actually hurt. An inspection in daylight revealed no damage to the aircraft. The strong construction only served to heighten my admiration of Lancasters. Further proof that it was still in good shape was illustrated by the fact that it did another all-night trip the very next night with another crew and returned safely to Base’.

Grant was one of a number of Air Bombers that flew with Vernon and the boys, before my Father returned to Mepal to become their new, regular Air Bomber. I can’t help but smile at Grant’s description of Vernon’s landing – Ken Mesure was lost from the crew after their first Op owing to a heavy landing and Dougie Williamson has also recounted to me a particularly ‘acrobatic’ landing by Vernon on another occasion. Despite these recorded mishaps, Vernon and his original crew completed their 1st tour before the end of the war, including 21 with Dad as Air Bomber, so perhaps, it suggests that style didn’t count for much after being in the air for over 5 hours.

Now of course, this photograph, which until yesterday I didn’t even know the existence of, means that there could potentially be more equivalent group photographs of this kind, collecting together the different aircrew trades of the Squadron. Individuals present in the picture would suggest March 1945 and possibly/ perhaps the same time when the full Squadron and Flight group photographs were taken – though, in the absence of a concrete date for ANY of these photographs this is conjecture.

Please please, please, if anybody has an original copy of this group photograph, or indeed one of possibly the equivalent for another trade group taken at the same time, I would love to have a copy to add to the ‘Group Photographs’ section of the blog.

Aircraft Database – minor corrections

composite aircraft imageStirling and lanc only

Many thanks to Ian for performing a few tweaks to the aircraft database regarding information on the Stirling and Lancaster pages, since the last major update last week.

See the Stirling page here
See the Lancaster page here

70,000 Views – as always, many thanks

As is now becoming a tradition, I must take the opportunity as we reach 70,000 views, to thank everybody for their continuing interest and support of the blog.

It’s an astonishing figure and daily visit rates suggest that if anything interest is increasing in the blog and the stories that are being posted.

Many thanks to our new followers and visitors via Twitter as well. To be honest, I joined Twitter a few weeks ago with the thought that it might be useful to further communicate the existence of the blog, but with no real idea of how that was going to be achieved. Numbers suggest that a following is being built on this new platform and I am pleased that means more people find the blog. I envisage for the moment at least, to  just use Twitter to tweet posts on the blog – regular visitors to the blog need not fear – everything will still happen here – but now a new post can be communicated to a wider audience via the ‘Twittersphere’

By way of thanking everybody for their support since the start of the blog, I have had the idea of celebrating the approaching view figure of 75,000 by offering a prize to the first person to send me a screen grab of the blog showing the view counter at exactly 75,000 views.

My Father liked a Whiskey and a bottle of single malt seemed a welcome surprise to both Jack Jarmy and Dougie Williamson when I met them, so to continue the ‘Whiskey tradition’ I propose the first sender of the magical ’75’ screenshot will receive a decent bottle of single malt to the value of £75 (to keep the numerical motif going).

Ladies and gentlemen, precision is paramount in this operation – missing the target figure will reduce the whiskey kitty by a pound for every number above or below the target figure. In the case of more than one person capturing that magic moment, the first email to arrive with me will be deemed to be the winner – all entries must be sent to

Good luck and once again, many thanks.


Arthur George Bernard RNZAF NZ424964 – Rear Gunner. 1943 – Single crew


Many belated thanks to Kerry for contributing another logbook from his collection. This logbook was owned by Arthur Bernard, rear Gunner with Alan Single’s crew. The crew arrived at Mepal on the 28th September 1943 (Alan, the Pilot arriving 6 days earlier. 2 months later, 6 of this original crew  were  lost on an Op to Berlin.

02.10.43. Gardening – Frisian Islands
Stirling Mk.III EH 939 JN-J ‘Johnny’
F/S Alan Roy Single RAAF AUS.413144 – Pilot.
P/O Jack Brothwell RAFVR 135042 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Edward Stanley Margetts RNZAF NZ422665 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Eric Richmond Whittingham RNZAF NZ416030 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. D. Harrington RAFVR 1477334 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Victor Stanley Hughes RAFVR 1796312 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Arthur George Bernard RNZAF NZ424964 – Rear Gunner.

4.10.43. Gardening – Gironde Estuary
Stirling Mk.III EJ901 (more likely EH901) JN-R
Same crew

18.11.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Stirling Mk.III LK396
Same crew

22.11.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Berlin

Stirling Mk.III LJ453 AA-K
Sgt. Ivor Hollbrook  replaces Sgt. Harrington as Flight Engineer.

Crashed between Gemmerich and Dolberg, 6km SSE of Ahlen.
F/S Alan Roy Single RAAF AUS.413144 – Pilot.
Died Age 26.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
P/O Jack Brothwell RAFVR 135042
– Navigator.
Died Age 24.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Sgt. John Edward Stanley Margetts RNZAF NZ422665 – Air Bomber.
Died Age 25.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Sgt. Eric Richmond Whittingham
RNZAF NZ416030 – Wireless Operator.
Died Age 22.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Sgt. Ivor George Holbrook, RAFVR 937367 – Flight Engineer.
Died age 23.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Sgt. Victor Stanley Hughes RAFVR 1796312 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Died age 19.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.
Sgt. Arthur George Bernard RNZAF NZ424964 – Rear Gunner.
Died age 22.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

View Arthur’s logbook here.

Stanley John Heald RNZAF NZ415319 – Air Bomber. 1945 – logbook


Many thanks to Dave for passing on his Father’s logbook. Stan Heald was Air Bomber with Esmond Ware’s crew. Stan and the boys arrived at Mepal on the 31st January 1945 and flew their first Op with Mac Baigent to Weisbaden on the 2nd of February (my own Fathers 2nd Op after his return to the Squadron). After 16 Ops and a Post Mortem flight, the crew flew for the last time on a ‘Baedeker’ flight on the 3rd July 1945.

Of extra note regarding the logbook, is that it records 3 Ops in NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’. Mystery surrounds the exact numbering of the final Op the crew flew in ‘Mike’ to Bad Odsloe on the 24th April (further compounded by what is now accepted as the incorrect recording on Form 541 of RF129).

The Ware crew believed that this Bad Oldesloe Op was No. 104, and that they flew 3 op’s in NE181 (14.3.45 Heinrich Hutte, 20.4.45 Regensburg and 24.4.45 Bad Oldesloe). In other words, that they had flown 102, 103 and 104.

Jack Bailey’s A/B, Jack Wall, is equally convinced that his crew flew her on No. 102 on 16 Feb to Wessel, and Richard Pickup’s logbook records the Bailey crew flying “JN-M” to Osterfeld on 20 March, a possible candidate for No. 103 or 104?

I wonder if we will ever know?

See Stan’s logbook here

Esmond Edgar Delwyn Ware, David Carter, Stanley John Heald, Wilfred Darling Cairns, G. B. White, Richard Wright, Colin Campbell Emslie

2 new months for Project ORB – July 1944 & August 1944

Many thanks indeed to Hubert, son of Hubert Rees, lost on the Homberg raid of the 20th November 1944, for kindly taking the time to add another 2 months to the ORB Form 540 Archive. Having done a number myself, Hubert’s effort and patience in transcribing these 2 months is fully appreciated.

If we have any other masochists out there that would perhaps like to give some time to add a another month to the archive – please feel free to contact me and I will give you some homework!

July 1944 can be seen here
August 1944 can be seen here