Monthly Archives: March 2014

Please bare with me……..

It was perhaps inevitable that post Radio New Zealand interview, interest would spike in the blog – and it it certainly has – which is fantastic. Unfortunately it has coincided with a busy period at work (I’m writing this at 12.30 am) and at the moment I am struggling to keep things going with the efficiency and regularity I would like and usually somehow manage.

I am aware of a number of contacts that have come through in the last few weeks that have not moved on particularly noticeably since I have received them and in fact, just over this weekend more people have gotten in contact with me – again this is fantastic and I intend to at the very least, reply by email in the next few days to these people. Usually once a new contact is made, the contact information goes into my contacts database, the query, contribution or request goes onto my ‘to do list’ database and I work through it………

Posts will continue, but probably at a diminished rate for the next few weeks – I am aware they have dropped off a bit in the last few weeks and this was simply the precursor to this post. Some posts are easier than others, either because it can be built around information provided, or in the case of the regular contributions that Chris so generously makes, they are fully written and just require pasting into a post.

I suppose what is important to say is that just because you haven’t heard from me, or haven’t yet seen a post that you have supplied information for, doesn’t mean I have forgotten or ignored you – its just that at points, things, as with life, take a little longer to happen than we would all like.

cheers
Simon

Form 540 March 1944 and April 1945, added to Project ORB

My repeated  thanks  to Hubert and Martyn  for their continuing efforts transcribing the Squadron ORB’s. I am pleased to announce and present  another  2 new, complete Form 540’s, for March 1944 and April 1945.

I will once again, repeat my call out to all of you for volunteers to join Brian, Hubert and Martyn  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 Form 540 March 1944 here.
View Form 540 April 1945 here.

Form 540 May complete for Project ORB

My  thanks again to Brian for his continuing efforts transcribing the Squadron ORB’s. I am pleased to announce and present  another  new complete Form 540 for May 1945.

I will once again, repeat my call out to all of you for volunteers to join Brian, 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 May here.

75(NZ) Squadron RAF Ground Crew 1944

Full Squadron Ground crew May 1944 UNNUMBERED

Many thanks indeed to Basil for passing on, via Kevin, this amazing group photograph of the ground crew staff of 75(NZ) Squadron – taken at the same time as the Squadron and Flight photographs in 1944.

I had a fascinating chat with Basil earlier this evening and as well as being able to identify a few of the individuals in this photograph, Basil was also able to shed some light on the layout of Mepal and also some of the incidents that occurred during his time in Rectification and Inspection between the end of 1943 and the departure of the Squadron from Mepal to Spilsby in July of 1945.

It would seem that the ground crew are not very well recorded in the Squadron Roll – perhaps inevitably after all these years Basil remembers individuals in some cases simply by their first name, hopefully some more names will come to mind when we talk again……

Very interestingly, Basil said that 63 Maintenance Unit (MU) was also at Mepal. Off the back of this information, I asked if if he had any recollections of a certain Lancaster – NE181 ‘The Captains Fancy’ – Sadly Basil didn’t recall ‘Mike’, though very interestingly he thought it unlikely that NE181 would have been returned to the Squadron if she had been flown out for an overhaul – for her to stay with the Squadron he though it was more likely that it wold have been over hauled on base at 63 MU………

Another interesting tale Basil had tell related to a Lancaster, that after coming out of engine maintenance was sent on an air test. Mid test, an engine completely failed, the result being a very heavy landing that caused the aircraft to collapse on its under carriage. Basil said that this was the only time a crash landing of this kind occurred at Mepal. Listening to this story, I instantly thought of a photograph I posted, as part of a set from Arthur Williams last December. At the time, as the original caption shows, I surmised that the aircraft in the picture was possibly ND782 – ‘written off on an air test’ – Basil’s story seems to confirm this.

IMG_0287a

A bit of a mystery regarding the exact identity of this Lancaster. Looking at Ian’s database, ND914 ‘swung on landing’ and or either ND782 ‘written off on an air test’ perhaps ??
© Arthur Rhys Williams

As with all of the large group photographs, if you click here to take you to the ‘Group Photographs’ section of the blog and then click on the photograph on this page, you will see the numbered version of the photograph at full size – Hopefully we can add some more names to the numbers!

 

 

Form 540 January, February 1944 and February 1945 – 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 January and February 1944.

Many thanks also to Brian for completing Form 540 for February 1945, which is also now presented within the ORB project collection

I will once again, repeat my call out to all of you for volunteers to join Hubert, Martyn, Dave and Brian 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 January 1944 here.
View February 1944 here.
View February 1945 here.

Maori aircrew who served with 75(NZ) Squadron 39-45 – update

KenDalzell(25)

The Amohanga crew pose in front of Lancaster HK593, JN-X.
Left to right rear: Alf Woolcock, A/B; Ken Dalzell, Navigator; Kiwi Amohanga, Pilot; Jack Richardson, M/U/Gnr.
Front: Steven Fletcher, F/E;, Sandy Strachan, R/Gnr; Max Spooner, W/Op.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Ken Dalzell.

After the previous post, it was perhaps inevitable that I can to also announce an update to the Post Chris made originally towards the end of January about the Maori airmen that served with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF – as well as adding this wonderful picture of Kiwi Amohanga’s crew, a new airman can be added – F/S Edward Maxwell “Max” Spooner (NZ428162).

I have moved the original, but now updated post by Chris to its own page under ’75(NZ) RAF’ in the main menu – hopefully this way, information can be added and visitors will have a single reference page to visit. View this new page here.

Amohanga crew, March 1945

KenDalzell(25)

The Amohanga crew pose in front of Lancaster HK593, JN-X.
Left to right rear: Alf Woolcock, A/B; Ken Dalzell, Navigator; Kiwi Amohanga, Pilot; Jack Richardson, M/U/Gnr.
Front: Steven Fletcher, F/E; Sandy Strachan, R/Gnr; Max Spooner, W/Op.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Ken Dalzell.

Another post from Chris, based on his visit to the New Zealand Bomber Command Archive;.

Another photo from the NZBCA archives, and another good story!

10.3.45
Administration:
NZ425492 P/O K Amohanga and crew reported on posting from No. 73 Base.

The Amohanga crew was placed in C Flight:

P/O Kiwi Ernest Amohanga, RNZAF NZ425492 – Pilot.
F/S (later W/O) Walter Kenneth “Ken” Dalzell, RNZAF NZ433854 – Navigator.
F/O Alfred Hugh “Alf” Woolcock, RNZAF NZ2121 – Bomb Aimer.
Sgt B “Steven” Fletcher RAF – Flight Engineer.
F/S (later W/O) Edward Maxwell “Max” Spooner, RNZAF NZ428162 – Wireless Operator.
F/O Jack Cresswell Richardson, RNZAF NZ427323 – Mid-Upper Gunner.
F/Sgt Alexander Freedman “Sandy” Strachan, RNZAF NZ4210193 – Rear Gunner.

And then, before their feet had hardly touched the ground!:

11.3.45 War Ops – Essen
Kiwi Amohanga flew his “second dickie” as 2nd Pilot with Wi Rangiuaia and his crew
Lancaster Mk 1 NN747 JN-O

12.3.45 War Ops – Dortmund
Lancaster Mk 1 HK593 JN-X
Crew as above

14.3.45 War Ops – Henrich Hutte
Lancaster Mk 1 HK593 JN-X
Same crew

17.3.45 War Ops – Auguste Viktoria
Lancaster Mk 1 PB424 JN-O
Same crew

21.3.45 War Ops – Munster Viaduct
Lancaster Mk 1 HK601 JN-D.
Same crew

This was the last complete Amohanga crew op’.

Peter Wheeler tells the story, brief but evocative:
“Kiwi got hit over the head with a beer bottle by a Yank, and had to go to Ely Hospital. Ken and his crew became spare bod’s.”

The war was almost over. Eric Butler took the rest of the crew on one last op’, and then they were dispersed amongst other crews for various Operation Manna and POW repatriation trips.

22.4.45 War Ops – Bremen
PB820 JN-V
F/L Eric Frank Butler, RNZAF NZ425558 – Pilot.
F/S Walter Kenneth “Ken” Dalzell, RNZAF NZ433854 – Navigator.
F/O Alfred Hugh “Alf” Woolcock, RNZAF NZ2121. Bomb Aimer.
Sgt B “Steven” Fletcher RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Edward Maxwell “Max” Spooner, RNZAF NZ428162 – .Wireless Operator.
F/O Jack Cresswell Richardson, RNZAF NZ427323 – Mid-Upper Gunner.
F/Sgt Alexander Freedman “Sandy” Srachan, RNZAF NZ4210193 – Rear Gunner.

Thanks to Peter Wheeler and the New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archives.