Monthly Archives: September 2014

Bob Jay’s War – an update

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Many thanks to Vic for updating me on recent developments with his blog about his Father Bob. Vic and I have been regular correspondents for some time now and I think that Vic actually just beat me to a blog presence before I started 75nzsquadron.com.

Vic’s blog has undergone some structural changes over the its life and represents a fascinating and very detailed research story of his Father and the crew he flew with as a Flight Engineer.

I have a lot of respect for Vic’s focus and dedication to his project – I started off with exactly the same intention, but perhaps have found it difficult to keep the single focus on my Father and his crew – I started to try to find out about an individual, then a crew and now have a whole Squadron to contend with!

Despite all of this, Vic still needs help – despite his best attempts, he has drawn a blank regarding contact with relatives of 3 of the crew:

F/O Kenneth Philip (RNZAF NZ429093), bomb aimer, aged 32 (born 1912 or 1913 in NZ)
Sgt Don Cook (RAFVR), mid-upper gunner, aged 20 (born 1924 or 1925) from London (?)
Sgt John Eynstone (RAFVR), rear gunner, aged 19 (born 1925 or 1926) from Oxford (?)

So, if any of you know of these individuals or relatives of the boys, or, even if you just happen to know someone with the same surname, please just ask if they had a relative that flew during the war – as ridiculous as a long shot it might be, you never know.

Visit Vic’s blog here – and be prepared for a gasp when you see what he got up to this summer……..

David Walter King, Navigator – more information on the Klitscher crew

75SqCFlightCrewbus45-RonMayhill

75 (NZ) Squadron C Flight crews boarding the Bedford crew bus to go out to their respective aircraft parked at dispersal – Mepal, 23rd March (February) 1945. The navigators all carry large gear bags. Amongst the RNZAF boys is far left, Pilot Ben Klitscher, Navigator Colin Emslie (with officer’s cap, carrying bag, Ware crew, C Flight) and members of the Russell crew – A/B Vic Hendry (centre front, side-on with cigarette), Pilot Wynne Russell (centre, looking straight at camera), Navigator Neville Selwood, W/Op Fred Jillions, R/G George Robson, and F/E John Hunt (far right). Colin flew in JN-M The Captains Fancy, while the Russell crew flew in PB418, AA-C.

Many thanks to Roger for contacting me after the post I made about the Klitscher crew, regarding his Father, David Walter King, who was the Navigator with the crew. A few weeks ago Chris sent me the photograph above, showing members of the Ware and Russell crew. Also identified in the caption on the far left of the group is Ben Klitscher.

Roger also sent me a copy of this picture and was able to additional identify his Father, David amongst what we must assume are 2 other members of the Klitscher crew. Very interestingly, the caption needs to be amended – the navigator stood with Ben Klitscher isn’t Colin Emslie, but is in fact David Walter King.

Klitscher crew cpd2

David King, Navigator with the Klitscher crew, stood to the right of the group with his map bag, Skipper Ben Klitscher, stood on the left.

logbook page

A page from David’s logbook, identifying the photograph at the top of the post was taken prior to the Gelsenkirchen Op on the 23rd of February 1945 – the next OP they would be posted missing…….© Roger KIng

Roger is able to share the following information regarding the fate of LM740 and the Klitscher crew:
“Their Lancaster came down 2 miles short of the advancing USA 8th army advance. I have visited the village of Ulich where they crashed. Ben must have  been a magic pilot to bring the plane down in one piece. They tried to set the plane on fire but the incendiary devices had been  damaged in the crash. They ended up on the POW march through Germany on the Moosberg march. Ben was my Mum and Dad’s best man at their wedding and remained in touch over the years.”

card pack

© Roger KIng

route record

© Roger KIng

The above images show a pack of cards that David had on the Mooseberg march at the end of the war – amazingly, on the back of one he has recorded their progress on the march. There were 3 main routes that allied Prisoners of War took during this period. David and his fellow prisoners took – the “Southern route”, from Stalag VIII-B (formerly Stalag VIII-D) at Teschen (not far from Auschwitz) which led through Czechoslovakia, towards Stalag XIII-D at Nuremberg and then onto Stalag VII-A at Moosburg in Bavaria. (this is confirmed on David’s Recovery Form below).

 

Perhaps ironically, given that the crew crashed just ahead of the advancing American 8th Army, that ultimately he and his fellow prisoners were liberated by the American 3rd Army.

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David’s Recovery Form, clearly showing his Service No., PoW No. and also Unit. © Roger KIng

B Flight Pilots, June 1945.

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B Flight No. 75 (NZ) Squadron, Mepal, June 1945 – NZBCA archives, Ivan Carroll collection.

Thanks as always to Chris for doing a bit of detective work on this photograph of ‘B’ Flight Pilots, taken in June 1945 and generously passed on by Peter from the NZBCA archives.

Flying Officer Ivan Carroll arrived at Mepal on 13 March 1945, flew his first op’ on 18 March, and stayed on with the Squadron after VE Day for Tiger Force training at Spilsby until 29 September.

This is the first formal group photo I have seen from the immediate post-war period.

The photo is a little worse for wear, but nevertheless a great shot of the Pilots who made up B Flight, just after the war ended, and for once we can put faces to all the names- luckily for us, Ivan wrote them on the back:
B-Flight-Pilots-June1945-reverse

Back row: F/O Bruce Crawford (F/O Roderick Bruce Crawford, RNZAF, NZ427551), F/O John Young (F/O John Simpson Young, RNZAF, NZ4213650), Self (F/O Ivan Silvester Carroll, RNZAF, NZ4213254), F/O Hardie (F/L William Leslie Hardie, RNZAF, NZ 428111), F/S Daly (F/O Alfred George Daly, RNZAF, NZ4211789), F/O Don Shearer (P/O Donald Babington Shearer, RNZAF, NZ4210512), F/O Pete Trevarthen (F/O Peter Lloyd Trevarthen, RNZAF, NZ429974).
Front row: F/O Alan Baynes (F/O Allan Ralph Baynes, RNZAF. NZ427453), F/L Charlie Stevens (F/Lt Charles Mackenzie Stevens, RNZAF, NZ4210535), S/Ldr Ballingall (Sqn Ldr. Alexander Stewart Ballingall, RNZAF, NZ2286, B Flight Commander), F/Lt Rus Banks (F/Lt Russell Ashley Banks, RNZAF, NZ416437), F/O Bill (Tubby) Evenden (F/O William Evenden, RAF, 1337365, 196039).

As always, thanks to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn., for permission to reproduce this photo.

See this photograph within the ‘Group Photographs’ section of the blog here.

Request for Information. James Allison McConnell, Pilot – 1942

Many thanks to Robin for contacting me regarding his Great Uncle, James McConnell, who flew with the Squadron as a Pilot for a tragically short period in late 1942, before being killed along with the rest of his crew on a raid on Milan in October of 1942.

Interestingly, the ORB’s throw up the fact that after Skippering his crew for their first Op, Jim flew as 2nd Pilot on their second Op, Gerald Jacobson being listed as the Pilot for the Aachen Op.

As I have remarked on previous posts from this earlier period of the War, it seems a little like a room I am still unfamiliar with. I am pleased to say that the Op history for the McConnell crew benefits from my continuing advances with the Squadron database and now that I am in these ORB’s, my familiarity with names and crews is increasing.

If anybody has a copy of the 1942 Chorley, I’d be grateful if someone could look up this crews last Op – to Milan on the 24th of October – working through the crews later Operational flights, there seems to be a number of inaccuracies in the recording of their Wellington, which I actually believe to be BK725. The 1942 ORB seems to occasionally describe this aircraft incorrectly as BJ752. Looking on the web, I was slightly puzzled to see references to BK725 as being an aircraft from 90 Squadron. I’d also like to know it’s designator letter.

As with all of these sorts of posts, I’d love to think we might here from a relative of another member of the crew and Robin might be able to learn a little about his Great Uncle, Jim McConnell……..

30/09/1942 – Operations. Gardening off Terschelling
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation, 1500lb vegetables were successfully planted. A convoy was seen at the garden which was machine gunned. Light A.A. fire was encountered, no enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was fine with patches of thick haze. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3747 AA-? (3)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonki, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:35 – Landed 23:10
Flight Time 03:35

05/10/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Aachen
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 30lb. and 4lb. incendiaries were dropped in the target area, large fires were seen in built up area, which appeared to spread between MAASTRICH and AACHEN. Heavy and Light A.A. fire was moderate, with a few scattered searchlights. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made. The weather over target was good with slight ground haze. Navigation was by D.R. T.R. and visual.

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Extract from Howard Jacobson’s logbook showing the flight with the McConnell crew on the 8th of October to Aachen. © Denis Jacobson

Wellington Mk.III X.3747 AA-? (5)

P/O Gerald Howard Jacobson, RNZAF NZ41333 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:20 – Landed 01:40
Flight Time 06:20

06/10/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Osnabruck
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4,000 lb. and incendiaries were dropped in the target area. Scattered fires were seen, flares were lighting up the whole area. Considerable light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered. Searchlights were numerous and operating mainly in cones. The weather was good with low cloud and slight haze at target area. Navigation was good bt D.R. , T.R. visual, pinpoints, loop and fixes. Wellington DF639 captained by Sgt. Rhodes G.W. failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III X.3747 AA-? (6)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:05 – Landed 00:45
Flight Time 05:40

08/10/1942 – Operations. Gardening off Ile De Groix
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation. 1500lb. mines were successfully planted in the allotted area by one of our aircraft – the other aircraft returned early owing to failiure of electrical equipment. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was fine, navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3747  AA-? (1)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 20:05
Flight Time 01:15

09/10/1942 – Operations. Gardening off East Frisian Islands
Seven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation. 1500lb. vegetables were planted in the allotted area. No A.A. fire was encountered, one searchlight was seen to be sweeping the sea in the area. 10/10th. Cloud was over the allotted area, visibility was poor. Navigation was by D.R., T.R. loops, fixes and map reading.

Wellington Mk.III X.3747 AA-? (8)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:05 – Landed 22:30
Flight Time 04:25

13/10/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Kiel
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4,000 lb and incendiaries were dropped in the target area. Large fires were seen particularly on West side of Fiord. Light, medium and heavy A.A. fire was encountered over a large area, searchlights were also seen on the way to the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was clear, with no cloud over the target, visibility was good by the light of flares. Navigation was D.R, T.R. visual and pin-points. Wellington X3954 captained by Sergt. Watters failed to return. Wellington BJ837 captained by Sergt. Davey crashed at R.A.F. Station Lakenheath on return owing to shortage of petrol, four of the crew were injured. All taking part considered this to be a very successful raid.

Wellington Mk.III BK.725 AA-? (1)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:20 – Landed 01:00
Flight Time 06:40

15/10/1942 – Activities of “A” Flight at Mildenhall. Operations. Attacks Against Targets at Cologne
Seven aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb loads of 4lb. incendiaries were dropped in the target area. Large files were seen, which clearly lit up the town on both sides of the river. Several dummy fires were seen, light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, searchlights were numerous but poorly predicted. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. There was no cloud and visibility was good, except for slight ground haze. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III BK.725 AA-? (2)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:20 – Landed 00:05
Flight Time 04:45

23/10/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Genoa
Eight aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 1,000 lb. 500lb. and 250lb. and incendiaries were dropped in the target area, some aircraft claimed to have also bombed Savona. A few light A.A guns and one or two searchlights were encountered. No combats took place. The cloud base at target was down to 3 to 4,000 feet. The aircraft came below this cloud to bomb. Navigation was good by D.R., T.R., loops and fixes.

Wellington Mk.III BK.725 AA-?  (3)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:15 – Landed 03:25
Flight Time 09:10

24/10/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Milan
Five aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 1,000lb. 500lb. 250lb and incendiaries were dropped in the target area. Some slight A.A. fire was encountered, cloud stopped searchlight activity. No combats with enemy aircraft took place. 10/10ths cloud from the French Coast to the target made identification of the target difficult. Navigation was difficult owing to cloud preventing the use of Astro. Wellington Z1652 captained by Sergt. Hugill and Wellington BK725 captained by Sergt. McConnell failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III BK.725 AA-? (4)

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock, RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.

Aircraft failed to return – Missing

5 aircraft from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF took off from Mildenhall between approximately 5 minutes to and 5 minutes past 7 on the evening of the 24th of October to join a force of  71 aircraft on an attack on Milan. As the ORB for the Op records, the force hit bad weather as soon as they reached the French Coast on the outbound leg and this persisted to the target. Little information about the raid can be garnered from the Squadron documents, though it appears to be a matter of record that all of the Squadron’s aircraft bombed the target.

In the absence of raid map, one must therefore conjecturise that the McConnell crew were bought down over France on the return leg of the Op. Records identify the crew was bought down by ‘enemy action’ at St. Roch, Valenciennes, approximately 25 miles North East of Cambrai. All of the crew were killed in the crash and were buried at Valenciennes (St.Roch) Communal Cemetery, France.

Sgt. James Allison McConnell, RNZAF NZ414646 – Pilot.
Died age 21.

Sgt. Selwyn Clarence Smith, RNZAF NZ41952 – Navigator.
Died age 29.

Sgt. Douglas Noel Tonkin, RNZAF NZ413285 – Wireless Operator .
Died age 22.

Sgt. Arthur Quinn, RAFVR 1095594 – Front Gunner .
Died age 21.

Sgt. Vallance Albert Oliver Dimock , RNZAF NZ412317 – Rear Gunner.
Died age 22.

 

Unidentified crew photos – who are they? – an answer already!

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Excellent news – Reg has come back very quickly with an answer to the identities of the airmen in the first photograph I posted last night and it seems Chris was pretty much on target with his thoughts on who they are and the relevance of the cheese. WordPress seems to be doing somethings differently now regarding visibility of posts and comments, so I thought it worth reposting this photograph with the information Reg has found:

During a daylight bombing of enemy forces at Villers-Bocage on 30 June 1944, No 75 Squadron Lancaster ND917 was hit by flak splinters, one striking flight engineer Sgt P. McDevitt in the knee and causing excessive bleeding. The pilot, Sqn Ldr N. Williamson, seeing that McDevitt was losing blood rapidly, elected to land on one of the Advanced Landing Grounds on the Normandy beach-head, where medical attention could be sought. This was the first RAF ‘heavy’ to make use of one of these small strips. The photograph, taken next day, shows Williamson presenting bomb-aimer Fg Off G. Couth with Camembert cheese produced in the district to mark his 23rd birthday. Other members of the crew are Fg Off J. Watts, navigator; Sgt J. Russell, rear gunner; Sgt R. Jones, mid-upper gunner; and Sgt S.Cooke, wireless operator.’

http://www.airpages.ru/eng/uk/lancaster_9.shtml

And on a French forum, about 2/3’s of the way down (for French speakers…..)
http://www.crash-aerien.aero/forum/post422629.html

And finally in an image collection:

Normandy
31 June 1944 75 Lancaster ND917 Lancaster ND917 of No 75 Squadron on one of the Advanced Landing Grounds on the Normandy beach-head on 31 June 1944. This was the first RAF ‘heavy’ to make use of one of these small strips.

http://www.airpages.ru/eng/uk/aircraft5.shtml

 Reading through the accompanying information for the photograph and adding some tags to the post, it has occurred to me that there does not seem to be a ‘F/O G. Couth’ that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, so we must assume therefore that in fact, F/O G. Couth is in fact F/O Graham Coull (RNZAF), the Williamson crew’s regular Air Bomber

75 Squadron RAF – Operational Record Books, 1916 – 1939

Squadron hand over document inverted

A massive thanks to Brian for a completely single handed (and self initiated) transcription of the entire Operational Records of 75 Squadron RAF, prior to it’s absorption into No. 15 OTU at Feltwell and the simultaneous awarding of the number plate to 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF

No.75 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Goldington (Bedford) on 1st October 1916, as a Home Defence unit. Its first equipment consisted of the usual collection of single- and two-seat BE types, but it later received Avros and then Sopwith Camels.

Disbanded in Essex in 1919, the squadron was re-formed in 1937 as a heavy bomber squadron but in March 1939, became a Group pool squadron or, in other words, assumed the role of what was later known as an operational training unit. Soon after the outbreak of war the squadron was posted to No.6 (Training) Group and on 4th April 1940, its number plate, with the letters “NZ” added, was transferred to a Royal New Zealand Air Force heavy bomber flight which was based at Feltwell, Norfolk, a station in No. 3 Group.

View No. 75 (H.D.) Squadron 1916 – 1919 here.
View No. 75 (Bomber) Squadron RAF – 1937 here.
View No. 75 (Bomber) Squadron RAF – 1938 here.
View No. 75 (Bomber) Squadron RAF – 1939 here.

This new set of ORB’s has been placed as a jump off at the top of the 75(NZ) Squadron RAF Records menu under ‘No. 75 (H.D.) Squadron, No. 75 (Bomber) Squadron RAF ORB’s

Unidentified crew photos – who are they?

lancaster_9 (2)

– Photo courtesy of NZ Bomber Command Assn.

Thanks as always to Chris for keeping the posts going whilst I struggle to stay on top of things and now have to turn my attention the the start of a new year at University. This post is equally frustrating and exciting – the first of the 2 pictures, as Chris notes later on, I have also seen before and I am sure when and or wherever I saw it, that it was captioned as well – which makes the arrival of this post doubly infuriating! The second photograph I have never seen before, so hopefully we might be able to add names and a story to the boys in the picture, as always, fingers crossed………

These two wonderful crew photos come from the NCBCA archives, and in both cases, the story behind the photo, and identity of the crews have been lost.

Any help in identifying them will be greatly appreciated by Peter Wheeler, the NZBCA archivist.

The first, above, has the staged look of a newspaper shot, as the crew members, perhaps sitting on the back of a truck, study some round objects, with a JN-coded Lancaster parked behind. The Pilot (right) appears to have Squadron Leader’s stripes and a DFC ribbon.

My theory was that this is S/L Nick Williamson, DFC (RNZAF) and his crew, around the time that they made the very first heavy bomber landing in France after D-Day, on a fighter strip in the Normandy beach-head on 30 June 1944. They were flying ND917, JN-O back from Villers Bocage, when they put down, possibly at Plumetot, in order to seek medical aid for his flight engineer, who had been wounded by flak.

The round objects look to me like they could be camembert cheese boxes (one of the crew seems to have removed the lid while another looks at it or smells it?). Perhaps they had picked up souvenirs from their sortie into France?

The Pilot looks a bit like Williamson, going by another photo that I have seen, however he doesn’t have the “New Zealand” shoulder flashes, which Williamson would have worn. So that probably shoots down my theory.

So who are they, and what was the occasion?

The second photo, is a very interesting one in that it shows the rear gunner’s turret in detail, and G-H stripes on the inside of the tail fin:

DSC_0069

– Photo courtesy of the NZ Bomber Command Assn, Jack Meehan collection.

This photo came from P/O Jack Meehan, Wireless Operator with the Glossop crew, 22 Jul to 24 Dec 1944, however he can’t remember who the individuals are or how he came into possession of the photo.

And I’m sure I have seen at least one of these faces before, but I can’t remember where.

Again, anyone who recognises the photo, or an individual, please let us know and help the NZBCA fill in the gaps in their information, and re-establish the provenance of these historic pictures.

Thanks very much, and thanks, as always, to Peter Wheeler for permission to publish these photos.