Daily Archives: October 2, 2014

Bill Bridget and the Ball crew – 1942.

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The crew: P/O Cyril Ingelby (Front Gunner), P/O Reg Clarke Rear Gunner), F/Lt Ces Ball (Skipper), F/Sgt Semmence (Wireless Operator), F/Lt Bridget (Navigator). – NZBCA archives, Bill Bridget collection.

Many thanks to Chris for providing this post on Bill Bridget and the Ball crew and again, as always thanks to Peter and the NZBCA archive. After putting this post together Chris realised that I had already put up an Op history for the Ball crew – but I must confess it didn’t contain the images or the extra information that Chris has been able to piece together for this post!

Pilot Ces Ball from Hamilton, NZ, and Navigator Bill Bridget (from Christchurch) arrived on Squadron together from 11 OTU on 26 March. Front Gunner Cyril Ingelby also arrived from 11 OTU, but on the 3rd of April.

Ball is recorded as flying Night Flying Tests (N.F.T’s) on 4 and 5 April, and then the crew was thrown straight into it’s first op’ on the 5th April.

Ball didn’t fly any initial op’s as 2nd Pilot, and this, together with his rank of Flight Lieutenant (promoted on the day he arrived, 26 March), suggests that he already had operational experience – in fact, this was his second tour. Bridget and Clarke were also on their second tours, but I haven’t been able to find out if they had  flown together before.

The Ball crew was:
Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball, RNZAF (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S (later P/O) Douglas Howard Semmence RAF (49002), Wireless Operator.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898), Front Gunner
P/O Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), Rear Gunner.

Clarke (from Napier, NZ) missed their first op’ – according to the Form 540 he didn’t arrive from 11 OTU until 17 April, however a “P/O Clark” appears as Rear Gunner on the crew’s second op. Wireless Operator Douglas Semmence didn’t join the crew until their 8th op’ on 23 April.

Operational history:

5 April 1942. Attack against targets Cologne.
It was a tough introduction – two aircraft and crews were lost, including the Squadron’s commanding officer, Wing Commander Sawrey-Cookson:

Nine Wellington Aircraft from this unit were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4,000 lbs, 500 lbs, and 250 lbs and 4lb incendiaries was dropped but results were not observed. There was intense heavy flak and many searchlights were active but ineffective owing to the bright moonlight. One Ju.88 aircraft was seen near the target and Wellington III X3705 was attacked by a Me.110 near Liege without result. Weather was good and navigation by TR1335 and D.R was also good. One aircraft did not carry out it’s mission and two are missing. Wellington III X3489, captained by W/Cdr Sawrey Cookson the C.O. of the squadron, and Wellington III X3661 captained by F/S Thomas.

Wellington III X3586, AA-A
Up 23.20; Down 05.10.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF. (NZ411927), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Summers, RAF?, W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
Sgt Charles Smith RNZAF. (NZ401466), R/Gnr..

9 April 1942. Daylight attack on Essen.
Wellington III X3667, AA-D
Up 12.45; Down 14.45.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF. (NZ411927), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Summers, RAF?, W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O Clark, R/Gnr. (?)

Z1570-AA-B-Bridget

Wellington III Z1570, AA-B arrived on Squadron from 48 M.U. on 29 March 1942. The Ball crew first flew her on a Night Flying Test on 8 April. – NZBCA archives, Bill Bridget collection.

12 April 1942. Attack against targets at Le Havre and Essen.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 22.10; Down 03.50.

F/L Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF. (NZ411927), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Summers, RAF?, W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
Sgt Charles Smith RNZAF. (NZ401466), R/Gnr.

14 April 1942. Attack against targets at Dortmund and Le Havre.
Wellington III X3482, AA-J
Up 22.30; Down 03.40.

– crew as above.

15 April 1942. Attack against targets at Le Havre and Dortmund.
Wellington III X3482, AA-J
Up 00.05; Down 02.55.

– crew as above.

17 April 1942. Attack against targets at Hamburg.
Wellington III X1570 (probably Z1570, AA-B)
Up 23.59; Down 05.30.

F/L Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF. (NZ411927), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Summers, RAF?, W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

22 April 1942. Attack against targets at Cologne.
Wellington III X1570 (probably Z1570, AA-B)
Up 22.08; Down 03.00.

– crew as above.

23 April 1942. Attack against targets at Rostock.
Wellington III X1570 (probably Z1570, AA-B)
Up 22.34; Down 05.34.

– crew as above.

25 April 1942. Attack against targets at Rostock and Dunkirk.
Wellington III X1570 (probably Z1570, AA-B)
Up 22.25; Down 05.40.

F/L Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF. (NZ411927), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

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Reg Clarke (left) and Cyril Ingelby cleaning the rear turret guns on what looks to be Wellington Z1570, AA-B. – NZBCA archives, Bill Bridget collection.

27 April 1942. Attack against targets at Cologne and minelaying off Heligoland.
Wellington III X1570 (probably Z1570, AA-B)
Up 22.05; Down 04.45.

– crew as above.

This was the Squadron’s first “gardening” operation.

29 April 1942. Attack against targets at Gennevilliers.
Wellington III X1570 (probably Z1570, AA-B)
Up 21.20; Down 02.00.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

2 May 1942. Gardening – St Nazaire.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 20.55; Down 05.20.

– crew as above.

6 May 1942. Bombing attacks against targets at Stuttgart.
Wellington III X3646
Up 21.45; Down 05.00.

– crew as above.

7 May 1942. Gardening Kiel Bay.
Wellington III X3646
Up 22.25; Down 04.30.

– crew as above.

15 May 1942. Gardening Kiel Bay.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 22.50; Down 05.10.

– crew as above.

19 May 1942. Attacks against Mannheim and St. Nazaire.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 22.50; Down 03.50.

– crew as above.

30  May 1942. Bombing attacks against Cologne.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 23.10; Down 02.45.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
F/Sgt Arthur Grahame Johns, RNZAF (NZ41907), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O  Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

31 May 1942. Bombing attacks against Cologne.
It looks as if Reg Clarke may have flown as Rear Gunner with S/L Ray Newton’s crew on this op’.

1  June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Essen.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 22.50; Down 02.35.

– crew as above.

2  June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Essen.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 00.05; Down 02.25.

– crew as above.

5 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Essen.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 23.30; Down 03.15.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
F/Sgt John Leonard “Jack” Wright*, RNZAF, (NZ405781), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O  Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

* Jack Wright, later Squadron Leader and Flight Commander, DSO, DFC, .

6 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Emden.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 23.20; Down 03.50.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
F/Sgt Arthur Grahame Johns, RNZAF (NZ41907), 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
F/S Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O  Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

8 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Essen.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 23.35; Down 02.40.

– crew as above.

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Some crew members at 75 Squadron Feltwell 1942. F/Lt Fenton*, F/Lt Ces Ball (our Skipper), F/Lt Bridget (Navigator), S/Ldr Newton (Flight Cdr), F/Lt Boyle, S/Ldr Denton (Flight Cdr), ?, P/O Reg Clarke (Rear Gunner), P/O Cyril Ingelby (Front Gunner). * Walter Gordon Fenton, Rear Gunner with Ray Newton and Popeye Lucas. – NZBCA archives, Bill Bridget collection.

13 June – Doug Semmence receives his promotion to Pilot Officer.

16 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Essen.
Wellington III X3586, AA-A
Up 23.35; Down 00.45.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
P/O Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O  Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

17 June 1942.  Mine-laying off Frisian Islands.
Wellington III X3452, AA-B
Up 23.25; Down 02.35.

– crew as above.

19 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Emden.
Wellington III X3586, AA-A
Up 23.20; Down 03.50.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O William Guy Horne, RNZAF (NZ411983) , 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
P/O Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O  Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

20 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Emden.
Wellington III X3586, AA-A
Up 23.40; Down 03.30.

– crew as above.

23 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at St. Nazaire and (Gardening).
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 23.00; Down 04.45.

Flt Lt Edward Cecil “Ces” Ball. RNZAF. (NZ40749), Pilot.
P/O William Leslie “Bill” Bridget, RNZAF. (NZ40731), Navigator.
P/O Douglas Howard Semmence RAF. (49002), W/Op.
P/O Cyril Ingelby RAF (937625, 118898, ), F/Gnr
P/O  Reginald Leonard “Reg” Clarke, RNZAF (NZ40734), R/Gnr.

29 June 1942.  Attacks against targets at Bremen.
Wellington III Z1570, AA-B
Up 23.30; Down 01.05.

– crew as above.

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Squadron group photo with Ball crew members circled. Bill Bridget kneeling, second from left, second row. Ces Ball is in the back row, below the cockpit, just behind Squadron Leader Ray Newton (hands in pockets). Left of centre, arms folded, is Wing Commander Ted Olson*. – NZBCA archives, Bill Bridget collection. * Wing Commander Edward George Olson, DSO, RNZAF, (NZ1006) took over as Commanding Officer on 6 April, after the loss of W/C Sawrey-Cookson. Interestingly, a newspaper article of the time lists Ball, Bridget and Clarke as members of Olson’s crew, however I can’t find any evidence in the ORB’s of any of them flying op’s with Olson.

10 July – Bill Bridget and Reg Clarke are posted to P.D.C. West Kirby.

15 July – P/O Douglas Semmence was posted to 57 Sqdn.

25 July – Cyril Ingelby was posted to No. 11 O.T.U.

9 August – Ces Ball was posted to 54 O.T.U.

Sadly, Ces Ball was killed on 9 October 1943 in a de Havilland Mosquito crash, serving on his second tour with 488 (NZ) Squadron:

Edward “Cecil” Ball of Kinsdale, Ireland and his navigator and best friend, Scotsman William “Jock” Kemp were killed after their aircraft crashed onto trees near Tiptree in Essex having developed engine trouble while returning from a patrol. – Broody’s War.

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