Daily Archives: October 9, 2014

Alan Scott and the Anderson crew – 1945.

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Royal Air Force Base Mepal, Cambridgeshire, England, April 1945. Home Base 75 NZ Lancaster Bomber Squadron. Back row 2nd left to right: Bert Hitch, Navigator, Timaru; Bruce Scott, Flight Engineer, England (unrelated); Binks Anderson, Pilot, Whakatane. Front row – left to right: Alan Scott, Wireless Operator, Morrinsville; Wally Perry, Bomb Aimer, Christchurch; Tom Harvey, Mid Upper Gunner, Opunake; Patrick Atkins, Rear Gunner, Taihape; Others English ground crew. – NZBCA archives, Alan Scott collection.

My eternal thanks  to Chris and Peter for keeping the posts coming

These photos come from the collection of Wireless Operator Alan Scot. We need to thank Alan for firstly saving them for posterity, and secondly for the beautiful job he has done of typing up captions for them – it’s so good to be able to put names to the faces.

14 April 1945. Administration: F/S. Anderson, B. and crew arrived on posting from 73 Base.

The Anderson crew was:
F/Sgt (later Flt Lt.) Barry Leonard David “Binks” Anderson, RNZAF, (NZ429127), Pilot.
F/Sgt Herbert Gordon “Bert” Hitch, RNZAF (NZ432233) Navigator.
F/Sgt Walter Perry, RNZAF, (NZ4210871) Bomb Aimer.
F/Sgt D “Bruce” Scott, RAF, Flight Engineer.
F/Sgt Alan Scott, RNZAF, (NZ4211672), Wireless Operator.
F/Sgt Thomas Gerald Naismith Harvie, RNZAF (NZ432114), MU/Gnr.
F/Sgt Patrick James Atkins, RNZAF, (NZ4214081). WOAG, R/Gnr.

Anderson flew his second dickey op’ with Don Thomson and crew on 18 April:

18 April 1945. Attack on Heligoland.
25 aircraft were detailed to attack the target HELIGOLAND. Weather was good with good visibility. Crews were able to identify northern top of Island and also western edge. The rest of the Island was obliterated by smoke. Bomb bursts on fires. The crews bombed as ordered by the Master Bomber and bombing was thought to be well concentrated, but there was some overshooting as well as undershooting.

Lancaster I RF129, JN-M

F/L Thomson, D. NZ41613. Captain.
F/S Anderson, B. NZ429127. 2nd Pilot.
F/S Stratford, H. NZ4213296. A/B.
F/L Rhodes, A. NZ42340. W/Op.
Sgt Payne, C., F/E.
F/S Heaton, J. M/U/Gnr.
F/S Messer, J. R/Gnr.

Up Time 10:18 – Down Time 15:10.
Flight Time 04:52

The crew flew their first op’ together on 20 April:

20 April 1945. Attack on Regensburg.

20 aircraft were detailed to bomb REGENSBURG. Perfect visibility and the river, dock and target areas could be made out. Bombing appears to have been fairly well concentrated  round the target starting with a slight undershoot but some bombs also spread to the M/yards beyond. The crew on starboard side of formation claimed direct hits on railway bridge. Flak slight but accurate.

Lancaster I PB421, AA-P

F/S Anderson, B. NZ429127. Captain.
F/S Hitch, H. NZ432233. Navigator.
F/S Perry, W. NZ4210871. A/B
F/S Scott, A. NZ4211672. W/Op.
F/S Scott, D. F/E
F/S Harvie, T. NZ432114, M/U/Gnr.
F/S Atkins, P. NZ4214081, R/Gnr.

Up Time 09:54 – Down Time 17:25.
Flight Time 07:31

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75 (NZ) Squadron Lancasters on a daylight operation. Was this Regensburg?. 20 a/c flew from Mepal on the Regensburg op’, and visibility was described as “perfect”. – NZBCA archives, Alan Scott collection.

22 April 1945. Attack on Bremen.
21 aircraft were detailed to attack BREMEN. 2-5/10ths cloud over target and many crews (???) made out river bend and factory area. Bombing results were satisfactory though slight overshooting and undershooting but not outside built up area. Flak from Wilhemshaven and Bremen was at intervals moderate and very accurate. Flight Engineer (Sgt. R. Clark) of AA/P was killed. No fighters seen.

Lancaster I HK600, AA-K

– same crew as above.

Up Time 15:35 – Down time 21:08.
Flight Time 05:53

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Caption for this photo, when it appears in “Lancaster at War 3”, by Garbett & Goulding: “75 (NZ) Sq C flight Lancaster JN-O from Mepal.” Credited to S H Richmond – Stuart Hector Richmond, NZ425433, A/B in the Robertson crew, also in C Flight. Caption in “Dying For Democracy”, by F/L G A Russell DFC: “75 Squadron Lancaster flying over Europe early 1945. The white streak at the bottom of the photo is the River Rhine.” – NZBCA archives, Alan Scott collection.

The Squadron was over-crewed by March-April 1945, with 70-plus crews flying 30 or so Lancasters. And yet it was decided to INCREASE the number of op’s required to complete a tour, from 30 to 35, possibly more. This could only have been done to make sure they retained experienced crews for these final weeks of the war.

Flights over Germany were now less dangerous as they involved much less time over enemy-held territory, and less contact with a weakened Luftwaffe, but Bomber Command probably wanted to maintain efficiency and avoid any unnecessary losses so close to the end.

In a similar vein, Operation Manna trips were to be credited as only 1/3 of an op’. There are certainly a lot of senior pilots on the crew lists around this time, so perhaps they were pushing to fly now that their skills were being applied to more constructive purposes.

But it meant that some of the “sprog” crews missed out. The Anderson crew only got two op’s in before the war in Europe ended. And they don’t appear to have had much of a look-in during the Operation Manna and POW repatriation flights either.

It must have been a very frustrating time, all trained up, and waiting for opportunities to fly.

13 May 1945. Repatriation of Prisoners Of War at Juvincourt.
20 Aircraft were detailed to evacuate Prisoners of War from Juvincourt. This was a bad day, for only 24 men were bought back, and these men were bought back by F/S R. Hamilton (AA.F)

Lancaster I PB421, AA-P

– same crew as above.

Up Time 12:48 – Down 16:31 1/2.
Flight Time 03:42 1/2

Note: Admin staff were obviously running out of things to do during this period, as someone has begun recording take-off and landing times in half-minutes!

Pilot Binks Anderson received his commission in June, with effect 24 April.

12 June 1945. Viewing the effects of the bombing offensive.
5 Aircraft were detailed for viewing the effects of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster III PB424, AA-O

– same crew as above.

Up Time 14.37 –  Down Time 19.25.
Flight Time 04:48

When the Squadron re-formed and moved to Spilsby on 21.7.45 it appears that Perry, Scott, Scott and Atkins may have been posted out.

Anderson, Hitch and Harvie stayed on for Tiger Force training, and finally left the Squadron when it was wound down, probably posted pending repatriation on either 27 or 28 September.

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Presumably taken the same day as the crew photo above, but without ground crew. Back row: Bruce Scott, Flight Engineer, England; Binks Anderson, Pilot, Whakatane; Alan Scott, Wireless Operator, Morrinsville; Patrick Atkins, Rear Gunner, Taihape. Front row – left to right: Bert Hitch, Navigator, Timaru; Wally Perry, Bomb Aimer, Christchurch; Tom Harvey, Mid Upper Gunner, Opunake; – NZBCA archives, Alan Scott collection.

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