Monthly Archives: January 2015

Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, Observer – ‘As we go zooming through the skyway’

Taffy and youngest brother David contcppd

A picture of Taffy messing about with John’s younger brother David on the front lawn of the Vicarage in Long Compton, Warwickshire where they were billeted. The photograph was taken in May, 1944, just three weeks or so before Taffy was killed in a flying accident. © John Quinn

Many thanks to John who contacted me, I must confess a while back, regarding ‘Taffy’ Evans, an Observer with numerous crews, who flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF during 1941. John then a small boy, got to know Clarence and others from 75(NZ) Squadron between 1942 and 1944 – we must assume therefore that certainly Clarence and perhaps the other airman were now screened and on instructional duties.

“My parents first met Taffy and his colleagues from 75 Squadron at the Crown Hotel in Chipping Norton when we were evacuated from London to ‘Chippy’ in Oxfordshire. The group was stationed at the nearby RAF aerodrome in Moreton-in-Marsh, some 10/12 miles away. They told us that they had been sent there to practice ‘circuits and bumps’ on Wellingtons. A few had already been on active service out of Feltwell targeting German battleships  sheltered in Norwegian fjords.  A highlight of my wartime youth was being smuggled at night into the airfield in the back of Taffy’s little Morris 7 to be shown around a Wellington bomber. It was an unique experience for me, an eleven year old, with vivid recollections still of sitting in the rear gunners turret and up front in the cockpit. I’m sure Taffy’s CO would not have approved.

Great friendships developed and Taffy and his colleagues made many visits to our home for social/musical evenings – my mother being a concert pianist. It was part of every visit that the evening would end with the group singing ‘tiny ball on end of string’ followed by  the 75(NZ) Squadron song.. All the family learnt it’s verses (see below). For my part, I sang the squadron song at a children’s singing competition at Chipping Norton Town Hall. I won first prize: Two shillings and sixpence!

Taffy, at the time that we met him, was an ‘Observer’, but he frequently expressed a desire to get his pilot’s wings. This he eventually achieved following pilot training in Canada.

Our last visit with him was shortly before D Day in June ’44 when he visited us in Long Compton, Warwickshire where we were billeted at a Vicarage following  yet a further evacuation. Taffy died shortly after the visit  in an aircraft accident, whilst piloting a Mosquito fighter, at RAF Station High Ercall. He is buried at Blacon(Regional) Cemetery, Chester. Grave number A107.

The 75th Squadron song, which is etched in my memory, went as follows. I am sure you know it well. However, here goes:”

  ‘As we go zooming through the skyway, we hear the people say,
      there goes Wimpy Feltwell, just you watch her sway
      her engines are so noisy, they make a fearful crack
      and you no sooner see her go, then she is coming back

     Her name is Wimpy Feltwell, and you may ask me why,
     I simply cannot tell you, so don’t ask me to try.
     She’s got a voice like cyrus and a face like good old buck,
     Yes she’s the girl for me because she’ll always bring me luck.

     One night across the cold North Sea our Wimpy made her way:
     ‘Mein Gott’ said dirty Hitler, here’s Wimpy let us pray.
     So down upon their knees they sank and prayed with all their might,
    but Wimpy dropped her load of bombs and blew them out of sight!

    And now you’ve heard the story of our Wimpy brave and bold,
    for she’s the greatest Wellington that Vickers ever sold
   In time we’ll go to heaven, we hope, with happiness to spare,
   but heaven won’t be heaven unless our Wimpy’s also there!’

With 1941 now complete in terms of a first pass of surnames, Clarence’s OP history with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF was as follows:

10/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Rotterdam
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out individual bombing attacks on the above target. Hits were registered in the target area. A balloon was seen flying over Hanover at 9,000 feet. Two beacons were observed at Ymuiden flashing one dot every three seconds. Many dummy fires were also seen. Fair amount of heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered in target area. This ceased when red tracer followed by white tracer was fired. A number of enemy aircraft were seen, while LUX.657 reports being hit by machine gun bullets and explosive shells fired by enemy aircraft which attacked. The hydraulic gear was damaged and the aircraft crashed on landing at Methwold. The weather was good but there was scattered cloud. Navigation was by astro, pin points and map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166 AA-M (2)

Sgt. Drayton, RAFVR? – Pilot.
Sgt. Hutt, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Wells, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Johnson, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:09 – Landed 03:48
Flight Time 05:39

14/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Bombs were seen to burst in target area, and many fires were observed. Dummy fires were seen near the target. Heavy and medium A.A. fire was encountered in the target area and on route. Searchlights were active from the Dutch coast to target. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was fine, but there was some ground mist.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2805 AA-D (6)

P/O Clive King Saxelby, RAFVR 36275 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry John Milner, RNZAF NZ40924 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:00 – Landed 01:10
Flight Time 06:10

26/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Bombs were seen to burst in the target area and fires were started. Fairly accurate heavy to medium and light A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights were intense and accurate over Holland and the target area. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fairly good over most of the journey, but ground haze covered the target.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2835 AA-C (8)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry John Milner, RNZAF NZ40924 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 23:40
Flight Time 04:50

01/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Cologne
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Hits were registered in the target area. Many fires were observed in the target. Area and DLN 881 reports seeing dummy fires North West of the target. DLN 626 reported a stick of bombs seen to burst 15 miles East of Lowestoft. Inaccurate heavy A.A. fire was encountered and searchlights were numerous. One enemy searchlight carrying fighter seen by DLN 931 at 500 yards but no attack made. 10/10ths cloud was experienced over North Sea but clear over target area. Navigation was by pin-pointing and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2835 AA-C (9)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry John Milner, RNZAF NZ40924 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:30 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 07:35

13/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Hamburg
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Hits were registered in the target area and many fires were observed to be burning when last aircraft left. Heavy and light flak was experienced over the target and numerous searchlights were used working in cones. ARU 271 observed one ME109 and one ME110 near DUTCH COAST and ARU 250 engaged one JU88 results were not observed. Good weather was experienced and navigation was by D/R and Map Reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2736 AA-? (3)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 07:05

15/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Agianst Lorient
Five Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Owing to fog being experienced on the return journey three of these aircraft landed at ST EVAL and two at BOSCOMBE DOWN. Hits were registered in the target area. The only observations made was that the blackout over FRANCE was bad. Moderate heavy and light flak was encountered and strong concentrations of searchlights were met in the target area. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was clear but ground haze was experienced over the target. Navigation was by D/R and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2736 AA-? (4)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 08:10

18/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Kiel and Rotterdam
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft. GKN.542, ran short of petrol and crashed at Ryhill, Yorkshire. The crew baled out, but one member, SGT. Gilmore (Wireless Operator) was killed owing to his parachute failing to open. Direct hits were scored and fired started. Two photographs of town and docks were taken by GKN.465. Intense and accurate heavy and light flak was encountered at various parts of route, and there was intense searchlight activity over target area. No enemy aircraft were observed. The weather over the target was fair, but fog was experienced over English coast on return. Navigation was by D/R, pinpoint and astro,

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2736 AA-? (5)
Running low on fuel, the crew had requested Hull to provide a searchlight beacon, but this had been denied as there was enemy activity in the area. At approximately 03:50, T.2736 crashed. All crew baled out of the aircraft, however the Wireless Operator, Sgt. Daniel Gilmore’s parachute failed to open and he was killed on impact with the ground.

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee , RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 25. Buried Cardiff Western Cemetery, Glamorgan, Wales.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:50 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 08:00

27/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne and Dunkirk
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Bombs were dropped, but owing to haze over target areas bursts were not observed. Five photographs were taken by GKN.832. Searchlights and heavy and light flak were fairly accurate. The weather was fair over route, but have was experienced in target area. Navigation was by D/R, map reading, astro and W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (1)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
F/O Cecil McKenzie Hill, RAFVR 36172 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Kelly, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 00:39
Flight Time 04:54

07/04/1941 – Bombing Attack on Targets at Kiel
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The weather was good and bombs were seen to burst on or very near the targets. Fires were observed over the whole of the target area. A.A. fire was fairly heavy and intense. Searchlights operated mainly in cones and were fairly accurate. A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks developed. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro and map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (2)

F/O Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 06:25

09/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The target area was bombed and a number od fires started. One photograph of Templehoff Aerodrome was taken by XRY.645. A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate, and searchlights were numerous and also accurate. XRY.347 reports being attacked by cannon fighter over Zuider Zee. He also attacked a Dornier three miles off Yuimuden. Good weather was experienced. Navigation was by D/R, map reading, astro and W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (3)

F/O Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:10 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 07:30

14/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Brest
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The weather was fine but there was a thin layer of cloud over the target area. Bombs were dropped and a number of bursts were observed in target area. A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate, and searchlights were accurate when operating in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (4)

F/O Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:40 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 05:20

16/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Bremen
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, captained by F/Lt. Fletcher, failed to locate target and bombs were bought back. The remaining aircraft all dropped bombs and bursts were observed from which fires resulted. Light and heavy A.A. fire, fairy accurate, was experienced in target areas. Searchlights were very active. One enemy aircraft was seen but no attack was made. There was a haze and layers of thin cloud over target areas. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (5)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:25 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 06:05

17/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of the aircraft, AXC.555, crashed on landing at Ternhill. No one was injured. All bombs were dropped and bursts were seen. A.A. fire was spasmodic and very accurate. Searchlights were intense over target and on route. A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. There was ground haze over the target with heavy could on route. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G (13)

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Murray Hobbs, RNZAF NZ40230 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Powell,   – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:00 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 08:00

29/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Rotterdam
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Two of the aircraft bought bombs back, having failed to locate target. The remaining aircraft dropped bombs and fire were started. A.A fire was fairly intense but not very accurate. Searchlights were numerous, effective and working in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Weather was good, but there was slight haze over target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro and map-reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166 AA-M (17)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:50 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 06:45

02/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg and Emden
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000lbs. G.P., 500lbs. G.P.; 250lbs. G.P. and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped and hits scored. Many fires were started. Accurate heavy A.A. fire was experienced in target areas. There was intese stationary cones of searchlights over Hamburg. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine and visibility was good. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (6)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:00 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 06:30

04/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 2000lbs. S.A.P. 500lbs. S.A.P. 250lbs. S.A.P. while flash bombs were also carried by two aircraft. All bombs were dropped and bursts were observed. Many fires were started. Intense heavy and light flak was experienced on route and in target area, while searchlights were intense but not very accurate. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine and clear. Navigation was by astro. D/R, W/T, and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (7)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:45 – Landed 03:25
Flight Time 05:40

Project ORB – June 1943

A massive thanks to Bryan for his efforts to complete the Form 540 for June 1943. Those of you that are familiar with the Form 540 ‘Summary of Events’ for the Squadron will know that in particular, 1943 is an amazing research resource, detailing as it does all crew movements in and out of the Squadron for that year.

While other early years also contain this information, the sheer size of the Squadron by 1943 means that while this is a fantastic research reference, it simultaneously represents a nightmare for anybody undertaking a transcription of a month – having done a few months for 1943 myself, I take my hat off to Bryan for having the patience to complete June.

So another month is added and Project ORB slowly rolls on to completion. If any of you are reading this post and fancy having  a go at one of the 4 remaining months from 1943 – please contact me – you are more than welcome!

View the Form 540 for June 1943 here.

Vickers Welfare Tour Of Bomber Station – British Movitone digital archive

It seems like an evolving tradition that Kevin finds me a clip to post on a Friday night now!

This time a fantastic clip from the British Movietone digital archive showing workers from  Vickers, ‘at a certain RAF station, visiting the men that fly the aircraft they build’ – and astonishingly, a Wellington with an ‘AA’ designator comes into view.

I assumed initially this must be Feltwell – corroborated by the fact that in Kevin’s email, he mentioned that it had taken him him years to find this clip – having been told about it by Rex Chuter, who was with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF between September and the 22nd of December 1940, when he was shot down on an Op to the railway marshalling yards in Mannheim.

Towards the end of the clip, Rex is the airman with the slicked back hair talking to the factory worker.

Such a shame it doesn’t go on longer, but a fantastic clip and a great find from Kevin

view the original movie on the British Movietone Digital Archive site here.

Henry Smulovitch, Flight Engineer – Osborne crew

Crew of L Lucy cropped and contfromHR

The Osborne crew, one assumes taken at some point during their stay at Mepal. Patrick McCarthy, the crew’s Navigator is stood on the far left, Henry Smulovitch is stood second from the right in the main back row. The identities of the rest of the crew are sadly not known at this time. © David Smulovitch

David has contacted me about his Father, Henry Smulovitch, who was Flight Engineer with Roy Osborne’s crew between September and December 1944.

The Osbourne crew arrived at Mepal on the 8th of September 1944, Roy flying 2 ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops with Harry Yates and Jim Johnson on the 10th and 16th of September, before joining his tour on the 20th for their first Operational flight to Calais. David says that Henry, as Flight Engineer used to say that if Roy was injured, he would have to take the controls of the aircraft – Henry and the rest of the crew prayed that would never happen!

The details of Roy’s 2nd Pilot ops are as follows:

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
Twenty seven aircraft attacked Montivilliers in the Le Havre area, as detailed. All crews dropped their bombs on the target and a very concentrated raid developed. No fighters were encountered and only slight opposition was met from ground defences.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S Sugar (3)

F/O Henry Charles ‘Harry’ Yates, RAFVR 141776 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O William George ‘Bill’ Birnie, RNZAF NZ429291 – Navigator.
F/S Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka, RNZAF NZ421741 – Air Bomber.
W/O Sinclair Archibald ‘Archie’ Bain, RNZAF NZ415983 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Denys ‘Tubby’ Westell, RAFVR 2221192/ 188789 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Geoffrey Fallowfield, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Norrie Close, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:21 – Landed 19:09
Flight Time 03:48

16/09/1944 – Attack Against Moerdijk
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack Moerdijk Bridge. The operation was successfully carried out in good weather. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O Oboe (19)

F/O James Johnson, RAFVR 176437 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
W/O Thomas Talbot Murdoch, RAFVR 1345478 – Navigator.
F/O Alexander Mitchell Penman, RNZAF NZ416154 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. James Smith, RAFVR 1604615 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lorenzo Marfil, RAFVR 1893899 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alexander Reid, RAFVR 2211424 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald McLeod, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:36 – Landed 00:26
Flight Time 02:50

Its perhaps fortunate for us that Harry Yates was Pilot on one of these familarisation flights – within the pages of Harry’s book ‘Luck and a Lancaster‘, I found the following piece that relates to Roy – or apparently ‘Bill’ Osborne:

“Of the three second dickeys whom we initiated, only the first, Bill Osborne survived a tour. He became quite a character on the station. He had a great knack of capturing anyone’s essential features with a few affectionate strokes of the pen. At most times, an Osborne caricature was to be found on the mess notice board.

On the day of my de-mob I bumped into Bill in the corridor of a railway carriage. I was dressed in regulation civvy suit; he, a career pilot flying jets in uniform. Time was moving on and the great days of the Lancaster were already gone”.

Its a tantalising thought that perhaps one of ‘Bill’ Osborne’s caricatures maybe still exists somewhere………

It was now time for the Osborne crew to join the other crews, taking off from Mepal on a late summer afternoon………..

20/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft set out as detailed to attack enemy strong points at Calais. They all successfully bombed the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O ‘Oboe’ (20)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:45 – Landed 17:45
Flight Time 03:00

23/09/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Neuss. The target was obscured by ten tenths cloud with tops of 11,000 ft. Most crews bombed below cloud, some explosions and flashes were seen, but results were difficult to assess. One aircraft returned early through the complete failure of the electrical system and a further aircraft bombed the target, but owing to a technical failure, landed at Woodbridge on return. Moderate but inaccurate A.A. Fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N (5)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:25 – Landed 23:55
Flight Time 04:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (10)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 08:15
Flight Time 20:50

26/09/1944 – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack a defended locality near Cap Gris Nez. They all attacked the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was negligible.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (11)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 14:26
Flight Time 02:46

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to make an early morning attack on the defended localities near Calais. One aircraft landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure discovered shortly after take off. Of the remainder only one aircraft found a break in the clouds through which to bomb the Markers. Ten aircraft had to abandon their mission after circling the target area for a considerable time.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (12)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:54 – Landed 10:49
Flight Time 02:55

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (36)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:00 – Landed 11:05
Flight Time 04:05

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (37)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 14:05
Flight Time 02:40

22/10/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack Neuss. Eight attacked the target through ten tenths cloud, but results were unsatisfactory. One aircraft attacked Munchen Gladbach being unable to reach the primary target on time.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (38)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:30 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 04:05

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (39)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:50 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 04:50

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Twenty three of these attacked the target and bombing was good, built up areas and factories being identified visually. One aircraft brought its bombs back owing to the failure of the bombing equipment when over the target and two other aircraft returned early owing to technical failures.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (46)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:20 – Landed 16:40
Flight Time 03:20

26/10/1944 – Attack Against Leverkusen
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Leverkusen. They all bombed the target in formation and a successful raid was reported. A.A. opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y (47)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:00 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 04:25

28/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Seven aircraft took off a few hours later to participate in an attack on Cologne. They all bombed in clear weather and identified the target visually. Bombing was concentrated and a large smoke pall was seen on leaving. A.A. opposition was moderate, but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (40)
Hit by flak 4 times

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:15 – Landed 17:15
Flight Time 04:00

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Eighteen aircraft took off in the evening to make a further attack on Cologne. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target area, but markers were well placed and a good glow from fires beneath the clouds was observed on leaving. A.A. opposition was slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III NN710 AA-Q (23)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 04:55

11/11/1944 – Sea Mining in Oslo Fjord
Five aircraft were detailed for minelaying off Horten in the Oslo Fjord. Four aircraft took off and planted their mines successfully in their allotted position but on return the aircraft were diverted to Tain, owing to doubtful weather at base.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q (28)
A/C returned to Tain, owing to unsatisfactory weather at Base

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:25 – Landed 23:00
Flight Time 07:35

16/11/1944 – Attack Against Heinsberg
Twenty five aircraft were detailed to attack an Oil Refinery target at Sterkrade but this operation was cancelled, and the 25 aircraft later took off to attack Heinsberg in support of the advancing American Army, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All crews were successful in bombing the town which was identified visually. On leaving, the whole town appeared to be covered in a thick pall of smoke. Flak was fairly intense but only two of our aircraft received minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (48)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:28 – Landed 17:34
Flight Time 04:06

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (49)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:47 – Landed 17:28
Flight Time 04:41

21/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make another daylight attack on the Oil Refinery plant at Homberg, carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. On this occasion weather over the target was clear, and crews reported the bombing to be quite good, both the target and town being identified visually. Several good explosions were observed in the target area. Flak opposition was moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (50)
Hit by flak once

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:28 – Landed 16:52
Flight Time 04:24

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P  (19)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:40 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 04:46

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (51)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 17:03
Flight Time 04:48

28/11/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack on Neuss, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb and Incendiary bombs, together with one 12,000 lb bomb. Twenty aircraft were successful in dropping their bombs using navigational aids and a good concentration of fires was reported. Flak was very slight, the enemy defences appearing to be completely foxed. One aircraft captained by W/C R.J.A. Leslie, D.S.O., A.F.C. carrying the 12,000 lb bomb got in the wrong stream of bombers and bombed Essen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (52)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:50 – Landed 07:25
Flight Time 04:35

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (53)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:48 – Landed 15:15
Flight Time 04:27

02/12/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Seventeen aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on the Coking Plant at Dortmund. All crews were successful in attacking the target which was covered by 10/10 cloud, tops being about 12,000 ft. and the raid was thought to be successful, though the Bomber stream was not as concentrated as usual. Flak was moderate, but very erratic, and none of our aircraft suffered damage. Bombs carried on this attack were 4,000 lb H.C., 1,000 lb. M.C. and 1,000 lb ANM.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (54)

P/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 17:36
Flight Time 05:00

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (56)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:00 – Landed 14:07
Flight Time 05:07

08/12/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on Duisburg Marshalling Yards carrying 1,000 M.C., 1,000 A.N.M. and Munro Bombs. All aircraft successfully attacked the target and a very concentrated attack was reported, but apart from one report of smoke coming through the tops of the cloud at 15,000 ft., no results were observed. One aircraft “D” captain F/S Wood, J., landed at Woodbridge on return.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (8)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:37 – Landed 12:37
Flight Time 04:00

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (60)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:50 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:20

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (61)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:22 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:15

28/12/1944 – Attack Against Gremberg M/Y at Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Gremberg Marshalling yard at Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Nineteen aircraft bombed the target and one bombed short due to technical failure. One aircraft AA”S” captained by NZ425292 F/O D. Sadgrove returned early owing to engine trouble. Crews were satisfied that the attack was successful, many reporting smoke rising well above the cloud tops. Slight H/F was experienced, but no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (62)
Hit by flak once
F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:01 – Landed 16:57
Flight Time 04:56

30/12/1944 – Mining in the Heligoland Bight
No bombing operations were laid on but four aircraft were required for mining by special equipment in the Heligoland Bight area. All were successful and planted mines as ordered. There was some enemy air activity, three of our aircraft reporting fighters of E/A. One of these, AA”J” captained by F/O E. Parsons, was in combat in which E/A was claimed as damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (15)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:35 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 04:05

This and that……..

I am currently very busy at work with Semester 1 assessment, so probably, I may not be able to post much over the next week or so, but rather than just fall silent again, I thought it might be useful to just update you on a few things – I am mindful that the blog suggests a certain level of activity, but much like a swan – serene above the surface, but all frantic thrashing below the water – things are constantly happening off the pages as it were…..

Relative contacts
Firstly, I am really pleased to say that the traffic to the blog keeps up unabated – which is fantastic. As I often remark to people when I talk about the blog, one of the amazingly satisfying, but initially unforeseen consequences of the blog is the ability to reconnect people. I am pleased to say in the last week or so this has happened a few more times. I have been able to connect Ann, daughter of Albert ‘Titch’ Haliday with Ginny – her Father, Ben Barton flew with ‘Titch’ in Mart Kilpatrick’s crew. I have also been contacted by David, after first meeting him, his wife and his Father-in-law Jim Mulhall at the November Reunion of the Association – it took a while for my gears to whir, but they are now in touch with Hubert, whose Father, Jim flew with as his Flight Engineer, until they were shot down on the 21st of November 1944 on the Homberg Op. Also, George contacted me last week regarding his Father Sidney, who flew as a Mid Upper Gunner with Maurice Thorogood, so now George and Maurice’s Daughter, Mary, are back in contact.

75(NZ) Squadron Database
Work continues on the database. A recent post about Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J forced me into 1941 and it showed to me the relative difficulty of identifying individuals in the Operational Record Books. I am acutely aware that I have a fair few replies to make to relatives of boys who flew during the early part of the War – this is partly because of the difficulty in putting together a thorough and accurate Op history, owing to firstly being able to identify and separate an individual from others of the same surname (you’d be surprised how many of the same surnames their are) and then to be able to confidently track them sometimes between a number of crew. Before I began the database, I was just about able to do an Op history for an individual in the later years of the war, simply by looking through the ORB’s and recording occurrences by hand/ eye – at this early point I quickly became aware this was almost impossible for these early War years.

As I have mentioned numerous times already – my entry into the database work was rather random – perhaps because of Dad’s service I decided to start in the middle of 1943 and then began to work forward as it were – being randomly distracted with other aspects of data based discovery along the way. Relative contact would then send me off somewhere else to find and complete an Op history and this could be way ahead of where I was currently working……..

Currently, the database is complete as follows:
All aircraft, Pilots and Op diary descriptions from January 1941, to the end of recorded Ops, Post – War, end of June 1945.
All additional aircrew surnames added to all Ops 1943.
Approx 50% of all additional aircrew information added to 1941 Ops.
Approx 40% of all additional aircrew information added to 1942 Ops.
Approx 75% of all additional aircrew information added to 1944 Ops.
Approx 50% of all additional aircrew information added to 1945 Ops.

In addition, there are obviously the ‘complete’ crew Op histories that have been focused on regarding relative contact – in real terms this represents at this point about 8% of records being ‘complete’

Now, this rather random approach I have taken, has sat under a few made up stages I have imagined to try to make it feel like the database won’t become a never ending Herculean task.

They are as follows:
Phase 1. – Pilots, aircraft, Raid and Raid description complete.

Phase 2. – Addition of all aircrew information for each crew, flying under each Pilot.

Phase 3. – Additional secondary aircrew detail – arrival and departure dates, fatality information, citations for awards, DoB and DoD information.

Phase 4. – Addition of extra information on Aircraft – designator letter confirmation (logbooks and various AIR Records), damage, pre and post Squadron information, nose art etc.

Phase 5. – Aircraft Op History verification. Re-checking to identify abortive or ‘non’ counting Ops to arrive at definitive final Op history and Ops tally for each aircraft.

As I mentioned above, my rather haphazard approach means at the moment that I have no actual stage complete! Therefore I am currently focusing  on 1941 full crew entry (i know this isn’t the start at 1940 – but relatively speaking there is more demand for information from 1941 ). I will then go back and enter full crew data for 1940, before then working through from 1942 onwards to complete full aircrew data for the War. This will take me to completion of Phase 2 – the database currently has approx 7,500 rows (this doesn’t include 1940), each row containing (currently) approximately 65 data entry cells – more will be needed as I move through the later phases of data entry……..

As its going at the moment, I would estimate Phase 2 completion is about 18 months off……..

Squadron Nominal Roll
Off of the back of the Squadron database, I also wish to use data captured within it and other sources to create and present a full Squadron Nominal Roll. Seasoned readers might recall the brief existence of a Nominal roll on the blog a few years back – permission was (I thought) granted for its presentation by The New Zealand Association, as a very sensible approach to adding to it and correcting it – sadly, that permission was revoked rather speedily, after it was originally put up on the blog.

The sad shame of this is that currently, a relative searching for information might only come across the blog if 1.) they know the individual flew with 75(NZ) Squadron or 2.) that individual already features in a tagged post on the blog – which I find very frustrating and which I fear, prevents relatives from making contact to provide new information about the individual – so everybody loses out.

Whilst maintaining the blog and researching crews and individuals, I have since, manged to record approximately 650 additions, corrections or expansions to individual entries in this original document – (ironically, the Squadron database allows a far more detailed overview of an individual airman within the Squadron by simple dint of it now existing). I do not have the time, or interest to argue the toss over ownership of what essentially is information that is all publicly accessible, so I will simply build another one from the gathered and sorted data and credit and reference everybody and every research source that has contributed to it.

The End Goal
I am still undecided how this information will be presented – however I know that it will be web based and freely available to anybody who wishes to access it. Many people have remarked to me that ‘there must be a book of the Squadron somewhere in you‘.

I am still of the feeling that an attempt to collate and present the data in physical book form would be little more that an act of incredible vanity and stupidity. Whilst it makes sense to record small sets of stories or the life of an individual, something as large as ‘The Squadron’ is simply too big to attempt a definitive record on the printed page.

Despite the age of the subject matter, what excites me is that information is still coming in every week and to use the metaphor of painting the Forth Road Bridge, a book would never be finished and at the point of publication would probably be already out of date. Add to this the actually VERY small potential market and the therefore, intrinsically high unit cost and I think it would be the folly of a supreme egotist, or a lunatic to try such a thing……….

Having said all of this, I do not envisage the database trying to live within the relative constraints of this blog – it was an initial idea to produce a website, but WordPress thankfully provided me with a far more immediate and efficient method of contacting and communicating with all of you. It might well be that the arrival at the end point of the database will be the point that I turn my attention to a dedicated website – but rest assure dear readers, the physical blog section will always remain!

Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association
Something that I do want to get sorted fairly quickly is the addition of a series of pages within the blog for Association business and communication. I envisage the top menu link currently occupied by the Memorial Garden to be replaced by an ‘Association’ one, under which will exist a series of sub set pages – I hope to include something about the History of the Association, its Mission statement (I know I hate the phrase as well, but it sounds better than ‘what we do’) and certainly a section advertising events and activities – most specifically the annual Winter reunion.

In discussion with members of other squadron associations, I think I have now, a far better understanding of what is possible, viable and useful and what is not. My first initial thoughts are that we should use the reach of the blog to grow the UK Association membership, we should give thought to some appeals for specific projects, for things like memorial stones at crash sites here and in Europe and that we need to seek opportunities to educate and inform younger generations about the role 75(NZ) Squadron RAF played during the War in Bomber Command.

Also, whilst I plan to make a more detailed and considered statement at a later point, I think also that  we need to let people know that the Association needs to be considered as an option regarding the donation of loved ones items, photographs, logbooks, uniforms etc.

I think an ongoing project should be the collection of objects and that if we were able to build one, that it could be made available through a catalogue for loan to third party organisations for short displays, exhibitions etc. In this way, these precious objects have a chance to be seen, understood and valued, rather than hidden away in the dark of a cupboard or a drawer….

I am aware that perhaps a museum appears to be a first, sensible point of donation, but I think these things value, both actual and emotional can be understood much better by the Association and it’s membership and in this respect, if they can, they need to be kept together.

I have also been recently exploring the world of PayPal and WordPress and I think with a little bit of thought we should be able allow people who visit the blog and then the Association section to buy Association membership, and also contribute donations if they wish – I am acutely aware that the reach and apparent interest in the blog should try to be tapped for the benefit of the Association and I suppose with my Presidential hat on, we need to take a wider view, regarding the direction that the Association could possibly take and what it might do in the future and that, put simply, will probably require cash…………

 

Now of course, having read that ramble back, it strikes me in the same time, I could actually have put another post up about someone………

 

 

Bertram William Billing, Wireless Operator – Brown crew (39 Ops)

Bert Billing 2 images comped

Two portraits of Bertram William Billing, Wireless Operator with Desmond Browns crew, between March and November 1944. Bert completed his tour with 75(NZ) Squadron having logged an astonishing 39 Ops. © Michael Billing

Michael has contacted me regarding his Father, Bertram William Billing, who flew with Desmond Brown’s crew, between March and November of 1944. Over this period, Bert amassed an incredible total of 39 Ops – the database indicates 40, however Michael says he recalls his Father telling him he flew 39 Ops, so of the 40, I must assume one was abortive, so that will be something to check back through the database. In addition to the 37 Ops flown with Des Brown and his ‘normal’ crew, Bert also flew 2 additional Ops with Lawrence  O’Connor’s crew.

Michael is very keen and has his fingers crossed that there might be another relative of the Brown crew out there.

 Administration 23.3.44
NZ42710 Sgt. Brown and crew arrive from No.31 Base

01 04 Bert RAF Group Back Middle

A photograph of the Brown crew, date and location unconfirmed. In the back row of 5, Bert is stood in the middle. To the far right, identifiable by his Pilots wings is Des Brown, on the other end of the back row is Ray Rattle, the Flight Engineer. We can now also identify the 2 Airgunners in the crew – stood as a pair in front, to the left, Mid Upper Gunner Les De’Lungo and to the right Tom Fitzpatrick, the Rear Gunner. (many thanks to Kevin king for adding identities to this picture after the post was made) © Michael Billing

Michael has also supplied a number of other photographs, which he assumes are members of the Brown crew. Subsequent to this post being made, Kevin, has identified the individual in the picture below and the following one as Les De’Lungo the Brown crew’s Mid Upper Gunner – the identities of the other individuals are still unknown.

Possibly Brown crew compd

A set of images of whom me must deduce are also members of the Brown crew. Certainly the top image and the second image clearly shows Les De’Lungo, who appears in the previous group photograph of Airmen. The identities of the remainder of theses individuals are so far unconfirmed. © Michael Billing

09/04/1944 – Attack Against Lille
Four Stirling aircraft were detailed to attack Lille. One jettisoned its load on the outward journey, but the remainder successfully attacked the target.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 ??-? (22)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 00:10
Flight Time 01:25

11/04/1944 – Mining off La Rochelle
Five Stirlings were detailed for mine laying off La Rochelle, one was withdrawn but the remainder successfully completed their mission.

Stirling Mk.III EF233 ??-? (13)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:25 – Landed 00:50
Flight Time 04:25

18/04/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Seven Stirlings were detailed to lay mines in Kiel Bay, one was withdrawn and one failed to return (Captain NZ415820 F/O. H. Murray).  The remaining five successfully completed their mission.  On return they landed away.

Stirling Mk.III LK396 ??-? (17)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Cunningham, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:45 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 06:20

Squadron conversion to Lancasters – detachment to No.3 L.F.S. RAF Feltwell
Des Brown, Bert and the rest of the crew arrived just as 75(NZ) Squadron RAF was beginning the approximately 7 week long conversion from Stirlings to Lancasters. The first Lancaster arriving with the Squadron just 10 days before. By the end of March, another 19 aircraft at arrived at the Squadron. The Brown crew had so far flown 3 Ops in Stirlings and on the 24th April 1944 were detached to No.3 Lancaster Finishing School at RAF Feltwell, to undergo conversion training. They returned to the Squadron on the 30th of that month. 10 days later, they would be operational again.

10/05/1944 – Attack Against Courtrai
Twenty three aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Courtrai. A concentrated attack was made with very slight opposition. One aircraft (Captain NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond) was hit by A.A. Fire on the return journey and the Captain received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (10)

F/S Lawrence Michael O’Connor, RNZAF NZ424505 – Pilot.
F/S Robert Ronga Scott, RNZAF NZ429372 – Navigator.
F/S Walter Bernard Robinson, RNZAF NZ426059 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Raven, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. H. Lewis, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Howell, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 00:40
Flight Time 02:40

11/05/1944 – Attack Against Louvain
Twenty-four aircraft, representing the largest number of Lancaster aircraft so far detailed by this Squadron, were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Louvain. Twenty-three aircraft successfully attacked in good weather. One aircraft (Captain NZ414591 A/F/L. S. Clark) claimed a JU 88 destroyed in combat over the North Sea. Another aircraft (Captain 151118 A/F/L. D. Warren) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LL865 ??-? (10)

F/S Lawrence Michael O’Connor, RNZAF NZ424505 – Pilot.
F/S Robert Ronga Scott, RNZAF NZ429372 – Navigator.
F/S Walter Bernard Robinson, RNZAF NZ426059 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Raven, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. H. Lewis, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Howell, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 03:00

19/05/1944 – Attack Against Le Mans
Twenty four aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Le Mans. Good results being reported.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752DUP AA-O (2)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 05:00

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target. Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis). Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (12)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:55 – Landed 02:40
Flight Time 03:45

22/05/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund of which eighteen completed their mission successfully. Three aircraft returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and NZ42354 P/O. C. Armstrong). The raid was well concentrated and carried out in good weather with excellent visibility. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU 88. Otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (13)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 03:55

24/05/1944 – Attack Against Boulogne
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack Aachen and eleven to attack a target at Boulogne. They all were successful in attacking their respective targets and good concentrated bombing was reported. Two aircraft attacking Aachen had combats with enemy aircraft, NZ40750 F/L. R. Berney claiming the destruction of an enemy night fighter and 170664 P/O. T. Buckley claimed strikes on a F.W. 190. There was no opposition from the Boulogne target.

Lancaster Mk.III ND756 AA-R? (9)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:25 – Landed 02:10
Flight Time 01:45

27/05/1944 – Attack Against Aachen
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack Aachen and eleven to attack a target at Boulogne. They all were successful in attacking their respective targets and good concentrated bombing was reported. Two aircraft attacking Aachen had combats with enemy aircraft, NZ40750 F/L. R. Berney claiming the destruction of an enemy night fighter and 170664 P/O. T. Buckley claimed strikes on a F.W. 190. There was no opposition from the Boulogne target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R (17)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S A. Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:49 – Landed 02:49
Flight Time 02:00

28/05/1944 – Attack Against Angers
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack the marshalling yards at Angers. Six of these were withdrawn, two returned early with engine trouble, but the remaining fourteen aircraft successfully bombed the target in good weather. A good concentrated attack was reported, and opposition was only slight.

Lancaster Mk.III HK553 AA-S (2)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 01:55
Flight Time 07:05

31/05/1944 – Attack Against Trappes
Twenty four aircraft were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Trappes. One was withdrawn and another returned early through technical trouble. The remainder, however, bombed in good visibility, reporting an accurate attack. One aircraft (Captain NZ422098 P/O. L. Bonisch) had a combat with an enemy aircraft which was seen to be shot down by another of our aircraft.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U (15)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Hughes, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 04:30

11/06/1944 – Attack Against Nantes
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack a military target at Nantes. All aircraft successfully bombing the target. Large fires and explosions were reported. Intense light A.A. Fire was encountered in the target area. the aircraft captained by NZ421072 P/O. C. McCardle, shortly after leaving the target area, was damaged by what is now thought to have been a light A.A. Shell exploding in the cockpit. The Captain received severe injuries and the Flight Engineer Sgt. Benfold, R., superficial injuries. The Air Bomber, AUS410489 W/O. Hurse, A. took over the controls, and with the assistance of the Navigator NZ4310159 F/O. A. Zillwood, brought the aircraft safely back to this country, where a perfect landing was executed.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U (21)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Martin Roy Westgarth, RNZAF NZ429384 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Peter Neech, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:45 – Landed 05:25
Flight Time 05:40

12/06/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen and all took part in a very concentrated raid, A.A. Fire not being so intense as expected. Although enemy fighters were active, no combats took place with our aircraft.

Lancaster Mk.III ND920 AA-P (18)

F/S Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
Sgt. R. Ede, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Peter Neech, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Howell, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 04:00

01/08/1944 – Attack Against Le Nieppe
Sixteen aircraft took off to attack the Constructional Works Site at Le Nieppe. All aircraft reached the target area and the ten which were at the head of the bomber stream, bombed with the aim of markers, but later aircraft were instructed not to bomb, and these brought their bombs back. There was slight A.A. opposition but no fighter activity. There was 10/10ths cloud at the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (16)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:05 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 02:35

03/08/1944 – Attack Against L’Isle Adam
Twenty out of the twenty one aircraft detailed took off to attack the Supply Dumps at L’Isle Adam, near Paris. They all attacked in clear weather and a very successful and concentrated raid was reported. There was no fighter opposition and only slight A.A. fire was met in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (17)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:00 – Landed 15:30
Flight Time 03:30

04/08/1944 – Attack Against Bec D’Ambes
Twenty aircraft were required to attack the Supply Depot at Foret De Nieppe, but this operation was cancelled, and the same aircraft were detailed to attack the Oil Storage and Refinery at Bec D’Ambes near Bordeaux. All took off and nineteen attacked the primary target in clear weather. A good concentrated raid developed and many fires and explosions were seen with smoke rising to 10,000 ft. There was no opposition. One aircraft attacked Pauillic owing to flying in the wrong bomber stream.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (18)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:25 – Landed 21:15
Flight Time 07:50

07/08/1944 – Attack Against Mare De Magne
The target was enemy troops and armour concentrations at Mare De Magne, being made in direct support of the Allied Armies advance in the Caen area. Seventeen aircraft were detailed, all of which took off and dropped their bombs with the aid of markers, and a concentrated raid developed. Opposition from A.A. fire was very slight, but a few enemy fighters were active. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat and another (Captain 150278 .F/O. G. Brunton) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (19)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 03:40

08/08/1944 – Attack Against Lucheux
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack Petrol Dumps at Lucheux, behind the enemy lines. All aircraft were successful in their mission, in good visibility. A good concentration of fires with smoke rising to 9,000 ft., was left burning. There was only slight A.A. opposition, but enemy fighters were active, and three of our aircraft had inconclusive combats, two suffering damage but no casualties.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (20)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 01:15
Flight Time 03:00

09/08/1944 – Attack Against Fort D’Anglos
Seventeen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Army Fuel Depot at Fort D’Anglos. All were successful in bombing with the aid of markers. The raid appeared to be scattered but there was indication of a large conflagration. Opposition from A.A. fire was very slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (22)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 00:10
Flight Time 02:05

14/08/1944 – Attack Against Hamel
Twenty two aircraft took off as detailed to attack enemy troop concentrations near Hamel, in support of the advancing British and Canadian Armies. Nineteen were successful in bombing the target with the aid of markers and in accordance with the Master Bomber’s instructions. Three aircraft were unable to bomb owing to being too late over the target. A.A. opposition was very slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (25)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:05 – Landed 17:45
Flight Time 03:40

15/08/1944 – Attack Against The Aerodrome at St. Trond
Nineteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Aerodrome at St. Trond. All aircraft made a successful attack and bombing results were confirmed visually, the bomb bursts being well concentrated on the runways. Opposition was almost negligible both over the target and en route.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (26)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:10 – Landed 13:40
Flight Time 03:30

16/08/1944 – Attack Against Stettin
Twenty three aircraft took off as detailed to attack Stettin. Twenty two were successful in attacking the target with the aid of markers, but the raid appeared scattered and no great concentration of fires was achieved. Slight A.A. fire was encountered in the target area and a few fighters were met en route, two aircraft having inconclusive combats. One aircraft returned early with icing trouble.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (27)

F/O Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:05 – Landed 05:25
Flight Time 08:20

25/08/1944 – Attack Against Russelsheim
Twenty eight aircraft took off as detailed to attack Russelsheim. Of these twenty five attacked the primary target and reported a good concentrated raid. A.A. opposition was slight, but enemy aircraft were active and one of our aircraft had two inconclusive combats. Another was unable to identify the target and jettisoned its load. A further one was caught in searchlights over the target and during evasive action lost both ailerons. This aircraft was captained by NZ424504 .F/S. O’Callaghan, E. The navigator 958564 .F/S. Hartley, R., kept the aircraft on track on the return journey even though his instruments were unserviceable and his chart lost. Two aircraft failed to return, they were captained by NZ422382 .F/O. J. Fleming and NZ421345 .F/S. Barker, R.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (29)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:23 – Landed 04:34
Flight Time 08:11

05/09/1944 – Attack Against Le Havre
Eighteen aircraft were standing by to attack Dortmund, but this operation was postponed and twenty five aircraft took off to attack Le Havre in favourable weather. Opposition was negligible and a very successful raid was carried out, without loss. Most of the bombing was done visually. Reports indicate that the target was well saturated.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita” (20)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:10 – Landed 21:10
Flight Time 04:00

08/09/1944 – Attack Against Doudenville
Twenty three aircraft took off at dawn to attack enemy defence positions at Doudeneville on the outskirts of Le Havre. Weather conditions were very unfavourable over the target and crews had great difficulty in seeing the markers. Only ten dropped their bombs before the Master Bomber gave instructions to abandon the mission. The remaining thirteen aircraft brought their bombs back to base. Considerable light A.A. fire and machine gun fire was encountered in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (33)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 06:10 – Landed 09:30
Flight Time 03:20

11/09/1944 – Attack Against Kamen
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen Oil Refinery. Weather conditions were favourable and some crews were able to bomb visually, under the Master Bomber’s instructions. Clouds of black smoke rising to 15,000 ft. was reported and a very successful raid ensued. Opposition from slight but accurate heavy A.A. fire was met from the defences. No enemy fighters were encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (34)
HK562 hit by flak 4 times (AC)
F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William David Topping, RAFVR 138322 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:40 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 04:00

17/09/1944 – Attack Against Boulogne
In the morning fourteen aircraft took off to attack Boulogne. Crews were able to identify landmarks and bombing was accurate, although much smoke hid results. The aircraft captained by NZ411397 A/S/L. G. Gunn was severely damaged by light flak, but he managed to fly back across the Channel even though both starboard engines were feathered. On landing at Hawkinge, however, the aircraft overshot the small runway and crashed. The Captain received injuries and was placed on the Dangerously Ill List, the Navigator 153453 F/O F. Smith was slightly injured, the Air Bomber NZ428249 F/O A Millar was placed on the Seriously Ill List, the Flight Engineer 1566967 Sgt Bruce, J was killed, but the remainder of the crew were uninjured, they were WO/AIR 47714 F/L W Naismith, MU/Gnr NZ411708 F/O C. Robertson and R/Gnr NZ402519 F/O S. Haynes. All of those injured were admitted to Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury and the body of Sgt Bruce was sent to his next of kin for burial.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (33)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:14 – Landed 12:53
Flight Time 02:39

23/09/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Neuss. The target was obscured by ten tenths cloud with tops of 11,000 ft. Most crews bombed below cloud, some explosions and flashes were seen, but results were difficult to assess. One aircraft returned early through the complete failure of the electrical system and a further aircraft bombed the target, but owing to a technical failure, landed at Woodbridge on return. Moderate but inaccurate A.A. Fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (35)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William George Birnie, RNZAF NZ429291 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:20 – Landed 21:25
Flight Time 02:05

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (36)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O William George Birnie, RNZAF NZ429291 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:30 – Landed 11:30
Flight Time 03:00

05/10/1944 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
Thirty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack the railway centre at Saarbrucken. They all reached the target area but only fourteen bombed before the Master Bomber issued instructions to abandon the mission. Bombing appeared scattered, and the raid was unsatisfactory. The aircraft captained by NZ 427481 F/Sgt Galletly, A. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (39)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/L A. Stewart, RAFVR – Squadron Navigation Leader.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:20 – Landed 22:25
Flight Time 05:05

06/10/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund, but one of these was withdrawn owing to a technical failure. Twenty six aircraft attacked the target in good weather and a very accurate and concentrated raid was reported, large fires being left burning. A.A. Fire was moderate but fighters were active and the aircraft captained by NZ427798 F/S Farr, W. had a series of combats during which the enemy aircraft was claimed as being destroyed. One aircraft returned early and landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure and another (Captain NZ411048 F/O K. Southward) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (40)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/O John Murray Watts, RNZAF NZ427239 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:45 – Landed 22:10
Flight Time 05:25

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (41)
Hit by flak3 times
F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Kenneth Raffill Wood, RNZAF NZ4212783 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:05 – Landed 11:05
Flight Time 04:00

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to make a further attack on Duisburg, unfortunately, however, three aircraft had to be withdrawn. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable. The remaining twenty five aircraft took part in a very successful attack in excellent visibility and large fires were seen to break out and add to those already burning from the morning attack. AA opposition was negligible and searchlight did not operate until late in the raid. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy fighter.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (42)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Kenneth Raffill Wood, RNZAF NZ4212783 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 05:10

18/10/1944 – Attack Against Bonn
Sixteen aircraft were again detailed to attack Bonn and this time they were able to carry out the operation. For the first time the aircraft attacked flying in formation. Some moderate heavy A A fire was met over the target, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (43)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:25 – Landed 13:15
Flight Time 04:50

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (45)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:10 – Landed 14:05
Flight Time 02:55

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (46)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:45 – Landed 21:15
Flight Time 04:30

30/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Cologne during daylight, but the operation was postponed until the evening. All aircraft attacked the target and although a good concentration of markers was achieved results were unobserved owing to ten tenths cloud. Moderate A.A. opposition was encountered and one aircraft received slight damage. There was no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (49)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:55 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 05:00

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Eighteen aircraft took off in the evening to make a further attack on Cologne. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target area, but markers were well placed and a good glow from fires beneath the clouds was observed on leaving. A.A. opposition was slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M “Mother” (50)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

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

02/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery at Homberg, carrying 7 x 8,000 lb, 13 x 4,000, 99 x 1,000 and 132 x 500 lb Bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing the target in clear weather, and a concentrated raid developed. A large pall of black smoke was soon burning in the target area, and many crews saw their bombs burst in the smoke, through which parts of the factory were observed. Flak opposition was moderate to intense and eight aircraft suffered minor damage, but one aircraft captained by NZ421343 F/L V.J. Andrew, was hit by heavy flak when over the target and the starboard engine caught fire which the crew only managed to extinguish with great difficulty.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy” (45)

F/L Desmond Charles Brown, RNZAF NZ42710 – Pilot.
F/S Reginald Rycroft Hartley, RAFVR 185289 – Navigator.
F/S Albert Harkness, RNZAF NZ425631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Bertram William Billing, RAFVR 1318831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond Rattle, RAFVR 1629141 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Leslie De’Lungo, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, RAFVR 1797837 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:30 – Landed 15:35
Flight Time 04:05

Bert was released from RAF service on the 26th June 1946. We know nothing of what he was doing after his last Op with the Squadron and his discharge, however the following 2 items perhaps give a clue. The first is a hand written note that appears to record to flights – interestingly, Bert appears to be listed on it as an instructor – so me must assume that after his forst tour with the Squadron he went to perhaps a Conversion Unit, or maybe an Operational Training Unit. A reference to ‘NR729 “J”‘ identifies the aircraft, but having checked ‘Avro Lancaster – the definitive record’ by Harry Holmes, all I am sadly able to observe is that it isn’t a Lancaster………..

Many thanks to Chris for doing his usual excellent digging after a post and shedding the following light on the notes below:

“Re the handwritten note with flight details – the “Dominie” will refer to the aircraft type, and de Havilland Dominie serial no. NR279 (reg. 6817) was used for radio training, taken on charge at 4 RS Madley (RAF Madley Radio School, Herefordshire) on 9.1.45. The Dominie was apparently used as an airborne wireless training ‘classroom’. The note shows the Instructor (Bert) and two trainee W/Op’s flying 2 x 2 hr training flights.”

Handwritten Note

A hand written crew list, showing Bert an an ‘instructor’ – we must assume Bert performed a training role after he completed his tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. © Michael Billing

The second item, a portion of Bert’s release book notes the comment ‘Has proved a good instructor and shown powers of leadership’, seeming to confirm Bert’s instructional or training role for his latter service in the RAF.

Bert Billing RAF Release

Bert’s RAF certificate of service and release, showing his release from the RAF on the 26th of June 1946. © Michael Billing

 

 

Wellington Mk. III X.3482 AA-J – remarkable footage

Many thanks to Kevin for passing on to me a link to a YouTube clip, showing a 75(NZ) Squadron RAF Wellingtom Mk.III Bomber – AA-J. As the aircraft taxis away from the camera, you can just make out its serial number – X.3482 and this tallies with its designator in the records, so it must be this aircraft. I thought as well as presenting the Pathe newsreel clip, it would be good to add an Op history for X.3482 and I must say, at least initially, the work that I have so far put into the database paid off.

It was very straightforward to call up a return for the serial number. What proved to be harder was establishing the crews. Tragically, Myles Fraser’s crew and X.3482 were lost on the night of the 16th of May 1942 on an Op to Kiel. The Operational record Books for this period do no list the initials of airmen, so it was only when I realised that the rear Gunner in the crew, Norman Whiting, was the only individual with that surname to serve with the Squadron that I was confident to place his details across the history of the aircraft. Based on this, I extended that rational to place names earlier in the history. I hit a problem when I got to the problem of trying to identify the 2nd Pilot in early Ops – ‘Fraser’ – and I think I am sticking my neck out , that Myles Fraser 2nd Piloted the aircraft before flying relatively regularly in it himself. Other crews also flew in X.3582 and in some cases, there is simply not enough information to specifically identify individuals.

Additionally, X.3482 is double entered for the 15th of April Op to Le Havre and Dortmund. What makes it harder to disentangle which crew actually flew the aircraft is the fact that both crews flew X.3482 before that Op – perhaps we shall never know……

Even though I always call out for information on a post like this – I would welcome any thoughts, suggestions or corrections.

Rather frustratingly, the ORB’s let us down again. Arrivals and Dispatches of aircraft to and from the Squadron only appear in the 1942 Form 540’s from February and there is no mention of X.3482 – we must guess therefore that it perhaps arrived earlier in January – the absence of aircraft movement details in the 540’s from the end of 1941, sadly, further muddy the water.

08/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington aircraft carried out an attack against the above target. Bomb load consisted of 500 lbs, 250 lbs and S.B.C’s which were dropped in the target area, fires were seen to be burning in the target area. Weather was clear except for haze over the target. There were many searchlights but these were ineffective. Accurate heavy flak was encountered over the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation was by D.R. and TR1335 and was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (1)

Sgt. Evans – Pilot.
Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. William Anderson Fraser, RNZAF NZ403597 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William Hinton, RAFVR 1150584 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:00 – Landed 05:50
Flight Time 04:50

25/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at St.Nazaire and Essen
Twelve aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack. Wellington III X3652, captained by P/O Slater failed to return, and two aircraft failed to locate the target. Bomb Load consisted of 500 lbs and 250 lbs, this being dropped in the target area but no results were observed. Slight A.A. fire and a few ineffective searchlights were encountered but no enemy fighters were seen. Weather was fine with slight ground haze. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (2)

Sgt. Evans – Pilot
Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. William Anderson Fraser, RNZAF NZ403597 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:05 – Landed 00:20
Flight Time 04:15

26/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen and Le Havre
Eight Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load consisted of 500 lbs, 250 lbs and containers of incendiaries, were dropped in the target area. Accurate, intense flak was encountered, searchlights were inefective. One single engined aircraft was seen near Le Havre but no attack was made. Weather was fair with haze over target. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (3)

Sgt. Evans – Pilot.
Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. William Anderson Fraser, RNZAF NZ403597 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 00:10
Flight Time 03:40

28/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Lubeck
Ten Wellington aircraft took off to attack the above target, one aircraft, Wellington III X3462 captained by Sgt Bell failed to return to base. Bomb load consisting of 4,000 lbs, 1,000 lbs, 500 lbs, 250 lbs, and containers of incendiaries was dropped in the target area. Bombs were seen to burst on target and large fires were seen burning in the target area. Weather was clear except for slight haze over west portion of the North Sea. There was very little A.A. Fire and few searchlights over the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good. he whole operation was very successful.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (4)

Sgt. Evans – Pilot.
Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. William Anderson Fraser, RNZAF NZ403597 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Smith, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:30 – Landed 01:30
Flight Time 06:00

01/04/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hanau and Le Havre
Eleven Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out an attack against the above targets. Bomb load consisting of 4000lbs, 500lbs, and 25 lbs was dropped in the target area but results were not seen except for bomb bursts on the docks at Le Havre and in the marshalling yards at Hanau. Wellington III X3714 returned with it’s bomb load. There was very little flak and only a few searchlights were active. Wellington III Z1566 was chased from Brussels for about 30 miles by a night fighter which was successfully evaded in the clouds. Weather was poor and there were severe icing conditions which handicapped the whole operation. TR1335 and D.R. were used as aids to navigation.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (5)

P/O Rufus Leggett, RAFVR 126293/ 103037 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Gibson Osborne, RNZAF NZ41353 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. James Arthur Robinson, RNZAF NZ401409 – Observer.
Sgt. Chambers,   – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cyril Vincent Green, RNZAF NZ402997 – Front Gunner.
F/S Gordon Phillip Newdick, RNZAF NZ40925 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:50 – Landed 02:50
Flight Time 06:00

08/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against Targets Hamburg
Nine Well.III aircraft from this unit were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 30lbs L.C. and 4lb incendaries was dropped in the target area but no results seen owing to cloud. Intense predicted flak S.W. of Hamburg but searchlight ineffective owing to cloud. One enemy a/c seen off Heligoland and believed JU88. Weather was very poor with 10/10 cloud over target and electric storms off East coast of England. Navigation was by DR and TR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (6)

Sgt. Evans – Pilot.
Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:55 – Landed 23:50
Flight Time 01:55

12/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against at Le Havre and Essen
Ten Well.III, aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs, was dropped in the target area, bomb bursts being observed. Fairly accurate heavy and medium flak was encountered. There were a great number of searchlights active in cones. Many fighters flares and red and green lights were seen on route. One fighter a/c was seen over North Sea about 250 miles from the Dutch Coast. Weather was very clear with visibility up to 100 miles. Navigation was by TR, DR and loops.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (7)

Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Edward Leonard Haydon, RNZAF NZ404443 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:00 – Landed 00:45
Flight Time 03:45

13/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against at Boulogne
Two Well.III a/c from this unit were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 250lbs was dropped in target area by one a/c the other returned to base with bombs. There was no flak and only a few searchlights. Weather was moderate with slight ground haze. Navigation was good with DR and loops.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (8)

Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Edward Leonard Haydon, RNZAF NZ404443 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:25 – Landed 01:00
Flight Time 03:35

14/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against at Dortmund and Le Havre
Seven Well.III a/c from this unit were detailed to attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, and 250lbs was dropped in the target area but no results were observed. There was very little flak and searchlights were few although there were some cones over the target. Two fighters were seen but they did not attack. Weather was fine with slight ground haze. Navigation by DR, TR and loops was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (9)

F/O Edward Cecil Ball, RNZAF NZ40749 – Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF NZ411927 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie Bridget, RNZAF NZ40731 – Observer.
Sgt. Summers, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Cyril Ingleby, RAFVR 937625/ 118898 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Smith, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 05:10

As mentioned at the top of this post, problematically, X.3482 is double entered in the Form 541 for the following Operations to Le Havre and Dortmund. For this reason, I have numbered both entries as the aircraft’s 10th Op to keep the final tally of flights to the correct number – obviously it could only have been flown by one crew and thus only added 1 further Op to its total.

15/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against at Le Havre and Dortmund
Eight Well.III aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs was dropped in the target area and bomb bursts were seen. There was some heavy predicted flak and tracer over target and searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather at Dortmund was cloudy with slight ground haze. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (10)

Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Edward Leonard Haydon, RNZAF NZ404443 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 05:20
Flight Time 05:50

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (10)

F/O Edward Cecil Ball, RNZAF NZ40749 – Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch RNZAF NZ411927 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Leslie Bridget, RNZAF NZ40731 – Observer.
Sgt. Summers, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Cyril Ingleby, RAFVR 937625/ 118898 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Smith, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:05 – Landed 02:55
Flight Time 02:50

22/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Ten Well.III a\c were detailed attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 100lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in the target area but no results seen owing to cloud. There were only a few searchlights active and A.A. fire was slight. Well.III, X3487 captained by P/O Jarman was attacked by a JU.88 which attacked once and broke away to port. The results of this short attack were however serious the second pilot, P/O Nicol being mortally wounded, the rear gunner Sgt. Harris being killed and the Navigator Sgt. Taylor and W/Op. Sgt. Fernie were wounded. The bomb load was not dropped on the target but was dropped in the sea. The a/c was brought back to base and crash landed. Well.III, X3705, captained by F/S. McLachlan, was also attacked and the second pilot killed (P/O. Fountain) and Sgt. Tutty was wounded. F/Sgt. McLachlan managed to reach base and crash land.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (11)

Sgt. Turner, RAFVR – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Bertram, RAFVR 1112264/ 128536 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Stanley Frederick Hall, RNZAF NZ402182 – Observer.
Sgt. Ries, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Walsh, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Edwin Caitcheon, RNZAF NZ404016 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 01:25
Flight Time 04:05

23/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against at Rostock
Seven Well.III a/c from this unit were detailed to attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs, 4lb incendaries was dropped on the target. Results were very good, many large fires were seen and bomb burst. A.A. fire was very small, some light and heavy flak being encountered. There were few searchlights active and no enemy a/c were seen. Weather was very good with slight ground haze. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (12)

P/O Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
P/O Stanley Holmes Gunning, RNZAF NZ402470 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Mason – Observer.
Sgt. Tate, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Greig, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
F/S Raymond Wickliffe John Trengrove, RNZAF NZ40927 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:35 – Landed 05:35
Flight Time 07:00

25/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against at Rostock and Dunkirk
Seven Well.III a/c from this unit were detailed to attack the above targets. Bomb load of 1000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb incendaries was dropped on the target area and fires were seen burning fiercely. Bombs were seen to burst across aiming point. A.A. fire was only slight and searchlights few. One enemy a/c was seen near Dunkirk. Weather was very clear with slight ground haze. Navigation was quite good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (13)

Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Summers, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Smith, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:35 – Landed 23:40
Flight Time 01:05

27/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against Targets at Cologne and Mine Laying off Heligoland
Eight Well.III a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, and 4lbs incendaries was dropped on the target and fires were seen burning at Cologne. The mine laying a/c successfully carried out ther task, without interference. There was moderate A.A. fire over Cologne and searchlights working in cones. One enemy a/c was seen but no attack was made. Weather was good with visibility up to 100 miles. Navigation was good, DR, TR, loops and map reading.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (14)

Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Summers, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cyril Vincent Green, RNZAF NZ402997 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 05:50
Flight Time 07:30

07/05/1942 – Gardening – Kiel Bay
Nine Wellington aircraft of this unit were detailed to carry out the above operations. The bomb load was made up of 1500lbs. And 500lbs. All the 1500lbs. Bombs were dropped but the majority of the 500lbs were returned. Weather conditions were favourable and the target area was clear. One aircraft, X.3664 captained by P/O. Wilson was chased by an enemy fighter but no attack was made. Navigation was by astro, DR, TR, loop.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (15)

F/S Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 05:10
Flight Time 06:50

09/05/1942 – Gardening – Kiel Bay
Eight Wellington aircraft were detailed from this Unit to carry out the above operations. The bomb load consisted of 1500 lbs. and 500 lbs. The 1500 lbs bombs were planted successfully, and a few of the aircraft dropped the 500 lbs. bombs on land targets. Weather conditions were good and there was no opposition.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (16)

F/S Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
F/S Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 05:25
Flight Time 07:05

13/05/1942 – Gardening – Kiel Bay
Eight Wellington aircraft were detailed from this Unit to carry out the above operations. One aircraft, X.3482, captained by F/S. Fraser, failed to return to base. Vegetables were sown successfully and bombs were dropped on shipping in the vicinity. In accurate flak from flak ships was encountered. The weather was fine throughout the whole operation. Navigation was by D/R. Astro, TR, loop.

Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J (17)

F/S Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – Pilot.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith, RNZAF NZ402221 – Observer.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols, RNZAF 1257377 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw, RAFVR 1166184 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting, RNZAF NZ404107 – Rear Gunner.

Aircraft Failed to Return

The actual fate of the Fraser crew and X.3482 is not known, however, presence of numerous flak ships in the Kiel bay area suggests that they probably succumbed to damage from one or several of these anti aircraft batteries. X.3482 crashed in the North Sea, off the Northern Frisian Islands, near the island of Sylt.

F/S Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser – Pilot. Died age 22.
F/S Albert Ivan Smith – Observer. Died age 27.
Sgt. John Owen Henry Nichols – Wireless Operator. Died age 20.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Shaw – Front Gunner. Died age 21.
Sgt. Norman Edward Whiting – Rear Gunner. Died age 27.

All airmen rest in the Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.