Monthly Archives: May 2015

A new range of T-shirts – and something personal to you and them……..

Post illustration

Firstly, a massive thank you to everybody who has so far visited the blog shop and generously put their hands in their pockets, in some cases multiple times, to buy something and by doing so, contributing some money to the UK Association and Memorial Garden.

I am really pleased to present a new collection of T-shirts, designed to allow relatives of the brave boys of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF to celebrate and commemorate their contribution to the Squadron, Bomber Command and the Allied War effort.

The Redbubble model of production means I am able to offer a range of ‘named’ T-shirts to commemorate your dearly loved relative.

If your relative is not listed, then let me know and I can create one unique to them and special to you.

The T-shirt features the Squadron crest with motto ‘Ake Ake Kia Kaha’ (Forever and ever strong’, the personalisation statement and then front views of 75(NZ) Squadron’s aircraft, from top to bottom, the Wellington, the Stirling and the Lancaster.

Because of the way I have designed this T-shirt in particular, I can and if someone requires it provide further customisation.

If your relation to the individual ( I think that’s the right way to describe it) is not listed, then please say what you want and I can create one. This will be without extra cost.

If you want the T-shirt utterly personalised with your relatives rank, name and position, I can add this as an additional line under the ‘My Xxxxxxxxxx’ – so I will still need your relationship to them. Because of potentially another 2 lines of text, I will also require the aircraft he flew in – based on my broad estimations this means at maximum, a permutation of 2 of the 3 aircraft the Squadron used. For this service, the T-shirt will have a 50% mark up, relative to the normal 25% to reflect the time I will have to spend doing it.

As with everything else, all profits to the UK Association and the Memorial Garden in Mepal.

Many thanks in advance


A Redbubble walk through…….let’s make it easier for you to spend your money!

I have had a few queries regarding finding things on the Redbubble store – which I think are all entirely fair and obviously flags up a bit of an issue with people finding stuff – and I want you to find it, so you can buy it! Firstly, if you are gripped with the random need to buy some merchandising and don’t have the blog open, then you can go to Redbubble and put a search in for:


All one word. This should bring you to the portfolio page. screen 1

The rectangles named ‘Insignia’ and ‘Design’ are group collections of the artwork so far produced and the ‘Recently added’ below seems to just literally show all recently uploaded artwork – you can click on either to get to a merchandise range, based on that piece of artwork. I would note that there seems to not be an instant visual way to differentiate between the 2 full colour Squadron crest logos (one being full size and one being breast pocket size) but if you move your mouse over each or one, a logo name will appear and you can see the one marked ‘(small)’ We’ll go through one of the collections, ‘Design‘.

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Clicking on this collection obviously reveals all the designs in this collection. We’ll pick the ’75’ Racing number with RAF roundel colour stripes, as it’s already become one of the more popular designs.

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This brings us to the T-shirt page for this design and its worth noting a couple of things about this page regarding ordering options.

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Firstly, there is a VERY wide choice of garments that the artwork can be applied to. I must confess I do not understand why the default range seems only to show a unisex and female T-shirt.

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The second thing to note is that you can choose to have the logo printed on the front or the back of your garment – obviously for some garments, such as the racing back vest, it will make it small, but cool, nevertheless. And the next one is the proverbial ‘elephant in the room‘ regarding navigation of the site – ridiculously obvious, but only when you actually notice it – it took me a good 10 minutes to realise myself……… Just below the main merchandise section is a series of information links and one is the other products available with the chosen design……..

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The ‘Available products’ – quite obviously (duh) lists all products available linked to the design – as I say this took me 10 minutes to actually see – I’ll claim because I do all this on a Mac Book Air and the screen wasn’t big enough to let me notice it…….ahem……… Clicking on this then reveals a full list of merchandise available…….

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And obviously, clicking on any of these items, takes you to the equivalent ordering page as you have just been on for the T-shirt. Hopefully this will clarify and help those of you who have yet to make a purchase. Many thanks again to all of you who have already found something you like and bought it – the money is slowly but steadily building up in the Redbubble account! cheers Simon

Another new project and an ideal present for Christmas!!!!…….(only 221 days left)

product comp reduced

I am please to announce another expansion of the blog!. As of today, merchandise is available through Redbubble, with all profits going to the “Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association UK, and the Memorial Garden in Mepal.

Since becoming President in November last year, I have been, I suppose concerned, about how, as an Association, we move on and leave a legacy and tangible memory of the Squadron for those generations that follow.

In discussion with members of other squadron associations, it became very clear that the ‘traditional’ method of memorabilia creation and selling simply does not work. In simplistic terms, you pay for something to be made, you need to sell them all to make anything and very quickly the small devoted members of the association becomes pressurised and begin to disengage as they are bombarded more and more with the tacit responsibility of buying the ‘latest thing’ to contribute funds to that particular group. Indeed, one member of another association told me simply ‘ don’t bother, it will bankrupt you’…..

A chance discussion with a friend at work led me to an online portfolio site called Redbubble. A significant feature of this site is the ability to attach artwork to items and then make them available for sale. The beauty of this model being that Redbubble charges a flat production fee for the item and you (the artist of the work) decides what percentage you want to add on top for your own profit – or in the case of my plans, rather than profit – donation to the UK Association and Garden.

I will jump straight in at this point and level with you all – I have levied 25% on the price of everything – the artwork is good quality – some has taken me a while to produce – and its all for a good cause, which I would imagine if you are reading this, must be close to your heart.

Coming from a design background and now teaching it at a UK university, its nice to have the chance to do something creative, related to the bog. I am keen to not only appeal to aficionados of all things 75(NZ) RAF, but also hopefully create things that have a wider appeal – people might buy something and then be inclined to find out about the story behind the item, or they might simply like it and buy it.

Some pieces, such as the colour Squadron crest is clean crisp and I suppose I would describe as traditional in terms of its style and appeal. Other items are more graphic and perhaps will appeal to a different market – if this widens their appeal and helps more items to be sold – I am happy with that. Irrespective of the style or content however, I can assure you all that the designs will be considered, respectful and commemorative of the Squadron and the boys that flew with it during the War.

From my time in the world of professional design I am acutely aware that it’s better to get somebody to buy something if they like it, rather than if they feel politely obliged to buy it. If you keep doing things people like, they will (hopefully) keep buying things…….

The readership of the blog is large and geographically diverse – I hope if not straightaway, everybody might find something they like and maybe make a purchase.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I have been wondering about methods to raise funds for the Association here in the UK. As time passes and our few remaining veterans eventually leave us, I think personally, that as an Association we have to take on the responsibility to reach out as widely as possible to ensure the story of the Squadron is mot only maintained, but taught to younger generations. We need to identify some projects, perhaps commemorative memorials at Squadron crash sites in the UK, but of course, to undertake this sort of activity, we need funds. Whilst a straight donation model is still a nice way of giving, your are at the whim of the individual to some extent – personally, I think that if you are something of a quality, people will want it, rather than feel they must take it.

Hopefully this has at least got you curious.

Visit my Redbubble portfolio here – as a guide, in the first instance you see designs, rather than purchase items – by clicking on a particular graphic, you will see the available items – for some designs, the options will remain limited, others as you will see, offer quite a range to tempt you.

I hope you find something you like



May 8th 1945. The War in Europe is over………..

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Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister that got the country through the war – but pointedly refused to acknowledge the contribution of Bomber Command in the final victory.

After 2077 days the war that had engulfed Europe ended.

At 02:41 on the morning of 7 May, at SHAEF headquarters in Reims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies. General Franz Böhme announced the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway on 7 May, the same day as Jodl signed the unconditional surrender document. It included the phrase

“All forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European Time on May 8, 1945.”

Winston Churchill, whilst no doubt a remarkable political leader, pointedly failed to mention Bomber Command in his VE Day speech, no doubt conscious, as the consummate politician, he tried to sidestep any future criticism that might be thrown his way regarding the bombing campaign.

Churchill’s omission tainted the memory of the vital contribution that Bomber Command had made to the Allied war effort and it was a shadow cast long for 70 years, though, perhaps for 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, we can at least look back and reflect……….

In the summer of 1941, Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded a Victoria Cross for climbing onto the wing of his Wellington bomber and – while flying 13,000 feet above the Zuider Zee – extinguished a fire in the starboard engine, secured only by a rope tied around his waist.

Some time later, Winston Churchill summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street to congratulate him on his swashbuckling exploits.

When Ward, dumbfounded in the Prime Minister’s presence, found himself unable to answer his questions, Churchill surveyed the man with apparent empathy.

“You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence,” he began.

“Yes, sir,” Ward replied.

“Then you can imagine,” Churchill declared, “how humble and awkward I feel in yours.”

Ignorant of what history would record, the end of the War in Europe is recorded in a remarkably understated manner in the Form 540 for May 1945.

VE day FORM 540 May 1945


New Zealand gave a Squadron of Planes
When Britain’s need was dire
Both countries sons made up the crews
And they flew through hell and fire.

To the Pommy lad’s the Kiwi’s made
A gesture that was grand
They gave them honorary citizenship
Of their own beloved land.

Under New Zealand’s flag, they proudly flew
Comrades of the air
They lived and died, as side by side
Fate’s lot they chose to share.

In Wellingtons, Stirlings, then Lancasters
To the foe, they took the flight
On wings they soared through Europe’s skies
In the darkness and the light.

But a heavy price, the Squadron paid
In five long years of strife
Of those who flew with “75”
One in three, laid down their life.

On the East Coast of Old England
The crumbling airfields stand
Where aircraft once left mother earth
Tractors till the land

The era of the Bomber war
Came, paused, then passed away
But the bond between two nations sons
Unchanged, will ever stay

Ken Moore, Waterlooville. 2.3.80

Full Squadron 1945 heald UNNUMBERED


70 years ago today……….