Monthly Archives: July 2015

Bomber Command Clasp for Don Mackenzie, Rear Gunner – Lumsden crew

Many thanks to Kevin for passing on a link to a lovely article in the Otago Daily Times about the surprise visit by RNZAF Liaison Officer Andrew Rooney to present 75(NZ) Squadron RAF Rear Gunner Don Mackenzie with his Bomber Command clasp. The event was a complete surprise to Don, thinking it was simply a family gathering.

Sadly, but perhaps inevitably, the picture accompanying the article pointedly tell the viewer the image is copyright and cannot be saved/ emailed. published – so rather than get slapped with a CaD, you can read the full article in the Otago Times here.

Don, now 90, flew with Charlie Lumsden’s crew towards the end of the War and as such completed just about every sort of Operation the Squadron flew during the War apart from Gardening (minelaying)

Don and his crew arrived on posting from No.75 Base on the 2nd of April 1945. After a “2nd Dickie’ Op for their Pilot, Charles Lumsden with Doug St. Clair Clement to Kiel on the 13th, the crew flew their first Op the following night

14/04/1945 – Attack on Potsdam
25 aircraft were detailed to attack POTSDAM. There was no cloud and visibility was good. A very concentrated attack developed and the target was well alight by the time the last aircraft were on their way home. Flak was slight and bursting well below stream. AA’T’ (F/O A.R. Baynes) was attacked by two enemy aircraft believed to be JU.88’s 20 miles S.W. of Potsdam on the homeward journey. The Flight Engineer (Sgt. Sliman) was killed by canon shell.

Lancaster Mk.I NF981 JN-D

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:47 – Landed 03:23
Flight Time 08:36

24/04/1945 – Attack on Bad Oldesloe
21 aircraft were detailed to attack BAD OLDESLOE. JN/N (F/L Preyer) failed to take off owing to engine trouble and AA/Y (F/S Reay) made an early return owing to fire in starboard outer engine. No opposition was encountered but slight flak seen over Dutch Coast. Some of the bombs fell to the port of the A/P. Main attack considered very good.

Lancaster Mk.I NF981 JN-D

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:21 – Landed 13:12
Flight Time 05:51

01/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at Delft
21 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Delft. The population were very excited. There was a great deal of flag waving and thanks messages were seen painted on roof tops.

Lancaster Mk.I NF981 JN-D

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:00 – Landed 16:24
Flight Time 02:24

04/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at the Hague and Delft
6 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping. Three for The Hague, and three for the Delft. The missions were successful, but fewer people were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I NF981 JN-D

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:14 – Landed 14:39
Flight Time 02:25

08/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at Rotterdam
8 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Rotterdam. The mission was uneventful, but considered successful.

Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-X

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.
Cpl. Clark as Passenger

Take Off 12:46 – Landed 15:16
Flight Time 02:30

10/05/1945 – Repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt
15 Aircraft were detailed for the evacuation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt. The number of men brought back was 336. F/O J. McLernon (AA-G). Had engine trouble when taxying at Juvincourt. The crew returned in AA.M. F/Lt C. Stevens (AA.Y), could not take off at Ford because of tyre creeping. Crew were brought back tio Base by F/O G. Cleminson (JN.O).

Lancaster Mk.I NF981 JN-D

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:40 – Landed 17:07
Flight Time 06:27

13/05/1945 – Evacuation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt
20 Aircraft were detailed to evacuate Prisoners of War from Juvincourt. This was a bad day, for only 24 men were bought back, and these men were bought back by F/S R. Hamilton (AA.F)

Lancaster Mk.I NF981 JN-D

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:43 – Landed 17:08
Flight Time 04:25

23/05/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
2 Aircraft were detailed for viewing the effects of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster a/c details not listed

F/O Charles Harold Lumsden, RNZAF NZ416124 – Pilot.
F/S William ‘Bill’ John Overton Smith, RNZAF NZ4216109 – Navigator.
F/O Owen Geoffrey O’Dwyer, RNZAF NZ425701 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Laurie Haddock, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence ‘Terry’ Joseph Murphy, RAFVR 1622657/ 186203 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald Albert Kessel, RNZAF NZ4215155 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Colin Mackenzie, RNZAF NZ43490 – Rear Gunner.

W/C Baigent, F/L Bawden F/L Orchard as Passengers

Take Off 09:40 – Landed 16:12
Flight Time 06:32

Cpl. Ronald Wood – Radar Technician

mepal5

Cpl. Ronald Wood, Radar Technician at Mepal, 1943 – 1945. © Malcolm Wood.

Many thanks to Malcolm for making contact and sending these wonderful pictures of his Father, Ron Wood, who was a Radar Technician with the Squadron at Mepal between September 1943 and his demob in August 1945. ©

Ronald enlisted in the RAF in March 1939 and Malcolm recalls the family being on a holiday in Anglesey, when on the 1st of September his Father received a telegram that cut the holiday short and required Ron to don his uniform. His first posting was to 924 Squadron, manning barrage ballons in the Manchester area, particularly Trafford Park – not far from where the Wood family lived. Whilst Malcolm was too young to realise the potential seriousness of the situation – he is sure it was a massive worry to his Mother, when in February 1940, Ronald was transferred to France.

Approximately 2 weeks after the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk Ron and his comrades left St. Malo, in a fishing boat in a rather rough journey back across the Channel. Arriving back in the UK on the 18th of June, he came straight back home on leave and Malcolm remembers being extremely disappointed that his Father did not have a rifle!

On his return to the UK, he continued with 924 Squadron at Eastleigh. After it was decided that the WAAF would take over Barrage Balloon duties, Ron went to Signals School which Malcolm recalls was near the Tower of London (Malcolm also says that Ron mentioned playing football in the Tower of London moat!) , perhaps at the University of London, and was retrained as a Radar Technician – something Ron would have been very pleased with, given his fascination with radio from a very early age.

mepal4

Ron stood, we presume at Mepal with a Lancaster of the Squadron in the background. © Malcolm Wood.

After 9 months of training, Ron arrived at Mepal to maintain radar equipment in September 1943, only a few months after 75(NZ) Squadron also had arrived at the new airfield.

Ron remembered Mepal as a sleepy, one pub, one shop village where you could get a puncture repair kit and not much else! – Perhaps a useful item given that bicycles were used extensively on and off the airbase. After the War, Malcolm remembers his Father saying that he had a ride in a Squadron aircraft to view the effects of the Allied bombing campaign.

mepal1

Ron, stood to the left, with 2 unknown technical or ground crew at Mepal. © Malcolm Wood.

mepal3

Another view of life in a nissan hut at Mepal with other technical. ground crew. © Malcolm Wood.

The only souvenirs of his time at Mepal, which Malcolm still has was some jewellery, fashioned from Perspex and two cannon shells – placed in a vice, the bullet and cordite would be removed before the detonator was struck with a punch and a hammer to fully deactivate it.

It exists without debate that the Ground and Technical crews performed a critical and perhaps nowadays a forgotten contribution to the Squadrons of Bomber Command and as such, perhaps the stresses and anxieties of that time were just as acute for them. Ron, according to Malcolm never did anything with his campaign medals or his Air Efficiency Award, all still being in their original delivery boxes when Malcolm had them mounted, to wear with pride as a son of one of the brave men of the RAF.

Retro Afternoon Tea Party – Mepal

Also thanks to Brian for a heads up regarding the forthcoming event in Mepal:

Event: Retro Afternoon Tea Party – Mepal

 

Date: 23 August 2015

Location: East Cambridgeshire

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Cost: £5

Tea party to bring residents of Mepal together to commemorate anniversary of end of World War 2 and remember the contribution of the 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

The event has been organised by the Mepal Archive Group and will include:

Tea party inspired by the way wartime rations were used to produce wholesome meals and snacks and display of photos and memorabilia.

The aims of the event are to commemorate the end of the war; inform the younger generations about this time and the contribution that  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, who were based at RAF Mepal, made; help integrate the established and newer residents of the village, and promote the community archive (CCAN) website.

Contact phone no: 01353 777621

Contact email address: jane.edmenson@gmail.com

Full address: Mepal Village Hall, School Lane, Mepal, Ely, CB6 2AJ

 

Project ORB update – Form 540 June 1940 complete

A massive continuing thanks to Brian for his ongoing efforts with the 1940 Form 540 – June is now added to our collection for your perusal.

Slowly, but steadily the 540’s for the War are coming together – but there are still a lot of months to do – so if you want to step up and join Brian and others, then please contact me!

Read Form 540 June 1940 here.