Monthly Archives: August 2015

Liverpool (Ford) Roman Catholic Cemetery – S/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton Mid RAF 42475

ERM Appleton

It took me a good while to find the gravestone of Squadron Leader Edward Appleton. Whilst I am experienced enough to not automatically expect a Commonwealth War Grave, when I finally did find the stone, I was a little perplexed – this  increased whilst trying to find out what actually happened to Edward on the 31st of August 1943.

Upon finding Edward’s gravestone, I was interested to see it existed as an additive inscription to a stone that already recorded 5 other individuals, all members of the Southwell family. The gravestone read as follows:

Joseph Louis Southwell who departed this life on September 18th 1893 aged 41 years. This stone is erected by his  employers and friends as a token of respect and esteem a trusty servant a loyal friend. R.I.P
Joseph L. Southwell who departed this life on May 25th 1882, aged 9 years.
Also of Humphrey Southwell who died on April 24th 1915 aged 34 years.
Elizabeth Jane Southwell, died 10th December 1929
Lucy Agnes Southwell died 19th February 1931.
S/Ldr Edward Robert M. Appleton killed on active service 31st August 1943 aged 23 years R.I.P

I would obviously be fascinated therefore to understand the relationships and relevance of the inscriptions…….

The details of Edwards death are also a little complicated, relative to the normal post about an airman killed with the Squadron, so thanks to Kevin for pointing me in the direction of a thread on the RAF Commands forum within which the events of the night of Edward’s death were discussed and discovered – so belatedly and indirectly thank-you also to all of those that contributed to this original discussion thread.

Edward arrived at  Newmarket on the 16th April 1943. On the 26th of that month he flew as 2nd Pilot in Peter Buck’s crew to Duisburg.

26/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets At Duisburg
Eight aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. One aircraft however failed to take-off as the pilot was sick. And two aircraft returned early. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, which was a mass of flames. Large concentrated fires being seen which were spreading. Very heavy A.A.Fire was experienced in the target area, which was mainly predicted and co-operation with cones of searchlights. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one combat took place. The weather was very good in the target area, but visibility was impaired by haze caused by the large fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III BF517, captained by F/O P.J. Buck, was attacked by an unseen fighter when about 30 miles North of the target. The rudder and tail of the aircraft was damaged, and the rear gunner was mortally wounded. The fighter was evaded and by jettisoning all moveable objects height was maintained and the aircraft returned to base where a perfect crash landing was made. Besides the rear gunner who lost his life, minor injuries were also received by two other members of the crew.

Stirling Mk.I BK619 AA-X

P/O Peter John Oswald Buck, RNZAF NZ413377 – Pilot.
F/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, RAF 42475 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Alexander Fielding Minnis, RAFVR 126499 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.P. Sadler, RAFVR 1379771 – Air Bomber.
P/O John Henry Symons, RCAF R.77568/ J.16507 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.W. Jones, RAFVR 1068491 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Watson, RAFVR 1021021 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Brian Arthur Rogers, RAFVR 1384352 – Rear Gunner.

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

https://75nzsquadron.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/img_0017.jpg?w=788&h=584

The rear gunner’s turret of a 75(NZ) Squadron Stirling being inspected by S/Ldr. Dick Broadbent and W/Cdr. Wells, a visiting fighter pilot, after damage by a night fighter over Duisburg on 26th April 1943.

Above, a photograph from “The Royal Air Force at Newmarket”. The caption identifies the incident and links it therefore to the attack on the Buck crew and the death of Sgt. Brian Rogers. A post showing Sgt. Roger’s name on the screen wall of the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium and more details by the attack by the Nachtjagd can be read here.

The Appleton crew began their tour on the 27th April with a fairly standard and considered ‘easy’ Gardening Op.

27/04/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operations, with mines of 1500 lb. One of these returned early owing to engine trouble and the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and the parachutes were seen to open. No enemy aircraft, A.A. fire or searchlights were encountered. There was heavy cloud and occasional rain storms in the mining area although visibility was good, except for haze. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.I BK614 JN-H

F/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, RAF 42475 – Pilot.
P/O John Johnston, RNZAF NZ416198 – Navigator.
P/O Selwyn James Clubb, RNZAF NZ414593 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Gordon Cocks, RNZAF NZ404624 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Samuel Andrews, RAFVR 634968 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Bernard Arthur Riley Moore, RAFVR 1106308 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Joseph Wykes, RAFVR 1127228 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:07 – Landed 05:51
Flight Time 04:44

01/05/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1500lb, only two aircraft, however, took-off owing to bad weather. They successfully dropped their Mines in the allotted area, and the parachutes were seen to open. Some enemy aircraft and a few searchlights were encountered, but they were ineffective. There was 7/10th. Cloud over the gardening area, although visibility was good, Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

F/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, RAF 42475 – Pilot.
P/O John Johnston, RNZAF NZ416198 – Navigator.
P/O Selwyn James Clubb, RNZAF NZ414593 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Gordon Cocks, RNZAF NZ404624 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Samuel Andrews, RAFVR 634968 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Bernard Arthur Riley Moore, RAFVR 1106308 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Joseph Wykes, RAFVR 1127228 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:31 – Landed 05:19
Flight Time 07:48

04/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets At Dortmund
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets, with bombs of 2000lb 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft, however, failed to take-off owing to engine trouble. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, with the exception of two which returned early owing to engine trouble. Large fires and explosions were seen, which appeared to come from the center of the target area. Some A.A.Fire and searchlights were encountered, but they were ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. No cloud was prevalent in the target area, and visibility was good, ground detail was obscured by the smoke from the fires. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK721 AA-Z

F/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, RAF 42475 – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Frederick Harvey, RNZAF NZ416483 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O John Johnston, RNZAF NZ416198 – Navigator.
P/O Selwyn James Clubb, RNZAF NZ414593 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Gordon Cocks, RNZAF NZ404624 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Samuel Andrews, RAFVR 634968 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Bernard Arthur Riley Moore, RAFVR 1106308 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Joseph Wykes, RAFVR 1127228 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:58 – Landed 03:52
Flight Time 04:54

12/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets At Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Stirling Mk.III. BK.721 captained by F/Lt. E.R.M. Appleton, whilst taking off failed to clear an obstruction at the end of the runway and crashed almost immediately afterwards, all the crew with the exception of the captain and the wireless operator, F/Sgt. Cocks, S.G. were killed. The captain received severe injuries and the wireless was also injured, both were admitted to hospital. As a result of this crash two aircraft were unable to take-off. One aircraft returned early owing to the Captain being sick. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Some heavy A.A.Fire, co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but it was ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was very clear in the target area with good visibility except for ground haze which prevented identification. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK721 AA-Z

F/L Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, RAF 42475 – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Frederick Harvey, RNZAF NZ416483 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O John Johnston, RNZAF NZ416198 – Navigator.
P/O Selwyn James Clubb, RNZAF NZ414593 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Gordon Cocks, RNZAF NZ404624 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. James Samuel Andrews, RAFVR 634968 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Bernard Arthur Riley Moore, RAFVR 1106308 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Joseph Wykes, RAFVR 1127228 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:37 – Landed –
Flight Time Crashed

It is only writing this that I realise that only a few weeks ago I visited Cheltenham Cemetery to record the headstone of Sgt. Bernard Moore. To read more details of this incident that killed all crew bar Edward and his Wireless Operator, Stanley Cocks click here.

One might speculate as to whether Edward was enjoying incredibly good luck, or those around him bad. Despite surviving the “Devils Dyke” crash Edward was seriously injured. The Form 540 shows that Edward was promoted to the rank of Acting Squadron Leader with effect from the 7th of May, authority dated the  16th. A day later on the 17th May, Edward was posted to Non Effective Strength, Base Head Quarters at Mildenhall, where we must assume he undertook appropriate duties while he recovered from the crash of the 12th of May.

On the 31st of August S/L Edward Appleton was an observer on a B-17F of 422 Night Leaflet Squadron (USAAF), the bomber, 42-5376 coded JJ-X “Eager Eagle” was Piloted by 1st Lt Floyd H. Truesdell, out of Chelveston, Northamptonshire.

The flight plan called for an altitude of 7000 feet. The right waist gunner S/Sgt John E. Breen said that the last report he had heard over the inter-phone before the collision was 7200 feet. The flight plan route was over Foulsham.

At approximately 23:30, a Royal Air Force Beaufighter V8715, collided with B-17F Aircraft, Serial No. 42-5376.

The Beaufighter was evidently in a steep bank to the right hitting the B-17 between the No. 3 and No. 4 engines from the front. The force of the collision split the Beaufighter in half and severed the right wing of the B-17F. The two waist gunners, S/S John E. Breen and Sgt Carl G. Ruehl, both parachuted to safety. The B-17F crashed into a farm building on the Parish Church Farm on the south edge of the town of Foulsham, Norfolk County, England, killing 9 other crew members including F/L E. M. Appleton, an RAF Pilot on Detached Service with the 305th Bombardment Group from Royal Air Force No. 3 Group, riding as Observer. There were no civilian casualties.

The farm building was partially demolished, killing five (5) bullocks.

Under the ‘CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS’ of the subsequent investigation it was noted that both aircraft were flying without navigation lights as they were above 5000 feet and there was a Red Air Raid alert on at that time. The accident was unavoidable.

Squadron Leader Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton, MiD was 23 years old.

Wilmslow Cemetery – F/O Thomas Henry William Baker RAFVR 107286

THW Baker Wilmslow

On the 12th of August 1942 Wellington Mk.III X3646 crashed into the North Sea. Piloting the aircraft that night was George Edward Francis Bradey, who had earlier been severely wounded in the abdomen by flak, whilst attacking the target of Mainz with 8 other aircraft from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

The remaining details of the incident do not seem that clear. Of the crew of 6, 5 were killed. The only survivor being the Rear Gunner Sgt. J. E. London, who was captured and spent the remainder of the War as a Prisoner.

Of the remaing 5 airmen who were killed, Pilot Officer George Bradey, Squadron Leader Ronald Ernest Kimber, the Navigator, Flight Sergeant Arden Ivan Ellis, Wireless Operator and Front Gunner, Flight Sergeant Cyril Vincent Green have no known resting place and are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

Perhaps strangely in this case then, the body of 2nd Pilot Flying Officer Thomas Henry William Baker was recovered and now lays in Wilmslow Cemetery – the closest grave on the Roll of Honour to me.

It was the Bradey crew’s 10th Op with the Squadron and perhaps perversely, as is the case so many times, this was Tom Bakers first Op with the crew, having flown only 3 previously with Artie Ashworth’s crew as 2nd Pilot. Thomas had only been at Feltwell with the Squadron for 10 days.

25/06/1942 – Attack on Targets at Bremen
Twenty a/c were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target. Results not observed. There was a large amount of A.A. fire searchlights were ineffective. A JU88 followed Well.III X3664 but did not attack. Weather was moderate with 10/10 cloud. Nav was good.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1570 AA-B

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alfred Sydney Drew, RNZAF NZ404560 – Observer.
Sgt. M. H. Hughes, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Donald Gordon, RNZAF NZ402995 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Bruce Rahu Philip, RNZAF NZ405517 – Rear Gunner.

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

02/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Twelve aircraft left base to carry out an attack on targets at Bremen. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in the target area, bomb bursts and fires were seen in target area. A.A. fire was poor and searchlights were scattered but numerous. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was very clear over target. Navigation was very good by TR and DR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3538 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
Sgt. Leonard Chambers, RNZAF NZ403758 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Cyril Vincent Green, RNZAF NZ402997 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Kenneth Atherton Crankshaw, RNZAF NZ404533 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:25 – Landed 02:05
Flight Time 01:40

08/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Wilhemshaven
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area and hit were believed to be scored. There was heavy predicted flak and searchlights were scattered. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was good clear over target. Navigation was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1596 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
Sgt. Martin John Byrne, RNZAF NZ404529 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Patrick Callaghan, RNZAF NZ411739 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alan Walter Rutherford, RNZAF NZ404572 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Arthur Titcomb, RAFVR 1291758 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:40 – Landed 05:15
Flight Time 05:35

21/07/1942 – Attack Against at Duisburg
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs 30lbs and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area but results were unobserved. Photographs were taken however. A.A. fire was not very heavy but there were any searchlight cones. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was good, clear over target. Navigation was by TR & DR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
F/S Jack William Walters, RNZAF NZ404106 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Alfred George Edward ‘Butch’ Pugh, RNZAF NZ404096 – Front Gunner.
F/S Alan Glynne Lewis, RNZAF NZ40741 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:55 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 03:55

23/07/1942 – Attack Against at Duisburg
Fourteen a/c were dtailed to attack the above target and bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area. Results unobserved. A.A. fire was heavy and concentrated. Searchlights were few owing to cloud. One JU.88 was seen. TWo other enemy a/c were seen but did not attack. Weather was poor, cloudy over the target. Nav. was good

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
F/S Jack William Walters, RNZAF NZ404106 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Alfred George Edward ‘Butch’ Pugh, RNZAF NZ404096 – Front Gunner.
F/S Alan Glynne Lewis, RNZAF NZ40741 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:45 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 03:45

26/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Fifteen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack against the above target. Bomb load of 34000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and incendiaries was dropped on target area. Numerous fires and bomb bursts were seen. A.A. fire was accurate. Seven searchlights destroyed and others damaged and one m/c gun post silenced by Well.III, X3396, captained by Sgt. Kearns. Searchlights were ineffective owing to moon. One JU88 was seen 30 miles from enemy coast but did not attack. Weather was clear over target but cloudy on route. Navigation was very good by TR and DR

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
F/S Jack William Walters, RNZAF NZ404106 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Alfred George Edward ‘Butch’ Pugh, RNZAF NZ404096 – Front Gunner.
F/S Alan Glynne Lewis, RNZAF NZ40741 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:55 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 05:50

28/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area and bursts were seen in dock area. A.A. fire was very accurate, light and heavy predicted. There were many accurate searchlight cones in parts but clear over target. Navigation was good by TR and DR. Six a/c failed to return to base

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
F/S Jack William Walters, RNZAF NZ404106 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Alfred George Edward ‘Butch’ Pugh, RNZAF NZ404096 – Front Gunner.
F/S Alan Glynne Lewis, RNZAF NZ40741 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 06:20

29/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Saarbrucken
Ten a/c were detailed to attack the above targets and bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs, 30lb and 4;b incendiaries was dropped in target area. Hits were observed in target area. A.A. fire was weak and searchlights scarce. A twin engined fighter was seen on return route. Well. III, X3396 was attacked by JU88 but was able to evade it. Weather was cloudy. Navigation was TR and DR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
F/S Jack William Walters, RNZAF NZ404106 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Alfred George Edward ‘Butch’ Pugh, RNZAF NZ404096 – Front Gunner.
F/S Alan Glynne Lewis, RNZAF NZ40741 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:45 – Landed 05:20
Flight Time 05:35

31/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Eleven a/c were detailed to carry out an attack on the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area. Good results were obtained and hits observed. A.A. fire was moderate and search lights although numerous, were ineffective. Well.III, X3396 was attacked by a JU88 but evaded successfully. F/Sgt. Lewis, rear gunner of Well.III, X3646 was struck and injured by a 4lb incendiary bomb falling from another a/c. Weather was good and navigation was by DR and TR

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
P/O Philip Frederick Hoare, RAFVR 1375896/ 123493 – Observer.
F/S Alfred George Edward ‘Butch’ Pugh, RNZAF NZ404096 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Jack William Walters, RNZAF NZ404106 – Front Gunner.
F/S Alan Glynne Lewis, RNZAF NZ40741 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:20 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 03:45

11/08/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Mainz
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack above target. Bomb load of 4000lb, 1000lb, 500lb and incendiaries were dropped in target area. A.A. fire was light, searchlights were scarce and ineffective. One fighter was seen by P/O Horne in Wellington B.J.765 as he was crossing the Dutch Coast homeward bound, no attack was made. The weather was moderate, being cloudy near target. Navigation was good by D.R. and T.R. Wellington BJ837 captain Sgt. Hockaday.N.J., five minutes from the English coast on way to target, fabric stripped off nose of aircraft to port and starboard, the Bomb load was jettisoned and the aircraft returned to base. Three aircraft failed to return, Wellington B.J.767 captained by F/O Dobbin, Wellington B.J.625, Sgt Barclay.T.S., captain, Wellington X.3646 captain Sgt Bradey.G.E.

Wellington Mk.III X.3646 AA-?

Sgt. George Edward Francis Bradey, RNZAF NZ401954 – Pilot.
F/O Thomas Henry William Baker, RAFVR 107286 – 2nd Pilot.
S/L Ronald Ernest Kimber, RAF 45956 – Observer.
Sgt. Arden Ivan Ellis, RCAF R.92690 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cyril Vincent Green, RNZAF NZ402997 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. J. E. London, RAFVR 953137 – Rear Gunner.

Flight Time – missing

 

 

Glossop Cemetery, Derbyshire – AC2 Wilfred Pownall RAF 1043753

W. Pownall Glossop reduced

Wellington Mk.III X.3355 AA-Y took off from Feltwell at approximately 13:10 on the 28th of February 1942 for an engine check. During the air test the starboard motor failed, followed soon afterward by the port engine. As the crew prepared for an emergency landing, the aircraft stalled and crashed at 4:00pm , near Lime Kiln Farm, Brandon, Suffolk, 5 miles North West of Thetford, Norfolk.

The Wellington burst into flames on impact.

Army personnel, stationed nearby, along with local inhabitants, helped to pull the airmen from the burning wreckage. The farmer on whose land the bomber had crashed on, a Mr G. F. Harrington was awarded the British Empire Medal, for bravery shown.

AC2 Wilfred Pownall and Cpl Kenneth John Howes, both groundcrew were killed in the crash and the 2nd Pilot, Sgt. Henry William Woodham RNZAF, died of his injuries later that day.

Cpl Howes now rests in Selby Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Sgt. Woodham was buried in St. Nicholas Churchyard, Feltwell.

75(NZ) Squadron RAF map of Cemeteries – UK

Based off my previous post regarding my decision to visit as many cemeteries as I can this summer, I thought it might be of interest/ useful to people if I shared the Google map I have produced for my research.

If you expand the map you can fill your screen and navigate as you would in a normal Google Map. The colour convention is simple – GREEN means the graveyard has been visited and the relevant gravestones have been recorded. RED, perhaps obviously, shows a graveyard where the resting airmen’s stones are still to be photographed.

Having spent some time at the Air Force Memorial at Runnymede already this summer, I have managed to photograph approximately half of the names there. If anybody wishes to record more, then please do – but PLEASE contact me first to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and time.

I thought that the basic adding of the locations to an accessible map would be straightforward, but quickly realised that in some cases, in the absence of a postcode, being exact was actually quite difficult. Where necessary I have confirmed map position with the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s cemetery locator maps.

If you wish to navigate to any of the cemeteries, I would suggest either do it through Google Maps or you use the coordinates at the bottom of each location info panel – put them into Google Maps, it will take you too the location again, but will also give you the pure Long. and Lat.  coordinates that most vehicle GPS systems can take and use.

I am hoping that as I progress, I can turn the locators from red to green and this will update on the map……….hopefully……..

Happy hunting!!

Cheltenham Cemetery – Sgt Bernard Arthur Riley Moore RAFVR 1106308

BAR Moore Cheltenham

The ‘summer’ has arrived and with it some time from work so I have decided to try to visit a few cemeteries over the period and record a few more gravestones for the Roll of Honour pages of the blog. Time spent on Google Maps has allowed me to plot where all the outstanding ones are in the UK and it has also allowed me to understand what might be the logistics of gathering them. Depending on the weather, there may well be some stupendous road trips ahead!

On the way to my Mother, I took a relatively modest diversion on the M5 to visit Cheltenham Cemetery and the grave of Sgt Bernard Arthur Riley Moore.

Bernard was killed on the 13th of May 1943 when the Stirling he was Mid Upper Gunner in, suffered an engine failiure of the starboard inner engine. Without the necessary power to climb after take-off, BK721 AA-Z clipped the ‘Devils Dyke’ and crashed a short distance from the North West end of runway of Newmarket. Only the Pilot, Squadron Leader Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton and the Wireless Operator Flight Sergeant Stanley Cocks survived, however both were seriously injured.

Bernard was returned home to be buried in Cheltenham. Likewise and accordingly, Sgt James Samuel Andrews was buried in Guildford Cemetery, Surrey and Sgt Joseph Wykes lays in Dalbeattie Cemetery, Urr, Kirkcubrightshire.

The 3 RNZAF airmen in the crew, Sergeant Robert Frederick Harvey, Flying Officer John  Johnston and Flying Officer Selwyn James Clubb were all laid to rest in Newmarket cemetery.

 

 

75(NZ) Squadron and ND801 in print…….!

Jet and prop cover 1

Something perhaps a little different, but nevertheless very much worth telling and an opportunity to get the Squadron name known by more people.

Off the back of the fantastic pictures that Pauline sent to me, now over 12 months ago, regarding her father, Mike Smith, Rear Gunner with Bruce Crawford’s crew, I was contacted by Christian from the German scale modelling magazine ‘Jet and Prop’.

Recently, two internationally renown manufacturers of model kits announced a work over / new release of Avro Lancaster (B) Mk. III kits. While HK-Models features a giant 1/32 scale version, Tamiya launched a 1/48 kit. These aircraft are amazingly big and of incredible detail. Having come across the post, Christian was sure that his readers would firstly love to know about ND801 and would find the photograph of its final demise in the Bakery an irresistible opportunity for a super detailed diorama.

What follows is the article, presented in the July/ August edition of Jets and Props.

jet and prop 3

jet and prop4

jet and prop 5

So, we will have to wait to see if any of the readers of Jet and Prop rise to the challenge to model the crash of ND801 ‘Get Sum Inn’!

Earlier posts on the Crawford and Waugh crew and ND801 ‘Get Sum Inn’ can be seen here:
Arthur George Smith, Mid Upper Gunner – Crawford crew, 1944 – 1945 here
The Crawford crew – some new information here
Colin Woonton, Navigator – Waugh crew and ND801’Astra’ here

Squadron Leader William ‘Jeff’ Rees, May 21th 1920 – March 13th 2015

Jeff Rees fixed and cropped

Squadron Leader William ‘Jeff’ Rees, May 21th 1920 – March 13th 2015. © Jackie Blizard.

Some time ago I was contacted by Jackie, the daughter of Jeff Rees, who had recently passed away. Jackie wondered if I had any information on Jeff, in advance of the preparation of his obituary. I sent Jackie the citation for Jeff’s immediate D.F.C. award after his aircraft was attacked over Duisburg on the 15th of July 1941, by an unidentified enemy aircraft, resulting in the death of his 2nd Pilot Sgt. David Joyce, the mortal wounding of his Front Gunner, Sgt. David  Conibear and the injury of Rear Gunner, Sgt Gwyn William. In the ensuing melee the Observer, P/O Robert Hunter fell through the blown open hatch of the aircraft and Wireless Operator, Sgt. Ian Lewis, was stunned and deafened by a canon shell exploding near his station. Despite this and with the help of the recovered Sgt. Lewis, Jeff was able to get the aircraft and his remaining crew back safely.

I must confess, when, some weeks later Kevin sent me an email telling me about an obituary he had just seen in the Telegraph, my heart sunk as I realised I had let slip from my grasp the Op History I had promised to Jackie.

Recontacting Jackie, with the complete Op History for Jeff during his time with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, I am pleased to say she has passed on 2 pictures Of Jeff and also given permission for me to reproduce the text of Jeff’s obituary.

Squadron Leader Jeff Rees – obituary

Airman awarded a DFC after flying a flak-damaged Wellington home in perilous conditions

Jeff Rees (1)cont and cropped

One night in July 1941 Pilot Officer Rees and Sergeant Lewis were the captain and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft which attacked a target at Duisburg. Although the aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire, Pilot Officer Rees persisted in his attack and completed a successful run over the target. On the return journey whilst over the Ruhr, the aircraft was held in the beams of a large searchlight belt and subjected to an attack by an enemy fighter which inflicted severe damage. The second pilot was killed and two other members of the crew dangerously wounded, while Sergeant Lewis was badly shocked and rendered temporarily deaf when a cannon shell exploded close to him. Nevertheless, realizing that his captain was without aid and could not leave the controls, Sergeant Lewis tended his wounded comrades, afterwards collecting the navigator’ s log and maps and assisting him in setting out the courses. Pilot Officer Rees, with exceptional skill, finally overcame all navigational difficulties and helped by Sergeant Lewis who had repaired his wireless set and obtained bearings, flew back to this country where a safe landing was made. Pilot Officer Rees displayed outstanding courage and determination in extremely harassing circumstances and was ably assisted by Sergeant Lewis who showed great fortitude and initiative. Both have participated in numerous operational missions. © Jackie Blizard

Squadron Leader Jeff Rees, who has died aged 94, carried out more than 60 operations with Bomber Command and twice flew badly damaged aircraft back to Britain.

On the night of July 15 1941, Rees was the captain of a Wellington bomber of No 75 (NZ) Squadron tasked with bombing targets in Duisburg. The operation by the force of 38 bombers was disrupted by the enemy’s concentrated air defences but Rees managed to attack his target.

Crossing the Dutch-German border on the return flight, Rees’s Wellington was “coned” by searchlights and damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Almost immediately, a night fighter attacked the damaged bomber; cannon shells exploded in the cockpit and blew out the hatch in the lower fuselage.

The second pilot was killed and the front gunner severely wounded (he died in hospital). A shell splinter temporarily blinded the rear gunner, and the navigator, hurrying to assist him, fell through the missing hatch. Fortunately, he had clipped on his parachute and he landed safely to spend the next four years as a prisoner of war.

The wireless operator (Sergeant Lewis) was shocked and deafened by the explosion close to his head. For a time, Rees was left to fly the aircraft alone . Eventually Lewis recovered sufficiently to tend to the wounded, assist Rees with the navigation and obtain radio bearings to allow Rees to head for his airfield, where he made an emergency landing.

The citation for the award of an immediate DFC to Rees highlighted his “exceptional skill, and his outstanding courage and determination in extremely hazardous circumstances”. Sergeant Lewis was awarded an immediate DFM.

William Jeffrey Rees was born on May 21 1920 at Seaham, Co Durham, and was educated at Pocklington Grammar School. He joined the RAF at the outbreak of the war and trained as a pilot. In December 1940 he joined No 75 (NZ) Squadron, the first Commonwealth squadron to be formed in Bomber Command. Rees bombed targets in Germany, Italy and the French Biscay ports during early 1941 before a more concentrated campaign against industrial targets in the Ruhr. After completing his 30th operation a few weeks after his flight to Duisburg, he became a bombing instructor. He was mentioned in despatches.

12/03/1941 – Bombing Attack on Targets GY477, Town 13a and CC29
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks on the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs 500lbs 250lbs and cases on incendiaries. XDA 240 reports bombs fell in target area and fires started. XDA.245 reports bombs dropped on Dock Buildings South of DOCK . XDA.283 dropped bombs across centre of targets on Westerly Leading.
XDA.283 captained by P/O Hewitt reports his aircraft was caught and held in searchlights for 30 minutes and was shot at from the ground during that time and machine hit in may places and hydraulic gear rendered U/S which necessitated a “Crash Landing” on return. This machine was damaged.
XDA.627 reports bombs burst in target area.
XDA.671 reports bombs dropped on SCHIPOL AERODROME owing to wireless being U/S.
XDA.907 reports bombs burst in neighbourhood of AIRMINISTRY BUILDING approx. 1/2 mile S.E. of TIERGARTEN.
Two dummy aerodromes were observed to West of SCHIPOL AERODROME. Very intense heavy A.A. Fire was experienced over the whole route. Intense searchlight activity was experienced and they were mostly operating in cones. XDA.283 report seeing one MW110 over Dutch Coast.
The weather throughout this trip was very good and Navigation was by D/R Astro and Map Reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
F/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 23:15
Flight Time 03:30

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 R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed ?
Flight Time ?

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 R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Goodwin, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

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

23/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out individual bombing attacks against the above target. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000 lbs., 50lbs., and containers of incendiaries..
UNL.405 reports incendiaries were seen, through cloud, to ignite, but H.E. not observed.
UNL.548 bombed through 8/10 cloud. Fires were seen to start, and a red glow lit the cloud.
UNL.837 bombed within one mile of target. Flashes, but no results, were observed.
Results were not observed by UNL.896 owing to 9/10 cloud.
UNL.903 dropped incendiaries and H.E. in single stick cross target on N.E. heading, through 9/10 cloud. Explosions not observed.
UNL.951 reports incendiaries burst believed in target area. Two fires started but were quickly controlled. White explosions seen up to 10 mins later.
Four photographs were taken by UNL.405.
A.A. Fire was heavy at some parts of route: fairly accurate.
Searchlights were intense and accurate.
No enemy aircraft were seen.
Heavy cloud was experienced over target area and most of route.
Navigation was by D/R, map reading, astro, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

P/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 09:20

03/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Agianst Brest
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. SAW.728 brought bombs back as nothing could be seen over target area owing to 10/10 cloud. SAW898(Captain, F/O. Prichard) collided in mid-air with another aircraft, believed to have been a Blenheim, and was badly damaged and a forced landing was made at Boscombe Down. The `rear Gunner of SAW.898 (F/O. Brown), shot down one Me110 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Immediate). A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 500lbs. S.A.P. and 250lbs. G.P.
SAW.639 observed docks through break in cloud and bombed. No results were seen due to haze and cloud.
Owing to freezing up of distributer, SAW.690 jettisoned bombs in salvo on dock area. Burst seen in dock area, close to water.
No results were observed by SAW.778.
SAW.810 reports bombs burst on docks in vicinity of target.
No results were observed by SAW.849.
Owing to cloud no results were observed by SAW.898 but hits presumed to be in close proximity to target.
No observations or reconnaissance were made but five photographs were attempted by SAW.778
Heavy and light flak was experienced at many parts.
Fairly accurate.
Searchlights were numerous but not very accurate. Fairly heavy cloud, with ground haze, was experienced over target area.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
F/O Brown, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:45 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 05:30

06/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Brest
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Owing to heavy cloud over target area, the operation was not successful, eight aircraft failing to locate target. The bomb load consisted of 500 S.A.P.
CDS.388 reports two explosions, the first one large and coloured red.
Results were not observed by CDS.798 as bombs were dropped on flak concentration.
Two photographs were attempted by CDS.565.
Heavy and light A.A. Fire was experienced at many parts of target.
Few searchlights were in operation, but these were useless owing to cloud.
A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks were made. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

F/O Graham Noel Parker, RAFVR 36247 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 06:00

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 L.7818 AA-R

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 06:15

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.1457 AA-P

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:15 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 07:45

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.1177 AA-C

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 06:00

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.1163 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 01:30
Flight Time 05:00

24/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Ostend and Kiel
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Three of these aircraft failed to locate targets and bombs were bought back. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1000lbs, 500lbs, and containers of incendiaries.
SFY.154 reports that bombs were seen to burst.
SFY.426 saw bombs burst 300 yds S.W. of target.
SFY.515 reports small fire started in target area.
SFY.626 saw bombs and incendiaries burst in target area.
Target was not located by SFY.699,
Results were not observed by SFY.872
S/L Widdowson returned to base on account of the Wireless Operator being ill. Three 500lbs. were jettisoned in sea. P/O Curry failed to locate target.
F/Lt. Fletcher attacked target area and fires were started.
Two large fires were observed in target area.
A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate.
Searchlights were numerous and working in cones.
A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made.
Heavy cloud was experienced in Ostend area, but elsewhere the weather was fine. Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, W/T

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1038 AA-H

F/O Graham Noel Parker, RAFVR 36247 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O John Adam Breckell, RAF 60077 – Observer.
Sgt. Banks, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Folkes, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alexander Thomas Rowe, RNZAF NZ401233 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 02:40
Flight Time 06:10

17/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Fourteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, CNY.170, returned to base, with bombs owing to turret trouble. The remainder all dropped their bombs, bursts being seen and fires started. It was observed that the black-out in Brussels was not good. Intense A.A. fire, and searchlights working in cones, were experienced, and although a number of enemy aircraft were seen no attacks were made. The weather was fair, but there was haze over the target areas. Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-?

P/O George Ronald Simich, RNZAF NZ391369 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Gascoyne, RAFVR 936622 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 03:15
Flight Time 04:45

After 12 Ops as a 2nd Pilot, Jeffrey took his own crew and began their tour.

23/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne
Ten Wellington Aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. G.P.; 500lbs G.P.; 250 lbs. G.P.; and containers of incendiaries, while one flash bomb was carried by RWX.437.
RWX.241 attacked docks 4,5,6, at Dunkirk and reports that small fires were started in the vicinity.
RWX.275 reports that bombs were seen to burst.
Results were not observed by RWX.437.
Bomb bursts were seen by RWX.468 and reports that a large orange fire started in target.
RWX.585 bombed target area. Incendiaries were seen to burn and bombs burst.
RWX.616 dropped bombs through cloud, but bursts were not observed.
RWX.712 saw green flashes from incendiaries.
RWX.943 saw bombs burst through gaps in cloud.
RWX.991 bombed target and a small fire was started.
P/O Rees reports that no fires were observed, but there was one explosion larger than usual.
No observations were made, and no reconnaissance carried out.
Heavy and accurate A.A. fire was experienced over target areas.
There was a cone of 22 searchlights at Dunkirk. Elsewhere they were intense and fairly accurate.
No enemy aircraft were encountered.
The Weather was fair, but visibility was bad. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O (2)

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Douglas Malcolm Mackinnon, RNZAF NZ40923 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off No Time Listed – Landed No Time Listed
Flight Time No Time Listed

27/05/1941 – Daylight Search for Hipper Class Cruiser
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above search. The bomb lead was mixed and consisted “B” bombs, 500 lbs. S.A.P. The target was not located and all bombs were bought back. A large number of enemy aircraft were encountered and attacks were made on our aircraft. No serious damage was sustained. Good weather was experienced. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Holdsworth,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:15 – Landed 14:45
Flight Time 07:30

10/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out the above attacks. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 2000lbs. S.A.P., 500 lbs. S.A.P. 250lbs. S.A.P., whilst RGS.772 carried one flash bomb.
Owing to smoke screen and ground haze no results were observed but all bombs were dropped.
No observations were made.
There was moderate light and heavy A.A. fire, but not accurate.
There were few searchlights.
Two enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks made.
The weather was fine, but there was haze over the target.
D/R, astro, map reading, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. East, RAF? – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:35 – Landed 07:00
Flight Time 06:25

16/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Fifteen Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. All bombes were dropped and bursts and fires were observed in target areas. Fairly accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights, working in cones, were very active. FKU.846 reports being attacked by JU.88 on return journey. Cannon shells entered fuselage near elevator and machine gun bullets hit rear turret. There were no casualties. The weather was fine. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, astro, loop, lorenz

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. East, RAF? – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 05:00

18/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Brest
Seventeen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One aircraft, MFW.819 was unable to locate the target on account of low cloud and smoke screen and bombs were bought back. Bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, but owing to smoke screen, bursts were not observed. Moderate light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights were active. The weather was fine but there was slight haze over target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alfred Hubert Harrison, RNZAF NZ403000 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Phillip Newbury Howard, RNZAF NZ391384 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 05:20

27/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Bremen
Sixteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. The bomb load consisted of 1000 lbs; 500 lbs; 250 lbs; and containers of incendiaries.

TYF.138 bombed fire in target area, but failed to observe results owing to cloud.
TYF.200 reports that fires started.
TYF.226 was unable to pinpoint target owing to cloud, but bombs were dropped east of river just south of target.
TYF.393 observed bursts in target area.
TYF.447 dropped bombs on west side of river in town through gap in clouds. Bursts not observed but fire was seen in town area.
TYF.501 bombed target and observed bursts. No fires started.
TYF.571 bombed target and observed three fires started.
TYF.602 reports target obscured by cloud, but bombed flak concentrations.
TYF.617 bombed fire and enlarged it.
TYF.716 saw bombs burst in Southern part of the town.
TYF.741 reports incendiaries started fire about one mile S.E. of aiming point.
S/L. Lucas saw bombs burst across centre of city.
Results were not observed by P/O Scott.
F/Lt. Fletcher bombed factory in Bremen area, believed to be Focke Wolfe factory. Large fires seen after bombing.
F/Lt. Gill dropped bombs on town.
P/O Hamlin saw bombs burst and reports that two small fires started.
Several large fires were seen in target area. A number of dummy fires were seen on outskirts of City.
There was fairly accurate and intense heavy and light A.A. fire.
Searchlights were active, but hampered by cloud.
A few enemy aircraft were seen over the target area, but no attacks made. There was fairly heavy cloud on parts of route end in target area.
Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, map reading, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
P/O Brown,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 05:30

03/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Sixteen Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, W.5621, captained by Sgt. Reid, failed to return. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000lbs; 50lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.

YCJ.191 reports bombs burst in Krupps works area alongside three large fires.
Results were not observed by YCJ.234.
Owing to haze results were not observed by YCJ.272, but bombs were seen to burst in target area alongside what appeared to be coke ovens.
YCJ.389 bombed fire in target area and started four further fires around it.
YCJ.434 reports two bombs dropped on fire in target area. Four bombs hung up.
Results were not observed by YCJ.272 owing to haze, but bombs were seen to burst in target area alongside what appeared to be a coke ovens.
YCJ.389 bombed fire in target area and started four further fires around it.
YCJ.434 reports two bombs dropped on fire in target area. Four bombs hung up.
YCJ.514 observed bomb bursts in target area.
YCJ.663 saw bombs burst near and in fire round target area.
YCJ.813 bombed large fire in town. Bursts straddled target.
YCJ.956 reports large fire started.
YCJ.959 saw bombs burst on aerodrome alongside flarepath.
YCJ.970 bombed target area.
Bombs were dropped in target area by YCJ.978.
P/O Scott reports bomb bursts seen and fire started.
P/O Ashworth reports fire started in target area.
P/O Hamlin reports terrific explosions seen as bombs burst.
Several fires were observed in target area.
There was heavy and light A.A. fire. This was intense and accurate. Searchlights were intense and accurate, and working in cones.
A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks were made. The weather was fine, with cloud in some places. Haze over target.
Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, loop, map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Dennis Thompson, RAFVR 1152206 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Edward Callander, RAFVR 1061420 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 05:35

05/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Munster
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000 lbs; 500 lbs; 250 lbs; and containers of incendiaries.

DNL.143 reports bombs were seen to burst in target area.
DNL.189 reports port engine failed. Bombed Dortmund-Ems Canal. Bombs seen to burst very close to bank. Fire started, which went out. Point aimed at approx.. 2 miles N.E. of centre of Munster.
DNL.235 saw bombs burst. Estimated on or near target.
DNL.672 bombed near large fire in town just S.E. of marshalling yard.
DNL.748 bombed centre of target, and bombs were seen exploding causing fires which were seen to increase on leaving area. Fires seen from 60 miles away.
DNL.785 bombed very large fire on aiming point. Fire spread just afterwards.
DNL.843 bombed large fire in centre of target area.
DNL.914 dropped bombs in target area and caused large red fires.
P/O Hamlin saw bursts on target.
Sgt. Fotheringham saw bursts on centre of target.
P/O Scott was first on target and started huge fires with incendiaries. Three large explosions were seen. Bombs are believed to have hit chemical works.
Several large fires were observed in and around target area.
A.A. fire was very slight. Heavy and light.
Searchlights were fairly numerous at parts of route, but there were few in the target area.
P/O. Scott reports one Me.109 closed in to 150 yards. Rear gunner fired two bursts and the 109 dived away. Two others seen, but no attacks.
The weather was fine and clear.
Navigation was by D/R, map reading, W/T, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. A. G. Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cadieux, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Edward Callander, RAFVR 1061420 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 05:15

07/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Munster
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, CNF.994, captained by S/Ldr. Widdowson, was attacked by one Me.110 over the middle of the Zuider Zee and was badly damaged. The rear gunner attacked the enemy aircraft which fell away and dived into the sea with heavy smoke pouring from the port engine. On the journey back to base, fire broke out on the Wellington and the 2nd Pilot, SGT. Ward, climbed out on to the starboard wing and attempted to smother the fire, but with only partial success. The fire eventually burned itself out and a landing was made at Newmarket. For his courageous action SGT. Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross; while S/Ldr. Widdowson and Sgt. Box the rear gunner received immediate awards of the D.F.C. and D.F.M. respectively. (For fuller story see “SUMMARY OF OUTSTANDING EVENTS” at end of Forms 540).

CNF.240 reports bombs fell right on aiming point; 1000lbs. caused red glow which sprang into two fires, afterwards running into one.
CNF.260 reports bombs fell across target.
CNF.401 bomber center of target area. Several large fires within target area seen as well as numerous scattered small fire in other parts of town.
CNF.477 reports S.B.C.’s started good fire near target.
CNF.523 was unable to pinpoint Munster.
CNF.605 bombed target.
CNF.708 bombed target and added to fires already there.
CNF719 reports G.P. bombs seen to burst in target. Incendiaries fell close to bursts.
CNF.994 saw bombs burst on target.
F/Lt. Gill bombed target.
Many large fire were observed on aiming point. Dummy fire and explosion seen 10 miles N.E. of
target.
There was very slight medium light A.A. fire.
Searchlight activity was very slight.
The weather was fine and clear.
Navigation was by D/R, pinpoints, beacons, astro, W/T. map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gwyn-Williams, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Edward Callander, RAFVR 1061420 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 05:00

13/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, X.9634 captained by Sgt. Miniken was climbing on course when, apparently without warning, the starboard engine cut at 6000 feet. He turned for base but lost height rapidly and force landed near the beach off Corton near Lowestoft. Sgt. Miniken and Sgt. Gilding (Navigator) were rescued but the others are missing.
Bursts were not observed by YCJ.505.
YCJ.609 bombed on E.T.A., but results were unobserved.
YCJ.724 bombed aerodrome 5 miles N/E/ of Ymuiden. A fire was noted on leaving target.
YCJ.726 was unable to locate target owing to 10/10 clouds and storms. Bombes were dropped on two ships 5 miles North of Terchelling. Bomb bursts seen but no results observed.
Results were not observed by YCJ.819.
YCJ.947 bombed target after obtaining astro fix;10/10 cloud.
YCJ.247 bombed on E.T.A. through 10/10 cloud. After bombing heavy flak opened up one mile to port.
Results were not observed by P/O. Ashworth.
P/O Scott dropped bombs 5 minutes short of E.T.A. as plane was icing up and losing altitude. Results not observed due to 10/10 cloud. Sgt. Saunders jettisoned bombs in target area owing to icing –up of aircraft. Ten-tenths thunder cloud prevented any observations of results.
Fairly heavy and accurate A.A. fire encountered on route and in target area.
There were few searchlights in operation.
A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks resulted.
The weather was poor. Ten-tenths cloud over target: severe icing conditions.
Navigation was by D/R, map reading, W/T, beacons, astro, loop

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cadieux, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gywn-Willaims, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 05:10
Flight Time 06:10

15/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, R.3171 captained by SGT. Fotheringham, failed to return to base. Another, W.5663, captained P/O Rees, (RJT.533) was attacked by unidentified enemy fighter over the target. The aircraft was badly damages and the 2nd Pilot Sgt. Joyce was killed. SGT. Conibear, the front gunner, was seriously injured and died in hospital; and SGT. Gwyn-Williams was injured (Rear gunner). The aircraft returned to base where a landing was made. P/O Rees was awarded the D.F.C.; and the wireless operator, SGT. Lewis, was awarded the D.F.M.

RJT.147 bombed marshalling yard south of aiming point.
RJT.319 Observed bomb bursts in target area.
RJT.385 Attacked target area and saw bomb bursts.
RJT.445 bombed target area.
RJT.533 bombed target area, but thin cloud prevented accurate pin-point.
RJT.570 reports big fire started by bombs on target area.
RJT.683 located target, but it was not clearly pinpointed. A fix was obtained from Rhine and autobahn. Bombs dropped in salvo on large fire within radius of 3 miles of target.
P/O Ashworth reports that results were not observed over Ruhr, but a fire was started and a building blown up on an aerodrome 6 miles south of Hague. Heavy accurate predicted A.A. fire was encountered in target area. Searchlights were very active and accurate. The weather was good, but there was a layer of cloud over target. Navigation was by map reading, D/R, W/T, astro

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. David Henry Conibear, RAFVR 932380 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gywn-Willaims, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 04:30

The citation for D.F.C. (Immediate) P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395  and D.F.M. (Immediate) Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 read as follows:
“One night in July 1941 Pilot Officer Rees and Sergeant Lewis were the captain and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft which attacked a target at Duisburg. Although the aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire, Pilot Officer Rees persisted in his attack and completed a successful run over the target. On the return journey whilst over the Ruhr, the aircraft was held in the beams of a large searchlight belt and subjected to an attack by an enemy fighter which inflicted severe damage. The second pilot was killed and two other members of the crew dangerously wounded, while Sergeant Lewis was badly shocked and rendered temporarily deaf when a cannon shell exploded close to him. Nevertheless, realizing that his captain was without aid and could not leave the controls, Sergeant Lewis tended his wounded comrades, afterwards collecting the navigator’ s log and maps and assisting him in setting out the courses. Pilot Officer Rees, with exceptional skill, finally overcame all navigational difficulties and helped by Sergeant Lewis who had repaired his wireless set and obtained bearings, flew back to this country where a safe landing was made. Pilot Officer Rees displayed outstanding courage and determination in extremely harassing circumstances and was ably assisted by Sergeant Lewis who showed great fortitude and initiative. Both have participated in numerous operational missions.”

12/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Le Havre
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft SXA.893, captained by P/O. Roberts, after successfully bombing the target was attacked over the Zuyder Zee by an enemy fighter which hit him with a long burst. He in turn hit the enemy which disappeared in a steep dive. Our aircraft sustained extensive damage, and when nearing base his petrol ran out. He succeeded in baling out five of his crew but he himself had no time to jump. By the aid of his landing light he picked out a firebreak in a forestry plantation and landed safely with little additional damage.
SXA.110 reports that target area was bombed and bombs were seen to ignite but no pinpoint was made.
SXA.243 reports that it was impossible to see the railway station, but the town was identified and hit scored in target area.
SXA.526 bombed small fire in target area. Bombs were seen to burst nearby.
SXA.632 dropped bombs on east side of Dock 6. Fire was started and bomb bursts seen.
SXA.799 reports bombs were dropped in target area.
The target area was bombed by SXA.893.
SXA.965 saw bomb and incendiaries burst across target and fires were started.
P/O. Williams bombed target area and fires were seen.
P/O. Scott started a fire and an explosion was seen.
Large dummy fires and a dummy flare path were observed in vicinity of targets.
There was spasmodic heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights over target.
Searchlights were numerous, but not troublesome.
Thunderstorms were encountered on route and there was slight cloud and haze in target area.
Navigation was D/R, pinpoints, W/T. loop, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAF 67072 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Green,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:15 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 04:30

14/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs; 500lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.
ROB.214 reports bombs fell probably near centre of town but to N.W. of railway station. Bursts observed. Large fires seen when leaving. Have and cloud over target made pinpointing impossible.
ROB.417 bombed south of town.
ROB.476 reports one very large fire started approx.. half mile N.W. of target aiming point.
ROB.556 dropped bombs in target area.
ROB.577 reports that bursts were see and a small fire started.
P/O. Scott reports bomb bursts see and a large fire started.
S/L. Widdowson bombed target.
P/O. Williams bombed buildings near target.
Several dummy fires were observed around target area.
A.A fire was fairly intense and co-operating with searchlights.
Searchlights were active.
ROB.214 was attacked by enemy aircraft, probably JU.88, at about 1200feet over base. One head-on attack was made with cannon and machine gun, but no hits scored. Avoided enemy action by diving to about 200 feet.
The weather was fine in target area, but there was heavy cloud on route.
Navigation was D/R, W/T, loop, astro, Q.D.M.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAF 67072 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:30 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 07:00

26/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne and Boulogne
Fourteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. SWU.567 failed to identify the target and bombs were jettisoned over the sea when petrol gauges had been showing zero for approximately one hour. Another aircraft, captained by Sgt Curlewis, failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were returned. All other aircraft dropped their bombs, but heavy cloud in the target area prevented observation of results. A.A. fire was moderate and predicted. Searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks made

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O Walter John Smith, RAF 1058110/ 67704 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

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

29/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, BRO.345 failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were brought back. All bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, but heavy cloud made observations of results difficult. A.A. fire was heavy and accurate. No enemy aircraft were seen.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O Walter John Smith, RAF 1058110/ 67704 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 07:10

Jeff returned to operations in January 1944 when he joined No 139 Squadron to fly the Mosquito in Bomber Command’s Pathfinder Force. Initially the squadron flew ahead of the main bomber force to drop “window” (thin metal backed paper strips) to confuse the enemy’s early warning radars.

Later in the year it was equipped with a precision radar for navigation and bombing and, using this new aid, dropped markers over the target as aiming points for the follow-on bomber force.

Rees attacked Berlin on a number of occasions. On one flight he was over the target when his Mosquito was hit by anti-aircraft fire, which knocked out one of the aircraft’s two engines. Rees flew the badly damaged Mosquito back to England on one engine. He was awarded a bar to his DFC. During the build-up to the Allied invasion in Normandy, the crews of No 139 attacked the coastal batteries and radar installations.

After almost 10 months of continuous operations, Rees was rested and became a pilot instructor on Mosquitoes before being seconded to BOAC to fly long-range routes to the Near and Far East.

On leaving the RAF in October 1946, he was one of a number of ex-Pathfinder pilots recruited by Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett (former commander of the Pathfinders) to join British South American Airways (BSAA).

The job was allocated on a “first come, first served” basis and Rees – driving “Baby Lou”, his decrepit Austin 7 – was the last to arrive in time to be offered an appointment as a captain. He flew converted Lancaster bombers and the ill-fated Avro Tudor on routes to the Caribbean and South America.

After a series of crashes due to technical failures, the airline was wound up and the pilots transferred to one of the two state airlines.

Rees joined BOAC (later British Airways) and flew four-engine piston airliners on long-haul flights before converting to the Bristol Britannia. He flew the early jet airliners and was flying the Boeing 747 when he retired as one of the airline’s most senior captains. After a brief and difficult period flying for Iraqi Airways from Baghdad, he retired.

A keen ornithologist, he also enjoyed his garden and was fascinated by meteorology.

Jeff Rees was married three times and his wives predeceased him. He is survived by three sons and two daughters.

Squadron Leader Jeff Rees, born May 21 1920, died March 13 2015

Jackie would love to find out more about Jeff’s time in 139 Squadron, so if anybody has access to information on the Squadron and more specifically, reference to Jeff, please contact me and I will make sure it is passed on to Jackie and the family.