Monthly Archives: November 2015

Is that it? – the Mayfield and Zinzan crew?

'B' Flight, 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, July 1943

‘B’ Flight, 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, July 1943

Having spent the majority of the weekend replying to contacts to the blog, and reading through Vic’s blog about his Dad Bob Jay, it suddenly has just struck me quite hard, how little I have moved on regarding finding more about Bob and the majority of the boys he flew with while at 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

Now, this is certainly not a ‘rattle out the cot’ moment and neither am I ignoring the amazing contacts that I HAVE made with relatives of some of the boys that flew with Bob – but it just feels that all the others have gone cold – so here is a reminder of who I am looking for and its a chance to repost some tags of their names.

So please if you are a Twitter – please push this out there!

First Tour 21st July 1943 to 14th December 1943.
Sgt. Walter James Gee RNZAF NZ417207, Wireless Operator – 11 O.T.U and 1651 H.C.U.
The discovery that Walter Gee was part of the original Mayfield crew came a little in the day and was actually a stupid oversight on my part at the time. Subsequent research suggests we have identified him in 2 pictures, one in initial training in New Zealand (with John Hulena) and a second taken at 1651 Conversion Unit. Jack Jarmy, the crew’s Navigator remembered him and that he was ‘older than the rest of the boys’. I am aware of the possible reason for Walters departure prior to Operations and his eventual arrival in the New Zealand Army, but I would like to talk to a relative to clarify his story.

Sgt. F. W. Weaver RAFVR 1214092, Wireless Operator – 1 A.G.S.
1214092. SGT.WO/AG. Weavers, F. Attached from No.1 A.G.S. w.e.f. 20/7/43. (Authy. 25G/2502/63/P2/(78).

Sgt. Weavers arrival at the Squadron a day before the rest of the crew has provided a significant amount of frustration to me. Technically as a wireless operator he should have been with the crew since their initial formation at 11 OTU. A relatively recent discovery regarding Walter Gee (see above) begins, I believe, to partially explain this discrepancy with the arrival date.

I think that the sudden departure of Walter Gee (before an operational raid) allowed Sgt. Weaver into the crew to replace him. Unfortunately, Sgt. Weavers stay with the crew was short lived – on the third op to the Gironde Estuary on a Gardening raid, Sgt. Weaver apparently ‘cracked’.

It is impossible to postulate why this happened – it might have been a slow build up or possibly related to the boy’s decision to attack a train on the return flight from the target. In discussion with Jack, he recalls the wireless operator losing the ability to speak – shaking at his station.

The crew decided not to mention it on their return, deciding to see how Weavers was the following morning. It would appear that Weavers went to the Medical Officer and was deemed to be LMF (Lacking Moral Fibre) – such a diagnosis, as crudely simplistic as it was, meant only one thing, Sgt. Weavers was immediately removed from the base and was never seen or heard from again.

F/Sgt. James William Scarll RNZAF NZ417237, Wireless Operator – ?
Flew 2 ops with the Mayfield crew – August 10th , Nurenburg and August 12th to Turin, both as W/OP. Arrived 75(NZ) Squadron 19th June 1943. Completed tour 29th January 1944. Crewed with George Duncan’s crew as W/Op.

Sgt. William John Lake RNZAF NZ416421, Wireless Operator
NZ416421 F/S WO/AG Lake, W Posted from 1665 CU w.e.f. 29 July 43. Authority P/N 3G/965/43 dated 26/7/43

William  arrived to become the Wireless Operator with the crew on their second op to Turin on the 16th August . William and Tom Derbyshire were in fact part of another ‘still born’ crew whose pilot, Sgt. Jack Thomson RNZAF NZ421145 was killed on his second ‘2nd dickie’ operation with the Bailie crew on the 3rd August to Hamburg. In sad truth, this in itself was not a rare occurrence, the remaining crew usually just being dispersed amongst the squadron or sometimes transferred to others. William completed all remaining ops with the crew.

After the Mayfield crew’s departure Bill continued for a further 5 ops;

26th March 1944. Colin Megson crew – Attack against targets at Courtai. Wireless Operator.
18th April 1944. Derek Warren crew – Mining in Kiel Bay. Wireless Operator.
22nd April 1944. Tom Buckley crew – Attack against targets at Dusseldorf. Wireless Operator.
24th April 1944. Tom Buckley crew – Attack against targets at Karlsruhe. Wireless Operator.
11th May 1944. Cecil Armstrong crew – Attack against targets ay Louvain. Wireless Operator.

There is no subsequent record of William’s departure from the Squadron, or indeed where he subsequently was posted to.

Sgt. A. Warburton RAFVR 1624186, Flight Engineer11 O.T.U and 1651 H.C.U.
I litterally know nothing about Sgt. Warburton – he joined the crew at 11.O.T.U., he flew all Ops with the crew and vanishes…….

Sgt. R. Bullen RAFVR 1356658, Mid Upper Gunner –
1356658 Sgt. A/G Bullen, R  Posted from No.1651 C.U. w.e.f. 21 July 43. Authority P/N. 3G/855/49 dated 19/7/43.

1356658 Sgt. A/G Bullen, R. Posted to Combined Reselection centre w.e.f. 18/10/43 (Authy.P/N.3G/2380/43/ dd 16/10/43)

Sgt. Bullen’s rapid departure from the crew is currently a mystery. Reading around the subject, it would appear that being sent to the Combined Re-selection Board was not, on paper a good thing at all and was usually a sign of an airman failing to perform or fit in within a crew or the squadron. Whilst only guessing, I think the nature of Bullen’s departure must be different to that of Walter Gee and Sgt. Weavers – Bullen’s departure is recorded, whereas the other 2 have no record of their leaving the squadron – one must assume because of the perceived ‘disgrace’ of their departure.

Sgt. John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF NZ416427, Rear Gunner 11 O.T.U and 1651 H.C.U.
NZ416427 Sgt. A/G Hulena, J  Posted from No.1651 C.U. w.e.f. 21 July 43. Authority P/N. 3G/855/43 dated 19/7/43 to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.
John was born on the 8th  June  1913 in Oxford, North Canterbury, New Zealand. He is listed on the passenger rosta of the ‘Bloemfontein’, which sailed from Wellington and arrived in San Francisco in March 1942, by way of travelling to his final destination in Canada for aircrew training.

The earliest I can specify a training point is No.11 O.T.U at Wescott on the  6th April 1943 – this is based on the assumption that John was the single rear gunner that the initial OTU crew was based on (a second gunner would join at the Conversion Unit, simply because the Wellington bombers used at OTU only had a single gunnery position).

  • 9th June is the last logged flight at 11 O.T.U.
  • On the 14th June, John married Beatrice Jane Madams in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Beatrice was an RAF nurse, who originaly came from Manchester.
  • 26th June posted 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach.

John flew all of the 21 ops the crew flew before competing his tour with the squadron

  • Posted to No.17 Operational Training Unit (17 O.T.U) with effect from 15th December 1943.

I currently do not know what John did between his arrival at 17 OTU and his arrival at 12PDRC in June of 1945. Based on Allan, Bob and Jack, I must assume that he flew another tour with another squadron. The only additional information regarding John I have within this period is that he was appointed to commission with rank of Pilot Officer with effect from 21st January 1944 and then to flying Officer by 21st 7th 1944.

  • To No.12 Personnel Depot & Receiving Centre (PD&RC), Padgate Warrington, 7th June 1945.
  • Disembarked in  New Zealand 4th August 1945.
  • Transferred  to Reserve 9th November 1945.

It is believed that John came from a farming family – his father is listed as a member of a World Record sheep shearing team – After returning from the war, John returned to being a farmer in the Manawatu area then came up to Corrmandel, farmed for a while and retired.

John passed away 31st August 1979 in Thames, Coromodel.
Beatrice passed away 4th March 1998.

Based on what I have discovered of the movements of Allan Mayfield, Jack Jarmy , John Hulena and Tom Darbyshire  – it would seem fairly certain that the other airmen in the Mayfield crew (perhaps Walter Gee and Sgt. Weavers aside), possibly, after instructing went back to complete another tour. All I know about them at this point is that none of the were killed on Operations.

 

Vernon John Zinzan stood on the left. Navigator James Coote, Mid Upper Gunner H. Hutchinson, Flight Engineer A. Ackroyd and Wireless Operator Miles Parr (the photo is missing the Air Bomber and Rear Gunner). Date unknown

2nd Tour 25th January 1945 – 4th of May 1945
Bob returned to Mepal and as it would prove out, finally solving the rotating number of Air Bombers that the Zinzan crew had gone through since their original Air Bomber, Ken Mesure broke his leg on landing after the crew’s first Op to Witten on the 12th of December 1944. I have observed elsewhere that even factoring in the turnover of Air Bombers, the crew was large by constituent participation – Herbert Steele, the crew’s original Rear Gunner seems to leave – for no clear reason – only to be replaced by a succession of other airmen.

P/O Vernon John ‘Taffy” Zinzan RNZAF NZ425314, Pilot51 Base, 1668 H.C.U
Vernon was born 18th May 1912. He enlisted in the RNZAF 30th May 1942 and was transferred to reserve 25th September 1942. Vernon was one of the older pilots in the Squadron –  ironic that when Bob joined the crew as a 1st tour veteran, he was 10 years Vernon’s junior……

  • Reported to Rotorua Intial Training Wing (ITW) 26th November 1942 as Leading Air Cadet A/P Gp V.
  • To Harewood No.3 Elementary Flying Training School (3 EFTS) 9th January 1943.
  • Embarked for Canada for pilot training 5th May 1943.
  • Disembarked & attached to Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF) with effect from 19th May 1943.
  • To No. 4 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) (date unknown), Saskatoon.
  • To No.15 SFTS 14th June 1943, Claresholm.
  • Awarded flying badge & promoted to Sgt. Pilot 15th October 1943 (to F/Sgt 15th April 1944).
  • To 1 “Y” Depot (date unknown), Halifax, Nova Scotia (or possibly Lachine, Quebec).
  • Embarked for UK (date unknown).
  • Disembarked UK and to No.12 Personnel Reception Center (12PRC), Padgate Warrington, 10th November 1944.
  • To 18 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit (18(P)AFU) 25th April 1944.
  • To No.16 Operational training Unit (16OTU) 17th July 1944.
  • To 51 Base 29th September 1944, to 1668 Conversion Unit 13th October 1944.
  • 3rd December 1944 arrived on posting from 1668 Conversion Unit to 75(NZ) Squadron.

Vernon flew 30 ops with 75(NZ) Squadron, including a ‘second dickie’ flight to Osterfeld on the 11th December 1944 with the crew of F/Lt. Wylie Wakelin.

After the crew’s final op to Potsdam on the 14th April 1945:

  • Vernon was once again posted to No.12 Personnel Depot and Receiving Center (12PD&RC).
  • Disembarked  New Zealand No. 2 Pre-Deployment Training (2 PDT) 25th July 1945.
  • Ceased to be attached to RAF with effect from 13th August 1945.
  • To Northern Non-Effective Pool (N/NEP) [Cat 17] 17th July 1945.
  • Transferred to Reserve A1 November 1st 1945.
  • Commission terminated June 1st 1956.

Vernon passed away on the 21st  March 2007 at  Middlemore Hospital,  Auckland, New Zealand. His funeral service was held at Mauku.

F/O James George Sydney Coote RAFVR 517881/ 56715, Navigator 51 Base, 1668 H.C.U
An original member of the Zinzan crew – nothing else known.

Sgt. A. Ackroyd RAFVR xxxxxxx, Flight Engineer 51 Base, 1668 H.C.U
An original member of the Zinzan crew – nothing else known.

Sgt. H. Hutchinson RAFVR xxxxxxxxx. Mid Upper Gunner
51 Base, 1668 H.C.U
An original member of the Zinzan crew – nothing else known.

Sgt. Herbert Steele RAFVR xxxxxxx. Rear Gunner
51 Base, 1668 H.C.U

I am assuming that Herbert Steele was part of the original crew when they joined the crew from 1668 CU. I currently have no explanation for his absence for 3 ops and then his essential disappearance from the crew rosta for the rest of the tour.
His 19 raids with the crew were: Witten 12/12/44, Trier 21/12/44, Vohwinkle 31/12/44, Dortmund 3/1/45, Ludwigshaven 5/1/44, Saarbrucken 13/1/44, Langendreer 15/1/45, Wanne Eickel 16/1/45, Munchen Gladbach 1/2/45, Weisbaden 2/2/45, Hohenbudberg 9/12/45, Wesel 19/2/45, Dortmund 20/2/45, Koln 2/3/45 (aborted), Wanne Eickel 4/3/45, Salzbergen 6/3/45, Dessau 7/3/45, Auguste Vicktoria 17/3/45.

F/O Kenneth Cyril Mesure RAFVR 1802416/ 164824, Air Bomber 51 Base, 1668 H.C.U
Part of the original crew that arrived from 1668 CU, Ken was unfortunate enough to badly break his leg during a very heavy landing after the crew’s first raid to Witten – he never flew with the crew again. Strangely, Ken is listed on the 26th of June as returning to the Squadron from No. 33 Base (N.E.S) – I am guessing and would be grateful of clarification, but I think N.E.S must stand for non/ not effective strength.
His single raid with the Zinzan crew was: Witten 12/12/44.

Sgt J. McManus RAFVR Rear Gunner (R/GNR) – 4 ops
His 4 raids with the crew were: Wesel 23/3/45, Hallon Dorf 26/3/45, Meresberg 4/4/45, Potsdam 14/4/45.

Sgt. Frank Watts RAFVR Air Gunner. (R/GNR) – 2 ops
Sgt. Watts is a bit of a puzzle. A while back I was contacted by the son of Frank Watts and we discussed his time with the Squadron and the reasons for his movement from the Wakelin crew to finish his tour with the Clement crew. Records suggest 2 individuals on Squadron by the name of Watts at the time. Looking at a list of Ops by ‘Sgt’ Watt(s)’ I think this is the case – there are duplicative overlaps between the Clement and Wakelin crews where a Sgt. Watts is Mid Upper Gunner and Rear Gunner simultaneously.
With 75(NZ) from 20th October 1944 to April 1945. Initially crewed with Wylie James Wakelin as MU/Gnr then to crew of David St.Clair Clement as R/Gnr.
His 2 raids with the Zinzan crew were: Dresden 13/2/45, Gelsenkirchen 10/3/45.

W/O Herbert Winn DFC, RAFVR 1626025, Mid Under Gunner
22nd January to  May 1945. Trained as mid-under-guner but c/w John Mathers Bailey as R/Gnr. He is noted as being posted to the Squadron with another A/G from Feltwell on the 22nd of January.
His 2 raids with the crew were: Chemnitz 14/2/45 and Wesel 10/3/45.

W/O Robert John Torbitt RAFVR 1033159, Mid Under Gunner 
His single raid with the Zinzan crew was: Dortmund 12/3/45.
Additionally, he flew with:
Thorpe crew, Hohenbudberg 9/2/45.
Hamilton crew, Dessau 7/3/45.
(Squadron Leader) Wright crew, Munster Viaduct 21/3/45

Sgt. J. Tutty xxxxxx RAFVR, Rear Gunner
December 1944 to June 1945. c/w R B Crawford as R/Gnr.
Subsequent information has come to light, including photographs of the Crawford crew, which allows a reasoned guess at least to who in the pictures is Sgt. Tutty.
Sgt. Tutty was one of only two of the crew that escaped from the return crash on the 3rd of February from Dortmund without the need for hospitalisation. It would appear as a result of this that he was simply available to crew up in the absence of his own. Sgt. Tutty flew 1 Op with the Zinzan crew  on 8/3/45 Datteln

F/O Graham Coull RNZAF NZ131806/ 425883, Air Bomber
25th May 1944 to 7th February 1945.  Posted in from 31 Base, crewed with Squadron Leader Neilson Arnold Williamson (OC “C” Flight), on ops 30/6 – 14-15/10/44, also flew four ops with F/O John Keillor Aitken 11 – 14/9/44, with F/O Vernon Zinzan 3/1/45 (and probably flew with other crews).
He was then posted to 30 OTU (presume as instructor) then to  to 12 PD&RC 6/6, disemb NZ (2 PDT) 25/7/45, to C/NEP 27/7, tfd to Reserve A1 8/11/45, to General Reserve.

Emb for Canada 24/12/42, qualified as AB and appointed to temp comm. in rank of P/O w.e.f. 11/6/43, to F/O 11/12/43, to F/L 11/6/45.  Postwar an Engineer with Air New Zealand.

Graham passed away in Christchurch, New Zealand Monday 12th January 1998, aged 76, buried 14th January, Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Block 11, Plot 178.

F/O Charles Frederick Green DFC RAFVR 178730, Mid Under Gunner
16th January to  May 1945 as Mid-Under Gunner.
Citation for D.F.C. (25th September 1945):
“This air gunner has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty”.

P/O John Kennedy Clements RAAF AUS.418070, Air Bomber
John arrived at Mepal on the 18th of July 1944, originally crewing with the Jeffery Baines crew.
His 5 raids with the Zinzan crew were: Trier 21/12/44, Vohwinkle 31/12/44, Vohwinkle 1/1/45, Ludwigshaven 5/1/45, Langedreer 15/1/45.

Sgt C. Bullock xxxxxx RAFVR,  Air Bomber
21st December 1944 to  3rd February (when he was injured during a crash landing) 1945. c/w Roderick Bruce Crawford. On the 3rd February, Sgt Bullock was one of 5 crew who were injured on landing after a raid to Dortmund. Sgt. Bullocks single Op with the Zinzan crew was actually before this date and one must assume therefore was fill in for the then rotating A/B position in the Zinzan crew prior to Bob’s arrival in February 1945. His single Op with the Zinzan crew was 13/1/45 Saarbrucken.

F/Lt. Grant Alan Russell, DFC, RNZAF NZ411729, Air Bomber
Grant Russell, who was the 75(NZ) Squadron Bombing Leader from 9th March 1944 to 5th May 1945. In this role, which seems more of a training and admin role, he would occasionally fly op’s as fill-in for ill or absent A/B’s. During his stay with the Squadron he flew with amongst others, the Stevenson and Zinzan crew. He also flew a number of times with the Thomson crew – Don Thomson was his old Pilot from O.T.U. and 218 Squadron, who also ended up at 75(NZ) on his second tour.

From his book ‘Dying for Democracy’:
Flight No 35. Wanne-Einkle, Germany. Date 16/1/1945.
Mk III Lancaster NoPB427.
Pilot: F/O Zinzan.
Load carried:  1 x 4,0001b H.C. bomb, plus 12 x 500 M64 bombs, plus 4 x 2501b G.P. bombs1. Total weight = 11,466 lbs or 5.12 tons.
Distance flown: 1,055 miles.
Time airborne:       5hrs l0min.
 
This was a night flight and once again against Germany. Over the target, things became exciting and exasperating as I unhappily watched a Lancaster at our level, and only a few yards in front, explode into many small pieces. Very unnerving. The Germans had assessed our level of flying and great masses of enemy shells were exploding all around us. But it was always like that at every target. Pilots had to have wonderful nerve control to be able to fly their aircraft straight and level under such conditions, yet they all did. It was absolutely necessary, otherwise bomb aimers would never be able to take aim at the target. At each pre-flight briefing, a certain point of a broad target was invariably indicated as the aiming point and that aiming point was usually a very industrious war producing business.
 
We were coned by search lights just as we cleared the target but my very experi­enced pilot quickly whisked us out of that by dropping the nose of our kite, diving downwards while banking steeply to port and cleared the cone of search lights. We then swooped smartly up to 20,000ft again from which height I had just dropped our load. Our considerably reduced all up weight rendered our kite readily manoeuvrable.
 
Jerry must have been as thick as two planks not to have got the British message by now. But we would keep on and on until he really and fully understood.
 
This night was my pilot’s second consecutive almost all-night flight, all of which was of course under high tension. Coming in to land, he made a slight miscalculation. He levelled out while the aircraft was still some 15 or so feet above the runway, causing the kite to drop with a considerable thump. Our heavy landing was at 15 minutes after four in the morning. No one was actually hurt. An inspection in daylight revealed no damage to the aircraft. The strong construction only served to heighten my admiration of Lancasters. Further proof that it was still in good shape was illustrated by the fact that it did another all-night trip the very next night with another crew and returned safely to Base’.

F/Sgt James Henry Murphy, DFM, RAFVR 1393306,  Rear Gunner
7th August 1943 to  June 1944 & 30th December 1944 to  May 1945. c/w F P Lundon as MU/Gnr then with T G Buckley. The Squadron commander’s recommendation was :
“Flight Sergeant Murphy has carried out 31 operational sorties, targets including many of the most heavily defended industrial areas of Germany. He is an excellent Air Gunner and is always willing to engage the enemy. His coolness and efficiency under stress has played no small part in his crew’s brilliant record. His constant cheerfulness and untiring devotion to duty are deserving of the highest praise and I therefore have no hesitation in recommending that he be awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.”

F/Lt. Kenneth William John Tugwell, DFC, DFM, RAFVR 162524, Rear Gunner
28th August 1944 to  1945 Posted in as Gunnery Leader – no crew affiliation. Citation for D.F.C. (7th December 1945):
“Flying Officer Tugwell has completed many operational sorties against heavily defended targets. In February 1945, he was detailed for an attack against Dortmund. Shortly after leaving the target his aircraft was illuminated by searchlights and then engaged by two enemy fighters. After evading the searchlights the aircraft was again attacked by an enemy fighter. Flying Officer Tugwell opened fire and forced the enemy fighter to break off the engagement. At all times this officer has displayed a fine fighting spirit and great devotion to duty.”

So Please  -any of you that read this and have alternate or wider digital networks than me – PLEASE share and or spread this however you can – I so want to no more about some of these boys…………

Navigators , Mepal – 1944

Navigators  Mepal 1944 (RCWeeden front center)

Based on a separate query from Scott that the link in this image didn’t work, I realised that I had completely forgotten to say within the recent post on Reg Weeden that the above image has been added to the ‘Group Photographs’ section of the blog – under the ‘March/ May 1944’ section.

We know nothing about this picture other than that Reg sits front row center and that it was taken at Mepal ‘in 1944’.

As always in these group photo situations, I would be very interested to hear from anyone that recognises anybody else in the image – particularly as this might help to date it more specifically.

The numbered version of this photograph can be seen here

as is always the case, click on the link and then on the photograph itself and that will allow you to see it at it’s maximum size.

20.11.44 – Attack Against Homberg – a reflection…..

With a few days gap, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has responded so positively regarding my ‘multiple’ Homberg posting last Friday – the 71st anniversary of the Homberg Op.

I must confess, it was one of those classic – ‘this is a great idea’ moments that, as the following day unfolded, I wondered about the coherency and communication of the event.

Based on feedback, I think it worked and I think for those that know the Squadron and it’s history it chimed.

I will confess – the idea of generating multiple posts based on a real time event line would always be challenging – particularly if you missed the first contextual post and as I started wading through the first of what would be 56 individual posts, I wondered if this was a fantastic idea, or an appallingly misguided adventure.

I received some criticism and questioning as well – but, to be honest those that responded in this way are not known to me – perhaps these individuals are like neighbours at a family get together – they watch, they try to understand, but ultimately, they are simply ignorant of the ways, history and knowledge of the family – they smile and purse their lips – but they simply do not understand…..

Looking back, the concept was simple enough – to use the WordPress scheduled post feature to post each a/c up and down based on recorded times. This was to be punctuated with a ‘respite’ post about half way through the Op ( I gave up trying to try to calculate the relative achievable speed of a Lancaster fully bomber up, versus  post target regarding an approximate time of ‘over target’. This was then finished after what I thought to be an appropriate and realistic delay to note the missing status of the three crews that were lost that night.

I actually hoped for not a sensational, but perhaps a surprised, engaged realisation that the Squadron were leaving on an Op – the spectacle of departure and then, simply the awful wait, the looking at watches, at Ops room clocks, the pacing and sipping from NAAFI tea cups, until the low lands filled with the tired howl of Merlins and the names of the crews could be checked off the board. The final realisation that three Lancasters and their crews were missing, was intentionally left like that.

It was about trying to capture that awful, dawning acceptance that time had simply run out – all avenues of alternative havens had been exhausted – the boys would simply not come back……

My inclination, at a point later, not advertised is simply to remove these posts. Perhaps in this way we recorded the brief event – witnessed but then lost and only held in our thoughts, as if we were there to see it – to be able to say it happened and you saw it, but now, again it is gone.

The poignancy of Leo McCartin’s Last Post at the Australian War Memorial this morning/ afternoon is a fitting final paragraph to this post – I am glad that Phil Smith was mentioned as well and as the Last Post started, I shed more than a singe tear –

these lost boys, again made real.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Untouched 20.11.1944 No. 75 Squadron (R.N.Z.A.F.) Lancaster I PB689

1. LANCASTER AIRCREW AND GROUNDCREW 1944

Reginald Charles Weeden, Navigator – Ford crew, 1944

Reg Weeden - RAFVR 1941

F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, Navigator with Terry Ford’s crew: July to December 1944. Reg stayed with the Squadron, it seems until it was disbanded at the end of 1945.
© Scott Weeden

Many thanks to Scott for passing on a considerable collection of material relating to his Father, Reg Weeden, who was Navigator with Terry Ford’s crew during the last quarter of 1944. As well as completing a first tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Reg then went to 35 Squadron and took part, during 1946, in Operation ‘Goodwill’, a tour of the United States by the Squadron in their Lancasters.

Reg Weeden entering Bomber - RAF Mepal 1944

Reg, starting his day in the ‘office’.
© Scott Weeden

Reg Weeden at Navigator Stn. Lancaster - RAF Mepal 1944

Reg at his navigators desk.
© Scott Weeden

Reg’s training prior to arrival at Mepal on the 27th of August, 1944 is as follows:

No.1 A.O.S – Malton, Ontario. 16.5.43 – 1.10.43
Reg Navigator Graduation Ceremony Sep'43 - COMP

No.3 A.N.S. – Port Albert, Ontarion. 17.10.43 – 13.12.43
No.9 (o) A.F.U. – LLanderog, Wales. 29.2.44 – 4.4.44
No. 84 O.T.U – Desborough, Northamptonshire. 5.4.44 – 14.6.44
No. 1658 H.C.U. Chedburgh, Suffolk. 22.6.44 – 8.5.44

Stood in front of the tail of a Stirling, one assumes therefore at 1958 C.U. at Chedburgh. Reg is stood second from the left. Scott Weeden

Stood in front of the tail of a Stirling, one assumes therefore at 1658 C.U. at Chedburgh. Reg is stood second from the left. © Scott Weeden

No.3 L.F.S. Feltwell, Norfolk. 12.8.44 – 27.8.44
No.75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal Cambridgeshire. 27.8.44

29/08/1944 – Attack Against Stettin
Fourteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack Stettin and thirteen of these successfully bombed the target with the aid of markers. A good concentration of fires developed and all crews reported a successful raid. A.A. opposition was moderate and enemy fighters were active on the outward route. Three of our aircraft had combats, two being inconclusive but the third (Captain NZ428797 .P/O. J. Scott) claimed one enemy aircraft as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by 1323677 .F/S. King, D., failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-T

F/L Charles Gordon Washer, RNZAF NZ415392 – Pilot.
F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. W. Andrew, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth James Burmester, RAFVR 1800126/ 152746 – Air Bomber.
P/O Leslie Thomas Casey, RAAF AUS419455 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. W. Mellor, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/O Wilfred Darrell Cooper, RNZAF NZ426151 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. W. Conners, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 06:50
Flight Time 09:30

31/08/1944 – Attack Against Pont Reny
Pont Remy 30 August
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Flying Bomb Supply Dump at Pont Reny. All were successful in bombing the target, although cloud obscured it to some extent, which caused part of the bombing to be scattered. No enemy fighters were encountered and A.A. opposition was slight, but one aircraft (Captain NZ421488 .F/O. J. Aitken) was damaged and the Air Bomber, NZ429967 .F/O. R. Mayhill received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. R. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:16 – Landed 19:45
Flight Time 03:29

03/09/1944 – Attack Against The Aerodrom At Eindhoven
sept 3 eindhoven
Ten aircraft took off as detailed to attack the airfield at Eindhoven. All were successful in bombing visually and a good concentration of bombing was achieved. A.A. opposition was slight, but accurate, and three of our aircraft suffered minor damage. No fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
P/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:50 – Landed 19:10
Flight Time 03:20

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

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:45 – Landed 21:15
Flight Time 03:30

06/09/1944 – Attack Against Harqueboc Le Havre
sept 6 le havre

Twenty four aircraft were detailed to attack the German Army Headquarters at Harqueboc, near Le Havre. All aircraft bombed the target according to the Master Bomber’s instructions and a very accurate raid was reported. Fires were seen to be still burning from the previous day’s attack on Le Havre. Once again no opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzgerald, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:50 – Landed 19:30
Flight Time 03:40

08/09/1944 – Attack Against Doudenville
8 sept le havre canned

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y (DNC)

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 06:05 – Landed 10:00
Flight Time 03:55

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y
Listed in ORB as PB432 but in absence of this serial actually existing in the squadron I suspect it’s a typo and should be PB132

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:24 – Landed 19:08
Flight Time 03:44

11/09/1944 – Mining in the Baltic Sea
11 sept Baltic mining
Eight aircraft were detailed to lay mines in the Baltic area, and they all dropped their mines as ordered. No opposition was met on the mining area, but fighters were thought to be active on the homeward route, and one aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU.88. Another aircraft (Captain NZ426041 F/O. W. Hadley) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S “Sugar”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:44 – Landed 03:14
Flight Time 07:30

12/09/1944 – Attack Against Frankfurt
12 sept frankfurt
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart, but during the day the target was changed to Frankfurt. Two aircraft failed to take off for this operation and of the twenty that took off the majority were able to identify the target, by the river and several made out the railway yards. Fighters were fairly active and one aircraft claimed to have destroyed an enemy aircraft, the captain was AUS421308 .F/O. J. Bateman. Another aircraft had an inconclusive encounter. All aircraft returned to base and reported a good and accurate raid.

Lancaster Mk.III PB430 AA-P

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 01:25
Flight Time 06:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
25 sept calais

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

Lancaster Mk.I NF951 AA-P

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. P. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:20 – Landed 12:30
Flight Time 04:10

27/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
sept 27 calais
Fourteen aircraft attacked Calais as detailed, taking off in the morning during doubtful weather. Crews bombed visually under instructions from the Master Bomber and a good concentrated raid was carried out. Some accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – Landed
Flight Time 02:45

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

Lancaster Mk.I PB132 AA-Y (DNC)

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
W/O W. Brown, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O William Henry Goodridge, RAFVR 635318/ 53370 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:47 – Landed 10:47
Flight Time 03:00

29/09/1944 – Mining in the Kattegat Area
29 sept kattegat
Five aircraft were detailed to lay mines in the Kattegat area. Weather conditions were very bad and the crews had difficulty in pin pointing. However four were successful, one being abortive. No enemy opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I PB421 AA-K
Reg Weeden’s logbook says “S” – this needs to be checked

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:40 – Landed 06:50
Flight Time 07:10

03/10/1944 – Attack Against the West Kapelle Dyke
Walcheren COMP
Oct 3 west kappelle
Twenty one aircraft we detailed to attack the West Kappelle dyke. Twenty of these were successful in bombing although some crews had to make two or three attempts owing to low cloud base. Bombing was reported to have been fairly good and some flooding was seen. One aircraft had to bring its bombs back owing to a technical failure.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:00 – Landed 14:55
Flight Time 02:55

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:30 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 05:25

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:55 – Landed 22:30
Flight Time 05:35

07/10/1944 – Attack Against Emmerich
oct 7 emmerich

Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Emmerich in support of the advancing Allied armies. They all bombed the target successfully and a concentrated and accurate raid was reported, the target area being entirely covered with smoke. Moderate heavy AA fire was encountered and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 16:25
Flight Time 04:10

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
oct14 duisburg

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

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O “Oboe”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

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

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg(2)
Duisburg 14th 15th Oct 44 comp

oct14 duisburg 2
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to make a further attack on Duisburg, unfortunately, however, three aircraft had to be withdrawn. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable. The remaining twenty five aircraft took part in a very successful attack in excellent visibility and large fires were seen to break out and add to those already burning from the morning attack. AA opposition was negligible and searchlight did not operate until late in the raid. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy fighter.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O “Oboe”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 04:50

18/10/1944 – Attack Against Bonn
oct19 Bonn
Sixteen aircraft were again detailed to attack Bonn and this time they were able to carry out the operation. For the first time the aircraft attacked flying in formation. Some moderate heavy A A fire was met over the target, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:35 – Landed 13:20
Flight Time 04:45

19/10/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Stuttgart CLEAN
oct20 Stuugart
Twenty eight aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart. The attack was in two waves. Thirteen aircraft took part in the first wave and successfully dropped their bombs with the aid of markers and flares, in weather conditions of 9/10ths cloud. A.A. opposition was moderate and a few enemy aircraft were active. Fifteen aircraft took part in the second wave five hours later and they all dropped their bombs with the aid of flares through ten tenths cloud. The glow of fires seen, indicated that the fires were concentrated around the aiming point. AA opposition was less than that encountered during the first wave, but more enemy fighters were active. Four of our aircraft had inconclusive combats.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 05:50

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:10 – Landed 13:50
Flight Time 02:40

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:45 – Landed 21:50
Flight Time 05:05

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:15 – Landed 17:10
Flight Time 03:55

05/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Nov 5 Solingen
Eighteen aircraft detailed to make a second attack in daylight on Solingen carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb inc. No.17 Clusters. All crews were successful in bombing in formation and reports indicate that bombing was more concentrated than in the previous raid.

Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
F/S E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:15 – Landed 15:10
Flight Time 04:55

06/11/1944 – Attack Against Coblenz
Nov 6 Koblenz
Sixteen aircraft were detailed for a night attack against Coblenz carrying 8,000 lb; 4,000 lb; No.14 clusters; No.17 clusters; 4lb inc. Fifteen aircraft were successful. The aircraft captained by F/O T. Winter (152351) returned early on account of engine trouble. Crews were able to identify the target visually in clear weather and a good concentrated raid developed, with smoke rising to 10,000 feet. NZ421919 F/O Kilpatrick, M had a short inconclusive encounter with a JU.88. Flak was moderate to slight.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:53 – Landed 22:04
Flight Time 05:11

15/11/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Nov 14 dortmund
Twenty five aircraft were detailed for an attack an the Soest Marshalling Yards, but this operation was cancelled and the same aircraft took off to attack an Oil Refinery at Dortmund in daylight, carrying 4,000 lbs and 500 lbs bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing in formation through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 ft. and a concentrated raid was reported. Flak was reported as being fairly accurate by the leading aircraft, but none of our aircraft were hit.

Lancaster Mk.I ME321 AA-N “Nan”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:30 – Landed 17:30
Flight Time 05:00

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

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:48 – Landed 17:11
Flight Time 04:23

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

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
P/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:30 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:07

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

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

P/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:43 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 04:42

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

Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D “Dog”
Hit by flak once

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:26 – Landed 16:58
Flight Time 04:32

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

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:49 – Landed 15:50
Flight Time 05:01

04/12/1944 – Attack Against Oberhausen
dec 4 Oberhausen
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack an Oil target at Oberhausen, carrying 1 x 12,000 lb, 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM, 500 G.P., 500 M.C. and 4 lb I.B. bombs. Nineteen aircraft attacked the target using navigational aids and the raid was reported as well concentrated though results were unobserved owing to 10/10 cloud with tops 10,000 ft covering the target. One aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen, having been damaged by flak.

Lancaster Mk.III ME321 AA-N

P/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 16:11
Flight Time 03:56

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

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:03 – Landed 13:52
Flight Time 04:49

06/12/1944 – Attack Against Mersburg Leuna Oil Refinery
Leuna Oil CLEAN
Dec 6 meresburg
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack o the Merseburg Leuna Oil Refinery, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P.(LD) bombs. The target was covered with 10/10 cloud, tops about 14,000 ft and all aircraft were successful in bombing the target with navigational aids. The attack was considered to be concentrated, though bombing results could not be seen, apart from the glow of fires seen beneath the cloud. Flak was intense in the target area and a few enemy fighters were seen en route but no attacks were reported. One aircraft, AA “R” captained by 1585981 F/O D. Atkin, had engine trouble after leaving the target, the starboard inner catching fire, and it was with great difficulty that the crew managed to keep the fire under control. When approaching this country the starboard inner engine went u/s and after jettisoning all equipment and with the aircraft losing height at 100 feet per minute, the Captain made a very good ditching in the River Orwell. None of the crew were hurt.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:11 – Landed 00:24
Flight Time 07:13

december end yates sign off

Reg’s final Operational sign off – interestingly by Harry Yates.
© Scott Weeden

RAF Mepal Xmas Card 1944 - COMP

© Scott Weeden

Navigators Mepal 1944 (RCWeeden front center)

The precise date of this photograph is unknown, however what is known is that it was taken in 1944 at Mepal and is composed entirely of Squadron Navigators.
© Scott Weeden

It is clear from Reg’s logbook that he stayed at Mepal for a significant amount of time beyond his tour. Scott says he was retained to provide support and instruction for Navigation – which makes perfect sense. The pages from his logbook clearly show that Reg not only stayed beyond his tour end in December 1944, but was in fact involved in a Baedeker flight on the 28th June with Don Shearer

A single page from his logbook makes interesting and perhaps perplexing reading – especially as the page bears no stated location – what can be deduced however is simultaneously interesting and confusing……..

RC Weeden - Logbook - MEPAL Page 13 (1945)

H2S  cross country flights (XC) with Peter Trevarthen , James Westbrooke, Leslie Sinclair in April and May, followed by a Baedeker flight with Donald Shearer on the 23rd of June. The date, aircraft and Pilot all tally, but Reg is not listed in the crew in the June Form 541 for this sortie.

21.7.45
Administration. The Squadron Moved from R.A.F. Station, Mepal, No. 3 Group, to R.A.F. Station, Spilsby, No.5.Group. The journey was made by rail and the whole move was carried out very smoothly. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to both stations for their excellent cooperation in the movement.

We must assume the words ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Spilsby place the 2 sorties with Maurice  Adamson after the 21st of July, where Reg flew twice as a Passenger

DISBANDMENT OF SQUADRON. No.75(N.Z.) Squadron was disbanded with effect from 15.10.45 on the authority of Bomber Command letter BC/S.32518/Org. dated 3rd. October, 1945.

We can also assume that, therefore the final 2 sorties on this page dated Dec 3rd and 5th must actually be with 35 Squadron. It’s interesting if this is the case, the sudden, relaxing of the very detailed style of Reg’s log entries while Operational. After a little googling, it appears that Operation ‘Spasm’ was a collective name given to a series of flights with Aircrew to Berlin. These flights allowed time on the ground and exploration of what remained of the city – apparently all under the watchful eyes of their Soviet army ‘minders’……

His ‘Units Served’ list at the back of his Logbook is peculiar based on the dates listed above. Reg clearly lists his stay at Mepal as being between 21st August 1944 and 16th January 1946 – though this date is obviously 2 months after the Squadron was disbanded…..??

Units served

Reg next moved to 35 Squadron at Gravely. The steady routine of cross country training flights was broken in the July of 1946 when Reg was a member of one of several (I assume) crews who flew to the United States on Operation ‘Goodwill’.

A little bit of googling has thrown up a fascinating thread on the PPRuNe forum – which can be seen here.

In July and August 1946 sixteen Lancasters of 35 Squadron went on Operation Goodwill, a trip to the U.S.A. to show the Americans some of the ‘British Flyer Boys’ that had helped win the war. Reg’s complete logbook can be viewed here (including 35 Squadron and the Goodwill records).

After a few emails with Scott  -I realise that the pictures I found and I liked – astonishingly actually are the pictures of Reg……

Reg Weeden - Center Lanc - TW872 D

35 Squadron Lancasters, waved off on the start of their tour to the United States -the Lancaster in the centre of the photograph is Reg’s……

Reg Weeden - Rear Lanc - TW872 D

Reg’s Lancaster in the foreground

35 Squadron Goodwill Tour - Reg 3rd row from front - 7th from right under left wing

Reg, amongst the 35 Squadron ‘Goodwill’ crew photograph.
© Scott Weeden

Wonderfully, while Reg was in the States, he sent a letter home, describing some of the trip.

Letter July 1946 - 35 Sdn - Page 1

Letter July 1946 - 35 Sdn - Page 2

© Scott Weeden

35 SQD RAF
24/7/46

My Dear Mum

Have had a wonderful time since our arrival here, but I’m just melting away with the heat.

Again, as before we have had only a short stay and tomorrow we are flying to our next stage Denver.

I called Doris up by phone from New York, and the family were most delighted to hear from me. I’m still hoping against hope that on my return I shall be able to get some time off to visit them.

Last night a party was given in our honour at an enormous country mansion, dancing in the grounds, it was just like a film setting, everything was so lovely.

The Squadron Commander received a phone call from Rita Hayworth yesterday and she is meeting us together with other screen lovelies on our arrival at Los Angeles on the 28th.

Isn’t this just wonderful, I bet a few people are envious of us, I will certainly have something to talk about when I return.

Well that’s about all for today, hope you enjoy your summer holiday.

Bye for now

Regards to all

Love

Reg xxxx

To Evelyn xxxxx

 

 

75 NZ Squadron Crest

At this point, we Know very little more about the Ford crew. Tragically, perhaps as a footnote to the remarkable story of the Ford boy’s exploits we have to pause and reflect on the cruel twists of fate that would befall at least one of the members of the crew.

The following report is harrowing – and I must confess personally, I was ignorant of this incident.

There is, a certain irony that the reportage as presented, happened so long after a period that similar reports perhaps blurred because they were simply a nightly occurrence, worse perhaps therefore because Neill Chapman got through that flak and night fighter infested time to simply, become a victim of what now, we would describe as fate, or just, terrible bad luck.

In November 1967 a passenger jet bound for London’s Heathrow airport crashed into the southern slopes of Blackdown Hill, near to Fernhurst village, resulting in the tragic death of all 37 persons on board. The accident is recorded as the 11th worst air accident in the United Kingdom.

The police report from 1967 gives a harrowing account of the event:
About 10.02 p.m. on Saturday, 4th November, 1967, a Caravelle Airliner No. EC-BDD, owned by Iberia Airlines of Spain, crashed at Black Down Hill, Sussex (map reference 919289). This Hill at its highest point is 902 ft. above sea level. The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Malaga, Spain, to Heathrow Airport, and was piloted by Captain Harnando Maura [Pieres], 37 years, an experienced Pilot. It left Malaga at 7.30 p.m. G.M.T. and the estimated time of arrival at Heathrow Airport was 10.10 p.m. G.M.T. The weather at the time was slightly misty with intermittent drizzle but there was reasonable visibility.

The plane, a Sud Aviation Caravelle SE210, named Jesus Gurudi after the Basque composer, was travelling in a north-easterly direction. It initially struck trees in the grounds of Black Down House, then continued for hundreds of yards, “passing across a meadow where it killed 65 grazing sheep and injured 23 more which were subsequently destroyed”. It then broke through a large hedge and parts of the aircraft fell off destroying a garage, and damaging parts of the roof of Upper Black Down House as the aircraft disintegrated.

Haslemere Fire Brigade were alerted within minutes of the crash, and were later joined by firemen from Grayshott, Liphook and Guildford. Aviation fuel had caused small fires to break out in the densely wooded hillside. It soon became clear however that all those on the flight had been killed on impact:

Debris from the aircraft was scattered over the whole of the 355 yards of its passage. There were no survivors from a total complement of 30 passengers and 7 crew“.

Fernhurst villagers provided essential support: the Village Hall was turned into a temporary mortuary and the WVRS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) helped provide food and drink for the emergency services from the Youth Club behind the Spread Eagle public house.

The victims on the scheduled flight, Iberia 062, were the all-Spanish crew, and the passengers comprising 25 British, mostly returning from holiday in Spain, 2 Americans, 2 Spaniards and 2 Australians. Among the passengers were: the British film and TV actress June Thorburn, who was five months pregnant; industrialist and Coventry City Football Club vice-president John Clarkson; and Donald Campbell of the Campbell Aircraft Company. There is a memorial stone in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey.

Reasons for the crash:
The plane’s Black Box flight recorder was recovered from the scene, although the cockpit and instruments were badly damaged, making the investigation into the cause of the crash difficult. The aircraft appeared to be flying along its correct path, but at a significantly lower altitude. It is possible that the type of altimeters then in use were mis-read by the crew. It is suggested that the air navigation beacon at Northchapel was introduced as a result of the disaster to try to prevent it happening again (although navigation beacons provide position, not height, information to pilots).

Within the passengers were Neill and Patricia (née Lake-Davis) Chapman  – Died 4th of November 1967.

 

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Just a reminder – Patrick Leo McCartin, Australian War Memorial – last post

P04003.001

PLEASE, set your alarms or whatever, but if you can, please take the chance to view the live feed of the Last Post for Leo McCartin today/ tomorrow morning.

The ceremony is streamed live, so with regional adjustments this means the service will be able to be watched:
05:55 – United Kingdom (London)
18:55 – New Zealand  (Wellington)
00:55 – Canada (Ottawa)

The live stream of the ceremony can be viewed here.

The McCartin crew are well documented within this blog an Op history for the crew can be found here and the incredibly moving and poignant collection of correspondence between Leo’s Father and the Australian War Ministry, after the crew’s first report as being lost can be read here.

20.11.44 – Attack against Homberg – 3 of our aircraft are missing………

It has now been 2 hours since the last of the Lancasters touched down at Mepal. The Ops board in the control tower lists 3 aircraft and their crews as yet to return:

Lancaster Mk.III ND911 JN-V
F/O Patrick Leo McCartin, RAAF AUS.419328 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Miles, RAFVR 845847/ 187426 – Navigator.
F/O Leonard ‘Len’ Arthur Martin, RAFVR 153528 – Air Bomber.
F/S Phillip Francis Smith, RAAF AUS. 427206 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. William John Warlow, RAFVR 1653307 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Dennis George Albert Bryer, RAFVR 1874880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Gray, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
Take Off 12:43

Lancaster Mk.I PB689 AA-X
F/O Ronald Gordon, RAFVR 1580245/ 185116 – Pilot.
P/O John Robson Bell, RAFVR 173943 – Navigator.
F/S Albert John ‘Mick’ Weston, RAFVR 1115103 – Air Bomber.
F/O Louis David Sampson, RAFVR 186413 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Carl Robert Freeman, RAFVR 189608 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Sidney George Hone, RAFVR 2221190 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Leonard Forrester, RAFVR 3010665 – Rear Gunner.
Take Off 12:48

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G
F/O Hubert ‘Hugh’ Rees, RAFVR 152402 – Pilot.
F/O Raymond Charles Preston, RAFVR 1494143/ 153457 – Navigator.
F/O Douglas Cooper ‘Westy’ Westwood, RNZAF NZ427483 – Air Bomber.
F/L William French Morison Naismith, RAFVR 47714 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. James Edward Mulhall, RAFVR 2202223 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Robert Alderson, RAFVR 2221636 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Charles ‘Chaz’ Allen, RAFVR 1898556 – Rear Gunner.
Take Off 12:55

Returned air crew, ground crew and Station staff pace. It was dark when the aircraft returned and now it is a cold November night. Habitual checking of watches and clocks. Phone calls are made to other Group airfields and beyond, checking, waiting, ears straining in the darkness for those 4 merlins, maybe only 3, but the hope and belief they might be heard…………

still hoping…………

 

20.11.44 – Attack against Homberg – returned

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Madden, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Landed 18:00
Flight Time 05:10