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…………


2 thoughts on “20.11.44 – Attack against Homberg – 3 of our aircraft are missing………

  1. Peter Nelson

    Hello Simon,

    Overnight NZ time, I received 53 new post emails from 75 (NZ) Sqn, they almost all appear to be the same email, except that the aircrew names change. Was this an intentional mailout, or might my email program have had a hissy fit?

    Kind regards,

    Peter Nelson


    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hello Peter
      In fact the posts were all different – I tried to generate a real time record of the 20th November 1944 Homberg Op – all participating aircraft were first posted on their airborne time, there was an approximate time for over target and then, perhaps more poignantly, there was then a set of timed ‘landed’ posts that marked the return of all the Squadron aircraft. 2 hours after this there was a final post that noted that the McCartin, Rees and Gordon crew had still not returned.



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