“Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.“
In the spirit of ANZAC day and the opportunity it provides for us to remember the fallen, I wish to announce a significant addition to the blogsite.
What now must be about three and a half years ago I began to slowly transcribe the contents of the Form 541 ‘Details of work carried out‘. Broadly speaking, for those of you that are not familiar with the physical contents of the Squadron Operational Record Books, that I often mention, FORM 541 lists all aircraft and crews that took part in all Ops throughout the period of the War.
The transcription from these forms to a database has been good and bad. It has been very useful and efficient regarding individual queries about crew, but it has also been, at times, a right royal pain in the arse……….
Now that I try to remember the various ‘stages’ of completion I outlined over the last 3 years, I can now, to be honest, not recall a single one.
Suffice to say, in broad strokes, it is now done.
We now have, online, for all to look through and perhaps add to, an Operational history for every crew that flew Ops between 1940 and 1945. By extrapolation, we also therefore have a record of every Op that every individual undertook throughout the same period.
Each year can be viewed through each of the following respective links:
By Navigation each year can alternatively be accessed from the top menu under ’75(NZ) Squadron RAF’ and then from that drop menu under ’75(NZ) Squadron RAF Crews’
No such collection exists anywhere else on the web for 75(NZ) Squadron RAF and to the best of my knowledge, I think, it may be unique as a ‘fixed’ collection, as opposed to a dynamic search and return data based approach for any Squadron from the War.
The ordering and layout may undergo some subtle changes as we move forward, but I have applied the following approach.
Each crew is placed, relative to their first Operational sortie. This is important to note because there may be situations when a Pilot begun flying as a ‘2nd Dickie’ in one year, but began flying with ‘his’ crew in another.
Because each history exists on its own page, a rule and structure had to be decided on and in keeping with protocols within the documents these histories were built from, this is the Pilot.
I appreciate if an individual possibly flew with a number of crews, this might make the tracing of their history a little circuitous, but if it proves that problematic, I am happy on contact to generate a ‘custom’ individual history directly from the database.
The creation of these pages means broadly 2 things:
1. Visitors can search and access crew histories.
2. Information can be added to these pages as it is donated.
The blog will obviously continue as the main method of communication information, but I have become aware as information has increased, that a blog post becomes quite unwieldy regarding a long and detailed Op history.
In the future, a new post about a crew, or individual, will contain perhaps one or two images and a broad outline of the crew, but a link will be placed to take an interested reader to that crew’s Op history page.
In this way, relatives will have a single static location to visit regarding information on their loved ones.
Perhaps in the spirit of today’s remembrance, I would also note that even though we may never receive new information on a particular crew, their bravery and participation now exists as a permanent record for all to find and read – none of those brave boys will be forgotten……..
This project continues and is certainly not (if it ever will be) complete. There is more information to gather from official documents, more (I am sure) contacts to be made with relatives and the process of adding to each page what currently exists in the 600+ posts the blog already contains. As a matter of relative priority the next project is to ensure loss and burial details are added to all pages where a crew, or crew member was lost.
I am sure there are buried within the many pages, mistakes and errors – I would simply ask, that in the same spirit that I have taken regarding making my last three and a half years efforts accessible to all, others who might have information and corrections, share them to refine and improve the database – if knowledge is not shared – it has no value.
I must also, belatedly, thank you all for your continuing support and the passing of the amazing milestone of 300,000 views – daily traffic, despite my relative silence over the last few months means a great deal to me and I know i have to get back to my email and respond to what is a sizable list of contacts – I will get to you all !
Looking back, I have to be honest and say it’s been a day to day struggle to deal with things over the last few months, but despite this, the blog keeps on being visited and people keep reaching out – and its this that keeps me going – thanks to you all.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Ake AKe Kia Kaha