Monthly Archives: June 2016

Trevor Dill, Navigator – Williams crew 1943

75 squadron Mepal 1943 left to right Speedie Williams pilot,Ivon Kate RG,Shorty Carson B:A, Taffy Williams W:OP, Trevor nav < Dicky F:E and Billy M:UG

The Williams crew, RAF Mepal, 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, 1943
From L to R: Hilton Clifford ‘Speed’ Williams (Pilot), Ivon George Kaye (Rear Gunner), Adrian Leslie Bernard ‘Shorty’ Carson (Air Bomber), ‘Taffy Williams (Wireless Operator), Trevor Dill (Navigator), ‘Dicky ‘Dickinson (Flight Engineer) and William ‘Billy’ Hemsley (Mid Upper Gunner)
© New Zealand Bomber Command Association Archive and/or others.

The sad news has reached me, via the New Zealand Bomber Command Association Facebook page of the passing of Trevor Dill, Navigator with ‘Speedy Williams’ crew.

Trevor and his crew began Operations on the 27th of April 1943 with what seemed like the almost standard first sortie to lay mines in the Frisian Islands – 27 Ops later a final trip to Bremen on the 8th of October saw the boys stay with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF come to an end, but then to continue with 7 Squadron PFF.

I have taken the liberty of reproducing the above picture, also presented on the NZBCA Facebook page today to record Trevor’s passing – on his 95th birthday.

From the New Zealand Herald’s obituary section, the following:

“DILL, Trevor Gordon. Service No NZ 42292 Flight Lieutenant, DFM, mid, 75 NZ sqdn UK, 7 PFF sqdn UK. WWII. Passed away peacefully 28th June 2016 at home on his 95th birthday. Dearly loved husband of Jessie (war bride, England) who walked with me for 69 years. “I cannot bear to part from you, We’ve been so long together. You’ve travelled with me on life’s road, no matter what the weather. You’ve never gave me cause for pain, Though days were sad and rough. Just walking with you, seemed to be enough.Together we’ve climbed hills and mountains And paddled in the sea, But you, my loved and trusted mate, Were always true to me. We’ve both grown old and shabby, But you I’ll hate to lose, You’ve grown a part of me.” Much loved father and father- in-law of Malcolm, Janice and Brian, Denise and Robin, Jeanette and Henk, Richard and Debbie. Dad you leave us with lasting memories of hiking, camping and world travel adventures. An active and ‘loads of fun’ Poppa for the grandchildren. Phillipa, Alice and Fred, Sean and Liam, Eva and Daniel, Daniel, Morgan and Kyran. The best story-teller for the great-grandchildren. Regan, Mariska, Carlos, and Dominic, Hannah and Sarah, Luca, Kaylin.

A celebration of Trevor’s life will be held at Ranfurly Hall, Kaipara Flats Road, Kaipara Flats on Monday 4th July at 1:00 pm followed by private cremation.”

 

Ake AKe Kia Kaha!

 

View the ‘Speedy’ Williams crew history here.

James Allen Ward photograph from Gwyn Martin post – some more names

VC for Jimmy Ward

VC for Jimmy Ward
© David Martin

A follow up to my recent post presenting material relating to Gwyn Martin and his crews. Within Gwyn’s second crew Op history are 2 images of Jimmy Ward, relating to the award of his VC. Gwyn and  crew mate Ray Curlewis returned from leave to discover the news of Jimmy’s award of the Victoria Cross:

“We returned to a Feltwell agog with excitement and celebration. Jimmy Ward had received an immediate award of the V.C. for climbing out on to the wing of his aircraft to put out a fire in the starboard engine. The aircraft was under attack by a Ju. 88 night fighter at the time, and he was unable to wear his parachute. They were at 13,000 feet over the Zuider Zee. The rear gunner, Alan (Shorty) Box, won a D.F.M. and the pilot, Ben Widdowson, a D.F.C. Joe Lawton, the navigator, was overlooked in the handout of awards, in spite of his having made a significant contribution to the success of Jimmy’s brave wing walk.”

At the time of receiving the above photograph, I knew I had not seen it before and this feeling was at least also confirmed by Chris when he saw the post.

Thanks to Chris we also now have a few more names for the individuals in the photograph. Based on my original caption (which is now updated in the Saunders Op’s page), here is a new caption with input from Chris:

“A second picture commemorating Jimmy Ward’s VC.
From L to R where identified: (3) Gwyn Martin, (4) Ray Curlewis, (5) Jimmy Ward, (6) Joe Lawton, (7) Charlie Black, (8) W/C Cyril Kay, (9) Allan Box possibly, (10) G/C John ‘Speedy’ Powell possibly, (12) John Breckell.”

Another addition to the Ward story arrived from Gwyn’s son, David this morning – a menu of the celebratory meal described in an extract from “New Zealanders in the Air War” by Allan W. Mitchell which was posted 3 years ago, which can be read here.

As David notes – ” everything that any self-respecting Airman could possibly want!”

VC Award Menu

VC Award Menu
© David Martin

 

“Up and Under”. Gwyn Martin, Observer – Curry & Saunders crew 1941

Gwyn post-war

Gwyn Martin post-war and the cover of his book “Up and Under ” – described in Gwyn’s own words as ‘A sort of partial autobiography, 1939 – 1945’

I am indebted to David Martin for the permission to present images and extracts from his Father’s book “Up and Under”.

Gwyn Martin was born in Penygraig, Rhondda in 1921 and was still at school when he volunteered for the RAF in September 1939. He flew 50 bombing missions over Europe and was awarded the DFM in 1941 after the raid on Brest. On the day after his 21st birthday, in October 1942, he was shot down in Norway and crashed into a lake. He then spent the next two and a half years in Stalag Luft III in Poland as a prisoner of war.

After his release from the RAF he attended university and in 1948 qualified as a pharmacist. In 1946 he married Jane Marjorie Lloyd from Aberystwyth and they both ran ‘Taylor Lloyd, the chemists’, in Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth, until their retirement.

A keen rugby played, Gwyn played for Cardiff RFC, Aberavon and Llanelli, and, while a student, appeared in the Welsh Final Trials of 1946-7. He was Captain of Aberystwyth RFC 1948-51 and President from 1982 onwards. He was a founder member of Aberystwyth RAFA and elected a life member.

For 18 years he was the Honorary Secretary of the Aberystwyth branch of the RNLI and then became their President. A keen and distinguished photographer, he was President of Aberystwyth Camera Club from 1958 onwards. Gwyn’s photographs are extensively represented in the collections of the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His autobiography, from 1939-1945, Up and Under, was published in 1989.

 

Gwyn Martin arrived at Feltwell on the 10th of April 1941 to join 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. With the extended role of a 2nd Pilot at this early part of the War, Gwyn and the other members of his crew essentially had 2 Pilots. Within the format of these Crew Op History pages, a link is provided at the foot of the Curry crew, that will take you onto the crew’s second Pilot, Tony Saunders.

After completing his first Tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, disillusioned and spent, Gwyn resisted the requests for him to stay with the Squadron. After a stint as an instructor he returned to Operations with 150 Squadron and on the 23rd of October 1943, he and his crew were shot down, crash landing in Lake Langavanet, in Norway. He would spend the next 3 years in Stalag Luft III.

David has generously given me permission to use chapters relating to Gwyn’s time with 75(NZ) Squadron within these histories and his copyright of this material should be noted. “Up and Under” can be found on Amazon in both physical and eBook format.

Whilst the addition of the chapter extracts makes the 2 crew histories a significant read, I would encourage you all to take the time to enjoy the extra details of Ops and Gwyn’s personal recollections of his comrades and personalities from Feltwell from that period in 1941.

19410419 First Crew - Curry copy

The Curry crew. From L to R (back row) Albert Windiate, Gwyn Martin, George Curry, Brian Smith, Edward Callender & Stanley Tompsett. Front row, Groundcrew, names unknown. © David Martin.

19410705 Second crew - Saunders

The Saunders crew.
Back row L to R: Raymond Curlewis (2nd Pilot), Tony Saunders (Pilot),  Jack Thompson Front Gunner), Gwyn Martin (Observer)
Front row L to R: Edward Callender (Rear Gunner) & Albert Windiate (Wireless Operator)
© David Martin.

A continuation of Gwyn’s story will be posted at a later date, which will continue from his departure from Feltwell to the day he returned to Norway to once again visit the remains of the Wellington he crashed in, some 50 years before.

To begin Gwyn’s story begin with the Curry crew Operational history page here.
To Jump to the second part of Gwyn’s time with the Squadron, as part of Tony Saunders crew, go here.

Maori aircrew who served with 75(NZ) Squadron 39-45 – New update

ManaManawaiti[3]

A new picture for the collection – Mana Manawaiti
image from NZ Bomber Command Association, Harry Hamerton collection.

Many thanks to Chris for his continuing work on the list of Maori Aircrew that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

This update adds a number of new profiles and also utilises the new Cew Op History pages, there now being links to the Op histories for the crews that these Airmen flew in.

Interestingly, there is also a removal form this list! – many thanks to Lorraine, Arnel’s Daughter for passing on the story behind Hoturoa Arnel Dean “Arnie” Meyer:

“Hoturoa Arnel Dean Meyer is not Maori.  No Maori blood anywhere in his heritage.! His mother’s best friend was Tainui and asked to honour the baby inutero with a royal Maori name. Princess Te Puea was approached and gave permission for Dad to be called Hoturoa, which was a huge honour and one we have passed down to one of our sons.  His heritage is Danish (his father’s side) and English/kiwi on his mother’s side).”

Arnie Meyer and his crew, which included Bomb Aimer Simon Snowden, (who was Maori) had formed up at No. 11 Operational Training Unit (11OTU), RAF Westcott on 11 December 1943 – they stayed together for the remainder of the war, completing 30 sorties (op’s) with 75 (NZ) Sqn and, without a break, a further tour of 25 op’s with No 7 (Path Finders Force) Sqdn. All crew members were decorated.

Another new picture this time of Roy William Raharuhi, has also been added.

Dad,%20Parata%20and%20unknown[3]

Roy Raharuhi, Marama Parata (centre), and unknown.
Image from Raharuhi family via Russell Murphy.


Read “Maori aircrew who served with 75(NZ) Squadron 39-45here.

 

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

Combat Reports AIR50/192 Series – now available

cropped and cleaned

Document No. 4 (AIR 50/192/4). Date of Report: 14th March 1942 Date of Combat: 12th March 1942 – Attack Against Kiel. Name of Airman that Combat Report is filed against: S/Ldr. Raymond John Newton, RNZAF NZ40984. Position: Pilot. Aircraft involved in report: Wellington Mk.III X.3586 AA – A
Original document National Archives. Kew

I am pleased to announce that a transcribed set of Combat Reports for 75(NZ) Squadron RAF is now available to peruse at the foot of the “75(NZ) Squadron RAF Records” menu, or alternatively you can go straight to it here.

Physically this has been quite a lengthy process, but with all things on the blog, now complete, they are available for researchers and interested parties to reference in perhaps a more easily accessible and in most cases readable state. In time I will place the reports within the Crew History pages as well.

At this point I would politely implore you, dear reader, to resist the urge to email me regarding a combat that is not listed, wanting information about it – the list represents what I have – if a certain combat, perhaps mentioned in a raid  diary report, is not listed – I cannot make one appear  – what I currently have is what you see in the list………

This list of reports is based for the majority on the documents held by the National Archive in Kew. The first list was built by a straight copy paste of the returns for a search on this subject matter. This list was then checked against another full set, which I believed was photographed some time ago, which was very generously supplied to me by 218 Squadron Historian, Archivist and Writer, Steve Smith.

As I note on the Combat Reports page, the Kew AIR series is built around a reference number relating to a named airman – practically this means that there is a high level of duplication within the series – The exact same Combat Report will be listed multiple times in the AIR series, but they will be the exact same document. If any of you wish to purchase specific original versions of any of the reports, I would strongly suggest you go through my list to the relevant crew and or date and note the duplication if it exists – in these cases you should only buy the first one – all others below the first noted as “LISTED ABOVE” will just be copies.

It is also worth noting at this point that the quality/ legibility of these reports is very variable to say the least. Immersing oneself in a transcription activity allows you to enter a ‘zone’ where words become more easily recognisable, but even this approach does not allow the deciphering of some words and in some cases very frustratingly whole paragraphs. If I have made an educated guess it is followed by a question mark (?) and if the word is illegible it is replaced by XXXXX.

To each report I have added summaries of dates/ names and also the Form 541 Diary entry for that Op to add a context to the Report.

This secondary activity identified a number of Squadron Combat Reports that seem to no longer be listed in the Air Series as  presented online at least. Several more reports were also found in the Squadron Operational Appendices (AIR27/649).

The only apparently consistent ordering of these documents seems to be a hand stamped numbering in the top right hand corner of the report pages. For the most part, each page of the report is individually numbered, however I would also note that the Combat reports that exist in the Squadron Operational Appendices are only numbered per report – the first page is numbered, but in all cases the second page of the form is not.

Based on this numbering system there is apparent evidence that there are a significant number of Combat Reports for the Squadron that are currently “missing in action”

I have also provided a basic glossary of terms to help the inexperienced reader and as things like this always snowball, I then found myself adding information about the Luftwaffe aircraft that are mentioned in the reports and obviously now must consider adding albeit massively truncated, some historical details regarding the German Air Defense regarding strategies and techniques, but this will be added later. The context of these reports are important to understand and I think it is perfectly reasonable to remember the bravery and skill of the young men who flew in the defense of their own country, to meet the bomber streams every night.

If any of you know any other possible sources, or indeed if you have Reports that have numbers not in the list as presented – I would love to see them, to add to the existing list.

Happy reading………..

 

Terry Ford and a UXB…………

Terry Ford Cartoon - by Roy Osborne 1944

Original carton by Bill Osborne based on a safe drop of a ‘hung’ bomb, tasked to Terry Ford
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

It never ceases to amaze me the strange coincidences that occur as information comes into the blog.  Some months ago I was contacted by David, his Father, Henry Smulovitch,  was Flight Engineer with Roy Osborne’s crew between September and December 1944.

Tantalisingly, at the time, I found a reference to Roy, or ‘Ossy’, or ‘Bill’ Osborne in Harry Yate’s book “Luck and a Lancaster”:

“Of the three second dickeys whom we initiated, only the first, Bill Osborne survived a tour. He became quite a character on the station. He had a great knack of capturing anyone’s essential features with a few affectionate strokes of the pen. At most times, an Osborne caricature was to be found on the mess notice board.”

I wondered at the time of the post on the Osborne crew, whether there might possibly be an example of Bill’s penmanship somewhere out there – and low and behold, after contact with Terry Ford’s 2 daughters, my question/ hope has, I am incredibly pleased to say, seems to have been answered.

The cartoon at the top of this post was penned by ‘Bill’ Osborne after Terry Ford had been charged with the disposal of a hung up bomb – the following is a paragraph written by Terry to Bill Moore:

“On the 10th November 1944 I was asked to fly a Lancaster which for some reason still had a long delay bomb on its bomb rack, and to dispose of this bomb in the North Sea. There was no
danger in this and in fact I took some young Air Training Cadets with me for flying experience. However the wags of “B” flight pulled my leg about it, and wished the crew goodbye, and a fellow pilot, F/Sgt Osborne, who incidentally also came  from Bristol, did the enclosed cartoon. He was an amateur cartoonist who drew under the name of “OZ”

Putting out this post, I’ll cross my fingers and hope again – are there any more of Bill Osborne’s cartoons out there……..?!?!?……..

 

RAF Bomber Command Commemorative Service, AWMM, 12 June 2016

the lads

Photo: Four 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF veterans attended the service, pictured here , L-R: David Anderson (Navigator, Bill Hardie crew), Douglas Williamson (Flight Engineer, Johnny Wood crew), Ron Mayhill DFC (Bomb Aimer, John Aitken crew), and John Swale (Rear Gunner, Vic Adolph crew).
– Photo courtesy of Dave Homewood.

From Chris……….

The NZ Bomber Command Assn. held its annual Bomber Command Commemorative Service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum (AWMM) in Auckland on Sunday June 12th. Similar services are held each year in Canberra, Toronto and London. This year’s service incorporated a rededication of the AWMM’s RAF Bomber Command Memorial, originally dedicated in 2009. It was recently completed and moved to its permanent position in the Air Force Annex in the Hall of Memories.

A large contingent of dignitaries attended, including representatives of the armed forces of New Zealand, Canada, Australia, the United States and Britain; the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, British High Commission, Returned Serviceman’s Ass., and the consulates of the Netherlands and Poland.

It was a very moving service, with several speakers pointing out some of the tragic stories and tragic statistics of Bomber Command, all underlined by the dwindling numbers of veterans able to attend commemorations such as this. Highlights for me were the Last Post, a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, and the laying of poppies, accompanied by the full-volume sound of Lancasters passing overhead.

Another highlight of course, was the opportunity to meet up with the veterans, four of whom were 75ers. One of these was my good friend Doug Williamson, from my uncle’s crew, and another was NZBCA  President (and author of one of the best books about 75 (NZ) Sqdn RAF), Ron Mayhill DFC.

David Anderson, Navigator with the Hardie crew (June – September 1945) was another, and the fourth, relatively new to these events, was John Swale, rear Gunner with the Adolph crew (June – October 1944).  John, who served with the RAF, only emigrated to New Zealand a year ago, so it was very interesting to chat to him about his story.

The RAF Bomber Command Memorial was designed and created by Sir Richard Taylor and his team at Weta Workshops, famous for their movie props and effects. Sir Richard couldn’t be at the service, but he addressed the gathering via a very personal video. In a curious twist, Doug Williamson’s wife Janet, herself a very accomplished painter, sculptor and set designer, used to work with (Sir) Richard Taylor!

For more photos of the service click here to go to the New Zealand Bomber Command Association.

– Thanks to Dave Homewood for the above photograph, and thanks to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn. for all their fantastic work.