Monthly Archives: July 2016

333,333 – a third of a million views………..

third of a million

Albeit a little late, but another MASSIVE milestone was reached on Wednesday night when we clocked up a third of a million views for the blog – utterly fantastic and amazing.

To think, to within a month of it being 5 years since Dad passed away, this ‘thing’ is still going and still adding to the information that we all now have to access regarding 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

Since the last significant viewer milestone of a quarter of a million views, the posts, thanks to you all have continued and also, the blog from a structural point of view has undergone some significant additions.

In April, I was finally able to publish the fruits of some 4 years work of adding the Form 541’s to a database – physically meaning the addition of Op histories for every crew that flew with the Squadron during and after the War, before the Squadron was disbanded on the 15th of October 1945.

This in itself is a massive addition to the site and as I said at the time, I do not think another record in this format exist for any other Squadron  through the same period.

Not long after I was able to also add the entire set of Combat Reports for the Squadron, transcribed and in numerical order. In time the relevant CR’s will be reproduced where necessary in the Crew pages.

Having said all of this, the site would be fairly dry if it simply existed around the recorded documents that we have. Its depth, incredible scope and movingly personal relevance, is solely  down to you, the readership. Without your contributions, your generosity, your patience and your support, the blog would be a far poorer place.

All the amazing things that have been so generously shared over the last 4 and a half odd years has now, to be slowly moved to the relevant crew pages. The posts will all obviously still exist, but the crew pages will now become the enduring record for the crews that flew, died or survived the Squadron.

I stand by my original view that this record is best placed as it is – digitally, on the web, available to all and able to be constantly updated.

The blog, thanks to you, now has its own critical mass. It is the largest resource online for the Squadron and in real terms, regarding accessible information, is probably also simply the largest physical resource, full stop. Long may this continue, I see no reason why it will not.

Thank you to you all – to all of the relatives and interested parties who have continued to care enough to bring new material to us. A massive and continuing thanks to Chris Newey, not only for his excellently researched posts, but also for his council and for, from time to time, being an ear I scream down when things start annoying me. A continuing thanks also to Peter Wheeler and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association/ Archive for continuing to provide access to Chris for all things 75(NZ) related.

WE have got this far, because WE, collectively have had the will and want to do this. WE will carry on and make sure that THEY will never be forgotten………..

 

AKE AKE KIA KAHA

 

George Stanley Davies – Pilot. 4th of April 1923 – 12th of July 2016

StanDaviesFuneralServiceCover160716[3]

From Chris

Sadly, another 75er has gone.

Flight Lieutenant George Stanley “Stan” Davies, DFC, NZ427262 RNZAF, passed away last week after a short illness, aged 93.

I had the privilege of attending his funeral service on the Saturday, and the pleasure of meeting some of his friendly and welcoming family. It was special to learn something of Stan’s life, and hear what a difference he made in his 93 years.

There were some wonderful tributes and memories shared by family, friends and colleagues. The love and respect he earned from his family was obvious, and the happiness he spread was summed up in their obituary: “We will always miss his laugh”.

Not only did Stan survive 24 op’s with 75 (NZ) Squadron, baling out of a burning Lancaster over Chemnitz in Germany, and a harrowing set of experiences as a late-war POW, but he went on to enjoy a very happy and fulfilling life, raising a family and forging a very successful and influential career in local government. It was said that his vision played a large part in the development of South Auckland, in his roles as Deputy City Manager, Acting City Manager and Property Manager of Manukau City.
The service was beautifully done, with a strong Bomber Command and 75 (NZ) Squadron component; a Bomber Command tribute video, the song “Full Moon Tonight”, RNZAF and NZBCA ensigns, an RSA tribute, and a live bugler for the playing of The Last Post.

Stan’s service had an extra connection for me, as he and his crew had arrived at Mepal the same day as my uncle’s crew (the J.H.T. Wood crew). In fact, their paths were so similar that I feel sure they must have known each other. I never met Stan, but it seems that anyone who did, was much the richer for it.

Thank you Stan, for a job well done.

– Ake Ake Kia Kaha.

Request for information – Roy George Tawa Iles crew, 1945

I have been contacted by David and Simon, the sons of Roy George Tawa Iles, Pilot, who flew with the Squadron during the last months it was part of the RAF.

David and Simon would love to reconnect with any relatives that come across this post either directly or perhaps, by someone else seeing it who then might recognise a surname in the crew list.

From a historical point of view, Roy’s logbook will hopefully hold some information that sheds light on the Squadron’s activities once it had changed to Tiger Force and moved to Splisby – Whilst the Squadron ORB’s broadly describe activities, we might be able to add an extra bit of detail to The Iles crew history as currently listed below.

25.4.45
Weather
. Fine becoming cloudy. Visibility 4 – 8 miles.

Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. H2S and cross country exercises were carried out. Practice Supply dropping and G.H. Bombing was practised. Fighter Affiliation exercises were carried out. Air Tests were carried out.
Administration. NZ4212581 F/Sgt Iles R. and crew arrived on posting from No.73 Base. NZ4212596 F/Sgt Parry G, and crew arrived on posting from 73 Base.

The Form 541 for May and June list the 4 following Ops for the Iles crew, before the documentation of crews cease to be recorded.

07/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at Delft
26 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Delft. The mission was uneventful. Oil patches and yellow objects were seen in the sea near the Dutch coast.

Lancaster Mk.I HK806 AA-B

F/S Roy George Tawa Iles, RNZAF NZ4212581 – Pilot.
F/S Herbert John Samuel Wilson, RNZAF NZ432826 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dudley McLellan, RNZAF NZ4216740 – Air Bomber.
F/S Hugh Caverhill McLaren, RNZAF NZ4213174 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Taylor, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Staples,   – Passenger.
Sgt. John Cresswell, RNZAF NZ42114 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:18 – Landed 14:31
Flight Time 02:13

09/06/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
5 Aircraft were detailed for viewing the effects of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster Mk.III PB424 JN-O

F/S Roy George Tawa Iles, RNZAF NZ4212581 – Pilot.
F/S Herbert John Samuel Wilson, RNZAF NZ432826 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dudley McLellan, RNZAF NZ4216740 – Air Bomber.
F/S Hugh Caverhill McLaren, RNZAF NZ4213174 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Taylor, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S John Cresswell, RNZAF NZ42114 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Laurie Clay, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:16 – Landed 18:16
Flight Time 04:00

18/06/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
5 Aircraft were detailed for viewing the effects of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster Mk.I HK806 AA-B

F/O Roy George Tawa Iles, RNZAF NZ4212581 – Pilot.
F/S Herbert John Samuel Wilson, RNZAF NZ432826 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dudley McLellan, RNZAF NZ4216740 – Air Bomber.
F/S Hugh Caverhill McLaren, RNZAF NZ4213174 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Taylor, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S John Cresswell, RNZAF NZ42114 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Laurie Clay, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:41 – Landed 18:46
Flight Time 04:05

25/06/1945 – Checking German Radar Equipment
21 aircraft were detailed for the Postmortem operation for checking German Radar Equipment. W/O S. Sutherland (JN.K)had to make an early return through flat accumulators, but took off again in JN.T and completed the operation. F/L S. Peryer (JN.V) had a petrol leak and made an early return on three engines.

Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J

F/O Roy George Tawa Iles, RNZAF NZ4212581 – Pilot.
F/S Herbert John Samuel Wilson, RNZAF NZ432826 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dudley McLellan, RNZAF NZ4216740 – Air Bomber.
F/S Hugh Caverhill McLaren, RNZAF NZ4213174 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Taylor, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S John Cresswell, RNZAF NZ42114 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Laurie Clay, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:50 – Landed 15:40
Flight Time 05:50

 

SO, if you are a relative of one of the Iles crew, or perhaps you know or have contact with one, as always, please get in contact with me, so I can pass on any information to David and Simon.

A post about a post that was posted………

So, the post that I posted a couple of days ago, but that had to be hidden, as it was not ready to be posted, was then put on schedule and was posted today, but because it was already posted, none of you will know it’s been posted – so here is a post to let you know that the post that was posted has now been posted……….

Enjoy the post

– that has just been posted below this post……..

How to start a Norwegian fishing boat – and other useful information………

Instructions for Starting Boat Motor, Norway without shadow

“General Instructions For The Starting And Running Of The Type Of Small Boat Engine Normally Found In Norwegian Waters”
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The Terry Ford archive continues to give up some fascinating things, this post collecting together some documentation which is best placed under the heading “Emergency Procedures”….

Without doubt, (in my opinion) the most remarkable of these documents is the one above. Wonderfully titled “General Instructions For The Starting And Running Of The Type Of Small Boat Engine Normally Found In Norwegian Waters”, the document is printed on what appears to be rice paper or similar. Having viewed and handled the document, it is incredibly fragile and we must assume was designed to be consumed either to deny its capture by enemy intelligence, or simply as a filling dessert……

If an airman was in any doubt as to why he should be aware of the necessary starting instructions of a Norwegian boat engine, the first few paragraphs of the document explains…..

“Most fishing and small transport vessels employed on the Norwegian coast are fitted with Semi-Diesel engines. There are a number of different makes and consequently many variations in detail, but the principles and main features do not differ very much. There are in addition a few Semi-Diesel engines of special design which will not be considered in this paper.

The principle common to all these engines is that they must be heated before they can be started and the fuel used is Solar oil

The sketch shows one of the most common types found in Norway. The purpose of this paper is to try to give elementary instructions in the starting and running of this type of motor for the benefit of those who might have to deal with them in an emergency and do not possess any previous knowledge of small boat engines, but who are familiar to some extent with engines as such.

It should be noted that the horsepower developed by this type of motor is normally considerably in excess of the stated horse power.”

And later on, some wonderful advice regarding checking whether the engine is yet hot enough to run…….

“To find out if the motor is warm enough for starting put an ordinary safety match against the head without striking it. If it lights immediately the motor is hot enough. Make it a rule never to put out the blow lamp before you are certain that the engine is running steadily. It should always be kept handy in case of engine stoppage”.

I must say, whilst familiar with the escape maps printed on silk, I have never seen or heard of this edible kind and I would be fascinated to see others, if anyone knows of them.

Lancaster Dinghy Drill 1

Dinghy Drill page 1
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

Lancaster Dinghy Drill 1a

Dinghy Drill page 2
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The second 2 sheets outline the procedure for deployment of a dinghy when crash landing in water. What strikes you reading this is the incredibly ordered and specific tasks and activities that were required to be remembered at an instance of chaos when a large metal tube, designed to fly in the air is suddenly, possibly with some force, sitting, or more likely sinking in cold dark water – and probably in the pitch or near black-out. I am sure its testament to constant drilling and practice and I certainly recall a number of photographs showing airmen in their swimming trunks stood by the side of a swimming pool, familiarising themselves with such skills. Perhaps the compare and contrast can be imagined by the following extract from “Up and Under” by Gwyn Martin, who has featured a few time on the blog in the last few weeks, regarding his and his crews experience of a crash and escape from a Wellington bomber, on water at night……

“I went forward to the bomb sight and fused the mines, coming back to stand beside Shag for the run into the Karmsund. He was losing height in a shallow diving turn, when a bright signal light shone ominously on the ground. Shag and I recognised it for what it was, the front gunner didn’t. I shouted at Shag,

“Turn Shag, for Christ’s sake turn.”
“What the hell do you think I’m doing?”

I looked out to see we were now almost in a roll, with flak pumping up urgently towards us, not floating in the cotton wool ball manner to which we were accustomed at greater heights.

The first shell went through the starboard engine, the next hit amidships. We were on fire from nose to tail. The intercom went with the first burst, which also killed Don Taylor and Frankie and Johnnie, our two carrier pigeons. The ammunition storage ignited, sending exploding bullets flying around like a Chinese New Year celebration. I went forward to defuse the mines, but it was too late. There were no electrics. I banged on the doors of the front turret, for Dalziel to come out. I passed Shag, still working hard to keep us in the air, but he was running out of time, luck and airspace, everything except courage. Jim reported in his best Cockney, “Taff, we’ve f****** had it!”

Nothing was more obvious. He and I went back to see if there was a chance of improving the situation aft of the office. With Jim leading, we went through the rear door, but as he came to the main spar, the reserve oil tank on the starboard side blew up in his face and over his hands. At the same moment, the flares and pyrotechnics by the flare chute caught fire. The fabric was well alight already, and I could see the ground fifty feet below. The mines were still in the bomb bay, despite our efforts to dislodge them. Jim and I took up crash positions on the floor of the office. Through our legs, we saw the roof of a house go by. We went up a bit, then down a bit, then we hit water, when Jim, in great pain, leapt from the floor and went out through the roof. Shag shot out of his oversized, borrowed, flying boots, through the Perspex windscreen. My head came abruptly into contact with the door. My next conscious moment found me sitting on the floor of the office, with the W/T receiver and sundry other wreckage in my lap. I was unable to move, my predicament made worse by being submerged, I was drowning. Above me, was a greeny blue hole ominously getting darker.

Suddenly, the floor moved to the right, freeing my left leg. I made a movement and was out like a cork from a bottle, surging up through the green blue hole into the night. There I hovered for a while, airborne above the lake. I heard Shag shouting, “Gwyn, where are you?”

I felt I could have answered, “I’m up here, you silly old bugger.” I didn’t, because he was pulling me into the dinghy, along with Jim and Dalziel.

In the dinghy, released automatically in the crash, we took stock of our position. Shag had facial injuries and no boots. Jim had burns to his hands and face, and was also without boots. Dalziel was badly wounded, clearly dying. I was unsure what was happening to me from my waist down, but I had one boot. We looked in the First Aid pocket for morphine for Dalziel, only to discover that there was nothing in the pocket. Some thieving bastard or incompetent slob had either pinched and flogged it or had not packed it. We tried to assure Dalziel that, once ashore, we would get help quickly. We tried paddling towards where we thought the shore ought to be. After minutes of furious paddling, we hadn’t moved. We were stuck on a piece of wing, impinged dead centre of the dinghy bottom and we were driving ourselves around in non productive circles. Shag removed the piece of wing, we paddled again, and still we made no progress. This time, we found we were still tied to the nacelle mooring, until Shag cut this umbilical cord. We paddled again, still getting nowhere. We could now make out the shape of the land, but we were unsure of how far we were from it.

Shag called for volunteers to swim ashore. Dalziel was out of it, Jim, a pre-war Southern Counties swimming champion, couldn’t manage either, but I, as a better than average swimmer, couldn’t feel my legs. So it was Shag, a non swimmer, who volunteered for the task. He asked that Mary and his family should be informed that he had done his best, in the event that anything happened to him.

Over the side he went, with one arm on the dinghy, pulling it as he thrashed the water with his other arm and legs, hopefully pointing towards the shore. He performed this antic for sometime before collapsing. He sank immediately, assuming a kneeling position in nine inches of water. We were hysterical. Nothing could have been funnier.”

Emergency Positions

Emergency Stations page 1
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

Footnotes

Emergency Stations page 2
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The two pages above are titled “Emergency Stations”. I must admit reading through the first page I am a little perplexed that even before anything has happened, the instructions require both Mid Upper and Rear Gunner to brace themselves their arms round each others neck!. The footnotes also do not, I feel, aim to necessary bring natural calm to any impending situation –

“Drills are based on “DISTRESS”, developing from “EMERGENCY” where Distress is taken without developing from  “EMERGENCY” where “Distress” is taken without previous “EMERGENCY” action, “C” – Course, “H” – Height, A “A” permits and without prejudice to “FULL” Distress signal action”.

Now, it might be me, not having had an air force training, but this makes no sense to me and reading that section back   what does “A” even stand for??

Parachute Drill

Parachute drill
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The last of the formal documents (above) is the parachute drill. Again, it amazes me that given the potential of the scenario that would require this particular protocol to be but into operation would very possibly negate that very same protocol – I suspect, training and a hell of a lot of gut instinct and luck would be the deciding factor and with it, survival or death.

John McFarland’s memories of just such an event shows the need for speed perhaps over process:

“We flew from a remote base near Ely in East Anglia and were engaged mainly in sea and French railway yard mining operations as well as drops to the French Resistance. It was during one of these we were shot down. The Germans had the capability to fire vertically upwards. We were over Denmark and it was around midnight when my navigator’s table shattered and I knew we’d been hit from below. Everything happened so fast. We had to bail out and use our parachutes. The parachute wrappers used to put little notes in with the silk saying things like ‘all the best’!  Only three of us survived that night – the rear gunner’s parachute failed to open. That could have been any one of us for you just grabbed a parachute on your way out to board the aircraft…”

Engine Failure and fire comped and cpd

Hand written notes by Terry Ford – Engine Failure & Engine Fire .
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

And finally, written in Terry Ford’s own hand, notes on both sides of a piece of paper, one assumes as an ‘aide memoire‘ in case of engine failure or worst case scenario an engine fire. As with all things aeronautical – the solution if the fire does not go out is simple……….

JUMP!

 

Ford crew – aiming point photographs

Aim Point photos comped for blog header

Aiming point photographs, clockwise from top left: Harqueboc 6/9/44, Bonn 18/10/44, Calais 27/9/44 and Alvis 10.9.44
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

My continuing thanks to Julia and her family for the remarkable collection of material they have so generously passed on of her Father, Terry Ford, who was a Pilot with the Squadron mid to end of 1944. Thanks also to Scott, the Son of Reg Weeden, Terry’s Navigator for extracting and correcting these aim point photographs.

The detail of some of these images is astounding, particularly as a number are taken on day-light sorties.

What follows is a summarised Op history for the Ford crew, with expanded Form 541 Diary entries for the Ops where AP photographs exist. This is a remarkable collection of photographs, representing the largest set for an individual crew, certainly that I have so far seen from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

It’s sobering to note for anyone unfamiliar with these images, that having positioned the aircraft in the stream and having arrived at the Aim Point and released their bombs, the Pilot had to then stay straight and level until the time delayed camera had recorded the bombs exploding, all while possibly under threat from fighters, flak, collision and even possibly bombs falling from above.

 

31/08/1944 – Attack Against Pont Reny
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.

03/09/1944 – Attack Against The Aerodrom At 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.

Target photo Le Havre 5-9-44 'L'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

05/09/1944 – Attack Against 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”

Flight Time 03:30

Target photo Harqueboc 6-9-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

06/09/1944 – Attack Against Harqueboc 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

Flight Time 03:40

Target photo Alvis Montvilliers 10-9-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
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

Flight Time 03:44

08/09/1944 – Attack Against Doudenville
Twenty three aircraft took off at dawn to attack enemy defence 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.

11/09/1944 – Mining in the Baltic Sea
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.

Target photo Frankfurt 12-9-44 'P'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

12/09/1944 – Attack Against 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

Flight Time 06:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against 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.

Target photo Calais 27-9-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

27/09/1944 – Attack Against 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

Flight Time 02:45

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
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.

29/09/1944 – Mining in the Kattegat Area
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.

Target photo West Capelle Dyke 3-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

03/10/1944 – Attack Against the West Kapelle Dyke
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

Flight Time 02:55

05/10/1944 – Attack Against 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.

Target photo Dortmund 6-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

06/10/1944 – Attack Against 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

Flight Time 05:35

Target photo Emmerich 7-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

07/10/1944 – Attack Against 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

Flight Time 04:10

Target photo Duisberg 14-10-44 'O'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

14/10/1944 – Attack Against 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”

Flight Time 04:05

Target photo Duisberg 15-10-44 'O'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

14/10/1944 – Attack Against 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”

Flight Time 04:50

Target photo Bonn 18-10-44 'R'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

18/10/1944 – Attack Against 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”

Flight Time 04:45

19/10/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
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.

Target photo Flushing 21-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

21/10/1944 – Attack Against 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

Flight Time 02:40

23/10/1944 – Attack Against 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.

25/10/1944 – Attack Against 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.

05/11/1944 – Attack Against 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.

Target photo Koblenz 6-11-44 'Q'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

06/11/1944 – Attack Against Coblenz
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

Flight Time 05:11

15/11/1944 – Attack Against 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.

20/11/1944 – Attack Against 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.

Target photo Homberg 21-11-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

21/11/1944 – Attack Against 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”

Flight Time 04:07

23/11/1944 – Attack Against 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.

Target photo Cologne 27-11-44 'JN-D'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
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

Flight Time 04:32

30/11/1944 – Attack Against 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.

04/12/1944 – Attack Against 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.

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
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.

06/12/1944 – Attack Against Mersburg Leuna Oil Refinery
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.

View the Ford crew Op History page here.

Oooops……..

Apologies to everyone who has pounced on the announcement of a new post relating to Norwegian fishing boats – mea culpa – I pressed “post” rater than “save draft” near the completion of said post – my only option was to then make it ‘private’ to save my incomplete embarrassment…….

rest assured the post will come – but what better way to wet your appetite than the promise of starting techniques for Norwegian fishing boats……………