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.

8 thoughts on “Ford crew – aiming point photographs

  1. juliaathome

    Thanks for sharing these photos along with the relevant op history Simon. And as you say, thanks too to Scott for taking such trouble to tidy up some of my messier offerings! I have to say he has been responsible for much of the encouragement needed to tackle the task of sharing Terry’s extensive resources.

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  2. juliaathome

    I forgot to mention above, Simon, but if you look at my father’s photo album, there is a photo of what he and his bomb aimer thought was probably ‘Mac’ McIntosh’s plane going down (DB folder Mainly Mepal TAF 13) during the Osterfeld raid 30/11/44. Very sad.

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  3. Chris Newey

    Thanks for sharing these; amazing images, some so clear you are almost there in the aircraft with the Bomb Aimer …

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  4. Mark Weston

    Thanks for sharing and great records. My Grandad was the BA on the Gordon crew that failed to return on the 20th November to Homberg, The Gordon crew arrived a week or so after the ford crew so probably saw much of the same…How were they kept so well preserved all these years.

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    1. juliaathome

      I’m so sorry to hear that your grandfather failed to return from the Homberg mission, Mark. I have to say my sister, Meryl and I are just very lucky that our father turned out to be such a good record keeper. Growing up with all his records in the house, I am afraid we just took it all rather for granted and I think it is only now that we are beginning to realise quite how remarkable his collection is.

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  5. Anthony Freeman

    A truly amazing collection, especially as many of them relate to missions that my father flew on. He, like Marks grandfather, was a member (Flight Engineer) of the Gordon Crew. I immediately recognised the location in the Calais photograph. Tomorrow I shall be in Calais, driving from the left to the crossroads in the centre of the photograph, to turn left to “Leroy Merlin” and “Auchan”. What a difference 72 years makes!

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