Nominal Roll – another update!

I am pleased/ relieved to announce that the Nominal Roll for the Squadron is now complete! Possibly, this sounds a lot better than it actually is, but it represents a significant point as I now have an individual Op history attached to every individual who flew Operationally with the Squadron. As I have observed many times previously, this was never going to be a quick or easy project. Starting with a blank sheet of paper and interrogating my original crew history spreadsheet, I have now, over a number of years, generated a basic list of names and then to these, attached Operational histories. Additionally, I have begun to add extra information to individual records from published sources and the extensive, if patchy historical records that exist and that are accessible.

The size of the basic list, when extracted from the spreadsheet into a Word document is 1249 pages – if laid out end to end, it would be 370 meters long…….

The histories I now have are are highly variable in size, both by duration and Op count, ranging from a number of individuals who completed 2 tours with the Squadron to, too many, who excruciatingly only have a single Op recorded, on which they were lost…..

Soberingly, based on the arrived figure of 3,480 individuals who flew operationally, based on total losses for the Squadron of 1,139, the maths shows an almost exact 1/3 chance of not surviving the Squadron, once you had arrived. Clearly, not simply by fancy, the unofficial moniker of “The Chop Squadron” was chillingly true.

I am keen to try (eventually) to provide as detailed a record for all individuals as I can. For some this will be a proud point of reference for a family, for others it will be simply a record of their contribution and a permanent statement of their commitment and bravery through the War.

The database has been built to be flexible and to accept whatever information I am able to gather on an individual. In truth, a lot of this information I have no way of gathering without the help of all the readers of this site. Without being unnecessarily wordy, I am keen that these records have a narrative feel to them – after all, it is these boy’s story that is being told – a small thing like a date of birth allows me through the database to have an age for the individual airman when he arrived at the Squadron. A service record allows their journey prior to Operational duties to be known and also the date of arrival and departure from 75(NZ) Squadron, as well as where they went afterwards. Working through Errol Martyn’s breathtaking record of all RNZAF losses – “For your Tomorrow” I have been able to add to all RNZAF aircrew lost on Operations, small details of life – whilst known on this site as a Pilot, an Air Bomber or Rear Gunner, it’s touching to discover that they were also clerks, shepherds, plumbers, plasterers and teachers. The extensive records held and accessible in the Australian National Archives, for those RAAF aircrew that flew with the Squadron provides the same personal insight into an individuals life before service and in many cases the pain when they were lost.

I am also pleased to say that WordPress have recently provided an alternative method of creating pages. One addition is a 2 column block, which means that, where it exists, a photograph of the individual can also be included. A sneak peek of what I envisage for the Nominal Roll when it becomes live can be seen here – this is ‘Z’, mercifully small, but it let’s you see the planned layout and the wonderful visual addition to a record that a picture makes – by coincidence Vernon Zinzan, my Father’s 2nd Tour Pilot.

I have also produced a pro forma for submitting individual information, which can be downloaded here

I still have a lot of information to add to the database and I hope I might receive more based on this request! – at a point in the next month or so I will begin uploading information in the format previously mentioned…………

7 thoughts on “Nominal Roll – another update!

  1. davisonphil@aol.com

    from Phil Davison, journalist, London, thursday, 9 July, 2220 hours London time. Dearest Simon,  God bless you for your work.  As you may remember, I’ve written about 75 NZ a few times.  Heroes of mine. Unfortunately, being a retired foreign and war correspondent (from a family decimated by both World Wars), my only writing role in my old age is to write obituaries.  Therefore, please let me know whenever the squadron loses a member. And, if so, please give me as many biographical details as possible.  I shall do the rest.  Just FYI … my dad’s dad was killed by a German sniper at Ypres in WW1 — very close to the day my dad was born. So they never saw each other. My mother’s dad was taken POW in WW1 for several years after stumbling into a German trench. He survived the war, always praised the Germans for the way they treated him (they loved his kilt) and returned to action in WW2.  When I was a kid, for many years, my bedroom (in Scotland) was given over to two Polish RAF airmen (various, over the years).  They’d fought for us but couldn’t go home because of the communist takeover.  I am extremely proud of my father for doing that.  A post-war boom baby, war is in my blood. Maybe that’s why I became a war correspondent.  I pray you stay safe.  I wish we had a PM like yours. I’m staying self-isolated because this thing is bound to come back to the UK (and possibly NZ) from the US. Just a matter of time. Phil

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  2. Alan Ridgway

    Hello Simon,

    RHODES, George William 1331658

    As requested please find attached completed form relating to my uncle for the Nominal Roll, together with a photograph.

    Kind regards,

    Alan Ridgway

    >

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