Daily Archives: September 1, 2020

The McGregor Crew on this day, 77 years ago – a search for relatives…….

Today marks the 77th anniversary of the loss of 5 of the McGregor crew, whilst undertaking operations against Berlin. It is perhaps serendipity at play, that recently I have come by something that means that I need, if possible to reach out and hopefully, connect with any relatives of the crew that might be out there.

I have my fingers crossed – 7 years ago I was contacted by the great-nephew of the Pilot, Keith McGregor and I have been able to reconnect with him and his family again, just the day before last.

I am very keen to try to widen this circle of contact with other relatives of the crew and share with them, what I shall describe at this point as a very interesting find indeed.

The McGregor crew arrived at Mepal on the 29th of July. On the 30th of August the crew engaged with a an ME110 on a sortie to Munchen Gladbach – ‘The aircraft captained by F/S McGREGOR, K. sighted an ME110 astern, the rear-gunner fired a long burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the Mid-upper gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engine. It is claimed as possibly destroyed’.

The following day, the McGregor crew took off with 17 other Stirlings from Mepal to join a force to attack Berlin. Early in the hours of today,  77 years ago, Stirling Mk.III EF501, AA-K was, it is believed, attacked by a German night fighter. The attack was short and catastrophic, forcing an almost immediate dive which resulted in it crashing into the ground, south of Potsdam. Five of the seven crew were killed. The Flight Engineer and Mid-upper Gunner, were able to escape the aircraft whilst still airborne and it was a letter later sent by Geoffrey Bond, the Flight Engineer to Keith McGregor’s Mother, that shed light on the final moments of the crew and AA-K that night.

F/S Keith Alexander Mcgregor, RNZAF NZ415770 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 21.
Son of Matthew Alexander Mcgregor and Jeanie Mcgregor, of Waikouaiti, Otago, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

F/O James Benjamin Lovelock, RNZAF NZ416324 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 26.
Son of John Edward Jones Lovelock and Ivy Evelyn Lovelock.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 197.

F/S William Adam Kilby, RNZAF NZ415261 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 40.
Son of Henry John Kilby, and of Christina Kilby, of Ngaio, Wellington, New Zealand; Husband of Alice Kilby.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

F/S James Guthrie Baker, RNZAF NZ41142 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 27.
Son of Henry and Charlotte Baker; Husband of Ellen Baker, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 198.

Sgt. Geoffrey Alec Arthur Bond, RAFVR 1801229 – Flight Engineer.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 43256
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VI/357
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. George Frank Dummett, RAFVR 1377778 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 12730
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft VI and Luft IV
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Terence Grange, RAFVR 1323448 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of John and Ellen Grange; Husband of Esther Grange, of South Lambeth, London.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 151.

I’ll take this opportunity to not only remember the boys who were killed this morning, but again, cast out a hope that I might now be able to connect with any other relative of the crew – however distant, so I can share with them what I have found.

I would ask any of you who read this post to try to spread it further, through any means possible to try to make a connection.

many thanks

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!