In discussion with Jack 7/1/12 after he received the 1651 CU photo, he suggested that the number of operational missions flown was greater than Dad’s logbook suggests. Jacks say’s that on completion of their 27th flight, they were called into the Wing Commanders office and told they had completed their tour – when they responded that they still had 3 to go (for their 30) the WingCo said, that as they were the first crew for 4 1⁄2 months to get close to completing a tour, he wasn’t going to tempt fate by pushing them to the last 3. Thus, he announced as of that moment, they were ‘Tour Expired’.
Having checked back through the ORB and Dad’s record tallies with it. I need to see Jack’s log book to try to understand the perceived discrepancy. Logbook and record total is 21 operational missions.
Having now met and spoken to Jack, he is in agreement regarding the op total of 21. Very interestingly, he clarified that in fact the instruction came from 3 Group Headquarters and not from within the Squadron. At the end of a morning briefing, the Mayfield crew and another were asked to stay back and it was at this point that they were informed that they would not be flying again. In discussion with other authorities ion the subject, I think this second version makes sense – certainly at tis time the Commander of the Squadron had a ‘push on regardless’ attitude that certainly didn’t go down well with crew or Headquarters staff a like – it is even suggested that the New Zealand High Commissioner Bill Jordan became embroiled in the matter…..
I have no idea the elation or relief that the crew probably felt after being given the news that they would not be flying another raid, however this was certainly not the end of the chap’s association with the RAF – by the 15th of December, all 5 of the original Mayfield crew had left Mepal – only one of them would return…..
P/O A.J. Mayfield NZ416034 Posted to 1651 CU w.e.f. 14/12/43
F/O J.F. Jarmy 134695 Posted to No. 3L.F.S w.e.f. 15/12/43
P/O Sommerville, R. D. 161049 (GD) Posted to No.3 L.F.S. w.e.f. 15/12/43. Auth: P/N 3G/3398/43 dated 10/12/43.
Sgt. F/Eng. A. Warburton Posted to 1653 CU w.e.f. 15/12/43
NZ416427 F/S A/G Hulena.J.S. Posted to 17 O.T.U w.e.f. 15/12/43
Bill Lake and Tom Derbyshire agonisingly had to continue their tours respectively, both coming to the Mayfield crew late.
J Pryse & D Warren 24th May 1944
A R Speirs as MU/Gnr. Feb 1944