30/8/43 Attack Against Targets at Munchen-Gladbach

F/S Allan Johnson Mayfield RNZAF. Pilot
P/O Jack Francis David Jarmy. Navigator
Sgt. Robert Douglas  Sommerville. Air Bomber
F/S William Lake. Wireless Operator
Sgt. A. Warburton. Flight Engineer
Sgt. Thomas Darbyshire. Mid Upper Gunner
F/S John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF. Rear Gunner

Striling Mk.III EH939 ‘J’ for Johnny

EH939 JN-J ‘Johnny’. the aircraft the boys flew 13 of their 21 ops in.

Up 00.30 30th August
Down 04.30 31st August
Total Flight Time 5 hours

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
18 Aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All aircraft with the exception of one which failed to return, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires which were well concentrated and spreading, were seen. All crews were of the opinion that this was a good attack. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Batger, H. sighted an enemy aircraft 600 yards away, ahead and the front gunner fired a long and short burst, the enemy aircraft then disappeared and was claimed as possibly destroyed. . The aircraft captained by F/S McGregor,K. sighted an Me110 astern, the rear gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engines. It is claimed as a possible destroyed. There was 8/10ths cloud at the target approaches although it was clear in the target area. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was  Stirling MK.III EH938 captained by Sgt. Parkin, T.

Page 567, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Stirling Mk.III EH938 AA-F
F/Sgt Victor Trevor Parkin
RNZAF NZ421090. Pilot. 29TH Jul to 31ST Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 21, during a raid on Munchen-Gladbach. Buried Heverlee War Cemetery Belgium.

F/Sgt Terrence Watters RNZAF NZ417299. Nav. 5th to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 21, during a raid on Munchen- Gladbach. Buried Heverlee War Cemetery Belgium.

Sgt Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson RAFVR 1545885. AB. 5th to 11th Aug 1943 Shot down night of 31 Aug-1 Sep 1943 and successfully evaded capture.
On his return to the UK MI-9 recorded:- “ I was a member of the crew of a Stirling bomber which left Mepal, north of Cambridge, on 31 August at midnight to bomb Munchen-Gladbach. We reached our target and bombed our objective at 0240 hrs. On the homewood journey there was a violent explosion in the aircraft . I remember reaching for my parachute, but I do not know how I got out. The next thing I remember was that I was in the air and in cloud. I had severe wounds in one arm, one leg and my face. I came down at 0300 hrs (1 Sep) in a field which I believe was somewhere west of Weert. I buried my parachute in a hedge and ran along the main road in a westerly direction. When it became light I hid in a hedge in which I remained all day. At dusk I worked my compass and walked west for about 4 hours. My leg started to give me trouble and I lay low again in a bush in a field . I woke at about 0700 (2 Sep) and headed west again, reaching a wood. Here I saw two Belgian woodsmen so lay low again and stayed there all day and that night. On 3 Sep I left the wood at about 1100 hrs and approached a cottage at Exel, 25 km north of Masselt. I made my identity known and was beckoned in by a lad. I found a large family inside; the father told me, by signs, that he would fetch someone who could talk English. At about 1300 hrs a girl turned up on a bicycle and from this point I was helped on my journey.” The MI-9 report continues from Appendix ‘C’. “The girl who came to Exel on 3 Sep on a bicycle was the daughter of the Englishwoman whose father was Mr Alfred Woods, 174 Houghton Road, Bradford. She told me to remain where I was and went home to inform her mother. At about 1600 hrs the mother came and asked me several questions to identify me and said she would see a man in an organization. I went to bed and stayed there until anout 2300 hrs when two men woke me and after stripping off my badges and flying boots took me by bicycle to another house quite near. The men, who were gendarmes, left me there. I was visited by a doctor and nursed by the people for a bad septic arm and knee. I was given plain clothes and, on about 6 Sep, a man came and took me by train to Meerpelt [sp] to a small cottage, I stayed there until about 10 Sep, when another man came for me and took me by train to Antwerp. In Antwerp I stayed for a few hours at the house of M. Daelmans, 15 rue d’Orange, moving by train to Brussels under Daelmans guidance and from there to Vikton [sp] until 11 Sep when I left by train for Florenville, staying with a Priest to 13 Sep. I was then taken to Martue (2 km from Florenville staying there with a family M P Lemaire until 30 Sep. A doctor who treated me here for my arm, got me away by car on 30 Sep to Sedan, from where another man escorted me to Paris. In Paris I was met by Captain Martin and taken to Mme. Basti, 7 rue de la Barre, Montmatre. Here there were several other airmen, 4 Americans and 3 British, two from 218 Squadron and one from 7 Squadron. Captain Martin called for me on 6 Oct and took three Americans and myself to Quierey (10 km east of Noyon) where we stayed in a farm for three days, from there to Reims, from which a girl took one American and me by car to Sillery where we stayed, first in a hut in a wood, till 13 Oct and then with M. Georgeton, Sillery. Till 17 Oct. We had to move from here as the Germans requisitioned the house and we were taken by car to Mailly-Champage. M. Chandelot was a particularly staunch patriot and kept us till 9 Nov. On 9 Nov he took us by horse and cart to Reims and from there by train to Fismes where we stayed 4 days with Mme. L. Muillet (a tailoress) Fismes. From there a hirl took us by car on 13 Nov back to Reims, from there by train to Paris and back to Bastin. On15 Nov Captain Martin took two Americans to Quierey and to a field some distance away. From which. This time, the air operation was successful. We arrived in UK on 17 Nov

Sgt William Hadley Horrigan RAFVR 1176649. WOAG. 5th to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 29, during a raid on Munchen-Gladbach. Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt Trevor Silcock RAFVR 1582836. FE. 5th to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 21st August 1943, age 20, during a raid on Munchen-Gladbach. Buried Heverlee War Cemetery Belgium.

Sgt Richard Frederick Grove RAFVR 1581242. AG. 5th to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 22, during a raid on Munchen-Gladbach. Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt Anthony Francis Saunders RAFVR 1394719. AG. 5th to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 20, during a raid on Munchen-Gladbach. Buried Heverlee War Cemetery Belgium.

Bomber Command War Diary
30/31 August 1943
660 aircraft – 297 Lancasters, 185 Halifaxes, 107 Stirlings, 57 Wellingtons, 14 Mosquitos – tasked to carry out a double attack on Mönchengladbach and Rheydt. The visibility was good and the Oboe-assisted marking of both targets was described in Bomber Command’s records as ‘a model’ of good Pathfinder marking. The bombing was very concentrated with little creepback.

Page 427, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

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