6/8/43 Mining in the Gironde Estuary (Gardening)

Crew
F/S Allan Johnson Mayfield RNZAF. Pilot
P/O Jack Francis David Jarmy. Navigator
Sgt. Robert Douglas  Sommerville. Air Bomber
Sgt. F. Weaver. Wireless Operator *
Sgt. A. Warburton. Flight Engineer
F/S D. Allen. Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt. John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF. Rear Gunner

Aircraft
Striling Mk.III EH901 ‘O’ for Oboe

Flight
Up 21.40 6th August
Down 04.30 7th August
Total Flight Time 6 hours 50 minutes

*Jack Jarmy recollects that the wireless operator Sergeant Weaver, ‘cracked’ on the return flight from this mission. Whilst the rest of the crew agreed to stay quiet about this episode, it’s understood, the following morning, Weaver went to the Medical Officer and was deemed to ‘Lack Moral Fibre’ (LMF) – as would have been standard practice, he would have been immediately removed from the base.

He was never seen again.

It also appears that Dad’s remark in the logbook referring to ‘shot up train’ did in fact relate to him shooting the train up himself! Returning from the op, Dad saw a train and got Allan to drop the plane down to about 150 foot and they shot the hell out of it – when they got back they were as pleased as punch – when they told the Intelligence officer during their debrief, he apparently bollocked them and said if they pulled a stunt like that again, they would be on a court martial – apparently the Germans often sent out flak trains with the express intention of luring allied aircraft down to low level, before dropping a side panel on a carriage and cutting the aircraft to ribbons with a set of 20mm cannons.

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
6/8/43
Operations.   
Mining in the Gironde estuary.
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lb. One aircraft returned early owing to inter-communication failiure and bought its mines back and one aircraft failed to to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. Slight heavy A.A. fire and one searchlight were encountered, but were ineffective. A few enemey aircraft were seen, one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good above 1,000ft. and visibility was fair to good. On the return journey, F/Sgt. Mayfields aircraft fired at a locomotive and the engine was seen to blow up with a brilliant flash. The missing aircraft was a Stirling Mk.I HK614 captained by F/Sgt. Mayo, J.R.

Page 556, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Stirling Mk.III HK614 JN-H
F/Sgt John Russell Mayo RNZAF NZ417085. Pilot. 29th Jul to 7th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th August 1943, age 21, during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary. Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 199 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt Albert Edward Turner RAFVR 1316391. Nav. 29th Jul to 7th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th August 1943, age 20, during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary. Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 167 Runnymede Memorial.

F/Sgt Irvine Sydney Rothstein RCAF R.123638. AB. 29th Jul to 6th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th August 1943, age 20, during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary. Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 185 Runnymede Memorial.

F/Sgt Thomas Henry Gittens RAFVR 1067871. WOAG 29th Jul to 7th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th August 1943, age 24, during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary. Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 136 Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt Ronald Booth RAFVR 1096896. FE. 29th Jul to 7th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th August 1943, age 21, during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary. Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 143, Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt Raymond Henry Amstell RAFVR 1455709. AG. 29th Jul to 7th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th  August 1943, age 20. Lost without trace during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary, France. Commemorated on Panel 140, Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt Stephen Tom Kitching RAFVR 1215487.AG. 29th Jul to 7th Aug 1943. Died Saturday 7th August 1943, age 22, during a mine-laying sortie to the Gironde Estuary. Lost without trace, commemorated on Panel 156 Runnymede Memorial.

Bomber Command War Diary
6/7 August 1943
8 Mosquitos to Cologne and Duisburg, 20 Stirlings and 14 Wellingtons minelaying south of Texel and off Brest and the Biscay ports, 13 OTU sorties. 2 Stirling minelayers were lost.

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