8/10/43 Attack Against Targets at Bremen

F/S Allan Johnson Mayfield RNZAF. Pilot
P/O Sidney Alfred Clark. Second 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

Up 22.45 8th October
Down 04.00 9th October
Total Flight Time 5 hours 15 minutes

*F/L. Sidney Alfred Clark DFC RNZAF (NZ414591) Pilot 25 Sep 1943 to 1 Jul 1944.
Citation DFC (15 Aug 1944):
This officer has completed many bomber sorties against a variety of targets including Bremen, Mannheim and Kiel. During May 1944, when over Louvain, the aircraft was attacked by night fighters. By skilfully manoeuvring his aircraft Flight Lieutenant Clark enabled his rear gunner to destroy the fighter. He has always shown great courage and determination and his devotion to duty has been of the highest order“.

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000 lbs., 500lbs., and indendiaries of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Results were rather disappointing as owing to thick cloud, it was not possible to assess damage. Very few fires were seen and only one large explosion was observed. Slight ineffective A.A, Fire was encountered. Searchlights were active but hampered by cloud. Several combats with enemy aircraft took place. The aircraft captained by F/SGT. SPIERS, R. claimed a M.E. 109 as probably destroyed and a M.E. 110 as damaged. Another M.E. 109 was claimed as damaged by the aircraft captained by P/O o. WHITE. Navigation was very good.
Page 613, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Bomber Command War Diary
8 October 1943
Hannover: 504 aircraft – 282 Lancasters, 188 Halifaxes, 26 Wellingtons, 8 Mosquitos. This was the last Bomber Command raid in which Wellingtons took part. 300 (Polish) and 432 (Canadian) Squadrons provided the 26 Wellingtons which operated on this night; they all returned safely. The German controller guessed correctly that Hannover was the target and many night fighters arrived before the attack was over. 27 aircraft – 14 Lancasters and 13 Halifaxes – were lost, 5.4 per cent of the force. Conditions over Hannover were clear and the Pathfinders were finally able to mark the centre of the city accurately; a most concentrated attack followed with a creepback of only 2 miles, all within the built-up area. This was probably Hannover’s worst attack of the war.

119 aircraft – 95 Stirlings, 17 Halifaxes, 7 Lancasters of 3 and No 8 Groups to Bremen. This was a diversionary raid on a larger scale than ever before. The bombing was scattered but this was a subsidiary aim of the operation. 3 Stirlings were lost, 2.5 per cent of the force.

10 Mosquitos to Castrop-Rauxel, 7 to Berlin, 1 to Düren, 17 Stirlings minelaying in the River Gironde and off La Pallice, 2 OTU sorties. No losses.
Page 438, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

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