N.B. Bluck crew 13.5.43 †

12/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Stirling Mk.III. BK.721 captained by F/Lt. E.R.M. Appleton, whilst taking off failed to clear an obstruction at the end of the runway and crashed almost immediately afterwards, all the crew with the exception of the captain and the wireless operator, F/Sgt. Cocks, S.G. were killed. The captain received severe injuries and the wireless was also injured, both were admitted to hospital. As a result of this crash two aircraft were unable to take-off. One aircraft returned early owing to the Captain being sick. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Some heavy A.A.Fire, co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but it was ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was very clear in the target area with good visibility except for ground haze which prevented identification. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK778 JN-U

S/L Richard Broadbent, RNZAF NZ391339 – Pilot.
Sgt. Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. John Charles Kennedy Fabian, RNZAF NZ413720 – Navigator.
F/S Earl Ray Belford, RCAF R.88751/ J.17419 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. D.J. McIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.A. Fenn, RAFVR 1085958 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Richard Kurton, RAFVR 1477334/ 161621 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Harold Percy Jones, RAFVR 1392223/ 149903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:23 – Landed 04:23
Flight Time 04:00

13/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Bochum
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft, however, were forced to return early owing to engine trouble. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and very large concentrated fires were seen, together with explosions. This is considered to have been a very successful raid. Heavy predicted A.A.Fire co-operation with searchlights was encountered. Several enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. Stirling Mk.I. BK619, captained by Sgt. J.L. Mitchell was attacked by an ME110 and opened fire at 400 yards slightly below our aircraft. The mod-upper gunner fired a medium burst and the enemy aircraft was seen to burst into flames and passed beneath the Stirling. The rear gunner fired a further long burst at 300 yards and the enemy aircraft was seen to turn on its back and dive, hit the ground and explode. The weather was very clear in the target area, but visibility was impaired by slight ground haze. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BK778 JN-U

S/L Richard Broadbent, RNZAF NZ391339 – Pilot.
Sgt. Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. John Charles Kennedy Fabian, RNZAF NZ413720 – Navigator.
F/S Earl Ray Belford, RCAF R.88751/ J.17419 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. D.J. McIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.A. Fenn, RAFVR 1085958 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Richard Kurton, RAFVR 1477334/ 161621 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Harold Percy Jones, RAFVR 1392223/ 149903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:07 – Landed 04:55
Flight Time 04:48

16/05/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their Mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A.Fire or searchlights were encountered. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was clear and visibility was good in the mining area. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

Sgt. Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:03 – Landed 05:35
Flight Time 04:32

21/05/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1500lb. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their Mines in the allotted area. Some light A.A.Fire and one searchlight was encountered, but was ineffective. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was good and visibility was variable. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

Sgt. Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:17 – Landed 05:10
Flight Time 06:53

23/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Some very large fires were seen, and the bombs were seen to explode amongst large buildings. Medium and Heavy A.A.Fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered. One aircraft was hit whilst over the target, and the port outer propeller was shot off, but the aircraft successfully returned to base. Some enemy aircraft were seen, and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but identification was difficult owing to smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III,BK.783 captained by Sergeant S.M. Tietjens failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BK434 ??-?

Sgt. Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:24 – Landed 03:54
Flight Time 04:30

25/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Four aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and one failed to return. The remaining eleven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and some large explosions were also seen. Both heavy and light A.A.Fire was encountered, co-operating with searchlights, which were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. Ten tenths cloud was prevalent in the target area, but visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. This missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. BK602, captained by Sergeant T.W. Darton.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:08 – Landed 04:16
Flight Time 04:08

29/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Twenty aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, and two returned early. Four aircraft failed to return. The remaining thirteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires were seen and also some big explosions. Some heavy A.A.Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No searchlights were seen. A few enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but visibility was impaired by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BK776 Captained by P/O. R.F.Bennett, Mk.I EF398, captained by F/O. R.B. Vernazoni, MK.III EH881 captained by Sgt. J.H. Carey and Mk.III Bf561 captained by Sgt. S.R. Thornley.

Stirling Mk.I BF465 AA-K

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:28 – Landed 01:53
Flight Time 02:25

11/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb.,1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to return and two returned early owing to engine trouble. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Many large fires and huge explosions were seen. Moderate and heavy A.A.fire co-operating with search lights were encountered. One aircraft was coned by searchlights, but violent evasive action eventually avoided them with difficulty. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was clear and the visibility was good except for haze caused by the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stiring Mk.III BK817 captained by Squadron Leader R.H. Laud, (“A” Flight Commander).

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:35 – Landed 03:54
Flight Time 04:19

19/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Krefeld
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft returned early as it was hit by A.A. fire in the fuselage, mainplane and mid upper turret. The Flight Engineer made a really good effort to overcome the damage by hacking his way through the fuselage into the port wing to get at the petrol tank controls, which he then operated by hand. The BREUIL STEEL WORKs was very badly damaged and appeared to have the roof missing. Large fires and huge explosions were seen in the target area. An aircraft captained by P/O Sedunary, lost the outer propeller , just before bombing. He carried out his bombing successfully and returned to base. At the beginning of the attack little light and heavy A.A fire and one searchlight were encountered, but as the attack progressed the defences were thoroughly disorganised. There was no cloud in the target area and visibility was excellent, except for smoke from out flares. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
F/S Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Raymond Anthony Kennedy, RAFVR 1003148 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:59 – Landed 04:51
Flight Time 06:52

21/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Krefeld
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. bombs in the target area. The operation was very successful, the whole of the town was seething in flames and the smoke from the fires was rising to a height of 8,000ft. On the return the fires could be seen from the Dutch Coast. Heavy, moderate and light A.A. fire. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good with clear visibility except in the target area, where there was haze caused by fires. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF461 JN-B

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
F/S James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
F/S Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Raymond Anthony Kennedy, RAFVR 1003148 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:34 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 03:16

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A.fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.III BF461 JN-B

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
F/S James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
F/S Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:56 – Landed 03:37
Flight Time 03:41

24/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with incendiary bombs of 30lns and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very good attack, very large concentrated fires being seen, the glow of which was visible 30 miles away from the Dutch Coast. The defences were considerably stronger than the previous attacks, both moderate and heavy A.A.fire was encountered and two aircraft were slightly hit. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, although the smoke from the fires obscured ground detail. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EH902 captained by F/S Bluck.

Stirling Mk.I EH902 AA-K
Form 541 for this Op lists a/c as  EH902 (above in diary report), but as BK619 (AA-X) against crew list.

F/S Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
F/S James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
F/S Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:23 – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Stirling Mk.I EH902 AA-K was brought down either by AA fire or a night-fighter, crashing into the sea off Wissenkerke on the Dutch island of Beveland. There were no survivors. The bodies were all recovered and four of the crew buried in Vlissingen Northern Cemetery. The other three were buried at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery.

P/O Norman Bradford Bluck, RNZAF NZ40364 – Pilot.
Killed age 22.
Son of Walter Bradford Bluck and of Eileen Maud Bluck (Nee Atchison), of Otorohanga, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Row F. Grave 12.

F/S James Brett Cooksey, RNZAF NZ416460 – Navigator.
Killed age 23.
Son of Thomas Brett Farmer Cooksey and of Annie Elizabeth Cooksey (Nee Ball), of Mangawhare, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – 14. C. 1.

F/S Geoffrey Walter Strong, RNZAF NZ413905 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 31.
Son of Arthur John and Grace Rubena Strong, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Row F. Grave 13.

Sgt. Michael Kendlan, RAFVR 1072258 – Wireless Operator .
Killed age 23.
Son of Mary Anne Kendlan, of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham, England.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – 7. AA. 6.
‘God rest you, my dearest son,
Your duty nobly
And courageously done
R.I.P.’

Sgt. John William Gillard, RAFVR 938834 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 24.
Son of Joseph and Clara Ann Gillard, of Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffordshire.
Buried Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – 4. C. 7.
‘Gone but not forgotten.
Always remembered by
Father, brother and sisters’

Sgt. Douglas Armitage, RAFVR 1434609 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of Ellis and Edith Armitage, of Wakefield, Yorkshire.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Row F. Grave 14.
‘Though lost to sight
To memory ever near’

Sgt. Leslie Ronald Cant, RAFVR 1397680 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 20.
Son of William Charles and Mary Ann Cant, of Bermondsey, London.
Buried Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Row F. Grave 7.
 

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