C. Croall crew 04.06.42 †

30/05/1942 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Twenty-three Wellington aircraft, including IA, IC,III, were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, Wellington IA T.2894, captained by P/O Johnson (attached to this Unit from C.G.S. Suton Bridge) failed to return to base. Another aircraft X.3751 captained by P/O Jarman, was badly damaged by flak, both fuel tanks being holed and both port and starboard airspeed indicators rendered unserviceable. The bomb load consisted of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and 30lbs. and 4lbs incendiaries. The weather conditions were excellent, and the target was bombed successfully many fires being started in all parts of the town. A.A. fire was very erratic and searchlights were working in cones. A large number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks resulted. Navigation was by D/R, TR, Q.D.M., Loop.

Wellington Mk.III X.3760 AA-L

P/O Allen Armistice Fraser, RNZAF NZ405030 – Pilot.
Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O J.J. Manson, RAFVR 1251684/ 104475 – Navigator.
Sgt. Greig, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Tate, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
F/S Raymond Wickliffe John Trengrove, RNZAF NZ40927 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 04:00

01/06/1942 – Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Twenty Well. a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb loads of $000lbs, 500lbs, 250, 30lb inc and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area but results were not observed owing to cloud over target. Large fires were, however, seen to be burning in the target area. A.A. fire was not particularly intense and searchlights were scattered. One ME.109 followed Well.IC DV884 for about 5 minutes but was eluded. Weather was fairly good until target was reached where there was low cloud and haze. Navigation was good by all aids.

Wellington Mk.III X.3468 AA-H

F/S Ivan George Edward McPhail, RNZAF NZ402203 – Pilot.
Sgt. Charles Croall RNZAF NZ41627 2nd Pilot.
P/O Wallace Edward Buckley, RNZAF NZ391379 – Observer.
F/S Edward Albert Letchford, RNZAF NZ404074 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Kenneth Henry Sutherland, RNZAF NZ404103 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Harold Vincent Allen, RNZAF NZ402101 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:55 – Landed 02:40
Flight Time 03:45

02/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area but no results were observed. A few small fires were seen near target. A.A. fire was fairly heavy and searchlights operating in cones were numerous. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather marred the operation, there being a heavy ground have. Navigation was excellent. Well, X3408, captained by P/O Carter, failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III X.3468 AA-H

F/S Ivan George Edward McPhail, RNZAF NZ402203 – Pilot.
Sgt. Charles Croall RNZAF NZ41627 2nd Pilot.
P/O Wallace Edward Buckley, RNZAF NZ391379 – Observer.
F/S Edward Albert Letchford, RNZAF NZ404074 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Kenneth Henry Sutherland, RNZAF NZ404103 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Harold Vincent Allen, RNZAF NZ402101 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:10 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 03:45

04/06/1942 – Attack Against Dieppe
Two aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 250lbs was dropped in the target area but no results were observed. A.A. fire was very slight and searchlights few. No enemy a/c were encountered. There was slight haze but no cloud and navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.- – AA-M

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
Sgt. James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RAFVR NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 01:15
Flight Time 01:55

17/06/1942 – Mine-Laying off Frisian Islands
Eight a/c were detailed to carry out the above sortie. Mines were laid as ordered and all a/c returned safely. (Two a/c out of the above eight went to St. Nazaire on a sortie). There was very little flak and searchlights were few. There was haze and vis. was moderate. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1616 AA-D

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
Sgt. James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RAFVR NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 05:40

19/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Eleven a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 4lb inc was taken. Aircraft unable to identify Emden attacked Osnabruck. Results were not observed. Flak was not intense but searchlights were fairly active. One unidentified a/c followed Well.III X3539 for about 5 miles but made no attack. Weather was clear over Osnabruck. Nav was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
Sgt. James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:45 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 03:50

20/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Twelve a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results were not observed. There was intense flak and searchlights were few. A JU88 attacked Well.III, X3539 without result. Weather was hazy with 5/10 cloud. Visibility very bad. Nav was good. Well.III, X3760 P/O Fraser failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 dnc AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot. Did Not Complete Op   2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.

Take Off 23:35 – Landed 00:25
Flight Time 00:50

22/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results were not observed. Flak was moderate and searchlights were scarce. One JU88 and one ME109 sighted by one of our a/c but no attack made. Weather good 5/10 cloud at 15,000’, clear over target. Slight haze. Nav was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
Sgt. James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RAFVR NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 04:45

25/06/1942 – Attack on Targets at Bremen
Twenty a/c were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target. Results not observed. There was a large amount of A.A. fire searchlights were ineffective. A JU88 followed Well.III X3664 but did not attack. Weather was moderate with 10/10 cloud. Nav was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
Sgt. James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 05:35

29/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Sixteen a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results not observed. A.A. fire was heavy in target area. Searchlights were ineffective through cloud. A JU88 was attacked and claimed as shot down by Well.BJ837, captained by Sgt. Hockaday. Weather was cloudy. Nav was excellent. Well.III (P/O Monk) failed to return and Well.III Z1616 (Sgt. Bertram) crashed after take-off and caught fire. All crew killed.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 04:45

02/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Twelve aircraft left base to carry out an attack on targets at Bremen. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in the target area, bomb bursts and fires were seen in target area. A.A. fire was poor and searchlights were scattered but numerous. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was very clear over target. Navigation was very good by TR and DR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3542 AA-?

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 05:20

08/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Wilhemshaven
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area and hit were believed to be scored. There was heavy predicted flak and searchlights were scattered. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was good clear over target. Navigation was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:53 – Landed 05:13
Flight Time 05:20

20/07/1942 – Daylight Sorties Against Bremen
Six a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load was not dropped as all returned to base owing to lack of cloud cover. There was no A.A. fire but four enemy a/c made unsuccessful attacks on Well.III, X3452, captained by Sgt. Croall

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:25 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 04:15

21/07/1942 – Attack Against at Duisburg
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs 30lbs and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area but results were unobserved. Photographs were taken however. A.A. fire was not very heavy but there were any searchlight cones. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was good, clear over target. Navigation was by TR & DR.

Wellington Mk.III BJ.599 AA-U

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:20 – Landed 02:05
Flight Time 01:45

23/07/1942 – Attack Against at Duisburg
Fourteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target and bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area. Results unobserved. A.A. fire was heavy and concentrated. Searchlights were few owing to cloud. One JU.88 was seen. TWo other enemy a/c were seen but did not attack. Weather was poor, cloudy over the target. Nav. was good

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:00 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 04:05

25/07/1942 – Attack Against at Duisburg
Thirteen a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb loads of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and incendiaries was dropped in the target area. Results unobserved. A.A. fire was accurate and in abundance. Searchlights were poor. Several enemy a/c were seen, one FW190 was seen near target and a JU88 attacking a Wellington. Weather was fair with 8/10 to 10/10 cloud. Nav was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:30 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 04:00

26/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Fifteen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack against the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and incedaries was dropped on target area. Numerous fires and bomb bursts were seen. A.A. fire was accurate. Seven searchlights destroyed and others damaged and one m/c gun post silenced by Well.III, X3396, captained by Sgt. Kearns. Searchlights were ineffective owing to moon. One JU88 was seen 30 miles from enemy coast but did not attack. Weather was clear over target but cloudy on route. Navigation was very good by TR and DR

Wellington Mk.III BJ.625 AA-T

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off not listed – Landed not listed
Flight Time not listed

28/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area and bursts were seen in dock area. A.A. fire was very accurate, light and heavy predicted. There were many accurate searchlight cones in parts but clear over target. Navigation was good by TR and DR. Six a/c failed to return to base

Wellington Mk.III X.3452 AA-J

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
F/S Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time missing

Caught within searchlight cones while bombing Hamburg, Sgt Croall took rapid evasive action by diving his aircraft steeply to a low level, but they were hit by vigorous light AA fire and forced to ditch in the sea. All but the rear gunner, Sgt Crarer, evacuated the aircraft successfully. They were picked up and taken prisoners of war. Sgt Crarer’s body was later recovered and buried in the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery at Tönning.

Sgt. Charles Croall, RNZAF NZ41627 – Pilot.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 25136
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag VIIIB/344. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 11th of May 1945

Sgt. Ronald Stewart Harvey, RNZAF NZ404538 – Observer.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 25130
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag 344. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 9th of April 1945

Sgt. William Henry Bright, RNZAF NZ41567 – Front gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 25628
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag VIIIB/344. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 18th of April 1945

F/S James Richard Gratton, RNZAF NZ402996 – Wireless Operator.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 25157
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag VIIIB/344. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 21st of April 1945

Sgt. Thomas Eric Crarer, RNZAF NZ405475 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 21.
Son of Thomas Stewart Crarer and Barbara Elizabeth Crarer, of Wairoa, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 4A. H. 1-7.