C.E. Armstrong crew 14.1.44 †

14/01/1944 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1,500 lbs. One aircraft brought its mines back owing to a Navigational failure, but the other aircraft successfully dropped its Mines in the allotted area. No opposition was met and the sortie was uneventful. Apart from slight haze, the weather was good as was also visibility. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III LJ457 ??-?

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
Sgt. Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
Sgt. Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:35 – Landed 20:55
Flight Time 03:20

20/01/1944 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Seven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. One aircraft was withdrawn but the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area. No opposition was met and the trip was uneventful. The weather was good and visibility clear except for slight sea haze. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III LJ441 JN-P

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Alan Lister Kay, RNZAF NZ42299 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Ferguson Reid, RCAF R.178421/ J.89732 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:10 – Landed 20:20
Flight Time 03:10

21/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large bomb bursts and some fires being observed. Very little opposition was encountered and this proved to be negligible. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:35 – Landed 21:25
Flight Time 02:50

25/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs. One aircraft failed to take-off, & four brought their bombs back. The remainder however, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This operation did not appear to be very successful, the bombing being rather scattered, some large explosions were seen, however. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EH901 JN-O
Four aircraft failed to drop their bombs on targets for unreported reasons.

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/O Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner. First name found on Cambridge Community archive page about ‘F for Freddie’
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:05 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 04:15

27/01/1944 – Mining in the Heligoland Area
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., which were all successfully dropped in the allotted area. An uneventful operation, little opposition was met, only slight A.A. Fire and a few enemy aircraft being seen. The weather was good, being clear except for sea haze. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EH902 ??-K

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Darbyshire, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:28 – Landed 21:43
Flight Time 04:15

28/01/1944 – Mining in the Kiel Bay
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500 lbs. Three aircraft returned early, two dropped their mines in alternative areas, but the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area. Some light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, and one aircraft received slight damage. A few enemy aircraft were seen and the aircraft captained by P/O C. BAKER, whilst on the homeward journey was attacked by a M.E.110, which raked our aircraft with machine gun and cannon fire, from the tailplane to the Navigator’s compartment, causing considerable damage. The mid-upper gunner, Sgt. RENWICK, H. was slightly injured and the Flight Engineer Sgt. WATSON, W. was seriously injured. On return the aircraft crash-landed at COLTISHALL. The weather was variable with 5-10/10ths cloud, but fairly clear in the mining area. Severe icing was encountered on the return journey. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EH948 AA-Q

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Thomas Darbyshire, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:08 – Landed 01:13
Flight Time 06:05

03/02/1944 – Mining off Cherbourg
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs, both of which successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area. No opposition was encountered. One aircraft had its starboard inner catch fire ten minutes before reaching the area and this had to be feathered. The weather was squally but otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Worthington, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:55 – Landed 06:55
Flight Time 03:00

20/02/1944 – Mining off St. Malo
Two aircraft successfully laid mines of 1,500 lbs in the channels of St. Malo. The operation was uneventful.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:35 – Landed 22:40
Flight Time 04:05

22/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to lay mines of 1,500 lbs in Kiel Bay. After being airborne for one hour all of the aircraft were recalled owing to unsuitable weather conditions.

Stirling Mk.III EJ108 dnc AA-O

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:55 – Landed 19:05
Flight Time 02:10

24/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed with a large force to lay mines of 1500 lbs in Kiel Bay, and fourteen returned after completing their mission successfully. One aircraft (Captain NZ42367 F/S. Bruhns H.) is missing, and no news was heard after take-off.

Stirling Mk.III ??949 ??-?

FS Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:20 – Landed 00:25
Flight Time 07:05

02/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period WHEELWRIGHT 69 (ABORTIVE)
Operation WHEELWRIGHT 69 (Abortive).
Dropping area reached after run from final pin point, but no reception was seen.

Stirling Mk.III ??-?

FS Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

04/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 129 (SUCCESSFUL)
Operation TRAINER 129 (successful).
The m/n crew in Stirling III JN ‘F’ took off at 21.06 hours. The target area was reached at 00.02 hours and pin pointed by railway and roads junction at Mauriac. Three white lights instead of the red were seen and sixteen containers were dropped from 400 feet at 00.12 hours. The weather was good apart from haze. Course was set for Base at 00.15 hours and four packages of leaflets were dropped at Tulle. The aircraft returned to Base, without further incident, and landed at 04.14 hours.

Stirling Mk.III JN-F

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:06 – Landed 04:14
Flight Time 07:08

07/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 121 (ABORTIVE)
Operation TRAINER 121 (Abortive).
There was ten tenths cloud with bases of 200′ in the target area and no reception was seen.

Stirling Mk.III ??-?

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

10/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 121 (ABORTIVE)
Operation TRAINER 121 (Abortive).
Whilst taking off owing to engine trouble this aircraft was forced to jettison its entire load except a special package which it brought back on landing safely.

Stirling Mk.III ??-?

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

13/03/1944 – Mining off Lorient
Sixteen aircraft were detailed for mine laying off St. Nazaire, Lorient, La Rochelle, and Brest. One aircraft (Captain NZ414567 F/Sgt. Rowberry T.) failed to return. Another aircraft (Captain NZ42999 P/O. C. Baker) returned early with aileron trouble and crashed at Castle Comb, without injury to the crew although the aircraft was burnt out. The remaining fourteen successfully laid their mines, one aircraft landing at Woodbridge on return.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 05:40

15/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period MUSICIAN 5 (ABORTIVE)
Operation MUSICIAN 5 (Abortive).
In the target area visibility was poor and no reception lights were seen. On the return journey two packages of leaflets were dropped at Guise.

Stirling Mk.III ??-?

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

23/03/1944 – Attack Against Targets at Laon
Five aircraft took off to bomb the marshalling yards at Laon and they all returned safely.

Stirling Mk.III LJ441 JN-P

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:40 – Landed 00:25
Flight Time 04:45

25/03/1944 – Attack Against targets at Aulneye
Seven aircraft were detailed to attack Aulnoye, two failed to take off, but the remaining five successfully completed their mission.

Stirling Mk.III EH949 JN-P

F/S Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:15 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 05:00

09/04/1944 – Attack against Villeneuve St. George
Eleven Lancaster aircraft successfully attacked Villeneuve St. Georges. Four Stirling aircraft were detailed to attack Lille. One jettisoned its load on the outward journey, but the remainder successfully attacked the target.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:45 – Landed 01:55
Flight Time 04:10

24/04/1944 – Attack Against Karlsruhe
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack Karlsruhe. One was withdrawn but the remainder carried out a successful attack with little opposition.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:25 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 05:15

26/04/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Fifteen aircraft (Lancasters) were detailed to attack Essen. Two were withdrawn, but the remaining thirteen took part in a successful and very concentrated attack. The defences were considered to be moderate and all the aircraft returned safely.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 03:10
Flight Time 03:50

27/04/1944 – Attack Against Friedrichshafen
Sixteen Lancasters were detailed to attack Friedrichshafen. Fourteen successfully carried out their mission, one aircraft bombed a decoy in error and another failed to return (Captain NZ42282 F/O. R. Herron).

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Edgerton*, RAFVR 1463367 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 06:00
Flight Time 07:55

*Leslie Edgerton ceased to fly with the Armstrong crew aftert his Op, being pulled from Operations owing to a case of German measles.
Leslie recounted the events some 50 years later to his son-in-law David Yates, the son of Harry Yates, who also flew with 75(NZ) Squadron in 1944 – ironically, they were ignorant of each other at the time – the link was only realised when David by chance, spoke to Leslie about his Wartime experiences…….

“I didn’t finish with my own crew though.  I was sent to hospital with German measles, you see, and my own crew carried on flying without me.  It was six weeks before the doctor let me go back.  I expected them to still be there, but they weren’t.  I made enquiries.  But nobody seemed to know anything, just that they hadn’t come back from a raid.  The radio operator who had gone in my place was only young, and he’d just married, I think.  Anyway, over the years I’ve tried a few times to find out what happened to them – you know, at the library.  But I still don’t know.  I’ve always hoped one or two of them were made POWs, and got back home to New Zealand eventually.”

10/05/1944 – Attack Against Courtrai
Twenty three aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Courtrai. A concentrated attack was made with very slight opposition. One aircraft (Captain NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond) was hit by A.A. Fire on the return journey and the Captain received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ralph Herbert Barker, RNZAF NZ417189 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:12 – Landed 00:47
Flight Time 02:35

11/05/1944 – Attack Against Louvain
Twenty-four aircraft, representing the largest number of Lancaster aircraft so far detailed by this Squadron, were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Louvain. Twenty-three aircraft successfully attacked in good weather. One aircraft (Captain NZ414591 A/F/L. S. Clark) claimed a JU 88 destroyed in combat over the North Sea. Another aircraft (Captain 151118 A/F/L. D. Warren) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
P/O William John Lake, RNZAF NZ416121 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 03:35

19/05/1944 – Attack Against Le Mans
Twenty for aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Le Mans. Good results being reported.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Carl Arthur Warburton, RAFVR 1484107 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:35 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 04:55

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target. Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis). Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot. F/S John Devon Lethbridge, RNZAF NZ424482 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Carl Arthur Warburton, RAFVR 1484107 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 04:45

22/05/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund of which eighteen completed their mission successfully. Three aircraft returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and NZ42354 P/O. C. Armstrong). The raid was well concentrated and carried out in good weather with excellent visibility. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU 88. Otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Lancaster Mk.III ND768 AA-F “Freddie”

P/O Cecil Ernest ‘Snow’ Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Carl Arthur Warburton, RAFVR 1484107 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:56 – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Reports indicate that ND768 was struck by flak on approach to target – with a full bomb load, the aircraft exploded killing all on board. The crew’s remains were buried intially at Hauptfriedhof, Dortmund, but were later reinterred at the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

P/O Cecil Ernest Armstrong, RNZAF NZ42354 – Pilot.
Killed age 27.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Armstrong, of Napier, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand; Husband of Elsie Isabella Agnes Armstrong, of Napier.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. G. 14. 84

F/S Douglas Beardsley Payne, RNZAF NZ426917 – Navigator.
Killed age 22.
Son of James Thomas William and Elizabeth Alice Payne, of Limehills, Southland New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. G. 12. 82

F/S Eric William Elliott Marshall, RNZAF NZ415637 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 31.
Son of Harold W. and Eva M. Marshall, of Hastings, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. G. 18. 88

Sgt. Carl Arthur Warburton, RAFVR 1484107 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22.
Son of Carl H. and Nellie Warburton, of Darlington. Co. Durham.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 3. G. 15. 85
‘Thy will be done’

Sgt. David Sleightholm, RAFVR 1684309 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 22.
Son of John W. and Gertrude Sleightholm, of Carlisle; Husband of Rosanna Sleightholm, of Carlisle.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 3. G. 13. 83

Sgt. Roy Joseph Davies, RAFVR 1603898 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 21.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Davies, of Edmonton, Middlesex.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 3. G. 16. 86
‘In loving memory of our dear son Roy’

F/S James Pepper, RAFVR 1682572 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 23.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 3. G. 17. 87
‘A day of remembrance
Sad to recall
Without farewell
He left us all’