D.F. Atkin crew 31.8.44

31/08/1944 – Attack Against Pont Reny
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Flying Bomb Supply Dump at Pont Reny. All were successful in bombing the target, although cloud obscured it to some extent, which caused part of the bombing to be scattered. No enemy fighters were encountered and A.A. opposition was slight, but one aircraft (Captain NZ421488 .F/O. J. Aitken) was damaged and the Air Bomber, NZ429967 .F/O. R. Mayhill received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O Oboe

F/S Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/O Arthur Francis Thompson, RNZAF NZ4212803 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:15 – Landed 19:39
Flight Time 03:24

16/09/1944 – Attack Against Moerdijk
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack Moerdijk Bridge. The operation was successfully carried out in good weather. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/S Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/L Arthur Gethin Creagh, RNZAF NZ404340 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:30 – Landed 00:18
Flight Time 02:48

20/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft set out as detailed to attack enemy strong points at Calais. They all successfully bombed the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/S Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Anthony Charles John Herrold, RNZAF NZ422399 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:40 – Landed 18:15
Flight Time 03:35

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/S Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Anthony Charles John Herrold, RNZAF NZ422399 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:15 – Landed 11:55
Flight Time 03:40

03/10/1944 – Attack Against the West Kapelle Dyke
Twenty one aircraft we detailed to attack the West Kappelle dyke. Twenty of these were successful in bombing although some crews had to make two or three attempts owing to low cloud base. Bombing was reported to have been fairly good and some flooding was seen. One aircraft had to bring its bombs back owing to a technical failure.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/S Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 14:20
Flight Time 02:55

05/10/1944 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
Thirty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack the railway centre at Saarbrucken. They all reached the target area but only fourteen bombed before the Master Bomber issued instructions to abandon the mission. Bombing appeared scattered, and the raid was unsatisfactory. The aircraft captained by NZ 427481 F/Sgt Galletly, A. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q

F/S Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:25 – Landed 22:50
Flight Time 05:25

06/10/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund, but one of these was withdrawn owing to a technical failure. Twenty six aircraft attacked the target in good weather and a very accurate and concentrated raid was reported, large fires being left burning. A.A. Fire was moderate but fighters were active and the aircraft captained by NZ427798 F/S Farr, W. had a series of combats during which the enemy aircraft was claimed as being destroyed. One aircraft returned early and landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure and another (Captain NZ411048 F/O K. Southward) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:10 – Landed 22:25
Flight Time 05:15

07/10/1944 – Attack Against Emmerich
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Emmerich in support of the advancing Allied armies. They all bombed the target successfully and a concentrated and accurate raid was reported, the target area being entirely covered with smoke. Moderate heavy A A fire was encountered and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:20 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:00

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”
Hit by flak twice

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:00 – Landed 11:30
Flight Time 04:30

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg(2)
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to make a further attack on Duisburg, unfortunately, however, three aircraft had to be withdrawn. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable. The remaining twenty five aircraft took part in a very successful attack in excellent visibility and large fires were seen to break out and add to those already burning from the morning attack. AA opposition was negligible and searchlight did not operate until late in the raid. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy fighter.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 05:00

19/10/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Twenty eight aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart. The attack was in two waves. Thirteen aircraft took part in the first wave and successfully dropped their bombs with the aid of markers and flares, in weather conditions of 9/10ths cloud. A.A. opposition was moderate and a few enemy aircraft were active. Fifteen aircraft took part in the second wave five hours later and they all dropped their bombs with the aid of flares through ten tenths cloud. The glow of fires seen, indicated that the fires were concentrated around the aiming point. A A opposition was less than that encountered during the first wave, but more enemy fighters were active. Four of our aircraft had inconclusive combats.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 06:00

28/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Thirteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack Flushing. The weather was good and bombing was considered to be very accurate. One large explosion was seen at the end of the raid. Opposition from A.A. fire was slight but a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:00 – Landed 11:28
Flight Time 02:28

29/10/1944 – Attack Against West Kapelle
Fourteen aircraft took off to attack a target at West Kappelle. They all bombed as instructed by the Master Bomber and bombing was reported as concentrated, although it was thought to be slightly away from the correct aiming point. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:02 – Landed 12:39
Flight Time 02:37

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Eighteen aircraft took off in the evening to make a further attack on Cologne. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target area, but markers were well placed and a good glow from fires beneath the clouds was observed on leaving. A.A. opposition was slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:30 – Landed 22:50
Flight Time 04:20

04/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Twenty one aircraft took off to attack Solingen in daylight, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb incendiaries and No.17 Clusters. All crews dropped their bombs in the target area, but the raid appeared to be scattered. Flak opposition was moderate. One aircraft captained by NZ428797 F/O J. Scott, failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:30
Flight Time 04:45

15/11/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty five aircraft were detailed for an attack an the Soest Marshalling Yards, but this operation was cancelled and the same aircraft took off to attack an Oil Refinery at Dortmund in daylight, carrying 4,000 lbs and 500 lbs bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing in formation through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 ft. and a concentrated raid was reported. Flak was reported as being fairly accurate by the leading aircraft, but none of our aircraft were hit.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:25 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 05:10

16/11/1944 – Attack Against Heinsberg
Twenty five aircraft were detailed to attack an Oil Refinery target at Sterkrade but this operation was cancelled, and the 25 aircraft later took off to attack Heinsberg in support of the advancing American Army, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All crews were successful in bombing the town which was identified visually. On leaving, the whole town appeared to be covered in a thick pall of smoke. Flak was fairly intense but only two of our aircraft received minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I ME574? –

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:35 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 03:50

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”
HK574, F/O Atkin and crew, who diverted to RAF Tangmere, landing at 18.00hrs.

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:50 – Landed 18:00
Flight Time 05:10

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:41 – Landed 17:33
Flight Time 04:52

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:20 – Landed 17:05
Flight Time 04:45

28/11/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack on Neuss, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb and Incendiary bombs, together with one 12,000 lb bomb. Twenty aircraft were successful in dropping their bombs using navigational aids and a good concentration of fires was reported. Flak was very slight, the enemy defences appearing to be completely foxed. One aircraft captained by W/C R.J.A. Leslie, D.S.O., A.F.C. carrying the 12,000 lb bomb got in the wrong stream of bombers and bombed Essen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:54 – Landed 07:20
Flight Time 04:26

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:47 – Landed 15:13
Flight Time 04:26

04/12/1944 – Attack Against Oberhausen
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack an Oil target at Oberhausen, carrying 1 x 12,000 lb, 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM, 500 G.P., 500 M.C. and 4 lb I.B. bombs. Nineteen aircraft attacked the target using navigational aids and the raid was reported as well concentrated though results were unobserved owing to 10/10 cloud with tops 10,000 ft covering the target. One aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen, having been damaged by flak.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q
Hit by flak 3 times
F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:12 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 03:51

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M
Hit by flak twice
F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:04 – Landed 13:53
Flight Time 04:49

06/12/1944 – Attack Against Mersburg Leuna Oil Refinery
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack o the Merseburg Leuna Oil Refinery, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P.(LD) bombs. The target was covered with 10/10 cloud, tops about 14,000 ft and all aircraft were successful in bombing the target with navigational aids. The attack was considered to be concentrated, though bombing results could not be seen, apart from the glow of fires seen beneath the cloud. Flak was intense in the target area and a few enemy fighters were seen en route but no attacks were reported. One aircraft, AA “R” captained by 1585981 F/O D. Atkin, had engine trouble after leaving the target, the starboard inner catching fire, and it was with great difficulty that the crew managed to keep the fire under control. When approaching this country the starboard inner engine went u/s and after jettisoning all equipment and with the aircraft losing height at 100 feet per minute, the Captain made a very good ditching in the River Orwell. None of the crew were hurt.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”
Developed engine trouble after leaving the target, the starboard inner catching fire, and it was with great difficulty that the crew managed to keep the fire under control. When approaching this country the starboard inner engine went u/s and after jettisoning all equipment and with the aircraft losing height at 100 feet per minute, the Captain made a very good ditching in the River Orwell. None of the crew were hurt.

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:13 – Landed 01:30
Flight Time 08:17

16/12/1944 – Attack Against Siegen
Eighteen aircraft took off to attack Siegen in rather poor weather conditions, carrying 1 x 12,000 H.C., 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 1,000 H.C., 500 cluster 4 lb and 4 lb I.B. Bombs. Three returned early with icing trouble. The main body experienced dense cloud and were unable to formate until they reached 30K. All crews bombed the target, several being able to see a built up area through occasional gaps in the dense cloud cover. It is concluded that the attack was successful. Some fighter and flak opposition was noticed en route, but our aircraft experienced no difficulty.

Lancaster Mk.III LM733 AA-R
Hit by flak once
F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
P/O Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:24 – Landed 17:27
Flight Time 06:03

19/12/1944 – Sea Mining in Dornbusch Area
Four aircraft were detailed for mining in the Baltic by special equipment. These were able to take off, but owing to poor visibility at Base, these aircraft were diverted to Lossiemouth while on their return journey. All planted their mines successfully.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
P/O Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:30 – Landed 22:52
Flight Time 07:22

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.III ME321 AA-N “Nan”
Hit by flak 3 times
F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
P/O Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:52 – Landed 16:11
Flight Time 04:19

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.III ME321 AA-N “Nan”

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
P/O Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray ‘Curly’ Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Billy’ Madden, RAFVR 2219118 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Gordon Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 17:18
Flight Time 05:03