D.L. Nola crew 21.03.41 †

22/01/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Five Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 500lbs. N.D.T., 250 lbs. N.D.T., and containers of incendiaries. TKP.422 dropped bombs through cloud, but results were unobserved. THP.564 bombed through 10/10 cloud on E.T.A. from 11,000 feet on centre of flak concentration. One 250lbs. dropped on ROTTERDAM Aerodrome from 6000 feet on return; no results observed. TKP.616 reports target obscured by 10/10 cloud. Astro fix obtained over target and bombs dropped. Glow of incendiaries seen burning through cloud. TKP.917 dropped bombs in one stick in target on flak. No observations were made and no reconnaissance carried out. There was intense light and heavy flak in target area. Searchlights were moderate over target area. Few experienced on route. No enemy aircraft were encountered. There was 10/10 cloud over target. Navigation was by D/R, astro, R/T, Q.D.M’s

“Everything is going well so far – got my first cold this winter when I arrived here and still have got a beauty. After getting back from leave I was idle for about six days until Jim Falconer and the crew came back. They arrived on the Monday that is the 19th and on that Wednesday I did my first operational trip – to Dusseldorf in the Ruhr. We took off about 5pm – it was still daylight and headed up through the clouds and finally got into clear sky again about 5000ft and then going up to about l2,000ft, temperature about -12C. Crossed the English coast, North Sea, Holland without seeing a thing as the clouds were unbroken below us. After about three hours we came over or I should just near Dusseldorf – Jim took the controls then – we knew we were over Dusseldorf if our navigation was correct and then the flak started to come up – they were bursting all around us – could not see the ground so after dodging about twisting, turning, diving, climbing we finally let go the bombs and incendiaries into the middle of the hottest part. Then they let us have it – very interesting and beautiful if it was not so serious. The big shells burst in front and all around us – the light flak comes up in streams sometimes red, sometimes green and occasionally red and green alternatively – it makes you think. I took over the controls again and took her back to within a few miles of the drome when Jim finished and landed her. It was about 10.30 in the evening when we came in. I wasn’t very cold had a drink of hot coffee out of the thermos flask while we were over Germany and that brought the circulation back nicely. The hardest part of it was breathing — we kept plugged in the oxygen as much as possible but when l went back to pump oil to the engines had to plug out for about half a minute and does it take it out of you. Pumping oil is another hard job as it takes 50 strokes per gallon and you need a gallon for each engine and it is pretty hard work, you must not forget also that the oil is also just about frozen. On landing we went to operations room for briefing — that is giving details of what we did and saw. However we could not do much in this case owing to low cloud. However next day we were informed that something pretty important was hit in Dussledorf”.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2503 AA-?

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:40 – Landed 22:00
Flight Time 04:20

27/01/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Targets at Hanover
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, BNF.882, captained by S/L. Kain, failed to reach target owing to engine trouble, and bombs were jettisoned “safe” in sea. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. N.D.T., 500lbs. N.D.T., 250lbs. N.D.T. and containers of incendiaries. BNF. 253 reports bursts observed in target area by rear gunners. BNF. 268 dropped bombs in a single stick: 1000 lbs. seen to burst near railway station. BNF.432 reports two fires caused by incendiaries. H.E. dropped in target area. BNF.550 dropped incendiaries on target on first run. H.E. dropped on second run and seen to explode on the fires. Three red fires burning in middle of incendiaries upon leaving target. BNF.654 dropped bombs in two sticks across centre of city. Numerous fires started, increasing in size as target was left. BNF.817 located target and dropped a stick of bombs running North East. Line of fires resulted. Aerodrome observed 10 miles N.W. of LINZEN. Two photos of target area taken by BNF.253.. Fairly accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was experienced in target areas. Very few searchlights over target area: not accurate. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was clear over Germany. Low cloud over England and elsewhere en route. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, Q.D.M’s.

“Weather was pretty bad for the next four days however on Sunday we were to go to Hanover but it was not until 1.30 on Monday that we finally took off in terrible weather with fog almost down to the ground. To keep the ground in sight we had to fly at 800 feet –  we passed the coast and then over the North Sea which only a few hundred feet below looked very cold. lt was not until we had covered about fifty miles out that the clouds suddenly and up and we went crossing the Dutch coast at about 9000 feet and then over the Zuider Zee which was frozen. It was a clear night with no moon but even so we could see the ground quite clearly although we could not distinguish much as there was pretty heavy fall on the ground. We passed just north of lnnsbrook and then on to Hanover where they met us with plenty of flak. We circled around until we found the town after a while. The Jerries are pretty cunning as they get dummy fires going, a few miles away from the town so as to draw the bombs, but you can usually pick these. However as our target was the centre of the town, in other words a blitz we went right over the top of the place and let go our incendiaries and heavy bombs. We did not see the results immediately but afler getting away some distance there were two long lines of fires started by our incendiaries — looked as though a couple of streets were burning. Then someone else dropped their bombs and more fires were started. We could see them while we were fifty miles away. The flak was pretty heavy, so heavy that it seems amazing that you can get through it. l am always glad to get out of it l can tell you, When we got back to the English coast our troubles started again as the fog was pretty thick and required us to go down to about 300 ft which is no joke at night or early morning as it was about 7 o’clock and not dawn yet We got wireless bearings back to the drome but could not find it owing to low fog and had to cruise around for about an hour until we finally got down just as dawn was breaking Boy was I tired alter 7 hours in the air. Went into report the results of the operation at the same time hoeing into sandwiches and coffee. It was about 10 o’clock when I finally got to bed, where I stayed all day getting up for supper – then back to bed again for the night”.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:40 – Landed 08:05
Flight Time 06:25

 

“For the last fortnight we have done no operations owing to the weather – we have been due to go to Berlin, Hamburg and Boulogne but had to be cancelled owing to rain, snow cloud and ice.

The jerries have been paying us quite a number of visits and have put the wind up me a few times when they have dropped bombs. The other night they came over and got a couple of direct hits right on our mess and put the place out of action however, very luckily no one was hurt as most had gone to the shelter – the bomb landed 300 yards from the shelter. Luckily I was out that night and still spend most of my nights off the station. I took the plane up for a test today — have done little, day flying since arriving here- Still manage to take off and land in one piece. The crew are a jolly decent crowd and I get on well with Jim Falconer the first pilot he is a crack-a-jack pilot.

Have been travelling around quite a bit since coming – been to Cambridge a couple of times, also to Newmarket, King’s Lynn, Downham Market.

We spend most of our nights doing a spot of drinking in Brandon about seven miles from here. Going over to Norwich some nights – would have gone tonight we have a dance or at least we are going to a dance in the an army sergeants mess a few miles from here – the bar will be open until midnight – it is funny over most dance places have a bar in them – just like a pub so you can drink and dance as you please”.

10/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Rotterdam
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out individual bombing attacks on the above target. Hits were registered in the target area. A balloon was seen flying over Hanover at 9,000 feet. Two beacons were observed at Ymuiden flashing one dot every three seconds. Many dummy fires were also seen. Fair amount of heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered in target area. This ceased when red tracer followed by white tracer was fired. A number of enemy aircraft were seen, while LUX.657 reports being hit by machine gun bullets and explosive shells fired by enemy aircraft which attacked. The hydraulic gear was damaged and the aircraft crashed on landing at Methwold. The weather was good but there was scattered cloud. Navigation was by astro, pin points and map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2503 AA-?

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:25 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 02:50

14/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Bombs were seen to burst in target area, and many fires were observed. Dummy fires were seen near the target. Heavy and medium A.A. fire was encountered in the target area and on route. Searchlights were active from the Dutch coast to target. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was fine, but there was some ground mist.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2503 AA-?

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:35 – Landed 00:35
Flight Time 06:00

21/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Wilhelmshaven
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. One of the aircraft, JAH.124, captained by P/O Falconer, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. 500lbs. 250 lbs. and containers of incendiaries. JAH.243 bombed docks at EMDEN. Incendiaries not observed; 500lbs. bombs seen to explode in target area. Owing to front and rear turrets being unserviceable, JAH.460 returned to base. Bombs were jettisoned in sea. JAH.598 reports bombs seen to explode on docks. Incendiaries seen to cause large fires. JAH.607 reports one good fire, and three minor fires. JAH.969 dropped in vicinity of target area. JAH.996 bombed on ETA and heaviest flak concentration. Bomb bursts seen under cloud. No observations were made, and no reconnaissance carried out. The A.A. fire encountered was medium and inaccurate. There were few searchlights, mostly operating in cones. No enemy aircraft were seen. There was 10/10 cloud over most of the journey, with severe icing conditions. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, pin points.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

P/O Alec Herbert Burton, RAFVR 84007 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Revitt, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Milborne, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Brown, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William George, RNZAF NZ40722 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time not listed

23/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Boulogne
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Three of these aircraft failed to locate the target (WLR.245, WLR.807, WLR.948). A mixed bomb load was carried and was made up of 1000lbs., 500lbs., 250lbs., and containers of incendiaries. WLR.319 bombed the dock area at BOULOGNE. WLR.519 reports bombs burst in target area, and fires were observed. WLR.547 reports two bombs seen to burst in dock area, 250lbs. not seen to burst. WLR.867 bombed target and saw bursts across docks. Small fires started. Explosions observed by rear gunner. WLR.398 reports that bomb bursts were not seen, owing to layer of cloud blowing across target. S.B.C’s seen to light in target area. A number of parachute flares were seen shot up on coast near Calais. A.A. fire was intense and fairly accurate. Searchlights were numerous un target area. One enemy aircraft was seen. Eight tenths to 10/10 cloud was experienced over target area. Navigation was by map reading, D/R, and pin points.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Gilbert Theodore Kimberley, RNZAF NZ391359 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Williams, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Fairlam, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. McCracken, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 21:55
Flight Time 03:00

26/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Bombs were seen to burst in the target area and fires were started. Fairly accurate heavy to medium and light A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights were intense and accurate over Holland and the target area. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fairly good over most of the journey, but ground haze covered the target.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Gilbert Theodore Kimberley, RNZAF NZ391359 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Williams, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Fairlam, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. McCracken, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:06 – Landed 23:50
Flight Time 04:44

01/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Cologne
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Hits were registered in the target area. Many fires were observed in the target. Area and DLN 881 reports seeing dummy fires North West of the target. DLN 626 reported a stick of bombs seen to burst 15 miles East of Lowestoft. Inaccurate heavy A.A. fire was encountered and searchlights were numerous. One enemy searchlight carrying fighter seen by DLN 931 at 500 yards but no attack made. 10/10ths cloud was experienced over North Sea but clear over target area. Navigation was by pin-pointing and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Gilbert Theodore Kimberley, RNZAF NZ391359 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Williams, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Fred Haigh, RAFVR 939478 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. McCracken, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

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

 

21/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Ostend and L’Orient
Three Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing arracks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 500lbs., 250lbs., and containers of incendiaries. No results were observed by SLY.486. SLY.498 dropped bombs on A.A. batteries and searchlights at Boulogne. SLY.509 dropped bombs on West bank of river. Bursts not observed. Considerable A.A. fire was experienced on route. Slight searchlight activity was experienced at many parts of route. One unidentified aircraft was seen over BRIDPORT and YEOVIL while one enemy aircraft was seen over target area. Ten-tenths cloud was experienced over target area. Navigation was by D/R, map reading and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1038 AA-H

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Chapman, RAF – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 04:50
Flight Time 05:00

14/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Brest
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The weather was fine but there was a thin layer of cloud over the target area. Bombs were dropped and a number of bursts were observed in target area. A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate, and searchlights were accurate when operating in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic Serial not listed

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:35 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 06:15

16/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Bremen
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, captained by F/Lt. Fletcher, failed to locate target and bombs were bought back. The remaining aircraft all dropped bombs and bursts were observed from which fires resulted. Light and heavy A.A. fire, fairy accurate, was experienced in target areas. Searchlights were very active. One enemy aircraft was seen but no attack was made. There was a haze and layers of thin cloud over target areas. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166 AA-M

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:35 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 06:45

17/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of the aircraft, AXC.555, crashed on landing at Ternhill. No one was injured. All bombs were dropped and bursts were seen. A.A. fire was spasmodic and very accurate. Searchlights were intense over target and on route. A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. There was ground haze over the target with heavy could on route. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166 AA-M

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:40 – Landed 01:35
Flight Time 04:55

29/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Rotterdam
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Two of the aircraft bought bombs back, having failed to locate target. The remaining aircraft dropped bombs and fire were started. A.A fire was fairly intense but not very accurate. Searchlights were numerous, effective and working in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Weather was good, but there was slight haze over target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro and map-reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:55 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 04:25

02/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg and Emden
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000lbs. G.P., 500lbs. G.P.; 250lbs. G.P. and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped and hits scored. Many fires were started. Accurate heavy A.A. fire was experienced in target areas. There was intense stationary cones of searchlights over Hamburg. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine and visibility was good. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:25 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 06:25

04/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 2000lbs. S.A.P. 500lbs. S.A.P. 250lbs. S.A.P. while flash bombs were also carried by two aircraft. All bombs were dropped and bursts were observed. Many fires were started. Intense heavy and light flak was experienced on route and in target area, while searchlights were intense but not very accurate. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine and clear. Navigation was by astro. D/R, W/T, and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

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

06/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. One of these aircraft, R,3169, after having bombed the target area, and while on return journey, crashed into a barrage balloon cable at the mouth of the River Humber and dived into the water. The rear gunner, SGT. Craven, was the only survivor of the crew of six. The bomb load carried by the ten machines consisted of 1000 lbs., 500 lbs., and 250 lbs.

Bombs were dropped by all aircraft, but owing to heavy cloud no results were observed. No observations were made and no reconnaissance carried out. Some light and heavy A.A. fire was experienced on route and in target area. Searchlights were few and ineffective. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was not good, ten-tenths cloud being experienced over route and target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro,

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

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

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P and crew, took off from Feltwell, Norfolk to attack Hamburg. 115 aircraft took part including 50 Wellington’s (10 from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF), 31 Whitley’s, 27 Hampden’s, 4 Manchester’s and 3 Stirling’s. Due to poor visibility few aircraft failed to identify the targets. Only 12 bomb loads hit the target area and all aircraft returned.

On return to England following the raid, the aircraft crossed the East Coast in cloudy conditions well north of planned track, as a result of a major variation in forecast winds. After a change of course south at 04:45hrs, the aircraft struck barrage-balloon cables near Trinity Sands, six miles East North East of Grimsby, Lincs. and crashed into the water out of control.

Sgt Mee, (P/2) had previously baled out over Yorkshire on 21 Mar 41 when the aircraft he was flying in, T2736, became lost on return from a raid on Kiel.

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Killed age 26.
Son of Ivan John Nola, and of Kate Nola (Nee Versalko), of Tatuanui, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery, Lincolnshire, England..
Grave location – Sec. 116. Row J. Grave 5.

Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 23.
Son of Alexander Mee and of Jessie Mee (Nee Coutts), of Brighton, Otago, New Zealand; Nephew of Mr. F. A. Coutts, of Brighton.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery, Lincolnshire, England..
Grave location – Sec. 116. Row G. Grave 5.

Sgt. Alexander Mee had previously escaped in another incident on the 19th March 1941 when he escaped by parachute from Wellington Mk.Ic T.2736 AA-A. Returning from Kiel, the aircraft had contacted Hull to request searchlight assistance, but this had been denied owing to enemy activity in the area. Running short of fuel, possibly owing to flak damage to tanks, the crew baled out. T.2736 subsequently crashed at Ryhill, approximately 14 miles South, South East of Leeds. Tragically, Sgt. Daniel Gilmore’s parachute failed to open and he was killed. The remainder of the crew all survived.

P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Observer.
Killed age 22.
Son of Frederick James Page and Hilda Page of Norwich; Husband of Muriel Alice Page, of Norwich.
Buried Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery, Norfolk, England..
Grave location – Sec. M. Grave 876.
‘The greatest gift of all,
His unfinished life;
That was the measure
Of his faith’

Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 20.
Son of John George and Frances Jane Hall, of Willington Quay, Northumberland.
Buried Hull Northern Cemetery, East Yorkshire, England..
Grave location – Compt. 202. Grave 14.
‘Greater love
Hath no man than this’

Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 23.
Son of Gertrude Russell, of West Bromwich; Husband of Marjory Russell.
Buried West Bromwich Cemetery, Staffordshire, England..
Grave location – New part. Grave 17316 R.

Sgt. Craven, RAFVR  – Rear Gunner.
Injured

 

LETTER FROM DAVID NOLA TO HIS MOTHER (extracts used above)

4th Feb 1941

Dear Mum

Your airmail letter dated Dec 5th has arrived that is the one from you and Dad, also letter dated 24 Dec from Dad, Vera and yourself, apparently the letter of Dec 5″‘ missed the previous airmail. It is about a fortnight since I last wrote and although we don’t seem to do much still l can’t seem to find time to get down to some serious writing.

Everything is going well so far – got my first cold this winter when I arrived here and still have got a beauty. After getting back from leave I was idle for about six days until Jim Falconer and the crew came back.

They arrived on the Monday that is the 19th and on that Wednesday I did my first operational trip – to Dusseldorf in the Ruhr. We took off about 5pm – it was still daylight and headed up through the clouds and finally got into clear sky again about 5000ft and then going up to about l2,000ft, temperature about -12C. Crossed the English coast, North Sea, Holland without seeing a thing as the clouds were unbroken below us. After about three hours we came over or I should just near Dusseldorf – Jim took the controls then – we knew we were over Dusseldorf if our navigation was correct and then the flak started to come up – they were bursting all around us – could not see the ground so after dodging about twisting, turning, diving, climbing we finally let go the bombs and incendiaries into the middle of the hottest part. Then they let us have it – very interesting and beautiful if it was not so serious. The big shells burst in front and all around us — the light flak comes up in streams sometimes red, sometimes green and occasionally red and green alternatively – it makes you think. I took over the controls again and took her back to within a few miles of the drome when Jim finished and landed her. It was about 10.30 in the evening when we came in. I wasn’t very cold had a drink of hot coffee out of the thermos flask while we were over Germany and that brought the circulation back nicely. The hardest part of it was breathing — we kept plugged in the oxygen as much as possible but when l went back to pump oil to the engines had to plug out for about half a minute and does it take it out of you. Pumping oil is another hard job as it takes 50 strokes per gallon and you need a gallon for each engine and it is pretty hard work, you must not forget also that the oil is also just about frozen. On landing we went to operations room for briefing — that is giving details of what we did and saw. However we could not do much in this case owing to low cloud. However next day we were informed that something pretty important was hit in Dussledorf.

Weather was pretty bad for the next four days however on Sunday we were to go to Hanover but it was not until 1.30 on Monday that we finally took off in terrible weather with fog almost down to the ground. To keep the ground in sight we had to fly at 800 feet – we passed the coast and then over the North Sea which only a few hundred feet below looked very cold. lt was not until we had covered about fifty miles out that the clouds suddenly and up and we went crossing the Dutch coast at about 9000 feet and then over the Zuider Zee which was frozen. It was a clear night with no moon but even so we could see the ground quite clearly although we could not distinguish much as there was pretty heavy fall on the ground. We passed just north of lnnsbrook and then on to Hanover where they met us with plenty of flak. We circled around until we found the town after a while. The Jerries are pretty cunning as they get dummy fires going, a few miles away from the town so as to draw the bombs, but you can usually pick these. However as our target was the centre of the town, in other words a blitz we went right over the top of the place and let go our incendiaries and heavy bombs. We did not see the results immediately but afler getting away some distance there were two long lines of fires started by our incendiaries — looked as though a couple of streets were burning.

Then someone else dropped their bombs and more fires were started. We could see them while we were fifty miles away. The flak was pretty heavy, so heavy that it seems amazing that you can get through it. l am always glad to get out of it l can tell you, When we got back to the English coast our troubles started again as the fog was pretty thick and required us to go down to about 300 ft which is no joke at night or early morning as it was about 7 o’clock and not dawn yet We got wireless bearings back to the drome but could not find it owing to low fog and had to cruise around for about an hour until we finally got down just as dawn was breaking Boy was I tired alter 7 hours in the air. Went into report the results of the operation at the same time hoeing into sandwiches and coffee. It was about 10 o’clock when I finally got to bed, where I stayed all day getting up for supper – then back to bed again for the night.

For the last fortnight we have done no operations owing to the weather – we have been due to go to Berlin, Hamburg and Boulogne but had to be cancelled owing to rain, snow cloud and ice.

The jerries have been paying us quite a number of visits and have put the wind up me a few times when they have dropped bombs. The other night they came over and got a couple of direct hits right on our mess and put the place out of action however, very luckily no one was hurt as most had gone to the shelter – the bomb landed 300 yards from the shelter. Luckily I was out that night and still spend most of my nights off the station.

I took the plane up for a test today — have done little, day flying since arriving here- Still manage to take off and land in one piece. The crew are a jolly decent crowd and I get on well with Jim Falconer the first pilot he is a crack-a-jack pilot.

Have been travelling around quite a bit since coming – been to Cambridge a couple of times, also to Newmarket, King’s Lynn, Downham Market.

We spend most of our nights doing a spot of drinking in Brandon about seven miles from here. Going over to Norwich some nights – would have gone tonight we have a dance or at least we are going to a dance in the an army sergeants mess a few miles from here – the bar will be open until midnight – it is funny over most dance places have a bar in them – just like a pub so you can drink and dance as you please.

The car is going well now – I have a ground mechanic who looks after it for me and does all the servicing for free of charge – jolly handy.

I got those papers and Weekly News you sent. Jolly good to get them.
Be an idea if send a Weekly say once a week or fortnight.
I sent a cable yesterday – “I hope you are all well.”

Oh by the way I forgot to mention that I received one pound 12 shillings which I suppose you sent – thanks very much. Going on leave again in about three weeks time – we get 6 days off every six weeks – could do with more but just as well as I could not afford more.

Well I think that covers the lot for the present – sorry not to have written sooner but things have been upset a bit since we were bombed — we are in temporary quarters at present will be back in our permanent quarters in a week or two I hope.

Well I had better wind up now wishing you all the very best — give my regards to everyone. I won’t go into names.

Au Revoir’
Love
Dave

Sgt. N.L. Nola
75 (NZ) Squadron
Feltwell