Dad

Dad stood behind Jack within a group photo of ‘B’ Flight 1651 Conversion unit, taken around the middle of July 1943, prior to operational deployment to squadron.

I hope as my journey continues that the information on this page will expand and clarify about Bob and his wartime career. I suggest popping back occasionally – I am sure it will be different to the last time you visited.

Robert Douglas Sommerville was born on the 1st November 1922

1934 – 1938 Irvine Royal Academy
1939 – 1940 ‘Sherry’s’ College, Bath Street Glasgow
1/11/40 – 20/2/42 Clerk, Ayr County Council, Public Assistance Department
9/10/41 F.2171 Aircrew Selection Board (ACSB) – Recommended for training as Pilot/ Observer
9/10/41 Edinburgh
10/10/41 Edinburgh to Reserves
23/3/42 Reserves to ACRC (Aircrew Reserve Centre ???)
11/4//42 11 Initial Training Wing (ITW)
Aircrew Dispatch Centre (ACDC)
51 Gr Pool
14/7/42 15 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS)
Aircrew Dispatch Centre (ACDC)
10/8/42 Recommended by AC(C/S)B?? for re-mustering to U/T
29/8/42 Hastings(???)
10/11/42 2(o) Advanced Flying Unit (AFU)
6/4/43 11 Operational Training Unit (OTU) First Oakley, then Wescott – This was where Bob formed what would finally become his operational crew. There is little remaining information other than Jack’s recollection of the process;

‘Alan was a bit older than the rest of us….and he had a moustache – he looked like he knew what he was doing……..Jock (Dad) said he knew what he was doing…so we had him as well…..’

24/6/43 1651 Conversion Unit (CU) Waterbeach. The crew that had been formed  at 11OTU, once basic crew training had been completed moved to a CU to train on the front line bombers they would be flying operationally in Squadron.
21/7/43 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. Mepal, Nr. Ely, Cambridgeshire. 1st Tour

30/7/43. Gardening – Frisian Islands – One aircraft was detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lb., which were successfully dropped in the allotted area. No A.A. Fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft wee encountered. The weather was good except for 5/10ths cloud which prevented the parachutes being seen to open. Navigation was very good.

3/8/43. Hamburg – Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb and 4lb. Six of the aircraft returned early owing to severe icing and engine trouble, two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires and columns of smoke were seen although this attack was not considered to be a successful as the previous one. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which proved to be ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good at the beginning of outward journey, but cloud gathered and was 10/10ths at the target, icing and electrical storms were also encountered. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk. III EH928 captained by Sgt. Baille, P. and BF 557 captained by F/Sgt. Couper, J.A.

6/8/43. Gardening – Gironde Estuary – Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with indiary bombs of 30lb and 4lb. Six of the aircraft returned early owing to severe icing and engine trouble, two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires and columns of smoke were seen although this attack was not considered to be a successful as the previous one. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which proved to be ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good at the beginning of outward journey, but cloud gathered and was 10/10ths at the target, icing and electrical storms were also encountered. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk. III EH928 captained by Sgt. Baille, P. and BF 557 captained by F/Sgt. Couper, J.A.

One of the few remarks in Bob’s logbook relates to this raid, noting simply ‘shot up locomotive’ – this did in fact relate to him shooting the train up himself! In discussion with Jack Jarmy, the Navigator in the crew, he remembered the incident well. Returning from their 3rd op, gardening in the Gironde Estuary, Dad saw a train and got Allan to drop the plane down to about 150 foot and they shot the hell out of it – when they got back they were as pleased as punch – when they told the Intelligence officer during their debrief, he apparently bollocked them and said if they pulled a stunt like that again, they would be on a court martial – apparently the Germans often    sent out flak trains with the express intention of luring allied aircraft down to low level, before dropping a side panel on a carriage and cutting the aircraft to ribbons with a set of 20mm cannons.

Jack also recollects that the wireless operator Sergeant Weaver, ‘cracked’ on the return flight from this mission. Whilst the rest of the crew agreed to stay quiet about this episode, it’s understood, the following morning, Weaver went to the Medical Officer and was deemed to ‘Lack Moral Fibre’ (LMF) – as would have been standard practice, he would have been immediately removed from the base – Sgt. Weaver was never seen again……

10/8/43. Nurenburg – Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take off owing to engine trouble, the remainder however, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds and some heavy explosions were also seen, indicating that the attack was a success. Moderate A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but gave little trouble. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was poor at the target, 9/10ths cloud prevailing, which prevented identification  of detail. Navigation was very good. The aircraft captained by P/O C.C.Logan, owing to unserviceable navigation aids on return journey went off track and ran short of petrol. The crew prepared to abandon the aircraft but fortunately the petrol lasted and they landed at R.A.F. Marston, after being airborne for 9 hours and 10 minutes.

12/8/43. Turin – Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. All of the aircraft successfully bombed the target except one which jettisoned its bombs 10 miles N.W. of Turin owing to an electrical equipment failure. Some huge explosions and very large fires were seen, which appeared to be spreading. Slight A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective except for one aircraft that received negligible damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good except for ground haze. Navigation was very good. All the aircraft were diverted to other aerodromes on return, owing to fog at base.

16/ 8/43. Turin – Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. All of the aircraft successfully bombed the target except one which jettisoned its bombs 10 miles N.W. of Turin owing to an electrical equipment failure. Some huge explosions and very large fires were seen, which appeared to be spreading. Slight A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective except for one aircraft that received negligible damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good except for ground haze. Navigation was very good. All the aircraft were diverted to other aerodromes on return, owing to fog at base.

17/8/43. Peenemunde – Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., 500lb. and incendiaries of 30lb., and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This attack to be well concentrated, large fires and huge explosions being seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but caused no trouble. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good and visibility was clear except for a smoke screen which partially obscured the target. Navigation was excellent. On the return journey the fires could be seen 50 miles from the target

27/8/43. Nurenburg – Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Good concentrated fires and heavy explosions were seen. A moderate barrage consisting of light and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, and two aircraft received slight damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen, one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was cloudy on the outward journey but clear over the target and visibility was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE955 captained by F/Sgt. Higham.

Bob’s logbook says they ‘Landed  Ford’ – an RAF base.

30/8/43. Munchen-Gladbach – 18 Aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All aircraft with the exception of one which failed to return, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires which were well concentrated and spreading, were seen. All crews were of the opinion that this was a good attack. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Batger, H. sighted an enemy aircraft 600 yards away, ahead and the front gunner fired a long and short burst, the enemy aircraft then disappeared and was claimed as possibly destroyed. . The aircraft captained by F/S McGregor,K. sighted an Me110 astern, the rear gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engines. It is claimed as a possible destroyed. There was 8/10ths cloud at the target approaches although it was clear in the target area. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was  Stirling MK.III EH938 captained by Sgt. Parkin, T.

31/8/43. Berlin – Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. Two aircraft failed to take-off and four did not return, the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen, although rather scattered they appeared to be progressing very well. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered and one air craft received slight damage. Enemy night-fighters were in great prominence, the aircraft piloted by F/Sgt. Wilkinson, G encountered a JU88 approaching from astern 500yds away. The rear gunner fired a long burst, the enemy aircraft replied and stalled. The mid-upper gunner then fired three long bursts. The enemy aircraft was seen to fall away and is claimed as probably destroyed. Our aircraft received damage to the rear of the fuselage and had part of the tailplane and fin badly damaged. The aircraft captained by F/O Alexander sighted two Me109’s, the first opened fire from the starboard quarter and the rear gunner replied with a short burst. The enemy aircraft stalled and the mid-upper gunner fired a short burst. The enemy aircraft then dived to the ground and exploded, it was claimed to be destroyed. The second Me109 opened fire with a short burst from the port bow to the port quarter. The rear gunner then fired a short burst and tracer was seen to enter the enemy aircraft, which dived. It was claimed as possible destroyed. The aircraft captained by W/O Moseley, P. sighted a Me110 on the port quarter, the mid upper and rear gunner fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft turned over and dived with smoke pouring from its starboard side. It was claimed as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by by P/O C.Logan sighted a Me109 sixty yards astern, the mid-upper and rear gunner  fired and tracer from the rear gunner was seen to hit the aircraft. The Stirling then corkscrewed and the Me109 disappeared. It was claimed to be damaged. Two other aircraft crash landed away from base due to damage caused by emeny fighters, none of the crews were injured however. 8/10ths cloud was encountered on the outward journey and 9’10ths at the target, visibility, nevertheless, was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings MK.III EE918 captained by F/Sgt. Roberts, E, EE878 captained by F/Sgt. Henley, D, EE905 captained by F/Sgt. Helm,g. and EF501 captained by F/S McGregor, K.

 The Roberts crew joined 75 on the same day as Dad’s from 1651 CU, on the 21st July.

5/9/43. Mannheim – Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of Cambridge. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with search lights wwere encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the French coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable.. The English coast was reached however, and it belly landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Batger sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter, which opened fire on them and our aircraft corlscrewed. The mid upper and rear gunners then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the flight Engineer was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Whitmore sighted an enemy aircraft 100 yards astern, the mid upper and rear gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was then seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was followed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the mid upper and rear gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft which was afire. F/Sgt. Whitmores mid upper and rear gunner opened fire on the enemy aircraft which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. Wilkinson, E.S.

8/9/43. Bologne – Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets. The carried their maximum bomb load in bombs of 1,000lb., and 500lb.. One aircraft crashed whilst taking off and two returned early. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Not many fires were seen but numerous huge explosions were observed. Some heavy and light predicted A.A.Fire and a few searchlights were encountered but caused no trouble. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good and visibility was clear  except for slight ground haze. Navigation was excellent. The aircraft that crashed during take-off was captained by F/O. I.R.MENZIES. Whilst taking off it swung of the runway and crashed into two houses on the far side adjoining the perimeter track. It caught fire almost simultaneously, and in the fire, various bombs exploded, causing the aircraft to be a total wreck. Three members of the crew, a W.A.A.F. Officer of R.A.F. Station MEPAL and an aircrew Sergeant, and 2 civilians were killed and other civilians were injured. The W.A.A.F. Officer and the aircrew sergeant lost their lives whilst trying to render assistance.

15/9/43. Montlucon – Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb..One aircraft failed to take-off, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a good concentrated attack, large fires and heavy explosions being observed, smoke from fires and heavy explosions being observed, smoke from fires was rising to a height of 12,000ft.. Inaccurate A.A.fire from a few guns was the only opposition, no enemy aircraft were encountered. There was 5/10th cloud over the target but visibility was nevertheless good. Navigation was excellent.

16/9/43. Modane – Nineteen aircraft wee detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of  1,000lb.,and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft returned early, but the remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful and well concentrated attack. Large fires which appeared to be spreading and heavy explosions were seen. Some A.A.fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, they were ineffective except for one aircraft which received damage. The port inner engine caught fire but what put out with the aid of a fire extinguisher, the propeller was then feathered and the aircraft continued its journey on three engines. A few enemy aircraft were seen, the aircraft captained by P/O. G.K.WILLIAMS had a combat with a JU 88 which was claimed as destroyed. One other short combat took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. It was clear over the target and visibility was good. Navigation was good.

22/9/43. Hanover – Twenty aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. Three aircraft returned early, but the remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful and concentrated attack. Numerous fires which appeared to be merging into one large fire were seen, and were still visible as the aircraft were returning over the DUTCH Coast. Heavy A.A. fire and a great number of searchlights were encountered, but proved ineffective. Several enemy aircraft were seen and one of our Stirlings was hit, but the attacker was not seen, damage was received to the tail and mainplane, and the port petrol tanks were punctured. The aircraft, however, was safely flown back to base and a crash landing was made with three engines. It was clear over the target and visibility was excellent. Navigation was very good.

23/9/43. Mannheim – Eighteen aircraft were detailed to carry the above operation with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb.. Three aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was, undoubtedly, a good attack, concentrated fires which were spreading to the West, and large heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a large curtain of searchlights were encountered, but caused no trouble. Enemy aircraft were very active and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by W/O. P. MOSELEY had a combat with a JU88 which was claimed as a probably destroyed. In the action our aircraft received damage the Pilot W/O. P. MOSELEY and the Mid Upper Sgt. C(?) MIDDLETON were slightly injured. The aircraft captained by P/O A. BURLEY had three combats with enemy aircraft, one of which was claimed as destroyed, the two as  damaged. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was excellent. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.111 EF459 captained by P/O C.C. LOGAN, EH946 captained by F/Lt. G. TURNER , and EH935 captained by F/O L. KIRKPATRICK.

3/10/43. Kasel – Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early as the Navigator was ill, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a good concentrated attack, large fires and heavy explosions being seen. Moderate A.A. Fire was encountered, which was ineffective except for one aircraft which received damage. This aircraft was captained by F/Sgt. N. PARKER, damage was received to the starboard elevator , starboard tail plane and the rear turret war partly shot away. The rear gunner Sgt. S.W. RIDDLER was lost over the target when the rear turret was damaged. It is considered that he may have baled out as the escape hatch was found to be open. The aircraft successfully landed at WING. Very few enemy aircraft were seen. It was clear at the target, but slight haze was encountered on the return journey. Navigation was very good.

4/10/43. Frankfurt – Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. Three aircraft returned early and one failed to return. This was a good attack, ten aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very good concentrated fires and enormous explosions being seen, the fires were still visible on the homeward journey. A.A. Fire was negligible, there were many search lights which were cooperating with enemy night-fighters. The aircraft captained by S/Ldr. J.JOLL had a combat with a M.E. 109, which was claimed as possibly damaged. The weather was poor on the outward and return journeys, but clear over the target, visibility was good except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was captained by SGT. H.J. MIDDLETON.

8/10/43. Bremen – Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000 lbs., 500lbs., and indendiaries of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Results were rather disappointing as owing to thick cloud, it was not possible to assess damage. Very few fires were seen and only one large explosion was observed. Slight ineffective A.A, Fire was encountered. Searchlights were active but hampered by cloud. Several combats with enemy aircraft took place. The aircraft captained by F/SGT. SPIERS, R. claimed a M.E. 109 as probably destroyed and a M.E. 110 as damaged. Another M.E. 109 was claimed as damaged by the aircraft captained by P/O o. WHITE. Navigation was very good.

18/11/43. Mannheim (Ludwigshaven in logbook) – Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000 lbs and incendiaries of 30 lbs and 4 lbs. Two aircraft returned early, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and huge explosions were seen. There was a moderate heavy A.A. Barrage and searchlights were fairly active. Many enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft.  The weather was good, being clear at the target except for slight ground haze. Navigation was very good.

19/11/43. Leverkusen – Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 2,000lbs, 1,000 lbs and incendiaries of 30 lbs and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Except for one vivid  red flash seen through the clouds, little results were observed. Heavy and medium A.A. Fire co-operating with Searchlights was encountered, but caused negligible damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and a few combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The aircraft  captained be F/S R.Hunt met a J.U.88 which attacked his aircraft, the fire was returned and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft. Our aircraft was then attacked by a FW190, the first was returned but the enemy aircraft disappeared. The weather was poor, being ten-tenths cloud over the target, there was also a fog at base which necessitated the aircraft landing at BRADWELL BAY on return. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was captained by F/Sgt. N. PARKER.

Total 21

P/O Robert Douglas Sommerville  161049 (GD) Posted to No.3 L.F.S. w.e.f. 15/12/43

P/O Allan Johnson Mayfield NZ416034 Posted to 1651 CU w.e.f. 14/12/43

F/O Jack Francis Jarmy 134695 Posted to No. 3L.F.S w.e.f. 15/12/43

Sgt. F/Eng. A. Warburton Posted to 1653 CU w.e.f. 15/12/43

F/S  John Sebastian Hulena NZ416427 Posted to 17 O.T.U w.e.f. 15/12/43

15/12/43 – 5/2/44 No.3 Lancaster Finishing School (LFS)

4/3/44 – 11/10/44 No. 1 Air Armament School (AAS), Manby –   Bomb Leaders Course

5/11/44 Hereford. I believe Bob did ‘Aircrew Officer Training’ here.

25/1/45 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.  Mepal, Nr. Ely, Cambridgeshire. 2nd Tour

1/2/45. Munchen-Gladbach – Seventeen aircraft bombed Munchen Gladbach as ordered. No results were observed owing to cloud being ten tenths over the target.

2/2/45. Weisbaden– Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target but two failed to take off. Crews bombed on navigational aids in ten tenths cloud with tops up to 21,000 ft. A scattered raid was the report of most crews generally. Slight H/F was the only opposition. JN/Y F/Lt. L.W. Hannan landed at Woodbridge owing to damage received over the target.

8/2/45. Krefeld/ Hohenbudberg – Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Lutskendorf, but the target was changed during the afternoon to Hohenbudberg. This operation was carried out in 8/10th cloud with tops about 10,000. Flak was slight to moderate and S/L effective. A scattered raid was reported.

P/O C. Green listed as ‘Mid Under Gunner’

HK562 was one of a number of Lancasters that flew with the Squadron that was fitted with a ‘Ventral’ gun. This gun turret was fitted under the aircraft fuselage behind the rear of the bomb bay doors. It would appear that the Mk.I Lancaster had a ventral turret as part of the original design. Operational experience seems to suggest that this fourth gun position provided negligible additional advantage, despite the continuing threat from ‘Schräge Musik’ equipped night fighters, such as the Messerschmitt Bf 110.

13/2/45. Dresden – Twenty aircraft attacked Dresden as detailed. Very slight H/F was only opposition. The first aircraft over the target reported thin cloud which had cleared for later aircraft. Some aircraft were able to bomb visually. Crews reported the whole town was well alight and could see the glow of fires 10 miles away on return A highly successful raid.

14/2/45. Chemnitz – Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Chemnitz. Nineteen attacked primary. AA”J” F/O R.J. Pearson, returned early through engine failure. Cloud was ten tenths  with tops 16-17000 over the target. Aircraft bombed with the aid of special equipment. No results were observed, very slight H/F was met over the target. AA”D”, captained by F/L G.S. Davies failed to return.

16/2/45. Wesel – Twenty one aircraft attacked Wesel as detailed. Slight accurate H/F was encountered over the target but no fighters were seen. A concentrated raid was reported.

18/2/45. Wesel – Twenty one aitcraft were again detailed to attack Wesel. AA”J”, captained by F/S Lukins, B.L., returned early through engine trouble. Cloud was 1-10/10ths with some haze. A few crews were able to identify the river bend. Bombing appeared to be accurate. Very slight H/F was the only opposition.

20/2/45. Dortmund – Ten aircraft attacked Dortmund as detailed. AA”E” captained by F/L. E. Abrahams returned early through engine failure. Cloud was 9-10/10ths, tops 5-6,000’. Some moderate H/F was met over the target. No fighters were seen. Crews reported seeing many small fires . A successful raid was reported.

2/3/45. Cologne, Aborted – Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack Cologne. No aircraft bombed owing to special equipment failure. Three aircraft jettisoned due to flak damage to engines, the remainder bringing their bombs back. F/O Woodcock was wounded in the neck and his engineer F/Sgt. Gibb in the legs but landed safely at base.

4/3/45. Wanne Eikel – Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Wanne Eickel. JN”O” F/O D. Barr returned early through engine failure. Crews bombed with the aid of special equipment in 10/10ths cloud. No results were seen but crews were satisfied that it was a good attack. Slight to moderate H/F was experienced.

6/3/45. Salzbergen – Sixteen aircraft attacked Salzbergen in 10/10ths cloud up to 11,000ft. with nil clouds below. The formation was well packed over the target and released simultaneously. A slight upheaval of the cloud a minute later was all that could be seen. Slight H/F was the only opposition.

7/3/45. Dessau– Thirteen aircraft attacked Dessau as ordered. Aircraft bombed in 10/10ths haze and thin cloud. Crews were given instructions by M/B to bomb on Skymarkers but some were able to make out T.I’s and in two cases identify the street. Fires were burning over a wide area when aircraft left the target. Flak practically nil in target area. Some E/A were seen and AA”S” F/L Spilman had a short inconclusive encounter. A satisfactory operation.

8/3/45. Datteln – Twenty one aircraft attacked Datteln as detailed. A good concentration of aircraft and bombing reported. Cloud ten tenths. No opposition was encountered. A mushroom of smoke was seen penetrating cloud.

10/3/45. Gelsinkirchen – Twenty one aircraft attacked Gelsenkirchen as detailed. Aircraft bombed in light formation and all bombs were dropped together. Cloud was ten tenths. Slight H/F was encountered.

12/3/45. Dortmund – Dortmund was the target for twenty one aircraft. Flak was slight to moderate, cloud 10/10ths with tops 5/6000ft. Aircraft report good results Smoke was already pushing through cloud when aircraft left. Bombing was well concentrated.

14/3/45. Henriche Hutte – Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Crews found the target covered with 10/10ths cloud. Formation was good though the target and bombs fell away together. Very accurate moderate H/F was met on the run in and over the target. F/Lt. E. Parsons in AA”E” failed to return. His aircraft was seen to be hit causing it to spiral into cloud. F/S McLernon landed at Woodbridge but returned to base the following day.

19/3/45. Hamm – Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Hamm. There were 6-7/10ths cloud over the target with tops at about 10,000ft. Some confusion was caused by the preceding squadron leading this squadron off track and scattering the formation. However a fair concentration was attained in the end. Some H/F was encountered.

23/3/45. Wesel – Eight aircraft were detailed to attack Wesel with the aid of special equipment. There was no cloud over the target, but visibility was poor owing to smoke. All crews reported a good concentration of bombs on the Aiming Point. Very slight N/F was experienced.

28/3/45. Hallondorf – Twenty one aircraft attacked Saltzgitter as detailed. Cloud was ten tenths, tops up to 19,000 ft and thin cloud and contrails persisting above, reducing visibility to 500yds. No results were observed and a scattered raid is reported. Flak moderate.

4/4/45. Merseburg – 21 aircraft were detailed to make a night attack on MERSEBURG.. (AA’R’ F/O C Stevens) returned early through technical trouble. (JN’D’ F/O J. Wood) was hit by flak before reaching the target, the B/ Aimer (F/S Hooper) was burned about the face and the Pilot’s hands were slightly burned, the F/Engineer (Sgt. Williamson) apparently fell through the M.U.G Turret. Crews bomber glows of fires on Master Bomber’s instructions. Fires were fairly concentrated though reports indicate a rather scattered raid. Flak moderate to light.

13/4/45. Kiel – 21 aircraft were detailed to attack Kiel. The target was covered by 10/10 cloud with tops 4/5000. Bombing was concentrated and fires were seen on leaving the target. Flak was slight. M/B was clearly heard. (AA’K’ F/O. Morgan W.) returned early, bombs were jettisoned. This was also a leaflet raid.

14/4/45. Potsdam – 25 aircraft were detailed to attack Potsdam. There was no cloud and visibility was good. A very concentrated attack developed and the target was well alight by the time the last aircraft were on their way home. Flak was slight and bursting well below stream. AA’T’ (F/O A.R. Baynes) was attacked by two enemy aircraft believed to be JU.88’s 20 miles S.W. of Potsdam on the homeward journey. The Flight Engineer (Sgt. Sliman) was killed by canon shell.

Total 21

And so, that, as they say, was that. Pretty much as Bob’s first tour, his second tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF comes to an end after this raid. In some respects, I feel a little sad that there is no sign off, or message from his skipper (as in ‘Titch’ Halliday’s logbook from his pilot Martin) – even simply a ‘Tour Expired’ stamp or comment from his C/O. Maybe this is my fault for being sentimental or viewing Bob’s logbook in hindsight – it may well have been that Dad simply saw it as a point in time within his career in the R.A.F. – who knows……..It is difficult to know the exact details of the days at Mepal following the end of this raid – the war was all but won, but was still going on, but the boys had met their numbers Vernon had clocked up the magic figure of 30 first tour ops – he was going home. James, Miles, Sgt. Hutchinson and Ackroyd had all totalled 29 (Vernon got an extra as 2nd dickie with Wylie Wakelin). Bob had scored 21 – one more than he need as a second tour member, but I think it was a case of sticking together as a crew – they all probably knew by this point in the war that as soon as the Skipper was on 30 everybody was off home…..

I currently know nothing about the movements of the crew past this last raid date, apart from Bob and Vernon. On the 25th of July Vernon is listed as going to No. 12 Personnel Dispersal and Reception Centre (12 PD&RC) at Padgate, Warrington (ironically just 15 miles from where I now live). After disembarking back in New Zealand, he ceased to be attached to the R.A.F. as of 13th August 1945.

5/5/45 Aircrew Allocation Centre (ACAC) – Assigned for future duties

16/6/45 Halfpenny Green – supply Flying Control U/T

16/7/45 – 26/8/45 RAF Sqd/Sch? Flying Control

27/9/45 7 Air Navigation School (ANS)

Citation Distinguished Flying Cross (24 September 1945) [75 (NZ) Sqn]:

“This officer, as Air Bomber, has completed many successful operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed high skill, fortitude and devotion to duty”.

23/9/45 7 ANS Flight Control Officer (F/L)
100 Personnel Dispatch Centre (PDC)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s