J.N. Darney crew 25.7.43 †

24/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Twenty-three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs., 1,000lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs., and 4lbs. Of these aircraft, two returned early due to unserviceable W/T and engine trouble respectively, and one aircraft failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was a very concentrated and successful attack. Very large spread fires were seen with black smoke rising to height of 1,400ft., some heavy explosions were also seen. A heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered and two aircraft were coned in the searchlights but neither were hit. The aircraft captained by F/O. G. TURNER whilst avoiding a searchlight cone, the starboard wing was struck by a JU 88 approaching head on. The enemy aircraft turned over and dived to the ground, it was claimed to be destroyed.. The Stirling was badly damaged having more that 4ft. of the starboard main plane torn off, and the aileron and aileron controls being useless. The captain had extreme difficulty in controlling the aircraft, but kept it on an even keel with the assistance of the Air-bomber, and after the 3 hours return flight to base, made a perfect landing. Two other short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was very good, with clear visibility, except for haze caused by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE890 captained by Sergeant H. Nichol.

Stirling Mk.I EH936 JN-W

F/S Hilton Clifford Williams, RNZAF NZ416219 – Pilot.
F/S Jack Neville Darney, RNZAF NZ42376 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Trevor Gordon Dill, RNZAF NZ42292 – Navigator.
F/S Adrian Leslie Bernard Carson, RNZAF NZ411347 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. M. Williams, RAFVR 1314844 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C. Dickinson, RAFVR 812100 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W.A.C. Hemsley, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ivon George Kaye, RNZAF NZ39558 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:55 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 06:35

25/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs., 1,000lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs., and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to take off, and two returned early, wing to engine trouble and an intercommunication failure respectively, and one aircraft failed to return. Sixteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs on target area, which was an absolute mass of flames. Many huge explosions were seen in the midst of the fires. Moderate A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, one aircraft receiving slight damage. An aircraft was held in a searchlight cone for 3 minutes, but avoided it by making diving turns. Some enemy aircraft were seen. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.C. WILLIAMS sighted an unidentified aircraft 400 yds away approaching from astern. The Stirling corkscrewed and the Mid-upper and Rear gunners fired a long burst, the enemy aircraft exploded in the air and dived to the ground. It was claimed to be destroyed. Another aircraft was sighted by them approaching on the port quarter, the Rear gunner fired two short bursts and the enemy aircraft broke away. The weather was hazy to the enemy Coast, but clear over the target. Visibility was good except for haze caused by smoke from the fires, which could be seen west of the DUTCH coast. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling MK.III EE892 captained by Sgt.. M. ASHDOWN

Stirling Mk.III EE878 AA-P

F/S Jack Neville Darney, RNZAF NZ42376 – Pilot.
Sgt. Robert James Stone, RNZAF NZ415383 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ronald Charles George Evans, RAFVR 1390444 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. George Chamberlain Davies, RAFVR 1027862 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Holden, RAFVR 993297 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Terrance James Vercoe, RNZAF NZ415566 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P/O Peter Sylvester Anthony St. Ledger, RAAF AUS.425375 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 02:20
Flight Time 04:05

27/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This attack was more concentrated than the previous one, colossal fires and explosions were seen with smoke rising to 20,000ft. , a ship was also seen to be on fire in a Dock south of the target. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with search lights operating in belts were encountered, although the A.A. fire was heavier than the previous attack, it was ineffective except for slight damage to three aircraft. Some enemy aircraft were seen. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt.E.J.ROBERTS sighted a JU 88 approaching from port beam above and all gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft broke away firing and then approached on the port beam below. Mid-upper and Rear gunners fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft was claimed to be damaged. The Stirling was also damaged, having a bomb door blown off and a petrol pipe-line pierced, nevertheless the captain brought his aircraft safely back to base. The weather was good except for 3/10th cloud at the target, visibility was good, although smoke haze prevented identification of ground detail. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I BF434 AA-X

F/S Jack Neville Darney, RNZAF NZ42376 – Pilot.
F/S Robert James Stone, RNZAF NZ415383 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ronald Charles George Evans, RAFVR 1390444 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. George Chamberlain Davies, RAFVR 1027862 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Holden, RAFVR 993297 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Peter Sylvester Anthony St. Ledger, RAAF AUS.425375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Terrance James Vercoe, RNZAF NZ415566 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:22 – Landed 03:04
Flight Time 04:42

29/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with incendiary bombs of 30lb. And 4lb. Two aircraft returned early and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful attack, large concentrated fires with heavy explosions ans smoke rising to 15,000ft., were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were scattered and unpredictable. One aircraft was held in searchlights cones for periods of 10 and 8 minutes, he avoided them with extreme difficulty and whilst so doing was hit in the fuselage by A.A. fire. Two other aircraft also received slight damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and the aircraft captained by Sgt. P. Hartstein sighted a JU 88 which came in from astern firing a cannon, the Rear gunner replied and the enemy aircraft broke away. The aircraft captained by F/O. G. DUNCAN sighted a JU 88 on the port quarter , the Mid upper gunner gave a 10 second burst and the enemy aircraft dived away. The aircraft captained by F/S/ E. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 on the port quarter, the enemy aircraft opened fire and the Rear gunner replied, the enemy aircraft then broke away. The aircraft captained by F/S. J. DARNEY encountered an unidentified enemy aircraft which fired from the starboard quarter, the Rear gunner replied and the enemy disappeared. It was clear at the target area and the visibility was good except for haze from the fires. Navigation was excellent. The aircraft captained by P/O. A. SEDUNARY just after bombing, had one of its engines failed. After unsuccessful attempts to start it, he brought the aircraft back to base on three engines and made a perfect landing.

Stirling Mk.III EE915 AA-X

F/S Jack Neville Darney, RNZAF NZ42376 – Pilot.
F/S Robert James Stone, RNZAF NZ415383 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ronald Charles George Evans, RAFVR 1390444 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. George Chamberlain Davies, RAFVR 1027862 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Holden, RAFVR 993297 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Peter Sylvester Anthony St. Ledger, RAAF AUS.425375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Terrance James Vercoe, RNZAF NZ415566 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 06:25

30/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Remscheld
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. And 4lb..One aircraft returned early as rear turret was unserviceable and two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Moderate heavy and light A.A fire co-operating with searchlight belts were encountered, and one aircraft was slightly damaged in the mid- upper turret. Some enemy aircraft were seen, the aircraft captained by F/S. O. WHITE sighted an unidentified aircraft which attacked three times. Each time the mid upper and rear gunners fired a burst, and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which then fell away and claimed to be damaged. The weather was good with clear visibility except for haze caused by fires. Navigation was very good. On return, one aircraft landed at HARDWICK, due to shortage of petrol. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.III BF458 captained by Sgt. A.J. THOMAS and Stirling Mk.III EE915 captained by F/Sgt. J. DARNEY.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R
ORB says EE905 – I think this is wrong

F/S Jack Neville Darney, RNZAF NZ42376 – Pilot.
F/S Robert James Stone, RNZAF NZ415383 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ronald Charles George Evans, RAFVR 1390444 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. George Chamberlain Davies, RAFVR 1027862 – Wireless Operator.
P/O Leonard Charles Dive-Robinson, RAFVR 143800 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Peter Sylvester Anthony St. Ledger, RAAF AUS.425375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Terrance James Vercoe, RNZAF NZ415566 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R was lost without trace. All seven crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

F/S Jack Neville Darney, RNZAF NZ42376 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of John Edmond Darney and of Olga Elenore Darney (Nee Berntsen), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 198.

F/S Robert James Stone, RNZAF NZ415383 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 20.
Son of Leslie and Alice Louise Stone, of Te Aroha West, Auckland, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

Sgt. Ronald Charles George Evans, RAFVR 1390444 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of Charles George and Mabel Evans, of Wood Green, Middlesex.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 149.

Sgt. George Chamberlain Davies, RAFVR 1027862 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 31.
Son of George Prophet Davies and Louise Davies; Husband of Joan R. M. Davies, of Southport, Lancashire.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 147.

F/L Leonard Charles Dive-Robinson, RAFVR 143800 – Flight Engineer.
Lost without trace age 23.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 119.

F/L Dive-Robinson was the Squadron Engineer Leader.

F/O LEDGER, Peter Sylvester Anthony St. Ledger, RAAF AUS.425375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Lost without trace age 21.
Son of Dr. Anthony Waddington St. Ledger and Kathleen Josephine St. Ledger, of Hawthorne, Queensland, Australia.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 189.

F/S Terrance James Vercoe, RNZAF NZ415566 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 27.
Son of James Mostyn Innes Vercoe and Muriel Patricia Vercoe, of Paengaroa, Auckland, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

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