G.B. Roche crew 25.6.44 †

24/06/1944 – Attack Against Rimeux
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack the constructional works at Rimeux. Twenty four crews bombed successfully with the aid of markers, and an accurate raid was reported.   There were numerous searchlights in action, but the A.A. opposition was not serious. The aircraft captained by NZ424788 F/S. Bateson, B. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 02:15
Flight Time 02:50

27/06/1944 – Attack Against Biennais
Fifteen aircraft took off to attack the constructional works supply site at Biennais. All aircraft bombed through ten-tenths cloud with the aid of markers and no opposition from the ground was encountered. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy aircraft.

Lancaster Mk.III ND917 JN-O

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:58 – Landed 02:20
Flight Time 02:22

09/07/1944 – Attack Against Linzeux
The twenty five aircraft detailed on the previous day took off to attack the constructional works site at Linzeux in daylight. All aircraft bombed through cloud, using navigational aids. A.A. fire opposition was reported as slight, although one aircraft suffered considerable damage when over the target. There was no opposition from enemy fighters.

Lancaster Mk.I LM104 JN-K

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:04 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 03:11

10/07/1944 – Attack Against Nucourt
Twenty seven aircraft took off at dawn to attack Nucourt constructional works site, all aircraft bombing through 10/10th cloud, using navigational aids, but the raid appeared to be scattered. Slight opposition from A.A. fire was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I LM104 JN-K

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 04:27 – Landed 07:57
Flight Time 03:30

12/07/1944 – Attack Against Vaires
The same twenty five aircraft detailed earlier took off to attack the Vaires marshalling yard in daylight. All aircraft reached the target area, but only two identified the marshalling yard and bombed as ordered. The remaining crews abandoned their mission as instructed by the Master Bomber, and brought their bombs back to base, owing to 10/10ths cloud obscuring the target. Considerable heavy A.A. fire was encountered, but all aircraft returned safely.

Lancaster Mk.I LM104 JN-K

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:10 – Landed 21:52
Flight Time 03:42

15/07/1944 – Attack Against Bois Des Jardine
Ten aircraft took off to attack the constructional works site at Bois Des Jardins. All aircraft bombed the target, but a scattered raid was reported owing to eight to ten tenths cloud. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W “The Paper Doll”

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 02:27
Flight Time 03:02

17/07/1944 – Attack Against Vaires
The twenty seven aircraft previously detailed took off to attack the Vaires marshalling yard in daylight, but the aircraft were recalled shortly after setting course. On landing they were re-fuelled and kept standing by to attack a tactical target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME752 dnc AA-E

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:27 – Landed 14:32
Flight Time 02:05

18/07/1944 – Attack Against Aulnoye
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the aircraft works at Aulnoye, one of those originally detailed being withdrawn. All crews were successful in attacking the target, and the bombing was well controlled by the Master Bomber. A concentrated raid developed, and several crews were able to identify the target visually. A.A. opposition was very slight, but enemy fighters were more active, and one aircraft (Captain NZ411411 F/O. G. Kennedy), claimed to have shot down two enemy aircraft. One of our aircraft (Captain NZ405801 A/F/L. J. Myers) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I ME752 AA-E

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 02:52
Flight Time 04:07

18/07/1944 – Attack Against Cagny
Twenty eight aircraft took off, as detailed, to make a dawn attack on the village of Cagny, in Northern France where the enemy had large concentrations of armour and troops situated. This attack was in direct support of the Allied 2nd Army, and all crews were successful in bombing the target with the aid of markers and a very concentrated raid was reported. Moderate A.A. fire was encountered, but only one of our aircraft suffered damage, this was captained by NZ421549 F/S. Moriarty, D. who was injured on the scalp and left eye, by fragments of perspex or shell splinters caused by an A.A. shell which exploded in the cockpit. In spite of his serious injuries, F/Sgt. Moriarty safely flew his aircraft back to base.

Lancaster Mk.I ME752 AA-E

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Dowding, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 04:38 – Landed 08:00
Flight Time 03:22

20/07/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty six aircraft took off, as detailed, to attack the oil refinery at Homberg. Nineteen aircraft were successful in bombing the target, with the aid of markers, which seemed well concentrated. Two good explosions were seen and smoke came up from the target area. Heavy A.A. fire was moderate, but fighters were very active, eight combats taking place. Seven aircraft failed to return, the captains were AUS22776 W/O. Gilmour, H., NZ428819 F/S. Howell, E., NZ421829 F/S. Mackay, K., NZ422057 F/S. Davidson, N., NZ42488 W/O. Whittington, H., NZ413219 F/S. Roche, G. & NZ414560 P/O. Burtt, H.

Lancaster Mk.I ME752 AA-E

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
F/S John Burgess, RNZAF NZ4211008 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Edward McGee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:08 – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Lancaster Mk.I ME752 AA-E was brought down by a night-fighter at 01:15hrs at Heythuysen in the Dutch province of Limburg, 7 miles East of Weert. All crew members, except the Air Bomber and Mid-Upper Gunner, died in the crash and were first buried in the Heythuysen cemetery but are now lying in Jonkerbos War Cemetery.

Sgt Armstrong, the RAF flight engineer, at 40 years of age was one of the oldest airmen killed on Bomber Command operations during 1944.

F/S Burgess survived and was captured as a POW. F/S McGee also survived and successfully evaded capture.

F/S Gerald Brian Roche, RNZAF NZ413219 – Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Son Of Michael And Mable Roche, Of Feilding, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.
Grave location – 12. J. 3.

F/O Horace Callow, RNZAF NZ427185 – Navigator.
Killed age 27.
Son of William Brideson Callow and Matilda Callow, of Brooklyn, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.
Grave location – 12. J. 2.

F/S John Burgess, RNZAF NZ4211008 – Air Bomber.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 442
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VII. Promoted to W/O whilst interned
Date of return to United Kingdom: 26th of May 1945

Sgt. Jack Frank MacDonald Barson, RAFVR 1324529 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 21.
Son of Louisa Ann Barson, of Ilford, Essex.
Buried Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.
Grave location – 12. J. 4.
‘He has outsoared
The shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny
And hate and pain’

Sgt. Joseph Armstrong, RAFVR 1684332 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 40.
Son of John Joseph and Annie Armstrong, of Bradford, Yorkshire; Husband of Annie Armstrong, of Bradford.
Buried Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.
Grave location – 12. J. 1.
‘There’s some corner
Of a foreign field
That is for ever England’

F/S Keith Emmett Smith, RNZAF NZ425179 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 21.
Son Of Robert Emmett Smith And Gertrude Smith, Of Auckland City, New Zealand.
Buried Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.
Grave location – 12. J. 5.

F/S William Edward Mcgee, RNZAF NZ427902 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Evader.
On return to the United Kingdom, F/S McGee was debriefed by MI.9:
” I left in a Lancaster at 23:50 hrs on the 21st of  July 1944. I baled out at Heizthuizen at 02:00 hrs on the 22nd of  July 1944, the aircraft having been shot down by a night-fighter. I buried my parachute, harness and and mae west. I came to some woods where I slept. Here I heard two more planes crash. The next morning I started walking and was right in the centre of the above-named village, which has a population of 3,000 when I was picked up by someone who was in contact with the organization. I was sheltered in various places until along with a party of 11 others we were taken to the Belgian border which we crossed at night and travelled to Masyack. I stayed here for a week with the three others and then moved to Liege where I lost touch with the organization. I was left in a church which was raided by the police but received notification in advance and so walked into the town where I was picked up by another member of the organization and taken to a village called Seraing where I stayed for 3 weeks until liberated”.