K.H.G. Groves crew 9.3.43 †

26/02/1943 – Cologne
Seven aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb., two of these aircraft were forced to abandon the mission owing to engine trouble. The remaining five aircraft successfully attacked the target. The whole of the target was well alight, the bombing also appeared to be accurate. The fires were seen by crews fifty to sixty miles away as they were returning. Heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, varying from moderate to intense. Some searchlights were also co-operating, but none of our aircraft were coned. A few enemy aircraft were seen, two attacks were made against our aircraft but no damage was sustained. The weather was good with fair visibility although there was a good deal of haze. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I BK646 AA-N

P/O Douglas Charles Lowe, RAFVR 1312163/ 138661 – Pilot.
Sgt. Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Francis Campbell Carswell, RNZAF NZ404457 – Navigator.
F/S S. Ellis, RAFVR 1012770 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Wilson Bodley, RNZAF NZ414538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A.G. Warr, RAFVR 1274410 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.W. Wilmer, RAFVR 923838 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Brian Desmond Joseph Welch, RNZAF NZ41719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:05 – Landed 23:40
Flight Time 04:35

09/03/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lb. One of the aircraft, however, returned early owing to engine trouble , the remaining two aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. Some A.A. fire was encountered near BLAYE and Stirling 1 BF398, captained by Sgt. French was hit, but he safely returned to base. Visibility was poor in the mining area, 10/10ths. Cloud being prevalent. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I BK602 AA-R

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:30 – Landed 02:15
Flight Time 06:45

11/03/1943 – Stuttgart
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 30 lb. and 4 lb. incendiaries. One of the aircraft, however, failed to take off as it proved to be unserviceable. The remaining eight aircraft successfully dropped their incendiaries in the target area. There were heavy fires, which were well concentrated in the centre of the town. There was a moderate amount of heavy A.A. fire which was co-operating with searchlights, one aircraft being coned for two minutes but he escaped unscathed. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. There was slight have over the target area although visibility was good and ground detail could be seen. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk. R9243 AA-C

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:57 – Landed 03:23
Flight Time 07:26

22/03/1943 – St. Nazaire
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with 30 lb. 4 lb. incendiary bombs. One aircraft however, failed to take off as it was found to be unserviceable. A general recall, however, was broadcast when the aircraft were about twenty minutes from the target. They all brought their bombs back with the exception of one, which was forced to jettison them.

Stirling Mk.I BK602 AA-R

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:10 – Landed 23:00
Flight Time 03:50

27/03/1943 – Berlin
One aircraft was detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lb. All the mines were successfully dropped in the morning area and five of the parachutes were seen to open. It was quite an uneventful trip, no A.A. fire, searchlights, or enemy aircraft being encountered. There was haze over the sea up to a height of 4,000 feet. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I BF398 AA-F

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 08:00

08/04/1943 – Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks, with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Four of the aircraft however were forced to return early owing to severe icing conditions, which prevented the aircraft from gaining height. Four of the remaining aircraft successfully bombed the target through cloud. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds. A fair amount of heavy predicted A.A.Fire was encountered, some enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was 10/10ths cloud, with electrical storms, rain and severe icing. Which prevented this operation from being a complete success. Navigation was very good. Stirling III, BK770, captained by W/O Walsh, was returning to base at 01.10 hours a message was received from him, but this was the last heard of the aircraft until it was reported to have crashed at Bressingham, Norfolk, soon after this time. The aircraft exploded on impact and burnt out, and unfortunately the whole of the crew were killed.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Oscar Way, RCAF R.102353 – 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:45 – Landed 00:00
Flight Time 02:15

10/04/1943 – Frankfurt
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft were forced to return early as they failed to maintain height. Eight of the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was not possible to see the target owing to thick cloud, a large red glow was nevertheless seen. Both light and heavy A.Afire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, although they were ineffective. Several enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place. There was 10/10ths cloud in the target area, but it was clear and dark above our aircraft. Navigations was excellent. Stirling III, BF455 captained by F/Sgt. Rothschild was hit over the target by A.A.Fire and also chased by enemy Fighters. This caused him to run short of Petrol over the English Channel on the way home, and he eventually crash landed in the sea, 3 miles off Shoreham. The wireless procedure had been perfect, and Spitfires escorted it over the French coast, and a Walrus Flying Boat was waiting for it to crash land. Dingy drill was perfect and all the crew got in safely after an immaculate landing – the Stirling floating for 25 minutes. The final scene was enacted in the Channel as the Walrus collided with the Dinghy and dropped all the crew in the sea. No Ill-effects except for Sgt. Grainger, the Flight Engineer, who suffered from shock. Stirling III BF456 captained by Sgt. Webb failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Clifford Charles Pownall Logan, RAAF AUS.405918 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:20 – Landed 07:00
Flight Time 06:40

14/04/1943 – Stuttgart
Eleven aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with incendiary bombs of 30 lb and 4 lb. One aircraft returned early as the controls were faulty. None of the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen, together with a great deal of black smoke. There was a moderate amount of heavy A.A. Fire encountered on the way to the target, but very little in the target area. A few searchlights were seen, but they were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and short combats took place, but our aircraft were not damaged. It was very clear over the target, as there was a bright moon, and visibility was good in spite of slight ground haze. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mark III BF513 captained by P/O. D.J. McCaskill failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BF455 AA-Y

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 06:45

16/04/1943 – Ludwigshaven
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack, with bombs of 2000 lb, 1000 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lb. Seven of the aircraft successfully attacked the target. Large fires and one big explosion were seen. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered co-operation with searchlights. Two of our aircraft were hit and the Navigator of one was hit in the leg. Several enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good on the route, but considerable haze was experienced at the target. Navigations was very good. Stirling Mark III BK.664 captained by F/Lt. D.C.Lowe, which experienced some very accurate A.A. Fire whilst overt the target, found on landing, that this throttle controls were jammed open, he was lucky enough to be able to land, but unfortunately he crashed into a semi built hanger on the aerodrome. The aircraft was an absolute wreck, but all the crew got away safely, although not without injuries. Stirling Mark III W 7469 captained by F/Sgt. K.F. Debenham and Stirling Mark I BF451 captained by P/O K.H.G. Groves failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Oscar Way, RCAF R.102353 – 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:14 – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Stirling Mk.I BF451 AA-Z was considered to have been shot down by a night-fighter between Rilly-la- Montange and Chigny-les-Roses (Marne), 6 miles South of Rheims. None of the crew survived. They were laid to rest in Reims, then after the city became liberated by U S Forces in 1944, their bodies were taken to Antilly. After September 1944, their remains were exhumed and transferred to the Choloy War Cemetery, 145 miles south of Rheims.

P/O Kelvin Havelock Green Groves, RNZAF NZ415819 – Pilot.
Killed age 30.
Son of Thomas and Margaret Louise Groves; husband of Jessie E. Groves, of Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 5.

W/O James Oscar Way, RCAF 2 R/102353 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 26.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Way, of Redvers, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 7.
‘He loved the Empire,
Proud he stood beside
And in its honor, duty,
He died’

Sgt. Tom Graham Shergold, RAFVR 1149715 – Navigator.
Killed age 21.
Son of Frederick William and Eleanor Annie Shergold, of Heaton, Newcastle-On-Tyne.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 6.
‘In memory’s garden
We meet every day’

Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAF 656462 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 29.
Son of Charles Luther Wanstall, and of Alice A. M. Wanstall, of Eastbourne, Sussex.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 1.
‘Never forgotten
A much loved
Son and brother’

Sgt. Rodney Leslie Pierson, RAFVR 1376120 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 28.
Son of Ellen E. Pierson, and Stepson of Arthur S. Pierson; Husband of Edna Grace Pierson, of Finsbury Park, Middlesex.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 2.
‘In loving memory.
Always on our thoughts’

Sgt. Leslie Charles Cameron, RAFVR 971743 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 23.
Son of Alan and Margaret Cameron; Husband of Jeanie Cameron, of Glasgow.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 8.
‘Lord God of hosts,
Be with us yet,
Lest we forget –
Lest we forget!’

Sgt. Ronald Charles Stone, RNZAF NZ413281 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 26.
Son of William Samuel and Nellie Stone, of Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 3.

Sgt. Leslie Leonard Everden, RAFVR 1187983 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 23.
Son of Charles and Lilian Eleanor Everden, of Chatham.
Buried Choloy War Cemetery, France..
Grave location – 2. A. 4.
‘Greater love
Hath no man than this,
To lay down his life
For his country’

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