H. Nicol crew 7.7.43 †

03/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiaries of 30lbs and 4lbs. All aircraft, with the exception of one, which returned early owing to engine trouble, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large concentrated fires were seen, the whole area appearing to be in flames. Heavy and medium A.A. fire was encountered, which was ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good and clear over the target, although slight ground haze partially obscured ground detail. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I EE892 AA-F

F/L Jack ‘Jacky’ Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – Pilot.
Sgt. Henry Nicol, RAFVR 657425 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Thomas Cameron Graham, RAFVR 125622 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Barron Kane, RAFVR 1312222/ 158333 – Air Bomber.
F/S Edward Henry Gray, RNZAF NZ412878 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Hugh Falloon, RCAF C.18262 – Flight Engineer.
F/S L.C. Soreson, RCAF R.86749/ J.89823 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S William Joffre Reid, RNZAF NZ411779 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:10 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 04:55

04/07/1943 – Mining off Ille de RE
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., which were dropped successfully in the allotted area, and the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A. Fire and one searchlight were encountered, but were ineffective. No enemy aircraft were seen. There was no cloud in the mining area and the visibility was good. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I ES436? ??-?

Sgt. Henry Nichol, RAF 657425 – Pilot.
F/S Alan James Robinson, RNZAF NZ42308 – Navigator.
P/O Edgar John Mansell, RAFVR 1339755/ 132097 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Henry Garvin, RAFVR 1077126 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Charles Edward Radford, RAFVR 1437419 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Sidney Norrington, RAFVR 646162 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bernard Laurence Cooksley, RNZAF NZ41435 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:55 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 06:15

08/07/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., all of which were successfully dropped in the allotted area, and the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A. Fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One unidentified aircraft was seen and a short combat took place, minor damage to the rear turret of our aircraft was sustained, and the unidentified aircraft was probably hit. A sea haze and patchy cloud were experienced in the mining area, but visibility was good. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I EE886 AA-L

Sgt. Henry Nichol, RAF 657425 – Pilot.
F/S Alan James Robinson, RNZAF NZ42308 – Navigator.
P/O Edgar John Mansell, RAFVR 1339755/ 132097 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Henry Garvin, RAFVR 1077126 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Charles Edward Radford, RAFVR 1437419 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Sidney Norrington, RAFVR 646162 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Bernard Laurence Cooksley, RNZAF NZ41435 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 05:15
Flight Time 07:00

13/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Aachen
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack targets as above, with incendiaries of 30lbs. And 4lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large fires were seen which appeared to be scattered. Some light and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered. The aircraft captained by P/O CC. Logan, was hit by A.A. fire in the starboard outer engine, fin and elevator, and had to make a landing at FORD, which he did successfully. Some enemy aircraft were encountered. The aircraft captained by P/O. A. Rankin was attacked by a JU.88 and the wireless operator was wounded. The rear gunner returned fire and the enemy aircraft broke away, returning astern and firing a short burst. The Stirling rear gunner then fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft gave a flash, spun half round and disappeared into the cloud , followed by an explosion on the ground. This aircraft was claimed as being destroyed. The aircraft captained by P/O. A.A. ALEXANDER sighted an ME210 on the port beam, 100 yards slightly below. As the enemy aircraft passed below, the front gunner fired a short burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the enemy aircraft appeared astern, the rear gunner then fired a short burst and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive into the clouds, and is claimed as possibly destroyed. There was 8/10ths. broken cloud at the target, but visibility above that was good. Stirling Mk.III EE886 captained by F/O. C. EDDY on return, crash landed at OAKINGTON, the under carriage collapsed and the aircraft turned over and caught fire. The mid-upper gunner E.C. VICCARS was killed on impact and the remainder of the crew escaped although not without injuries. The captain, navigator, wireless operator and flight engineer were seriously injured, the remainder being slightly injured.

Stirling Mk.I BF518 AA-E

Sgt. Henry Nichol, RAF 657425 – Pilot.
F/S Alan James Robinson, RNZAF NZ42308 – Navigator.
P/O Edgar John Mansell, RAFVR 1339755/ 132097 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Henry Garvin, RAFVR 1077126 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Charles Edward Radford, RAFVR 1437419 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Sidney Norrington, RAFVR 646162 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bernard Laurence Cooksley, RNZAF NZ41435 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:05 – Landed 04:55
Flight Time 04:50

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 88approaching 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 mainplane 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.III EE890 AA-L

Sgt. Henry Nichol, RAF 657425 – Pilot.
F/S Alan James Robinson, RNZAF NZ42308 – Navigator.
P/O Edgar John Mansell, RAFVR 1339755/ 132097 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Henry Garvin, RAFVR 1077126 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Charles Edward Radford, RAFVR 1437419 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Sidney Norrington, RAFVR 646162 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bernard Laurence Cooksley, RNZAF NZ41435 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Stirling Mk.III EE890 AA-L was shot down by a night-fighter (Fw Meissner, II /NJG3), crashing at Neumunster. The Captain, Flight Engineer, W/operator and Mid Upper gunner died. Sgt Norrington was buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Ohlsdorf. The Navigator, Air Bomber and Rear Gunner probably parachuted to safety as they were captured as POW’s.

W/O Henry Nicol, RAF 657425 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 23.
Son of Henry and Margaret Nicol.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England.
Grave location – Panel 134.

F/S Alan James Robinson, RNZAF NZ42308 – Navigator .
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 222434
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft III and IVB, Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 26th of May 1945

P/O Edgar John Mansell, RAFVR 1339755/ 132097 – Air Bomber.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 1780
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft Stalag Luft III
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. William Henry Garvin, RAFVR 1077126 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 20.
Son of Ernest and Lillian Garvin, of Orford, Warrington, Lancashire.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 289.

Sgt. Charles Edward Radford, RAFVR 1437419 – Flight Engineer.
Lost without trace age 20.
Son of Charles Alfred and Ellen Annie Radford, of Cricklewood, Middlesex.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 162.

Sgt. Harold Sidney Norrington, RAF 646162 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 23.
Son of George Edward Norrington, and of Edith Grace Norrington, of Bexleyheath, Kent.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 4A. B. 6.
‘Sweetest thoughts
Shall ever linger,
Round the grave
Where thou art laid’

F/S Bernard Laurence Cooksley, RNZAF NZ41435 – Rear Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 222435
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag IVB. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 28th of May 1945

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