G.V. Helm crew 27.5.43 †

EH905crew cropped and cont

George Helm’s crew, taken after initial crewing up at No.11 Operational Training Unit, early 1943. Back row, left to right: Arthur Bishop (W/Op), George Helm (Pilot) and Joe Fisk (A/B). Front row, left to right: Fred Harries (AG) and Don Stewart (Nav). © Maris Shutt

The fledgling Helm crew formed at No.11 Operational Training Unit, RAF Wescott, arriving on the 29th of December 1942, moving to 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit on the 8th of April 1943. The crew arrived on Squadron at Newmarket on the 15th of May.

23/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Some very large fires were seen, and the bombs were seen to explode amongst large buildings. Medium and Heavy A.A. Fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered. One aircraft was hit whilst over the target, and the port outer propeller was shot off, but the aircraft successfully returned to base. Some enemy aircraft were seen, and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but identification was difficult owing to smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III,BK.783 captained by Sergeant S.M. Tietjens failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BK810 AA-G

F/S Herbert James Dalzell, RNZAF NZ414263 – Pilot.
Sgt. George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Roy Reginald Rayner, RNZAF NZ41399 – Navigator.
Sgt. G A Carvell, RAFVR 1322753 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Hopely, RAFVR 1071316 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W.F. Mesley, RAFVR 752390 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Lamonby, RAFVR 947546 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. A. Brown, RAFVR 1358025 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:04 – Landed 01:06
Flight Time 02:02

25/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Four aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and one failed to return. The remaining eleven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and some large explosions were also seen. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered, co-operating with searchlights, which were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. Ten tenths cloud was prevalent in the target area, but visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. This missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. BK602, captained by Sergeant T.W. Darton.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U

F/L Richard Otway French, RNZAF NZ415756 – Pilot.
Sgt. George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. F. Richardson, RAFVR 1097879 – Navigator.
Sgt. B. Tregonning, RAFVR 1319088 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Rupert George Moss, RAFVR 1256127/ 147773 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman Bartlett, RAF 54290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Ernest Moss, RNZAF NZ413274 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Moran, RAFVR 1117083 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:48 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 03:47

27/05/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A. Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was good in the mining area, except for slight sea haze. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I EF408 AA-P

Sgt. George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
Sgt. Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 03:06
Flight Time 04:01

29/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Twenty aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, and two returned early. Four aircraft failed to return. The remaining thirteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires were seen and also some big explosions. Some heavy A.A. Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No searchlights were seen. A few enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but visibility was impaired by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BK776 Captained by P/O. R.F.Bennett, Mk.I EF398, captained by F/O. R.B. Vernazoni, MK.III EH881 captained by Sgt. J.H. Carey and Mk.III Bf561 captained by Sgt. S.R. Thornley.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U

Sgt. George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Leonard Richards, RNZAF NZ404946 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:24 – Landed 04:01
Flight Time 04:37

11/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb.,1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to return and two returned early owing to engine trouble. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Many large fires and huge explosions were seen. Moderate and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with search lights were encountered. One aircraft was coned by searchlights, but violent evasive action eventually avoided them with difficulty. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was clear and the visibility was good except for haze caused by the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stiring Mk.III BK817 captained by Squadron Leader R.H. Laud, (“A” Flight Commander).

Stirling Mk.I BK624 AA-A

Sgt. George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
Sgt. Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:27 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 04:23

14/06/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1500lb., two aircraft returned early, one owing to intercommunication failure and the other owing to engine trouble and one aircraft failed to return. The remaining three aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, but they were ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took lace. There was thick cloud in the mining area although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.I BK646 captained by F/O J.L. Edwards failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I BK624 AA-A

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
Sgt. Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:29 – Landed 05:14
Flight Time 06:45

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A. fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:42 – Landed 04:01
Flight Time 04:19

24/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with incendiary bombs of 30lns and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very good attack, very large concentrated fires being seen, the glow of which was visible 30 miles away from the Dutch Coast. The defences were considerably stronger than the previous attacks, both moderate and heavy A.A. fire was encountered and two aircraft were slightly hit. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, although the smoke from the fires obscured ground detail. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EH902 captained by F/S Bluck.

Stirling Mk.III BF564 JN-W

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:22 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 04:23

25/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Eleven aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets, with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Owing to 10/10ths cloud it was difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the attack, although the glow of fires below the cloud, could be seen over a large area. Both moderate and heavy A.A.fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but were ineffective. Sergt. Burley’s aircraft sighted an unidentified aircraft from astern, the Stirling corkscrewed and the mid-upper-gunner and rear gunners opened fire. The unidentified aircraft was seen to dive to the ground and a fire and flash were seen. The aircraft was claimed to be destroyed. Some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. It was very cloudy in the target area and visibility was poor. Navigation was good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III BK768 captained by F/O Perrott.

Stirling Mk.I BK619 AA-X

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:28 – Landed 03:54
Flight Time 04:26

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.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 04:15
Flight Time 05:10

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 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 EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William James Champion*, RAFVR 624043/ 53774 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

*Sgt. Bishop absent from crew owing to a 3 day illness.

Take Off 21:57 – Landed 04:12
Flight Time 06:15

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 EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 04:25

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.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 05:20

10/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nuremburg
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.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. R. Rogers, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot.
Not a member of the Squadron. Flew this Op only with the Helm crew.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 05:20
Flight Time 07:05

12/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Turin
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 50lb. and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, which was an absolute mass of flames, colossal fires and heavy explosions were also seen. Very feeble A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, but were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one combat took place. The aircraft captained by P/O A. Burley sighted an unidentified aircraft on the way to the target in the Chartes area, which approached from astern, the rear gunner gave a short burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the enemy aircraft broke away. The Stirling’s port outer engine was badly damaged and had to be feathered. The captain however, continued to target which was 380 miles distant on three engines, successfully bombed it and returned to base, making a perfect landing. The weather was clear with a bright moon over the target. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. F.W. Weaver, RAFVR 1214092 – 2nd Pilot.
Needs disambiguation – same details appear to related to the W/Op in the Mayfield crew as well.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:35 – Landed 05:50
Flight Time 08:15

16/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at 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.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:15 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 07:30

From Arthur Bishops diary, the crew returned to land at Beaulieu:
“On at night, Turin. Very good trip. Diverted to Beaulieu. Good drome.Very long trip”.

23/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb., and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb.. Five aircraft returned early owing to failure and three aircraft failed to return. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area and all of the crews agreed that it had been well and truly hit. The fires were all concentrated and huge columns of smoke together with heavy explosions could be seen. A moderate heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but only one aircraft received damage. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 passing above, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners fired and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which was then lost sight of and is claimed to have been damaged. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITEHEAD whilst over BERLIN sighted an enemy aircraft on the starboard quarter, 300yds away. The Rear Gunner fired a five second burst and the enemy aircraft was seen in flames diving to earth, and was claimed as probably destroyed. The same aircraft encountered another unidentified aircraft 300yds away on the starboard quarter. The Rear Gunner fired another five seconds burst and the enemy aircraft exploded and disintegrated. It was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/O. A. Alexander, whilst over the target sighted a ME110 approaching from the starboard quarter above and firing at his aircraft. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunners replied with long bursts and the enemy aircraft was seen to be in flames. A fire was later seen on the ground and the enemy aircraft was claimed as probably destroyed. Scattered cloud was met on the outward route, but it was clear over the target. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BF465 captained by P/O A. RANKIN, BF564 captained by P/O A. Sedunary and EE938 captained by W/O T. Fear.

The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITE, O.H. whilst approaching the target area was coned by searchlights and repeatedly hit by heavy A.A. fire, sustaining considerable damage to port mainplane. He continued towards the target though still coned by searchlights and was then attacked by a JU88 sustaining hits in the rear of the fuselage which shattered the rear turret and killed Rear Gunner Sgt. Poole, J.. The aircraft was forced into an uncontrollable dive and the captain warned his crew ‘Prepare to abandon the aircraft’. Unfortunately, in the middle of this order the inter-communication failed, and the Navigator, Air Bomber and Wireless Operator abandoned the aircraft, due to the fact that they were unable to contact their Captain. F/Sgt. WHITE jettisoned his bomb load whilst in the dive directly over the target area, managed to regain control of the aircraft when height had been lost down to 6,000ft. The captain and two remaining members of the crew after taking stock of the damage decided to attempt the long and hazardous return journey to base. This they did successfully and made a perfect crash landing at base without lights, flaps or under carriage, as the electrical leads were shot away.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Smith Thomson, RAFVR 1374282 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J. Moore, RAFVR 1573067 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:40 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 07:50

27/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nuremburg
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.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Sgt. E. Wood, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot. Not a member of the Squadron. Flew thhis Op only with the Helm crew.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. G.T. Buglass, RAFVR 645313 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:40 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 07:00

30/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at 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.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. G.T. Buglass, RAFVR 645313 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:30 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 03:30

31/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at 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 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 enemy 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.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R

F/S George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Mackay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421366 – Navigator.
F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Oliver McCoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. G.T. Buglass, RAFVR 645313 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frederick Thomas John Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20.32 / Landed –
Flight Time missing

Stirling Mk.III EH905, AA-R was reported to have been struck by at least one bomb, dropped from an aircraft flying at a higher level over the target area.

The damaged aircraft came down near Ludwigsfelde-Heide, 18 miles South South West of Berlin. All crew except the two Air Gunners died and were buried initially in a collective grave in the Russian Prisoner of War Cemetery near where the aircraft crashed. They later were re-interred in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

Sergeants Moore and Harries were captured and spent the rest of the War as Prisoners of War.

P/O George Vincent Helm, RNZAF NZ416113 – Pilot.
Killed age 23.
Son of Harry Vincent Helm, and of Beatrice Euphemia Helm (Nee Smith), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 8. L. 7-17.

F/S Donald MacKay Stewart, RNZAF NZ421336 – Navigator.
Killed age 29.
Son of John Johnston Stewart and Annie Mackay Stewart, of Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 8. L. 7-17.

F/S Joseph George Arkless Fisk, RNZAF NZ412874 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 28.
Son of Joseph Fisk and of Fanny Fisk (Nee Shannon), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand; Husband of Amelia Fisk, of Wanganui.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 8. L. 7-17.

Sgt. Arthur John Bishop, RAFVR 1271480 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22.
Son of Archibald John Bishop and of Ethel Dorothy Bishop (Nee Smith); Husband of Teresa Bishop, of Darlington, Co. Durham.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 8. L. 7-17.
‘My John. R.I.P.’

Sgt. Oliver Mccoo, RAFVR 1365426 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 31.
Son of Joseph and Ruth Mccoo, of Glasgow; Husband of Christina Ferguson Mccoo, (Nee Mackenzie), of Glasgow.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 8. L. 7-17.
‘His duty done,
That others might know peace’

Sgt. G.T. Burglass, RAFVR 645313 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 12728
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag 357. Promoted to W/O whilst
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. F.T.J. Harries, RAFVR 1358765 – Rear Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 12729
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft , Stalag IVB. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

2 thoughts on “G.V. Helm crew 27.5.43 †

  1. Charles Shutt

    Thank you for this fantastic list because it covers all the details of my wife’s father who was SGTArthur John Bishop RAFVR 1271480 w/o. The only raid he missed with his crew was 24/7/1943 to Hamburg due to illness(went 3 days later 27/7/1943.)
    Sgt J. Moore RAFVR 1573067 WAS Mid upper gunner for most raids but his last one was 23/8/1043 to Berlin.In the light of later events what happened to him!
    Many, many thanks for these records.

    Like

    Reply

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