F.D. Higham crew 15.8.43 †

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 BF564 JN-W

P/O Alan Joseph Lyall Sedunary, RAAF AUS.416619 – Pilot.
Sgt. Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Aubrey Lens, RAFVR 149672 – Navigator.
Sgt. Cecil Reginald Parish, RAFVR 1332576 – Air Bomber.
W/O Douglas Hamilton Moss, RNZAF NZ404653 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Kitchener Alcock, RAFVR 532245 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Jack Ernest Nicholson, RAFVR 1800467 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John James Gratton, RAFVR 1351568 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 04:00

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 EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 05:25
Flight Time 07:20

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 BK778 JN-U

S/L Richard Broadbent, RNZAF NZ391339 – Pilot.
F/S Frank Douglas Higham, NZ416116 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Douglas Jonathon Hibbs, RNZAF NZ415694 – Navigator.
P/O Earl Ray Belford, RCAF R.88751/ J.17419 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Terence James Hegarty, RAFVR 1030026 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.A. Fenn, RAFVR 1085958 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Richard Kurton, RAFVR 1477334/ 161621 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Harold Percy Jones, RAFVR 1392223/ 149903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:25 – Landed 05:15
Flight Time 07:50

15/08/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs.. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to inter-communication failure and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and parachutes were seen to open. Some heavy A.A. fire was encountered and one aircraft was slightly hit in the fuselage. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was very good. One aircraft, whilst returning across FRANCE at 200 feet, shot up four trains, the engine of one was seen to explode and the other three appeared hit. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE891 captained by F/Sgt. WHITTA, N.B.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Richard Culshaw, RAFVR 1437100 – Navigator.
Sgt. Martin Bailey, RCAF R.119568 – Air Bomber.
F/S Cyril Jack Bridger, RNZAF NZ417192 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Renfrew, RAFVR 984047 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Jennings, RAFVR 1818122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Albert Clarke, RAFVR 940903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:45 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 06:20

17/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Peenemunde
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., 500lb. and incendiaries of 30lb., and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This attack to be well concentrated, large fires and huge explosions being seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but caused no trouble. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good and visibility was clear except for a smoke screen which partially obscured the target. Navigation was excellent. On the return journey the fires could be seen 50 miles from the target.

Stirling Mk.III EH901 JN-O

F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Richard Culshaw, RAFVR 1437100 – Navigator.
Sgt. Martin Bailey, RCAF R.119568 – Air Bomber.
F/S Cyril Jack Bridger, RNZAF NZ417192 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Renfrew, RAFVR 984047 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Jennings, RAFVR 1818122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Albert Clarke, RAFVR 940903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:05 – Landed 04:50
Flight Time 07:45

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 main plane. 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 EE935 ??-?
possibly EE955?

F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Richard Culshaw, RAFVR 1437100 – Navigator.
Sgt. Martin Bailey, RCAF R.119568 – Air Bomber.
F/S Cyril Jack Bridger, RNZAF NZ417192 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Renfrew, RAFVR 984047 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Jennings, RAFVR 1818122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Albert Clarke, RAFVR 940903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:50 – Landed 22:30
Flight Time 01:40

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 EE955 AA-D

F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Richard Culshaw, RAFVR 1437100 – Navigator.
Sgt. Martin Bailey, RCAF R.119568 – Air Bomber.
F/S Cyril Jack Bridger, RNZAF NZ417192 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Renfrew, RAFVR 984047 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Harold Jennings, RAFVR 1818122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Albert Clarke, RAFVR 940903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Stirling Mk.III EE955 AA-D was brought down at Schwarzenau, 12 miles ENE of Würzburg. The circumstances are unclear as to how EE955 was brought down, although the location of the crash was some 60miles NW of Nuremberg ground defences, suggesting the likelihood of night fighter action. All of the crew were killed and are buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, 9 miles east of Bad Tölz.

F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – Pilot.
Killed age 24.
Son of Thomas Higham, and of O. E. Higham, of Weymouth, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. C. 22.

Sgt. John Richard Culshaw, RAFVR 1437100 – Navigator.
Killed age 21.
Son of Reuben and Kate Culshaw, of Embsay, Yorkshire.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. C. 21.

F/S Martin Bailey, RCAF 119568 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 27.
Son of Reuben and Elizabeth Bailey, of Stockton, Manitoba, Canada.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. C. 23.
‘Blown, golden trumpets,
Mournfully,
For all the golden youth
That’s fled’

F/S Cyril Jack Bridger, RNZAF NZ417192 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 26.
Son of Cyril and Kathleen Blanche Bridger, of Nelson City, New Zealand; Grandson of Clara Maud Hoult, of Nelson City.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. C. 20.

Sgt. Robert Renfrew, RAFVR 984047 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 24.
Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Allan Renfrew, of Maybole, Ayrshire.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 9. C. 24.
‘Not just today but every day
In silence we remember’

Sgt. Harold Jennings, RAFVR 1818122 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of Henry and Lily Louise Jennings, of Spring Hill, Birmingham.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Joint grave 9. C. 25-26.
‘Too good in life
To be forgotten in death’

Sgt. Albert Clarke, RAFVR 940903 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 24.
Son of Albert and Eliza Annie Clarke, of Stone, Staffordshire.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Joint grave 9. C. 25-26.
‘Christ will link
The broken chain
Closer when we meet again’

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