H.S. Miles crew 23.12.44 †

21/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target in daylight. Crews bombed by instruments in ten tenths cloud. Results were unobserved. NZ42397 F/L I. Hannan landed at Mendlesham on return, but reached Base later the same evening.

Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U

S/L John Robert Rodgers, RNZAF NZ413956 – Pilot.
F/O Haddon Shaw Miles, RNZAF NZ421746 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Rolston Wrigley Whittaker, RAFVR 1542839/ 186676 – Navigator.
P/O G. Brown, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
W/O Lawrence Clark Rogers, RAFVR 1063761/ 189969 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Ron Brown, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S B. Concannon, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S J. Moore, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:14 – Landed 16:53
Flight Time 04:39

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q

F/O Haddon Shaw Miles, RNZAF NZ421746 – Pilot.
P/O Michael McLoughlin Dowding, RAFVR 165070 – Navigator.
F/O Frederick John Gunn, RAFVR 1586226/ 163631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Trevor Walter Coombridge, RNZAF NZ42653 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. George Frederick Haslam, RAFVR 2219498 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Edward Left, RAFVR 1819854 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Denis Norman Mephan, RAFVR 1843114 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:54 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:26

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q
MISSING – Hit by falling bombs. HK576, F/O Pearson & crew, witnessed one such aircraft bombing from 23,000ft, that appeared to collide with a Lancaster flying alongside, which went down in a spin. It was later determined that NM710, F/O Miles and crew, was the aircraft going down out of control – possibly hit by falling bombs.

F/O Haddon Shaw Miles, RNZAF NZ421746 – Pilot.
P/O Michael McLoughlin Dowding, RAFVR 165070 – Navigator.
F/O Frederick John Gunn, RAFVR 1586226/ 163631 – Air Bomber.
F/S Trevor Walter Coombridge, RNZAF NZ42653 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. George Frederick Haslam, RAFVR 2219498 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Edward Left, RAFVR 1819854 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Denis Norman Mephan, RAFVR 1843114 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:26 – Landed missing
Flight Time Missing

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q was officially deemed to have crashed in the target area after being struck by a bomb, dropped from an aircraft above, when approaching the target. Only the air bomber, F/O Gunn, survived the crash but was captured as a prisoner of war.

Other aircraft in the lower stream also were in the firing line from aircraft in the upper stream. HK576, F/O Pearson & crew, witnessed one such aircraft bombing from 23,000ft, that appeared to collide with a Lancaster flying alongside, which went down in a spin. It was later determined that NM710, F/O Miles and crew, was the aircraft going down out of control – possibly hit by falling bombs.

Those who died were buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

F/O Haddon Shaw Miles, RNZAF NZ421746 – Pilot.
Killed age 27.
Son of Alfred Edward Miles, and of Gertrude Mary Miles (Nee Shaw), of Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. E. 20.

F/O Michael McLoughlin Dowding, RAFVR 165070 – Navigator.
Killed age 20.
Son of Harry Mcloughlin Dowding and Maud Christine Dowding, of Winchmore Hill, Middlesex.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. E. 21.
‘Ad majorem
Dei glorium’

F/O Frederick John Gunn, RAFVR 1586226/ 163631 – Air Bomber.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: not known
Prison Camps: not known
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

F/S Trevor Walter Coombridge, RNZAF NZ42653 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 21.
Son of Walter John and Matilda Harriet Coombridge, of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. E. 23.

Sgt. George Frederick Haslam, RAFVR 2219498 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 35.
Son of George Edward and Maria Haslam; Husband of Phyllis Haslam, of Burnage, Manchester.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. E. 22.
‘He loved sunshine
Home and life –
All this he gave
In sacrifice’

Sgt. Edward Left, RAFVR 1819854 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 35.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. E. 24.

Sgt. Denis Norman Mepham, RAFVR 1853114 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 23.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 3. E. 25.