A.G. Humphreys crew 27.9.43

then and now portraits copy

Alfred George Humphreys, Pilot with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. © Alfred Humphreys/ John Humphreys

Many thanks to John for passing on this remarkable collection of material relating to his Father, Alf Humphreys, who flew with the Squadron between September 1943 and May 1994. Alf’s personal record of his time with the Squadron offers  fascinating extra detail to the crew’s Op History. I must note that not long after John originally passed this information on to me Alf sadly passed away, various delays on my part means that I have to offer belated condolences to Alf’s family, but perhaps his crew page is a small tribute to the man and the boys he flew with.

FLYING OFFICER ALFRED GEORGE HUMPHREYS
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
No. 413157
Enlisted: July, 1941
No.12 Initial Training School Bradfield Park, Sydney August to November 1941.
No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School, Temora, New South Wales, December, 1941 to February, 1942.
No. 6 Advanced Flying Training School, South Australia,April,1942 to late August,1942.

GRADUATED SERGEANT. PILOT, MULTI ENGINE AIRCRAFT

No. 2 Embarkation Depot, Bradfield Park, Sydney.
Seconded to ROYAL AIR FORCE in the United Kingdom end September, 1942.
Royal Air Force Station, Greenham Common for Instrument Flying Course.

“No. 26 Operational Training Unit, Wing. Flying Twin Engine Wellington Heavy Bomber Aircraft. At this Unit formed my crew of Pilot, Navigator, Bomb Aimer, Wireless Operator, Rear Gunner, and Mid Upper Gunner, a crew of six. Posted to No.: 1665 Conversion Unit, Woolfox Lodge to convert on to four engine Short Stirling Mk IIl’s. It was on this Unit my Flight Engineer joined the crew.”

“From the Conversion Unit we were posted to 75(NZ) SQDN as one of the replacement
crews because of the heavy losses. This Squadron was equipped with Stirling Aircraft at that time. At this time I held the rank of Flight Sergeant.”


75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal, Cambridgeshire.
“From the Conversion Unit we were posted to 75(NZ) SQDN as one of the replacement
crews because of the heavy losses. This Squadron was equipped with Stirling Aircraft at that time. At this time I held the rank of Flight Sergeant.”

Alf and his crew arrived at Mepal on the 10th of September 1943. 5 days later his flew a “2nd Dickie” Op with Allan Alexander’s crew.

15/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Montlucon
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb..One aircraft failed to take-off, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a good concentrated attack, large fires and heavy explosions being observed, smoke from fires and heavy explosions being observed, smoke from fires was rising to a height of 12,000ft.. Inaccurate A.A.fire from a few guns was the only opposition, no enemy aircraft were encountered. There was 5/10th cloud over the target but visibility was nevertheless good. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U “Alexander’s Ragtime Crew”

F/O Allan Mason Forbes Alexander, RNZAF NZ41712 – Pilot.
F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Maurice Desmond Andersen, RNZAF NZ415675 – Navigator.
F/S Philip Hutcheson Pullyn, RNZAF NZ416643 – Air Bomber.
F/S Thomas James Mayhew, RNZAF NZ415549 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Howard, RAFVR 643578 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Armstrong ‘Doc’ Lyon, RCAF R.108340 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S William Hamish ‘Mac’ MacDonald, RNZAF NZ417219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 03:10
Flight Time 06:40

16/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Modane
Nineteen aircraft wee detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of  1,000lb.,and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft returned early, but the remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful and well concentrated attack. Large fires which appeared to be spreading and heavy explosions were seen. Some A.A.fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, they were ineffective except for one aircraft which received damage. The port inner engine caught fire but what put out with the aid of a fire extinguisher, the propeller was then feathered and the aircraft continued its journey on three engines. A few enemy aircraft were seen, the aircraft captained by P/O. G.K.WILLIAMS had a combat with a JU 88 which was claimed as destroyed. One other short combat took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. It was clear over the target and visibility was good. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BK777 AA-U “Alexander’s Ragtime Crew”

F/O Allan Mason Forbes Alexander, RNZAF NZ41712 – Pilot.
F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Maurice Desmond Andersen, RNZAF NZ415675 – Navigator.
F/S Philip Hutcheson Pullyn, RNZAF NZ416643 – Air Bomber.
F/S Thomas James Mayhew, RNZAF NZ415549 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Howard, RAFVR 643578 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Armstrong ‘Doc’ Lyon, RCAF R.108340 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S William Hamish ‘Mac’ MacDonald, RNZAF NZ417219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:00 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 07:50

27/09/1943 – Mining in the Frisian Islands
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above Operation with mines of 1,500lb., which were successfully dropped in the allotted area, and the parachutes were seen to open. This was an uneventful trip, no A.A. Fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft being encountered. There was 10/10th cloud. And rain, which caused visibility to be poor in the mining area. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EE958 AA-V

F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:10 – Landed 22:10
Flight Time 03:00

29/09/1943 – ASR (Air Sea Rescue)
“Sea Rescue over the North Sea to find bomber crews, very bad weather.”

03/10/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Kassel
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early as the Navigator was ill, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a good concentrated attack, large fires and heavy explosions being seen. Moderate A.A. Fire was encountered, which was ineffective except for one aircraft which received damage. This aircraft was captained by F/Sgt. N. PARKER, damage was received to the starboard elevator , starboard tail plane and the rear turret war partly shot away. The rear gunner Sgt. S.W. RIDDLER was lost over the target when the rear turret was damaged. It is considered that he may have baled out as the escape hatch was found to be open. The aircraft successfully landed at WING. Very few enemy aircraft were seen. It was clear at the target, but slight haze was encountered on the return journey. Navigation was very good.

“Kassel – heavily defended  – a lucky night…..”

Stirling Mk.III EF137 AA-E

F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:00 – Landed 01:00
Flight Time 06:00

04/10/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Frankfurt
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. Three aircraft returned early and one failed to return. This was a good attack, ten aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very good concentrated fires and enormous explosions being seen, the fires were still visible on the homeward journey. A.A. Fire was negligible, there were many search lights which were cooperating with enemy night-fighters. The aircraft captained by S/Ldr. J.JOLL had a combat with a M.E. 109, which was claimed as possibly damaged. The weather was poor on the outward and return journeys, but clear over the target, visibility was good except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was captained by SGT. H.J. MIDDLETON.

“Before take off had instrument problems, no artificial horizon, no altimeter, no gyro compass. Half an hour late in take off, had to fly faster to try and catch up, and still arrived over target ten minutes behind. Very heavy flack, did a steep turn to starboard as bombs were dropped. Landed Granston Lodge, fuel shortage Flew to base the next morning with flack pieces in the underside of plane, 73 pieces all told and none hit any vital operating part of plane control.”

Stirling Mk.III EF462 ??-M

F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:00 – Landed 00:50
Flight Time 05:50

08/10/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000 lbs., 500lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Results were rather disappointing as owing to thick cloud, it was not possible to assess damage. Very few fires were seen and only one large explosion was observed. Slight ineffective A.A, Fire was encountered. Searchlights were active but hampered by cloud. Several combats with enemy aircraft took place. The aircraft captained by F/SGT. SPIERS, R. claimed a M.E. 109 as probably destroyed and a M.E. 110 as damaged. Another M.E. 109 was claimed as damaged by the aircraft captained by P/O o. WHITE. Navigation was very good.

“Enemy Aircraft attack, Flack bursts heavy”.

CR report 8OCT43 Bremen

The combat report from the 8/9th of October 1943.
National Archives Kew AIR/50/192

Stirling Mk.III EF462 ??-M

F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 04:45

18/11/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lbs. Two aircraft returned early but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and huge explosions were seen. There was a moderate heavy A.A. Barrage and searchlights were fairly active.Many enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, being clear at the target except for slight ground haze. Navigation was very good.

“Turned back, Inner Starboard engine exploded. Fire in engine,feathered engine, turned off engine power, fire extinguished, engine total wreck. Returned to base with bomb load.”

Stirling Mk.III EF152 ??-? DNC

F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:35 – Landed 19:05
Flight Time 01:30

19/11/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Leverkusen
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 2,000lbs, 1,000 lbs and incendiaries of 30 lbs and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Except for one vivid  red flash seen through the clouds, little results were observed. Heavy and medium A.A. Fire co-operating with Searchlights was encountered, but caused negligible damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and a few combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The aircraft  captained be F/S R.Hunt met a J.U.88 which attacked his aircraft, the fire was returned and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft. Our aircraft was then attacked by a FW190, the first was returned but the enemy aircraft disappeared. The weather was poor, being ten-tenths cloud over the target, there was also a fog at base which necessitated the aircraft landing at BRADWELL BAY on return. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was captained by F/Sgt. N. PARKER.

“Very heavy flack, slight damage – Promoted to Warrant Officer.”

Stirling Mk.III EH948 AA-Q

F/S Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:30 – Landed 21:58
Flight Time 04:28

22/11/1943
Taken to Bradwell Bay and brought back aircraft EH948 to Squadron.

11/12/1943
Took Sgt Allen and his crew on air test (new crew)
Records seem to indicate this was the crew of Sgt. William Morton Allen, who by this point had flown 4 Ops with the Squadron. Mystery surrounds the ultimate fate of Sgt. Allen – he was lost without trace on the 14th January 1944, age 23, whilst in charge of a Hurricane fighter of the Air Fighting Development Unit from RAF Mepal.

It appears that Sgt. Allen took the aircraft without permission when the Fighter Pilot who had landed the Hurricane went into the station mess. It is assumed that Sgt. Allen after taking the aircraft eventually ran out of fuel, ultimately crashing, somewhere in the North Sea.

There is also a suggestion that, at the point of this event Sgt. Allen might have himself, been on some form of disciplinary charge which had removed or suspended him from flying duties. At this point in time, this information is purely anecdotal.

Sgt. William Morton Allen – Commemorated on Panel 215, Runnymede Memorial.

13/12/1943
Formation Flying and air test of EF152 Stirling

29/12/1943
Took F/Sgt Burke and crew on air test.
The Burke crew had arrived at Mepal on the 9th of November. Edgar Lawrence Burke, as skipper, flew with his crew for the first time on the 25th of November 1943, 4 days before the Air Test with Alf. After a further 17 Ops, the crew (1 Op without Edgar) were all killed on the 22nd of May 1944, their Lancaster breaking up in fight, after being attacked by a night-fighter,  before crashing at Neerpelt. The crew now rest in Heverlee War Cemetery, near Louvain, Belgium

“l was persuaded to apply for Officer Commission. Commission approved as at 1st January, 1944 with the rank of Flying Officer.”

04/01/1944 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500 lbs., which were successfully dropped in the allotted area. No A.A. Fire was encountered but a few enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was good and visibility was clear except for sea haze. Navigation was excellent.

“Very heavy cloud over target area and lost all four engines in the descent three times. Successful drop of six mines in target area.”

Stirling Mk.III EF152 ??-?

W/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:55 – Landed 07:35
Flight Time 07:40

14/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs., one aircraft brought its bombs back, owing to a failure of Navigational Aid equipment, and one returned early as it could not maintain height. This attack was successful and concentrated, bombs being seen to drop within the target area. Some A.A. fire was encountered, but caused no trouble. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EF507 ??-?

W/O Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
Sgt. Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:15 – Landed 21:25
Flight Time 03:10

11/02/1944 – Mining off Mouth of River Ardour
Of the nine aircraft which were laying mines of 1500 lbs off the mouth of the river ADOUR, all but one did so though it meant flying down through very bad icing cloud and in these conditions one jettisoned to lighten the load.

“weather terrible severe icing had to drop mines in location but not true correct spot.”

Stirling Mk.III EF152 ??-?

W/O Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:25 – Landed 02:00
Flight Time 07:35

15/02/1944 – Mining in the Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to lay mines in Kiel Bay. Fourteen aircraft dropped 42 mines in 10 minutes. One aircraft returned early with a starboard engine failure. A very successful operation.

Stirling Mk.III EF152 ??-?

W/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:25 – Landed 22:50
Flight Time 05:25

24/02/1944 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Fifteen aircraft were detailed with a large force to lay mines of 1500 lbs in Kiel Bay, and fourteen returned after completing their mission successfully. One aircraft (Captain NZ42367 F/S. Bruhns H.) is missing, and no news was heard after take-off.

“Oil Pump went u/s had to feather engine.”

Stirling Mk.III EF152 ??-?

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
Sgt. E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:15 – Landed 00:10
Flight Time 06:55

02/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period WHEELWRIGHT 79 (ABORTIVE)
Operation WHEELWRIGHT 79 (Abortive)
. Reception area reached but unable to pin point owing to variable low stratus cloud.

“Each of these operations were Special Targets dropping supplies to French underground. We were required to fly to a specified latitude and longitude in a forest, then come down to about 200 feet above ground and drop our load on a specified signal laid out on the ground. If the signal is not correct we had to bring our load back to base.”

Stirling Mk.III

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

04/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 174 (SUCCESSFUL)
Operation TRAINER 174 (Successful).
The m/n crew in Stirling III ‘T’ took off at 20.50 hours. The target area was reached at 23.34 hrs. and pin pointed by lake De Chancelade. Sixteen containers were dropped from 480 feet and a lamp flashing the letter was very clearly seen. Weather was good, thin cloud with tops at 7,000 feet in area and some gaps. Course was set for Base at 23.59 hrs, five packages of leaflets being dropped at Aubusson and village en route. The aircraft, without further incident, landed at Base at 03.25 hours.

Mk. ??-T

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:50 – Landed 03:25
Flight Time 06:35

05/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 149 (ABORTIVE)
Operation TRAINER 149 (Abortive).
No correct reception was received on reaching the target area and pilot did not, therefore, feel justified in dropping containers. On return journey one package of leaflets was dropped in the Limoges area.

Stirling Mk.III ??

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

10/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period TRAINER 121 (ABORTIVE)
Operation TRAINER 121 (Abortive).
No reception was received at primary or alternative targets. On return journey two packages of leaflets were dropped near Clermont Ferrand.

Stirling Mk.III ??

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

13/03/1944 – Mining off Brest
Sixteen aircraft were detailed for mine laying off St. Nazaire, Lorient, La Rochelle, and Brest. One aircraft (Captain NZ414567 F/Sgt. Rowberry T.) failed to return. Another aircraft (Captain NZ42999 P/O. C. Baker) returned early with aileron trouble and crashed at Castle Comb, without injury to the crew although the aircraft was burnt out. The remaining fourteen successfully laid their mines, one aircraft landing at Woodbridge on return.

Stirling Mk.III EF152 ??-?

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 04:40

15/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period MUSICIAN 3 (ABORTIVE)
Operation MUSICIAN 3 (Abortive).
There was ten tenths cloud in the target area and no reception was received. On the return journey two packages of leaflets were dropped at Bohain.

Stirling Mk.III ??- ?

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time no record

23/03/1944 – Attack Against Targets at Laon
Five aircraft took off to bomb the marshalling yards at Laon and they all returned safely.

Stirling Mk.III EF207 ??- ?

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:40 – Landed 00:10
Flight Time 04:30

30/03/1944 – To No.3 Lancaster Finishing School (L.F.S.), Feltwell
“Stirling to Feltvvell to convert on to Lancaster Mark lll’s. During morning we had lectures on the mechanics of the Lancaster. After lunch we were given some dual instruction and then flew solo. After dinner in the evening and in the dark we again were given some dual and then solo flying.”

01/04/1944 – “flew back to base at Mepal taking 45 minutes.”

07/04/1944 – Cross country practice flight

10/04/1944 – Attack Against Targets at Laon
Eight aircraft successfully attacked Laon.

Lancaster Mk.III ND747 AA-T

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:30 – Landed 05:30
Flight Time 04:00

18/04/1944 – Attack Against Rouen
Ten Lancasters were also detailed to bomb the marshalling yards at Rouen, one was withdrawn, but the remaining nine attacked in clear weather with ground haze.

“Lancaster performed excellent. (on return) Enemy Aircraft dropped Anti Personnel bombs down the runway (at Mepal). I was only 100 feet off the ground and although the runway lights were turned off I went ahead and landed. Lancaster went all the way along the runway without touching one bomb. Only three aircraft landed at base that night, the rest were sent away to other aerodromes.”

Lancaster Mk.I ME689 AA-Y (3)

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 02:10
Flight Time 03:10

20/04/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Nine Lancaster aircraft were detailed to attack Cologne, of which one failed to take off and one returned early owing to the illness of the wireless operator. The remainder successfully completed their mission.

“Good flight, nice to be able to fly at the same height as the rest of the stream.”

Lancaster Mk.III ND747 AA-T

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:40 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 03:40

07/05/1944 – Attack Against Chateau Bolgon Aerodrome
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Chateau Bolgon aerodrome near Nantes. All aircraft successfully attacked in clear weather and bombing was concentrated.

“Aircraft works and airfield easy operation.”

Lancaster Mk.III ND747 AA-T

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
P/O James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:30 – Landed 05:50
Flight Time 05:20

10/05/1944 – Attack Against Courtrai
Twenty three aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Courtrai. A concentrated attack was made with very slight opposition. One aircraft (Captain NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond) was hit by A.A. Fire on the return journey and the Captain received slight injuries.

“Easy target.”

Lancaster Mk.III LL865 ??-?

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
P/O James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 00:45
Flight Time 02:45

11/05/1944 – Attack Against Louvain
Twenty-four aircraft, representing the largest number of Lancaster aircraft so far detailed by this Squadron, were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Louvain. Twenty-three aircraft successfully attacked in good weather. One aircraft (Captain NZ414591 A/F/L. S. Clark) claimed a JU 88 destroyed in combat over the North Sea. Another aircraft (Captain 151118 A/F/L. D. Warren) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND747 AA-T

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
P/O James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 02:00
Flight Time 03:15

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target. Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis). Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

“Good flight out to target, attacked by ME110 German aircraft on the way home. Navigator injured, fire in the bomb bay, hydraulics shot away, starboard inner engine shut down and feathered. Front escape hatch shot away, bomb bay doors hanging open, pilot’s parachute fallen out. Aircraft would not maintain height and was gradually going down. Crew would not bail out but said they wanted to stay with pilot and try and get back to base. There was a big possibility the Lancaster would not make it right across the North Sea as there was a 100 mile of ocean to cross and at the rate we were descending our chances were rather slim. However crew said they would stay with me and we set out across the sea. When we had descended quite a long way down I realised we were not losing at the same quick rate and were in fact going a lot further forward instead of downwards. At about 2000 feet the good old Lancaster held its height and we made it back to base without any further problems.”

Lancaster Mk.I LL865 ??-?

P/O Alfred George Humphreys, RAAF AUS.413157 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Hill, RAFVR 1438903 – Navigator.
F/S E.G. Fuller, RAFVR 1386590 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Mellor, RAFVR 1147695 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. C.W. Gibbs, RAFVR 1277052 – Flight Engineer.
P/O James Henry Kenefick, RAFVR 1623712/ 174232 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S G.A. Mercer, RAFVR 1802126 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 04:15

“My Navigator, Ben was taken off to hospital and the aircraft was towed back to its dispersal as the brakes had failed.

There was a long discussion with the ‘Powers that Be’ about us and the outcome was that my Flight Commander told me that we were finished our operations. The thought was that there was no Navigator with lots of experience available and it was not a fair deal to give me a brand new Navigator with no experience of operations, so the decision was to finish us as an operational crew.

When I told the crew that we had been taken off operations they were very happy as we had all been given a fright in our last operation. I think they were more so than me. They suggested we go into Ely and celebrate that evening, but I said I was going over to see Ben our Navigator in hospital and cheer him up with the news.

The last thing I said to them as they were leaving for the bus was not to miss the last bus home. If they did miss it there was a 14 mile walk back to base and their beds.

The next morning their beds were empty and I knew they had missed the last bus. Little did I know that they had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly and spent the night in the lock-up.

Later in the morning I was called to go to the Squadron Commanders office. He told me where the crew had spent the night and said I should have had enough influence over them that they would not have done what they had done. I protested that they were 14 mile away, so how could I have had that influence. I said that if I had been with them it would not have happened. But all to no avail, and then said I still should have been able to have that much influence and control that they would not have gone off the rails as they had done, he then added that I had been recommended for the D.F.C. but he was cancelling the recommendation.

No matter how I protested of the unfairness of his action he would not change his mind and then I stormed out of his office sadly disappointed by his action. I felt it was largely because I was an Australian and not a New Zealander.”

 


After 75…….
“A few days later, just after the D-Day landings started a posting came through and my crew and I were broken up. I was sent to and Operational Training Unit not far from Rugby. It was named 29 OTU Bruntnigthorpe and l was placed in D Flight. In D Flight there was an RAF Lt.. And one day shortly after my joining the Flight he asked where I came from in Australia I replied Sydney, he then wanted to know if I knew Allawah. I replied yes and the next question was did I know Cronulla Street. Again I said yes, but what is that to you. He replied that it was the street his mum and dad lived in. His name was Harry Venning and many years later I met him again at our Anzac Day March. Harry had been in England working when the war started and he had joined the RAF rather than trying to retum to Australia.

When I first came to Bruntingthorpe I was told I would have to complete an Instructors Course. I was instructing for at least two and a half months when I was sent to Upavon to do the course. Whilst I was there I went down to Stonehenge not very far away. It was a bus ride to the place and there was just the two of us, both Air Force men, nobody else anywhere about and we could walk right up to the stones and touch them.

Shortly after returning to Bruntingthorpe I was transferred to the satellite ‘drome of Bitteswell where I stayed about one month and was then sent back to the main ‘drome of Bruntingthorpe.

During my stay at the OTU of 29 Bruntingthorpe and its satellite of Bitterswell I helped to train close to 100 crews. Not a bad effort in helping to further the winning of the war in Europe. Around the middle of February, 1945 I applied to go back on operations and one moming I was asked to report to the Station Office and told I had a posting to a Mosquito Squodron, to that I replied when am I to go . Then I was told there was a problem and it was that I also had a posting back to Australia. I said there was no problem at all, I would take the Australian posting and go home. I was told the idea was for me to retrain onto heavy aircraft and join the Pacific Theatre of the war.

A short time later I was posted to Brighton on the south coast and there waited for a ship back home. Some weeks later we were on a ship heading back home and sailed through the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, Indian Ocean and arrived in Fremantle just after the European War had ended with the German Armies surrendering. We eventually arrived in Sydney at the end of May and were taken to No. 2 Embarkation Unit where we met our family. In my case my mum and my wife to be Dorothy were waiting for me. It had been just on three years since we had seen each other.

The Atomic bombs were dropped on the two Japanese cities and the Japanese surrendered. The war around the world had come to an end and the Peace Treaty was signed in Tokyo Harbour on the 3″’ September, 1945 making the battle exactly six years in length. I was discharged at the end of September, 1945 with the rank of Flying Officer…………”


On the 10th of December 2015 Alf was a guest of the French Ambassador to Australia,  Christophe Lecourtier aboard the French frigate Vendémiaire with 4 other veterans, to be presented with France’s highest honour, the Légion d’Honneur.

Alf Humphreys Medal of Honour. tidied and cropped

As I said at the top of this page, John contacted me with this wonderful information, that Alf had given the time to gather and write down, but he was now receiving palliative care in hospital.

Sadly, all too soon after this first contact, on the 29th of February 2016 Alf passed away.

 

AKE AKE KIA KAHA

 

 

One thought on “A.G. Humphreys crew 27.9.43

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