J.A. Ward crew 13.09.41 †

16/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Fifteen Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. All bombes were dropped and bursts and fires were observed in target areas. Fairly accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights, working in cones, were very active. FKU.846 reports being attacked by JU.88 on return journey. Cannon shells entered fuselage near elevator and machine gun bullets hit rear turret. There were no casualties. The weather was fine. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, astro, loop, lorenz

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1457 AA-P

S/L Reuben Pears Widdowson, RAFVR 34256 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Lawrence Alan Lawton, RNZAF NZ391883 – Observer.
Sgt. Monty’ Partridge, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Evans, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Allan Robert James Box, RNZAF NZ401221 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:40 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 05:00

18/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Brest
Seventeen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One aircraft, MFW.819 was unable to locate the target on account of low cloud and smoke screen and bombs were bought back. Bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, but owing to smoke screen, bursts were not observed. Moderate light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights were active. The weather was fine but there was slight haze over target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1457 AA-P

S/L Reuben Pears Widdowson, RAFVR 34256 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Lawrence Alan Lawton, RNZAF NZ391883 – Observer.
Sgt. Monty’ Partridge, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Evans, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Allan Robert James Box, RNZAF NZ401221 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:40 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 05:20

21/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Dunkirk
Fifteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out the above attacks. Bombs were dropped in target areas and a number of large fires were started. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire was experienced, and searchlights were moderate. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made. Weather was fine but there was ground haze and cloud in Cologne area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2805 AA-E “D for Donald”

F/O Cecil McKenzie Hill, RAFVR 36172 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Norman Harrison, RAFVR 759028/ 116554) – Observer.
Sgt. W. Mason, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lloyd Elliot, RNZAF NZ401204 – Front Gunner.
P/O Charles Stokes, RAFVR 44224 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:10 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 05:35

24/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Kiel and Dusseldorf
Eighteen Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Two of these aircraft jettisoned bombs. The others reached the targets and bombs were dropped. Bursts were seen. A.A. fire and searchlights were intense, but no enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was fine but there was thick ground haze at some parts. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic N.2854 AA-U

P/O Alan Murray Hobbs, RNZAF NZ40230 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Rodney Patrick Carling, RAFVR 950217 – Observer.
Sgt. Reginald James Turner, RAFVR 913804 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Samuel Carson Craig, RAFVR 947814 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Graham Stuart Walker, RNZAF NZ401817 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 04:15
Flight Time 05:55

03/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Sixteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft , W,5621, captained by SGT. Reid, failed to return to base. Bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft and fires were started. Heavy and light A.A. fire was intense and accurate, as also were searchlights which were working in cones. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks were made. The weather was fine with cloud in some places. There was haze over the target. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, loop, map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1457 AA-P

S/L Reuben Pears Widdowson, RAFVR 34256 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Lawrence Alan Lawton, RNZAF NZ391883 – Observer.
Sgt. W. Mason, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Evans, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Allan Robert James Box, RNZAF NZ401221 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:25
Flight Time 05:05

07/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Munster
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, CNF.994, captained by S/Ldr. Widdowson, was attacked by one Me.110 over the middle of the Zuider Zee and was badly damaged. The rear gunner attacked the enemy aircraft which fell away and dived into the sea with heavy smoke pouring from the port engine. On the journey back to base, fire broke out on the Wellington and the 2nd Pilot, SGT. Ward, climbed out on to the starboard wing and attempted to smother the fire, but with only partial success. The fire eventually burned itself out and a landing was made at Newmarket. For his courageous action SGT. Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross; while S/Ldr. Widdowson and Sgt. Box the rear gunner received immediate awards of the D.F.C. and D.F.M. respectively. (For fuller story see “SUMMARY OF OUTSTANDING EVENTS” at end of Forms 540).
CNF.240 reports bombs fell right on aiming point; 1000lbs. caused red glow which sprang into two fires, afterwards running into one.
CNF.260 reports bombs fell across target.
CNF.401 bomber centre of target area. Several large fires within target area seen as well as numerous scattered small fire in other parts of town.

CNF.477 reports S.B.C.’s started good fire near target.
CNF.523 was unable to pinpoint Munster.
CNF.605 bombed target.
CNF.708 bombed target and added to fires already there.
CNF719 reports G.P. bombs seen to burst in target. Incendiaries fell close to bursts.
CNF.994 saw bombs burst on target.
F/Lt. Gill bombed target.
Many large fire were observed on aiming point. Dummy fire and explosion seen 10 miles N.E. of target.
There was very slight medium light A.A. fire.
Searchlight activity was very slight.
The weather was fine and clear.
Navigation was by D/R, pinpoints, beacons, astro, W/T. map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

S/L Reuben Pears Widdowson, RAFVR 34256 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Lawrence Alan Lawton, RNZAF NZ391883 – Observer.
Sgt. W. Mason, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Evans, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Allan Robert James Box, RNZAF NZ401221 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:10 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 05:25

21/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Cherbourg
Eleven Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and was made up of 1000lbs; 500lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.
CKN.294 reports that bomb bursts were observed. Bursts were observed by CKN.326
Bombs were dropped in target area by CKN.342.
The target was attacked by CKN.380 and bombs were seen to burst. CKN.432 attacked the docks at Cherbourg and reports hits on North West corner. The target was bombed by CKN.446.
CKN.530 bombed target area but no results were observed.
CKN.591 reports that a large fire was started in target area.
CKN.627 started medium fire slightly south east of target and several explosions were observed.
CKN.664 saw H.E.’s and incendiaries burst in target area.
P/O. Scott reports that incendiaries were seen burning.
Dummy fires were observed. An aircraft was seen to be caught in searchlights over Ostend. It was hit by A.A. fire and seen to burst into flames.
A.A. fire was not very intense.
Searchlights were active in target area and at parts of route.
No enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was fine. Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, map reading, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1457 AA-P

S/L Reuben Pears Widdowson, RAFVR 34256 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Lawrence Alan Lawton, RNZAF NZ391883 – Observer.
Sgt. W. Mason, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond George Butt, RAFVR 930644 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Charles Thomas Black, RAFVR 1377719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 05:00

24/07/1941 – Night Attacks Against Targets at Kiel
Five Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs; 500lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.
RTH.140 bombed target area slightly north of target.
RTH.183 reports incendiaries burst on N.E. corner of target and moderate fires were started.
RTH.215 reports that fires were started.
The target area was bombed by RTH.242.
Owing to evasive action P/O. Scott did not observe results.
A.A. fire was heavy and predicted.
Searchlights were plentiful and fairly accurate.. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Fine weather was encountered all the way.
Navigation was by D/R, astro, loop, map reading, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

S/L Reuben Pears Widdowson, RAFVR 34256 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Lawrence Alan Lawton, RNZAF NZ391883 – Observer.
Sgt. W. Mason, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Raymond George Butt, RAFVR 930644 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Charles Thomas Black, RAFVR 1377719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 06:25

13/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One aircraft, GYM.833 was unable to identify target and returned to base with bomb load. The remaining aircraft bombed the target and bursts were seen A smoke screen covered the target area. A.A. fire was heavy, and searchlights were working in cones. The weather was clear over the target.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9757 AA-S

Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – Pilot.
Sgt. Horace Gordon Sloman, RAFVR 929627 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. L.E. Peterson, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Robert William Toller, RAFVR 1054292 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H.C. Watson, RAFVR 952162 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Kenneth Hutley Toothill, RAFVR 1114337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 04:15
Flight Time 06:05

15/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Two of these aircraft failed to return, one being captained by Sgt J. A. Ward who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 4 August 1941. There was clear weather over the target, and bursts were seen in many parts of the target area. A.A. fire was heavy over and near target area. Searchlights were numerous, working in cones, ans co-operating with A.A. fire and night fighters.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.3205 AA-

Sgt. James AllenWard, RNZAF NZ401793 – Pilot.
Sgt. Horace Gordon Sloman, RAFVR 929627 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. L.E. Peterson, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Robert William Toller, RAFVR 1054292 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H.C. Watson, RAFVR 952162 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Kenneth Hutley Toothill, RAFVR 1114337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Sgt Ward’s aircraft, Wellington X3205, was hit repeatedly by flak which resulted in catastrophic damage causing the aircraft to come down in flames in the target area. All but two of the crew (the Wireless Operator and Navigator who both baled out), perished.

Sgt. James Allen Ward, RNZAF NZ401793 – Pilot.
Killed age 22.
Son of Percy Harold Ward and of Ada May Ward (Nee Stokes), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 5A. A1. 9.
‘Victoria Cross’

Sgt. Horace Gordon Sloman, RAFVR 929627 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 5A. H. 8.

Sgt. L.E. Peterson, RAFVR – Observer.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 9630
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft VI, 357
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Kenneth Hutley Toothill, RAFVR 1114337 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 29.
Son of John Arthur and Theodora Toothill; Husband of Barbara Toothill, of Harrogate, Yorkshire.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 5A. E. 5.

Sgt. H.C. Watson, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: not known
Prison Camps: not known
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Robert William Toller, RAFVR 1054292 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 20.
Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 5A. E. 2-4.