J.E. Gilbertson crew 23.07.42 †

25/06/1942 – Attack on Targets at Bremen
Twenty a/c were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target. Results not observed. There was a large amount of A.A. fire searchlights were ineffective. A JU88 followed Well.III X3664 but did not attack. Weather was moderate with 10/10 cloud. Nav was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3751 AA-P

P/O Eric George Delancey Jarman , RAAF AUS.404507 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson RNZAF NZ41894 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Henderson Taylor, RAFVR 1051621/ 122053 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Alexander Fernie, RAFVR 980003/ 127783 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R.S. Davey, RNZAF – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Arthur Titcombe, RAFVR 1291758 – Rear Gunner. Died Wednesday 29th July 1942, age 21, during a raid on Hamburg. Buried Hardenwijk General Cemetery Netherlands.

Take Off 23:19 – Landed 04:44
Flight Time 05:25

29/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Sixteen a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results not observed. A.A. fire was heavy in target area. Searchlights were ineffective through cloud. A JU88 was attacked and claimed as shot down by Well.BJ837, captained by Sgt. Hockaday. Weather was cloudy. Nav was excellent. Well.III (P/O Monk) failed to return and Well.III Z1616 (Sgt. Bertram) crashed after take-off and caught fire. All crew killed.

Wellington Mk.III X.3751 AA-P

P/O Eric George Delancey Jarman , RAAF AUS.404507 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson RNZAF NZ41894 2nd Pilot.
P/O William Henderson Taylor, RAFVR 1051621/ 122053 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Alexander Fernie, RAFVR 980003/ 127783 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R.S. Davey, RNZAF – Front Gunner.
P/O Francis William John Chunn, RNZAF NZ40735 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:39 – Landed 04:54
Flight Time 05:15

02/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Twelve aircraft left base to carry out an attack on targets at Bremen. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in the target area, bomb bursts and fires were seen in target area. A.A. fire was poor and searchlights were scattered but numerous. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was very clear over target. Navigation was very good by TR and DR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3720 AA-U

F/S John Charles Wilmhurst, RNZAF NZ411962 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson, RNZAF NZ41894 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. James Douglas Gould, RNZAF NZ411233 – Observer.
Sgt. Richard Edwin Sharp, RNZAF NZ405513 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Peter Desmond Lowther, RNZAF NZ403583 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Raymond John Finlay Hirst, RNZAF NZ404067 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 04:35

08/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Wilhemshaven
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area and hit were believed to be scored. There was heavy predicted flak and searchlights were scattered. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was good clear over target. Navigation was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3720 AA-U

F/S John Charles Wilmhurst, RNZAF NZ411962 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson, RNZAF NZ41894 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. James Douglas Gould, RNZAF NZ411233 – Observer.
Sgt. Richard Edwin Sharp, RNZAF NZ405513 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Peter Desmond Lowther, RAFVR NZ403583 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Raymond John Finlay Hirst, RNZAF NZ404067 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:10 – Landed 06:10
Flight Time 06:00

23/07/1942 – Attack Against at Duisburg
Fourteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target and bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area. Results unobserved. A.A. fire was heavy and concentrated. Searchlights were few owing to cloud. One JU.88 was seen. Two other enemy a/c were seen but did not attack. Weather was poor, cloudy over the target. Nav. was good

Wellington Mk.III BJ.661 AA-X

Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson, RNZAF NZ41894 – Pilot.
Sgt. Martin John Byrne, RNZAF NZ404529 – Observer.
F/L Eric Norman Albert, RAFVR 623339 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alan Walter Rutherford, RNZAF NZ404572 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John William Filda Atkin, RNZAF NZ411057 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:05 – Landed 04:55
Flight Time 03:50

26/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Fifteen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack against the above target. Bomb load of 34000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and incendiaries was dropped on target area. Numerous fires and bomb bursts were seen. A.A. fire was accurate. Seven searchlights destroyed and others damaged and one m/c gun post silenced by Well.III, X3396, captained by Sgt. Kearns. Searchlights were ineffective owing to moon. One JU88 was seen 30 miles from enemy coast but did not attack. Weather was clear over target but cloudy on route. Navigation was very good by TR and DR

Wellington Mk.III BJ.661 AA-X

Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson, RNZAF NZ41894 – Pilot.
Sgt. Martin John Byrne, RNZAF NZ404529 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Patrick Callaghan, RNZAF NZ411739 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alan Walter Rutherford, RAFVR NZ404572 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John William Filda Atkin, RNZAF NZ411057 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 06:15

28/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen a/c were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in target area and bursts were seen in dock area. A.A. fire was very accurate, light and heavy predicted. There were many accurate searchlight cones in parts but clear over target. Navigation was good by TR and DR. Six a/c failed to return to base

Wellington Mk.III BJ.661 AA-X

Sgt. John Edward Gilbertson, RNZAF NZ41894 – Pilot.
Sgt. Martin John Byrne, RNZAF NZ404529 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Patrick Callaghan, RNZAF NZ411739 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Alan Walter Rutherford, RNZAF NZ404572 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Arthur Titcomb, RAFVR 1291758 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time  – Missing

Wellington Mk.III BJ.661 AA-X was shot down by a German Ju 88 night-fighter at 03:05hrs into the Ijsselmeer, near Amsterdam, while on its way home following the Hamburg raid. The Ju 88 crew of two was Lieutenant Wilfgang Kuthe and his gunner, Unteroffizier Helmut Bonk.

Only Callahan the W/op, and Rutherford the nose gunner, survived the crash and floated free, supported by their life vests. They were later rescued and sent to a POW camp.

The bodies of the captain and navigator were recovered from the wreck and buried in Amsterdam. The rear gunner’s body floated free and was recovered later some distance from the crash site and buried at Harderwijk.

F/S John Edward Gilbertson, RNZAF NZ41894 – Pilot.
Killed age 22.
Son of Ernest E. H. and Laurie I. Gilbertson, of Waipawa, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Plot 69. Row E. Grave 17.

F/S Martin John Byrne, RNZAF NZ404529 – Observer.
Killed age 32.
Son of John and Florence Byrne, of Cambridge, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – Plot 69. Row E. Grave 18.

Sgt. Alan Walter Rutherford, RNZAF NZ404572 – Front Gunner .
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 25149
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag VIIIB/344. Promoted to W/O whilst interred. During a forced march at the end of the War he suffered severe frostbites to his toes
Date of return to United Kingdom: 13th of April 1945

Sgt. Ronald Patrick Callaghan, RNZAF NZ411739 – Wireless Operator.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 25141
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag VIIIB/344. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 11th of April 1945

Sgt. William Arthur Titcomb, RAF 1291758 RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 21.
Son of Arthur Charles and Annie Ida Titcomb, of Eltham, London.
Buried Harderwijk General Cemetery, Holland.
Grave location – British Plot 2. Grave 15.
‘Beloved by all’