J.E. Johnson crew 18.08.41 †

30/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Owing to engine failure, RYX.129, jettisoned bombs in Aachen area and a large fire was seen. The remaining aircraft all dropped bombs in target area and bursts were seen. No results were observed owing to haze. Fairly accurate heavy and light A.A. fire encountered, and searchlights were active and working in cones. RYX.627 reports being attacked by HE.111 from 50yds astern, 50 miles west of Cologne. The attack put the rear turret and hydraulics out of action. Fine weather was experienced. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, Q.D.N, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 04:15

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.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 05:10
Flight Time 05:40

05/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Munster
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. All bombs were dropped and the operation proved to be successful. Several large fires were observed in and around the target area.. A.A> fire was slight, but searchlights were fairly numerous. One of our aircraft was attacked by a Me.109 which dived away after out rear gunner had fired two bursts. The weather was fine and clear.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 05:05

13/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen
Eleven Wellington aircraft of were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, X.9634 captained by SGT Miniken, was climbing on course when, apparently without warning, the starboard engine cut at 6,000 feet. He turned for base but lost height rapidly and force landed near the beach off Corton near Lowestoft. SGT. Miniken and SGT. Gilding (Navigator) were rescued but the others are missing. The weather was poor, there being 10/10 cloud over the target and results were not observed. Severe icing conditions were also experienced. Fairly heavy and accurate A.A. fire was encountered on route and in the target area. Few searchlights in operation.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:35 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 05:05

15/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, R.3171 captained by SGT. Fotheringham, failed to return to base. Another, W.5663, captained P/O Rees, (RJT.533) was attacked by unidentified enemy fighter over the target. The aircraft was badly damages and the 2nd Pilot Sgt. Joyce was killed. SGT. Conibear, the front gunner, was seriously injured and died in hospital; and SGT. Gwyn-Williams was injured (Rear gunner). The aircraft returned to base where a landing was made. P/O Rees was awarded the D.F.C.; and the wireless operator, SGT. Lewis, was awarded the D.F.M.

RJT.147 bombed marshalling yard south of aiming point.
RJT.319 Observed bomb bursts in target area.
RJT.385 Attacked target area and saw bomb bursts.
RJT.445 bombed target area.
RJT.533 bombed target area, but thin cloud prevented accurate pin-point.
RJT.570 reports big fire started by bombs on target area.
RJT.683 located target, but it was not clearly pinpointed. A fix was obtained from Rhine and autobahn. Bombs dropped in salvo on large fire within radius of 3 miles of target.
P/O Ashworth reports that results were not observed over Ruhr, but a fire was started and a building blown up on an aerodrome 6 miles south of Hague. Heavy accurate predicted A.A. fire was encountered in target area. Searchlights were very active and accurate. The weather was good, but there was a layer of cloud over target. Navigation was by map reading, D/R, W/T, astro

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:10 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 04:50

03/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover
Ten Wellington Aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, YAM.189 captained by SGT. Matetich was intercepted by fighters and bombs were jettisoned. The aircraft was damaged and a landing was made at Newmarket. The remaining aircraft all dropped bombs and fires were started. The aircraft met heavy and light A.A. fire which was fairly accurate, but searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud. Three enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made. Heavy cloud was experienced over most of the route and in target area.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:35 – Landed 05:30
Flight Time 06:55

06/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Calais
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, R.1648 captained by SGT. Millet, failed to return to base. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000lbs; 500lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.
GHC.170 sighted river near target but had to bomb through 10/10 cloud. Glow of a fire was seen through clouds. Bomb bursts were observed in target area by GHC.231. GNC.265 observed bomb bursts in dock area. GHC.279 bombed target area but was unable to pinpoint target on account of haze. GHC.324 saw bombs burst across outer harbour of Ostend. Unable to reach primary target owing to loss of time and petrol in extensive thunder cloud on East Coast. GHC.470 dropped bombs in target area but results were not observed. GHC.535 bombed target through 9/10 cloud. Fire observed on departure. GHC.688 failed to attack target. GHC.719 bombed flak and searchlight concentrations on E.T.A. through 10/10 cloud. Results were not observed by GHC.750.
P/O. Williams reports direct hit on lock gates. Results were not observed by P/O. Scott owing to heavy cloud.
A fair amount of activity was observed on enemy aerodromes in Brussels-liege area.
A.A. fire was slight but accurate.
Searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud.
GHC.279 reports encounter with probable JU.88. Three attacks were made but the enemy was driven off by return fire. Rear gunner believes he scored hit with third burst, causing aircraft to break away.
Weather was not favourable, there being heavy cloud, thunder, electric storms, and bad icing conditions.
Navigation was by W/T, D/R, astro and loop.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:40 – Landed 02:10
Flight Time 03:30

08/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Eight Wellington aircraft of were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, WAX.319 captained by SGT. Saunders, jettisoned bombs in Westhaven area while taking evasive action to escape enemy fighter. The weather was poor, there being

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 06:30

12/08/1942 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Le Havre
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, SXA.893 captained by P/O. Roberts was attacked over the Zuyder Zee by an enemy fighter. Our aircraft was damaged but a good hit was scored on the enemy which turned away in a steep dive. When nearing base out aircraft ran out of petrol and the captain succeeded in baling out 5 of his crew, but he himself had no time to jump. By the aid of his landing light he picked out a fire break in a forestry plantation and landed safely with little additional damage. All bombs were dropped and fires were started. A.A. fire was heavy and co-operating with searchlights. Search lights were numerous but not troublesome. Thunderstorms were encountered on route and there was slight cloud and haze in target areas.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O James Edward Johnson, RAF 66519 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchen, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Martin Costin Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:05 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 06:00

18/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Docks at Dunkirk
Two Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out the above attacks and bombs were dropped in target area. No A.A. fire was encountered, although searchlights were active. The weather was very good.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1237 AA-G

P/O James Edward Johnson, RAFVR 66519 – Pilot. S
gt. Peter Simpson Dickson Johnston, RAFVR 776002 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchin, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
F/L William Davenport Brown, RNZAF NZ40732 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:10 – Landed 23:35
Flight Time 02:25

06/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Huls
Thirteen Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, X9767 captained by P/O Johnson, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lb GP, 500 lb GP, 250 lb GP, and SBC’s of 4lb incendiaries. One aircraft was seen under attack on the Dutch-German frontier. Another aircraft was observed possibly being shot down by dual AA fire/searchlight action about 15 miles west or south-west of the target. An enemy aircraft was seen taking off from Schipol, but no attacks occurred Bombs were dropped in the target area and numerous fires were started. A.A. fire was light over the target area, but heavy en route, while searchlights were working in cones around target. Three enemy  aircraft seen but no attacks made. The weather was good over the whole journey.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O James Edward Johnson, RAFVR 66519 – Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Simpson Dickson Johnston, RAFVR 776002 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Robert Michael Minchin, RAFVR 751355 – Navigator.
Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William John Barker, RAFVR 1378561 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S was intercepted by a German night fighter (flown by Oblt Emil Woltersdorft, Unit 111, NJG1) over Holland. The Wellington crashed into the sea at 00.11hrs near Borculo (Gelderland) South East of Lochem, Holland. None of the crew survived. Their bodies were subsequently recovered and later buried at Borculo General Cemetery.

P/O James Edward Johnson, RAFVR 66519 – Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Son of James and Edith Agnes Mary Johnson, of Ewell, Surrey.
Buried Borculo General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Plot U. Coll. grave 1-5.
‘Only a step removed!
We soon again shall meet,
Around the Saviour’s feet’

Sgt. Peter Simpson Dickson Johnston, RAFVR 776002 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 28.
Buried Borculo General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Plot U. Coll. grave 1-5.

Sgt. Robert Michael Minchin, RAFVR 751355 – Observer.
Killed age 22.
Son of Capt. T. W. Minchin, D.S.O., and Amy Minchin, of Bracknell, Berkshire.
Buried Borculo General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Plot U. Coll. grave 1-5.

Sgt. Ronald Davies, RAFVR 751130 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 23.
Son of William and Mary Davies, of Northampton; Husband of Nora W. Davies, of Northampton.
Buried Borculo General Cemetery, Holland.      .
Grave location – Plot U. Coll. grave 1-5.
‘His life,
A beautiful memory,
His death, a silent grief’

Sgt. Wilfred Bearne, RAFVR 976174 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22.
Son of Alfred James Beaven and Margaret Beaven.
Buried Borculo General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Plot U. Coll. grave 1-5.
‘In loving memory of my dear son’

Sgt. William John Barker, RAFVR 1378561 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 33.
Son of George Henry and Maud Barker; Husband of Mary Barker, of North Kensington, London.
Buried Borculo General Cemetery, Holland.     .
Grave location – Plot U. Coll. grave 1-5.
‘In loving memory of William’