J.K. Aitken crew 14.6.44

The Aitken crew:
L-R: William Monk, Gordon Grindlay, Duncan Hodgson, Jake Aitken, Taffy Taylor , Ron Mayhill & Henry Monk.
Jake Aitken in the cockpit of their regular Lancaster ND782  AA-U “Uncle”.
Groundcrew apply de-icing paste to U-Uncle’s propellors; Jake Aitken with back to camera, Ron Mayhill on bicycle.
all photographs NZ Bomber Command Assn. archives, Ron Mayhill collection. 

14/06/1944 – Attack Against Le Havre
Twenty six aircraft were detailed to attack shipping in the port area of Le Havre. Twenty five aircraft attacked and a very concentrated and accurate raid resulted. Fires from an earlier attack were still burning when our aircraft were over the target. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble. Opposition was slight.

Lancaster Mk.I LL866 AA-W

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:45 – Landed 02:35
Flight Time 02:50

15/06/1944 – Attack Against Valenciennes
Twenty four aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Valenciennes. Twenty three aircraft attacked the primary target with the aid of markers. A.A. Fire was very slight, but fighters were active, two of our aircraft having combats with enemy aircraft. The aircraft captained by 175311 P/O. C. Crawford claimed hits on an enemy fighter, but sustained serious damage itself, the pilot, however, was able to land safely at Manstone. The aircraft captained by NZ421495 F/S. Betley, R. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LL866 AA-W

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:10 – Landed 02:55
Flight Time 03:45

17/06/1944 – Attack Against Montdidier
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack a military target at Montdidier. All aircraft reached the target area where it was found that cloud conditions prevented accurate bombing. The master bomber accordingly gave instructions for crews to abandon their mission, all aircraft except one bringing their bombs back to Base. The exception was the aircraft captained by NZ42488 F/S. Whittington, H. who jettisoned his bombs “safe” in the Channel owing to having a combat with a F.W.190. Our pilot claimed the enemy aircraft to be possibly destroyed.

Lancaster Mk.I LL866 dnc AA-W

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:20 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 03:25

24/06/1944 – Attack Against Rimeux
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack the constructional works at Rimeux. Twenty four crews bombed successfully with the aid of markers, and an accurate raid was reported.   There were numerous searchlights in action, but the A.A. opposition was not serious. The aircraft captained by NZ424788 F/S. Bateson, B. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:15 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 03:15

27/06/1944 – Attack Against Biennais
Fifteen aircraft took off to attack the constructional works supply site at Biennais. All aircraft bombed through ten-tenths cloud with the aid of markers and no opposition from the ground was encountered. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy aircraft.

Lancaster Mk.III LM593 AA-N

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:55 – Landed 02:50
Flight Time 02:55

02/07/1944 – Daylight Attack Against Beauvoir
Twenty three out of twenty four aircraft detailed took off in daylight to attack the construction works supply site at Beauvoir. All aircraft successfully bombed the target and a concentrated raid developed. Opposition from A.A. fire was slight.

Lancaster Mk.III LL921 AA-E (incorrect)
Whilst the ORB records this crew flying this a/c on this Op, the same a/c is also attributed to the Adolph crew for this Op. In “Bombs on Target” Ron Mayhill lists this a/c as ‘N’ – I do not believe this is a change to the a/c designator but is an error regarding the book. Therefore I think it is reasonable to say that the Adolph crew flew LL921 on this Op and that reseach must be done to establish the a/c that the Aitken crew flew that day.

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:05 – Landed 16:05
Flight Time 03:00

12/07/1944 – Attack Against Vaires
The same twenty five aircraft detailed earlier took off to attack the Vaires marshalling yard in daylight. All aircraft reached the target area, but only two identified the marshalling yard and bombed as ordered. The remaining crews abandoned their mission as instructed by the Master Bomber, and brought their bombs back to base, owing to 10/10ths cloud obscuring the target. Considerable heavy A.A. fire was encountered, but all aircraft returned safely.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:20 – Landed 21:50
Flight Time 03:30

15/07/1944 – Attack Against Chalons Sur Marne
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the marshalling yard at Chalons Sur Marne. All aircraft bombed the target and a good attack was reported, most crews being able to identify the marshalling yard visually. There was no A.A. fire opposition, but two aircraft had inconclusive combats with enemy fighters.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 06:20

17/07/1944 – Attack Against Vaires
The twenty seven aircraft previously detailed took off to attack the Vaires marshalling yard in daylight, but the aircraft were recalled shortly after setting course. On landing they were re-fuelled and kept standing by to attack a tactical target.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 dnc AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:10 – Landed 14:00
Flight Time 01:50

18/07/1944 – Attack Against Cagny
Twenty eight aircraft took off, as detailed, to make a dawn attack on the village of Cagny, in Northern France where the enemy had large concentrations of armour and troops situated. This attack was in direct support of the Allied 2nd Army, and all crews were successful in bombing the target with the aid of markers and a very concentrated raid was reported. Moderate A.A. fire was encountered, but only one of our aircraft suffered damage, this was captained by NZ421549 F/S. Moriarty, D. who was injured on the scalp and left eye, by fragments of perspex or shell splinters caused by an A.A. shell which exploded in the cockpit. In spite of his serious injuries, F/Sgt. Moriarty safely flew his aircraft back to base.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U
Duplicate record of ND752 for this Op – one of these might be ND782 hit by flak twice ‘U’. Given the Aitken crew crew flew 782 on the preceeding 3 Ops, my opinion is this is also 782
F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 04:45 – Landed 08:05
Flight Time 03:20

24/07/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack Stuttgart. Eighteen aircraft bombed the target with the aid of markers, but the raid appeared to be scattered. One aircraft returned early with engine trouble. Intense A.A. fire was encountered over the target, and fighters were fairly active, two aircraft having combats. Two aircraft failed to return, these were captained by NZ415216 P/O. J. McRae & NZ428800 P/O. K. Whitehouse.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy”

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 05:25
Flight Time 07:25

25/07/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Fourteen aircraft took off to attack Stuttgart, only ten however, were successful, and they reported a concentrated raid to be developing, with many fires and explosions. Heavy A.A. fire was only slight in the target area, but enemy fighters were again active. Two aircraft had combats and one, captained by NZ425948 F/S. Smith, M. claimed a FW190 destroyed. On return two aircraft landed at Ford, one due to engine trouble and the other owing to damage to the petrol tank and rear turret by heavy A.A. fire. Of the four abortive sorties, one aircraft jettisoned after its starboard inner engine had caught fire when in combat, another failed to see any markers when over the target, and brought its bombs back, and the other two returned early owing to severe icing.

Lancaster Mk.III ND756 AA-M

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 05:51
Flight Time 08:01

28/07/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Twenty two aircraft set out as detailed to attack Stuttgart. Twenty aircraft successfully bombed the target with the aid of markers, but it is thought that several aircraft undershot, as they appeared to be two concentration of fires 2-3 miles apart. Fighters were very active in the target area and also en route, several aircraft having combats. The aircraft captained by NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond, was attacked five times by a JU88, all of which were indecisive, followed by an attack by an unidentified enemy aircraft which is claimed as destroyed, being seen to go down in flames. At the same time as this our aircraft was also being attacked by two JU88s, one of which was damaged by fire from our aircraft. Two aircraft failed to return, they were captained by NZ421403 A/F/L. N. Stokes & NZ421469 F/O. I. Blance.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 07:15

30/07/1944 – Attack Against Amaye Sur Seulles
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to take part in an early morning attack on enemy troops and armoured concentrations near Amaye-Sur-Seulles. All crews successfully attacked from a low level and reports indicate that the bombing was well concentrated and ably controlled with a gradual advance southwards as ordered. No results other than clouds of smoke were seen. One aircraft (Captain NZ42117 F/S. Nairne, C.) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LL866 AA-S “Swingtime”

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 06:00 – Landed 09:45
Flight Time 03:45

01/08/1944 – Attack Against Le Nieppe
Sixteen aircraft took off to attack the Constructional Works Site at Le Nieppe. All aircraft reached the target area and the ten which were at the head of the bomber stream, bombed with the aim of markers, but later aircraft were instructed not to bomb, and these brought their bombs back. There was slight A.A. opposition but no fighter activity. There was 10/10ths cloud at the target.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:05 – Landed 21:55
Flight Time 02:50

03/08/1944 – Attack Against L’Isle Adam
Twenty out of the twenty one aircraft detailed took off to attack the Supply Dumps at L’Isle Adam, near Paris. They all attacked in clear weather and a very successful and concentrated raid was reported. There was no fighter opposition and only slight A.A. fire was met in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:05 – Landed 15:45
Flight Time 03:40

04/08/1944 – Attack Against Bec D’Ambes
Twenty aircraft were required to attack the Supply Depot at Foret De Nieppe, but this operation was cancelled, and the same aircraft were detailed to attack the Oil Storage and Refinery at Bec D’Ambes near Bordeaux. All took off and nineteen attacked the primary target in clear weather. A good concentrated raid developed and many fires and explosions were seen with smoke rising to 10,000 ft. There was no opposition. One aircraft attacked Pauillic owing to flying in the wrong bomber stream.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:25 – Landed 21:20
Flight Time 07:55

07/08/1944 – Attack Against Mare De Magne
The target was enemy troops and armour concentrations at Mare De Magne, being made in direct support of the Allied Armies advance in the Caen area. Seventeen aircraft were detailed, all of which took off and dropped their bombs with the aid of markers, and a concentrated raid developed. Opposition from A.A. fire was very slight, but a few enemy fighters were active. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat and another (Captain 150278 .F/O. G. Brunton) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 01:33
Flight Time 03:28

08/08/1944 – Attack Against Lucheux
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack Petrol Dumps at Lucheux, behind the enemy lines. All aircraft were successful in their mission, in good visibility. A good concentration of fires with smoke rising to 9,000 ft., was left burning. There was only slight A.A. opposition, but enemy fighters were active, and three of our aircraft had inconclusive combats, two suffering damage but no casualties.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 01:35
Flight Time 03:20

09/08/1944 – Attack Against Fort D’Anglos
Seventeen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Army Fuel Depot at Fort D’Anglos. All were successful in bombing with the aid of markers. The raid appeared to be scattered but there was indication of a large conflagration. Opposition from A.A. fire was very slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 00:55
Flight Time 02:50

12/08/1944 – Attack Against Brunswick
Six aircraft set out to attack Brunswick and bombed by means of navigational aids as 10/10ths. cloud obscured the target. Red glows were seen through the clouds and it is considered that the raid was quite satisfactory. A.A. fire was moderate and no enemy fighters were encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:55 – Landed 02:50
Flight Time 04:55

14/08/1944 – Attack Against Hamel
Twenty two aircraft took off as detailed to attack enemy troop concentrations near Hamel, in support of the advancing British and Canadian Armies. Nineteen were successful in bombing the target with the aid of markers and in accordance with the Master Bomber’s instructions. Three aircraft were unable to bomb owing to being too late over the target. A.A. opposition was very slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III ND782 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:10 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 03:25

25/08/1944 – Attack Against Russelsheim
Twenty eight aircraft took off as detailed to attack Russelsheim. Of these twenty five attacked the primary target and reported a good concentrated raid. A.A. opposition was slight, but enemy aircraft were active and one of our aircraft had two inconclusive combats. Another was unable to identify the target and jettisoned its load. A further one was caught in searchlights over the target and during evasive action lost both ailerons. This aircraft was captained by NZ424504 .F/S. O’Callaghan, E. The navigator 958564 .F/S. Hartley, R., kept the aircraft on track on the return journey even though his instruments were unserviceable and his chart lost. Two aircraft failed to return, they were captained by NZ422382 .F/O. J. Fleming and NZ421345 .F/S. Barker, R.

Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:26 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 08:09

26/08/1944 – Attack Against Kiel
Twenty out of the twenty one aircraft detailed, took off and participated in a very concentrated raid against Kiel. Several crews were able to identify the target visually and confirm the accuracy of the bombing. Heavy A.A. fire was moderate and a few of our aircraft suffered slight damage. The aircraft captained by NZ421343 .A/F/L. V. Andrew, was hit by A.A. fire over the target causing serious leg injuries to the MU/Gnr. 1862898 .Sgt. Molony, M. and damage to the Mid upper turret and fuselage.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M Mother

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:17 – Landed 01:15
Flight Time 04:58

29/08/1944 – Mining in the Gulf of Danzig
Six aircraft took off as detailed to lay mines in the Gulf of Danzig. They all dropped their mines successfully by means of navigational aids and their mission was uneventful apart from slight A.A. opposition.

Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:15 – Landed 06:30
Flight Time 10:15

31/08/1944 – Attack Against Pont Reny
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Flying Bomb Supply Dump at Pont Reny. All were successful in bombing the target, although cloud obscured it to some extent, which caused part of the bombing to be scattered. No enemy fighters were encountered and A.A. opposition was slight, but one aircraft (Captain NZ421488 .F/O. J. Aitken) was damaged and the Air Bomber, NZ429967 .F/O. R. Mayhill received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U
Hit by flak 8 times (AC) PB427, F/S Aitken & crew received flak damage, resulting in F/O R D Mayhill, Air Bomber, suffering serious facial injuries and temporary blindness in one eye. With blood streaming down his face, he insisted on the captain making a further successful bombing attack. His injuries required hospitalization immediately on returning to base. He received an immediate award of the DFC

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Maurice Fell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:15 – Landed 19:39
Flight Time 03:24

11/09/1944 – Attack Against Kamen
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen Oil Refinery. Weather conditions were favourable and some crews were able to bomb visually, under the Master Bomber’s instructions. Clouds of black smoke rising to 15,000 ft. was reported and a very successful raid ensued. Opposition from slight but accurate heavy A.A. fire was met from the defences. No enemy fighters were encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y
HK562 hit by flak 4 times (AC) PB421 ‘K’ once, PB132 ‘Y’ 3 times. HK574 ‘R’ – struck by a packet of Window
F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Graham Coull, RNZAF NZ425883 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk,   – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:10 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 04:30

12/09/1944 – Attack Against Frankfurt
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart, but during the day the target was changed to Frankfurt. Two aircraft failed to take off for this operation and of the twenty that took off the majority were able to identify the target, by the river and several made out the railway yards. Fighters were fairly active and one aircraft claimed to have destroyed an enemy aircraft, the captain was AUS421308 .F/O. J. Bateman. Another aircraft had an inconclusive encounter. All aircraft returned to base and reported a good and accurate raid.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Ronald Desmond Mayhill, RNZAF NZ429967/ 133808 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:53 – Landed 01:24
Flight Time 06:31

14/09/1944 – Attack Against Waasenaar
Ten aircraft attacked Waasenaar in Holland, as detailed without loss. The operation was carried out in good weather and bombing was accurate.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S Sugar

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Graham Coull, RNZAF NZ425883 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Denys George ‘Tubby’  Westell, RAFVR 2221192/ 188789 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:50 – Landed 15:35
Flight Time 02:45

17/09/1944 – Attack Against Boulogne
In the morning fourteen aircraft took off to attack Boulogne. Crews were able to identify landmarks and bombing was accurate, although much smoke hid results. The aircraft captained by NZ411397 A/S/L. G. Gunn was severely damaged by light flak, but he managed to fly back across the Channel even though both starboard engines were feathered. On landing at Hawkinge, however, the aircraft overshot the small runway and crashed. The Captain received injuries and was placed on the Dangerously Ill List, the Navigator 153453 F/O F. Smith was slightly injured, the Air Bomber NZ428249 F/O A Millar was placed on the Seriously Ill List, the Flight Engineer 1566967 Sgt Bruce, J was killed, but the remainder of the crew were uninjured, they were WO/AIR 47714 F/L W Naismith, MU/Gnr NZ411708 F/O C. Robertson and R/Gnr NZ402519 F/O S. Haynes. All of those injured were admitted to Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury and the body of Sgt Bruce was sent to his next of kin for burial.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S Sugar

F/O John Keillor ‘Jake’ Aitken, RNZAF NZ421488 – Pilot.
F/O Duncan William Hodgson, RNZAF NZ4210039 – Navigator.
F/O Graham Coull, RNZAF NZ425883 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Andrew ‘Gordon’ Grindlay, RAFVR – – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Richard Thomas ‘Taffy’ Taylor, RAFVR 1401963 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William Monk, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Monk, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:12 – Landed 12:45
Flight Time 02:33