July 1941

1 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

2 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

3 July 1941
Operations:
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.

4 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nothing of importance took place today.

5 July 1941Operations:
BOMBING ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT 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 our Rear Gunner had fired two bursts. The weather was fine and clear.

Training:
11.25 – 13.15 Cross country flight carried out in Wellington 1C. R.1457 (Captain S/Ldr. Widdowson)
Dual night flying was carried out in Wellington 1C R.3218.

6 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

7 July 1941
Operations:
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, while crossing the Guider Zee was attacked by one Me.110 and damaged. The Rear Gunner attacked the enemy aircraft which fell away and dived into the sea. Fire broke out on the Wellington and the 2nd Pilot Sgt. Ward climbed out on 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 (rear gunner) received immediate awards of the D.F.C. and D.F.M. respectively. (For fuller story see “SUMMARY OF OUTSTANDING EVENTS”) The operation was successful, all bombs being dropped and many fires started. A.A. fire and searchlight activity was slight. Fine weather was experienced over the whole route.

8 July 1941
Operations:
BOMBING ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT MUNSTER.
Seven Wellington aircraft carried out the above attacks. All bombs were dropped and bursts seen. Many fires were started. A.A. fire was slight and few searchlights were in operation. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine but there was slight ground haze in target area.

Training: Nil

9 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
11.25 – 14.30 F/Lt. Fletcher and crew carried out a cross country flight in Wellington 1C R.1237.

10 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
00.00 – 01.30 Circuits and landings carried out in Wellington R.3218.

11 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nothing of importance took place today.

12 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

13 July 1941
Operations:
BOMBING ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT BREMEN.
Eleven Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above targets. One of the aircraft, X.9634, captained by Sgt. Miniken was climbing on course when, apparently without warning, the starboard engine cut at 6000 feet. He turned for base but lost height rapidly and force landed near the beach off Corton near Lowestoft. Sgt. Miliken and Sgt. Gilding (Navigator) were rescued but the others are missing. The weather was poor, there being 10/10 cloud over 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 target area. Few searchlights were in operation.

14 July 1941
Operations: BOMBING ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT DUISBERG.
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, R.3171 captained by Sgt. Fotheringham, failed to return to base. Another, W.5663, captained by P/O Rees, was attacked by unidentified enemy fighter over the target. The aircraft was badly damaged and the 2nd Pilot Sgt. Joyce was killed. The Navigator, P/O Hunter fell from the aircraft over the target; Sgt. Conibear, 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. The target was attacked and the results appeared satisfactory. Heavy, accurate predicted A.A. fire was encountered in target area and searchlights were very active and accurate. The weather was good but there was a layer of cloud over target.

Training: Nil

16 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

17 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
13.50 – 16.05 Sgt. Allen and crew carried out a cross-country flight in Wellington 1C T.2835.

Aircraft:
One Wellington 1C X.3205 received from No.22 M.U. Authority 41G/6656.

18 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
Nothing of importance was carried out today.

19 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
14.30 – 16.35 Cross country carried out by P/O Wilson and crew.
Six crews carried out formation flying.

Aircraft:
One Wellington 1C W.5618 received from No.9 M.U. Authority 41G/6779.

20 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

21 July 1941
Operations:
BOMBING ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT MANNHEIM AND CHERBOURG.
Eleven Wellington aircraft carried out the above attacks. All bombs were dropped and bursts seen in target area. A.A. fire was not very intense but searchlights were active in target area and at parts of route. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was fine.

Training:
Nine crews carried out formation flying and bombing.
Cross country flight carried out in Wellington 1C X.3205 (Captain, Sgt. Hawkins)

22 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
Three crews carried out formation bombing and flying.
Sgt. Hawkins and crew carried out a cross country flight in Wellington 1C X.3205.

23 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

24 July 1941
Operations:
DAYLIGHT ATTACKS AGAINST BATTLESHIP GNEISENAU AT BREST.
Six Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, N.2854 captained by Sgt. Streeter, failed to return to base. Our aircraft, on arrival at the target, got a hot reception by A.A. fire and enemy fighters but bombs were dropped in target area and one and possibly two hits were observed. Balloons were observed in the harbour. The weather was excellent and visibility was good.

Operations: NIGHT ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT KIEL.
Five Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. All bombs were dropped and burst and fires were observed. A.A. fire was heavy and predicted and searchlights were very active. Fine weather was encountered all the way.

Training: Nil

25 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

Aircraft:
One Wellington 1C X.9757 received from No.46 M.U. 24/7/41 Authority:41G/6981.

26 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

27 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nothing of importance took place today.

Operations: Nil

Training:
Night dual flying carried out in Wellington 1C R.3218.

Aircraft:
One Wellington 1C X.9759 received from No.46 M.U. Authority: 41G/6993.
One Wellington 1C X.9760 received from No.46 M.U. Authority: 41G/6996.

28 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training:
Night flying (dual) carried out in Wellington 1C R.3218.

Aircraft:
One Wellington 1C X.9767 received from No.12 M.U. Authority: 41G/7049.
One Wellington 1C X.9764 received from No.12 M.U. Authority: 41G/7049.

29 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nothing of importance took place today.

30 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

31 July 1941
Operations:
Nil

Training: Nil

ACTING RANKS
P/O G.E. Fowler appointed to the Acting Rank of Flying Officer (Paid) 0n 28/5/41 w.e.f. 8/5/41. Auth’y: 3 G.P..P.Gram. 3G/8937/5/1/P.2 dated 17.5.41.
A/F/Lt. G.D. Gill relinquished the rank of Acting Flight Lieutenant (paid) w.e.f. 14/7/41 on posting. Auth’y: 3 Gp.Sig.P.502 dated 9/7/41.

POSTINGS, ATTACHMENTS, ETC.
F/O C.M. Hill posted from this Unit to the Non-effective strength of R.A.F. Station, Feltwell w.e.f. 26/6/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.P’Gram. 3G/8918/23/P.2 dated 15/6/41.
F/O J.C. Hill attached from this Unit to R.A.F. Station, Lindholme w.e.f. 30.6.41 Auth’y: 3 Gp.P’Gram. 3G/8918/23/P.2 dated 15/6/41.
F/O J.C. Hill ceased to be attached to R.A.F. Station, Lindholme on posting w.e.f. 3.7.41 Auth’y: 3 Gp.P’Gram. 3G/8918/23/P.2 dated 15/6/41.
P/O J.W. Greening posted to this Unit from No.11 O.T.U. Bassingbourn, w.e.f. 28/6/41. Auth’y: 6 G.P.. Sig. P.97 dated 27/6/41.
P/O J.E. Johnson posted to this Unit from from No.11 O.T.U. Bassingbourn w.e.f. 28/6/41.
P/O G.W. Curry posted from this Unit to 23 O.T.U. R.A.F. Pershore w.e.f. 2/7/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.Sig.P.908 dated 21.6.41.
P/O C.W. Evans posted from this Unit to 21 O.T.U. Moreton-in-the-Marsh w.e.f. 3/7/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.Sig.P.957 dated 1/7/41.
A/F/Lt. Gill, P/O K.N. Struthers posted from this Unit to R.A.F. Station, Harwell w.e.f. 14/7/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.Sig.P.502 dated 9/7/41.
F/O D.L. Pritchard posted from this Unit to 15 O.T.U. Harwell w.e.f. 14/7/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.P’Gram. 3G/6601/7/P.4 dated 10/7/41.
P/O G.W. Hamlin, P/O A.M. Hobbs posted from this Unit to 21 O.T.U. w.e.f. 19/7/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.P’Gram. 3G/6601/7/P.4 dated 10/7/41.
P/O D.S. Florence posted from this Unit to 23 O.T.U. R.A.F. Pershore w.e.f. 25/7/41. Auth’y: 3 Gp.Sig.P.549 dated 18/7/41.
P/O Clifford, A.W.; P/O A.S. Raphael posted to this Unit from 11 OTU, w.e.f. 19/7/41. Auth’y: 6 Gp.P’Gram. 6G/1706/26/11/P.2 dated 16/7/41.
P/O J.F. Fisher, P/O H. MacL. Aitchison posted to this Unit from 23 O.T.U. R.A.F. Pershore w.e.f. 21/7/41. Auth’y: 6 Gp.P’Gram. 6G/1706/26/23/P.2. dated 10/7/41.

Missing:
P/O J.W. Greening missing on 3/7/41.
P/O R.C.A. Hunter missing on 16/7/41.
P/O J.T. Leacock missing on 15/7/41.


OUTSTANDING EVENTS DURING THE MONTH OF JULY.
A number of decorations was won by the Squadron during July. These included one Victoria Cross, one D.S.O., two D.F.C.’s, and two D.F.M.’s.

The Victoria Cross was awarded to Sgt J.A. Ward. On the night of seventh of July, 1941, Sgt Ward was second pilot of a Wellington returning from an attack on Munster. When flying over the Guider Zee at 13,000 feet the aircraft was attacked from beneath by a Messerschmitt 110 which secured hits with cannon shell and incendiary bullets. The rear gunner was wounded in the foot but delivered a burst of fire which sent the enemy fighter down apparently out of control. Fire then broke out near the starboard engine and fed by petrol from a split pipe, quickly gained an alarming hold and threatened to spread to the entire wing. The crew forced a hole in the fuselage and made strenuous efforts to reduce the fire with extinguishers and even the coffee in their vacuum flasks, but without success. They were then warned to be ready to abandon the aircraft. As a last resort Sgt Ward volunteered to make an attempt to smother the fire with an engine cover which happened to be in use as a cushion. At first he proposed to discard his parachute but was finally persuaded to take it. A rope from the dinghy was tied to him, though this was of little help and might have become a danger had he been blown off the aircraft. With the help of the navigator he then climbed through the narrow Astro-hatch and put on his parachute. The bomber was flying at a reduced speed but the wind pressure must have been sufficient to render the operation one of extreme difficulty. Breaking the fabric to make hand and foot holds where necessary, and also taking advantage of existing holes in the fabric, Sgt. Ward succeeded in descending 3 feet to the wing and proceeding another 3 feet to a position behind the engine, despite the slipstream from the airscrew which nearly blew him off the wing. Lying in this precarious position he smothered the fire in the wing fabric and tried to push the cover into the hole in the wing onto the leaking pipe from which the fire came. As soon as he removed his hand however, the terrific wind blew the cover out and when he tried again it was lost. Tired as he was, he was able, with the navigators assistance to make successfully the perilous journey back into the aircraft. There was now no no danger of the fire spreading from the fuel pipe as there was no fabric left nearby and in due course it burnt itself out. When the aircraft was nearly home some petrol which had collected in the wing blazed up furiously but died down quite suddenly. A safe landing was then made despite the damage sustained by the aircraft. The flight home had been made possible by the gallant action of Sgt Ward in extinguishing the fire on the wing in circumstances of the greatest difficulty and at the risk of his life. Photographs of the aircraft are attached. Immediate awards of the D.F.C. and D.F.M. were made to the captain squadron leader widow’s son, and Sgt Box (rear gunner) respectively.

The D.S.O. was awarded to Flying Officer Prichard. F/O Prichard was captain of Wellington which was detailed to attack a target in Cologne on the 30th of June / 1st July. The aircraft was nearing the target and had just passed through a searchlight belt when it was attacked by a Heinkel III from astern and above. The Heinkel was not seen until it opened fire with a burst at 50 yards which struck the hydraulics and put the rear turret out of action. The bomb doors fell open and the front turret became sluggish. Evasive action was taken by turning and diving 2000 feet and then F/O Prichard continued on to bomb the target. On the return journey the bomb doors remained open, the engine was vibrating, and it was difficult to maintain height. On reaching base the captain asked for an emergency landing. Both flaps and gear were ineffective and owing to damage the undercarriage collapsed at the end of the run. The vibrations on the port engine were caused through cannon shell through one blade of the screw about 18 inches from the tip.

P/O Rees and Sgt Lewis were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal respectively. They were Captain and wireless operator of a Wellington which was detailed to attack a target in Duisberg on the night of 15th / 16th of July. After a successful attack the aircraft was caught in a belt of searchlights struck by flak, and then attacked by an enemy fighter. Bullets and cannon shell struck the aircraft and exploded in the cabin and blasted open the mid-upper turret hatch. The second pilot died of his wounds almost immediately; the front gunner was wounded and died in hospital, and the rear gunner was temporarily blinded by a splinter. The observer, when proceeding to render assistance to the rear Gunner, fell through the damaged undercarriage hatch. The wireless operator was shocked and deafened for a period by a cannon shell which exploded close to his head. He eventually recovered and treated the wounded men. He then repaired his set and obtained wireless bearings after which he collected the navigator’s maps and instruments and assisted the captain to set course for base which was eventually reached and a safe landing made.

A total of 481 bonds was dropped by the squadron during July. This was made up as follows: 38 x 1000lbs.; 371 x 500lbs. G.P. ; 48 x 250lbs. G.P.; 24 x 500lbs. S.A.P.. A total of 11,120 4 lbs… incendiaries was also dropped.