K.M. Smith crew 06.11.41 †

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. Matich 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 X.9764 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Douglas Sarginson, RNZAF NZ391978 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:25 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 06:10

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 X.9764 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Douglas Sarginson, RNZAF NZ391978 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 06:40

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 X.9759 AA-R

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Douglas Sarginson, RNZAF NZ391978 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 06:15

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 X.9764 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Joseph Paul Andre Faguy, RCAF R.55329 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:00 – Landed 04:15
Flight Time 07:15

26/08/1942 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne and Boulogne
Fourteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. SWU.567 failed to identify the target and bombs were jettisoned over the sea when petrol gauges had been showing zero for approximately one hour. Another aircraft, captained by Sgt Curlewis, failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were returned. All other aircraft dropped their bombs, but heavy cloud in the target area prevented observation of results. A.A. fire was moderate and predicted. Searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks made

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Green, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James Blake Stephenson, RCAF R.65625/ 96324 – Rear Gunner.

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

29/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, BRO.345 failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were brought back. All bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, but heavy cloud made observations of results difficult. A.A. fire was heavy and accurate. No enemy aircraft were seen.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James Blake Stephenson, RCAF R.65625/ 96324 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 06:15

02/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Frankfurt
Ten Wellington Aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, GYM.475 failed to reach the target owing to failure of the rear gunners oxygen  supply. Bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, and large fires were started. A.A. fire was slight but accurate in target area. Several cones of searchlights were reported near the target but these were not very accurate. Three enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks  developed. The weather was clear over the target area, but hazy on the return journey.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:15 – Landed 02:15
Flight Time 06:00

08/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Kassel
Ten Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to make individual bombing attacks against the above target. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, (including delay), 250 lb (including delay fuses), and containers of incendiaries. AA fire was very light and searchlight activity was also light and ineffective. No enemy aircraft seen. The weather conditions were excellent in the target area and en route. Navigation includes:- D.R., Q.D.M., Astro., Pinpoint., Loop and Lorenz.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:55 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 06:50

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.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 06:30

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, and co-operating with A.A. fire and night fighters.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:00 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 07:00

17/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Karlsruhe
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks on the above targets. One of these aircraft failed to return. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 250 lb and containers of incendiaries. A.A. fire and searchlights were slight in the target area. Weather was hazy over the target.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:30 – Landed 02:20
Flight Time 06:50

20/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Berlin and Ostend
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks on the above targets. One of these aircraft is missing. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lbs, 500 lbs, 250 lbs and containers of incendiaries.
Worsening weather resulted in a general recall to all aircraft. Three crews carried on to Berlin and reported AA fire was heavy and fairly intense, and accurate. The aircraft Captained by Sgt Curlewis was attacked by a Ju.88 night fighter after being caught in a cone of searchlights. It was only a single attack, which gave the air gunners little chance of countering before it made off.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

P/O Hone Anderson Roberts, RAAF AUS.80885 – Pilot.
Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Geoffrey Arnold Bere, RAFVR 63084 – Navigator.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, RAFVR 956811 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:25 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 07:20

06/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen and Le Havre
Five Wellington Ic aircraft from this Unit made attacks against the above targets. A mixed load consisting of 500lbs and incendiaries was carried. Bombs were dropped in target area and extensive fires were left burning. There was little A.A. fire but there was great activity with searchlights. No enemy aircraft was met. Weather was fair with 6/10ths cloud over target area. Navigation was satisfactory.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.1083 AA-K

Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAF 930868 – Pilot.
Sgt. W.F. French, RAFVR 1152939 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. L.C. Howe, RAFVR 924915 – Observer.
Sgt. Raymond James Rugg, RAFVR 923101 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. L.G. Eggar, RAFVR 914800 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. George M’Cara Thain, RAFVR 1104565 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:45 – Landed 22:45
Flight Time 05:00

07/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Berlin and Ostend
Fourteen Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed from this Unit to attack the above targets. Two of these aircraft, X.9951, captained by F/O Methven and X.9976, captained by Sgt. Black, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped in target area and some large fires were started, but results were not clearly observed owing to heavy cloud over target area. A considerable amount of heavy flak was met over target area but searchlights, where seen, were ineffective. No enemy aircraft were met throughout the trip. Weather was poor with 10/10th cloud ver target area. Navigation was good, Astro and D/R loops being used. Wellington Z.1091, captained by P/O Sandys returned to base owing to engine trouble. Wellington Z.1068, captained by Sgt. Parham returned to base owing to Navigator being sick.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9977 AA-D

Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAF 930868 – Pilot.
Sgt. Spence, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. L.C. Howe, RAFVR 924915 – Observer.
Sgt. Raymond James Rugg, RAFVR 923101 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. L.G. Eggar, RAFVR 914800 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. George M’Cara Thain, RAFVR 1104565 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:47 – Landed 23:49
Flight Time 03:02

08/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks from this Unit. Three aircraft, X.9628, captained by Sgt. Smith, X.9977, captained by Sgt. Nunn, and Z.8942 captained by Sgt. Wilson failed to return to base. Many large fires were started with resultant explosions and bursts were observed across a built up area. A railway junction south of target was also successfully attacked. Much heavy and light flak was experienced and heavy concentrations of searchlights were active in target area. Several enely aircraft were seen at target but no attacks were made. Weather was moderately clear to target but haze 5/10ths to 9/10ths over target area. Navigation was very good.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9628 AA-A

Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAF 930868 – Pilot.
Sgt. W.F. French, RAFVR 1152939 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. L.C. Howe, RAFVR 924915 – Observer.
Sgt. Raymond James Rugg, RAFVR 923101 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. L.G. Eggar, RAFVR 914800 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. George M’Cara Thain, RAFVR 1104565 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

It appeared that Wellington Mk.Ic X.9628 AA-A was hit by flak, crashing near Krefeld. The Rear Gunner, Sgt Thain, was killed. The remainder of the crew survived, with only Sgt Rugg receiving serious injuries from which he later died on the 15th of November  1941. Sgt Thain was initially buried at the Haupt Friedhof, but later reinterred at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, close to the grave of Sgt Rugg. The other survivors were taken prisoners-of-war.

Sgt. K.M. Smith, RAFVR 930868 – Pilot.
P.o.W.
Prisoner of War Number: 24508
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft III, Luft VI and 357
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. W.F. French, RAFVR 1152939 – 2nd Pilot.
P.o.W.
Prisoner of War Number: 9008
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags 383, and Luft VII
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. L.C. Howe, RAFVR 924915 – Observer.
P.o.W.
Prisoner of War Number: 24507
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft III, Luft VI and 357
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Eggar, RAFVR 914800 – Front gunner.
P.o.W.
Prisoner of War Number: 24505
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft VI and Luft IV
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Raymond James Rugg, RAFVR 923101 – Wireless Operator.
Critically injured, dying of his injuries a week later age 21.
Son of Titus Harvey Rugg and Rose Elizabeth Rugg, of Reading, Berkshire.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 25. E. 18.
‘Until we meet again’

Sgt. George McAra Thain, RAFVR 1104565 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 20.
Son of James Connor Thain and Violet Thain, of Peterculter, Aberdeenshire.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 28. F. 14.
‘In loving memory
Of our dear son’