March 1945

MEPAL
1.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy at first. Some intermittent slight rain during morning. Fair but cloudy later. Visibility 5 to 10 miles.
Operational Flying. Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500ANM., 500 M.C. and Munro bombs. F/O D. Barr in AA”C” jettisoned and returned early through engine trouble. Crews bombed on special equipment as the target was obscured by ten tenth cloud. Flak was negligible.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out.
Administration. 164632 F/O Cleminson.G. and crew arrived on posting from No.75 Base.

1/2.3.45
Operational Flying.
Two aircraft were detailed for an attack on Duisburg, but this operation was cancelled before briefing.

2.3.45
Weather.
Fine with slight frost early morning. Visibility 8 – 12 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. bombs. No aircraft bombed owing to special equipment failure. Three aircraft jettisoned due to flak damage to engines, the remainder bringing there bombs back. F/O A. Woodcock was wounded in the neck and his engineer F/S Gibb, A in the legs, but landed safely at Base.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out.
Administration. AUS428456 P/O O.J. Cook and crew, and 1337365 F/S W. Evendon and crew arrived on posting from No. 72 Base.

3.3.45
Weather.
Fine, becoming cloudy towards end of period. Visibility 4 to 8 miles at first, decreasing to 3 – 4,000 yds around dawn, clearing about mid-day to 4 – 8 miles, but falling towards end of period to 2 – 4 miles.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Administration. NZ416076 W/O Bader F.R. and crew arrived on posting from 72 Base.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out.

4.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy with rain during evening. Visibility 2 to 6 miles.
Operational Flying. Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Wanne-Bickel carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 M.C., 500 ANM and Munro bombs. F/O D. Bar in JN” O” returned early through engine failure. Crews bombed with aid of special equipment in ten tenths cloud. No results were seen but crews were satisfied that it was a good attack. Slight to moderate H/F was experienced.
Non-Operational Flying. G.H. Bombing and photo exercises were carried out, the former at Rushford range.

5.3.45
Weather.
Fine but becoming cloudy with intermittent slight rain and drizzle during evening. Visibility 2 – 3,500 yds., at first, becoming 2 – 3 miles at mid-day, but falling again to 2 – 3,000 yds later.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Gelserkirchan carrying 8,000 H.C, 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM AND 500 M.C. Bombs. AA”E” F/S Lukins was withdrawn, AA”W” F/L Parker and JN”X” F/O Cleminson returned early through engine trouble. The remainder found the target obscured by ten tenths cloud, tops 15,000 ft. Aircraft bombed on special equipment. Leaders had good run in and there was a good concentration at this time. Aircraft were met by slight accurate H/F on the outward route. No fighters were seen.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests, and Fighter exercise were carried out. G.H. Bombing was practised at Rushford Range.

6.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy. Visibility 2,000 – 3,500 yds at first improving to 5 – 10miles.
Operational Flying. Sixteen aircraft attached Salzbergen in ten tenths cloud up to 11,000 ft, with nil cloud below, carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C. 500 ANM, 500 G.F. and munro bombs. The formation was well packed over target and bombs released simultaneously. A slight upheaval of cloud a minute later was all that could be seen. Slight H/F was the only opposition.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests and G.H. exercises were carried out.
Administration. NZ427521 F/S Mallon W and crew and NZ429356 P/O Milsom R.S. and crew arrived on posting from No.72 Base.

6/7.3.45
Operational Flying
. Five aircraft attacked Wesel carrying 4,000 H.C. and 500 ANM Bombs. These aircraft comprised the first attack and later three more aircraft carrying the same type bombs attacked. On both attacks aircraft had an excellent run in and report bomb flashes well concentrated round target area. Flak opposition was slight. No fighters were seen.

7.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy with slight rain just before mid-day. Visibility 3 – 5 miles.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range.
Administration. NZ428917 F/O L.G. Sinclair and crew arrived on posting from No.73 Base. 1670779 Sgt Nichols, J. Air Gunner arrived on posting from No.33 Base.

7/8.3.45
Operational Flying.
One aircraft captained by F/L E. Parsons laid mines in the Kiel Bay area successfully.

7/8.3.45
Operational Flying.
Thirteen aircraft attacked Dessau as ordered carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., Munro and No.14, 15 and 16 clusters. Aircraft bombed in ten tenths haze and thin cloud. Crews were given instructions by M/B to bomb on skymarkers but some were able to make out T.I’s and in two cases identify the street. Fires were burning over a wide area when aircraft left the target. Flak practically nil in target area. Some E/A were seen, AA”S” F/L Spilman had a short inconclusive encounter. A satisfactory operation.

8.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy, clearing in late evening. Visibility 3 – 10 miles.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. Fighter affiliation and air tests, G.H. Photo and bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range.

9.3.45
Weather.
Fine becoming fair to cloudy during evening. Visibility 3 – 6 miles during night, decreasing to 3 – 4,000yds. after dawn, increasing during morning and becoming 3 – 7 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft attacked Dattaln as detailed carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM, 500 M.C. and blue smoke puffs. A good concentration of aircraft and bombing was reported. Cloud ten tenths. No opposition was encountered. A mushroom of smoke was seen penetrating cloud.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range.
Administration. NZ4211901 F/S Fairbairn, D. and crew arrived on posting from No.75 Base.

10.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy. Hazy around dawn, improving 4 – 7 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft attacked Gelserkirchan carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., Smoke puffs and Munro bombs. Aircraft bombed in formation and all bombs were dropped together. Cloud was ten tenths. Slight H/F was encountered.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out. G.H. Bombing exercises were continued at Rushford Range.
Administration. NZ425492 P/O K. Amohanga and crew reported on posting from No.73 Base.

11.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy, becoming fair at end of period. Visibility 4 – 12 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Essen, carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM. and Munro bombs. Very slight H/F was the only opposition. Cloud was 10/10ths. A gradual blackening of the cloud tops was all that could be seen.
Non-Operational Flying. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range. Air tests were carried out.

12.3.45
Weather.
Fine, only low cloud during morning. Visibility 2 – 5 miles, deteriorating to 2,500yds at end of period.
Operational Flying. Dortmund was the target for 21 aircraft carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., and Smoke Puffs (red). Flak was slight to moderate, cloud ten tenths with tops 5/6000ft. Aircraft reported good results. Smoke was already pushing through cloud when aircraft left. Bombing was well concentrated.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range.

13.3.45
Weather.
Fine becoming fair. Hazy at first improving to 1 – 3 miles, deteriorating to less than 2 miles after dusk.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out.
Administration. 185219 P/O H.G. Howells, Air Gunner arrived on posting from No.31 Base. NZ4213254 F/S Carroll, I.S., NZ4213732 F/S Clarkson, T. and crews arrived on posting from No.72 Base.

13/14.3.45
Operational Flying.
Twenty aircraft were detailed for an early night attack on Hattingen. The operation was cancelled just before take off.

14.3.45
Weather.
Fine. Poor visibility at first – 10 – 2,500 yds., improving to 3 – 5 miles then dropping to 2 – 3,00 yds, again.
Operational Flying. Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack Heinrich Hutte. Crews found target covered by 10/10ths cloud. Formation was good through the target and bombs fell away together, the aircraft carrying 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM and Munro Bombs. Very accurate moderate H/F was met on the run in and over target. AA”E” Captain F/L E Parsons is missing from this operation. His aircraft was seen to hit on the run in, in port inner engine and dropped track with port outer also feathered. Port wing caught fire and broke off when just above cloud and was last seen spiralling into cloud. AA”F” F/S McLernon, J landed at Woodbridge on return due to flak damage, but returned to Base the following day.
Non-Operational Flying. Air tests were carried out. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range.
Administration. NZ413801 F/L W.E.R. Alexander and crew reported on posting from No.72 Base.

15.3.45
Weather.
Fine. Becoming cloudy around dawn. Visibility 25 – 3,500 yds during night, falling to 300yds around dawn, improving gradually to 2 – 5 miles during day, falling to 2 – 300 yds at end of period.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford Range.
Administration. NZ429139 P/O A.M.Brown and NZ425280 F/S Meharry, E.L.K. and crews arrived on posting from No.73 Base. NZ428325 P/O A.H.McLeod and crew arrived on posting from No.72 Base.

16.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy with rain at dawn. Visibility 2,000 yds during early morning, increasing to 5 – 10 miles during rest of period.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Auguste Viktoria Benzol Oil Plant, but the operation was cancelled just after briefing owing to weather conditions on the continent.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out.

17.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy becoming fine after dusk. Visibility 5 – 8 miles, deteriorating to 3 – 4 miles.
Operational Flying. Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the Auguste Viktoria Benzol Oil Plant, carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM and Munro Bombs. Cloud and vapour trails limited visibility to 50 yards over target but the aircraft remained in light formation and bombs were released together. No results were seen. Opposition slight H/F.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out.
Administration. NZ427272 F/S Francis A. Wireless Operator arrived on posting from No.33 Base. NZ4213953 F/S Thompson, A.F. and crew arrived on posting from No.73 Base.

18.3.45
Weather.
Fine, becoming fair then cloudy. Visibility 4 – 6 miles at first, improving to 15 miles then falling to 8 miles around dusk.
Operational Flying. Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the coking areas and Benzol plant at Bruchstrasse, carrying 1 x 12,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM and Munro Bombs. Cloud was ten tenths over target with tops at 6/7,000 ft. Crews report formation was good through target and bombs fell away together. No results were seen. Slight H/F was encountered.
Non-Operational Flying. G.H. Bombing was carried out at Rushford. Air tests were carried out.

19.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy with continuous moderate rain in evening. Visibility 6 – 8 miles.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out. Fighter Affiliation, Cross Country H2S and G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out, the latter at Rushford.

20.3.45
Weather.
Fine, becoming fair. Visibility 7 – 15 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Hamm, carrying 1,000 ANH., 500 ANM and Munro bombs. There was 6-7/10ths cloud over the target with tops at about 10,000 feet. Some confusion was caused by the preceding squadron leading this squadron off track and scattering the formation. However, a fair concentration was attained in the end. It appears that the main concentration may have fallen S/E of A/P, but some bursts were seen on the Marshalling Yards.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out.

21.3.45
Weather
. Fine. Visibility 8 miles at first, falling to 2 – 4 miles around dawn and improving during the day to 10 – 15 miles, but deteriorating to 3 – 5 miles by end of period.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Munster Viaduct carrying 1 x 12,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C. and 500ANH. There was hardly any cloud over target. It is thought the concentration was good although formation was broken up just prior to bombing. Three aircraft failed to return from this operation and they were all seen to be hit in the target area. AA”R” NZ429139 P/O A.E.Brown, AA”R”, AA”T” NZ42451 F/L J.Plummer and JN”P” 190947 F/O D.S.Barr. Considerable heavy flak was encountered.
Non-Operational Flying. G.H. Bombing exercises were carried out at Rushford.

22.3.45
Weather.
Fine, becoming fair, then fine again. Visibility 3 – 3,900 yds. at first, improving to 6 – 10 miles, then deterioration to below three miles.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. Fighter Affiliation exercises and air tests were carried out. A Low Flying Test was carried out by  NZ405781 S/L. J.L.Wright and crew.

23.3.45
Weather.
Fine. Visibility 2 – 6 miles.
Operational Flying. Eight aircraft were detailed to attack Wesel carrying 1,000 M65 (RT), 1,000 M65 (B.T.) and Munro bombs. The target was attacked with the aid of special equipment. There was no cloud over the target but the visibility was poor owing to smoke. All crews reported a good concentration of bombs on the A/P. Very slight H/F was experienced.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out. Fighter Affiliation, H2S and Cross Country exercises were also undertaken.

24.3.45
Weather.
Fine, becoming cloudy. Visibility 3 – 5 miles improving to 8 – 15 miles.
Operational Flying. No daylight operation was laid on, but 23 aircraft were stood by for a possible attack later in the day. No target was forthcoming.
Non-Operational Flying. Fighter Affiliation, H2S, Cross country and G.H. Bombing exercises and were carried out the latter at Rushford Range.

25.3.45
Weather
. Cloudy with slight rain in morning and again around midnight, becoming continuous. Visibilty 5 – 7 miles falling to 2 – 4 miles in rain.
Operational Flying. No daylight operation was laid on.
Non-Operational Flying. H2S and cross country exercises were carried out.

25/26.3.45
Operational Flying.
One aircraft was detailed for a nickeling raid on The Hague, carrying 12 x 350 Munros. The operation was successful and uneventful.

26.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy. Visibility 4 – 6 miles, deteriorating temporarily in morning to 2 – 3,000 yds.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Hamm in daylight. The operation however was cancelled.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out.
Administration. NZ4211843 F/S W.G. Rosy and crew arrived on posting from No.73 Base. NZ421083 P/O W. Morgan and crew arrived on posting from No.56 Base.

27.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy, becoming fine during the day, but cloudy again later. Visibility 4 – 6 miles decreasing to 25 – 3,000 yds around dusk. Increasing again to 3 – 8 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft attacked Hamm (Sachsen) as detailed carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 A.N.H.. 500 M.C. and Munro bombs. The raid was carried out in ten tenths cloud with tops about 8,000 ft. Formation was well packing in the run in. No results were seen other than smoke pushing up through the cloud after bombing. Very slight flak was the only opposition encountered.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests and ammunition dropping exercises were carried out. G.H. Bombing was carried out at Rushford Range.

28.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy at first with continuous rain until 06.00 hours, remaining cloudy. Visibility 3 – 6 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Weimar. The operation was cancelled as crews were on their way to the aircraft.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests were carried out.
Administration. NZ425964 F/S O.C. Willetts, (Air Bomber) arrived on posting from No.291 Squadron.

29.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy with slight continuous rain early morning and intermittent slight rain at night. Visibility 3 miles rising to 8 miles.
Operational Flying. Twenty one aircraft attacked Salzgitter as detailed, carrying 1 x 8,000 H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM and Munro bombs. Cloud was ten tenths, tops up to 19,000 ft. and thin cloud and contrails persisting above, reducing visibility to 500 yds. No results were observed and a scattered raid is reported. Flak moderate.
Non-Operational Flying. Air Tests and ammunition dropping exercises were carried out. G.H. Bombing was carried out at Rushford Range.

30.3.45
Weather.
Fair or fine, except for showers in afternoon. Visibility 7 – 15 miles.
Operational Flying. No operation was laid on, but twenty one aircraft were stood by for a possible attack later in the day. No target however was forthcoming.
Non-Operational Flying. Fighter Affiliation, Air Tests and G.H. Bombing exercises and were carried out.
Administration. 621592 F/S Randall C (F/Engineer) arrived on posting from No.149 Squadron.

31.3.45
Weather.
Cloudy with slight intermittent rain around 18.00 hrs. Visibility 10 – 12 miles.
Operational Flying. Nil.
Non-Operational Flying. Fighter Affiliation exercises were carried out.  G.H. Bombing practice was carried out at Rushford Range.
Administration. NZ416156 F/L S. Peryer and crew arrived on posting from 1651 C.U. NZ414708 F/L J.C. Westbrooke and NZ429974 P.O. F.L. Trevarthen and crews arrived on posting from No.73 Base.

MONTHLY SUMMARY OF EVENTS
Operational Flying.
During this month the Squadron continued to carry out heavy attacks against enemy Oil Refineries and communication centres. Targets included Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Hamm and Essen. Minelaying was also carried out by one aircraft in Kiel Bay. In all 546 sorties were made. From these operations four aircraft failed to return captained by 185301 F/L E Parsons, 190947 P/O D.S.Barr, NZ429139 P/O A.E.Brown and NZ42451 F/L J. Plummer, D.F.C.
Non-Operational Flying. Whenever possible training has been carried out and again special attention being paid to G.H. Bombing exercises.

 Awards. The following awards have been granted during this month.
Distinguished Flying Cross:-
NZ412183 S/L J.M.Bailey (Bar to D.F.C.)
NZ421919 F/L M.A.Kilpatrick
185289 P/O R.R.Hartley
1033159 W/O R.J.Torkitt
NZ416866 F/O R.A.Ramsey

Distinguished Flying Medal:-
1824205 Sgt Gibb, A.

Appointments to Commissions:-
The undermentioned were commissioned during the month with effect from dates stated against their names.
NZ425707 F/S Talbot, R.E. –              26.1.45
AUS432239 F/S Johnston, W.A. –     18.2.45
1136189 W/O Robinson, W              18.1.45
NZ422708 W/O Harrison –               24.1.45
1398549 F/S McGarry, J –                  23.1.45
NZ428302 F/S Scott, L.G. –                 5.2.45
1810752 F/S De Hoop, J.F.A. –         24.1.45
NZ428244 F/S Humphries, A.L. –   10.2.45
NZ4210017 F/S Burke W.F. –           26.1.45
NZ425932 – F/S Petrie, R. –             17.2.45
NZ42486 F/S Clouston, V.A. – 26.1.45
1324730 F/S Jacob, G – 17.2.45
NZ42486 W/O Ware, E.E.D. – 11.1.45
1586733 F/S Lukins, B.L. – 3.3.45

Flying Hours
Operational : –                                                       1,898 hrs. 10min.
Non-Operational : –                                              222 hrs. 10min.

Sorties : – 346

Monthly total of bombs dropped : –               1,521 tons

Cumulative Total of bombs dropped : –        27,999 tons

Strength as at 31st March 1945 : –
Officers : –                                                                130
W.O’s & N.C.O’s : –                                                   342

Appendices : –

Form 541 – A.91 – A149

Combat Report – B.3 only

P.O.Rs Officers – C.18 – C.39

P.O.Rs Airmen – D.20 – D.42

Officers                                                   Airmen
R.A.F.         C.18 – 24                               D.20 – 28
R.A.A.F.      C.25 – 28                               D.29 – 31
R.C.A.F.      C.29 only                               D.32 – 33
R.N.Z.A.F.  C.30 – 39                               D.34 – 42

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