May 1944

Mepal
1.5.44
Weather  Fair, visibility 6 miles generally.
Non-Operational Flying  Practice Bombing and Air Tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the marshalling yards at Chambly.  Fifteen of these successfully attacked in clear weather, bombing being accurate.  Two brief encounters with enemy aircraft took place and resulted in one being possibly damaged.  One of our aircraft (Captain NZ41362 F/L. A/S/L. E.W. Sachtler) failed to return.

2.5.44
Weather   Fair to fine, visibility 5 – 8 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross country flights and air tests were carried out.
Administration  917111 Sgt. Wheeler, L.-A/G. was posted from 31 Base.

3.5.44
Weather  Cloudy during morning and afternoon, clearing in evening.  Visibility 10 – 15 miles generally.
Non-Operational Flying  Air firing, fighter affiliation and night exercises were carried out.
Administration  NZ42880 [=428800] F/S. Whitehouse, K. arrived on posting from 31 Base.  NZ40750 F/O. R. Berney and crew and NZ40762 F/O. F. Fox and crew were detached to No.3 L.F.S. Feltwell.  36255 F/L. A/S/L. R. J. Leslie, arrived on posting from No.311 F.T.U. to take command of the Squadron.  He was detached with effect from the same date to No.3 L.F.S. Feltwell.

4.5.44
Weather  Cloudy with slight intermittent rain and drizzle during late afternoon and evening.  Visibility 5 – 10 miles generally.
Non-Operational Flying  Air firing and practice bombing was carried out.  Six aircraft were detailed for a night exercise which was cancelled.

5.5.44
Weather  Fair at first, becoming cloudy with occasional showers and continuous rain during the evening.  Visibility 6 – 10 miles, becoming 4 miles late in evening.
Non-Operational Flying  Practice bombing, air firing and air tests were carried out.  A night exercise was arranged but had to be cancelled.

6.5.44
Weather  Cloudy with bright intervals.  Visibility 6 miles generally.
Non-Operational Flying  Air firing, cross country flights, practice bombing and fighter affiliation were carried out.
Administration  NZ40750 F/O. R. Berney and crew and NZ40762 F/O. F. Fox and crew ceased to be detached to No.3 L.F.S. Feltwell.

7.5.44
Weather  Cloudy at first, becoming fair to fine.  Visibility 8 – 20 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Local flying, air firing and practice bombing were carried out.
Operational Flying  Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Chateau Bougon aerodrome near Nantes.  All aircraft successfully attacked in clear weather and bombing was concentrated.

8.5.44
Weather  Fair to fine, visibility 8 – 16 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Fighter affiliation, air firing, practice bombing and local flying were carried out.  Eight aircraft were detailed for a night exercise, which was cancelled.
Administration  36255 A/S/L. R. J. Leslie ceased to be detached to No.3 L.F.S., Feltwell on being detached to R.A.F. Ingham.

9.5.44
Weather  Slight cloud, but fine generally.  Visibility 6 – 12 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack Cap Gris Nez and all successfully completed their mission.  Only slight opposition was encountered.

10.5.44
Weather  Fair to fine, visibility 4 – 8 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests were carried out in preparation for operations.
Operational Flying  Twenty three aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Courtrai.  A concentrated attack was made with very slight opposition.  One aircraft (Captain NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond) was hit by A.A. Fire on the return journey and the Captain received slight injuries.

11.5.44
Weather  Fine, visibility 2500 to 3000 yards at first, improving to 4 – 8 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Night flying tests and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Twenty-four aircraft, representing the largest number of Lancaster aircraft so far detailed by this Squadron, were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Louvain.  Twenty-three aircraft successfully attacked in good weather.  One aircraft (Captain NZ414591 A/F/L. S. Clark) claimed a JU 88 destroyed in combat over the North Sea.  Another aircraft (Captain 151118 A/F/L. D. Warren) failed to return.

12.5.44
Weather  Fine, becoming cloudy towards dusk.  Visibility good.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests were carried out during the morning.  Aircrew personnel were stood down during the afternoon.

13.5.44
Weather  Fair at first, turning to continual rain in afternoon.  Visibility deteriorating accordingly.
Non-Operational Flying  Air firing, height and load tests, and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  10 aircraft were required to attack Aachen, but this operational mission was cancelled.
Administration  NZ428819 F/S. Howell, E. and crew and NZ421403 F/O. Stokes, W. and crew arrived on posting from No.31 Base.

14.5.44
Weather  Cloudy, becoming fair to fine.  Visibility 10 – 20 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests and night flying tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Ten aircraft were required to attack Colline-Beaumont, but this operation was also cancelled.

15.5.44
Weather  Fair at first, becoming cloudy.  Visibility 3 – 6 miles, becoming 10 miles later.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross-country flights, fighter affiliation, practice bombing and air tests were carried out.
Administration  36149 W/Cdr. R. D. Max D.F.C., late Squadron Commander, proceeded on posting to HQ. No.3 Group.  S/Ldr. R. J. Leslie, A.F.C. was granted the acting rank of W/Cdr. on filling the post of Squadron Commander.

16.5.44
Weather  Cloudy with occasional showers.  Visibility generally over 8 miles, deteriorating in showers to 4 – 6 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests were carried out.

17.5.44
Weather  Cloudy with occasional showers at first, then continuous rain in afternoon.  Visibility generally 6 – 12 miles, deteriorating to 3 miles in precipitation.
Non-Operational Flying  Fighter affiliation and air tests were carried out.

18.5.44
Weather  Cloudy most of day, dispersing towards dusk.  Visibility 6 – 15 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  One cross country flight and air tests were carried out.

19.5.44
Weather  Foggy at first, becoming fair later.  Visibility less than 1,000 yards in morning, improving to 3 – 6 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  One cross country night exercise and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Twenty for aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Le Mans.  Good results being reported.

20.5.44
Weather  Fog at first, becoming fair then cloudy later.  Visibility less than 1,000 yards at first improving to 3 – 6 miles.
Operational Flying  Twenty two aircraft were required to attack a target at Boulogne, but the operation was cancelled.
Administration  NZ405801 F/O. J. Myers and 127140 F/O. R. Brumwell and crews arrived on posting from No.31 Base.

21.5.44
Weather Cloudy.  Visibility 6 – 10 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross country flights were carried out.
Operational Flying  Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target.  Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis).  Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

22.5.44
Weather  Fog at first becoming fair later.  Visibility 6 – 15 miles generally.
Non-Operational Flying  Night flying and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund of which eighteen completed their mission successfully.  Three aircraft returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and NZ42354 P/O. C. Armstrong).  The raid was well concentrated and carried out in good weather with excellent visibility.  One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU 88.  Otherwise the operation was uneventful.

23.5.44
Weather  Cloudy, visibility 6 – 10 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross country flights and height and load tests were carried out.

24.5.44
Weather  Fair, visibility hazy at first becoming 3 – 10 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Night flying and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack Aachen and eleven to attack a target at Boulogne.  They all were successful in attacking their respective targets and good concentrated bombing was reported.  Two aircraft attacking Aachen had combats with enemy aircraft, NZ40750 F/L. R. Berney claiming the destruction of an enemy night fighter and 170664 P/O. T. Buckley claimed strikes on a F.W. 190.  There was no opposition from the Boulogne target.

25.5.44
Weather  Cloudy with rain at mid-day.  Visibility over 6 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests were completed.
Operational Flying  Mannheim was to be the target for twenty two aircraft, but there was a late cancellation.
Administration  NZ422369 W/O. Clarke, R., AUS412504 [=421584] F/Sgt. Perfrement, J. and NZ42990 F/O. F. Lukey and crews were posted from No.31 Base.

26.5.44
Weather  Slight haze in  morning, improving to fine.  Visibility over 6 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests, air to sea firing and cross country flights were carried out.

27.5.44
Weather  Fine with clear sky.  Visibility 6 to 12 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Air tests and cross country flights were completed.
Operational Flying  Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Aachen, one of which returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ414971 F/L. S. Fauvel and NZ421105 Sgt. Scott, F.).  The remaining fifteen successfully bombed the target in clear weather, one aircraft (Captain NZ40750 F/L. R. Berney) had five successive inconclusive combats with an ME 410 in the Courtrai area.
In addition, two aircraft successfully laid mines off La Rochelle without incident.
Administration  NZ424788 F/S. Bateson, B. and NZ415255 F/S. Wisker, R. and crews arrived on posting from No.31 Base.  NZ412345 F/S. Barker, R. and NZ422267 F/S. Donaghy and crews arrived on posting from No.31 Base.

28.5.44
Weather  Clear sky all day and brilliant sunshine.  Visibility 8 – 12 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross country flights and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack the marshalling yards at Angers.  Six of these were withdrawn, two returned early with engine trouble, but the remaining fourteen aircraft successfully bombed the target in good weather.  A good concentrated attack was reported, and opposition was only slight.

29.5.44
Weather  Cloudless sky with brilliant sunshine.  Visibility 10 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross country flights and air tests were carried out.
Administration  NZ42117 Sgt. Nairne, C. and NZ412345 [=NZ421345] F/S. Barker, R. and crews arrived on posting from No.31 Base.

30.5.44
Weather  Clear skies from dawn to dusk.  Visibility 10 – 12 miles.
Non-Operational Flying  Cross country flights, fighter affiliation, local flying and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Ten aircraft successfully bombed a target at Boulogne, encountering only very slight opposition.  The attack was carried out in clear visibility.

31.5.44
Weather  Cloudy during morning, improving during afternoon and cloudy again at night. Visibility deteriorating accordingly.
Non-Operational Flying  Navigational cross country exercises and air tests were carried out.
Operational Flying  Twenty four aircraft were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Trappes.  One was withdrawn and another returned early through technical trouble.  The remainder, however, bombed in good visibility, reporting an accurate attack.  One aircraft (Captain NZ422098 P/O. L. Bonisch) had a combat with an enemy aircraft which was seen to be shot down by another of our aircraft.

OUTSTANDING EVENTS
Non-Operational Flying
Great stress has been paid to training and all types of exercises have been carried out whenever the climatic conditions and operational commitments would allow.

Operational Flying
Large scale raids have been carried out, targets being Chateau Bougon aerodrome, Cap Gris Nez, Duisburg, Dortmund, Aachen (twice), Boulogne and the Marshalling Yards at Chambly, Courtrai, Louvain, Le Mans, Angers and Trappes.  Sea mines have also been laid off La Rochelle.  From these operations six aircraft have failed to return.

Awards granted during May, 1944
NZ39003 F/O. C. Eddy, Pilot, was made an additional member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for outstanding courage and gallantry when on a night in July, 1943, he was pilot and captain of an aircraft which crashed when attempting an emergency landing and burst into flames.  He received serious injuries, but remained in the aircraft and assisted the Air Bomber from the over-turned second pilot’s seat.  When clear of the aircraft, he learned that the Mid-Upper Gunner was trapped in his turret, he then re-entered the blazing wreckage and assisted a Medical Officer in a vain attempt to extricate the Mid Upper Gunner.  It was not until the heat, fumes and smoke had made a continuance of rescue work impossible that F/O. Eddy was persuaded to abandon his effort.  Further injuries and burns were received by him while attempting to rescue the Mid Upper Gunner, and he collapsed immediately on leaving the aircraft.

NZ415068 A/F/L. J.D. Grubb, Pilot, and 157998 F/O. K.W. Morgan, Air Gunner, were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty whilst on operations.

1283701 F/Sgt. Dunmall, K.J., Pilot, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Visits
16th May 1944: Mr. Hankinson of Spectator Short Films Ltd., accompanied by S/Ldr. Lloyd, Air Ministry P.R.O., visited the station in connection with making a film about this Squadron, and film staff remained for the purpose of preparing and taking the film.

30th May 1944: Mrs. Peter Fraser, wife of the New Zealand Prime Minister and Miss Jordan, Private Secretary to the New Zealand Prime Minister, accompanied by Air Commodore E.G. Olson, A.O.C. R.N.Z.A.F. Headquarters, visited the Squadron and met New Zealand air crew and ground staff personnel informally.

Monthly Totals of Flying Hours:-                                 Operational 971.05
Non-Operational 466.20
Operational Sorties:- Cumulative total from 1.1.44 – 813
Monthly total – 254
Cumulative total of Bombs and Mines dropped:-                    13,290.9 tons.
Monthly total of Bombs dropped:-                                               1,334.00 tons
Monthly total of Mines dropped:-                                                        8 tons

APPENDIX
Copies of Personnel Occurrence Reports issued during May, 1944……….No. 5

[Signed R. J. A. Leslie]

Wing Commander, Commanding,

NO. 75(NZ) SQUADRON, R.A.F.

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