D.G. McCaskill crew 28.3.43 †

27/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1,000lb. And incendiaries of 30lb. And 4lb. One of the aircraft returned early, as it failed to maintain height . The remaining ten aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was difficult to judge the effectiveness of our bombs, as there was thick ground haze. Two aircraft were hit by A.A. fire, which was intense. But not effective. Many searchlights were also seen, which were co-operating with the A.A. defences. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was not very good, although it was fairly clear over the target except for ground haze. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BF664 AA-M

P/O Douglas Charles Lowe, RAFVR 1312163/ 138661 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Gordon McCaskill, RNZAF NZ413573 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Francis Campbell Carswell, RNZAF NZ404457 – Navigator.
F/S S. Ellis, RAFVR 1012770 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Arthur John Wilson Bodley, RNZAF NZ414538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A.G. Warr, RAFVR 1274410 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.W. Wilmer, RAFVR 923838 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Brian Desmond Joseph Welch, RNZAF NZ41719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:50 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 08:00

28/03/1943 – St. Nazaire
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with incendiary bombs of 30 lb. and 4 lb. They both successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and good fires were seen to start. Moderate and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights, was encountered, but it was inaccurate. No enemy aircraft were seen the weather at the target was very good, with clear visibility. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BK664 AA-M

Sgt. Donald Gordon McCaskill, RNZAF NZ413573 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Kennedy Grainger, RNZAF NZ42295 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Thomas Charles Green, RAFVR 1211032 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. D.J. McIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Flight Engineer.
Possibly an error – McIver is listed as W/Op in records
Sgt. Ernest Desmond Cook, RAFVR 1609864 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Alexander Smith, RNZAF NZ415378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:38 – Landed 01:20
Flight Time 05:42

08/04/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
One aircraft was detailed to carry this operation, with Mines of 1500lb. All of the Mines were successfully dropped in the allotted area, and four of the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A. Fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were encountered. There was no cloud, but some haze was prevalent in the mining area. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk. BF513 AA-E

P/O Donald Gordon McCaskill, RNZAF NZ413573 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Kennedy Grainger, RNZAF NZ42295 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Thomas Charles Green, RAFVR 1211032 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Angus McVicar, RAFVR 1371651 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Desmond Cook, RAFVR 1609864 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Alexander Smith, RNZAF NZ415378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 06:40

10/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Frankfurt
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft were forced to return early as they failed to maintain height. Eight of the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was not possible to see the target owing to thick cloud, a large red glow was nevertheless seen. Both light and heavy A.Afire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, although they were ineffective. Several enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place. There was 10/10ths cloud in the target area, but it was clear and dark above our aircraft. Navigations was excellent. Stirling III, BF455 captained by F/Sgt. Rothschild was hit over the target by A.A.Fire and also chased by enemy Fighters. This caused him to run short of Petrol over the English Channel on the way home, and he eventually crash landed in the sea, 3 miles off Shoreham. The wireless procedure had been perfect, and Spitfires escorted it over the French coast, and a Walrus Flying Boat was waiting for it to crash land. Dingy drill was perfect and all the crew got in safely after an immaculate landing – the Stirling floating for 25 minutes. The final scene was enacted in the Channel as the Walrus collided with the Dinghy and dropped all the crew in the sea. No Ill-effects except for Sgt. Grainger, the Flight Engineer, who suffered from shock. Stirling III BF456 captained by Sgt. Webb failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

P/O Donald Gordon McCaskill, RNZAF NZ413573 – Pilot.
Sgt. James Kennedy Grainger, RNZAF NZ42295 – Navigator.
Sgt. Bertram Elwell, RAFVR 519416 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Thomas Charles Green, RAFVR 1211032 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Angus McVicar, RAF 1371651 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Desmond Cook, RAFVR 1609864 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Alexander Smith, RNZAF NZ415378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:00 – Landed 05:55
Flight Time 05:55

14/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Stuttgart
Eleven aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with incendiary bombs of 30 lb and 4 lb. One aircraft returned early as the controls were faulty. None of the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen, together with a great deal of black smoke. There was a moderate amount of heavy A.A. Fire encountered on the way to the target, but very little in the target area. A few searchlights were seen, but they were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and short combats took place, but our aircraft were not damaged. It was very clear over the target, as there was a bright moon, and visibility was good in spite of slight ground haze. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mark III BF513 captained by P/O. D.J. McCaskill failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF513 AA-E

P/O Donald Gordon McCaskill, RNZAF NZ413573 – Pilot.
P/O James Kennedy Grainger, RNZAF NZ42295 – Navigator.
Sgt. Bertram Elwell, RAFVR 519416 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Thomas Charles Green, RAFVR 1211032 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Angus McVicar, RAFVR 1371651 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Desmond Cook, RAFVR 1609864 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ronald Alexander Smith, RNZAF NZ415378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

BF513 was shot down by an enemy night-fighter (Lt Fritz Graef, I. /NJG4) over Belgium at 02.25hrs, crashing at Regniéssart, (Namur), 3 miles SE of Couvin. There were no survivors. All the crew are buried at Florennes’ Communal Cemetery.

P/O Donald Gordon Mccaskill, RNZAF NZ413573 – Pilot.
Killed age 19.
Son of Gordon Milton Mccaskill and Gwendolyn Mccaskill, of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Row 2. Grave 27.

P/O James Kennedy Grainger, RNZAF NZ42295 – Navigator.
Killed age 21.
Son of William Grainger and of Ida Grainger (Nee Main), of Napier, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Plot 2. Coll. grave 22-26.

Sgt. Bertram Elwell, RAF 519416 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 26.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Row 2. Coll. grave 22-26.

Sgt. Reginald Thomas Charles Green, RAFVR 1211032 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 27.
Son of Ernest and Miriam Amelia Green; Husband of Edna Daisy Green, of Medbourne, Leicestershire.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Row 2. Coll. grave 22-26.
‘Grant him eternal rest, O Lord;
And let Thy perpetual light Shine upon him’

Sgt. Angus Mcvicar, RAFVR 1371651 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 20.
Son of Donald and Margaret Mcvicar, of Dunbeath, Caithness-Shire.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Row 2. Coll. grave 22-26.
‘Dearly beloved eldest son
Of Donald & Margaret McVicar, Dunbeath, Scotland’

Sgt. Ernest Desmond Cook, RAFVR 1609864 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of Ernest and Esther Cook, of Kintbury, Berkshire.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Row 2. Grave 21.
‘Until the day break
And the shadows flee away’

Sgt. Ronald Alexander Smith, RNZAF NZ415378 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 21.
Son of David Watson Smith and of Agnes Adelaide Smith (Nee Doyle), of Lauriston, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Buried Florennes Communal Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Row 2. Coll. grave 22-26

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