R.F. Bennett crew 18.1.43 †

12/01/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with 1500lb vegetables. All aircraft successfully planted their vegetables and the majority of the parachutes were seen to open. Some A.A. fire and searchlights were encountered on the way to the target, the flak being very accurate although none of the aircraft were holed. The weather on route both ways was poor but reasonable conditions in the gardening area itself.

Stirling Mk.I BK617 AA-D

Sgt. Charles Raglan Davey, RNZAF NZ413937 – Pilot.
Sgt. Raymond Frederick Bennett
Sgt. Anthony Arlen, RCAF R.84152 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ian James Duncan Brodie, RAFVR 1344759/ 147474 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leighton Mansel Stone, RAFVR 1313099 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Edgar Howlett, RAFVR 528778 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Andrew James Feenan, RAFVR 632983 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Bertram Tarrant, RAFVR 1450019 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:10 – Landed 06:55
Flight Time 06:45


18/01/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Two aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with 1500lb. vegetables. Stirling I BK624 captained by Sergt. Bennett had a very hot reception, too hot in fact, as this was his first trip. He had combat with three fighters in bright moonlight. The crew behaved exceedingly well and by good defensive tactics managed to avoid the fighters, although the aircraft was found to be holed on return. He reached the gardening area and successfully dropped his vegetables. The other aircraft was forced to abandoned the sortie as the inter-com went u/s over the North sea and the aircraft also had engine trouble. He jettisoned his bombs and returned. The weather was very good with clear visibility and bright moon. Navigation was good by D.R., T.R., and visual.

Stirling Mk.I BK624 AA-A

Sgt. Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. George Wood Cook,   – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Irvine Robert Furness, RNZAF NZ412876 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton Middleton, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pirie, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:20 – Landed 22:10
Flight Time 04:50

03/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with 4 lb. incendiaries. The crews were instructed to return if they hit bad weather, which unfortunately they did. Heavy cloud and icing were experienced forcing five aircraft to return early. Two aircraft attacked the target but they were unable to observe results owing to 10/10ths. cloud. Some A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered although low cloud prevented accuracy. No enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation was good. Two aircraft failed to return, they were Stirling 1 BK604 captained by P/O J McCullough and Stirling 1 R9280 captained by P/O K.H. Blincoe. This was a sad loss as they were two of the oldest captains in the Squadron, with them was also lost Sergt. Scott and P/O Henderson, two new captains gaining experience as second pilot. This leaving us with two headless crews.

Stirling Mk.I BK624 AA-A

F/L Frank Albert Sandeman, RAFVR 741294/ 86686 – Pilot.
P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett RNZAF NZ415282 – 2nd Pilot.
W/O William Stuckey, RAFVR 51042 – Navigator.
Sgt. J.M.N. Thornton, RAFVR 1041442 – Air Bomber.
F/S H.W. Rossiter, RAFVR 638839 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Clifford Abbott, RAFVR 1098896 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Raymond Anthony Kennedy, RAFVR 1003148 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Gould Gillessie, RCAF R.88681 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:25 – Landed 21:50
Flight Time 03:25

04/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Turin
Seven aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 1,000 lb. 500 lb., and 4 lb. incendiaries. Only five aircraft attacked the target, two returning early, one due to turret and inter comm., trouble and the other as the aircraft failed to climb over the Alps,he therefore bombed and objective in occupied France. The five aircraft attacking the target successfully did so on P.F.F. markers, large fires were seen from their own and other incendiaries. Light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, which was inaccurate. A few searchlights were also operating. Some enemy aircraft were seen, but no combat took please. Heavy cloud was hit in France but the weather was good with clear visibility at the target area. Navigation was very good, by D.R. T.H., and visual. This /is considered to be a very good and concentrated operation.

Stirling Mk.I BK624 AA-A

F/L Frank Albert Sandeman, RAFVR 741294/ 86686 – Pilot.
P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett RNZAF NZ415282 – 2nd Pilot.
W/O William Stuckey, RAFVR 51042 – Navigator.
Sgt. J.M.N. Thornton, RAFVR 1041442 – Air Bomber.
F/S H.W. Rossiter, RAFVR 638839 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Clifford Abbott, RAFVR 1098896 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Raymond Anthony Kennedy, RAFVR 1003148 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Gould Gillessie, RCAF R.88681 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 19:50
Flight Time 01:00

05/02/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Four aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with 1500 lb. mines. Three of the aircraft successfully planted their mines in the allotted area. All aircraft flew in cloud which was 10/10ths. from the English coast to the mining area. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation was very good. Stirling 1 BK617 captained by Sgt. R.E. Redding failed to return. This aircraft took off at 18.10 and at 19.43 a message was received XXXX that they had something to communicate to base, but this was never received. It was later reported that the aircraft was seen to crash in flames just off Cromer. Nothing further was heard of the crew, or the aircraft although a search was made by Air Sea Rescue.

Stirling Mk.I R9243 AA-C

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frank Arthur Stevens, RAFVR 942319 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 21:10
Flight Time 03:10

07/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Lorient
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 1,000 lb. and 4 lb. ince-ndiaries. Eight of the aircraft attacked the target, the other aircraft returning early as the inter comm. became u/s. All bombs were successfully dropped in the target area, large fires were seen which lit up the whole of the town. The smoke from these fires was rising to a height of 8,000 feet. This operation is considered to have been an exceedingly good show. Some A.A. fire and searchlights were encountered but they were very accurate. Enemy aircraft were also seen but none of them attacked. The weather was excellent with clear visibility. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I N6123 AA-Q

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Edward Henry Gray, RNZAF NZ412878 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:20 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 02:20

13/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Lorient
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 1,000 lb. and 4 lb. incendiaries. Nine aircraft are known to have successfully attacked the target, of the other two, one returned early owing to the mid upper and front turrets being u/s and the other aircraft failed to return. Fires were burning fiercely in the target area, although they appeared to be scattered. F/Lt. Trott had his aircraft damaged by flak at the target, the number two tank on the port side was holed, the trimming tab was hit and his aerial was shot off. He preceeded to Middle Wallop and landed safely. Both heavy and light flak was encountered which was intense at first but later spasmodic and appeared to be swamped. Searchlights were seen in the early part of the attack but later went out. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks were made. The weather was very good with clear visibility and no cloud. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling 1 R9316 captained by Sgt. R.A. Williams.

Stirling Mk.I BF398 AA-F

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Edward Henry Gray, RNZAF NZ412878 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:45 – Landed 23:50
Flight Time 06:05

14/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Eight aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 1,000 lb. and 4 lb. incendiaries. All of the aircraft, with the exception of one which returned early owing to engine trouble, successfully bombed the target in 10/10ths cloud by means of P.F.F. sky marker flares, so the success of the trip could not be judged, although a red glow was seen on the clouds as the aircraft left the target area. Heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, mainly predicted. Several enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. There was broken cloud from base to enemy coast, which gradually built up to 10/10ths cloud at the target area. Navigation was very good. A stranger from 214 Squadron landed on our runway and made the aerodrome completely unserviceable. Three of our aircraft therefore, had to be diverted to Lakenheath and Waterbeach.

Stirling Mk.I W7469 AA-

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Edward Henry Gray, RNZAF NZ412878 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:30 – Landed 23:40
Flight Time 05:10

26/02/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Seven aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb., two of these aircraft were forced to abandon the mission owing to engine trouble. The remaining five aircraft successfully attacked the target. The whole of the target was well alight, the bombing also appeared to be accurate. The fires were seen by crews fifty to sixty miles away as they were returning. Heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, varying from moderate to intense. Some searchlights were also co-operating, but none of our aircraft were coned. A few enemy aircraft were seen, two attacks were made against our aircraft but no damage was sustained. The weather was good with fair visibility although there was a good deal of haze. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I BK647 AA-M

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Barron Kane, RAFVR 1312222/ 158333 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.V. Weavers, RAFVR 1290831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 00:05
Flight Time 05:10

27/02/1943 – Mining off St. Jean de Lurz
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out this operation with 1500 lb. mines, one of which was forced to jettison and return early owing to engine trouble. The other aircraft successfully fropped his mines in the allotted area, sea mist and poor visibility prevented him from seeing the parachutes open. No A.A. fure, searchlights, or enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was good although 6/10ths. Cloud was prevalent in the mining area. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I BK647 AA-M

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Richard Fleury Wanstall, RAFVR 656462 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.V. Weavers, RAFVR 1290831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:30 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 08:00

01/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1,000 lb. 500 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Two aircraft, however, were forced to return early owing to inter-comm,, and rear turret trouble, their bombs being jettisoned. The remaining six aircraft successfully attacked the target. This is considered to be a first class effort, colossal fires were seen, which were well concentrated and were seen up to 150 miles away as the aircraft were returning. Three aircraft were hit by A.A. fire in the Ruhr area but they returned safely. The defenses in the target area were very poor, little A.A. fire and few searchlights being encountered. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. There was slight cloud in the target area, although visibility was very good and ground detail could be seen very clearly. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK664 AA-M

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.V. Weavers, RAFVR 1290831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:35 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 09:00

03/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 2,000 lb. 500 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. One of the aircraft, however, failed to start owing to a burst tail tyre wheel and another returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable. The remaining seven aircraft all successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large fires were seen, which were lighting up the whole of the area. Both heavy and light intense A.A. fire was encountered, two aircraft being slightly hit. Searchlights were operation, mainly in cones. Very few enemy aircraft were seen and no combats took place. There was some haze at the target area, visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I W7469 AA-

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. D.J. MacIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:25 – Landed 00:20
Flight Time 05:55
05/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 2,000 lb. 1,00lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Unfortunately, one aircraft crashed one minute after take-off as one of the engines seized, the pilot however, made a good crash landing and he and the crew escaped unhurt. Another aircraft was forced to return early owing to engine trouble. The remaining seven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. A very large concentration of fires were seen with huge buildings in their midst, leaving no doubt as to the success of the operation. The glow from the fires was seen at the Dutch coast as our aircraft were homeward bound. Both light and heavy intense A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights, were encountered. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place, There was slight ground haze at the target, although visibility was very good. Navigation was very good. For the success of the operation a message of congratulations was received from the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief.

Stirling Mk.I BK664 AA-M

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Earl Ray Belford, RCAF R.88751/ J.17419 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.V. Weavers, RAFVR 1290831 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

t/o 1920 Newmarket but lost power from the port inner and crash landed. No injuries reported.

Take Off 19:19 – Landed 19:20
Flight Time 00:01

08/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nurenburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 2,000 lb. 1,000 lb. 500 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble and another failed to return. The remaining seven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large fires being seen, one large explosion from the centre of target, was seen one hundred miles away as the aircraft were returning. Both light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered co-operating with searchlights, they however, proved to be ineffective. Stirling 1 BK646 captained by P/O Lowe, was attacked by an enemy aircraft near Saarbrucken on the return journey. The enemy aircraft opened fire with cannon and a stream of tracer came into the cockpit, one exploding near the second pilot’s leg. Corkscrew tactics were adopted, but after seven minutes the enemy aircraft was lost. The only casualties were the second pilot, who was wounded in the leg and the Captain, who had slight face cuts. The aircraft successfully returned to base. There was a slight haze at the target, although visibility fairly good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling 1 BF437, captained by Sergeant C.R. Davey.

Stirling Mk.I W7513 AA-G

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Rogers, RAFVR 1381335 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:00 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 07:55

12/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Seven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 2,000 lb. 1,000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. One aircraft, however, returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, the remaining six aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fire were seen, which lit up the whole of the area, one crew reported that they saw two large explosions which appeared to come from the Krupps works. Both heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered. It was intense, although not too bad considering the target, the searchlights however, proved to be troublesome. Some enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. There was smoke and haze over the target, although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk. N3683 AA-

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. D.J. MacIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:50 – Landed 23:40
Flight Time 03:50

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 BF456 AA-J

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. D.J. MacIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:50 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 07:45

29/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Ten aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks, with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Two of the aircraft failed to takeoff, as they were found to be unserviceable and three returned early. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires were seen, which were well concentrated and spreading. The glow from these fires was seen 100 miles away on the homeward journey. Intense heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, with many searchlights co-operation all round the city. One aircraft was slightly damaged by A.A. fire. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was clear, although hazy. Visibility however, was fairly good. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BF456 AA-J

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Irvine Robert Furness, RNZAF NZ412876 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 05:40

08/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks, with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. Four of the aircraft however were forced to return early owing to severe icing conditions, which prevented the aircraft from gaining height. Four of the remaining aircraft successfully bombed the target through cloud. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds. A fair amount of heavy predicted A.A.Fire was encountered, some enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was 10/10ths cloud, with electrical storms, rain and severe icing. Which prevented this operation from being a complete success. Navigation was very good. Stirling III, BK770, captained by W/O Walsh, was returning to base at 01.10 hours a message was received from him, but this was the last heard of the aircraft until it was reported to have crashed at Bressingham, Norfolk, soon after this time. The aircraft exploded on impact and burnt out, and unfortunately the whole of the crew were killed.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Irvine Robert Furness, RNZAF NZ412876 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:40 – Landed 00:30
Flight Time 02:50

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.I W7513 AA-G

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Irvine Robert Furness, RNZAF NZ412876 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:15 – Landed 06:05
Flight Time 05:50

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 BF465 AA-K

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Irvine Robert Furness, RNZAF NZ412876 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 06:05

16/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Ludwigshaven
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack, with bombs of 2000 lb, 1000 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lb. Seven of the aircraft successfully attacked the target. Large fires and one big explosion were seen. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble. Both heavy and light A.A. Fire was encountered co-operation with searchlights. Two of our aircraft were hit and the Navigator of one was hit in the leg. Several enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good on the route, but considerable haze was experienced at the target. Navigations was very good. Stirling Mark III BK.664 captained by F/Lt. D.C.Lowe, which experienced some very accurate A.A. Fire whilst overt the target, found on landing, that this throttle controls were jammed open, he was lucky enough to be able to land, but unfortunately he crashed into a semi built hanger on the aerodrome. The aircraft was an absolute wreck, but all the crew got away safely, although not without injuries. Stirling Mark III W 7469 captained by F/Sgt. K.F. Debenham and Stirling Mark I BF451 captained by P/O K.H.G. Groves failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
F/S H.W. Rossiter, RAFVR 638839 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 05:55

20/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Rostock
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000 lb and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lb. Eight of the aircraft successfully attacked the target area. Some very large scale fires were seen but the attack was spoilt by a smoke screen which partly obscured the target. A.A.Fire was mainly confined to light tracer which was ineffective. Stirling Mk.III BF.518 captained by Sgt. Dalzell, collided with a Lancaster aircraft after leaving the target, and fortunately only slight damage was caused to the rudder and fin. After this hazardous experience he returned to base and made a perfect landing. Some enemy aircraft were seen in the target area, but no combats took place. The weather was very good and visibility was excellent. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III, captained by P/O A.G. Tolley, failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Douglas Hamilton Moss, RNZAF NZ404653 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 05:45
Flight Time 07:35

22/04/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation, with Mines of 1500 lbs. All of these aircraft successfully dropped their Mines in the allotted area, and the majority of the parachutes were seen to open. Two A.A. ships were in the mining area and light & heavy A.A.Fire co-operation with searchlights was encountered, but it was inaccurate. No enemy aircraft were seen. Eight tenths cloud was prevalent in the mining area, and patches of cloud provided cover for the aircraft. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Douglas Hamilton Moss, RNZAF NZ404653 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:05 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 06:30

12/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Stirling Mk.III. BK.721 captained by F/Lt. E.R.M. Appleton, whilst taking off failed to clear an obstruction at the end of the runway and crashed almost immediately afterwards, all the crew with the exception of the captain and the wireless operator, F/Sgt. Cocks, S.G. were killed. The captain received severe injuries and the wireless was also injured, both were admitted to hospital. As a result of this crash two aircraft were unable to take-off. One aircraft returned early owing to the Captain being sick. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bonbs in the target area, and large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Some heavy A.A.Fire, co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but it was ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was very clear in the target area with good visibility except for ground haze which prevented identification. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
P/O William Rosser Perrot, RNZAF NZ416155 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:25 – Landed 04:29
Flight Time 04:04

13/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Bochum
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft, however, were forced to return early owing to engine trouble. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and very large concentrated fires were seen, together with explosions. This is considered to have been a very successful raid. Heavy predicted A.A.Fire co-operation with searchlights was encountered. Several enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. Stirling Mk.I. BK619, captained by Sgt. J.L. Mitchell was attacked by an ME110 and opened fire at 400 yards slightly below our aircraft. The mod-upper gunner fired a medium burst and the enemy aircraft was seen to burst into flames and passed beneath the Stirling. The rear gunner fired a further long burst at 300 yards and the enemy aircraft was seen to turn on its back and dive, hit the ground and explode. The weather was very clear in the target area, but visibility was impaired by slight ground haze. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
P/O William Rosser Perrot, RNZAF NZ416155 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. William James Henry Berriman, RNZAF NZ411361 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:12 – Landed 03:44
Flight Time 03:32

23/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Some very large fires were seen, and the bombs were seen to explode amongst large buildings. Medium and Heavy A.A.Fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered. One aircraft was hit whilst over the target, and the port outer propeller was shot off, but the aircraft successfully returned to base. Some enemy aircraft were seen, and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but identification was difficult owing to smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III,BK.783 captained by Sergeant S.M. Tietjens failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Ernest Stanley Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ417138 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:22 – Landed 03:27
Flight Time 04:05

25/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Four aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and one failed to return. The remaining eleven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and some large explosions were also seen. Both heavy and light A.A.Fire was encountered, co-operationg with searchlights, which were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. Ten tenths cloud was prevalent in the target area, but visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. This missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. BK602, captained by Sergeant T.W. Darton.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:52 – Landed 03:39
Flight Time 03:47

29/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Twenty aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, and two returned early. Four aircraft failed to return. The remaining thirteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires were seen and also some big explosions. Some heavy A.A.Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No searchlights were seen. A few enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but visibility was impaired by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BK776 Captained by P/O. R.F.Bennett, Mk.I EF398, captained by F/O. R.B. Vernazoni, MK.III EH881 captained by Sgt. J.H. Carey and Mk.III Bf561 captained by Sgt. S.R. Thornley.

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Sgt. Raymond Francis Norman RNZAF NZ416145 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick Alexander Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Allan Pirie, RCAF R.108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:09 – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Stirling Mk.III BK776 AA-R was brought down at Odenspiel, 12 miles West North West of Siegen (about 35 miles South East of the target). Only the Flight Engineer, Navigator and Rear Gunner survived but were taken as P.o.W’s. The Captain, P/O Bennett, is now at rest in Rheinberg War Cemetery while the four other deceased were reinterred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

P/O Raymond Frederick Bennett, RNZAF NZ415282 – Pilot.
Killed age 29.
Son of Frederick William and Ruby Elizabeth Bennett, of Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 4. G. 11.

F/S Raymond Fraser Norman, RNZAF NZ416145 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 23.
Son of William Matthew and Annie Norman, of Winton, Southland, New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 31. B. 15-17.

Sgt. Alan Lloyd Davidson, RNZAF NZ411864 – Navigator .
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 111
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft 1. Luft VI and 357.
Date of return to United Kingdom: 7th of May 1945

F/S Frederick Alexander   Bandy, RAFVR 1318948 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 23.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 31. B. 15-17.

W/O Stanley Leo Kavanagh, RNZAF NZ403579 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 24.
Son of Edward Francis and Mildred A. Kavanagh, of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 31. B. 15-17.

Sgt. J. B. Harrison, RAFVR 1052295 – Flight Engineer.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 10646
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft III.
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

F/S James Allan Pirie, RCAF 108000 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 22.
Son of James Duncan Pirie and Esther Pirie, of Pennant, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 31. B. 15-17.
‘His all for God, His home and Canada’

F/S Christopher Patrick Middleton, RNZAF NZ413337 – Rear Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 212
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VI then 357
Date of return to United Kingdom: 7th of May 1945