R. Sawrey-Cookson crew 11.09.41 †

11/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Kiel
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, R1038 captained by Sgt Roe, failed to return to base. Four aircraft failed to locate the targets, but the remainder all dropped bombs and fires were started. A.A. fire was intense and working in co-operation with searchlights which were working in cones. The weather was clear over the target.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2805 AA-E “D for Donald”

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
Sgt. Taylor, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Harrington, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Hopkinson, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Holtby Tasker, RAFVR 1381172 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:45 – Landed 04:55
Flight Time 07:10

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.9757 AA-S

S/L Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L George Eric Fowler, RAF 86427 – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Hopkinson, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
F/L Norman Dudley Greenaway, RAFVR/ RNZAF 78998, NZ2487 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:35 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 07:10

17/12/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest and Le Havre
Seven Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed from this Unit to carry out the above attacks. Bomb load consisted of 500lbs, 250lbs and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped in the target area but results were not observed. Light and heavy flak was encountered and many searchlights were active but ineffective owing to low cloud. Visibility was fair but 10/10 cloud over target area. Navigation was good. Wellington Z.1083, captained by Sgt. Climie, landed at Exeter on return to get medical aid to P/O Gunning who was injured whilst the aircraft was over target.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.9975? AA-?

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
P/O Peter John Wilson, RNZAF NZ402475 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L Dennis Chadwick Barnett, RAFVR 581260/ 45584 – Observer.
Sgt. Wilson, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cross, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
F/L Norman Dudley Greenaway, RAFVR/ RNZAF 78998, NZ2487 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:55 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 06:00

23/12/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Seven wellington Ic aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Bomb load consisted of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and containers of incendiaries. Bomb bursts and fires were seen in the target area. Light, medium and heavy flak was met and searchlights were not very active. Weather was good over the target. Navigation was good. Wellington Z.8834, captained by Sgt. Bentley, crashed at Burner’s Heath on return and Sgt. Bentley was killed, the crew being injured.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8441 AA-T

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
Sgt. Myles Frederick Gordon Fraser, RNZAF NZ403437 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L Watkins, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. William Clezy, RAFVR 1365054 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Hopkinson, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
P/O Peters, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:45 – Landed 23:50
Flight Time 07:05

27/12/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest and Dusseldorf
Twelve Wellington Ic aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Bomb load consisted of 4000lbs, 1000lbs,250lbs and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were seen to burst in town and railway station at Dusseldorf. Intense heavy flak was encountered over target areas and large concentrations of searchlights were active. Weather was good with very good visibility over target area. Navigation was good. Wellington Z.8971, captained by Sgt. Machin, crashed near Dartmoor owing to the port engine failing. The entire crew baled out safely.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.1077 AA-?

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
F/L Dennis Chadwick Barnett , 581260, 45584 – check Nav and A/B
Sgt. Patrick Arthur Townsend, RNZAF NZ401218 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Gilliam Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cross, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
F/L Norman Dudley Greenaway, RAFVR/ RNZAF 78998, NZ2487 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:10 – Landed 22:25
Flight Time 05:15

12/02/1942 – Daylight Attack – German Battleships in the Channel
Two Wellington III aircraft from this unit were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load consisted of 500 lbs G.P. Owing to very bad weather, 10/10 cloud and rain in large areas, the ships were not bombed. The bomb load was returned to base. Wellington aircraft X3390 encountered fierce light A.A. Fire from two destroyers on two occasions. Fire being returned by the rear gunner. This aircraft also attacked by two ME 109’s but sustained no damage. Navigation was entirely by D.R. The whole operation was marred by very poor visibility and low cloud. Wellington X3475 was also detailed to carry out an attack on the above target but the vessels were not contacted owing to darkness and adverse weather conditions. Several unidentified aircraft were seen. A.A. Fire was observed over clouds.

Wellington Mk.III X.3475 AA-L

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAFVR 39574 – Pilot.
F/O John Frederick Kelly Sandys, RCAF J.4814 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. William Henderson Taylor, RAFVR 1051621/ 122053 – Observer.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Verdun Cecil ‘Mick’ Strickland, 956811 – Front Gunner.
F/L Norman Dudley Greenaway, RAF/ RNZAF 78998/ NZ2487 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:00 – Landed 20:35
Flight Time 03:35

08/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington aircraft carried out an attack against the above target. Bomb load consisted of 500 lbs, 250 lbs and S.B.C’s which were dropped in the target area, fires were seen to be burning in the target area. Weather was clear except for haze over the target. There were many searchlights but these were ineffective. Accurate heavy flak was encountered over the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation was by D.R. and TR1335 and was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3588 AA-U

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAFVR 39574 – Pilot.
F/O Alfred William Doel, RNZAF NZ39907 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Garnet Franklin Jacobson, RCAF J.3500 – Observer.
Sgt. Henry John Price, RNZAF NZ404095 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Stafford Christie, British Army NZ402982 – Front Gunner.
F/L Thomas James Desmond Baber, RNZAF NZ39857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:30 – Landed 05:40
Flight Time 05:10

25/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at St.Nazaire and Essen
Twelve aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack. Wellington III X3652, captained by P/O Slater failed to return, and two aircraft failed to locate the target. Bomb Load consisted of 500 lbs and 250 lbs, this being dropped in the target area but no results were observed. Slight A.A. fire and a few ineffective searchlights were encountered but no enemy fighters were seen. Weather was fine with slight ground haze. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3403 AA-S

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAFVR 39574 – Pilot.
P/O Peter John Wilson, RNZAF NZ402475 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L Barnett, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Arthur Stafford Christie, RAFVR NZ402982 – Front Gunner.
F/S Buckley, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:15 – Landed 02:00
Flight Time 04:45

28/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Lubeck
Ten Wellington aircraft took off to attack the above target, one aircraft, Wellington III X3462 captained by Sgt Bell failed to return to base. Bomb load consisting of 4,000 lbs, 1,000 lbs, 500 lbs, 250 lbs, and containers of incendiaries was dropped in the target area. Bombs were seen to burst on target and large fires were seen burning in the target area. Weather was clear except for slight haze over west portion of the North Sea. There was very little A.A. Fire and few searchlights over the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good. he whole operation was very successful.

Wellington Mk.III X.3586 AA-A

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAFVR 39574 – Pilot.
P/O Graham Edward Murdoch, RNZAF NZ411927 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L Barnett, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. Henry Charles Hill, RAFVR 912778, 117845 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Buckley, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Arthur Stafford Christie, RNZAF NZ402982 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 06:40

05/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against Targets Cologne
Nine Wellington Aircraft from this unit were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, and 250lbs and 4lb incendiaries was dropped but results were not observed. There was intense heavy flak and many searchlights were active but ineffective owing to the bright moonlight. One Ju.88 aircraft was seen near the target and Wellington III X3705 was attacked by a Me.110 near Liege without result. Weather was good and navigation by TR1335 and D.R was also good. One aircraft did not carry out it’s mission and two are missing. Wellington III X3489, captained by W/Cdr Sawrey Cookson the C.O. of the squadron, and Wellington III X3661 captained by F/S Thomas.

Wellington Mk.III X.3489 AA-P

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAFVR 39574 – Pilot.
P/O William Finlay Budge, RNZAF NZ41977 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Ronald Harry Emery, RAFVR 922974 – Observer.
Sgt. Edwin Hainsworth, RAFVR 1360695 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Donald Percival Stock, RNZAF 1157823 – Front Gunner.
F/O George Eric Mitchell, RCAF R.74313/ J.15022 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time  – Missing

The aircraft was brought down by flak over the target, crashing into the city center where its bomb load exploded (see excerpt of the raid above). The bodies of all crew members were recovered and initially buried in the English Military Cemetery, south Cologne, then later reinterred in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Further casualties occurred among a crowd of people watching a burning bomber (probably a Wellington) crashing in the middle of Cologne as its bomb load exploded, killing 16 people and injuring 30 more.

W/C Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
Killed age 27.
Son of Clement Sawrey-Cookson, and of Myra Sawrey-Cookson (Nee Neilson); Husband of Joan Wynne Sawrey-Cookson (Nee Jeudwine), of Bourton-On-The-Water, Gloucestershire.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 1. D. 19.
‘The dawn was theirs
And the sunset,
And the colours of the earth’

P/O William Finlay Budge, RNZAF NZ41977 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 24.
Son of John Budge and of Elizabeth Budge (Nee Finlay), of Auckland City, New Zealand.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. D. 6-18.

Sgt. Ronald Harry Emery, RAFVR 922974 – Observer.
Killed age 24.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. D. 6-18.

Sgt. Donald Percival Stock, RAFVR 1157823 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 20.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. D. 6-18.

Sgt. Edwin Hainsworth, RAFVR 1360695 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 28.
Son of John William Hicks Hainsworth and Charity Hainsworth; Husband of Elizabeth Hainsworth, of Baildon, Shipley, Yorkshire.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 1. D. 20.

F/O George Eric Mitchell, RCAF 15022 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 40.
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 1. D. 21.