A. Rankin crew 5.6.43 †

11/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb.,1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to return and two returned early owing to engine trouble. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Many large fires and huge explosions were seen. Moderate and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with search lights were encountered. One aircraft was coned by searchlights, but violent evasive action eventually avoided them with difficulty. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was clear and the visibility was good except for haze caused by the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stiring Mk.III BK817 captained by Squadron Leader R.H. Laud, (“A” Flight Commander).

Stirling Mk.III BK778 JN-U

S/L Richard Broadbent, RNZAF NZ391339 – Pilot.
Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O John Charles Kennedy Fabian, RAFVR NZ413720 – Navigator.
P/O Earl Ray Belford, RCAF R.88751/ J.17419 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. D.J. McIver, RAFVR 1059993 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C.A. Fenn, RAFVR 1085958 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Stanley Richard Kurton, RAFVR 1477334/ 161621 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Harold Percy Jones, RAFVR 1392223/ 149903 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:42 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 03:58

05/06/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1500lb. They all successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the majority of the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were encountered. It was hazy in the mining area, although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.I BK646 AA-N

Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:52 – Landed 02:06
Flight Time 03:14

14/06/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1500lb., two aircraft returned early, one owing to intercommunication failure and the other owing to engine trouble and one aircraft failed to return. The remaining three aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, but they were ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took lace. There was thick cloud in the mining area although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.I BK646 captained by F/O J.L. Edwards failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF575 ??-H

Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:54 – Landed 00:59
Flight Time 02:05

21/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Krefeld
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. bombs in the target area. The operation was very successful, the whole of the town was seething in flames and the smoke from the fires was rising to a height of 8,000ft. On the return the fires could be seen from the Dutch Coast. Heavy, moderate and light A.A. fire. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good with clear visibility except in the target area, where there was haze caused by fires. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF575 ??-H

Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:51 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 04:04

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A. fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.III BF575 ??-H

Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:39 – Landed 04:06
Flight Time 04:27

24/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with incendiary bombs of 30lns and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very good attack, very large concentrated fires being seen, the glow of which was visible 30 miles away from the Dutch Coast. The defences were considerably stronger than the previous attacks, both moderate and heavy A.A.fire was encountered and two aircraft were slightly hit. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, although the smoke from the fires obscured ground detail. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EH902 captained by F/S Bluck.

Stirling Mk.III BK778 JN-U

Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:24 – Landed 03:56
Flight Time 04:32

25/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Eleven aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets, with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Owing to 10/10ths cloud it was difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the attack, although the glow of fires below the cloud, could be seen over a large area. Both moderate and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but were ineffective. Sergt. Burley’s aircraft sighted an unidentified aircraft from astern, the Stirling corkscrewed and the mid-upper-gunner and rear gunners opened fire. The unidentified aircraft was seen to dive to the ground and a fire and flash were seen. The aircraft was claimed to be destroyed. Some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. It was very cloudy in the target area and visibility was poor. Navigation was good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III BK768 captained by F/O Perrott.

Stirling Mk.III BF564 JN-W

Sgt. Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:34 – Landed 03:48
Flight Time 04:14

13/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Aachen
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack targets as above, with incendiaries of 30lbs. And 4lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large fires were seen which appeared to be scattered. Some light and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered. The aircraft captained by P/O CC. Logan, was hit by A.A. fire in the starboard outer engine, fin and elevator, and had to make a landing at FORD, which he did successfully. Some enemy aircraft were encountered. The aircraft captained by P/O. A. Rankin was attacked by a JU.88 and the wireless operator was wounded. The rear gunner returned fire and the enemy aircraft broke away, returning astern and firing a short burst. The Stirling rear gunner then fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft gave a flash, spun half round and disappeared into the cloud , followed by an explosion on the ground. This aircraft was claimed as being destroyed. The aircraft captained by P/O. A.A. ALEXANDER sighted an ME210 on the port beam, 100 yards slightly below. As the enemy aircraft passed below, the front gunner fired a short burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the enemy aircraft appeared astern, the rear gunner then fired a short burst and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive into the clouds, and is claimed as possibly destroyed. There was 8/10ths. broken cloud at the target, but visibility above that was good. Stirling Mk.III EE886 captained by F/O. C. EDDY on return, crash landed at OAKINGTON, the under carriage collapsed and the aircraft turned over and caught fire. The mid-upper gunner E.C. VICCARS was killed on impact and the remainder of the crew escaped although not without injuries. The captain, navigator, wireless operator and flight engineer were seriously injured, the remainder being slightly injured.

Stirling Mk.I BK646 AA-N (

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
Sgt. Michael Henry Charles Ashdown, RAFVR 1320551 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:55 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 04:50

24/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Twenty-three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs., 1,000lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs., and 4lbs. Of these aircraft, two returned early due to unserviceable W/T and engine trouble respectively, and one aircraft failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was a very concentrated and successful attack. Very large spread fires were seen with black smoke rising to height of 1,400ft., some heavy explosions were also seen. A heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered and two aircraft were coned in the searchlights but neither were hit. The aircraft captained by F/O. G. TURNER whilst avoiding a searchlight cone, the starboard wing was struck by a JU 88approaching head on. The enemy aircraft turned over and dived to the ground, it was claimed to be destroyed.. The Stirling was badly damaged having more that 4ft. of the starboard mainplane torn off, and the aileron and aileron controls being useless. The captain had extreme difficulty in controlling the aircraft, but kept it on an even keel with the assistance of the Air-bomber, and after the 3 hours return flight to base, made a perfect landing. Two other short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was very good, with clear visibility, except for haze caused by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE890 captained by Sergeant H. Nichol.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 02:50
Flight Time 04:45
25/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs., 1,000lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs., and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to take off, and two returned early, wing to engine trouble and an intercommunication failure respectively, and one aircraft failed to return. Sixteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs on target area, which was an absolute mass of flames. Many huge explosions were seen in the midst of the fires. Moderate A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, one aircraft receiving slight damage. An aircraft was held in a searchlight cone for 3 minutes, but avoided it by making diving turns. Some enemy aircraft were seen. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.C. WILLIAMS sighted an unidentified aircraft 400 yds away approaching from astern. The Stirling corkscrewed and the Mid-upper and Rear gunners fired a long burst, the enemy aircraft exploded in the air and dived to the ground. It was claimed to be destroyed. Another aircraft was sighted by them approaching on the port quarter, the Rear gunner fired two short bursts and the enemy aircraft broke away. The weather was hazy to the enemy Coast, but clear over the target. Visibility was good except for haze caused by smoke from the fires, which could be seen west of the DUTCH coast. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling MK.III EE892 captained by Sgt.. M. ASHDOWN

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 04:30

27/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This attack was more concentrated than the previous one, colossal fires and explosions were seen with smoke rising to 20,000ft. , a ship was also seen to be on fire in a Dock south of the target. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with search lights operating in belts were encountered, although the A.A. fire was heavier than the previous attack, it was ineffective except for slight damage to three aircraft. Some enemy aircraft were seen. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt.E.J.ROBERTS sighted a JU 88 approaching from port beam above and all gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft broke away firing and then approached on the port beam below. Mid-upper and Rear gunners fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft was claimed to be damaged. The Stirling was also damaged, having a bomb door blown off and a petrol pipe-line pierced, nevertheless the captain brought his aircraft safely back to base. The weather was good except for 3/10th cloud at the target, visibility was good, although smoke haze prevented identification of ground detail. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 05:50

29/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with incendiary bombs of 30lb. And 4lb. Two aircraft returned early and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful attack, large concentrated fires with heavy explosions ans smoke rising to 15,000ft., were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were scattered and unpredictable. One aircraft was held in searchlights cones for periods of 10 and 8 minutes, he avoided them with extreme difficulty and whilst so doing was hit in the fuselage by A.A. fire. Two other aircraft also received slight damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and the aircraft captained by Sgt. P. Hartstein sighted a JU 88 which came in from astern firing a cannon, the Rear gunner replied and the enemy aircraft broke away. The aircraft captained by F/O. G. DUNCAN sighted a JU 88 on the port quarter , the Mid upper gunner gave a 10 second burst and the enemy aircraft dived away. The aircraft captained by F/S/ E. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 on the port quarter, the enemy aircraft opened fire and the Rear gunner replied, the enemy aircraft then broke away. The aircraft captained by F/S. J. DARNEY encountered an unidentified enemy aircraft which fired from the starboard quarter, the Rear gunner replied and the enemy disappeared. It was clear at the target area and the visibility was good except for haze from the fires. Navigation was excellent. The aircraft captained by P/O. A. SEDUNARY just after bombing, had one of its engines failed. After unsuccessful attempts to start it, he brought the aircraft back to base on three engines and made a perfect landing.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 05:30

30/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Remscheld
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. And 4lb..One aircraft returned early as rear turret was unserviceable and two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Moderate heavy and light A.A fire co-operating with searchlight belts were encountered, and one aircraft was slightly damaged in the mid- upper turret. Some enemy aircraft were seen, the aircraft captained by F/S. O. WHITE sighted an unidentified aircraft which attacked three times. Each time the mid upper and rear gunners fired a burst, and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which then fell away and claimed to be damaged. The weather was good with clear visibility except for haze caused by fires. Navigation was very good. On return, one aircraft landed at HARDWICK, due to shortage of petrol. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.III BF458 captained by Sgt. A.J. THOMAS and Stirling Mk.III EE915 captained by F/Sgt. J. DARNEY.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:45 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 04:20

10/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nuremburg
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take off owing to engine trouble, the remainder however, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds and some heavy explosions were also seen, indicating that the attack was a success. Moderate A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but gave little trouble. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was poor at the target, 9/10ths cloud prevailing, which prevented identification  of detail. Navigation was very good. The aircraft captained by P/O C.C.Logan, owing to unserviceable navigation aids on return journey went off track and ran short of petrol. The crew prepared to abandon the aircraft but fortunately the petrol lasted and they landed at R.A.F. Marston, after being airborne for 9 hours and 10 minutes.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
F/S Frank Douglas Higham, RNZAF NZ416116 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 05:25
Flight Time 07:20

12/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Turin
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 50lb. and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, which was an absolute mass of flames, colossal fires and heavy explosions were also seen. Very feeble A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, but were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one combat took place. The aircraft captained by P/O A. Burley sighted an unidentified aircraft on the way to the target in the Chartes area, which approached from astern, the rear gunner gave a short burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the enemy aircraft broke away. The Stirling’s port outer engine was badly damaged and had to be feathered. The captain however, continued to target which was 380 miles distant on three engines, successfully bombed it and returned to base, making a perfect landing. The weather was clear with a bright moon over the target. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EE893 JN-N

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 05:50
Flight Time 08:30

23/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb., and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb.. Five aircraft returned early owing to failure and three aircraft failed to return. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area and all of the crews agreed that it had been well and truly hit. The fires were all concentrated and huge columns of smoke together with heavy explosions could be seen. A moderate heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but only one aircraft received damage. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 passing above, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners fired and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which was then lost sight of and is claimed to have been damaged. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITEHEAD whilst over BERLIN sighted an enemy aircraft on the starboard quarter, 300yds away. The Rear Gunner fired a five second burst and the enemy aircraft was seen in flames diving to earth, and was claimed as probably destroyed. The same aircraft encountered another unidentified aircraft 300yds away on the starboard quarter. The Rear Gunner fired another five seconds burst and the enemy aircraft exploded and disintegrated. It was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/O. A. Alexander, whilst over the target sighted a ME110 approaching from the starboard quarter above and firing at his aircraft. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunners replied with long bursts and the enemy aircraft was seen to be in flames. A fire was later seen on the ground and the enemy aircraft was claimed as probably destroyed. Scattered cloud was met on the outward route, but it was clear over the target. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BF465 captained by P/O A. RANKIN, BF564 captained by P/O A. Sedunary and EE938 captained by W/O T. Fear.
The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITE, O.H. whilst approaching the target area was coned by searchlights and repeatedly hit by heavy A.A. fire, sustaining considerable damage to port main plane. He continued towards the target though still coned by searchlights and was then attacked by a JU88 sustaining hits in the rear of the fuselage which shattered the rear turret and killed Rear Gunner Sgt. Poole, J.. The aircraft was forced into an uncontrollable dive and the captain warned his crew ‘Prepare to abandon the aircraft’. Unfortunately, in the middle of this order the inter-communication failed, and the Navigator, Air Bomber and Wireless Operator abandoned the aircraft, due to the fact that they were unable to contact their Captain. F/Sgt. WHITE jettisoned his bomb load whilst in the dive directly over the target area, managed to regain control of the aircraft when height had been lost down to 6,000ft. The captain and two remaining members of the crew after taking stock of the damage decided to attempt the long and hazardous return journey to base. This they did successfully and made a perfect crash landing at base without lights, flaps or under carriage, as the electrical leads were shot away.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K
From RAF Mepal Station Log AIR28/532 lists aircraft as ‘C’ Flight JN

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 1345194/ 146332 – Pilot.
P/O Mervyn Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
F/S James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick William Thorstenson, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

BF465 was brought down 3 miles South of Lanka, (14 miles North North East of Berlin). All on board were killed except Sgt Catterick, who either parachuted to safety or escaped uninjured from the wreck and was captured as a POW. Those who died were buried in the 1939 – 45 Berlin War Cemetery near where the aircraft came down.

P/O Andrew Rankin, RAFVR 146332 – Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Son of Robert and Mary Dickson Wilson Rankin, of Bearsden, Dunbartonshire.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 6. B. 23.
‘For all our to-morrows
He gave his to-day’

P/O Mervin Arthur Ericksen, RNZAF NZ416103 – Navigator.
Killed age 26.
Son of William Sylvanus Ericksen and Ethel Mary Ericksen, of Dannevirke, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand; Husband of Helen Ericksen.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 6. B. 25.

P/O James Third, RNZAF NZ422671 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 34.
Son of William Third, and of Mary Anne Third (Nee Noble), of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 6. B. 27.

F/S Frederick William Thorstensen, RNZAF NZ414529 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 26.
Son of Frederick William Thorstensen, and of Annie Thorstensen (Nee Laurie), of Dannevirke, Hawke’S Bay, New Zealand.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 6. B. 24.

Sgt. Frank Morris Freeman, RAFVR 1575231 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 33.
Son of George and Lily Freeman; Husband of Phyllis Rose Freeman, of Kettering, Northamptonshire.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 6. B. 28.
‘In loving memory’

F/S D. Catterick, RAFVR 1318470 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 222581
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft & Stalag IVB
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. George Ogden, RAFVR 1573298 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of George and Ellen Rae Ogden, of Knightswood, Glasgow.
Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 6. B. 26.
‘To-day we proudly
And fondly recall
The young and brave
Who gave their all’

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