Tag Archives: 1944

ANZAC Day – 2015

Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.

NZ war graves project

I thought I would use this years ANZAC Day commemorations to announce a  very significant step forward regarding the ‘Gravestone Image Project, relating to the Roll of Honour section of the blog.

I have great pleasure in announcing the incredibly generous granting of permission for the display of the gravestones of the RNZAF aircrew from the Squadron that have so far been collected by the New Zealand Gravestone Project.

Relative to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, this means the instant addition of 296 gravestone images which lifts the completion of our Roll of Honour project to 36% (410 images).

The activities and collection of images for the New Zealand War Graves Project is ongoing, so as the collection increases, I would hope that further images can be added.

The New Zealand War Graves Project
There are 31,758 New Zealanders whom the New Zealand War Graves Trust project has been able to identify to date who, serving with New Zealand and Allied forces, died in conflicts from the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) up to the present day and in peacekeeping operations. They are commemorated by burial in Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries, public cemeteries, graves in New Zealand or by inscription on memorials world wide.

The Project aims to:

  • To photograph all the war graves and primary memorials of New Zealanders who, serving with New Zealand and Allied forces, died in conflicts, from the Anglo-Boer war (1899-1902), to the present day and in peacekeeping operations. Our research has identified 31,758 New Zealand war graves in 79 countries including New Zealanders serving with other Allied forces.
  • To produce a photographic record of the relevant major cemeteries and surrounding areas.
  • To create a digital archive and database, accessed via a website, enabling free public access to their biographical information and images.
  • To instigate community and education programmes based around the project.
  • To instigate the making of a TV documentary telling the story of the project, the cemeteries, but most of all the servicemen.
  • To co-operate and collaborate with others working in similar areas, to ensure accuracy and compatibility of data.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, funded by all Commonwealth governments, administers the cemeteries and memorials. Administration in New Zealand is charged to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. The Commission has developed an excellent website, containing a database of servicemen and some pictures of the cemeteries in their care. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has an informative site, giving some detail of their operation in this area.

Our project builds on this information by developing an exhaustive high-resolution photo-archive of all cemeteries, headstones and memorials of New Zealand servicemen, who died in conflict.

Our internet site is the obvious and logical way for the public to access the archive at present, but a parallel main purpose of the project is to collect the images and associated information in such a way as to form an historical text for future use.

Locations
While the largest numbers of casualties are located in the areas of the major battles and campaigns (Gallipoli, Greece, North Africa, Western Front, Italy…), New Zealand forces have served in most of the major conflicts of the 20th Century and their graves and memorials are spread across most of the world.

Amongst these are “oddities” such as the single graves in the Faroe Islands, Falklands and Azores, the servicemen interred in the USA, Iceland and Bangladesh and those graves scattered throughout the African continent. These are of interest in New Zealand’s military history and illustrate the diverse theatres of war, numerous for a small country, where New Zealanders served.

In New Zealand there are the graves and memorials of 3,484 New Zealanders in service that perished both at home and overseas. Some are buried in the 127 servicemen’s cemeteries, others in local churchyards. Many are commemorated only on memorials, as their remains were lost.

The United Kingdom in our most recent estimation is the last resting place of 2,110 New Zealanders serving overseas.

The scope of the project extends the numbers contained in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database (until recently focused on World War I and World War II), to include those that died subsequent to their World War II cut off of 1st December 1947 (Jayforce, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam etc). Numbers of war dead contained in this proposal are from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Please take some time to visit the New Zealand War Graves Project here.

What we can do……….
Having personally spent some time going through the New Zealand War Graves Project website, there is a clear chance to assist them in their project as they have with ours. Each individual recorded has the space for extra information to be added about then, this includes the opportunity to add photographs. Please, if you have something to add to make real the memory of a loved relative recorded on the site, do so.

Certainly, as and when I get time, I will be looking to add some information for each of the airmen listed that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

 

 

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Reg Smith, Rear Gunner – Adamson crew. New pictures

RegSmith cont

Reginald Arthur Smith, this portrait taken at some point in his training – Rog would join Maurice Adamson’s crew and spend the last year of the War with 759NZ) Squadron RAF at Mepal. © Kevin Smith

Many thanks to Kevin for passing on the picture above of his Father, Reg Smith, Rear Gunner with Maurice Adamson’s crew, who flew in the Squadron towards the end of the War in 1945.

Kevin donated his Father’s logbook to the blog almost exactly 2 years ago and with the arrival of these 2 new pictures, I thought it was worth re-presenting the crew with a full Op history, something, that originally with the blog, I didn’t tend to do when a logbook was added to the collection.

The Adamson crew flew a total of 21 ops before the end of the war and continued to fly a food drop on The Hague, repatriate Prisoners of War from Juvincourt and fly a number of observation trips over Germany to view the effects of the bombing campaign by the Allies.

Interestingly Reg’s logbook also covers the break-up of the Squadron – whilst his Commonwealth crew mates moved with 75(NZ) to Spilsby in preparation for Tiger Force, Reg stayed at Mepal and joined 44 Squadron.

See Reg’s logbook here.

AdamsonCrew-A cont

The Adamson crew, date and location unknown. Kevin has identified his Father Reg Smith (Rear Gunner), front row center and Jack Fisher, the crew’s Wireless Operator is on the back row far right. Kevin also thinks that Monty Adamson is to the left of Reg, with Noel Unwin to his right. Interestingly, perhaps strangely, the picture seems to contain another Pilot – identity unknown. © Kevin Smith

The Adamson crew arrived at Mepal on the 19th of January 1945 from 1653 Conversion Unit. Probably, as Wing Commander, without his crew, Mac Baigent took the whole crew up for their first Op on the 9th of February to Hohenbudburg.

09/02/1945 – Attack Against Hohenbudburg
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Lutskendorf, but the target was changed during the afternoon to Hohenbudberg. This operation was carried out in 8/10th cloud with tops about 10,000. Flak was slight to moderate and S/L effective. A scattered raid was reported.

Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B

W/C Cyril Henry ‘Mac’ Baigent, RNZAF NZ411973/ 70038 – Pilot.
F/O M. Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/S Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:51 – Landed 08:32
Flight Time 04:41

13/02/1945 – Attack Against Dresden
Twenty aircraft attacked Dresden as detailed. Very slight H/F was only opposition. The first aircraft over the target reported thin cloud which had cleared for later aircraft. Some aircraft were able to bomb visually. Crews reported the whole town was well alight and could see the glow of fires 100 miles away on return A highly successful raid.

Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:17 – Landed 07:04
Flight Time 08:47

22/02/1945 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Osterfeld, carrying 4000 HC 500 ANM 250 GP bombs, JN”O” F/L Jones, K. returned early through engine failure. There was no cloud over the target, but some haze. Crews found it difficult to identify the target visually owing to smoke and difficult formation flying conditions in flak, but the impression is that the concentration of bombing was excellent and the target well “pranged”. Flak was moderate to intense and several aircraft were damaged.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:54 – Landed 18:02
Flight Time 05:08

23/02/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Sixteen aircraft attacked Gelsenkirchen as detailed. There was ten tenths thin cloud over the target with horizontal visibility between 500/ 1000 yds. Formation keeping was very difficult in these conditions, but crews reported quite a good bombing concentration on special equipment and leaders. Opposition from flak was very slight and no fighters were seen. F/S Barr, D. landed at Warboys.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:56 – Landed 17:18
Flight Time 05:22

25/02/1945 – Attack Against Kamen
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen. Thin stratus cloud in layers covered the target area, but at times crews were able to make out the target and report a considerable white smoke followed by thick black smoke rising to a good height. Accurate H/F was experienced. AA”B” captained by F/S Klitscher is missing from this operation

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:46 – Landed 15:10
Flight Time 05:24

27/02/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen, carrying 4000 HC 500 ANM 500 MC bombs. NZ426904 F/O M.Adamson and NZ425292 F/L D.Sadgrove returned early through engine trouble. Cloud was ten tenths. Leaders met slight to moderate H/F. No results were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 dnc AA-K
A/C returned early owing to engine trouble

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 15:52
Flight Time 04:21

01/03/1945 – Attack Against Kamen
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500ANM., 500 M.C. and Munro bombs. F/O D. Barr in AA”C” jettisoned and returned early through engine trouble. Crews bombed on special equipment as the target was obscured by ten tenth cloud. Flak was negligible.

Lancaster Mk.I PB741 AA-E

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:02 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 05:24

02/03/1945 – Attack Against Cologne
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack Cologne. No aircraft bombed owing to special equipment failiure. Three aircraft jettisoned due to flak damage to engines, the remainder bringing their bombs back. F/O Woodcock was wounded in the neck and his engineer F/Sgt. Gibb in the legs but landed safely at base.

Lancaster Mk.I PB741 DNC AA-E

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:18 – Landed 18:35
Flight Time 05:17

05/03/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen. AA”E” F/S Lukins was withdrawn. AA”W” F/L Parker and JN”X” P/O Cleminson returned early through engine trouble. The remainder found the target obscured by 10/10ths cloud tops 15,000 ft. Aircraft bombed on special special equipment. Leaders had a good run in and there was a good concentration at this time. Aircraft were met by slight H/F on outward route. No fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:36 – Landed 16:13
Flight Time 05:37

06/03/1945 – Attack Against Salzbergen
Sixteen aircraft attacked Salzbergen in 10/10ths cloud up to 11,000ft. with nil clouds below. The formation was well packed over the target and released simultaneously. A slight upheaval of the cloud a minute later was all that could be seen. Slight H/F was the only opposition.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:30 – Landed 14:22
Flight Time 05:52

09/03/1945 – Attack Against Datteln
Twenty one aircraft attacked Datteln as detailed. A good concentration of aircraft and bombing reported. Cloud ten tenths. No opposition was encountered. A mushroom of smoke was seen penetrating cloud.

Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:35 – Landed 16:00
Flight Time 05:25

10/03/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen Buer
Twenty one aircraft attacked Gelsenkirchen as detailed. Aircraft bombed in light formation and all bombs were dropped together. Cloud was ten tenths. Slight H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:35 – Landed 17:32
Flight Time 04:57

14/03/1945 – Attack Against Heinrich Hutte
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Crews found the target covered with 10/10ths cloud. Formation was good though the target and bombs fell away together. Very accurate moderate H/F was met on the run in and over the target. F/Lt. E. Parsons in AA”E” failed to return. His aircraft was seen to be hit causing it to spiral into cloud. F/S McLernon landed at Woodbridge but returned to base the following day.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:33 – Landed 18:45
Flight Time 05:12

17/03/1945 – Attack Against Auguste Viktoria
Nineteen aircraft took off to attack the Auguste Viktoria Benzol Oil plant. Cloud and vapour trails limited visibility to 50yds over the target, but the aircraft remained in light formation and bombs were released together. No results were seen. Opposition was slight H./F.

Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J

P/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:03 – Landed 17:13
Flight Time 05:10

20/03/1945 – Attack Against Hamm
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Hamm. There were 6-7/10ths cloud over the target with tops at about 10,000ft. Some confusion was caused by the preceding squadron leading this squadron off track and scattering the formation. However a fair concentration was attained in the end. Some H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:13 – Landed 15:36
Flight Time 05:23

23/03/1945 – Attack Against Wesel
Eight aircraft were detailed to attack Wesel carrying 1,000 M65 (RT), 1,000 M65 (B.T.) and Munro bombs. The target was attacked with the aid of special equipment. There was no cloud over the target but the visibility was poor owing to smoke. All crews reported a good concentration of bombs on the A/P. Very slight H/F was experienced.

Lancaster Mk.I RF190 AA-F

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:08 – Landed 19:15
Flight Time 04:07

29/03/1945 – Attack Against Salzgitter
Twenty one aircraft attacked Saltzgitter as detailed. Cloud was ten tenths, tops up to 19,000 ft and thin cloud and contrails persisting above, reducing visibility to 500yds. No results were observed and a scattered raid is reported. Flak moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:32 – Landed 19:23
Flight Time 06:51

04/04/1945 – Attack on Meresburg
21 aircraft were detailed to make a night attack on MERSEBURG.. (AA’R’ F/O C Stevens) returned early through technical trouble. (JN’D’ F/O J. Wood) was hit by flak before reaching the target, the B/ Aimer (F/S Hooper) was burned about the face and the Pilot’s hands were slightly burned, the F/Engineer (Sgt. Williamson) apparently fell through the M.U.G Turret. Crews bomber glows of fires on Master Bomber’s instructions. Fires were fairly concentrated though reports indicate a rather scattered raid. Flak moderate to light.

Lancaster Mk.I NF741 AA-D

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:44 – Landed 02:55
Flight Time 08:11

13/04/1945 – Minelaying at Kiel
21 aircraft were detailed to attack Keil, carrying 4,000 HCN, 1000 ANM, 500 ANM and Munro Bombs. The target was covered by 10/10 cloud and tops 4/5000. Bombing was concentrated and fires were seen on leaving target. Flak was Slight. This was also a leaflet raid.

Lancaster Mk.III NF741 AA-D

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:27 – Landed 02:35
Flight Time 06:08

14/04/1945 – Attack on Potsdam
25 aircraft were detailed to attack POTSDAM. There was no cloud and visibility was good. A very concentrated attack developed and the target was well alight by the time the last aircraft were on their way home. Flak was slight and bursting well below stream. AA’T’ (F/O A.R. Baynes) was attacked by two enemy aircraft believed to be JU.88’s 20 miles S.W. of Potsdam on the homeward journey. The Flight Engineer (Sgt. Sliman) was killed by canon shell.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:22 – Landed 02:49
Flight Time 08:27

20/04/1945 – Attack on Regensburg
20 aircraft were detailed to bomb REGENSBURG. Perfect visibility and the river, dock and target areas could be made out. Bombing appears to have been fairly well concentrated round the target starting with a slight undershoot but some bombs also spread to the M/yards beyond. The crew on starboard side of formation claimed direct hits on railway bridge. Flak slight but accurate.

Lancaster Mk.III ME531 AA-K

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:57 – Landed 17:13
Flight Time 07:16

24/04/1945 – Attack on Bad Oldesloe
21 aircraft were detailed to attack BAD OLDESLOE. JN/N (F/L Preyer) failed to take off owing to engine trouble and AA/Y (F/S Reay) made an early return owing to fire in starboard outer engine. No opposition was encountered but slight flak seen over Dutch Coast. Some of the bombs fell to the port of the A/P. Main attack considered very good.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:09 – Landed 12:57
Flight Time 05:48

30/04/1945 – Supply Dropping – Rotterdam
21 Aircraft were detailed to Supply dropping in the Rotterdam area. Crowds of Dutch were seen waving and cheering. The Operation was carried out successfully.

Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:51 – Landed 19:29
Flight Time 02:38

04/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at the Hague and Delft
6 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping. Three for The Hague, and three for the Delft. The missions were successful, but fewer people were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
No Mid Upper Gunner on this Op
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:35 – Landed 15:01
Flight Time 02:26

09/05/1945 – Repatriation of Prisoners of War
10 Aircraft were detailed for repatriation of Prisoners of War. The number of men brought back was 240. S/Ldr. B. Mckenna (AA.J) crashed when taking off at Dunsfold for Baso. There were no injuries and the crew returned with F/Lt. M. Adamson (AA.K). Complaints were made of the bad landing procedure at Dunsfold.

Lancaster Mk.III ME531 AA-K

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:45 – Landed 19:35
Flight Time 11:50

12/05/1945 – Evacuation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt
15 Aircraft were detailed for the evacuation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt. The total number returned for the day was 336. F/O G. Cleminson (JN.O) developed a hydraulic leak at Juvincourt. He had to stay overnight and on the return trip next day, brought another 24 men. The total number of men brought back to date is 1320.

Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O Tulley R, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:12 – Landed 12:49
Flight Time 04:37

25/05/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
2 Aircraft were detailed for flights over the continent to see the effects of the bombing offensive.

Lancaster Mk.- NN773? AA-G

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.
F/L Charles Crossfield Bewsher, (Squadron Adjutant) F/O Day – Passengers

Take Off 10:00 – Landed 16:46
Flight Time 06:46

23/06/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
5 aircraft were detailed for viewing the effect of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:33 – Landed 14:27
Flight Time 04:54

05/07/1945 – Post Mortem – Checking German Radar Equipment
12 aircraft were detailed for the Post Mortem Operations for checking Gernam Radar Equipment.

LancastervMk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber .
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner .
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – Landed
Flight Time 04:40

 

 

 

 

 

 

75nzsquadron.com – now on Pinterest……..

Pinterest_logo cropped

Perhaps after my post last week about the difficulties of contacting people and the problems of communicating via the comments sections of posts – I may be biting off more than I can chew with this post – but I think its worth mention it and for some people, this might allow a new interrogation of the information on the blog – so here goes…….

OK, so there is this thing on the internet called Pinterest – which essentially revolves around the idea of having a (P)interest in something and being able to Pin(terest) images of interest and keep them all together to view or add to.

Bev my wife has been avidly using Pinterest for a while now and watching her, I had a thought regarding the images on the blog.

It strikes me that through necessity of the blog, the method of approaching information is a very linear affair – either you start at the beginning (over 500 posts ago) and work up, or you start today and work backwards in time. Which ever way you choose, its a hellish task and the likelihood is, unless you know what you are looking for – you may well never find it……..

Potentially a far more rewarding approach is to simply pick a post based on a picture that takes your fancy – I know as a ‘creative’ that often, the most interesting discoveries are sometimes to be had, simply by seeing a picture and wondering what the story is behind it.

To this end, I have created a Pinterest account and started a few collection boards – one contains – or will eventually contain, all the photographs of the boys, the aircraft, the airfields etc that have been presented on the 75nzsquadron.com.

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A screen grab of a small portion of my Pinterest 75nzsquadron board, showing the way the images that have been pinned are presented

I hope this collection board might let those who are willing to create another affiliation with another online service and have to remember another email and password combination ( I say another because obviously we don’t all use the same passwords for everything, because that wouldn’t be very secure now would it……), you might discover some posts and some pictures you might not have seen before, simply by something catching your attention.

Getting you to the board, is, I am sure quite straightforward – just click on this link and you should be able to start looking through the archives………

Visit my Pinterest 75(NZ) Squadron RAF board here.

I’d actually be (P)interested to hear from anybody who might give this a go, in terms of whether it was an (P)interesting way to find new things on the blog

cheers

Simon

200,000 + views – thank you all so much, an amazing achievement……

Despite deciding to record 25,000 view increases to the blog, rather than originally 10,000, I really have to applaud everyone who has contributed to the blog now recording over 200,000 views. I know when we reach another milestone, I tend to say the same thing, but I think its a constantly important thing to record and thank everybody for these totals being achieved. Irrespective of the content that is posted on the blog, it is everybody’s continued interest and support that pushes the viewing figures up.

Its a personal relief in some ways that we have reached this figure. It feels a little as the blog has grown and the followers and traffic has increased, I have found it harder to keep up with the information coming in and again, without now sounding like the proverbial broken record, I am still battling to keep up.

Referenced in my last post on view totals, I am still, very frustratingly unable to shake the effects of the virus I picked up before Christmas and this is growing more annoying by the day. It seems as if a 24 hour day has been cut to about 15 hours. Getting up, going to work, getting home and my day is over – what time I seemed to have before becoming ill has, for the moment now apparently disappeared and I am not sure where.

I think I am just about keeping on top of the emails (issues of communication in the last post aside) and I am carefully archiving material as it comes in, waiting for a point when I can start posting in a more regular manner.

Perhaps the only good thing to have come out of the illness is that I have to travel to work by train. On the journey, when I am able to, I have continued to plug away at the Squadron database – in terms of the daily cost of £26 to essentially buy me this hour and a half or so of time each day, I am pleased to report as follows:

For my planned stages of the tabulation of the Squadron Operational Record Book data, Phase 1 was the recording of all raids, aircraft, Pilots and aircrew and up and down times, generating as a consequence, flight times.

1940 – Phase 1 complete
1941 – Phase 1 complete
1942 – Phase 1 complete
1943 – Phase 1 complete
1944 – Phase 1 approx. 75% complete (many thanks to Jim for stepping up to the challenge of having a go at data entry)
1945 – Phase 1 approx. 50% complete (by date) to the middle of March.

To be honest, given the number and size of Ops in 1945, this has proved to be the most time consuming year – if I am lucky, a day of travel allows me to enter a single Op………

The irony of the catch-22 situation I find myself in is not lost on me – the fatigue and inability to drive means I get the database completed, but means I am not able to post………

I will finish now, with a poem that I was sent at the weekend by Adam, a fellow WordPress blogger, who is gathering and presenting a record of his Grandfather’s time with 488(NZ) Squadron. (http://broodyswar.wordpress.com) Whilst going through papers of his Grandfather, he came across the following poem on yellowed paper. Flying Mosquitoes, Adam offered it to me on the basis that the author (unknown) had clearly written this from the perspective of an Air Gunner and as such it perhaps had a greater resonance for a bomber squadron and for this reason, as well as Adams kindness in thinking of me here it is – Another Op…….

Another Op
Bumping down the runway
With the turret on the beam,
Flashing past well-wishers
Lit by the drem’s dull gleam.
 
The pulling of the stomach
As we slowly climb on track
Setting course to eastward –
How many will come back?
 
The clipped command to alter course
As we cross the Anglian shore,
Then extinguish navigation lights
As the engines increase their roar.
 
The throbbing of the engines
Disturbs the fading light
As onward, ever onward
We fly into the night.
 
Routine settles to a rhythm,
And those ‘up front’ dictate
The course, the speed, the height
And the passage of our fate.
 
Searching ever searching,
The turret turns to and fro,
Looking, always looking
For our enemy and foe.
 
The sound of throbbing engines
Envelopes our immediate night,
And the clammy taste of oxygen
As I adjust the dull ring sight.
 
A quiet statement from the Nav –
‘Enemy coast ahead’,
The blood flows quicker thro’ the veins –
Our training stifles the dread.
 
Searching ever searching,
For that darker smudge of black.
Looking for the fighter
That could stop us getting back
 
The Nav again is heard to say
‘Target. Dead ahead’.
The tightening of the stomach
Is the only sign of dread
 
As a lonely, cold rear gunner
I always face the rear
And never see the target.
Till the aircraft’s there.
 
Flying ever closer, closer
To that awful scene.
Every nerve is strung so tight
You stifle the need to scream
 
The observer now takes full control
And by his directed call
Keeps the tingling nerves on edge
Till he lets the bomb load fall
 
With the sudden upward lift
We all expect the worst,
But heave a sigh of intense ‘relief
As the aircraft changes course.
 
Nose well down and increased speed
To escape from that dreadful sight.
We race across the crimson sky
To the safety of the night
 
As those up front now search the sky
For the fighter that lurks in the dark
While I at last see the target fires
Where we have left our mark.
(date and author unknown)

A breakdown in communications I fear……..

I must confess, I am growing increasingly concerned about my ability to communicate back to new relatives contacting the blog. Looking for an old email in my sent folder this week, I was actually shocked to realise the number of emails that I have sent out as replies to contacts, never to hear anything back……

Now, I suppose straight off the bat, I have to accept that some people, having received the information, may simply take it and not acknowledge receipt, as they have simply used me for information – a little annoying I think, but this blog is about a bomber squadron, not about teaching manners I suppose………

In actual truth, I think the answer is for the most part, far more simple and I need to take steps to try to remedy the situation.

At the moment, there are 3 ways a new relative, or someone seeking information can make contact with me:

  1. Make a comment on the ‘Ask an individual’ section of the blog
  2. FIll out the contact form and send it
  3. Make a comment on a post where perhaps the information is specific to the content or individuals named or tagged in that post.
  4. Email me directly on info@75nzsquadron.com.

My dawning realisation is that the first 3 of these ways have potential problems:

  1. Whilst making a comment is a good direct way of initial contact – I am unsure about the ease, or utilisation of the feature to allow the ‘commenter’ to be notified of a response by myself or others………..
  2. Filling out the contact form, again, a very specific method of passing on initial contact information regarding an individual………..

BUT…………..

It strikes me – and this is the actual point/ request of this post – that when I reply to the majority of contacts by email (I think a formal contact is more professional, and also easier to manage from my point of view), I am sending essentially a new email address to someones mail server and I suspect because I am sending, rather than replying, I am, to put no finer point on it, getting junked by the mail client…….

My instant attempts to correct this are as follows:

  1. I am going to remove the contact form.
  2. Accept that people will and should be able to make comments – and I need to at the very least acknowledge these comments and ask for direct contact by email.
  3. Request that ideally, in the first instance, people contact me on info@75nzsquadron.com

Lets see if these changes work…………..

Cheers

Simon

Reconnecting in New Zealand – a trip by David McFarland

IMG_0237

Graves of Murray, Kayler, Mulligan and Woolham after 70th anniversary ceremony April 2014

Many thanks to David, son of John McFarland for passing on the following record of his trip to New Zealand at the end of last year. David and his family went out to meet up with relatives of the airmen that his Father flew with in 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. The crew were posted to the Squadron in February 1944, flying their first op on the 11th February, and after conversion to Lancasters took part in the first 75 operation with Lancasters, bombing mashalling yards in Paris on 9th April.   Four of the crew are buried at Gram, Denmark – James Murray RNZAF (Pilot), Haymen Kahler RAFVR (Flight Engineer) Jack Mulligan RCAF and Peter Woolham RAFVR (Air Gunners).   Gordon Irwin RNZAF (Wireless Operator) John ‘Paddy’ McFarland RAFVR (Navigator) and Douglas Hill RNZAF (Air Bomber) became Prisoners or War.

Detail POW Log (2)

Extract from a POW notebook kept by Gordon Irwin © Marg Collins

The pilot James, “Jim”, Murray was from Pleasant Point near Timaru on South Island.   His sister, and three brothers all joined the New Zealand forces, with four serving overseas.   Sadly two brothers died, one in Crete in 1941 and the other at El Alamein in 1942.   After Jim’s death, the fourth and youngest son, then stationed in New Zealand, was not permitted to serve overseas and was discharged from military service to pervent a further loss to the Murray family.   We had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Alice, and her husband Mike Constantine, who live in Timaru.

anzac_memwindow

Memorial Library window at Timaru Boys High School (Copied by kind permission of Timaru High School Old Boys Association)

Rosewill School with Alice Constantine

(from left) Paddy’s son and granddaughter – David and Emily and Alice Constantine at the Memorial stone at Rosewill Junior School, Pleasant Point.

Plaque Rosewill School

Roll of Honour Board, Rosewill Junior School

Timaru War Memorial

Timaru War Memorial

Detail Timaru War Memorial

Detail Timaru War Memorial

Roll of Honour Airforce Museum of NZ Christchurch (2)

Roll of Honour Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Christchurch

Detail Roll of Honour AFMofNZ

Detail from Roll of Honour

Gordon Irwin returned to New Zealand after the war and married Amy, who had served as a WAAF, stationed in New Zealand.   He initially resumed the family farming business but later was a green-keeper at several golf courses on the North Island.   He died on 28th December 1994 aged 77 years.   He is buried, with his wife, at Russell Services Cemetery – a beautiful tranquil spot overlooking the Bay of Islands.   We had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Kathy Wright who lives in Russell, and were the guests of Marg Collins his other daughter at her home at Helensville, north of Auckland.   There we enjoyed a splendid meal in the company of her husband and her son and daughter in law, and with Ron Irwin, her brother and his wife.   Gordon and Paddy were particularly close as Gordon’s father had lived in Ulster before emigrating to New Zealand. Gordon had enjoyed several leave trips to Ireland in the early months of 1944.

Marg Collins and Ron Irwin

Marg Collins and Ron Irwin

Kathy Wright at Russell

David McFarland and Kathy Wright

Medals Gordon Irwin (2)

Gordon Irwin’s medals (the New Zealand War Service medal on the right)

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Russell Services Cemetery

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Memorial plaque Gordon and Amy Irwin

Postscript
In the village of Glenorchy near Queenstown on South Island we saw the local War Memorial.   Beside it was a noticeboard which helped to put details of the service of the men remembered on the Memorial.   Listed was Alistair Henry Scott 75 (NZ) Squadron.   As I was reading the detail, a lady approached and introduced herself to me as his niece, Adrienne Reid.   She lives on the east coast of South Island and was visiting Glenorchy that day.   It was a remarkable chance meeting with a member of the wider 75 family!   She told me that Alistair had a cousin piloting the Lancaster.   Sadly all the crew were lost on the 4th November 1944 on the daylight Solingem raid and are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery in Germany.

War memorial

Glenorchy War Memorial

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Adrienne Reid, niece of F/Sgt Alistair Scott at Glenorchy War Memorial Noticeboard

Other posts about the Murray crew and more specifically John McFarland can be read here:

John McFarland, Navigator – Murray crew. 1944. here.

Letters from behind the wire – John McFarland, here.

John Edward Lithgow McFarland RAFVR 1503993 – Navigator. 1944. Logbook. here

Gram Churchyard, Denmark. here.

Gram Churchyard, Denmark – John Macfarland visits and remembers. Danish TV article. here

 

 

Request for Information………..(twice)

Mepal station report crpd

An extract from the Mepal Station Log for 25th Aprill 1944, recording the dispatch of vehicles and personnel to assist after the crash of 76 Squadron Halifax LK789 – all of the crew, apart from the Rear Gunner were killed. Supplied by Mike Harrison

I have been contacted by Mike, concerning the crash of a 76 Squadron Halifax on the 25th April 1944, in which his Uncle, Sgt. N.M. Harrison was killed. Initially, this contact might seem strangely unrelated to 75(NZ) Squadron, however Mike’s contact was because of the information above.

I understand from Mepal station records that a fire tender, ambulance and RAF guard were sent to the scene 25th April 44.

I dutifully opened the Form 540 for 1944 and could find nothing relating to the incident and was, to be honest a little perplexed by the information Mike seemed so sure he had. A few emails later and of course it dawned on me that what I didn’t have and what Mike was talking about was in fact not the Form 540 for 75(NZ) Squadron, but in fact the Form 540 station Log for RAF Mepal.

Last year I was very lucky to be given a full set of the handwritten Feltwell Flying Control Log Book – at the time, I queried, given the existence of those records, whether similar records existed for Newmarket and Mepal, the donor of the Feltwell log said he was unsure, but did give me the AIR reference numbers for the Newmarket and Mepal – I was tantalised, but it was coming up to Christmas and my annual trip down to London does not occur till the summer……

I must confess, when Mike sent me the 2 pages he had, I was a little aghast – it felt as if I had inadvertently opened a door in my house and discovered a completely new room I was completely ignorant of.

But I momentarily digress………

Mike is obviously keen to find out anything more he can about the crash of Halifax LK789. The detailing of the ambulance, crash tender and aircraft crash guard identifies Mepal and its personnel as being involved in events of that day, the question is if anybody out there might know anything else, however small a detail about that day.

The following is reproduced from the excellent aircrewremembered website, the full details of the crew loss can be seen here.

Later as the mainforce recrossed the English coast, enemy intruder aircraft were patrolling over Eastern England. Halifax LK789 was attacked by a Me410 flown by Leutnant Wolfgang Wenning of II./KG51 at a height of 1,000 mtrs, 20km NE of Cambridge. During the attack, another 76 Squadron Halifax; LK785 T-Topsy piloted by Lieutenant Carl Larsen R.N.A.F was flying on the right hand side of the bomber. The following eye witness account is by Sgt H.W Kirtland the wireless operator on board T-Topsy.

We were within an hour from base and safety and had no idea intruders were operating. As usual, when routed ‘up England’ from the south coast, the risk of collision was our main concern; hence the Nav lights were on. From my position on the port side of the aircraft and immediately below the pilot, I had a small window which gave restricted view forward and downward on the port side. Alerted by the Skipper’s shout, I looked out and saw the Halifax curving down on fire until it hit the ground. Almost certainly it had been attacked by a night fighter with an upward firing 20mm cannon. He would have stalked the Halifax from below – our blind spot aimed to strike between the bomber’s fuselage and inner engines. We didn’t see any parachutes, which we always looked for if the gunners reported a bomber in flames. I well remember how angry Larsen was over this we all were- it could easily been us. To be told by the Squadron Intelligence officer that there was no intruder activity that night was too much

Halifax LK789 crashed opposite Colony farm near Welney, Norfolk at 04.20 hrs. The only survivor was the rear gunner, F/S John Anderson. He was rescued by the Welney fire brigade after being trapped in his turret and taken to R.A.F. Hospital Ely, with a fractured femur and lacerations of the scalp. ‘

So, if anybody knows anything about that day and more specifically details relating to the involvement of personnel from Mepal, Mike would be very interested to hear from you.

Off the back of all of this, if anybody has all, portions, or even pages from either the Newmarket or Mepal Station logs, I would be very interested in hearing from you!

Obviously I have sent an application for an estimate to the National Archives in Kew (of course they haven’t been digitised yet……) and I keenly await the need to sell a kidney………..

Alternatively, if anybody is planning to go to Kew in the near future and has a spare day or so to kill while they are there, I’d be happy to enter into discussions regarding perhaps meeting some of your expenses…….

probably cheaper than a kidney…….