Tag Archives: 1944

Reconnecting in New Zealand – a trip by David McFarland

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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.

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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…….

A mystery we should try to solve – Please share this…..

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I was contacted by Rob last Thursday night when he sent this photograph. It was passed to him by a friend who is an antiques restorer – he found it in a small wooden box that he bought at an auction. Apart from the letter and the details that are contained within it, nothing else is known about John, the rear Gunner in the photograph, the date of his injury or the crew he flew with, or what Squadron they were with.

The blog has taught me that if you put something out there – sometimes you get something back – so if you read this post, whether it be via a Facebook page, Twitter or whatever, please share this post and maybe we might achieve the seemingly impossible and find out more details or perhaps even, return this to a family member.

Lets all cross our fingers………

Henry Smulovitch, Flight Engineer – Osborne crew

Crew of L Lucy cropped and contfromHR

The Osborne crew, one assumes taken at some point during their stay at Mepal. Patrick McCarthy, the crew’s Navigator is stood on the far left, Henry Smulovitch is stood second from the right in the main back row. The identities of the rest of the crew are sadly not known at this time. © David Smulovitch

David has contacted me about his Father, Henry Smulovitch, who was Flight Engineer with Roy Osborne’s crew between September and December 1944.

The Osbourne crew arrived at Mepal on the 8th of September 1944, Roy flying 2 ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops with Harry Yates and Jim Johnson on the 10th and 16th of September, before joining his tour on the 20th for their first Operational flight to Calais. David says that Henry, as Flight Engineer used to say that if Roy was injured, he would have to take the controls of the aircraft – Henry and the rest of the crew prayed that would never happen!

The details of Roy’s 2nd Pilot ops are as follows:

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
Twenty seven aircraft attacked Montivilliers in the Le Havre area, as detailed. All crews dropped their bombs on the target and a very concentrated raid developed. No fighters were encountered and only slight opposition was met from ground defences.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S Sugar (3)

F/O Henry Charles ‘Harry’ Yates, RAFVR 141776 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O William George ‘Bill’ Birnie, RNZAF NZ429291 – Navigator.
F/S Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka, RNZAF NZ421741 – Air Bomber.
W/O Sinclair Archibald ‘Archie’ Bain, RNZAF NZ415983 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Denys ‘Tubby’ Westell, RAFVR 2221192/ 188789 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Geoffrey Fallowfield, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Norrie Close, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:21 – Landed 19:09
Flight Time 03:48

16/09/1944 – Attack Against Moerdijk
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack Moerdijk Bridge. The operation was successfully carried out in good weather. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O Oboe (19)

F/O James Johnson, RAFVR 176437 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
W/O Thomas Talbot Murdoch, RAFVR 1345478 – Navigator.
F/O Alexander Mitchell Penman, RNZAF NZ416154 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. James Smith, RAFVR 1604615 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lorenzo Marfil, RAFVR 1893899 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alexander Reid, RAFVR 2211424 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald McLeod, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:36 – Landed 00:26
Flight Time 02:50

Its perhaps fortunate for us that Harry Yates was Pilot on one of these familarisation flights – within the pages of Harry’s book ‘Luck and a Lancaster‘, I found the following piece that relates to Roy – or apparently ‘Bill’ Osborne:

“Of the three second dickeys whom we initiated, only the first, Bill Osborne survived a tour. He became quite a character on the station. He had a great knack of capturing anyone’s essential features with a few affectionate strokes of the pen. At most times, an Osborne caricature was to be found on the mess notice board.

On the day of my de-mob I bumped into Bill in the corridor of a railway carriage. I was dressed in regulation civvy suit; he, a career pilot flying jets in uniform. Time was moving on and the great days of the Lancaster were already gone”.

Its a tantalising thought that perhaps one of ‘Bill’ Osborne’s caricatures maybe still exists somewhere………

It was now time for the Osborne crew to join the other crews, taking off from Mepal on a late summer afternoon………..

20/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft set out as detailed to attack enemy strong points at Calais. They all successfully bombed the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O ‘Oboe’ (20)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:45 – Landed 17:45
Flight Time 03:00

23/09/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Neuss. The target was obscured by ten tenths cloud with tops of 11,000 ft. Most crews bombed below cloud, some explosions and flashes were seen, but results were difficult to assess. One aircraft returned early through the complete failure of the electrical system and a further aircraft bombed the target, but owing to a technical failure, landed at Woodbridge on return. Moderate but inaccurate A.A. Fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N (5)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:25 – Landed 23:55
Flight Time 04:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (10)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 08:15
Flight Time 20:50

26/09/1944 – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack a defended locality near Cap Gris Nez. They all attacked the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was negligible.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (11)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 14:26
Flight Time 02:46

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to make an early morning attack on the defended localities near Calais. One aircraft landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure discovered shortly after take off. Of the remainder only one aircraft found a break in the clouds through which to bomb the Markers. Ten aircraft had to abandon their mission after circling the target area for a considerable time.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (12)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:54 – Landed 10:49
Flight Time 02:55

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (36)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:00 – Landed 11:05
Flight Time 04:05

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (37)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 14:05
Flight Time 02:40

22/10/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack Neuss. Eight attacked the target through ten tenths cloud, but results were unsatisfactory. One aircraft attacked Munchen Gladbach being unable to reach the primary target on time.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (38)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:30 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 04:05

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (39)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:50 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 04:50

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Twenty three of these attacked the target and bombing was good, built up areas and factories being identified visually. One aircraft brought its bombs back owing to the failure of the bombing equipment when over the target and two other aircraft returned early owing to technical failures.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (46)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:20 – Landed 16:40
Flight Time 03:20

26/10/1944 – Attack Against Leverkusen
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Leverkusen. They all bombed the target in formation and a successful raid was reported. A.A. opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y (47)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:00 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 04:25

28/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Seven aircraft took off a few hours later to participate in an attack on Cologne. They all bombed in clear weather and identified the target visually. Bombing was concentrated and a large smoke pall was seen on leaving. A.A. opposition was moderate, but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (40)
Hit by flak 4 times

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:15 – Landed 17:15
Flight Time 04:00

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Eighteen aircraft took off in the evening to make a further attack on Cologne. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target area, but markers were well placed and a good glow from fires beneath the clouds was observed on leaving. A.A. opposition was slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III NN710 AA-Q (23)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 04:55

11/11/1944 – Sea Mining in Oslo Fjord
Five aircraft were detailed for minelaying off Horten in the Oslo Fjord. Four aircraft took off and planted their mines successfully in their allotted position but on return the aircraft were diverted to Tain, owing to doubtful weather at base.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q (28)
A/C returned to Tain, owing to unsatisfactory weather at Base

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:25 – Landed 23:00
Flight Time 07:35

16/11/1944 – Attack Against Heinsberg
Twenty five aircraft were detailed to attack an Oil Refinery target at Sterkrade but this operation was cancelled, and the 25 aircraft later took off to attack Heinsberg in support of the advancing American Army, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All crews were successful in bombing the town which was identified visually. On leaving, the whole town appeared to be covered in a thick pall of smoke. Flak was fairly intense but only two of our aircraft received minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (48)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:28 – Landed 17:34
Flight Time 04:06

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (49)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:47 – Landed 17:28
Flight Time 04:41

21/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make another daylight attack on the Oil Refinery plant at Homberg, carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. On this occasion weather over the target was clear, and crews reported the bombing to be quite good, both the target and town being identified visually. Several good explosions were observed in the target area. Flak opposition was moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (50)
Hit by flak once

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:28 – Landed 16:52
Flight Time 04:24

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P  (19)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:40 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 04:46

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (51)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 17:03
Flight Time 04:48

28/11/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack on Neuss, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb and Incendiary bombs, together with one 12,000 lb bomb. Twenty aircraft were successful in dropping their bombs using navigational aids and a good concentration of fires was reported. Flak was very slight, the enemy defences appearing to be completely foxed. One aircraft captained by W/C R.J.A. Leslie, D.S.O., A.F.C. carrying the 12,000 lb bomb got in the wrong stream of bombers and bombed Essen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (52)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:50 – Landed 07:25
Flight Time 04:35

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (53)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:48 – Landed 15:15
Flight Time 04:27

02/12/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Seventeen aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on the Coking Plant at Dortmund. All crews were successful in attacking the target which was covered by 10/10 cloud, tops being about 12,000 ft. and the raid was thought to be successful, though the Bomber stream was not as concentrated as usual. Flak was moderate, but very erratic, and none of our aircraft suffered damage. Bombs carried on this attack were 4,000 lb H.C., 1,000 lb. M.C. and 1,000 lb ANM.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (54)

P/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 17:36
Flight Time 05:00

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (56)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:00 – Landed 14:07
Flight Time 05:07

08/12/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on Duisburg Marshalling Yards carrying 1,000 M.C., 1,000 A.N.M. and Munro Bombs. All aircraft successfully attacked the target and a very concentrated attack was reported, but apart from one report of smoke coming through the tops of the cloud at 15,000 ft., no results were observed. One aircraft “D” captain F/S Wood, J., landed at Woodbridge on return.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (8)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:37 – Landed 12:37
Flight Time 04:00

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (60)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:50 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:20

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (61)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:22 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:15

28/12/1944 – Attack Against Gremberg M/Y at Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Gremberg Marshalling yard at Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Nineteen aircraft bombed the target and one bombed short due to technical failure. One aircraft AA”S” captained by NZ425292 F/O D. Sadgrove returned early owing to engine trouble. Crews were satisfied that the attack was successful, many reporting smoke rising well above the cloud tops. Slight H/F was experienced, but no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (62)
Hit by flak once
F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:01 – Landed 16:57
Flight Time 04:56

30/12/1944 – Mining in the Heligoland Bight
No bombing operations were laid on but four aircraft were required for mining by special equipment in the Heligoland Bight area. All were successful and planted mines as ordered. There was some enemy air activity, three of our aircraft reporting fighters of E/A. One of these, AA”J” captained by F/O E. Parsons, was in combat in which E/A was claimed as damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (15)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:35 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 04:05

This and that……..

I am currently very busy at work with Semester 1 assessment, so probably, I may not be able to post much over the next week or so, but rather than just fall silent again, I thought it might be useful to just update you on a few things – I am mindful that the blog suggests a certain level of activity, but much like a swan – serene above the surface, but all frantic thrashing below the water – things are constantly happening off the pages as it were…..

Relative contacts
Firstly, I am really pleased to say that the traffic to the blog keeps up unabated – which is fantastic. As I often remark to people when I talk about the blog, one of the amazingly satisfying, but initially unforeseen consequences of the blog is the ability to reconnect people. I am pleased to say in the last week or so this has happened a few more times. I have been able to connect Ann, daughter of Albert ‘Titch’ Haliday with Ginny – her Father, Ben Barton flew with ‘Titch’ in Mart Kilpatrick’s crew. I have also been contacted by David, after first meeting him, his wife and his Father-in-law Jim Mulhall at the November Reunion of the Association – it took a while for my gears to whir, but they are now in touch with Hubert, whose Father, Jim flew with as his Flight Engineer, until they were shot down on the 21st of November 1944 on the Homberg Op. Also, George contacted me last week regarding his Father Sidney, who flew as a Mid Upper Gunner with Maurice Thorogood, so now George and Maurice’s Daughter, Mary, are back in contact.

75(NZ) Squadron Database
Work continues on the database. A recent post about Wellington Mk.III X.3482 AA-J forced me into 1941 and it showed to me the relative difficulty of identifying individuals in the Operational Record Books. I am acutely aware that I have a fair few replies to make to relatives of boys who flew during the early part of the War – this is partly because of the difficulty in putting together a thorough and accurate Op history, owing to firstly being able to identify and separate an individual from others of the same surname (you’d be surprised how many of the same surnames their are) and then to be able to confidently track them sometimes between a number of crew. Before I began the database, I was just about able to do an Op history for an individual in the later years of the war, simply by looking through the ORB’s and recording occurrences by hand/ eye – at this early point I quickly became aware this was almost impossible for these early War years.

As I have mentioned numerous times already – my entry into the database work was rather random – perhaps because of Dad’s service I decided to start in the middle of 1943 and then began to work forward as it were – being randomly distracted with other aspects of data based discovery along the way. Relative contact would then send me off somewhere else to find and complete an Op history and this could be way ahead of where I was currently working……..

Currently, the database is complete as follows:
All aircraft, Pilots and Op diary descriptions from January 1941, to the end of recorded Ops, Post – War, end of June 1945.
All additional aircrew surnames added to all Ops 1943.
Approx 50% of all additional aircrew information added to 1941 Ops.
Approx 40% of all additional aircrew information added to 1942 Ops.
Approx 75% of all additional aircrew information added to 1944 Ops.
Approx 50% of all additional aircrew information added to 1945 Ops.

In addition, there are obviously the ‘complete’ crew Op histories that have been focused on regarding relative contact – in real terms this represents at this point about 8% of records being ‘complete’

Now, this rather random approach I have taken, has sat under a few made up stages I have imagined to try to make it feel like the database won’t become a never ending Herculean task.

They are as follows:
Phase 1. – Pilots, aircraft, Raid and Raid description complete.

Phase 2. – Addition of all aircrew information for each crew, flying under each Pilot.

Phase 3. – Additional secondary aircrew detail – arrival and departure dates, fatality information, citations for awards, DoB and DoD information.

Phase 4. – Addition of extra information on Aircraft – designator letter confirmation (logbooks and various AIR Records), damage, pre and post Squadron information, nose art etc.

Phase 5. – Aircraft Op History verification. Re-checking to identify abortive or ‘non’ counting Ops to arrive at definitive final Op history and Ops tally for each aircraft.

As I mentioned above, my rather haphazard approach means at the moment that I have no actual stage complete! Therefore I am currently focusing  on 1941 full crew entry (i know this isn’t the start at 1940 – but relatively speaking there is more demand for information from 1941 ). I will then go back and enter full crew data for 1940, before then working through from 1942 onwards to complete full aircrew data for the War. This will take me to completion of Phase 2 – the database currently has approx 7,500 rows (this doesn’t include 1940), each row containing (currently) approximately 65 data entry cells – more will be needed as I move through the later phases of data entry……..

As its going at the moment, I would estimate Phase 2 completion is about 18 months off……..

Squadron Nominal Roll
Off of the back of the Squadron database, I also wish to use data captured within it and other sources to create and present a full Squadron Nominal Roll. Seasoned readers might recall the brief existence of a Nominal roll on the blog a few years back – permission was (I thought) granted for its presentation by The New Zealand Association, as a very sensible approach to adding to it and correcting it – sadly, that permission was revoked rather speedily, after it was originally put up on the blog.

The sad shame of this is that currently, a relative searching for information might only come across the blog if 1.) they know the individual flew with 75(NZ) Squadron or 2.) that individual already features in a tagged post on the blog – which I find very frustrating and which I fear, prevents relatives from making contact to provide new information about the individual – so everybody loses out.

Whilst maintaining the blog and researching crews and individuals, I have since, manged to record approximately 650 additions, corrections or expansions to individual entries in this original document – (ironically, the Squadron database allows a far more detailed overview of an individual airman within the Squadron by simple dint of it now existing). I do not have the time, or interest to argue the toss over ownership of what essentially is information that is all publicly accessible, so I will simply build another one from the gathered and sorted data and credit and reference everybody and every research source that has contributed to it.

The End Goal
I am still undecided how this information will be presented – however I know that it will be web based and freely available to anybody who wishes to access it. Many people have remarked to me that ‘there must be a book of the Squadron somewhere in you‘.

I am still of the feeling that an attempt to collate and present the data in physical book form would be little more that an act of incredible vanity and stupidity. Whilst it makes sense to record small sets of stories or the life of an individual, something as large as ‘The Squadron’ is simply too big to attempt a definitive record on the printed page.

Despite the age of the subject matter, what excites me is that information is still coming in every week and to use the metaphor of painting the Forth Road Bridge, a book would never be finished and at the point of publication would probably be already out of date. Add to this the actually VERY small potential market and the therefore, intrinsically high unit cost and I think it would be the folly of a supreme egotist, or a lunatic to try such a thing……….

Having said all of this, I do not envisage the database trying to live within the relative constraints of this blog – it was an initial idea to produce a website, but WordPress thankfully provided me with a far more immediate and efficient method of contacting and communicating with all of you. It might well be that the arrival at the end point of the database will be the point that I turn my attention to a dedicated website – but rest assure dear readers, the physical blog section will always remain!

Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association
Something that I do want to get sorted fairly quickly is the addition of a series of pages within the blog for Association business and communication. I envisage the top menu link currently occupied by the Memorial Garden to be replaced by an ‘Association’ one, under which will exist a series of sub set pages – I hope to include something about the History of the Association, its Mission statement (I know I hate the phrase as well, but it sounds better than ‘what we do’) and certainly a section advertising events and activities – most specifically the annual Winter reunion.

In discussion with members of other squadron associations, I think I have now, a far better understanding of what is possible, viable and useful and what is not. My first initial thoughts are that we should use the reach of the blog to grow the UK Association membership, we should give thought to some appeals for specific projects, for things like memorial stones at crash sites here and in Europe and that we need to seek opportunities to educate and inform younger generations about the role 75(NZ) Squadron RAF played during the War in Bomber Command.

Also, whilst I plan to make a more detailed and considered statement at a later point, I think also that  we need to let people know that the Association needs to be considered as an option regarding the donation of loved ones items, photographs, logbooks, uniforms etc.

I think an ongoing project should be the collection of objects and that if we were able to build one, that it could be made available through a catalogue for loan to third party organisations for short displays, exhibitions etc. In this way, these precious objects have a chance to be seen, understood and valued, rather than hidden away in the dark of a cupboard or a drawer….

I am aware that perhaps a museum appears to be a first, sensible point of donation, but I think these things value, both actual and emotional can be understood much better by the Association and it’s membership and in this respect, if they can, they need to be kept together.

I have also been recently exploring the world of PayPal and WordPress and I think with a little bit of thought we should be able allow people who visit the blog and then the Association section to buy Association membership, and also contribute donations if they wish – I am acutely aware that the reach and apparent interest in the blog should try to be tapped for the benefit of the Association and I suppose with my Presidential hat on, we need to take a wider view, regarding the direction that the Association could possibly take and what it might do in the future and that, put simply, will probably require cash…………

 

Now of course, having read that ramble back, it strikes me in the same time, I could actually have put another post up about someone………

 

 

Francis Cassidy McIntyre, Wireless Operator – Bateson crew

Francis portrait

Sgt Francis McIntyre, Wireless Operator with Benjamin Bateson’s crew, all who were lost on the 25th of June 1944 during an attack on Rimeux. © Archie McIntyre

Many thanks to Archie for contacting me about his Father, Francis McIntyre, Wireless Operator with the Bateson crew, who were all killed on the  25th of June 1944 during an attack on Rimeux.

The story that Archie bought to me was deeply disturbing regarding the possible fate of the crew  – I would like to thank Kevin and Errol for responding to my request for information on the crew and the information, particularly that Errol was able to provide to perhaps put Archie and his family’s worries to rest regarding the events of the 25th of June.

In Archie’s own words, his Fathers story is a tragic one:
“He was the old man on the plane being 25 when he died. His one year old daughter died in 1942 and his 20 year old wife also died in 1942, yet he still few on for another 18 months. Surely they could have spared him this as he was all I had left. He was by all accounts very depressed at this time.”

Rescue training

A group of airmen during their training undertaking life raft drill (location and date unknown) Francis is sat on the left of the dinghy. © Archie McIntyre

The Bateson crew first met at No. 11 Operational Training Unit on the 16th November 1943, moving to 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit on the 18th March 1944. The crew began their final stage of training at Feltwell at No.3 Lancaster Finishing School on the 19th of May. 8 days later the Bateson crew arrived at their first Operational unit – 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

29 days later the Bateson crew would be dead.

As was normal at this time, Ben Bateson flew a single Op with Richie Millar and his crew to Trappes on the 31st of May. On the 2nd of June the Bateson crew flew their first Op to Wissant.

The bateson crew

The Bateson crew, stood in front of the rear tail plane of what we must deduce to be ND756. From left to right: Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan ( Air Bomber), Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre (Wireless Operator), F/S Bruce Milne (Rear Gunner), F/S Benjamin William Bateson (Pilot), Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, (Flight Engineer), Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin (Navigator) & Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett (Mid Upper Gunner). © Archie McIntyre

The picture above of the Bateson crew and ND756 is perhaps a little strange and worth exploring. Firstly, there appears to be at least 3 bomb silhouettes that have been painted over – suggesting perhaps that this aircraft had been based elsewhere before arriving at Mepal – in fact, according to ‘Lancaster – the Definitive History’ by Harry Holmes, ND756 came straight to 75(NZ) Squadron on the 13th March 1944. Next, based on Ops in the database, The Bateson crew made their only flight in ND756 on the 10th of June to Dreux – according to records this would have been the aircraft’s 19th Op – and thus, if one assumes the photograph was taken pre-Op, it should show 18, however, even factoring in the apparently rather inaccurate tally of only 9 (rather than I assume the more normal 10) in the second row, the tally sits at 22 – suggesting this is the 23rd Op – which would place it on the 21st of June, or simply a ‘random’ photo opportunity with the aircraft sometime between the 17th and 21st of June.

02/06/1944 – Attack Against Wissant
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack a target at Wissant, N. France. Owing to thick cloud over the target, twelve aircraft were unable to identify the markers and brought their bombs back. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (20)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:20 – Landed 03:55
Flight Time 02:35

03/06/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Calais, and all crews were successful in contributing to a good concentrated raid in clear weather. Defences were slight to moderate and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III ND752 AA-O (21)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:35 – Landed 02:35
Flight Time 02:00

05/06/1944 – Attack Against Ouistreham
The target for No.3 Group was the coastal battery at Ouistreham in N. France. This target, and others in the same area were attacked by strong forces of Bomber Command aircraft immediately prior to the Anglo-American Invasion of the Continent. Twenty six aircraft from this Squadron participated and all were successful in bombing their target with the aid of markers. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I ME702 AA-Q (7)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:45 – Landed 06:50
Flight Time 03:05

06/06/1944 – Attack Against Lisieux
Twenty four aircraft took off, as detailed, to attack a target at Lisieux, in support of the invading forces which were establishing a bridge head in Normandy. All aircraft successfully bombed the target and an accurate attack was reported. Only slight opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III HK557 AA-P ‘Peter’ (3)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 03:38
Flight Time 03:48

08/06/1944 – Attack Against Fougeres
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack Fougeres in N. France. Nineteen aircraft bombed successfully, one bringing its bombs back owing to the Bomb sight being unserviceable when over the target area. Two aircraft had inconclusive combats with enemy aircraft, but the remainder carried out their mission without incident, there being no opposition in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.III ND753 AA-G (10)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 04:40

10/06/1944 – Attack Against Dreux
Of the twenty four aircraft detailed to bomb Dreux, twenty two successfully attacked in good weather, the marshalling yards being visually identified until they were obscured by smoke. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU.88. The aircrafts captained by NZ422098 P/O. L. Bonisch and NZ422267 F/S. Donaghy, T. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND756 AA-M (19)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 04:20

21/06/1944 – Attack Against Domleger
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the constructional works at Domleger during daylight. Two aircraft failed to take off and the remainder were unable [to] locate the target, the markers not being visible owing to 10/10th cloud. they were instructed by the master bomber to abandon their mission, and apart from some aircraft which jettisoned their load, bombs were brought back. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R (26)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 20:50
Flight Time 02:50

23/06/1944 – Attack Against L’Hey
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the constructional works at L’Hey. All crews bombed on instructions from the Master bomber, and the glow of fires seen through clouds indicated a concentrated raid. Opposition was very slight, although one aircraft had an inconclusive combat with two enemy fighters.

Lancaster Mk.III ND920 AA-P (22)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:15 – Landed 01:35
Flight Time 02:20

24/06/1944 – Attack Against Rimeux
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack the constructional works at Rimeux. Twenty four crews bombed successfully with the aid of markers, and an accurate raid was reported.   There were numerous searchlights in action, but the A.A. opposition was not serious. The aircraft captained by NZ424788 F/S. Bateson, B. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III ND920 AA-P (23)

F/S Benjamin William Bateson, RNZAF NZ424788 – Pilot.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin, RAFVR 1600846 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan, RAFVR 1394772 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre, RAFVR 1562888 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater, RAFVR 1815706 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett, RAFVR 1236363 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Bruce Milne, RNZAF NZ428017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:18 – Landed –
Flight Time MISSING

F/S Benjamin William Bateson – Pilot. Died age 22.
Sgt. Geoffrey Leonard Startin – Navigator. Died age 20.
Sgt. Maurice Frederick Morgan – Air Bomber. Died age 23.
Sgt. Francis Cassidy McIntyre – Wireless Operator. Died age 25.
Sgt. Colin Harry Slater – Flight Engineer. Died age 20.
Sgt. Ernest Lewis Connett – Mid Upper Gunner. Died age 21
F/S Bruce Milne – Rear Gunner. Died age 21.

All are buried in Collective Grave No.7, Fruges Communal Cemetery, France.

As I mentioned at the top of this post. Archie came to me with a shocking and potentially very serious story regarding the fate of the Bateson crew:

“My name is Archie McIntyre, I am 74 years old and living in Falkirk , Scotland. My Father was a wireless operator on a Lancaster which was shot down in Fruges, France, near Pas de Calais where he and the rest of the crew were buried. This was on 25th June 1944. In the early 1960’s his older sister went on holiday to France and visited the grave. While she was standing at the grave a French woman spoke to her and said she saw the plane come down and the local people buried all the crew of whom none had survived. That was the story for 70 years until the sister was on her death bed when she confided in another relative the real details. It appears that the plane came down on the German side, (this was shortly after D-Day) and the Gestapo ran up and shot all the crew. All the crew survived the landing although some were injured. The young New Zealand Pilot, I think 22 years old, must have done an amazing job getting it down.”

I must confess, on reading this, I was speechless and quite shocked – the implication was that clearly a war crime had been committed and suddenly I was acutely aware that my sphere of knowledge simply did not extend to this sort of thing. An email to Kevin bought, as always, sound and good council – the possibility of other relatives coming a cross a post of this nature was far too problematic to simply post to see what came back and, I must confess, Kevin suggested a very obvious (only in hindsight to me) route of inquiry and he contacted Errol Martyn.

‘Pleased’ is wholly not the right word to describe the material that Errol returned via Kevin  – but I was pleased and relieved at what I read, even though the contents of the Missing Research Enquiry Unit (MREU) made very cold and uncomfortable reading.

The Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was set up in 1944 to trace the 42,000 personnel who were listed as ‘missing, believed killed’. The demand was so great that the department was expanded in 1945.

These men had no special training, and did not have the benefits that modern technology offers; only a strong desire to bring home those who had not returned. Despite the obstacles caused by the lack of tools, the MRES was able to account for over two thirds of the missing personnel by a thorough combing of the globe. Those found were identified and reinterred in Commonwealth War Graves Commission plots.

Without the commitment shown by the dedicated teams of the MRES, many families would go on not knowing what had happened to their loved one or of the location of their Final resting place. The MRES allowed families the dignity to finally grieve. The unit was disbanded in 1952. (Royal Airforce Museum)

image001

A letter from the New Zealand Air Department to the Father of Ben Bateson. “According to local eye witnesses of the crash, the plane exploded on impact and buried itself in a deep crater, all the members of the crew being instantly killed, such remains as were recovered were buried by French civilians in Grave No.7 in the Fruges Communal Cemetery. Supplied by Errol Martyn

image002

Supplied by Errol Martyn

 

Hopefully this information has bought some closure to Archie and his family – certainly the reportage of the events of the 25th are precise and clinical, but as I said in the email to Archie that contained these documents, at least the boys felt no pain.

I know Archie is keen to try to reconnect with relatives of the crew – so hopefully one, or someone that knows one, might see this post and help Archie reach further closure regarding the loss of his Father

 

A Seasonal Post…..

P1070195 cropped and cleaned

Courtesy Kerry Foster

Kerry has kindly passed these items to me and given the nature of them I felt it was fitting to post them today. The top image is the outside cover of an RAF Christmas card from Feltwell, 1941. Below is the inside of the card. Kerry says not much is known of ‘Ted’ other than he was apparently Ground crew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF for the duration of the war.

joining of christmas card 1941

Courtesy Kerry Foster

The second item is a NAAFI purchased 75(NZ)  Squadron RAF calender for 1943.

P1070194

Courtesy Kerry Foster

So, from 75nzsquadron.com to all of you:

Have a Merry Christmas

and a

Prosperous New Year