Tag Archives: 29th January 1945

A new range of T-shirts – and something personal to you and them……..

Post illustration

Firstly, a massive thank you to everybody who has so far visited the blog shop and generously put their hands in their pockets, in some cases multiple times, to buy something and by doing so, contributing some money to the UK Association and Memorial Garden.

I am really pleased to present a new collection of T-shirts, designed to allow relatives of the brave boys of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF to celebrate and commemorate their contribution to the Squadron, Bomber Command and the Allied War effort.

The Redbubble model of production means I am able to offer a range of ‘named’ T-shirts to commemorate your dearly loved relative.

If your relative is not listed, then let me know and I can create one unique to them and special to you.

The T-shirt features the Squadron crest with motto ‘Ake Ake Kia Kaha’ (Forever and ever strong’, the personalisation statement and then front views of 75(NZ) Squadron’s aircraft, from top to bottom, the Wellington, the Stirling and the Lancaster.

Because of the way I have designed this T-shirt in particular, I can and if someone requires it provide further customisation.

If your relation to the individual ( I think that’s the right way to describe it) is not listed, then please say what you want and I can create one. This will be without extra cost.

If you want the T-shirt utterly personalised with your relatives rank, name and position, I can add this as an additional line under the ‘My Xxxxxxxxxx’ – so I will still need your relationship to them. Because of potentially another 2 lines of text, I will also require the aircraft he flew in – based on my broad estimations this means at maximum, a permutation of 2 of the 3 aircraft the Squadron used. For this service, the T-shirt will have a 50% mark up, relative to the normal 25% to reflect the time I will have to spend doing it.

As with everything else, all profits to the UK Association and the Memorial Garden in Mepal.

Many thanks in advance


A Redbubble walk through…….let’s make it easier for you to spend your money!

I have had a few queries regarding finding things on the Redbubble store – which I think are all entirely fair and obviously flags up a bit of an issue with people finding stuff – and I want you to find it, so you can buy it! Firstly, if you are gripped with the random need to buy some merchandising and don’t have the blog open, then you can go to Redbubble and put a search in for:


All one word. This should bring you to the portfolio page. screen 1

The rectangles named ‘Insignia’ and ‘Design’ are group collections of the artwork so far produced and the ‘Recently added’ below seems to just literally show all recently uploaded artwork – you can click on either to get to a merchandise range, based on that piece of artwork. I would note that there seems to not be an instant visual way to differentiate between the 2 full colour Squadron crest logos (one being full size and one being breast pocket size) but if you move your mouse over each or one, a logo name will appear and you can see the one marked ‘(small)’ We’ll go through one of the collections, ‘Design‘.

screen 2

Clicking on this collection obviously reveals all the designs in this collection. We’ll pick the ’75’ Racing number with RAF roundel colour stripes, as it’s already become one of the more popular designs.

screen 3

This brings us to the T-shirt page for this design and its worth noting a couple of things about this page regarding ordering options.

screen 5

Firstly, there is a VERY wide choice of garments that the artwork can be applied to. I must confess I do not understand why the default range seems only to show a unisex and female T-shirt.

screen 6

The second thing to note is that you can choose to have the logo printed on the front or the back of your garment – obviously for some garments, such as the racing back vest, it will make it small, but cool, nevertheless. And the next one is the proverbial ‘elephant in the room‘ regarding navigation of the site – ridiculously obvious, but only when you actually notice it – it took me a good 10 minutes to realise myself……… Just below the main merchandise section is a series of information links and one is the other products available with the chosen design……..

screen 7

The ‘Available products’ – quite obviously (duh) lists all products available linked to the design – as I say this took me 10 minutes to actually see – I’ll claim because I do all this on a Mac Book Air and the screen wasn’t big enough to let me notice it…….ahem……… Clicking on this then reveals a full list of merchandise available…….

screen 8

And obviously, clicking on any of these items, takes you to the equivalent ordering page as you have just been on for the T-shirt. Hopefully this will clarify and help those of you who have yet to make a purchase. Many thanks again to all of you who have already found something you like and bought it – the money is slowly but steadily building up in the Redbubble account! cheers Simon

Another new project and an ideal present for Christmas!!!!…….(only 221 days left)

product comp reduced

I am please to announce another expansion of the blog!. As of today, merchandise is available through Redbubble, with all profits going to the “Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association UK, and the Memorial Garden in Mepal.

Since becoming President in November last year, I have been, I suppose concerned, about how, as an Association, we move on and leave a legacy and tangible memory of the Squadron for those generations that follow.

In discussion with members of other squadron associations, it became very clear that the ‘traditional’ method of memorabilia creation and selling simply does not work. In simplistic terms, you pay for something to be made, you need to sell them all to make anything and very quickly the small devoted members of the association becomes pressurised and begin to disengage as they are bombarded more and more with the tacit responsibility of buying the ‘latest thing’ to contribute funds to that particular group. Indeed, one member of another association told me simply ‘ don’t bother, it will bankrupt you’…..

A chance discussion with a friend at work led me to an online portfolio site called Redbubble. A significant feature of this site is the ability to attach artwork to items and then make them available for sale. The beauty of this model being that Redbubble charges a flat production fee for the item and you (the artist of the work) decides what percentage you want to add on top for your own profit – or in the case of my plans, rather than profit – donation to the UK Association and Garden.

I will jump straight in at this point and level with you all – I have levied 25% on the price of everything – the artwork is good quality – some has taken me a while to produce – and its all for a good cause, which I would imagine if you are reading this, must be close to your heart.

Coming from a design background and now teaching it at a UK university, its nice to have the chance to do something creative, related to the bog. I am keen to not only appeal to aficionados of all things 75(NZ) RAF, but also hopefully create things that have a wider appeal – people might buy something and then be inclined to find out about the story behind the item, or they might simply like it and buy it.

Some pieces, such as the colour Squadron crest is clean crisp and I suppose I would describe as traditional in terms of its style and appeal. Other items are more graphic and perhaps will appeal to a different market – if this widens their appeal and helps more items to be sold – I am happy with that. Irrespective of the style or content however, I can assure you all that the designs will be considered, respectful and commemorative of the Squadron and the boys that flew with it during the War.

From my time in the world of professional design I am acutely aware that it’s better to get somebody to buy something if they like it, rather than if they feel politely obliged to buy it. If you keep doing things people like, they will (hopefully) keep buying things…….

The readership of the blog is large and geographically diverse – I hope if not straightaway, everybody might find something they like and maybe make a purchase.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I have been wondering about methods to raise funds for the Association here in the UK. As time passes and our few remaining veterans eventually leave us, I think personally, that as an Association we have to take on the responsibility to reach out as widely as possible to ensure the story of the Squadron is mot only maintained, but taught to younger generations. We need to identify some projects, perhaps commemorative memorials at Squadron crash sites in the UK, but of course, to undertake this sort of activity, we need funds. Whilst a straight donation model is still a nice way of giving, your are at the whim of the individual to some extent – personally, I think that if you are something of a quality, people will want it, rather than feel they must take it.

Hopefully this has at least got you curious.

Visit my Redbubble portfolio here – as a guide, in the first instance you see designs, rather than purchase items – by clicking on a particular graphic, you will see the available items – for some designs, the options will remain limited, others as you will see, offer quite a range to tempt you.

I hope you find something you like



NE191 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ – a new photograph…….

NE181 100th & aircrew VHD cleaned

A new photograph of the Bailey crew, taken prior to their 100th Op in NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ on the 29th January 1945, to Krefeld. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG). Picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks to Tony, son of Dave Pickup, Wireless Operator with the Bailey crew for sending in another, we believe, unseen photograph of The Bailey crew and NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’, prior to their departure to Krefeld on the 29th of January 1945 on ‘Mikes’ 100th Op.

It’s interesting to compare this picture with an earlier one that Tony supplied, which include the ground crew – it seems that the positions are barely changed – we can only guess which picture was taken first………

NE181 100th Jan 1945 tu low file

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’, just after ‘bombing up’ 29th January 1945. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Sgt. Phillips (Ground crew), LAC Thompson (Ground crew), Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

LAC Thompson



120,000+ visits

As always, a massive thanks to everybody who is continuing to support the blog and provide new material for it.

My ‘return’ to the blog a few weeks ago, to be honest feels like a bit of a false start – my anticipation that things were going to quieten down wasn’t really proved correct and a trip down to London for a week and then last week in Greece on business for the University provided another series of interruptions. I hope this week to build a reservoir of posts – perhaps enough to time release one a day at a set time. How long this will last, or indeed, how long it will take to do, I am not sure to be honest – but I’ll give it ago…….

There are some logbooks, some uniform information and as always information and requests for information on crews that flew with the Squadron – I am STILL working through the backlog of emails that have built up, so as I said 10,000 visits ago, please bare with me – I’ll get back in contact as soon as I can.

I also hope to begin to post the gravestone images people have sent me – when Adrian sent me the first sets from the UK, I felt it was only appropriate to say a bit about each set and what the fates of the boys were – as these images have kept coming in, this in itself represents a bit of a job!

I am still catching a bit of time also on the Form 541 database – I have almost now completed 1944 – (1 month and 2 weeks to go) the database, having randomly been started at the beginning of 1943, stands at almost 4,000 rows of information, each row at the moment contains basic aircraft and crew information, but this means there is already some 20 cells per row that contains this information. I have absolutely no idea when this will be completed – already I can see umpteen other cells that can be added – but I hope that ultimately, this will provide a searchable database and enable me to put up an Op history for every single crew that flew with the Squadron during the War – just don’t hold your breath!

So perhaps I’ll end it here – probably better to get on with some posts, rather than spend time telling you I will be doing some posts!

Many thanks as always to all of you


Before she was famous – another picture of ‘Mike’


The Wood crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’
Back row L to R: Arthur Taylor (W/Op), R. Johnson (Nav), Francis Wood (Pilot), Les Hurcombe (A/B)
Front row L to R: Sgt Woolley (MU/Gnr) & Sgt. Mahoney (R/Gnr) – who is who, not known, Les Gibbs (F/E)
Courtesy Kevin King/Alf Gibbs.

Many thanks to Kevin, who after the post from Chris last night, passed on this fantastic early photograph of NE181 JN-Mike, ‘The Captains Fancy’. Based on the Op count and referring to the history of the aircraft that Chris has been working on, the images dates between the 15th and 16th August 1944.

The photograph is very interesting as it shows a relatively clear version of Capt. Reilly Ffoul – interestingly it also shows a tonal difference around the character and also a box around the Op bombs. My understanding is that the original matt black paint on the side of production Lancasters tended to be repainted once on Squadron (when a new lick of paint was required) with a less matte, but practically more durable black paint. The flatness of the paint around the Op tally and Reilly makes me wonder whether ‘Mike’ had had a second coat of this very matte paint and the painter had perhaps framed the existing artwork, rather than trying to paint to the edges of the artwork? Conversely, perhaps a coat of less matte paint had been used to clean up the edges of Reilly after he had been added to the aircraft and or it had been applied initially to provide a better ‘key’ for the paint work of the mascot and Op tally.

If you count the bomb tally, it appears that on the penultimate row, one bomb on the left hand side of the row seems to have been blacked out, discounting this, the Ops are 38, including this omission as it were, gives us 39 Ops. This in itself provided another conundrum – Kevin said that the photograph had come from Alf Gibbs, Flight Engineer with the Wood crew, but again referring back to the history produced by Chris,  John Scott’s crew flew number 38  and John Lethbridge’s  crew flew number 39 – checking the ORB showed that Alf had not been a fill-in on either of these Ops – so I mailed Kevin back with this query.

Kevin’s answer back was I suppose obvious ‘it makes a good photo for the folks back home…..‘ – doubly so if the boys had any idea how many Ops ‘Mike’ would end up flying with the Squadron and that we would all still be talking about it now!

That famous first ton

NE181 100th Jan 1945 tu low file

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike “The Captains Fancy”, just after ‘bombing up’ for the Krefeld op’ on the 29th January 1945 (99 op’s marked).
L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Navigator), Norman Bartlett (Flight Engineer), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (Bomb Aimer), Dick Pickup (Wireless Operator). (Front row) Sgt. Phillips and LAC Thompson (ground cre, Roy Corfield (Rear Gunner), Tony Gregory (Mid-Upper Gunner), Fred Woolterton (ground crew).
– picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks as always to Chris for a new post about NE181 JN-Mike, ‘The Captains Fancy’….

Excitement is building amongst us Kiwi 75’ers as we look forward to the re-paint of (one side of) Auckland’s MoTaT Lancaster to represent 75(NZ) Squadron RAF’s famous ‘ton-up’ Lanc’, NE181 JN-M Mike “The Captains Fancy”. A formal hand over ceremony will be conducted at MoTaT in April, with veterans and the families of JN-M’s crews invited to attend.

Amongst the NZBCA’s photo archive are two photos that appear to be part of the documentation of that famous event, the day NE181 achieved the 100 op’s milestone. They have been published elsewhere, but for the record, it would be great to have them together displayed together with the other priceless record of the occasion.

This is the historic picture (top of post) of the Bailey crew, published previously on this site alongside Bomb Aimer Jack Wall’s memoirs. The seven crew are shown with three of Mike’s ground crew, about to leave on that famous 100th operational sortie to Krefeld. It looks to have been a freezing cold day, complete with snow and fog, in the middle of what was one of Europe’s coldest winters for many years.

The next two photos are from the NZBCA archive, from the collection of Alan Scott, Wireless Operator with the Anderson crew (April-July 45). They appear to have been taken the same day, going by the weather, light and backgrounds, and form a nice sequence as the crew apparently pause for a photo, board the aircraft, and then taxy out into the snow.


The Bailey crew boarding NE181 “The Captain’s Fancy” at dispersal, to begin pre-flight checks before flying to Krefeld, 29th of January, 99 op’s marked.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Alan Scott


NE181 “The Captain’s Fancy” apparently taxiing out from her dispersal, preparing to fly to Krefeld, 29th of January, 99 op’s marked.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Alan Scott

Once again, if anyone has more information about these photos – or in fact, ANY other photos of NE181, we would love to hear from you – and thanks again to Peter Wheeler and the NZBCA for permission to share photos from their archives.