Thumper and VeRA over a dark and wet Southport, 2015
As is now customary, I must continue to thank you all for the support you are showing for 75nzsquadron.com.
It has been just a fraction over 3 months since we racked up the milestone of a quarter of a million views – so in this small extra period of time its fantastic that we have seen another 25,000 views of the blog.
I am really pleased to observe that new visitors, both relatives of members of the 75(NZ) Squadron RAF and also interested parties still continue to make contact and the material keeps coming in. Its a broken record (I even think I have said that before) when I now say I am still working through the backlog of material donated – I know how the painters on the Forth Bridge feel – I will keep doing it as long as there is material to post.
It’s a perverse thing to say that I am doing things in the background, given the time needed on this blog, but I have slowly over the last few months been moving extracted information from the Squadron database to individual Operational histories for crews.
I have uploaded the majority of crews that began their Operational service in 1943. As usual, I make no apologies for my non linear approach – it was where I started the database, because that was the year Dad first arrived at Mepal.
I am aware that the list is not as yet definitive – a number of crews were left headless when their Pilot was killed flying an initial ‘2nd Dickie’ Op. These need to be gathered and added and where possible their subsequent histories recorded. As a case in point – Jack Thomson’s loss on the 3rd of August 1943, while 2nd pilot with Cyril Bailie’s crew, which resulted in his Mid Upper Gunner, Ton Darbyshire and Wireless Operator Bill Lake, joining my own Father’s crew.
The crews are broken down by year. Irrespective of duration of stay, they will be listed in the year their Pilot flew his first Op with the Squadron. To this end, the list is not alphabetical – it is ordered chronologically based on arrival at the respective RAF Station, or if this is not known, the date of the first operational sortie by the Pilot. As it was common for a Pilot to undertake a number of Ops with a more experienced crew – the first of these ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops will be used as the date, as it theoretically represents the closest date to arrival – in this case the date will be listed with the suffix ‘2ndDO’
To this end, if a crew arrival is unclear and an individuals arrival cannot be suggested or corroborated by any other individual in that crew, the date of their first operational sortie will be listed (1stOS).
You will also perhaps note if you search in other years that some crews are already recorded – this is where a full post in the now standardised Op history format has previously been made for a crew. To this end, more of these records will probably be added before that particular year is tackled properly.
If, as was tragically the case in far too many instances, the crew were killed, or a fatality was suffered within the crew, the crew will have a ‘†’ as an additional suffix. Again, as a non standard example of this, the Whitehead crew has this suffix to denote the loss of Peter Dobson, the crew’s Navigator when attempting to provide assistance to the crew and civilians after the take off crash of BK809 JN-T on the evening of the 8th September 1943.
Ideally, I will try when and where possible to link a ‘visitor’ in the crew list to their ‘main’ crew – however of course, this assumes the other crew(s) are already listed in this section and that the individual in question had a ‘main’ crew – I am mindful of those more experienced airmen who were Squadron ‘trade’ leaders (as opposed to Flight or Squadron Leaders) – there is also the case of a number of airmen who came to the Squadron specifically as Mid Under Gunners, who crewed up as necessary in aircraft fitted with a ventral turret.
Each crew will have as much information eventually added that exists. In the first instance an Op history will be generated form the database that will list the date, target, Op summary, aircraft, crew and up/ downtime and duration of flight. I am mindful that the inclusion of the raid report for each Op for each crew makes the document a long one, as does the listing of perhaps a completely uniform crew composition, however I think as a record for each crew it is important to fully list it and it perhaps makes it clearer the incredible bravery and dedication these boys showed every night or day they climbed the ladder into their aircraft.
I would note also at this point, that where a crew suffered a fatality, this might not yet be recorded, the activity is staged and I feel that its better to have a series of rolling states of completion and have the material accessible to all of you, rather than hold it for potentially an infinite period of time, waiting for that minuscule piece of information that may never come.
I would encourage the contribution of details to these histories – each page has a comments section. If you know anything about the boys in a crew – post it up there and I will add it to the main page text
More information will then follow as I discover and or process it. For all the relatives that have so graciously and generously donated information so far I thank you and I know if Bob was still around, he would as well.
The 1943 section can be accessed via ’75(NZ) Squadron RAF’ in the top menu and then down to ’75(NZ) Squadron RAF Crews’ and then across to ‘Crews Starting 1943′. I would advise you look through on this main blog page – the list for 1943 is so long, and so tragically filled with ‘†’’s that you need to scroll quite a way down to reach the end. I would also note the term ’empty’ against a crew means, currently, just that – information is yet to be added.
Another significant milestone has also been reached.
When you join and create a blog on WordPress, you get 3 Gigabytes of free storage space. Ostensibly this space is taken by uploaded material – photographs documents etc.
Well, readers, that space as of this evening, has been consumed! I must now pay for more space, which having reached this achievement of uploaded, online accessible material related to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, I am more than happy to do. A very modest outlay has gotten us all another 10 Gig to fill with more wonderful and priceless things.
The blog, without question or challenge, is the most visited and physically the largest online resource for the Squadron in existence – and it’s thanks to all of you.
For all those out there, who dislike or resent what I am doing, to all those who have attempted to sidelined, undermine or just ignore me – well done, you wasted your time………..:)
Ake Ake Kia Kaha!