I have just received 3 fantastic examples of aircraft profile artwork to add to the relevant sections of the aircraft database section of the blog. A very big thanks to Bill Dady of Clavework Graphics for creating the custom artwork so quickly and to such a high quality.
If you are interested in perhaps getting a profile illustration of a relative’s aircraft, you can look through the Clavework website here and find out more about the costs of getting your own profile artwork produced here
From the photo album of Albert ‘Titch’ Haliday, a photograph of the mid upper gun of what I believe to be ME450 – an aircraft my father flew in a number of times in 1945.
Looking through the photographs that Ann sent me from her father’s photo album I was surprised to see the picture above. Although the first letter of the aircraft code seems to be obscured, I am inclined to believe this is a picture of the mid upper gun turret of ME450 AA-W ‘William’
As I have described in previous posts, Bob and his crew flew in the aircraft several times at the beginning of 1945. Subsequently I discovered a teaching article from the National Archive that told the story of a near brush of another crew in the same aircraft (here).
It would be amazing and strange if this is ‘William’ – looking through Titch’s logbook, it doesn’t seem that the Kilpatrick crew flew in this aircraft themselves.
Encouragingly, have looked through the aircraft list in ‘3 Group Bomber Command – An Operational Record’ by Chris Ward and Steve Smith, there seems to be only one aircraft in the Squadron which was a 450 – ME450………
Les Hofert, third from right, with his bicycle clips on – a close zoom of the Squadron photo at the top of this blog
After a contact on the blog at the weekend, I got the chance to catch up with Paul on the phone and listen to his story about his Grandfather Leslie Hofert, who was a Flight Engineer with 75(NZ) between January and June 1945, not only taking part in operational raids but also latterly participating in the ‘Manna’ food dropping raids over Holland and also PoW repatriation flights from Juvincourt. I shouldn’t be surprised by strange coincidences anymore, but the reason Paul initially contacted me was because of my previous post about RF127 AA-W, it seems as if Leslie’s crew essentially inherited it from my Fathers crew
We had a great chat for about an hour and a half and I realised that Paul was in the same place almost as I was 12 months ago – and at the same time also realised how much I know now relative to when I began. It was great to feel I had (hopefully) helped him and I look forward to seeing how his research journey progresses.
Could this be RF127, the aircraft that Bob flew 9 ops in during his second tour? In all, 13 of his 21 2nd tour ops were in an aircraft marked AA-W.
I came across a thread started a few months ago on the Wings Over New Zealand forum by Chris regarding the marking of 75(NZ) aircraft as G-H leader for raids. Though not particularly clear, the aircraft is marked AA-W for ‘William’ and the photo was taken in April 1945. Bob and his crew didn’t fly on the raid this aircraft is on in the picture, but given the date, I am pretty sure that this is RF127.
Maybe the letter ‘W’ was lucky for the boys. Prior to RF127 they flew another a/c marked as AA-W, this time its serial number was ME450. Their final operation in ME450 was on the 20th of February 1945 to Dortmund – 6 days later ME450 flew again to Dortmund, on its return it crashed near Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, killing 4 of the 7 crew.
I look forward to see if anybody in this thread can shed light on the identity of this AA-W aircraft……
The poster of the image comes back to me on the forum and suggests the bloody obvious – check the ORB………
I do – interestingly, AA-W on the night of 23 April is listed in the ORB as RF137. Three ops before and one after, it’s identified as RF127. A dig around in ‘Avro Lancaster – the definitive record‘ by Harry Holmes, identifies RF137 as actually being part of 61 Squadron (QR-E), which blew up at Skellingthorpe on the 25th February 1945.
Jesus Christ – this is a picture of one of the Lancasters Bob and the boys flew in…………