I am pleased to announce that a transcribed set of Combat Reports for 75(NZ) Squadron RAF is now available to peruse at the foot of the “75(NZ) Squadron RAF Records” menu, or alternatively you can go straight to it here.
Physically this has been quite a lengthy process, but with all things on the blog, now complete, they are available for researchers and interested parties to reference in perhaps a more easily accessible and in most cases readable state. In time I will place the reports within the Crew History pages as well.
At this point I would politely implore you, dear reader, to resist the urge to email me regarding a combat that is not listed, wanting information about it – the list represents what I have – if a certain combat, perhaps mentioned in a raid diary report, is not listed – I cannot make one appear – what I currently have is what you see in the list………
This list of reports is based for the majority on the documents held by the National Archive in Kew. The first list was built by a straight copy paste of the returns for a search on this subject matter. This list was then checked against another full set, which I believed was photographed some time ago, which was very generously supplied to me by 218 Squadron Historian, Archivist and Writer, Steve Smith.
As I note on the Combat Reports page, the Kew AIR series is built around a reference number relating to a named airman – practically this means that there is a high level of duplication within the series – The exact same Combat Report will be listed multiple times in the AIR series, but they will be the exact same document. If any of you wish to purchase specific original versions of any of the reports, I would strongly suggest you go through my list to the relevant crew and or date and note the duplication if it exists – in these cases you should only buy the first one – all others below the first noted as “LISTED ABOVE” will just be copies.
It is also worth noting at this point that the quality/ legibility of these reports is very variable to say the least. Immersing oneself in a transcription activity allows you to enter a ‘zone’ where words become more easily recognisable, but even this approach does not allow the deciphering of some words and in some cases very frustratingly whole paragraphs. If I have made an educated guess it is followed by a question mark (?) and if the word is illegible it is replaced by XXXXX.
To each report I have added summaries of dates/ names and also the Form 541 Diary entry for that Op to add a context to the Report.
This secondary activity identified a number of Squadron Combat Reports that seem to no longer be listed in the Air Series as presented online at least. Several more reports were also found in the Squadron Operational Appendices (AIR27/649).
The only apparently consistent ordering of these documents seems to be a hand stamped numbering in the top right hand corner of the report pages. For the most part, each page of the report is individually numbered, however I would also note that the Combat reports that exist in the Squadron Operational Appendices are only numbered per report – the first page is numbered, but in all cases the second page of the form is not.
Based on this numbering system there is apparent evidence that there are a significant number of Combat Reports for the Squadron that are currently “missing in action”
I have also provided a basic glossary of terms to help the inexperienced reader and as things like this always snowball, I then found myself adding information about the Luftwaffe aircraft that are mentioned in the reports and obviously now must consider adding albeit massively truncated, some historical details regarding the German Air Defense regarding strategies and techniques, but this will be added later. The context of these reports are important to understand and I think it is perfectly reasonable to remember the bravery and skill of the young men who flew in the defense of their own country, to meet the bomber streams every night.
If any of you know any other possible sources, or indeed if you have Reports that have numbers not in the list as presented – I would love to see them, to add to the existing list.