Tag Archives: Aircraft database

Seasons greetings for 2016

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The Bailey crew boarding NE181 “The Captain’s Fancy” at dispersal, to begin pre-flight checks before flying to Krefeld, 29th of January 1945 – 99 op’s marked.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Alan Scott

A suitably wintery photograph of the Squadron’s most famous Lancaster NE181 “The Captains Fancy” prefaces this years Christmas message.

Another year has passed and more remarkable material has so generously been shared by relatives of those who flew with the Squadron. The blog has grown considerably over this last year, now allowing access to Operational histories for every crew that flew with the Squadron during the War period. Where necessary, these histories also have loss details which include, where they exist, gravestone inscriptions.

These crew pages will now form the main points of archive for material as it is added to the site – in this way, the crews will have their own commemorative pages and their contribution to the Squadron and Bomber Command will be recorded in memoriam.

I would encourage you all to think where appropriate, about personal additions to the crew pages – I am keen  to see these histories personalised – I know you are all so proud of the boys and I think this needs to be recorded as well.

The blog now has a full set of transcribed Combat Reports. Whilst the archiving of these records has highlighted what appears to be significant gaps in this record, we now at least know where these gaps exist and the opportunity of course, now exists to keep an eye out to add to it.

Recently, Chris submitted an update to the aircraft database and this prompted me start a more detailed presentation of the gathered research on the aircraft of the Squadron. As an equivalent record to the Crew Op histories, each aircraft will have its own operational history presented with, where it exists, a photograph of the aircraft and additional material and or information as and where it exists.

This expansion to the database is another significant undertaking – but, as with the majority of the information presented to date, has it never been presented digitally before in a format that is accessible to everybody. You can have a sneak preview of what will for sometime be a work in progress here.

The blog traffic continues impressively – recently passing 370,000 views. This translates to over 93,000 individual visitors with over 700 following the blog through WordPress, Twitter or Facebook.

We are the largest, most viewed and most followed online resource dedicated to 75(NZ) Squadron RAF and as always I have to say that this is all thanks to you guys, the relatives and readers of the blog.

My efforts to build the infrastructure for the site has meant that I have not been able to post as much as I have wanted and also to reply to what seems always now to be a significant backlog of emails – a New Years resolution is to get back on track with all this – I promise.

So, to all of you from 75nzsquadron.com, I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

Aircraft Database update – Wellington & Stirling

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Cockpit view of Mark 1 Vickers Wellington, serial number NZ300. Note data plate behind the right-hand control column: “Type 403, No. NZ300. Built at Weybridge Works. Date April 1939 England”
From “The Aeroplane” archives, via the Aeroplane Illustrated publication, “Vickers Wellington – The Backbone of Bomber Command”, Key Publishing, 2013.

A huge thanks to Chris for a significant update to the Wellington and Stirling sectons of the Squadron AIrcraft database. Beginning when he received a copy of the Feltwell Flying Control log from some some time ago, Chris began to pour through the pages looking for anything that would give aircraft designators or even identify new aircraft with the Squadron.

Relatively recently a visit to the Archives New Zealand allowed Chris to gather a significant amount of material relating to the early days of the ‘Squadron’ regarding its strength and crews.

Very interestingly, on review it seems Chris has formulated a sensible interpretation on the ongoing chestnut of what the ‘the group of Wellingtons‘ was called. There has been a long debate over the titling – some say New Zealand Squadron, others say New Zealand Flight.

Chris postulates as follows – and I tend to agree with him:
“You will find that at least half of the doc’s I’ve seen refer to the New Zealand Flight, including  letters and comm’s from the Air Ministry, and the NZ Governor General.
 
In one case, a letter from the CO RAF Marham 17 Sep 39, to Buckley (while Buckley is still stationed on the same base as him)  addresses Buckley as “OC RNZAF Squadron, Marham”, and references a letter from the Air Ministry which calls it the New Zealand Flight!
 
Also found references in the official docs to “the Wellington flights”, and “1 Mobile Flight”.
 
Am forming the opinion that while officially gazetted and titled as the ‘New Zealand Squadron’, because it was only ever flight strength, and intended to be a ferry flight, that the men themselves more commonly used the term ‘Flight’.
 
Once the establishment of a proper squadron in the RAF became likely, the term “Flight” may have become more common, at all levels, as it would have helped with the distinction, ie., avoiding having to say “the Squadron is now to be a Squadron …”.
 
So I think this vindicates the journalists, ‘official’ histories such as “Return At Dawn”  for using the term – it appears in so many of these documents.”

In discussion with Chris, particularly while I was completing the Squadron database and he was going through the Feltwell documents, we inevitably came to the conclusion that our efforts had perhaps created more questions and queries than actually been answered. I am sure that Chris would agree with me that the database whilst now significantly expanded and refined since the last update still requires work and input – so of course as always, if anybody has any thoughts, please make them – we would love to hear form you!

Go to the Wellington database here.
GO to the Stirling database here.