Tag Archives: Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Another milestone – 600,000 views!

Just to let everybody that we have just passed the latest big viewing milestone – 600,000 views!

Almost 13 months to the day since we passed the half a million mark, you, the blog audience have added another 100,000 views to our tally and with it we get another small step closer to the magic figure of 1 million views. I think the passing of this new milestone, in the time it has happened is all the more remarkable given my silence regarding posts for essentially 1/4 of the year owing to the self inflicted loss of my laptop!

I have received questions over the years regarding what has been claimed to be my unnecessary emphasis on statistics and particularly the total viewing figures. In the past, I have tried to explain, but now I simply refute these queries. Put simply, this website has become, the largest single resource for 75(NZ) Squadron RAF in the world. It has achieved this by having the most comprehensive collection of records, information and images on the Squadron, which is freely accessible to all. This complete open door policy regarding information is vindicated by the volume of visitors and views that are recorded.

Frustratingly I am picking my way through the busiest part of my professional year – assessment, the awarding of Degrees, the preparation for our annual London show and planning for next academic year means that I am waiting for a clear gap in the next few months to present new material that has come to me over the last 6 months or so – all of you have have contacted me, please be patient – it will all be presented as soon as I can!.

Without sounding like a broken record – please can everybody share the site – so many relatives of the boys who flew with the Squadron have made contact over the years, that it makes me think that there are still many more that have yet to find the site. Please, share the site address, on social media, through the facebook groups you are members of – we need to find these people and we need to encourage them to share what they have or might know.

Also, please, please, please apply for your relatives service records! I cannot overstate the value and importance of the contents of these records to me and the site. Many dates and locations, because of the points of formation of a crew and their subsequent training means that details supplied for one person means that the same details of movement and training can be added to up 6 other individuals. As soon as I can, I will make a downloadable template available to hopefully streamline the transfer of personal details etc that I need for the database.

Here’s to the next 100,000 views!

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

D-Day

75(NZ) Squadron RAF Operations log for the 5th/6th of June 1944.
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

Thanks to Chris for this piece, on the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Allied liberation of Europe.

The Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch holds a copy of the 75(NZ) Sqn Operations Log, a document which we were not previously aware of, and which gives us a much more detailed insight into 75 (NZ) Squadron’s contribution to D-Day. On the night of 5th of June 1944, 75(NZ) Squadron had prepared twenty-six Lancasters (a record at that point), and they took off either side of 0330hrs in the morning of the 6th to attack the coastal battery at Ouistreham. They were timed to reach the target at first light, and, on arrival, found a layer of cloud at 7,000 feet, with occasional gaps, through which some crews were able to see the markers. The bombing appeared to be fairly concentrated, no opposition was met, and all aircraft returned safely to Mepal after a round-trip of less than four hours. 

Ouistreham was at the eastern end of the invasion area, where Sword and Juno Beaches would be the scene of the Anglo-Canadian landings. However Mepal crews had not been told of the invasion, but they knew something was up as they were told that more than a thousand aircraft would be operating throughout the night, and that they must adhere to assigned flight routes, heights and times, and not jettison bombs over the Channel.  

From the 75(NZ) Sqn Operations Log: 
At 0730hrs,15 minutes after the last aircraft had landed back at Mepal, one of several ‘top secret’ messages came through from Waterbeach:

 ”D-Day is 6-6-44,  H Hour 0600” 

There were also messages about the distinctive markings of aircraft, and tight restrictions on the use of I.F.F. 

At 0810hrs Waterbeach advised the Colours of the Day: 
1400 – 2000 RY – Q – O
2000 – 0200 RG – J – I   Chaffinch OX
0200 – 0800 GG – C – D
0800 – 1400 GY – H – W 

Duty Beacon 62 – 285

 At 1105hrs Group requested 24 Lancasters be made available for an attack that night, Bomb Loads 18 x 500, petrol 1250 (gallons). 

W/T call signs were advised:  A & B Flt  M.K.H. and C Flt  P.O.K. 

At 1130hrs Target and Aiming Point coordinates were advised and an amendment to the Bomb Load, specifying 90% .025 fusing and 10% long delay (spread evenly over a period of 6 to 36hrs). H Hour 0235hrs. 

At 1610hrs W/C Leslie put the petrol up to 1366 (gallons). 

At 1620hrs Waterbeach advised the route coordinates (there and back). They also advised a bomb jettison location and repeated the instructions not to jettison in the Channel, mentioning “a very considerable volume of shipping”. 

At  1935hrs the target was altered to one of two possible targets (Lisieux one of them) and new route coordinates were advised.  

“Note: The alteration in route is to avoid low flying airborne forces, which are again operating tonight”. 

“A/C in two waves … 75 Sqdn 12 A/C in 1st wave, 12 2nd wave”. 

I.F.F. not to be used except in real emergency – sets were to be sealed in the “Off” position. “Window” and photography instructions given.  

2130hrs – target confirmed as Lisieux.
Strict adherence to routes and times required. Crews to fly below any bad weather over England, up to Thames Estuary, then climb through clouds to 7 or 8000 ft. Keep that height over enemy coast if weather fine, but if 5/10 cloud or more, drop below cloud and bomb below. Be prepared to come down below cloud over the target if markers are not visible. Balloon locations advised. PFF Aiming Point marking colours advised (Red & Green at H-3 to H-2, followed by Yellow & White) 

Master Bomber call sign “Wastepipe 1
Deputy M/B call sign       “Wastepipe 2
Cease Bombing call sign  “Sugar-plum
B/C Frequency 5105 Kc (B); 6440 Kc (D) 

At 2250hrs new instructions came through from BC HQ: 

– no Window- if crews can’t visually identify the target must not bomb any other target
– if any light flak received do not fire back (could be ours)
– route coordinates confirmed, H Hour brought forward to 0135hrs. 

At 2344hrs the first of 24 Lancasters took off from Mepal to attack the railway junction in the town of Lisieux, some twenty miles to the east of Caen.. They reached the target to find a thin layer of cloud at 5,000 feet, which obscured the aiming-point, but the Oboe markers could be seen clearly, and the bombing was considered accurate and concentrated. All returned home safely, the last landing at 0359hrs early on the morning of the 7th.

ANZAC Day 2019

Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.

 In 1934, Kemal Atatürk delivered these words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields. They were later inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach) which was unveiled in 1985. The words also appear on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra, and the Atatürk Memorial in Wellington.

Let us take this day to remember all those, from Australia and New Zealand who gave their lives, not only in 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, but in every conflict before and after.

We shall remember them………….

AHE AKE KIA KAHA

75nzsquadron.com – back on Ops!

I am pleased to say that having finally taken ownership of a replacement to my once faithful MacBook Air, I am back and up and running!

Thankfully, the archived image of, lets call it MBA 001, whilst inaccessible as files has populated MBA 002 exactly and nothing of any significance has been lost whatsoever relating to the site or my archives – testament to the benefits of regular backing up methinks……..

It’s been a frustrating few months, but having said this, a constant stream of emails has ensured that there is plenty of content to add and this will happen through posts and updates over the next few months.

I owe a sincere thanks to 2 truly kind hearted souls who actually not only clicked on the ‘just Giving’ link of my ‘dead MacBook’ post from before Christmas, but also were prepared to put their hands in their pockets! In honest truth, as they were the only donations, I didn’t feel it fair to take the money, so I returned it. Many thanks to my lovely wife as always for having the financial clout to be able to step in during my darkest hour(s) and contribute to the effort!

During my imposed absence I have at least been able to continue with the Nominal Roll research, albeit on a PC (yuk). I have now reconciled the original Form 540 database to generate a list of all individuals who flew with the Squadron during the War. I am currently merging this information with individual information gathered form the Form 78 records for RAF personnel, as well as promotions and awards from the London Gazette. Additionally, book references have also added a significant amount of detail.

My searching has highlighted the significant discrepancies and variability of accessible information depending on country. A massive applause to the Australian National Archive, who have digitised the service records of those RAAF personnel who flew with the Squadron – to a level that is only, it seems, possible to obtain form other nations archives if you are a direct relative.

As I have already asked, please, find the time to contact your nations archives and request your loved ones service records – I have often remarked on the fact that this site is only what it is because of the generous contributions by all of you – this is so much more true in the creation of this new record.

As an aside and as a result of my database noodling, I would also like to know the dates of birth of your relatives. Whilst a small detail perhaps, it allows me vey easily to generate the actually, very poignant in some cases, age of the boys when they arrived at a front line bomber squadron. To this end, dates of passing, post-war would also be most welcomingly received.

In other, but potentially far more exciting news, Chris has begun to dig through the Air Force Museum of New Zealand’s archive and it seems at the moment almost every day is discovering some astonishing documents and records. Some material, is so unique as to have not even thought that it might exist! Having wetted your appetite, I am sure more details and posts will follow!

a thousand thanks for sticking with it!

Simon

For the Fallen – Lest we forget

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon composed his best known poem while sitting on the cliff-top looking out to sea from the dramatic scenery of the north Cornish coastline. A plaque marks the location at Pentire Point, north of Polzeath. However, there is also a small plaque on the East Cliff north of Portreath, further south on the same north Cornwall coast, which also claims to be the place where the poem was written.

The poem was written in mid September 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. During these weeks the British Expeditionary Force had suffered casualties following its first encounter with the Imperial German Army at the Battle of Mons on 23 August, its rearguard action during the retreat from Mons in late August and the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August, and its participation with the French Army in holding up the Imperial German Army at the First Battle of the Marne between 5 and 9 September 1914.

Laurence said in 1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first. These words of the fourth stanza have become especially familiar and famous, having been adopted by the Royal British Legion as an Exhortation for ceremonies of Remembrance to commemorate fallen Servicemen and women.

Laurence Binyon was too old to enlist in the military forces but he went to work for the Red Cross as a medical orderly in 1916. He lost several close friends and his brother-in-law in the war.

Half a million views!

Half a million views!

I must take this opportunity to let everybody know, that today, 75nzsquadron.com passed the incredible milestone of 500,000 views. This amazing figure has taken almost 7 years to reach, but it has truly been worth the wait, given the amazing journey that many others and I have enjoyed in the mean time.

The growth and success of the blog has really been remarkable – I have said it before – but I certainly never dreamt that it would grow the way it has and been able to engage so many people – as I write, the blog contains 721 posts, is followed across all platforms by 852 people and has been visited over 123,000 times.

The interest in the Squadron seems unabated and it’s my plan to get back to the old days of regular posts – we have a lot of new material in the pipeline which will all be share in due course. We have now complete all the large structural projects, so as new information appears, it can all be added to what is possibly the most detailed record of an RAF Bomber Squadron that exists.

This wonderful event in the site’s history is perhaps a timely point to make another important announcement:

Project ORB is complete!

Five and a half years ago I began the slow transcription of the Squadron’s Form 540 “Operations Carried Out” for the duration of 75(NZ) Squadrons existence. Many have contributed, but special thanks must go to Hubert, David and Brian for their protracted efforts to complete certain years. In recent months I have turned my attention to 1942, and the latter months of 1940 – finally it is finished.

Whilst other Squadrons have already had their diary documents transcribed in whole, this is the first time that it has been achieved for 75(NZ) Squadron – an other first for the site!

I have also added a little navigation to make the reading of the individual months a little easier. Clicking in the “75(NZ) Squadron RAF Records” section in the top menu and then clicking on any specific year will give you a page with links to all months in that particular years (as opposed to holding on a year to get the jump off menu that will take you to a certain month).

In addition, at the foot of each month is a link which will take you automatically to the next month – at December you will progress to the following year.

For ease of entry to the records, please click below to go to the relevant year sets:

1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945