Tag Archives: Allan Johnson Mayfield

After the War – Allan Johnson Mayfield, Pilot


One assumes a group of Fieldair pilots taken some time in 1955. Stood second from left, Allan Johnson Mayfield, Bob’s Pilot from his first tour with 75(NZ) Squadron, July to November 1943. Picture courtesy John Chiplin

Many thanks to John for passing on this group photograph of what I assume to be Fieldair pilots from 1955. Second from left in the photograph is Allan Johnson Mayfield – my Father’s first tour Pilot in 1943. After completing his second tour with 128 LNSF Squadron, Allan returned to New Zealand and joined Fieldair, a top dressing company. John joined some time later and got to know Allan.

An earlier post I made about Fieldair contained a story about how the company got a goose as it’s company logo and at the time I wondered if the pilot in question might have been Allan – whilst not able to confirm this John recalls another incident:

” The only “incident” I am aware of is as follows. He recalled working off Lawson Field’s Makiri strip which was curved with a bank on the blind  side. Allan Mayfield was working on the same job, both men flying Tiger  Moths. The day was going well with the Tiger on the ground having the right of way. They had a good routine going. After a refuel, Allan took off, Bob was waiting to be loaded, there was a hiccup with the loader which delayed Bob’s take-off. Mayfield must have thought that Bob had already taken off as he couldn’t see around the curve and landed, not knowing that Bob was under full power, thundering around the curve, only to see Mayflower heading straight for him. Bob couldn’t stop, Mayfield couldn’t go anywhere, all 4 port wings were destroyed in the impact. Bob ended up upside down, Mayfield managed to stop after looping, both were surprised to be ok after the dust settled.”

A tantalising hope……….

search results - thomas derbyshire

Perhaps an inevitable outcome of a blog like this is that from time to time I do get a bit obsessed about visitor counts etc. A quick peruse this afternoon led me to scroll down to the search terms that have led visitors to the site and I was amazed to see a search for ‘Thomas Derbyshire mu gunner’. I am hoping against hope that this is the same T. Derbyshire that was a MUG with Dad on his first tour in 1943…….

My discovery and now the wait is all the more excruciating – Sgt. Derbyshire was the only airman in the Squadron with that surname and the same search in Google throws up no other instant possibilities – is it too much to hope ?

Please, please, if the person/ people that typed in this search see this post contact me – I really want to be able to put a christian name to all of the boys that flew with Dad at the very least.

1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, July 1943 – Names to faces – please help…..

'B' Flight, 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, July 1943

‘B’ Flight, 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, July 1943

I am keen to try and identify as many individuals in this photograph as possible, whether they ended up going to Mepal or not. I hope this image will be good enough to view and if you recognise anybody in it, I am happy to supply you with a high resolution version of it, able to be printed at A3.

So far;
Mayfield Crew.
Back row 2nd from left – Allan Johnson Mayfield.
Back row 3rd from right – John Sebastian Hulena*
Back row 4th from right – Walter James Gee*.
Middle row 7th from left – Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville.
Front row (seated on chairs) 7th from left – Jack Francis Jarmy.

Roberts Crew
Middle row 1st from right – Kensington Campbell Jackson.
Middle row 2nd from right – Darcy Leslie Conrad Haub.
Middle row 3rd from right – Eric John Roberts.

*Not confirmed

A little more information on Allan……

I finally got hold of the March ORB for 128 LNSF Squadron from the National Archives. The raids that Allan flew in March, on arriving at the Squadron, bring his total to 20. At this point I am not sure whether this equated to his 20 total of a second tour, or whether the war ended before he was required to fly again – My understanding is that as part of Path Finder Force the ‘tour total’ was higher than it was for a a main bomber squadron.

2/3 March 1945 Kassel
4/5 March 1945 Essen
5/6 March 1945 Gelsenkirchen
7/8 March 1945 Frankfurt
10/11 March 1945 Berlin
10/11 March 1945 Berlin
13/14 March 1945 Berlin
15/16 March 1945 Berlin
16/17 March 1945 Berlin
20/21 March 1945 Berlin
29/30 March 1945 Berlin

Annoyingly, The document downloaded for the National Archive only included the raid diary, not the station diary, so I still need to try to find out where Allan came from, regarding possible conversion training prior to arriving at 128 Squadron.

A little more about Allan

Battle Orders for 128 Squadron 1st March 1945 - Allan's first op with the LNSF. National Archive ©

Battle Orders for 128 Squadron 1st March 1945 – Allan’s first op with the LNSF. National Archive ©

I have known that Allan had gone to 128 Light Night Strike Force in March of 1945 for sometime now – but apart from that scant information, nothing else. Initially the National Archive as is it’s want, tantalisingly teased me with an easy find of April – of course, March was no where to be found – OF COURSE. As an utter punt on 3 quid I got the Appendices, just in case their was something else….

Low and behold, what seems to be a pretty complete set of Battle Orders for the period I was looking for – probably goes back even further, but I have a job to do. The Battle Orders are a bit of a find I think (relatively). Compare and contrast with 75(NZ) where the same documents are as literally as rare – no RARER than the proverbial Rocking Horse shit…….

Scanning through the Appendices and the April ORB, I get the following:

Allan completed approximately 19 ops in about 2 months. This figure is based on the actual ops recorded in the April record and the rest of the total is based on the Battle Orders for March – this obviously assumes that all ops where he was listed on the main force he actually flew – although it also assumes that when reserve, he was never asked to fill a place. I will have to wait till the National archive get March and February done – to check his raid count, but also to see if there is any information regarding where Allan came from. I assume he must have done some conversion training before going to Mosquitoes.
It seems his Navigator was a Flight Sergeant Murphy, initials buried within the Appendices are D.R.

For a more detailed breakdown of Allan op list while at 128, click here to take you to the Mayfield crew page of the blog.

On Battle Order for raid 1st March
On Battle Order for raid 3rd March
On Battle Order for raid 5th March
On Battle Order for raid 7th March
On Battle Order for raid 10th March
On Battle Order for raid 13th March
On Battle Order for raid 15th March
On Battle Order for raid 16th March
On Battle Order for raid 29th March
3rd/ 4th April 1945 Berlin
10th/ 11th April 1945 Berlin
12th/13th April Berlin
On main Battle Order 15th April
17th/ 18th April 1945 Inglostadt
19th/ 20th April 1945 Berlin
21st/ 22nd April 1945 Keil
24th/ 25th April 1945 Schleissheim Airfield
25th/ 26th April 1945 Munich transformer and switching station.
2nd/ 3rd May 1945 Kiel

Page 551of 128 Squadron Appendices
Listed in weekly return of Pilots as being in ‘A’ Flight

Page 565 of 128 Squadron Appendices
128 Squadron – Movement of Squadron
17 aircrews are listed. Aircraft ‘G’ is to piloted by Allan, navigator for the flight F/O Dwerryhouse.

Page 569 of 128 Squadron Appendices
128 Movement of Squadron.
Nominal Roll of Main Party
F/O. A. J. Mayfield (with a hand annotated ‘A’ next to his name. 1 of 19 pilots listed)

Searching for more information on Allan……

A few days ago I put up a request for any more information on Allan – particularly his time after 75(NZ) when he was at Wyton with 128 LNSF Squadron on the Wings Over New Zealand forum – not much comeback to be honest, but then a random exchange between 2 people I am not familiar with regarding whether this was the same Mayfield that worked for a company called Fieldair and as a reply confirmation of that fact.

I’d never heard of this company and a web search pulled up information on the company and the development of ‘top dressing’ in New Zealand between the wars and then after World War 2. Essentially the process of dropping seed and fertillisers from an aircraft – though that rather simplistic description I suspect, hardly does the science of the technique justice…….

After a discussion of the techniques, the article discussed some of the companies that were at the forefront of this technique – one being Fieldair. Included is the following;

“Fieldair’s logo is a strangled goose. According to legend, a hungry Fieldair pilot flying between airstrips saw a single goose which looked like dinner. His somewhat hopeful method was to attempt to manoeuvre alongside the bird, side slip into it and grab hold. The first few attempts failed and the goose got wise. A dogfight developed, and both fliers lost altitude. A hundred feet over a gully the goose broke towards the aircraft, and hit the prop, breaking it. The pilot force-landed, and concocted a suitable story of a bird strike, which was sadly undone when the farmer requested the company’s services, as “You blokes must have the best pilots in the country … one of your blokes chased this goose around my farm for about a half an hour. He must have just missed by inches every tree on my place. And to top it off this bloke succeeded in killing the goose and landed to pick it up”. (Ewing & MacPherson, p182).


To much to hope that the story relates to Allan – but if it did………….how good would that be ?!?

Jack Francis David Jarmy RAFVR 1337320/134695 – Navigator. Logbook

As recorded on the blog, it was my absolute pleasure to visit Jack and is wife at the end of the summer and it was with great generosity that he let me photograph his logbook. Jack stayed in the RAF after the war till he retired, so the logbook as a complete record of his flying career is huge. Owing to the storage constraints of this site I have, just for now, uploaded the pages that reach the completion of Jack’s second tour with 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron in 1945. Once the proper website is sorted, I’ll upload the entire logbook.

Browse Jack’s logbook here

Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville RAFVR 1562617/161049 – Logbook

Just uploaded Bob’s full logbook in the new ‘Crew Logbooks’ section in the main menu. The document covers all of Dad’s training beginning in 1942 at No.15 Elementary Flight Training School, all the way through his 2 tours with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, finishing with his last op to Potsdam on the 14th April 1945.

View Bob’s logbook here

Kristin Mayfield

Monday morning and I am still on a high from the weekend with Jack and Joyce. An email turns up from Chris;

Hi Simon,
Allan Mayfield’s daughter has made contact with you via the WONZ forum:
Just in case you hadn’t popped in to see us for a while, thought you might miss it!


I literally choke on my coffee, again a strange coincidence……..

Jack gets the 1651 photo and calls me back…..

from L to R; Sgt. Allan Johnson Mayfield, Sgt. Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville and P/O Jack Francis Jarmy. 1651 Conversion Unit, Waterbeach, July 1943.

I’m sat in the studio for an early start on Saturday morning. The phone rings  – its Jack, saying he received the big ‘B’ flight photograph and he has ‘had a look at it’…… — my heart is in my mouth and I have 6 featureless faces with question marks on them slowly flashing in my head……

There is, perhaps with this sort of search, good and bad news. The good news is that Jack has found Allan and himself in the photo – exquisitely, Jack is sat in front of Bob.

I know I put too much hope into these things, but I am gutted when Jack says he can’t recognise any more of the crew. I desperately try to hide the disappointment in my voice – I don’t know whether I manage it. We chat a bit more – Jack confirms my contention from our first phone call in December that yes, they only flew 21 ops, having been through his own log book. Again, he observes their immediate screening one morning when they went into see the Battle Orders for the following night – there must be a story about this……

Trawling and pondering

As terrible as it sounds, I felt a certain reluctance in leaving to go down to see mum for Christmas. Initially it felt that I was leaving the computer and therefore the forums and therefore the chance to find more things out – I am prepared to admit, this aircrew research is bloody addictive – and this feeling makes me admit to myself that I am probably holding on a bit too tight…… A compromise seems to be to take the iPad with the ORB’s on it and a pad of paper. This decision proves to be an astonishingly good one…..

With only the ORB’s to protect me from the annual rubbish on TV I realise I now have the time and space to truly read them and I quickly begin find more about the boys in Bob’s 2 crews. A  cursory skim through  an ORB gives you a relatively easy crew list and raid history. With time and concentration this expands to find promotions and secondary histories of those that either passed briefly through the crew, or in the case of Sgt. Derbyshire, arrived late and then had to stay on to complete his 30 with another crew.

An evening flipping through my notes and staring at Dad’s logbook on the ‘Pad provides me with an epiphany moment. Staring at a page covering his time at 1651 Conversion Unit, prior to deployment at Mepal, I suddenly realise I am seeing ‘B’ flight in front of me on the page – until now I have drawn a complete blank with one of the pictures that I got from Helen, the only ‘B’ flight Dad was in was in 1945 when he was back with 75(NZ)………apart from here, at 1651 – , if this is 1651, then the picture will contain his first tour crew.

I get home 2 days later, print a copy of the ‘B’ photo as large as I can, put it into a tube and send it to Jack………….and wait.

I’m not superstitious……but……….

I’m sat in the studio printing out the (very) high resolution scans of the pictures that I received from Helen. Sat at my desk listening to the photo printer grind back and forth I am suddenly compelled to look in a magazine box on the book case behind me. I do not have a religious bone in my body, I am also not superstitious – but I cannot honestly say that I feel that it was my decision to look in this magazine box. As I search through the box the search seems utterly pointless – it comprises old pay slips, car insurance certificates, cheque book stubs. I then come across a clear A4 document sleeve. The exposed front page is clearly a print out of a page from a website and its about 75(NZ) Squadron. I have no recollection of printing this document, but I guess I must have to take to show dad – based n the date at the bottom of each of the pages, some years ago. scanning through the pages, the printouts contain no information I have not re-accquired over the last few months. Partly out of frustration, partly through the normal illogical act of always looking on the reverse side of a single sided print, I turn the pages over and go back through them. The second page has 2 names written on it – again in my handwriting, but I do not remember writing them. I partially recognise both of them – Mayfield and Jarmy – bob’s Pilot and Navigator – but this lists their first names as Alan and Jack.

I sit looking at the names, not at all sure what to make of this discovery – more so to be honest the method of the discovery, rather than what I have discovered.

I mail Kevin the names and see if he has anything extra to add……..