Tag Archives: Brown

Hull Northen Cemetery – Sgt. John Hall RAFVR 988980, Nola crew

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A short drive or if it had not been pouring down with rain, a quick walk from the Columbarium in Hull Northern Cemetery took us to the second grave of the day, that of Sgt John Hall,  Front Gunner with David Nola’s crew, all who, apart from the Rear Gunner, were killed when the Wellington they were in hit barrage balloon cables in the Humber estuary, crashing near Trinity Sands.

Seasoned readers might recall that the first gravestones that I presented on the blog was at the very beginning of my journey and were, in fact, happened upon my chance when Bev and I were visiting her Grandparents graves in Scartho Road Cemetery in Grimsby.

Coming across a number of RNZAF gravestones a little bit of digging identified 2, David Leo Nola and Alexander Coutts Mee as not only both flying with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, but also dying together.

Perhaps because I found them first, perhaps because they rest in Grimsby, Bev’s home town I have a bit of a soft spot for  these two boys and have always hoped I might hear from a relative of them.

I knew on visiting John’s grave that he had also been part of the Nola crew and perhaps finding him, pricked a thought regarding information on the crew.

Well, as part of this post I am please to say that a few weeks ago now I was contacted by Luke, whose Grandmother was David Nola’s Mother. Luke has passed on a letter that David sent to his Mother. The letter was written not long after David arrived at Feltwell and describes his first 2 Ops with Jim Falconers crew as 2nd Pilot.

I have in the first instance, broken the letter apart and added in parts, relative to the Op entries mentioned.

The complete letter can be read at the foot of this post.

22/01/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Five Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 500lbs. N.D.T., 250 lbs. N.D.T., and containers of incendiaries. TKP.422 dropped bombs through cloud, but results were unobserved. THP.564 bombed through 10/10 cloud on E.T.A. from 11,000 feet on centre of flak concentration. One 250lbs. dropped on ROTTERDAM Aerodrome from 6000 feet on return; no results observed. TKP.616 reports target obscured by 10/10 cloud. Astro fix obtained over target and bombs dropped. Glow of incendiaries seen burning through cloud. TKP.917 dropped bombs in one stick in target on flak. No observations were made and no reconnaissance carried out. There was intense light and heavy flak in target area. Searchlights were moderate over target area. Few experienced on route. No enemy aircraft were encountered. There was 10/10 cloud over target. Navigation was by D/R, astro, R/T, Q.D.M’s

“Everything is going well so far – got my first cold this winter when I arrived here and still have got a beauty. After getting back from leave I was idle for about six days until Jim Falconer and the crew came back. They arrived on the Monday that is the 19th and on that Wednesday I did my first operational trip – to Dusseldorf in the Ruhr. We took off about 5pm – it was still daylight and headed up through the clouds and finally got into clear sky again about 5000ft and then going up to about l2,000ft, temperature about -12C. Crossed the English coast, North Sea, Holland without seeing a thing as the clouds were unbroken below us. After about three hours we came over or I should just near Dusseldorf – Jim took the controls then – we knew we were over Dusseldorf if our navigation was correct and then the flak started to come up – they were bursting all around us – could not see the ground so after dodging about twisting, turning, diving, climbing we finally let go the bombs and incendiaries into the middle of the hottest part. Then they let us have it – very interesting and beautiful if it was not so serious. The big shells burst in front and all around us – the light flak comes up in streams sometimes red, sometimes green and occasionally red and green alternatively – it makes you think. I took over the controls again and took her back to within a few miles of the drome when Jim finished and landed her. It was about 10.30 in the evening when we came in. I wasn’t very cold had a drink of hot coffee out of the thermos flask while we were over Germany and that brought the circulation back nicely. The hardest part of it was breathing — we kept plugged in the oxygen as much as possible but when l went back to pump oil to the engines had to plug out for about half a minute and does it take it out of you. Pumping oil is another hard job as it takes 50 strokes per gallon and you need a gallon for each engine and it is pretty hard work, you must not forget also that the oil is also just about frozen. On landing we went to operations room for briefing — that is giving details of what we did and saw. However we could not do much in this case owing to low cloud. However next day we were informed that something pretty important was hit in Dussledorf”.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2503 AA-?

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:40 – Landed 22:00
Flight Time 04:20

27/01/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Targets at Hanover
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, BNF.882, captained by S/L. Kain, failed to reach target owing to engine trouble, and bombs were jettisoned “safe” in sea. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. N.D.T., 500lbs. N.D.T., 250lbs. N.D.T. and containers of incendiaries. BNF. 253 reports bursts observed in target area by rear gunners. BNF. 268 dropped bombs in a single stick: 1000 lbs. seen to burst near railway station. BNF.432 reports two fires caused by incendiaries. H.E. dropped in target area. BNF.550 dropped incendiaries on target on first run. H.E. dropped on second run and seen to explode on the fires. Three red fires burning in middle of incendiaries upon leaving target. BNF.654 dropped bombs in two sticks across centre of city. Numerous fires started, increasing in size as target was left. BNF.817 located target and dropped a stick of bombs running North East. Line of fires resulted. Aerodrome observed 10 miles N.W. of LINZEN. Two photos of target area taken by BNF.253.. Fairly accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was experienced in target areas. Very few searchlights over target area: not accurate. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was clear over Germany. Low cloud over England and elsewhere en route. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, Q.D.M’s.

“Weather was pretty bad for the next four days however on Sunday we were to go to Hanover but it was not until 1.30 on Monday that we finally took off in terrible weather with fog almost down to the ground. To keep the ground in sight we had to fly at 800 feet –  we passed the coast and then over the North Sea which only a few hundred feet below looked very cold. lt was not until we had covered about fifty miles out that the clouds suddenly and up and we went crossing the Dutch coast at about 9000 feet and then over the Zuider Zee which was frozen. It was a clear night with no moon but even so we could see the ground quite clearly although we could not distinguish much as there was pretty heavy fall on the ground. We passed just north of lnnsbrook and then on to Hanover where they met us with plenty of flak. We circled around until we found the town after a while. The Jerries are pretty cunning as they get dummy fires going, a few miles away from the town so as to draw the bombs, but you can usually pick these. However as our target was the centre of the town, in other words a blitz we went right over the top of the place and let go our incendiaries and heavy bombs. We did not see the results immediately but afler getting away some distance there were two long lines of fires started by our incendiaries — looked as though a couple of streets were burning. Then someone else dropped their bombs and more fires were started. We could see them while we were fifty miles away. The flak was pretty heavy, so heavy that it seems amazing that you can get through it. l am always glad to get out of it l can tell you, When we got back to the English coast our troubles started again as the fog was pretty thick and required us to go down to about 300 ft which is no joke at night or early morning as it was about 7 o’clock and not dawn yet We got wireless bearings back to the drome but could not find it owing to low fog and had to cruise around for about an hour until we finally got down just as dawn was breaking Boy was I tired alter 7 hours in the air. Went into report the results of the operation at the same time hoeing into sandwiches and coffee. It was about 10 o’clock when I finally got to bed, where I stayed all day getting up for supper – then back to bed again for the night”.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:40 – Landed 08:05
Flight Time 06:25

 

“For the last fortnight we have done no operations owing to the weather – we have been due to go to Berlin, Hamburg and Boulogne but had to be cancelled owing to rain, snow cloud and ice.

The jerries have been paying us quite a number of visits and have put the wind up me a few times when they have dropped bombs. The other night they came over and got a couple of direct hits right on our mess and put the place out of action however, very luckily no one was hurt as most had gone to the shelter – the bomb landed 300 yards from the shelter. Luckily I was out that night and still spend most of my nights off the station. I took the plane up for a test today — have done little, day flying since arriving here- Still manage to take off and land in one piece. The crew are a jolly decent crowd and I get on well with Jim Falconer the first pilot he is a crack-a-jack pilot.

Have been travelling around quite a bit since coming – been to Cambridge a couple of times, also to Newmarket, King’s Lynn, Downham Market.

We spend most of our nights doing a spot of drinking in Brandon about seven miles from here. Going over to Norwich some nights – would have gone tonight we have a dance or at least we are going to a dance in the an army sergeants mess a few miles from here – the bar will be open until midnight – it is funny over most dance places have a bar in them – just like a pub so you can drink and dance as you please”.

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Extract from the Feltwell Flyong Control log for the 4th of February 1941.
At. 20:38 enemy aircraft attacked the airfield and bombs are dropped.
5 minutes later, more bombs are dropped by the attacker.

10/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Rotterdam
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out individual bombing attacks on the above target. Hits were registered in the target area. A balloon was seen flying over Hanover at 9,000 feet. Two beacons were observed at Ymuiden flashing one dot every three seconds. Many dummy fires were also seen. Fair amount of heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered in target area. This ceased when red tracer followed by white tracer was fired. A number of enemy aircraft were seen, while LUX.657 reports being hit by machine gun bullets and explosive shells fired by enemy aircraft which attacked. The hydraulic gear was damaged and the aircraft crashed on landing at Methwold. The weather was good but there was scattered cloud. Navigation was by astro, pin points and map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2503 AA-?

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:25 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 02:50

14/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Bombs were seen to burst in target area, and many fires were observed. Dummy fires were seen near the target. Heavy and medium A.A. fire was encountered in the target area and on route. Searchlights were active from the Dutch coast to target. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was fine, but there was some ground mist.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2503 AA-?

P/O Arthur James Falconer, RNZAF NZ39910 – Captain.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Anthony Vincent Muir, RNZAF NZ40195 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Donald ‘Don’ Morrison, RAFVR 946356 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Harry Thomas Hellier, RAFVR 650057 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Andrew Moore Brodie, RNZAF NZ391378 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:35 – Landed 00:35
Flight Time 06:00

21/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Wilhelmshaven
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. One of the aircraft, JAH.124, captained by P/O Falconer, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. 500lbs. 250 lbs. and containers of incendiaries. JAH.243 bombed docks at EMDEN. Incendiaries not observed; 500lbs. bombs seen to explode in target area. Owing to front and rear turrets being unserviceable, JAH.460 returned to base. Bombs were jettisoned in sea. JAH.598 reports bombs seen to explode on docks. Incendiaries seen to cause large fires. JAH.607 reports one good fire, and three minor fires. JAH.969 dropped in vicinity of target area. JAH.996 bombed on ETA and heaviest flak concentration. Bomb bursts seen under cloud. No observations were made, and no reconnaissance carried out. The A.A. fire encountered was medium and inaccurate. There were few searchlights, mostly operating in cones. No enemy aircraft were seen. There was 10/10 cloud over most of the journey, with severe icing conditions. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, pin points.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

P/O Alec Herbert Burton, RAFVR 84007 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Revitt, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Milborne, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Brown, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William George, RNZAF NZ40722 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time not listed

23/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Boulogne
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Three of these aircraft failed to locate the target (WLR.245, WLR.807, WLR.948). A mixed bomb load was carried and was made up of 1000lbs., 500lbs., 250lbs., and containers of incendiaries. WLR.319 bombed the dock area at BOULOGNE. WLR.519 reports bombs burst in target area, and fires were observed. WLR.547 reports two bombs seen to burst in dock area, 250lbs. not seen to burst. WLR.867 bombed target and saw bursts across docks. Small fires started. Explosions observed by rear gunner. WLR.398 reports that bomb bursts were not seen, owing to layer of cloud blowing across target. S.B.C’s seen to light in target area. A number of parachute flares were seen shot up on coast near Calais. A.A. fire was intense and fairly accurate. Searchlights were numerous un target area. One enemy aircraft was seen. Eight tenths to 10/10 cloud was experienced over target area. Navigation was by map reading, D/R, and pin points.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Gilbert Theodore Kimberley, RNZAF NZ391359 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Williams, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Fairlam, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. McCracken, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 21:55
Flight Time 03:00

26/02/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Bombs were seen to burst in the target area and fires were started. Fairly accurate heavy to medium and light A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights were intense and accurate over Holland and the target area. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fairly good over most of the journey, but ground haze covered the target.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Gilbert Theodore Kimberley, RNZAF NZ391359 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Williams, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Fairlam, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. McCracken, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:06 – Landed 23:50
Flight Time 04:44

01/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Cologne
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Hits were registered in the target area. Many fires were observed in the target. Area and DLN 881 reports seeing dummy fires North West of the target. DLN 626 reported a stick of bombs seen to burst 15 miles East of Lowestoft. Inaccurate heavy A.A. fire was encountered and searchlights were numerous. One enemy searchlight carrying fighter seen by DLN 931 at 500 yards but no attack made. 10/10ths cloud was experienced over North Sea but clear over target area. Navigation was by pin-pointing and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

P/O Gilbert Theodore Kimberley, RNZAF NZ391359 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Williams, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. Fred Haigh, RAFVR 939478 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. McCracken, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 05:50

 

21/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Ostend and L’Orient
Three Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing arracks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 500lbs., 250lbs., and containers of incendiaries. No results were observed by SLY.486. SLY.498 dropped bombs on A.A. batteries and searchlights at Boulogne. SLY.509 dropped bombs on West bank of river. Bursts not observed. Considerable A.A. fire was experienced on route. Slight searchlight activity was experienced at many parts of route. One unidentified aircraft was seen over BRIDPORT and YEOVIL while one enemy aircraft was seen over target area. Ten-tenths cloud was experienced over target area. Navigation was by D/R, map reading and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1038 AA-H

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Chapman, RAF – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 04:50
Flight Time 05:00

14/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Brest
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The weather was fine but there was a thin layer of cloud over the target area. Bombs were dropped and a number of bursts were observed in target area. A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate, and searchlights were accurate when operating in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic Serial not listed

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:35 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 06:15

16/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Bremen
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, captained by F/Lt. Fletcher, failed to locate target and bombs were bought back. The remaining aircraft all dropped bombs and bursts were observed from which fires resulted. Light and heavy A.A. fire, fairy accurate, was experienced in target areas. Searchlights were very active. One enemy aircraft was seen but no attack was made. There was a haze and layers of thin cloud over target areas. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166 AA-M

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:35 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 06:45

17/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of the aircraft, AXC.555, crashed on landing at Ternhill. No one was injured. All bombs were dropped and bursts were seen. A.A. fire was spasmodic and very accurate. Searchlights were intense over target and on route. A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. There was ground haze over the target with heavy could on route. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166 AA-M

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:40 – Landed 01:35
Flight Time 04:55

29/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Rotterdam
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Two of the aircraft bought bombs back, having failed to locate target. The remaining aircraft dropped bombs and fire were started. A.A fire was fairly intense but not very accurate. Searchlights were numerous, effective and working in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Weather was good, but there was slight haze over target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro and map-reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:55 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 04:25

02/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg and Emden
Seven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000lbs. G.P., 500lbs. G.P.; 250lbs. G.P. and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped and hits scored. Many fires were started. Accurate heavy A.A. fire was experienced in target areas. There was intense stationary cones of searchlights over Hamburg. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine and visibility was good. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:25 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 06:25

04/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Thirteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 2000lbs. S.A.P. 500lbs. S.A.P. 250lbs. S.A.P. while flash bombs were also carried by two aircraft. All bombs were dropped and bursts were observed. Many fires were started. Intense heavy and light flak was experienced on route and in target area, while searchlights were intense but not very accurate. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made. The weather was fine and clear. Navigation was by astro. D/R, W/T, and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 05:50

06/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. One of these aircraft, R,3169, after having bombed the target area, and while on return journey, crashed into a barrage balloon cable at the mouth of the River Humber and dived into the water. The rear gunner, SGT. Craven, was the only survivor of the crew of six. The bomb load carried by the ten machines consisted of 1000 lbs., 500 lbs., and 250 lbs.

Bombs were dropped by all aircraft, but owing to heavy cloud no results were observed. No observations were made and no reconnaissance carried out. Some light and heavy A.A. fire was experienced on route and in target area. Searchlights were few and ineffective. No enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was not good, ten-tenths cloud being experienced over route and target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro,

Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169 AA-P

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780 – Navigator.
Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:00 – Landed 00:00
Flight Time 00:00

R.3169 and crew, took off from Feltwell, Norfolk to attack Hamburg. 115 aircraft took part including 50 Wellington’s (10 from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF), 31 Whitley’s, 27 Hampden’s, 4 Manchester’s and 3 Stirling’s. Due to poor visibility few aircraft failed to identify the targets. Only 12 bomb loads hit the target area and all aircraft returned.

On the return trip Wellington R.3169 crossed the East coast of England and collided with barrage balloon cables. The Wellington crashed out of control in the River Humber near Trinity Sands.

Sgt. David Leo Nola, RNZAF NZ39930. Killed age 25.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656. Killed age 23.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt. Alexander Mee had previously escaped in another incident on the 19th March 1941 when he escaped by parachute from Wellington Mk.Ic T.2736 AA-A.

Returning from Kiel, the aircraft had contacted Hull to request searchlight assistance, but this had been denied owing to enemy activity in the area. Running short of fuel, possibly owing to flak damage to tanks, the crew baled out. T.2736 subsequently crashed at Ryhill, approximately 14 miles South, South East of Leeds. Tragically, Sgt. Daniel Gilmore’s parachute failed to open and he was killed. The remainder of the crew all survived.

P/O Clifford Frederick Page, RAFVR 60780. Killed age 22.
Buried Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery England.

Sgt. Walter Russell, RAFVR 949560. Killed age 23.
Buried West Bromwich Churchyard Staffordshire England.

Sgt. John Hall, RAFVR 988980. Killed age 20.
Buried Hull Northern Cemetery, England.

Sgt. Craven, RAFVR – Rear Gunner. Survived.
There appears to be no reference to Sgt. Craven flying further with the Squadron,
Letter from Sgt. David Leo Nola to his Mother, 4th of February 1941.
75(NZ) Squadron
Feltwell
Norfolk

4″‘ Feb 1941

Dear Mum

Your airmail letter dated Dec 5th has arrived that is the one from you and Dad, also letter dated 24 Dec from Dad, Vera and yourself, apparently the letter of Dec 5″‘ missed the previous airmail. It is about a fortnight since I last wrote and although we don’t seem to do much still l can’t seem to find time to get down to some serious writing.

Everything is going well so far – got my first cold this winter when I arrived here and still have got a beauty. After getting back from leave I was idle for about six days until Jim Falconer and the crew came back.

They arrived on the Monday that is the 19th and on that Wednesday I did my first operational trip – to Dusseldorf in the Ruhr. We took off about 5pm – it was still daylight and headed up through the clouds and finally got into clear sky again about 5000ft and then going up to about l2,000ft, temperature about -12C. Crossed the English coast, North Sea, Holland without seeing a thing as the clouds were unbroken below us. After about three hours we came over or I should just near Dusseldorf – Jim took the controls then – we knew we were over Dusseldorf if our navigation was correct and then the flak started to come up – they were bursting all around us – could not see the ground so after dodging about twisting, turning, diving, climbing we finally let go the bombs and incendiaries into the middle of the hottest part. Then they let us have it – very interesting and beautiful if it was not so serious. The big shells burst in front and all around us — the light flak comes up in streams sometimes red, sometimes green and occasionally red and green alternatively – it makes you think. I took over the controls again and took her back to within a few miles of the drome when Jim finished and landed her. It was about 10.30 in the evening when we came in. I wasn’t very cold had a drink of hot coffee out of the thermos flask while we were over Germany and that brought the circulation back nicely. The hardest part of it was breathing — we kept plugged in the oxygen as much as possible but when l went back to pump oil to the engines had to plug out for about half a minute and does it take it out of you. Pumping oil is another hard job as it takes 50 strokes per gallon and you need a gallon for each engine and it is pretty hard work, you must not forget also that the oil is also just about frozen. On landing we went to operations room for briefing — that is giving details of what we did and saw. However we could not do much in this case owing to low cloud. However next day we were informed that something pretty important was hit in Dussledorf.

Weather was pretty bad for the next four days however on Sunday we were to go to Hanover but it was not until 1.30 on Monday that we finally took off in terrible weather with fog almost down to the ground. To keep the ground in sight we had to fly at 800 feet – we passed the coast and then over the North Sea which only a few hundred feet below looked very cold. lt was not until we had covered about fifty miles out that the clouds suddenly and up and we went crossing the Dutch coast at about 9000 feet and then over the Zuider Zee which was frozen. It was a clear night with no moon but even so we could see the ground quite clearly although we could not distinguish much as there was pretty heavy fall on the ground. We passed just north of lnnsbrook and then on to Hanover where they met us with plenty of flak. We circled around until we found the town after a while. The Jerries are pretty cunning as they get dummy fires going, a few miles away from the town so as to draw the bombs, but you can usually pick these. However as our target was the centre of the town, in other words a blitz we went right over the top of the place and let go our incendiaries and heavy bombs. We did not see the results immediately but afler getting away some distance there were two long lines of fires started by our incendiaries — looked as though a couple of streets were burning.

Then someone else dropped their bombs and more fires were started. We could see them while we were fifty miles away. The flak was pretty heavy, so heavy that it seems amazing that you can get through it. l am always glad to get out of it l can tell you, When we got back to the English coast our troubles started again as the fog was pretty thick and required us to go down to about 300 ft which is no joke at night or early morning as it was about 7 o’clock and not dawn yet We got wireless bearings back to the drome but could not find it owing to low fog and had to cruise around for about an hour until we finally got down just as dawn was breaking Boy was I tired alter 7 hours in the air. Went into report the results of the operation at the same time hoeing into sandwiches and coffee. It was about 10 o’clock when I finally got to bed, where I stayed all day getting up for supper – then back to bed again for the night.

For the last fortnight we have done no operations owing to the weather – we have been due to go to Berlin, Hamburg and Boulogne but had to be cancelled owing to rain, snow cloud and ice.

The jerries have been paying us quite a number of visits and have put the wind up me a few times when they have dropped bombs. The other night they came over and got a couple of direct hits right on our mess and put the place out of action however, very luckily no one was hurt as most had gone to the shelter – the bomb landed 300 yards from the shelter. Luckily I was out that night and still spend most of my nights off the station.

I took the plane up for a test today — have done little, day flying since arriving here- Still manage to take off and land in one piece. The crew are a jolly decent crowd and I get on well with Jim Falconer the first pilot he is a crack-a-jack pilot.

Have been travelling around quite a bit since coming – been to Cambridge a couple of times, also to Newmarket, King’s Lynn, Downham Market.

We spend most of our nights doing a spot of drinking in Brandon about seven miles from here. Going over to Norwich some nights – would have gone tonight we have a dance or at least we are going to a dance in the an army sergeants mess a few miles from here – the bar will be open until midnight – it is funny over most dance places have a bar in them – just like a pub so you can drink and dance as you please.

The car is going well now – I have a ground mechanic who looks after it for me and does all the servicing for free of charge – jolly handy.

I got those papers and Weekly News you sent. Jolly good to get them.
Be an idea if send a Weekly say once a week or fortnight.
I sent a cable yesterday – “I hope you are all well.”

Oh by the way I forgot to mention that I received one pound 12 shillings which I suppose you sent – thanks very much. Going on leave again in about three weeks time – we get 6 days off every six weeks – could do with more but just as well as I could not afford more.

Well I think that covers the lot for the present – sorry not to have written sooner but things have been upset a bit since we were bombed — we are in temporary quarters at present will be back in our permanent quarters in a week or two I hope.

Well I had better wind up now wishing you all the very best — give my regards to everyone. I won’t go into names.

Au Revoir’
Love
Dave

Sgt. N.L. Nola
75 (NZ) Squadron
Feltwell

 

Squadron Leader William ‘Jeff’ Rees, May 21th 1920 – March 13th 2015

Jeff Rees fixed and cropped

Squadron Leader William ‘Jeff’ Rees, May 21th 1920 – March 13th 2015. © Jackie Blizard.

Some time ago I was contacted by Jackie, the daughter of Jeff Rees, who had recently passed away. Jackie wondered if I had any information on Jeff, in advance of the preparation of his obituary. I sent Jackie the citation for Jeff’s immediate D.F.C. award after his aircraft was attacked over Duisburg on the 15th of July 1941, by an unidentified enemy aircraft, resulting in the death of his 2nd Pilot Sgt. David Joyce, the mortal wounding of his Front Gunner, Sgt. David  Conibear and the injury of Rear Gunner, Sgt Gwyn William. In the ensuing melee the Observer, P/O Robert Hunter fell through the blown open hatch of the aircraft and Wireless Operator, Sgt. Ian Lewis, was stunned and deafened by a canon shell exploding near his station. Despite this and with the help of the recovered Sgt. Lewis, Jeff was able to get the aircraft and his remaining crew back safely.

I must confess, when, some weeks later Kevin sent me an email telling me about an obituary he had just seen in the Telegraph, my heart sunk as I realised I had let slip from my grasp the Op History I had promised to Jackie.

Recontacting Jackie, with the complete Op History for Jeff during his time with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, I am pleased to say she has passed on 2 pictures Of Jeff and also given permission for me to reproduce the text of Jeff’s obituary.

Squadron Leader Jeff Rees – obituary

Airman awarded a DFC after flying a flak-damaged Wellington home in perilous conditions

Jeff Rees (1)cont and cropped

One night in July 1941 Pilot Officer Rees and Sergeant Lewis were the captain and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft which attacked a target at Duisburg. Although the aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire, Pilot Officer Rees persisted in his attack and completed a successful run over the target. On the return journey whilst over the Ruhr, the aircraft was held in the beams of a large searchlight belt and subjected to an attack by an enemy fighter which inflicted severe damage. The second pilot was killed and two other members of the crew dangerously wounded, while Sergeant Lewis was badly shocked and rendered temporarily deaf when a cannon shell exploded close to him. Nevertheless, realizing that his captain was without aid and could not leave the controls, Sergeant Lewis tended his wounded comrades, afterwards collecting the navigator’ s log and maps and assisting him in setting out the courses. Pilot Officer Rees, with exceptional skill, finally overcame all navigational difficulties and helped by Sergeant Lewis who had repaired his wireless set and obtained bearings, flew back to this country where a safe landing was made. Pilot Officer Rees displayed outstanding courage and determination in extremely harassing circumstances and was ably assisted by Sergeant Lewis who showed great fortitude and initiative. Both have participated in numerous operational missions. © Jackie Blizard

Squadron Leader Jeff Rees, who has died aged 94, carried out more than 60 operations with Bomber Command and twice flew badly damaged aircraft back to Britain.

On the night of July 15 1941, Rees was the captain of a Wellington bomber of No 75 (NZ) Squadron tasked with bombing targets in Duisburg. The operation by the force of 38 bombers was disrupted by the enemy’s concentrated air defences but Rees managed to attack his target.

Crossing the Dutch-German border on the return flight, Rees’s Wellington was “coned” by searchlights and damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Almost immediately, a night fighter attacked the damaged bomber; cannon shells exploded in the cockpit and blew out the hatch in the lower fuselage.

The second pilot was killed and the front gunner severely wounded (he died in hospital). A shell splinter temporarily blinded the rear gunner, and the navigator, hurrying to assist him, fell through the missing hatch. Fortunately, he had clipped on his parachute and he landed safely to spend the next four years as a prisoner of war.

The wireless operator (Sergeant Lewis) was shocked and deafened by the explosion close to his head. For a time, Rees was left to fly the aircraft alone . Eventually Lewis recovered sufficiently to tend to the wounded, assist Rees with the navigation and obtain radio bearings to allow Rees to head for his airfield, where he made an emergency landing.

The citation for the award of an immediate DFC to Rees highlighted his “exceptional skill, and his outstanding courage and determination in extremely hazardous circumstances”. Sergeant Lewis was awarded an immediate DFM.

William Jeffrey Rees was born on May 21 1920 at Seaham, Co Durham, and was educated at Pocklington Grammar School. He joined the RAF at the outbreak of the war and trained as a pilot. In December 1940 he joined No 75 (NZ) Squadron, the first Commonwealth squadron to be formed in Bomber Command. Rees bombed targets in Germany, Italy and the French Biscay ports during early 1941 before a more concentrated campaign against industrial targets in the Ruhr. After completing his 30th operation a few weeks after his flight to Duisburg, he became a bombing instructor. He was mentioned in despatches.

12/03/1941 – Bombing Attack on Targets GY477, Town 13a and CC29
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks on the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs 500lbs 250lbs and cases on incendiaries. XDA 240 reports bombs fell in target area and fires started. XDA.245 reports bombs dropped on Dock Buildings South of DOCK . XDA.283 dropped bombs across centre of targets on Westerly Leading.
XDA.283 captained by P/O Hewitt reports his aircraft was caught and held in searchlights for 30 minutes and was shot at from the ground during that time and machine hit in may places and hydraulic gear rendered U/S which necessitated a “Crash Landing” on return. This machine was damaged.
XDA.627 reports bombs burst in target area.
XDA.671 reports bombs dropped on SCHIPOL AERODROME owing to wireless being U/S.
XDA.907 reports bombs burst in neighbourhood of AIRMINISTRY BUILDING approx. 1/2 mile S.E. of TIERGARTEN.
Two dummy aerodromes were observed to West of SCHIPOL AERODROME. Very intense heavy A.A. Fire was experienced over the whole route. Intense searchlight activity was experienced and they were mostly operating in cones. XDA.283 report seeing one MW110 over Dutch Coast.
The weather throughout this trip was very good and Navigation was by D/R Astro and Map Reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
F/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 23:15
Flight Time 03:30

13/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Hamburg
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Hits were registered in the target area and many fires were observed to be burning when last aircraft left. Heavy and light flak was experienced over the target and numerous searchlights were used working in cones. ARU 271 observed one ME109 and one ME110 near DUTCH COAST and ARU 250 engaged one JU88 results were not observed. Good weather was experienced and navigation was by D/R and Map Reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed ?
Flight Time ?

18/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Kiel and Rotterdam
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft. GKN.542, ran short of petrol and crashed at Ryhill, Yorkshire. The crew baled out, but one member, SGT. Gilmore (Wireless Operator) was killed owing to his parachute failing to open. Direct hits were scored and fired started. Two photographs of town and docks were taken by GKN.465. Intense and accurate heavy and light flak was encountered at various parts of route, and there was intense searchlight activity over target area. No enemy aircraft were observed. The weather over the target was fair, but fog was experienced over English coast on return. Navigation was by D/R, pinpoint and astro,

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Goodwin, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:50 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 08:00

23/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out individual bombing attacks against the above target. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000 lbs., 50lbs., and containers of incendiaries..
UNL.405 reports incendiaries were seen, through cloud, to ignite, but H.E. not observed.
UNL.548 bombed through 8/10 cloud. Fires were seen to start, and a red glow lit the cloud.
UNL.837 bombed within one mile of target. Flashes, but no results, were observed.
Results were not observed by UNL.896 owing to 9/10 cloud.
UNL.903 dropped incendiaries and H.E. in single stick cross target on N.E. heading, through 9/10 cloud. Explosions not observed.
UNL.951 reports incendiaries burst believed in target area. Two fires started but were quickly controlled. White explosions seen up to 10 mins later.
Four photographs were taken by UNL.405.
A.A. Fire was heavy at some parts of route: fairly accurate.
Searchlights were intense and accurate.
No enemy aircraft were seen.
Heavy cloud was experienced over target area and most of route.
Navigation was by D/R, map reading, astro, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

P/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Brenton Murray Sheppard, RNZAF NZ39977 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 09:20

03/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Agianst Brest
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. SAW.728 brought bombs back as nothing could be seen over target area owing to 10/10 cloud. SAW898(Captain, F/O. Prichard) collided in mid-air with another aircraft, believed to have been a Blenheim, and was badly damaged and a forced landing was made at Boscombe Down. The `rear Gunner of SAW.898 (F/O. Brown), shot down one Me110 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Immediate). A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 500lbs. S.A.P. and 250lbs. G.P.
SAW.639 observed docks through break in cloud and bombed. No results were seen due to haze and cloud.
Owing to freezing up of distributer, SAW.690 jettisoned bombs in salvo on dock area. Burst seen in dock area, close to water.
No results were observed by SAW.778.
SAW.810 reports bombs burst on docks in vicinity of target.
No results were observed by SAW.849.
Owing to cloud no results were observed by SAW.898 but hits presumed to be in close proximity to target.
No observations or reconnaissance were made but five photographs were attempted by SAW.778
Heavy and light flak was experienced at many parts.
Fairly accurate.
Searchlights were numerous but not very accurate. Fairly heavy cloud, with ground haze, was experienced over target area.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1161 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
F/O Brown, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:45 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 05:30

06/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Brest
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Owing to heavy cloud over target area, the operation was not successful, eight aircraft failing to locate target. The bomb load consisted of 500 S.A.P.
CDS.388 reports two explosions, the first one large and coloured red.
Results were not observed by CDS.798 as bombs were dropped on flak concentration.
Two photographs were attempted by CDS.565.
Heavy and light A.A. Fire was experienced at many parts of target.
Few searchlights were in operation, but these were useless owing to cloud.
A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks were made. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

F/O Graham Noel Parker, RAFVR 36247 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 06:00

07/04/1941 – Bombing Attack on Targets at Kiel
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The weather was good and bombs were seen to burst on or very near the targets. Fires were observed over the whole of the target area. A.A. fire was fairly heavy and intense. Searchlights operated mainly in cones and were fairly accurate. A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks developed. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro and map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 06:15

09/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Berlin
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The target area was bombed and a number od fires started. One photograph of Templehoff Aerodrome was taken by XRY.645. A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate, and searchlights were numerous and also accurate. XRY.347 reports being attacked by cannon fighter over Zuider Zee. He also attacked a Dornier three miles off Yuimuden. Good weather was experienced. Navigation was by D/R, map reading, astro and W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1457 AA-P

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:15 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 07:45

14/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Brest
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. The weather was fine but there was a thin layer of cloud over the target area. Bombs were dropped and a number of bursts were observed in target area. A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate, and searchlights were accurate when operating in cones. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1177 AA-C

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 06:00

16/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks on Bremen
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, captained by F/Lt. Fletcher, failed to locate target and bombs were bought back. The remaining aircraft all dropped bombs and bursts were observed from which fires resulted. Light and heavy A.A. fire, fairy accurate, was experienced in target areas. Searchlights were very active. One enemy aircraft was seen but no attack was made. There was a haze and layers of thin cloud over target areas. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T and map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1163 AA-?

F/O David Leatham Prichard, RAFVR 36203 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Kenneth Newman Struthers, RNZAF NZ40950 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alan Campbell, RNZAF NZ391857 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 01:30
Flight Time 05:00

24/04/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Ostend and Kiel
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Three of these aircraft failed to locate targets and bombs were bought back. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1000lbs, 500lbs, and containers of incendiaries.
SFY.154 reports that bombs were seen to burst.
SFY.426 saw bombs burst 300 yds S.W. of target.
SFY.515 reports small fire started in target area.
SFY.626 saw bombs and incendiaries burst in target area.
Target was not located by SFY.699,
Results were not observed by SFY.872
S/L Widdowson returned to base on account of the Wireless Operator being ill. Three 500lbs. were jettisoned in sea. P/O Curry failed to locate target.
F/Lt. Fletcher attacked target area and fires were started.
Two large fires were observed in target area.
A.A. fire was fairly intense and accurate.
Searchlights were numerous and working in cones.
A few enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks made.
Heavy cloud was experienced in Ostend area, but elsewhere the weather was fine. Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, W/T

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1038 AA-H

F/O Graham Noel Parker, RAFVR 36247 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O John Adam Breckell, RAF 60077 – Observer.
Sgt. Banks, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Folkes, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Alexander Thomas Rowe, RNZAF NZ401233 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 02:40
Flight Time 06:10

17/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Fourteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, CNY.170, returned to base, with bombs owing to turret trouble. The remainder all dropped their bombs, bursts being seen and fires started. It was observed that the black-out in Brussels was not good. Intense A.A. fire, and searchlights working in cones, were experienced, and although a number of enemy aircraft were seen no attacks were made. The weather was fair, but there was haze over the target areas. Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-?

P/O George Ronald Simich, RNZAF NZ391369 – Pilot.
P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Gascoyne, RAFVR 936622 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 03:15
Flight Time 04:45

After 12 Ops as a 2nd Pilot, Jeffrey took his own crew and began their tour.

23/05/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne
Ten Wellington Aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs. G.P.; 500lbs G.P.; 250 lbs. G.P.; and containers of incendiaries, while one flash bomb was carried by RWX.437.
RWX.241 attacked docks 4,5,6, at Dunkirk and reports that small fires were started in the vicinity.
RWX.275 reports that bombs were seen to burst.
Results were not observed by RWX.437.
Bomb bursts were seen by RWX.468 and reports that a large orange fire started in target.
RWX.585 bombed target area. Incendiaries were seen to burn and bombs burst.
RWX.616 dropped bombs through cloud, but bursts were not observed.
RWX.712 saw green flashes from incendiaries.
RWX.943 saw bombs burst through gaps in cloud.
RWX.991 bombed target and a small fire was started.
P/O Rees reports that no fires were observed, but there was one explosion larger than usual.
No observations were made, and no reconnaissance carried out.
Heavy and accurate A.A. fire was experienced over target areas.
There was a cone of 22 searchlights at Dunkirk. Elsewhere they were intense and fairly accurate.
No enemy aircraft were encountered.
The Weather was fair, but visibility was bad. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O (2)

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Douglas Malcolm Mackinnon, RNZAF NZ40923 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off No Time Listed – Landed No Time Listed
Flight Time No Time Listed

27/05/1941 – Daylight Search for Hipper Class Cruiser
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above search. The bomb lead was mixed and consisted “B” bombs, 500 lbs. S.A.P. The target was not located and all bombs were bought back. A large number of enemy aircraft were encountered and attacks were made on our aircraft. No serious damage was sustained. Good weather was experienced. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Holdsworth,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:15 – Landed 14:45
Flight Time 07:30

10/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Brest
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit carried out the above attacks. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 2000lbs. S.A.P., 500 lbs. S.A.P. 250lbs. S.A.P., whilst RGS.772 carried one flash bomb.
Owing to smoke screen and ground haze no results were observed but all bombs were dropped.
No observations were made.
There was moderate light and heavy A.A. fire, but not accurate.
There were few searchlights.
Two enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks made.
The weather was fine, but there was haze over the target.
D/R, astro, map reading, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. East, RAF? – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:35 – Landed 07:00
Flight Time 06:25

16/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Fifteen Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. All bombes were dropped and bursts and fires were observed in target areas. Fairly accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights, working in cones, were very active. FKU.846 reports being attacked by JU.88 on return journey. Cannon shells entered fuselage near elevator and machine gun bullets hit rear turret. There were no casualties. The weather was fine. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, astro, loop, lorenz

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. George Hardy, RNZAF NZ40935 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. East, RAF? – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 05:00

18/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Brest
Seventeen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One aircraft, MFW.819 was unable to locate the target on account of low cloud and smoke screen and bombs were bought back. Bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, but owing to smoke screen, bursts were not observed. Moderate light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, and searchlights were active. The weather was fine but there was slight haze over target area. Navigation was by D/R, W/T, map reading, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alfred Hubert Harrison, RNZAF NZ403000 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Phillip Newbury Howard, RNZAF NZ391384 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 05:20

27/06/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Bremen
Sixteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. The bomb load consisted of 1000 lbs; 500 lbs; 250 lbs; and containers of incendiaries.

TYF.138 bombed fire in target area, but failed to observe results owing to cloud.
TYF.200 reports that fires started.
TYF.226 was unable to pinpoint target owing to cloud, but bombs were dropped east of river just south of target.
TYF.393 observed bursts in target area.
TYF.447 dropped bombs on west side of river in town through gap in clouds. Bursts not observed but fire was seen in town area.
TYF.501 bombed target and observed bursts. No fires started.
TYF.571 bombed target and observed three fires started.
TYF.602 reports target obscured by cloud, but bombed flak concentrations.
TYF.617 bombed fire and enlarged it.
TYF.716 saw bombs burst in Southern part of the town.
TYF.741 reports incendiaries started fire about one mile S.E. of aiming point.
S/L. Lucas saw bombs burst across centre of city.
Results were not observed by P/O Scott.
F/Lt. Fletcher bombed factory in Bremen area, believed to be Focke Wolfe factory. Large fires seen after bombing.
F/Lt. Gill dropped bombs on town.
P/O Hamlin saw bombs burst and reports that two small fires started.
Several large fires were seen in target area. A number of dummy fires were seen on outskirts of City.
There was fairly accurate and intense heavy and light A.A. fire.
Searchlights were active, but hampered by cloud.
A few enemy aircraft were seen over the target area, but no attacks made. There was fairly heavy cloud on parts of route end in target area.
Navigation was by D/R, loop, astro, map reading, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. James Sutton Blundell, RAFVR 977531 – Wireless Operator.
P/O Brown,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 05:30

03/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Sixteen Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, W.5621, captained by Sgt. Reid, failed to return. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000lbs; 50lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.

YCJ.191 reports bombs burst in Krupps works area alongside three large fires.
Results were not observed by YCJ.234.
Owing to haze results were not observed by YCJ.272, but bombs were seen to burst in target area alongside what appeared to be coke ovens.
YCJ.389 bombed fire in target area and started four further fires around it.
YCJ.434 reports two bombs dropped on fire in target area. Four bombs hung up.
Results were not observed by YCJ.272 owing to haze, but bombs were seen to burst in target area alongside what appeared to be a coke ovens.
YCJ.389 bombed fire in target area and started four further fires around it.
YCJ.434 reports two bombs dropped on fire in target area. Four bombs hung up.
YCJ.514 observed bomb bursts in target area.
YCJ.663 saw bombs burst near and in fire round target area.
YCJ.813 bombed large fire in town. Bursts straddled target.
YCJ.956 reports large fire started.
YCJ.959 saw bombs burst on aerodrome alongside flarepath.
YCJ.970 bombed target area.
Bombs were dropped in target area by YCJ.978.
P/O Scott reports bomb bursts seen and fire started.
P/O Ashworth reports fire started in target area.
P/O Hamlin reports terrific explosions seen as bombs burst.
Several fires were observed in target area.
There was heavy and light A.A. fire. This was intense and accurate. Searchlights were intense and accurate, and working in cones.
A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks were made. The weather was fine, with cloud in some places. Haze over target.
Navigation was by D/R, W/T, astro, loop, map reading

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Dennis Thompson, RAFVR 1152206 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Edward Callander, RAFVR 1061420 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 05:05
Flight Time 05:35

05/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Munster
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 1000 lbs; 500 lbs; 250 lbs; and containers of incendiaries.

DNL.143 reports bombs were seen to burst in target area.
DNL.189 reports port engine failed. Bombed Dortmund-Ems Canal. Bombs seen to burst very close to bank. Fire started, which went out. Point aimed at approx.. 2 miles N.E. of centre of Munster.
DNL.235 saw bombs burst. Estimated on or near target.
DNL.672 bombed near large fire in town just S.E. of marshalling yard.
DNL.748 bombed centre of target, and bombs were seen exploding causing fires which were seen to increase on leaving area. Fires seen from 60 miles away.
DNL.785 bombed very large fire on aiming point. Fire spread just afterwards.
DNL.843 bombed large fire in centre of target area.
DNL.914 dropped bombs in target area and caused large red fires.
P/O Hamlin saw bursts on target.
Sgt. Fotheringham saw bursts on centre of target.
P/O Scott was first on target and started huge fires with incendiaries. Three large explosions were seen. Bombs are believed to have hit chemical works.
Several large fires were observed in and around target area.
A.A. fire was very slight. Heavy and light.
Searchlights were fairly numerous at parts of route, but there were few in the target area.
P/O. Scott reports one Me.109 closed in to 150 yards. Rear gunner fired two bursts and the 109 dived away. Two others seen, but no attacks.
The weather was fine and clear.
Navigation was by D/R, map reading, W/T, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. A. G. Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cadieux, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Edward Callander, RAFVR 1061420 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 05:15

07/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Munster
Ten Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, CNF.994, captained by S/Ldr. Widdowson, was attacked by one Me.110 over the middle of the Zuider Zee and was badly damaged. The rear gunner attacked the enemy aircraft which fell away and dived into the sea with heavy smoke pouring from the port engine. On the journey back to base, fire broke out on the Wellington and the 2nd Pilot, SGT. Ward, climbed out on to the starboard wing and attempted to smother the fire, but with only partial success. The fire eventually burned itself out and a landing was made at Newmarket. For his courageous action SGT. Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross; while S/Ldr. Widdowson and Sgt. Box the rear gunner received immediate awards of the D.F.C. and D.F.M. respectively. (For fuller story see “SUMMARY OF OUTSTANDING EVENTS” at end of Forms 540).

CNF.240 reports bombs fell right on aiming point; 1000lbs. caused red glow which sprang into two fires, afterwards running into one.
CNF.260 reports bombs fell across target.
CNF.401 bomber center of target area. Several large fires within target area seen as well as numerous scattered small fire in other parts of town.
CNF.477 reports S.B.C.’s started good fire near target.
CNF.523 was unable to pinpoint Munster.
CNF.605 bombed target.
CNF.708 bombed target and added to fires already there.
CNF719 reports G.P. bombs seen to burst in target. Incendiaries fell close to bursts.
CNF.994 saw bombs burst on target.
F/Lt. Gill bombed target.
Many large fire were observed on aiming point. Dummy fire and explosion seen 10 miles N.E. of
target.
There was very slight medium light A.A. fire.
Searchlight activity was very slight.
The weather was fine and clear.
Navigation was by D/R, pinpoints, beacons, astro, W/T. map reading.

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gwyn-Williams, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Edward Callander, RAFVR 1061420 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 05:00

13/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen
Eleven Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, X.9634 captained by Sgt. Miniken was climbing on course when, apparently without warning, the starboard engine cut at 6000 feet. He turned for base but lost height rapidly and force landed near the beach off Corton near Lowestoft. Sgt. Miniken and Sgt. Gilding (Navigator) were rescued but the others are missing.
Bursts were not observed by YCJ.505.
YCJ.609 bombed on E.T.A., but results were unobserved.
YCJ.724 bombed aerodrome 5 miles N/E/ of Ymuiden. A fire was noted on leaving target.
YCJ.726 was unable to locate target owing to 10/10 clouds and storms. Bombes were dropped on two ships 5 miles North of Terchelling. Bomb bursts seen but no results observed.
Results were not observed by YCJ.819.
YCJ.947 bombed target after obtaining astro fix;10/10 cloud.
YCJ.247 bombed on E.T.A. through 10/10 cloud. After bombing heavy flak opened up one mile to port.
Results were not observed by P/O. Ashworth.
P/O Scott dropped bombs 5 minutes short of E.T.A. as plane was icing up and losing altitude. Results not observed due to 10/10 cloud. Sgt. Saunders jettisoned bombs in target area owing to icing –up of aircraft. Ten-tenths thunder cloud prevented any observations of results.
Fairly heavy and accurate A.A. fire encountered on route and in target area.
There were few searchlights in operation.
A number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks resulted.
The weather was poor. Ten-tenths cloud over target: severe icing conditions.
Navigation was by D/R, map reading, W/T, beacons, astro, loop

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cadieux, RAFVR   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gywn-Willaims, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:00 – Landed 05:10
Flight Time 06:10

15/07/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Duisburg
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, R.3171 captained by SGT. Fotheringham, failed to return to base. Another, W.5663, captained P/O Rees, (RJT.533) was attacked by unidentified enemy fighter over the target. The aircraft was badly damages and the 2nd Pilot Sgt. Joyce was killed. SGT. Conibear, the front gunner, was seriously injured and died in hospital; and SGT. Gwyn-Williams was injured (Rear gunner). The aircraft returned to base where a landing was made. P/O Rees was awarded the D.F.C.; and the wireless operator, SGT. Lewis, was awarded the D.F.M.

RJT.147 bombed marshalling yard south of aiming point.
RJT.319 Observed bomb bursts in target area.
RJT.385 Attacked target area and saw bomb bursts.
RJT.445 bombed target area.
RJT.533 bombed target area, but thin cloud prevented accurate pin-point.
RJT.570 reports big fire started by bombs on target area.
RJT.683 located target, but it was not clearly pinpointed. A fix was obtained from Rhine and autobahn. Bombs dropped in salvo on large fire within radius of 3 miles of target.
P/O Ashworth reports that results were not observed over Ruhr, but a fire was started and a building blown up on an aerodrome 6 miles south of Hague. Heavy accurate predicted A.A. fire was encountered in target area. Searchlights were very active and accurate. The weather was good, but there was a layer of cloud over target. Navigation was by map reading, D/R, W/T, astro

Wellington Mk.Ic W.5663 AA-O

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
Sgt. David Campbell Joyce, RNZAF NZ401278 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, RCAF J.3754 – Observer.
Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. David Henry Conibear, RAFVR 932380 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Gywn-Willaims, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:05 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 04:30

The citation for D.F.C. (Immediate) P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395  and D.F.M. (Immediate) Sgt. Ian William Lewis, RAFVR 952538 read as follows:
“One night in July 1941 Pilot Officer Rees and Sergeant Lewis were the captain and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft which attacked a target at Duisburg. Although the aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire, Pilot Officer Rees persisted in his attack and completed a successful run over the target. On the return journey whilst over the Ruhr, the aircraft was held in the beams of a large searchlight belt and subjected to an attack by an enemy fighter which inflicted severe damage. The second pilot was killed and two other members of the crew dangerously wounded, while Sergeant Lewis was badly shocked and rendered temporarily deaf when a cannon shell exploded close to him. Nevertheless, realizing that his captain was without aid and could not leave the controls, Sergeant Lewis tended his wounded comrades, afterwards collecting the navigator’ s log and maps and assisting him in setting out the courses. Pilot Officer Rees, with exceptional skill, finally overcame all navigational difficulties and helped by Sergeant Lewis who had repaired his wireless set and obtained bearings, flew back to this country where a safe landing was made. Pilot Officer Rees displayed outstanding courage and determination in extremely harassing circumstances and was ably assisted by Sergeant Lewis who showed great fortitude and initiative. Both have participated in numerous operational missions.”

12/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Le Havre
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft SXA.893, captained by P/O. Roberts, after successfully bombing the target was attacked over the Zuyder Zee by an enemy fighter which hit him with a long burst. He in turn hit the enemy which disappeared in a steep dive. Our aircraft sustained extensive damage, and when nearing base his petrol ran out. He succeeded in baling out five of his crew but he himself had no time to jump. By the aid of his landing light he picked out a firebreak in a forestry plantation and landed safely with little additional damage.
SXA.110 reports that target area was bombed and bombs were seen to ignite but no pinpoint was made.
SXA.243 reports that it was impossible to see the railway station, but the town was identified and hit scored in target area.
SXA.526 bombed small fire in target area. Bombs were seen to burst nearby.
SXA.632 dropped bombs on east side of Dock 6. Fire was started and bomb bursts seen.
SXA.799 reports bombs were dropped in target area.
The target area was bombed by SXA.893.
SXA.965 saw bomb and incendiaries burst across target and fires were started.
P/O. Williams bombed target area and fires were seen.
P/O. Scott started a fire and an explosion was seen.
Large dummy fires and a dummy flare path were observed in vicinity of targets.
There was spasmodic heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights over target.
Searchlights were numerous, but not troublesome.
Thunderstorms were encountered on route and there was slight cloud and haze in target area.
Navigation was D/R, pinpoints, W/T. loop, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAF 67072 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Green,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:15 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 04:30

14/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs; 500lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.
ROB.214 reports bombs fell probably near centre of town but to N.W. of railway station. Bursts observed. Large fires seen when leaving. Have and cloud over target made pinpointing impossible.
ROB.417 bombed south of town.
ROB.476 reports one very large fire started approx.. half mile N.W. of target aiming point.
ROB.556 dropped bombs in target area.
ROB.577 reports that bursts were see and a small fire started.
P/O. Scott reports bomb bursts see and a large fire started.
S/L. Widdowson bombed target.
P/O. Williams bombed buildings near target.
Several dummy fires were observed around target area.
A.A fire was fairly intense and co-operating with searchlights.
Searchlights were active.
ROB.214 was attacked by enemy aircraft, probably JU.88, at about 1200feet over base. One head-on attack was made with cannon and machine gun, but no hits scored. Avoided enemy action by diving to about 200 feet.
The weather was fine in target area, but there was heavy cloud on route.
Navigation was D/R, W/T, loop, astro, Q.D.M.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAF 67072 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:30 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 07:00

26/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne and Boulogne
Fourteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. SWU.567 failed to identify the target and bombs were jettisoned over the sea when petrol gauges had been showing zero for approximately one hour. Another aircraft, captained by Sgt Curlewis, failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were returned. All other aircraft dropped their bombs, but heavy cloud in the target area prevented observation of results. A.A. fire was moderate and predicted. Searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks made

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O Walter John Smith, RAF 1058110/ 67704 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:00 – Landed 05:35
Flight Time 05:35

29/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, BRO.345 failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were brought back. All bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, but heavy cloud made observations of results difficult. A.A. fire was heavy and accurate. No enemy aircraft were seen.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O Walter John Smith, RAF 1058110/ 67704 – 2nd Pilot..
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Observer.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:50 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 07:10

Jeff returned to operations in January 1944 when he joined No 139 Squadron to fly the Mosquito in Bomber Command’s Pathfinder Force. Initially the squadron flew ahead of the main bomber force to drop “window” (thin metal backed paper strips) to confuse the enemy’s early warning radars.

Later in the year it was equipped with a precision radar for navigation and bombing and, using this new aid, dropped markers over the target as aiming points for the follow-on bomber force.

Rees attacked Berlin on a number of occasions. On one flight he was over the target when his Mosquito was hit by anti-aircraft fire, which knocked out one of the aircraft’s two engines. Rees flew the badly damaged Mosquito back to England on one engine. He was awarded a bar to his DFC. During the build-up to the Allied invasion in Normandy, the crews of No 139 attacked the coastal batteries and radar installations.

After almost 10 months of continuous operations, Rees was rested and became a pilot instructor on Mosquitoes before being seconded to BOAC to fly long-range routes to the Near and Far East.

On leaving the RAF in October 1946, he was one of a number of ex-Pathfinder pilots recruited by Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett (former commander of the Pathfinders) to join British South American Airways (BSAA).

The job was allocated on a “first come, first served” basis and Rees – driving “Baby Lou”, his decrepit Austin 7 – was the last to arrive in time to be offered an appointment as a captain. He flew converted Lancaster bombers and the ill-fated Avro Tudor on routes to the Caribbean and South America.

After a series of crashes due to technical failures, the airline was wound up and the pilots transferred to one of the two state airlines.

Rees joined BOAC (later British Airways) and flew four-engine piston airliners on long-haul flights before converting to the Bristol Britannia. He flew the early jet airliners and was flying the Boeing 747 when he retired as one of the airline’s most senior captains. After a brief and difficult period flying for Iraqi Airways from Baghdad, he retired.

A keen ornithologist, he also enjoyed his garden and was fascinated by meteorology.

Jeff Rees was married three times and his wives predeceased him. He is survived by three sons and two daughters.

Squadron Leader Jeff Rees, born May 21 1920, died March 13 2015

Jackie would love to find out more about Jeff’s time in 139 Squadron, so if anybody has access to information on the Squadron and more specifically, reference to Jeff, please contact me and I will make sure it is passed on to Jackie and the family.