Tag Archives: D McNeil

Request for information – Solingen, 4th of November 1944

soligen

Target photo taken by Jack Wall, A/B with Jack Bailey’s crew over Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. The information at the foot of the photograph contains the following information: Squadron Base – Mep is Mepal. Date. Height. Compass bearing. Time. Target. Bomb Load. Camera and Flash setting. Pilots Rank and Name. Aircraft letter and Squadron number.

I was contacted by Matthias last week with information of a potentially fascinating project. Matthias works for the local TV station in Wermelskirchen who are preparing to make a programme about the raid on Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. He is keen to gather as much information as possible – and has contacted me to put out a request to any relatives of the boys who flew on the Op, who might have any information, whether it be stories, photographs or even perhaps logbook notes. Matthias is particularly keen to try to make contact with any relatives of Harry Scott’s crew, who were all lost on the Solingen Op.

Having put together the complete crew list for this Op, I was fascinated to see perhaps a tie up in a detail mentioned in this post and elsewhere on the blog. The first aircraft in the Op list below is LM266 AA-A. The AIR14/3463 Damage Report for this Op lists this aircraft as being hit by debris from an exploding aircraft. Putting in a blind, but optimistic search into the blog through up a post I had made about the myth of the ‘Scarecrow’ and amazingly, the logbook entry by John Dickinson (Mid Upper Gunner with Charlie Spain’s crew) that recorded a ‘Scarecrow’ was Solingen – Whilst I cannot be sure, the proximity of the 195 Squadron aircraft  (HK658 ) to LM266, the fact that John witnessed it, I think, makes it quite a possibility – of the 4 aircraft lost on this Op (3 from 195 and ND917 from 75(NZ) Squadron), only HK658 is listed in the AIR14/3463 Damage Report as exploding – and in fact identifies 2 other aircraft, both from 195 Squadron being hit, Like LM266, with the debris.

log27&28 scarecrow crop

Extract form John Dickinson’s logbook for the Solingen raid, 4th November 1944, noting the loss of a Lancaster by a ‘Scarecrow’. © Dickinson Estate

04/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Twenty one aircraft took off to attack Solingen in daylight, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb incendiaries and No.17 Clusters. All crews dropped their bombs in the target area, but the raid appeared to be scattered. Flak opposition was moderate. One aircraft captained by NZ428797 F/O J. Scott, failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-A ” (43)
Damage not due to Enemy Action – Hit by debris from an exploding Lancaster – thought to be 195 Sqdn HK658 ‘C’ (exploded)

F/L Alan Roy Bidwell Barton, RNZAF NZ413930 – Pilot.
P/O John Gerald Birch, RNZAF NZ429035 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Semple, RAFVR 1558692/ 190519 – Air Bomber.
P/O John Alister MacDonald Stuart, RNZAF NZ404633 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. Smith, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie John Moore, RAFVR 2219346/ 188668 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. F. Williams, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:51 – Landed 16:23
Flight Time 04:32
Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B  (15)

W/C Roy John Alexander Leslie, RAFVR/ RNZAF 36255/ NZ2427 – Pilot.
F/L Frank Ross Dawes, RNZAF NZ417273 – Navigator.
P/O Raymond Alexander Ramsay, RNZAF NZ416866 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Vincent Kemp, RAFVR 1492881/ 188505 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Funnell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Woods, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Cliff Newman, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

This appears to essentially be Nelson Bright’s crew – though I have no information to explain why Nelson is absent.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:07
Flight Time 04:22
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H  (6)

F/O Jeffery Baines, RNZAF NZ414577 – Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Allen Holt, RNZAF NZ4211049 – Navigator.
F/S John Kennedy Clements, RAAF AUS.418070 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Aldridge, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. McCleod?, ? – Mid Upper Gunner. No apparent record of this individual
Sgt. E. Bates, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:31
Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G  (25)

F/O Raymond Arthur Cumberpatch, RNZAF NZ427543 – Pilot.
Sgt. Norman Frederick Wilson, RAFVR 1584666/ 190665 – Navigator.
F/S Clayton Dickson Williams, RNZAF NZ4214071 – Air Bomber.
W/O Lindsay Roy Switzer, RNZAF NZ422008 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Sinclair, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Tom Grady, RNZAF NZ416829 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Walter Dalziel Sneddon, RNZAF NZ425436 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:01
Flight Time 04:16
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C  (32)

F/L Leslie Arthur Martyn, RNZAF NZ417082 – Pilot.
P/O Thomas Issac Elliot, RNZAF NZ421364 – Navigator.
P/O Allan Roy Frank Dunkerley, RAAF AUS.423083 – Air Bomber.
P/O Henry James Abrahams, RAFVR 1313153/ 183761 – Wireless Operator.
F/S A. Golembeck, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Lindsay, RAFVR 1624589 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P/O Andrew Roy Wright, RCAF J.88789 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:42 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:28
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J  (60)

F/O Maurice Edward Dare, RNZAF NZ425238 – Pilot.
F/O Gordon Howe Warren, RNZAF NZ4212904 – Navigator.
F/S Norman Farquhar McDonald, RNZAF NZ429073 – Air Bomber.
F/S William Donovan Neville, RNZAF NZ425538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Dunbar, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Alfred Thomas Bannan, RNZAF NZ425760 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Gordon Lawton, RNZAF NZ4210874 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:08
Flight Time 04:28

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K  (29)

S/L Roy Campbell Earl, RNZAF NZ411388 – Pilot.
F/O Edgar William Lovejoy, RAFVR 745516/ 142868 – Navigator.
F/O J. Rich, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
P/O Patrick Hugh Finnegan, RAFVR 1344819/ 159025 – Wireless Operator.
W/O Leslie Howells, RAFVR 1417820/ 187820 – Flight Engineer.
W/O W. Brown, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O William Henry Goodridge, RAFVR 635318/ 53370 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:41 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 04:22
Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (50)

F/L Wylie James Wakelin, RNZAF NZ391390 – Pilot.
P/O Percival McDowell Johnston, RNZAF NZ4215865 – Navigator.
P/O Graham Barker Appleby, RNZAF NZ422653 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John De Hoop, RAFVR 1810752/ 191161 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Leveridge, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Watts, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Kennedy, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R  (39)

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Madden, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:30
Flight Time 04:45
Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U  (19)

F/O Charles Thomas Spain, RAFVR 921159/ 178068 – Pilot.
F/S P. Johnson,   – Navigator
F/S Leonard Charles James, RNZAF NZ4211046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Laurence Percy Bergman, RAAF AUS.424579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. D. McNeil, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Townson Dickinson, RAFVR 2221282 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John ‘Steve’ Chamberlain, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:35 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q  (25)

F/O Kenneth William Cooper, RAFVR 1440684 – Pilot.
F/S Ian Campbell Cowie, RNZAF NZ425738 – Navigator.
Sgt. J.J. Fitzgerald, RAFVR 658963 – Air Bomber.
F/S Vernon John Smith, RNZAF NZ416826 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Alderson, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Cousins, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Clayton, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:35
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (42)

F/O Martin Adam Kilpatrick, RNZAF NZ421919 – Pilot.
P/O Raymond Sinclair Tait, RNZAF NZ4213951 – Navigator.
Sgt. M. ‘ Jock’ Cattenach, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Wesley Geoffrey ‘Geoff’ Davenport, RAFVR 1817811/ 196353 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Benjamin Charles ‘Ben’ Barton, RAFVR 56702 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Albert ‘Titch’ Halliday, RAFVR 1899145 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert ‘Bob’ Olive, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (30)

P/O Douglas Ross Sadgrove, RNZAF NZ425292 – Pilot.
F/S Robert Trevor Dixon, RNZAF NZ4212652 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Stimpson, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick Flemming, RNZAF NZ425241 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Bernard John Mahoney, RAFVR 1628335/ 190539 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Robert Samuel Bawden, RNZAF NZ4212629 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Dallimore, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.III ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’ (69)

F/L Thomas Christie Waugh, RAFVR 159174 – Pilot.
P/O Colin William Hannam Woonton, RNZAF NZ429055 – Navigator.
F/S Robert Irwin Swetland, RAFVR 1098818, 186577 – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Kidd, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. N. Southgate, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S James Baird Nickels, RNZAF NZ425852 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S David Frank Sage, RNZAF NZ424824 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 16:24
Flight Time 04:53
Lancaster Mk.III NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ (73)

S/L John Mathers ‘Jack’ Bailey, RNZAF NZ412183 – Pilot.
P/O Jack Geoffrey Brewster, RNZAF 130520 – Navigator.
F/O Jack Christopher Wall, RAFVR 143421 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Richard Pickup, RAFVR 98926/ 188816 – Wireless Operator.
F/O Norman Bartlett, RAFVR 54290 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Thomas Douglas Gregory, RAFVR 1283636/ 183718 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Roy Corfield, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:29 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 04:34
Lancaster Mk.I HK597 JN-P ‘Bad Penny IV’ (29)

F/O Francis Colin Wood, RNZAF NZ414715 – Pilot.
F/S R. Johnson, RAFVR – Navigator.
P/O Leslie Ronald Hurcombe, RAFVR 153900 – Air Bomber.
F/S Arthur Albert Charles Taylor, RAFVR 1583883, 186770 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Gibbs, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. A. Wolley, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Mahoney, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 16:04
Flight Time 04:33
Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W ‘The Paper Doll’ (51)

F/O Leonard Boyer, RAFVR 1602332/ 184498 – Pilot.
F/S M. Mendes, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Allan Jospeph Couper, RAAF AUS.430013 – Air Bomber.
F/S Roderick Wilfred Blue, RNZAF NZ426307 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Burkell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. R. Adlard, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Davies, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:33 – Landed 16:00
Flight Time 04:27
Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-T ” (20)

P/O Patrick Leo McCartin, RAAF AUS.419328 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Miles, RAFVR 845847/ 187426 – Navigator.
P/O Leonard Arthur Martin, RAFVR 153528 – Air Bomber.
F/S Phillip Francis Smith, RAAF AUS. 427206 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William John Warlow, RAFVR 1653307 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Dennis George Albert Bryer, RAFVR 1874880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Gray, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 15:59
Flight Time 04:25
Lancaster Mk.III ND917 JN-O ” (70)

F/O John Harold Scott, RNZAF NZ428797 – Pilot.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 29, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Alister Henry Scott, RNZAF NZ428259 – Navigator.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 27, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Kenneth Peder Christian Andersen, RNZAF NZ429128 – Air Bomber.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 28, during a raid on Solingen, Germany. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/S Edward John Francis Howard, RNZAF NZ424469 – Wireless Operator.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 24, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Howard Mansel Thomas, RAFVR 1895708 – Flight Engineer.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 26, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt. John Thomas Beardmore, RAFVR 1818755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 19, during a raid on Solingen, Germany, Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Joseph Thomas Bayes, RAFVR 1595589, 185783 – Rear Gunner.
Died Saturday 4 November 1944, age 35, during a raid on Solingen, Germany. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed Missing
Flight Time Missing
Lancaster Mk.III ND911 JN-V  (65)

F/O Robert Gordon Cuming, RNZAF NZ428083 – Pilot.
F/S John Gilbert ‘Jack’ Scott, RNZAF NZ4213321 – Navigator.
F/S Sydney George Sewell, RNZAF NZ423916 – Air Bomber.
F/S John Durant ‘Jack’ Christie, RNZAF NZ426309 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.C. Lambert, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Scott, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. McElligott, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:35 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:45
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D  (38)

F/L Victor John Andrew, RNZAF NZ421343 – Pilot.
P/O Eric James Osborne, RNZAF NZ422795 – Navigator.
F/S Edward James Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428261 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Roberts, RAAF AUS.426010 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Huckle, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E. Hadigate, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry Grout, RCAF R.109213 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:30 – Landed 16:05
Flight Time 04:35

Gordon Ford RAFVR 1523080 – Wireless Operator. 1944

75 Sqdn page 1

I am pleased to present the Logbook of Gordon Ford, the content of which has provided such interesting content for the previous post on Gordon and his crew. Many thanks to Ian for the generous donation.

Read Gordon’s logbook here

Request for Information – Gordon Ford, Wireless Operator. Farr & Watson crew.

Many thanks to Ian,  via Nevin, for contacting me regarding his Father Gordon.

Gordon and his crew certainly seemed to have an interesting stay with the Squadron – spending 2 periods at Mepal with 2 different Pilots. A first tour was apparently cut short after their  Pilot, Bill Farr was injured by flak. A return to 1651 H.C.U and No.3 L.F.S. saw them come back to the Squadron in February of 1945 with a new skipper – Matt Watson.

Ian is keen to find out what ever he can about his Father – so as always, lets hope someone sees this post and is able to tell him more…….

Form 540 (September 1944)
Administration
NZ427798 F/S Farr, W. and crew arrived on posting from No.31 Base.

6.9.44. War Ops – Attack Against Harqueboc Near Le Havre
Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R
F/S William John Farr RNZAF NZ427798 – Pilot
F/S Kenneth Raffill Wood RNZAF NZ4212783 – Navigator
F/S Richard Godfrey Dawson RNZAF NZ421686 – Air Bomber
F/S Gordon Ford RAFVR 1523080 – Wireless Operator
Sgt. L. Cook RAFVR – Flight Engineer
Sgt. W. Mentiply RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt. A. Bolland RAFVR – Rear Gunner

8.9.44. War Ops – Attack Against Doudenville
Lancaster Mk. I HK574 AA-R

10.9.44. War Ops – Attack Against Montvilliers
Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R

12.9.44. War Ops – Attack Against Frankfurt
Lancaster Mk.I ME753  AA-N
Gordon flies this Op with Jack Plummer’s crew – recorded in his logbook, but not listed in Form 541 – Wireless Operator is recorded as F. Chambers

20.9.44. War Ops – Attack Against Calais
Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S

4.10.44. Gardening – Mining in the Kattegat
Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M (note in Logbook says ‘101 Ops’ – though it is not clear what this refers to)
Sgt D. McNeil replaces Sgt. Cook as Flight Engineer

6.10.44. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P
Sgt. K. Futter replaces Sgt. McNeil as Flight Engineer
Logbook notes – ‘ German Fighter destroyed – also ‘skipper injured’ – destruction of enemy a/c corroborated in 541 Ops diary notes.

It would therefore suggest that the injury sustained by Jack Farr was serous enough to end his flying career – certainly with 75(NZ) Squadron…..

My only relative knowledge of a similar situation, relative to the loss of a Pilot on a 2nd Dickie Op for example is that the remaining ‘headless’ crew are dispersed in the Squadron – this is certainly was how Bill Lake and Tom Darbyshire ended up in my Father’s crew in 1943 after their skipper, Jack Thomson  was killed on his second ‘second dickie’ operation with the Bailie crew on the 3rd August to Hamburg. I can envisage in a similar situation that the remaining airmen might be simply dispersed back to OTU’s or HCU’s – but its a surprise to me that they were sent back on mass – though of course, in all these matters, I stand to be corrected…….

Gordon then finds himself at 1651 Conversion Unit and No.3 L.F.S. with the rest of his crew……

Subsequent digging in the ORB would   suggest that essentially the whole ‘ex’ Farr crew went with Gordon – the Flight Engineer’s position just before the time of Jack Farr’s injury, began to rotate, so one must assume the original FE,  Sgt. Cook left for some reason and the FE on the Dortmund Op, was a regular member of Jim Elmslie’s crew. I’m not aware of this happening before, essentially a whole crew essentially sent back into training to pick up a pilot – in this case, Matthew Watson.

Form 540 (January 1945)
17.1.45 Administration
176130 F/O M. Watson and crew arrived on posting from No.31 Base.

2.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wiesbaden
Lancaster Mk.III LM733  AA-R
F/O Matthew Watson RAFVR 1495959/ 176130 – Pilot
F/S Kenneth Raffill Wood RNZAF NZ4212783 – Navigator
F/S Richard Godfrey Dawson RNZAF NZ421686 – Air Bomber
F/S Gordon Ford RAFVR 1523080 – Wireless Operator
Sgt. R. Pare RAFVR – Flight Engineer
Sgt. W. Mentiply RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt. A. Bolland RAFVR – Rear Gunner

3.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I ME450  AA-W

13.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dreseden
Lancaster Mk.I HK561 (orb shows HL)  AA-Y

14.2.45. War Ops
– Attack Against Chemnitz
Lancaster Mk.I HK561  AA-Y
F/S Patrick Reedy  replaces Sgt. Pare as Flight Engineer

22.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Osterfeld
Lancaster Mk.III  LM733 AA-R
Sgt. Pare returns as Flight Engineer

25.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Kamen
Lancaster Mk.I LM276  AA-S
Logbook notes –   ‘Skipper hit – wounded in chest’ – Form 541 Op notes say ‘Pilot hit by flak’.

4.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wanne Eickel
Lancaster Mk.I PB132  AA-X

5.3.45. War Ops
– Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Lancaster Mk.I RF157 AA-X

7.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wesel
Lancaster Mk.I RF157 AA-X

9.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Datteln
Lancaster Mk.I PB132  AA-X

10.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen Buer
Lancaster Mk.I  RF157 AA-X
Logbook notes –  ‘1,085 Lancs on’

12.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I RF157  AA-X

14.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Heinrich Hutte
Lancaster Mk.I RF157  AA-X
Logbook notes –  ‘a/c hit’

18.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Bruchstrasse
Lancaster Mk.I RF157  AA-X

21.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Munster Viaduct
Lancaster Mk.I RF127  AA-W

27.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Hamm
Lancaster Mk.I RF157  AA-X

14.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Potsdam
Lancaster Mk.I RF157  AA-X

1.5.45. Supply Dropping at Delft
Lancaster Mk.III PB427  AA-U (Logbook notes ‘W’)
Logbook notes –  ‘Grocery Boys’

11.5.45. Repatriation of Prisoners of War at Juvincourt
Lancaster Mk.I RF157  AA-X

12.5.45. Repatriation of Prisoners of War at Juvincourt
Lancaster Mk.I  AA-X
Logbook notes – ‘weather U/S – recalled’

14.5.45. Repatriation of Prisoners of War at Juvincourt
Lancaster Mk.I HK576  AA-L
Logbook notes – ‘Junincourt to Ford Very Dicey – overshot on 3 engines port inner u/s’.

29.5.45. Viewing the effects of Bombing
Lancaster Mk.HK576  AA-L  – a/c details assumed from previous Op and Logbook details –
3 passengers in addition to normal crew W/O Murphy, F/S Waterman, Cpl Rivers
Logbook notes – ‘Cooks tour over Ruhr’

The back page of Gordon’s Logbook lists Mepal as ‘to 6th June 1945′. After this No. 11F/U Talbenny, July 1945 to August 1945, then No. 16 F/U Dunkswell, August 1945 to May 1946 – this seems to coincide with the hand-back of this station from the U.S. Navy to the RAF.

An interesting additional note is;
‘Flew with Jack Farr 74 times, Flew with Matt Watson 86 times’ – clearly this represents the entire times of training both pre operational and non operational training flights whilst with 75(NZ) Squadron, but nevertheless is an impressive total.

John Townson Dickinson RAFVR (2221282) logbook

log23&24

Many thanks to Tom for sending his Grandads logbook to add to the collection. John Dickinson was Mid Upper Gunner with Charles Spain’s crew, completing a tour at Mepal between 18th September and 21st December 1944 with ‘B’ flight.

Read John’s logbook here

John Townson Dickinson, Mid Upper Gunner – Spain crew

Many thanks to Tom for contacting me about his grandad, John Dickinson, who was the Mid Upper Gunner with the Spain crew. John sadly passed away last October, leaving both Tom and his father knowing little about what he did during the war. A gift of a copy of Harry Yates excellent book ‘Luck and a Lancaster’ resulted in Tom and his dad taking a trip down to Cambridgeshire this last Fathers Day, there they first found the airfield marker for Mepal, then the Memorial Garden and I am pleased to say, apparently my fathers plaque on the memorial wall as well.

Tom contacted me the day after and I am pleased to provide for him, his father and perhaps anybody else who might know something more of this crew, a crew list and Op history.

The Spain crew were;
F/O Charles Thomas Spain RAFVR (921159, 178068) – Pilot.
F/Sgt Nelson Keith Haldane Renner RNZAF (NZ4215892, 70171) – Navigator
Plt Off Leonard Charles James RNZAF (NZ4211046) – Air Bomber
Plt Off Laurence Percy Bergman RAAF (AUS.424579) – Wireless Operator.
Sgt D McNeil RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt John Townson Dickinson RAFVR (2221282) – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt John (Steve) Chamberlain RAFVR – Rear Gunner

10.9.44. – 178068 P/O C. Spain and crew arrived from No.31 Base.

Rather frustratingly there appears to be no record of a 2nd Dickie flight for Charles before his crew begin to fly operationally.

20.9.44. War Ops – Attack against Calais
23.9.44. War Ops – Attack against Neuss
25.9.44. War Ops – Attack against Calais
26.9.44. War Ops – Attack against  Cap Gris Nez
27.9.44. War Ops – Attack against Calais
3.10.44. War Ops – Attack against West Kapelle Dyke
5.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Saarbrucken
6.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Dortmund
7.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Emmerich
14.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Duisberg
14/15.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Duisberg
23.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Essen
23.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Essen
29.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against West Kappelle
30.10.44. War Ops –  Attack against Cologne
2.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Homberg
4.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Solingen
6/7.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Coblenz
8.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Homberg
15.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Dortmund
27.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Cologne
28/29.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Neuss
30.11.44. War Ops –  Attack against Osterfeld
4.12.44. War Ops –  Attack against Oberhausen
5.12.44. War Ops –  Attack against Hamm
8.12.44. War Ops –  Attack against Duisberg
11.12.44. War Ops –  Attack against Osterfeld
16.12.44. War Ops –  Attack against Siegen
21.12.44. War Ops –  Attack against Trier

I make that a total of 29 Ops for the crew, plus Charles missing 2nd Dickie flight and this would mean that the crew were tour expired – and lucky to survivie a very torrid period in the Squadrons history.

Incredibly, as I write this post, Tom is sending through his Grandad’s logbook – so I will be able to check back to make sure I haven’t missed any ops from the boys total.