Tag Archives: Drayton

Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans – updated post

I’m pleased to say John has just sent me a photograph of Taffy Williams , taken with his younger brother on the front lawn of the Vicarage in Long Compton, Warwickshire where the family were billeted. The photograph was taken in May, 1944, just three weeks or so before Taffy was killed in a flying accident.

view the updated post from the weekend here.

Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, Observer – ‘As we go zooming through the skyway’

Taffy and youngest brother David contcppd

A picture of Taffy messing about with John’s younger brother David on the front lawn of the Vicarage in Long Compton, Warwickshire where they were billeted. The photograph was taken in May, 1944, just three weeks or so before Taffy was killed in a flying accident. © John Quinn

Many thanks to John who contacted me, I must confess a while back, regarding ‘Taffy’ Evans, an Observer with numerous crews, who flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF during 1941. John then a small boy, got to know Clarence and others from 75(NZ) Squadron between 1942 and 1944 – we must assume therefore that certainly Clarence and perhaps the other airman were now screened and on instructional duties.

“My parents first met Taffy and his colleagues from 75 Squadron at the Crown Hotel in Chipping Norton when we were evacuated from London to ‘Chippy’ in Oxfordshire. The group was stationed at the nearby RAF aerodrome in Moreton-in-Marsh, some 10/12 miles away. They told us that they had been sent there to practice ‘circuits and bumps’ on Wellingtons. A few had already been on active service out of Feltwell targeting German battleships  sheltered in Norwegian fjords.  A highlight of my wartime youth was being smuggled at night into the airfield in the back of Taffy’s little Morris 7 to be shown around a Wellington bomber. It was an unique experience for me, an eleven year old, with vivid recollections still of sitting in the rear gunners turret and up front in the cockpit. I’m sure Taffy’s CO would not have approved.

Great friendships developed and Taffy and his colleagues made many visits to our home for social/musical evenings – my mother being a concert pianist. It was part of every visit that the evening would end with the group singing ‘tiny ball on end of string’ followed by  the 75(NZ) Squadron song.. All the family learnt it’s verses (see below). For my part, I sang the squadron song at a children’s singing competition at Chipping Norton Town Hall. I won first prize: Two shillings and sixpence!

Taffy, at the time that we met him, was an ‘Observer’, but he frequently expressed a desire to get his pilot’s wings. This he eventually achieved following pilot training in Canada.

Our last visit with him was shortly before D Day in June ’44 when he visited us in Long Compton, Warwickshire where we were billeted at a Vicarage following  yet a further evacuation. Taffy died shortly after the visit  in an aircraft accident, whilst piloting a Mosquito fighter, at RAF Station High Ercall. He is buried at Blacon(Regional) Cemetery, Chester. Grave number A107.

The 75th Squadron song, which is etched in my memory, went as follows. I am sure you know it well. However, here goes:”

  ‘As we go zooming through the skyway, we hear the people say,
      there goes Wimpy Feltwell, just you watch her sway
      her engines are so noisy, they make a fearful crack
      and you no sooner see her go, then she is coming back

     Her name is Wimpy Feltwell, and you may ask me why,
     I simply cannot tell you, so don’t ask me to try.
     She’s got a voice like cyrus and a face like good old buck,
     Yes she’s the girl for me because she’ll always bring me luck.

     One night across the cold North Sea our Wimpy made her way:
     ‘Mein Gott’ said dirty Hitler, here’s Wimpy let us pray.
     So down upon their knees they sank and prayed with all their might,
    but Wimpy dropped her load of bombs and blew them out of sight!

    And now you’ve heard the story of our Wimpy brave and bold,
    for she’s the greatest Wellington that Vickers ever sold
   In time we’ll go to heaven, we hope, with happiness to spare,
   but heaven won’t be heaven unless our Wimpy’s also there!’

With 1941 now complete in terms of a first pass of surnames, Clarence’s OP history with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF was as follows:

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 R.3166 AA-M (2)

Sgt. Drayton, RAFVR? – Pilot.
Sgt. Hutt, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Wells, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Johnson, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. David Alexander Abbott, RNZAF NZ401219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:09 – Landed 03:48
Flight Time 05:39

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.2805 AA-D (6)

P/O Clive King Saxelby, RAFVR 36275 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry John Milner, RNZAF NZ40924 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:00 – Landed 01:10
Flight Time 06:10

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 T.2835 AA-C (8)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry John Milner, RNZAF NZ40924 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 23:40
Flight Time 04:50

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 T.2835 AA-C (9)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry John Milner, RNZAF NZ40924 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:30 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 07:35

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 T.2736 AA-? (3)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Phillip Ronald ‘Pip’ Coney, RNZAF NZ391825 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:30 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 07:05

15/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Agianst Lorient
Five Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above target. Owing to fog being experienced on the return journey three of these aircraft landed at ST EVAL and two at BOSCOMBE DOWN. Hits were registered in the target area. The only observations made was that the blackout over FRANCE was bad. Moderate heavy and light flak was encountered and strong concentrations of searchlights were met in the target area. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather was clear but ground haze was experienced over the target. Navigation was by D/R and astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic T.2736 AA-? (4)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee, RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 08:10

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 T.2736 AA-? (5)
Running low on fuel, the crew had requested Hull to provide a searchlight beacon, but this had been denied as there was enemy activity in the area. At approximately 03:50, T.2736 crashed. All crew baled out of the aircraft, however the Wireless Operator, Sgt. Daniel Gilmore’s parachute failed to open and he was killed on impact with the ground.

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alexander Coutts Mee , RNZAF NZ40656 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Daniel Gilmore, RAFVR 818024 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 25. Buried Cardiff Western Cemetery, Glamorgan, Wales.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

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

27/03/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne and Dunkirk
Nine Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. Bombs were dropped, but owing to haze over target areas bursts were not observed. Five photographs were taken by GKN.832. Searchlights and heavy and light flak were fairly accurate. The weather was fair over route, but have was experienced in target area. Navigation was by D/R, map reading, astro and W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic R.1589 AA-? (1)

F/O John Kenneth Collins, RAFVR 40082 – Pilot.
F/O Cecil McKenzie Hill, RAFVR 36172 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Kelly, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Cole, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Tristram Peters, RNZAF NZ401230 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 00:39
Flight Time 04:54

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 R.1589 AA-? (2)

F/O Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 06:25

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.1589 AA-? (3)

F/O Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:10 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 07:30

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.1589 AA-? (4)

F/O Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:40 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 05:20

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.1589 AA-? (5)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:25 – Landed 02:30
Flight Time 06:05

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.1237 AA-G (13)

F/L Peter Gordon Frank Fletcher, RAFVR 39869 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Murray Hobbs, RNZAF NZ40230 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Powell,   – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Fell, RNZAF NZ402118 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:00 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 08:00

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.3166 AA-M (17)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:50 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 06:45

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 intese 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.1589 AA-? (6)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:00 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 06:30

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.1589 AA-? (7)

F/L Thomas Francis Gill, RAFVR 36208 – Pilot.
Sgt. Jack Joll, RNZAF NZ40234 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Clarence William ‘Taffy’ Evans, RNZAF NZ40619 – Observer.
Sgt. Clark, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Gallie, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Hogg, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:45 – Landed 03:25
Flight Time 05:40