Tag Archives: Duncan Walker

Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair – Pilot. 1945

Pops crew cont and tone

The Sinclair crew, stood in front of HK600 JN-K “Kiwi”. Back row left to right: Bill Glover (Rear Gunner), Alan McRobert (Mid Upper Gunner), Bill Sinclair (Pilot) & George Painting (Flight Engineer). Front row left to right: Sandy Sommerville (Navigator), Ian Rowe (Air Bomber) & Ian Foster (Wireless Operator). © Sinclair Family

Many thanks to the family of Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair for getting in touch with me and also sending these remarkable pictures of Bill’s crew that clearly show another ‘named’ aircraft of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

Pops crew kiwi contrasted with innes logo

A close up of the nose of HK600, with contrast modified to show what is clearly a flying kiwi – the illustration to the right gives us a better idea of what the nose art looked like. © Sinclair Family

Bill and boys flew in “Kiwi” 6 times whilst they were at Mepal – which tends me to think that perhaps HK600 had the nose art before this – the photograph also throws up another interesting point. Obviously its impossible to say (at this point) when the group photograph in front of “Kiwi” was taken – the Sinclair crew first flew in her on the 13th of April to Kiel, their last flight in her being on the 28th of May, to view ‘the effects of the Bombing Offensive’. The ‘pure database record for HK600 shows 55 and 68 Ops respectively for these 2 raids (we must of course remember that in a pre-Op photo, the tally will not reflect that raid……). Based on the photograph, we could at this point conjecturise that “Kiwi’ had already 5, or as many as 18 ‘non-counting’ Ops at some point in its career…..

To this end, it’s clear that the secondary clarification of an individual aircraft’s history is simply not the case of counting how many times it appears in the ORB’s and its obvious that a fair bit of time is going to have to be spent reconciling ‘total’ Op tally’s versus ‘actual’ Op counts. Already, the database shows that HK562 and PB418 are listed over 100 times, though as I have said, until the raid details and aborts have been factored in, we should keep or streamers in their wrapping

Having said this – I do have a story and an extract from a logbook that contains a clear note regarding PB418 ‘Charlie’ hitting 100 Ops, in addition to an already published picture showing 100 Ops……..

7.3.45. F/O L.G. Sinclair and crew arrived on posting from No. 73 Base.

09/03/1945 – Attack Against Datteln
Twenty one aircraft attacked Datteln as detailed. A good concentration of aircraft and bombing reported. Cloud ten tenths. No opposition was encountered. A mushroom of smoke was seen penetrating cloud.

Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V (33)

F/L Douglas St.Clair Clement, RNZAF NZ421679 – Pilot.
F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – 2nd Pilot.
Position of 2nd Pilot recorded in Logbook but not recorded in ORB

Take Off 10:44 – Landed 16:08
Flight Time 05:24

10/03/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen Buer
Twenty one aircraft attacked Gelsenkirchen as detailed. Aircraft bombed in light formation and all bombs were dropped together. Cloud was ten tenths. Slight H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 JN-X  (24)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
P/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 17:21
Flight Time 04:45

11/03/1945 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty one aircraft were again detailed for operations, tis time against Essen. Very slight H/F was the only opposition. Cloud was 10/10ths. A gradual blackening of the cloud tops was all that could be seen

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 JN-X  (25)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:52 – Landed 17:19
Flight Time 05:27

14/03/1945 – Attack Against Heinrich Hutte
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Crews found the target covered with 10/10ths cloud. Formation was good though the target and bombs fell away together. Very accurate moderate H/F was met on the run in and over the target. F/Lt. E. Parsons in AA”E” failed to return. His aircraft was seen to be hit causing it to spiral into cloud. F/S McLernon landed at Woodbridge but returned to base the following day.

Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V  (36)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:45 – Landed 18:43
Flight Time 04:58

18/03/1945 – Attack Against Bruchstrasse
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack the coking areas and Bensol plant at Bruchstrasse. Cloud was 10/10ths over the target with tops at 6/7,000 ft. Crew report formation was good through the target and bombs fell away together. No results were seen. Slight H.F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D  (80)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:58 – Landed 17:07
Flight Time 05:09

21/03/1945 – Attack Against Munster Viaduct
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Muster Viaduct. There was hardly any cloud over the target. It is thought that the concentration was good although the formation was broken up just prior to bombing. Three aircraft failed to return from this operation – AA”T”, NZ42451 F/L J. Plummer, AA”R” NZ429139 P/O A. Brown and JN”P” 190947 P/O D.S. Barr. All three aircraft were seen to hit in the target area. Considerable H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F  (38)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:02 – Landed 15:25
Flight Time 05:23

13/04/1945 – Attack on Kiel
21 aircraft were detailed to attack Kiel. The target was covered by 10/10 cloud with tops 4/5000. Bombing was concentrated and fires were seen on leaving the target. Flak was slight. M/B was clearly heard. (AA’K’ F/O. Morgan W.) returned early, bombs were jettisoned. This was also a leaflet raid.

Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K “Kiwi” (55)
Appears to have carried a flying Kiwi bird as noseart and was certainly know to the Sinclair crew as “Kiwi”
F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O William George Reay, RNZAF NZ4211843 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:31 – Landed 02:14
Flight Time 05:43

18/04/1945 – Attack on Heligoland
25 aircraft were detailed to attack the target HELIGOLAND. Weather was good with good visibility. Crews were able to identify northern top of Island and also western edge. The rest of the Island was obliterated by smoke. Bomb bursts on fires. The crews bombed as ordered by the Master Bomber and bombing was thought to be well concentrated, but there was some overshooting as well as undershooting.

Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K “Kiwi” (57)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. B. Fletcher, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:34 – Landed 15:27
Flight Time 04:53

20/04/1945 – Attack on Regensburg
20 aircraft were detailed to bomb REGENSBURG. Perfect visibility and the river, dock and target areas could be made out. Bombing appears to have been fairly well concentrated round the target starting with a slight undershoot but some bombs also spread to the M/yards beyond. The crew on starboard side of formation claimed direct hits on railway bridge. Flak slight but accurate.

Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K “Kiwi” (58)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. B. Fletcher, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:51 – Landed 17:17
Flight Time 07:26

24/04/1945 – Attack on Bad Oldesloe
21 aircraft were detailed to attack BAD OLDESLOE. JN/N (F/L Preyer) failed to take off owing to engine trouble and AA/Y (F/S Reay) made an early return owing to fire in starboard outer engine. No opposition was encountered but slight flak seen over Dutch Coast. Some of the bombs fell to the port of the A/P. Main attack considered very good.

Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K “Kiwi” (60)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
P/O William Caverhill Turnbull, RNZAF NZ4210995 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
W/O W. Peplow, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:21 – Landed 13:13
Flight Time 05:52

01/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at Delft
21 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Delft. The population were very excited. There was a great deal of flag waving and thanks messages were seen painted on roof tops.

Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F  (49)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Painting, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:02 – Landed 16:26
Flight Time 02:24

03/05/1945 – Supply Dropping at Delft and the Hague
10 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping, five for Delft and five for the Hague. Crowds and flag waving were not so extensive as before and enthusiasm seems to be waining.

Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K “Kiwi” (62)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/S Ian Dalrymple Rowe, RNZAF NZ4210043 – Air Bomber.
F/O Ian Anderson Foster, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
P/O Terence Joseph ‘Terry’ Murphy?, RAFVR 1622657, 186203 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. no mid upper gunner on this op,   – .
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:32 – Landed 14:02
Flight Time 02:30

28/05/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
3 Aircraft were detailed to view the effect of the B Bombing Offensive, F/O L. Sinclair (JN.K) taking Group Personnel.

Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K “Kiwi” (68)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/O Alfred Hugh Woolcock, RNZAF NZ2121 – Air Bomber.
F/S W. Clough, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Duncan Walker, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alan McRobert, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Glover , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:39 – Landed 13:58
Flight Time 04:19

19/06/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
2 Aircraft were detailed for viewing the effects of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D  (57)

F/O Leslie Gordon ‘Bill’ Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428917 – Pilot.
F/O Alexander Annandale ‘Sandy’ Sommerville, RNZAF NZ425459 – Navigator.
F/O Lawrence Luxton, RNZAF NZ4211873 – Air Bomber.
W/O Edward Spooner, RAAF AUS.423091 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Duncan Walker, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.

Take Off 09:27 – Landed 14:08
Flight Time 04:41

 

Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook – Pilot

Untitled

© National Archives, Kew.

Whilst transcribing Bob’s tour and crew histories, early in my research on him, I hit a brick wall regarding the identity of  a second pilot added to the Form 541 by hand for the Dessau Op of 7th March 1945.

On the Sunday morning of the summer reunion at Mepal 2012, my sister, mother and I went to the memorial garden so mum could see it and the plaque for Dad. while we were there, an old couple, their daughter and her husband arrived. A brief discussion about their whereabouts (i.e. that this was the memorial garden for 75(NZ) Squadron) led to a discussion in the garden and then the 3 Pickerels. The elderly gentleman was called Owen Cook and he had been at the squadron towards the end of the war. On returning home I looked through the nominal roll and the ORB and found Owen’s arrival and Op history. Finding his serial number suddenly made me realise that the Pilot that flew with the Zinzan crew on this raid was in fact, Owen Cook……..

0wen2

Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook RAAF AUS.428456 – Pilot.
© Owen Cook

I was really pleased to hear from Campbell, Owen’s son-in-law, a few weeks ago and am doubly pleased to report that Owen is still fit and well!

Not long after posting the ‘B’ Flight group picture , I was contacted by Jan, who on coming across the blog and then discovering Owen’s name on the ‘B’ Flight photograph, then saw her own father – Owens navigator Jack Mitcherson. Not only have I found out more about the crew, I have also been able to put Jan in contact with Campbell – Jack is still alive and it would be fantastic if the ‘old’ boys could met up again….

wings day2

Owen receiving his Pilot’s Wings at 7S.F.T.S. in Ontario, Lake Erie, September 1943.
© Owen Cook

crew front

The Cook crew, taken Nottingham, November 1944.
Back row L to R; Ken Saunders Mid Upper Gunner, Owen Cook Pilot, John Gray Navigator.
Front row L to R; Peter Fletcher Rear Gunner, R. Fisher Air Bomber and Jack Mitcherson Wireless Operator. (Duncan Walker, Flight Engineer not present in photograph).
© Owen Cook

crew back

Reverse of group photograph. The hand written note at the bottom identifies this photograph was taken before the Flight Engineer Duncan Walker joined the crew – as opposed to simply being in it, so would suggest it was taken at an O.T.U.
© Owen Cook

The Cook crew were;
P/O Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook, RAAF AUS.428456 – Pilot
F/Sgt John ‘Jock’ Gray, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt R. ‘Fishpond’ Fisher, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/Sgt Jack ‘Mitch’ Mitcherson, RAAF AUS.432532 – Wireless Operator
F/Sgt Duncan Walker, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt Kenneth Saunders, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Peter ‘Butch’ Fletcher, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

2.3.45
ADMINISTRATION.
Pilot Officer O.J.Cook and crew arrive from No.72 Base.

4.3.45. War Ops – Wanne Eickel. P/O Cook 2nd pilot with Egglestone crew.

5.3.45. War Ops – Gelsenkirchen.
Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S.

6.3.45. War Ops – Salzbergen.
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L.

7/8/.3.45. War Ops – Dessau. P/O Cook 2nd pilot with Zinzan crew.

18.3.45. War Ops.- Heligoland.
Lancaster Mk.I PB762 AA-B.

17.3.45. War Ops – Auguste Viktoria.
Lancaster Mk.III LM733 AA-R

1.5.45. Operation ‘Manna’ – supply dropping over Delft.
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L
Supplies Carried – 31/2 Packs – Saw white cross and T.I. with lots of bags. Good dropping with white signals, and “Thanks Boys” was written on the roof of one house. All packs were dropped.

7.5.45. Operation ‘Manna’ – supply dropping over the Hague.
The ORB shows that Sgt. Saunders not present for this Op – there were no Mid Upper Gunners on this mission, instead his place was taken by ‘LAC Saunders K.’, however there is no record of such an individual, so one must assume this is in fact is Ken Saunders.

10.5.45. Prisoner of War repatriation – Juvincourt.
12.5.45. Prisoner of War repatriation – Juvincourt.
15.5.45. Prisoner of War repatriation – Juvincourt.

3.7.45.
POSTINGS
All the Australian members of the Squadron were posted to R.A.F. Gamston pending repatriation. The squadron was very sorry to say goodbye to these gallant companions.

4.7.45.
POSTINGS
23 members of the Squadron (R.A.F. Personnel) who were declared redundant when the Australians left the Squadron were today posted to R.A.F. Station Burn,

JN X composite image

This set of 3 photographs of JN-X are fascinating. The 2 images above, I have seen a number of times before – first as part of the Imperial War Museum collection and then as part of the personal collection of Jimmy Wood, AB with Russell Bank’s crew. What is interesting is the image below – it clearly shows another – to me never before seem view of JN-X, taken one would assume just before the armourers arrived in the top right hand image.

lanc refuelling2

A ‘new’ view of JN-X. Mepal 1945
© Owen Cook

Daily H9115Trieste warning

A clipping from the Daily Herald, 1945, describing the repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt.

ANDES_in suez cana_Oct1945

A photograph from the bridge of H.M.S. Andes during its passage (with Owen on board), through the Suez Canal on its trip back to Australia.
© Owen Cook

75th Sq Icon cropped

75(NZ) Squadron RAF Crest. The Crest was painted by a man named Greenham, a commercial artist who was from Caulfield in Melbourne Victoria where Owen lived at the time. They were both waiting for the troop ship to bring them home after the war. Someone had drawn the little black and white sketch of the mascot and Owen paid 10 shillings for the man to paint it for him.
© Owen Cook

Sadly, as a footnote to this post, I hear last week from Campbell that Jack Mitcherson has recently passed away – such a shame that to first have the boys discover they were still with us, that they then ran out of time to see each other again. I and I am sure all of the 75(NZ) community pass their heartfelt condolences on to Jan and her family.

Aki Aki Kia Kaha