Tag Archives: Flamank crew

‘Sent to Sheffield’ – Ronald Flamank

P1050821 cropped for post

Courtesy Kerry Foster

Many thanks to Kerry for passing on a fascinating series of documents from 3 Group Headquarters and 75(NZ) Squadron Mepal, regarding what might be described as ‘inappropriate adherence to official fighter avoidance tactics’ by Ron Flamank on the 1st January 1945 whilst flying to the coast on an Op to Vohwinkel.

Perhaps these documents are more ironic given that a post was made on Ron and his crew only a few weeks ago!

Call me sentimental, but I kind of assumed a stiff upper lip mentality when the boys left the airfield on an Op, all remaining Squadron members nervously pacing the floor waiting for the returning roar of engines and a full count back on returning crews. Now, I am sure this is all true, but what I clearly overlooked was that this was all happening under the steely glare of the Royal Air Force………….

Ron and another Pilot from 514 Squadron, initially incorrectly identified as F/O Wright, but then identified as F/O Orr were both detected flying over the stated limit of 4,000 feet before reaching the French coast.

I have the honour to report the following information for flying at 8,000ft on the late afternoon of January 1st 1945 on operations.

After take off at 1545hrs acting on met information and entering cloud as 2,500ft I concluded I I would break cloud in the region of 5,000ft. We eventually broke at 8,000ft then homing back to to set course position having insufficient time to descend there we decided to descend on course to Reading. Descending on course to Reading and encountering icing and not breaking cloud at 5,000ft I decided to return again to 8,000ft and descended on route as soon as possible when a break in clouds afforded me this chance.

Just before reaching the English Coast an extensive break in the cloud was observed and noticing the bomber stream on route beneath us we descended down to 5,000ft, reaching this height  about 20 miles from the English Coast.

I hereby after conformed with the tactics for the operation laid down at briefing for the operation and completed the mission successfully, returning to base at 2130hrs.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant.
R C Flamank F/O.

Despite Ron’s explanation of a malfunctioning elevator trim tab and poor visibility, climbing to 8,000 feet clearly broke the rules and sadly, this time at least, Ron was going to be punished!

Ron’s fate was to be sent to be sent to ‘Aircrew Refresher Course’ at Sheffield. Digging a little I think this was at RAF Norton, on the Southern edge of Sheffield – the experience being lots of drill practice and physical training!

Read the complete set of letters here in the ‘Collections’ section here.

HK593 JN-X and the Flamank crew

Many thanks as always to Chris for doing an extra bit of detective work after a post I put up a while ago regarding Owen Cook and his crew. My initial assumption was that, included within the images that Campbell sent me, there was another picture of JN-X, an aircraft well known in a number of already widely known photographs from Mepal in 1945………..

I’ll let Chris continue the story…………..

After seeing the recent posting about Owen Cook I was intrigued to see the three photos of HK593, JN-X refuelling and being bombed up.

The first I recognise from the IWM, clearly marked as JN-X with the 40 op’s markings and single swastika (one enemy aircraft destroyed I presume). The op’s markings would support the date in the IWM description:

However I think the other two photos are actually two different Lanc’s, taken on two different occasions, looking at the respective markings, presence/absence of radar antenna just behind the nose turret, different prop’ types and different backgrounds.

These are three photos below of HK593 JN-X that I have come across on the web (credits to Mark Postlethwaite, ww2 images archive), which can also be found in “Lancaster Squadrons In Focus” by Mark Postlethwaite, published by Air Research Publications.

The first one shows the same 40 op’s and swastika markings as the IWM photo, so this one at least must have been taken on or about the same date. “Lancaster Squadrons In Focus” also dates these two photos (and the third one below) at around 9 February 45, based on the number of op’s markings.

flamank crew reduced2

Another view of the 40 Ops markings and the single swastika.
© Mark Postlethwaite, ‘Lancaster Squadrons in Focus – Special Edition’,Red Kite, Walton-on-Thames, 2012.

I believe the guy in the cockpit is the Pilot, F/O (later F/L) Ronald Christie Flamank, RNZAF, as you can see his ‘wings’ badge in the photos below:


Photo: The full crew – Ron Flamank second from right, with dog.
© WW2ImagesArchive/ Mark Postlethwaite.

This pic is quite interesting in that it clearly shows a ‘Window’ chute in the mid-cockpit location (as well as the more usual chute located further forward, adjacent to the bomb aimer’s position) – the bundles of reflective paper strips were ripped open by the Flight Engineer on the way to the target, and “posted” out through this chute to create a cloud of radar reflections designed to confuse the German radar.

HK593 came onto Squadron strength in July 1944, and appears to have been originally coded “AA-H”. She first appears in the ORB’s on 4 August 1944 as “HK953” and seems to have been mis-recorded as HK953 on many occasions. The previous a/c to carry the JN-X code was ND801, which overshot Mepal airfield and crashed into Sutton village on 3 Feb 45, only 6 days before this photo was taken.

So HK593 must have only just been been re-coded JN-X, and in fact, she didn’t fly on 9 Feb., her next op’ being when F/O R. Flamank RNZAF and crew flew her on the night of 13/14 Feb, the infamous Dresden raid.  And they flew her again on 16 Feb 45, a daylight op’ to Wesel.

Flamank crew

The Flamank crew, presumably with members of JN-X’s groundcrew.
© Mark Postlethwaite, ‘Lancaster Squadrons in Focus – Special Edition’,Red Kite, Walton-on-Thames, 2012.

6.12.44. Administration.
F/S Flamank and crew arrived on posting from No.31 Base

11.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Osterfeld
Lancaster Mk.III ND801 JN-X
Ron flies 2nd Pilot with Alex Simpson’s crew

12.12. 44. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Witten
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z
F/S Ronald Christie Flamank RNZAF NZ427270 – Pilot.
Sgt. A. Westbury RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. E. Carver RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Douglas Haig Rapson RNZAF NZ428323 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. V. Saunders RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K. Moore RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. Hills RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

16.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Siegen
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z

21.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Trier
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z

23.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Trier
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z

27.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Rheydt
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z

28.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Greenberg Marshalling yards Cologne
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z

31.12.44. War Ops – Attack Against Vohwinkel
Lancaster Mk.I ND322 JN-F

1.1.45. War Ops – Attack Against Vohwinkel
Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F

3.1.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F

7/8.1.45. War Ops – Attack Against Munich
Lancaster Mk.I HK597 JN-P
Bombs jettisoned as navigational aids u/s. Rear Gunner’s electrically heated suit was u/s, but changed bomb aimer to rear turret and went on Tried to get a Gee fix 20 mins but without any joy

13/14.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dresden
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 JN-X

16.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wessel
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 JN-X

18.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wessel
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 JN-X

20/21.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I NE747 JN-D

23.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Lancaster Mk.I PB820  JN-V

28.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Nordstern
Lancaster Mk.I PB820  JN-V

9.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Datteln
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D

10.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen Buer
Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F

12.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I NE747 JN-D

27.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Hamm
Lancaster Mk.I HK806? AA-B
F/S Eric Meharry as 2nd Pilot

4/5.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Merseburg
Lancaster Mk.I PB424 JN-O

13/14.4.45. Gardening – Mine Laying off Kiel
Lancaster Mk.I RA564 JN-P

18.4.45. War Ops – Attack on Heligoland
Lancaster Mk.I PB424 JN-O

29.4.45. Supply Dropping – Delft
Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V

2.5.45. Supply Dropping – Delft
Lancaster Mk.III PB424 JN-O
Crew flies with out Sgt. Moore.

7.5.45. Supply Dropping – Delft
Lancaster Mk.III PB424 JN-O
Without Sgt. Moore again
Sgt. Gault as passenger

9.5.45. Repatriation of Prisoners of War
Lancaster Mk.III PB424 JN-O
Sgt. Moore returns as Mid Upper Gunner

12.5.45. Repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt
Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K

14.5.45. Repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt
Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-K

26.5.45. Viewing the effects of the Bombing Offensive

25.6.45. Checking German Radar Equipment
Lancaster Mk.III PB424 JN-O