Tag Archives: Frank Ernest Stott

ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’, 86 Ops – QED

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From Form 541 75(NZ) Squadron RAF 03.2.45. Attack Against Dortmund “Aircraft crashed on landing. Pilot, Nav, W/Operator, Engineer and A/Bomber injured and in hospital. Prt. Outr. Failed prior to reaching target and overshot on landing. Camera completely wrecked”. © Pauline Whittall

There was perhaps inevitably, a high level of interest in the post I made a few weeks back regarding the final fate of ND801 JN-X. If not for the astonishing pictures supplied by Pauline showing the aircraft’s final resting place in a chicken shed on the edge of the airfield, then for not only the identification of another 75(NZ) Squadron RAF Lancaster with nose art (unicorn rarity springs to mind), but also a clear OP count – 85 painted, sadly the 86th shown in this picture.

ND801 is (frustratingly) notable for being one of the few Lancasters from the Squadron with identifiable nose art and a name of ‘Get Sum Inn’, perhaps the style of the artwork and the name suggests a reference to a pub, or having a pint generally. The origin of this artwork will probably never be know, though looking at the operational history, it would appear that relatively early in ND801’s flying career, she became the relatively regular mount of Colin Megson’s crew (21 Ops). Latterly, a similar level of frequency can be seen after the Megson crews departure from flying ‘801 ( though they were to be on base longer) by Tom Waugh’s crew, who flew 16 Ops in her.

A high count Lancaster from this period in the war, such as ND 801of course poses the tantalising question of whether she would have ever reached her ton, or even overtaken NE181, JN-M, ‘The Captains Fancy. Well, obviously she didn’t, but statistic fans might be interested to know  that at the point ND801 and Bruce Crawford’s crew crashed on the 3rd of February 1945, ‘Mike’ had clocked up her 98th the day before to Weisbaden. Perhaps more interestingly, at this same point, there were some other Lancasters that were also accumulating high totals – LM544 was on 86 also ME751 AA-M had reached 75 and HK562 AA-L was on 74 (all figures subject to final checking and revisions to database).

Readers will have, no doubt, got bored with my now regular wittering about the ‘Form 541 database’ that I have slowly been chipping away at over now the last 14 or so months. This morning I realised I had just added the a/c and pilot details for the 3rd of February 1945. Deciding to test the contents of the database I filtered in the serial number no. column and low and behold got 86 Ops for ND801, which, to be honest I am astonished by.

I suppose I am saying all of this to make a number of observations. Firstly, the full Op list for ND801 was generated, as opposed to found. I make this observation and differentiation because I think its significant. Up until now (and in real terms I will have to continue for a while), when someone requests information on a relative, I have to essentially trawl through the ORB’s, looking for a crew. Now this activity in itself is wrought with problems. Firstly, you are ‘looking’ for, normally a Pilots name, at the top of the crew list – looking for things assumes you find all that you are looking for. More problematically, whilst you might note a change in a member of a crew, its very difficult to find if a member of the ‘subject’ crew might have flown a ‘fill in’ for another crew – this level of analysis, is simply beyond my time, unless I am aware that this is the case. From my experience, I know the ORB’s are littered with errors, ranging from incorrect initials to the completely chaotic, non consecutive ordering of pages – from recent typing I have discovered that Tim Blewett, Pilot, is consistently listed in the Form 541 with a first initial of ‘J’. these typographical errors become more acute when you deal with the aircraft serial codes – a case in point relating to ND801 – in place she is listed as ‘NF801’ – only by cross referencing Ian’s amazing database on the blog was I able to satisfy myself that in the absence of another ‘NF’ aircraft with a similar number, that these entries were in fact ND801. Sad to say that these errors and others are repeated in other documents, so the process of categorically confirming the identity of a certain aircraft within the ORB’s is at best time consuming and I fear perhaps on occasions to come, even maybe impossible.

The data base is still a long way off being complete in terms of even basic information. My creative left sided brain decided to begin the whole activity at the beginning of 1943 – I guess because Dad joined the Squadron for his first tour in that year, so eagle eyed readers that noted my reference to completing the Dortmund raid of 3rd February 1945 shouldn’t get too excited – when 1945 is complete, I have to go back and do 1940, 1941 and 1942…….

Whilst portions of the database contain full information – target a/c serial, Pilot, Nav, AB, W/Op, FE, MuG and R/Gnr, a significant portion does not yet. Quickly I realised in terms of raw usable and extractable information it was better to focus on Target, a/c and Pilot. In addition to this, the ‘up’, ‘down’ times have to be added.

I estimate that based on work and sleep, there is probably another 2 years of work to complete the basic database – obviously once this is complete, a full history for aircraft, crews and individuals will be able to generated. How this is done I am not sure – it might provide the tipping point regarding the much muttered about website to replace the blog. My gut feeling is that a searchable database is not the way forward – whilst I am and always will be keen to share anything I have, there is a difference between information and time – this database will represent too significant an investment in time to simply allow people to hoover it all up – and I will not let that happen.

Ian Chris and I have been in some discussions over the last few months regarding expanding the A/C datbase to include images – it strikes me, with the creation of the Op history for ND 801, an individual page for each aircraft of the Squadron might be the way forward. Based on my magnificent presentation of ONE aircraft to this point, I have added a shell section below the 3 aircraft types and under it an ‘ND series’ page that links then directly to at this moment just ND801 – but hopefully this will grow.

I’m interested in your feedback and thoughts

View the Operational history of ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’ here

cheers

Simon

Remarkable colour photographs from Mepal

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Profile view of 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF Lancaster AA-M, ND756 with crew members, at RAF Mepal, 1944. Belonged to R.H. Barker, NZ417189.
Image ref. 2006/517.9f.
© Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Armourers loading bombs into a 75 Squadron Lancaster at RAF Mepal, 1944. Image ref. 2006/517.9d.
© Air Force Museum of New Zealand

Occasionally I am glad for committing to social media and particularly Facebook – these images appeared on the Facebook page of the Air Force Museum of New Zealand which can be viewed here. The images, taken from slides, represent 2 of apparently 6 images from the collection owned of Ralph Herbert Barker, Wireless Operator.

Many thanks to Chris as always, for doing an extra bit of digging regarding these images and their owner. Here is what Chris unearthed…..

P/O Ralph Herbert Barker, RNZAF NZ417189. Wireless Operator with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF from 27th August to 9th September 1943, returning to the Squadron 18th December 1943 until 13th August 1944. During this period he flew with the crews of Ian Menzies, Colin McKenzies, BIll Willis, Derek Warren, Tom Buckley, Frank Stott, Cecil Armstrong and Francis Fox.

Arriving as part of Ian Menzies crew in the summer of 1943, he was a survivor of a take-off crash on only their 4th Op. to Boulogne.  Despite obviously surviving this crash, in which his Pilot, Ian Robert Menzies and Flight Engineer, Albert Leslie Mellor, were killed, it was another 3 months before Ralph flew again, this time with Colin McKenzie

Posted back to 75 (NZ) Sqdn in December 43, Ralph Barker only appears once in the ORB’s during January and February 44 (3.2.44, McKenzie crew), so possibly he held some desk-based role at that time.

ND756 arrived on Squadron 13.3.44 (one week after the first Lancaster was delivered to 75), and flew on 75’s very first Lancaster op’ to Villeneuve/St Georges on 9/10.4.44 with Henry Burton’s crew.

Barker does not appear in any crew listings during March, leading up to those first Lancaster op’s, so we can’t tell which (if any) crew he went through Lancaster conversion with.

He then re-appears in the ORB’s on 22nd April, flying with the Willis crew on an op’ to Dusseldorf, and must have been a “fill-in” W/Op during this time, flying with five different crews during April and May, before settling with the Fox crew as of 22nd May.

The Fox crew’s usual a/c was ND911, and disappointingly none of Barker’s op’s was flown in ND756.

Was the photo someone else’s? Or was it taken when the Lancaster’s were brand new to the Squadron, and any one of them a worthy subject?

ND756 was shot down at approximately 2.15am on an Op to Stuttgart on 28/29.7.44, after apparently destroying a JU-88 in combat, crashing 1 km north of the French village of Millery on the Moselle River, 14 km north of Nancy. The crew on board were;

P/O Ian Edward Blance RNZAF NZ421496. Pilot.
Died age 21. Buried Millery Communal Cemetery, France.

F/Sgt Colin Frederick Johnson Greig RNZAF NZ422281. Navigator.
Shot down and wounded, baled out . PoW No. 25136. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VIII. Safe UK 14 May 1945.

W/O Ronald Howard Spencer RAFVR 1575186. Air Bomber.
Died age 21. Buried Millery Communal Cemetery France.

F/Sgt Frederick Walter Percival Climo RNZAF NZ4210148. Wireless Operator
Died age 22. Buried Millery Communal Cemetery, France.

Sgt. W J Hyde RAFVR 1895228. Flight Engineer.
Shot down and successfully evaded capture. Safe UK NK.

F/Sgt Frederick Francis Arthur Jenkins RNZAF NZ429888. Mid Upper Gunner.
Died age 30. Buried Millery Communal Cemetery, France.

F/Sgt Aubrey Charles Kirk RNZAF NZ425845. Rear Gunner.
Shot down and baled out. Successfully evaded capture and after working with the French Resistance was safe in the UK 2 Sep 1944.

Ralph Barker and the Fox crew flew on that same Op.

Hopefully the Air Force Museum of New Zealand will post the rest of these images of Ralph’s, if they don’t but perhaps see this post, I’ll be happy to put them up!