Kassel – night of the 3rd October 1943. Image supplied by Jack Jarmy
Funny how you suddenly remember you have something, even though they are so remarkable, you have no excuse to have forgotten them. The above image and the one below are from the photo album of Jack Jarmy, that he very kindly let me borrow to scan. Ironically it was Jack going to get this album to show me these photographs that led us both to discover the picture of JN-J ‘Johnny’ – I had no idea it existed and Jack had forgotten that it had!
The picture above was taken on the night of the 3rd of October 1943 over Kassel from EH939 JN -‘Johnny’. Despite slight shake, the city can be see below as can fire burning and what I take to be the impacts of the bombs that Bob released. Its quite strange, having always known Dad was an Air Bomber was one thing, but to actually see a photograph taken specifically to record the detonation of bombs in a city feels quite strange.
Frankfurt, night of the 4th October 1943. Image supplied by Jack Jarmy
The second photograph was taken on time delay after Bob had pressed the ‘tit’ and released the bomb load over Frankfurt on the night of the 4th October. Reading around the subject, it appears that some information might have been gleaned from the chaos of what is apparently the flashes of flak, target indicators and bomb flashes – add to this the camera shake of the aircraft being buffeted by the turbulence of aircraft around it, the shock waves of exploding flak nearby and aircraft vibration and its almost a miracle they got anything from the camera at all.
The following 2 images were taken from aircraft Jack flew in during his second tour with 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron. The first image is a GH training flight – in this case the target being Ely Catherdral.
GH training flight 218 Squadron 1945. Image supplied by Jack Jarmy
The second image is very late in the war. Ironically Bad Oldesloe was the final op that 75(NZ) flew before the war in Europe ended. On both occasions the aircraft was piloted by F/Lt. Guinane, Jack’s regular pilot.
Bad Oldsloe 24th April 1945. Image supplied by Jack Jarmy
Well, what are you supposed to do when you have a total travel time from Thessaloniki, in Greece to Manchester of 10 hours, when only 4.5 of those are actually flying?
I decide to go through the ORB putting together a cut and paste history of the Halliburton crew (Devinder Sidhu and David Church being my interest). Working up from the op where the boys were lost, the realisation dawns on me that David was not part of the crew per se and it makes me think, once again the ORB’s have shown a sad trick of fate. I have known his son, also David Church since last summer reunion and at the time I was amazed that having spent the weeks before talking to Tony about Devinder and then meeting David, that they were the ‘crew’ as it were – apparently not…..
I don’t normally find my self in 1942 – most of my research efforts inevitably have been focused on 1943 – 45. I decided a few months ago to undertake the (in hindsight) slightly stupid attempt of cataloguing the Stirling’s of the Squadron – from arrival to replacement by the Lancasters. A full Sunday satisfied me this was a task greater than a whim and a weekend, but it let me see and begin to remember names – coming back to the ORB for ’42, I am pleased that I still recognise the names.
Running backwards with the Halliburton crew I reach the point where Keith undertakes a 2nd dickie flight with P.J. Buck – now that is a name I remember from my last stay in 1942. Reading back to the description of the raid I come a cross an amazing description of the fate of F/S C.A. Rothschild’s aircraft and their subsequent rescue – This level of reportage I find really touching – something that certainly humanizes these boy’s experiences and something that slowly evaporates through the following 3 years of the war.
“Stirling III BF455, captained by Flight Sergeant Rothschild, was hit over the target by A.A. Fire and also chased by fighters. This caused him to run out of fuel over the English Channel on the way home, and he eventually crashed landed in the sea 3 miles off Shoreham. The wireless procedure had been perfect, and Spitfires had been escorting it from the French coast, and a Walrus flying boat was waiting for it to crash land. Dinghy drill was perfect and all the crew got in safely after an immaculate landing – the Stirling floating for 25 minutes. The final scene enacted in the Channel as the Walrus collided with the dinghy and dropped all the crew in the sea. No ill effects except for Sgt. Grainger, the Flight Engineer, who suffered from shock.”
When I scroll further back to see the raid destination……it’s Frankfurt – I am sat in its airport typing this…..