Tag Archives: Grimsby

Bob Jay

Sgt. Robert Jay, Flight Engineer. 75(NZ) Squadron RAF

I received an email from Vic Jay this evening, letting me know that he had finished the research on his father and that it was now up on a blog. Vic joined a discussion thread about 75(NZ) on the Lancaster Archive Forum a while back and I recognised at the time, a similar need for help that I arrived with in the forum a year ago. I am pleased to say the members were able to help Vic and he presents a wonderful story, covering Bob’s early years and time with the squadron. There’s some beautiful images on the blog and you should go and have a look – another story that was not only worth telling, but also worth reading.


A mark of respect

I don’t want to suggest you turn to a hobby of adopting graves, but on our return to Grimsby, 2 months after first discovering David and Alex I take flowers to them. You can accuse me of being sentimental, but I will probably reply that I was there anyway, we needed to buy flowers for Bev’s grandparents, so it was easy to buy more.

I leave the flowers with the boys as a mark of respect – I am realising all to clearly the odds that they flew against in the early part of the war and it seems doubly cruel that they were not lost over Germany or France, but within reach of their base – to suffer all of this and then be left 11,000 miles from their homes in New Zealand makes me feel incredibly bad and at the same time it makes me feel terribly grown up – doing something like this, is not like me at all – maybe at last, I am getting some perspective.

See you later boys – I’ll be back

We will remember them

Bev comes from Grimsby and after the trip down to Cambridgeshire for the reunion we need to find some time for her family. Her grandparents are buried at Scartho cemetery and it’s a chance for Bev to go to the graves, leave new flowers and tidy the plots. Probably because of where my head is at the moment I leave her and wander off to have a look at the war graves section of the cemetery. I work on a fairly simple basis of looking for RNZAF stones, which in hindsight was a rather crude approach. Getting home I do a search through Aircrew Remembrance Society and discover that not only are two of the boys in the cemetery 75(NZ), but in fact they were in the same aircraft.

Sgt David Leo Nola RNZAF NZ39930 Pilot. Age 25.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt Alexander Coutts Mee RNZAF NZ40656 2nd Pilot.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt Craven RAFVR Air Gunner. Injured

Sgt John Hall RAFVR 988980 WOAG.  Age 20.
Buried Hull Northern Cemetery, England.

P/O Clifford Frederick Page RAFVR 60780 Observer. Age 22.
Buried Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery England.

Sgt Walter Russell RAFVR 949560 WOAG. Age 23.
Buried West Bromwich Churchyard Staffordshire England.

From Aircrew Remembrance Society;
Took off from Feltwell, Norfolk to attack Hamburg. 115 aircraft took part including 50 Wellington’s, 31 Whitley’s, 27 Hampden’s, 4 Manchester’s and 3 Stirling’s. Due to poor visibility few aircraft failed to identify the targets. Only 12 bomb loads hit the target area and all aircraft returned.

On the return trip Wellington R3169 crossed the East coast of England and collided with barrage balloon cables. The Wellington crashed out of control in the River Humber near Trinity Sands.

Sgt. Alexander Mee had previously escaped in another incident on the 19th March 1941 when he parachuted from a 75 Squadron Wellington IC T2736 Which later crashed at Ryhill, near Leeds. All the crew escaped by parachuting, sadly Sgt Gilmore’s failed to open and he was the only fatality.

Two things touch me – firstly that David and Alexander are laying thousands of miles from home, whilst all the other boys that were killed were able to be bought home by family and loved ones. Secondly that the RAF record system is a bloody nonsense – if you die, you are an accessible record, survive and people might never even know your Christian name.