Tag Archives: Henry Charles ‘Harry’ Yates

Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka – Air Bomber, Yates crew. Time to return home………

mac-maaka

P/O Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka, RNZAF NZ421741 – Air Bomber with the Yates crew, 1944.

David, Son of Harry Yates in a very generous and noble act has passed to me the above photograph of Inia ‘Mac’ Makka. Mac was Harry’s Air Bomber throughout their tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF during the second half of 1944.

The photograph of Mac is almost A4 in size (10 x 8 old money) and is original, still being in the card folder that it was first mounted in. On the outside cover of the mount is the name of the photographic studio – “Du Barry Studios” – this is obviously a very good quality, posed studio portrait.

David believes that the photograph was sent to his Father at the time he was researching his book ‘Luck and a Lancaster’, probably by Mac’s wife June. David discovered it in a folder of photographs that had been sent to Airlife Publishing for the book. Unused in the book, it remained in the folder with the other images, until it’s recent discovery by David.

David’s wish is that, if possible, Mac’s portrait should be returned to his descendants. As he says in the letter accompanying the portrait:

“If one of the Maaka family comes forward, having seen your post, or perhaps someone connected to the old 75 grapevine in NZ knows the whereabouts of one of Mac and June’s children, then it would be a service to Mac’s memory to have the portrait placed in their hands.

My Dad would have wanted that too…..”

So, please blog readers – put out this request and lets collectively cross our fingers that a descendant of Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka can be found – as I soon as I hear from them, we can return this wonderful portrait to them.

I’ll finish with Harry’s memory of his dear comrade ‘Mac’ Maaka:

“As he talked, my impressions of him became ever more favourable. No Englishman I’d met was so sincere and guileless about himself. Mac was simply a stranger to the inner tensions and vanities that make liars of the rest of us. He was mightily proud of his people who, I thought, must be formidable opponents in war if they were all like this chap. I began to see in him a military paragon. He had the heart of a lion. I don’t think he was afraid of anything or any man. He had no need to be because he was built like a bunker. I felt that his loyalty would be a rich prize, if one deserved it. He was just the sort of chap one imagines walking steadfastly into the enemy’s fire for the sake of his comrades. Well, the skies over Germany were fiery enough. Mac would be an example to us all.”

75 x 2 – Leslie Edgerton, the Armstrong crew and Harry Yates – by David Yates

Leslie and logbook comp

Right: Leslie Edgerton, Wireless Operator with the Baines crew, now aged 95.
A bout of German measles meant Leslie had to leave the crew for a stay in hospital, on his return he discovered they had failed to return from their 27th Op. Until Leslie spoke to Harry, some 50 years later, he had held out a hope they might have survived.
Left: The addendum Leslie made to his log-book after speaking to Harry about the fate of his crew .

Many thanks to David, son of Harry Yates, for contributing the following piece. It proves again that there are strange coincidences that time occasionally chooses to reveals to us – something I have experienced many a time while researching the Squadron.

75 x 2

by David Yates

Monday 8th May 1995 is memorable in our household not so much because it was the fiftieth anniversary of VE Day, and was marked accordingly with official ceremony all across the West, but because something kept secret from the family for four decades was finally revealed.

Not many days earlier, my wife Geraldine and I had completed a major extension and renovation to the house we then owned, tucked away in a pleasant downland village near Lewes in East Sussex.  I had taken upon myself the task of applying a paint roller to the expanse of brand new render, which would be followed with a fine brush to all the sashes – also new, and there were over thirty of them.  It was a labour of love already turning into just labour.

Anyway, my in-laws were driving over the downs from their home in East Dean to see their grandchild and have lunch with us.  At noon I was still balanced on my ladder at the back of the house, rolling on the second or, perhaps, third coat of emulsion.  From inside the house Geraldine was clattering away with pots and pans.  The smell of a roasting joint wafted through an open window.  Away to my right the crunch of wheels on gravel told me my morning’s work was at an end.  There were female voices, the sound of car doors closing.  A moment or two later my father-in-law Leslie appeared from around the side of the house, hand-in-hand with his infant grand-daughter.

We made the usual greetings and stood talking for a while, probably about not very much. Then, with no particular seriousness, I asked him what he had been doing fifty years ago, on 8th May 1945.  He didn’t seem too sure, “Joan and I were married by then,” he said eventually, “I think we must have been in London.”

Now, I had known for very nearly a quarter of a century, since not long after I started going out with Geraldine, that her dad’s war service had been as a wireless operator on heavy bombers.  My own father had served as a pilot on Lancs, flying alongside some New Zealanders, although he was a North Bucks country boy through and through.  I knew that the whole subject of the war had been handled differently in Leslie’s household than in ours.  My dad didn’t make a great thing out of it.  But his crew were all known to me from the letters and photos which arrived  in the family home (usually) at Christmas time.  Indeed, on one Sunday back in 1975, when we were still single, Geraldine and I waited at table on the whole crew when they – said to be already the last full 75 crew living – came to the house following a squadron reunion at Mepal.  But it wasn’t like that in Leslie’s house.  There, a discrete silence was maintained over the whole topic.  The detail of his own wartime service was unknown to his two sons and two daughters.

It was not that unusual.  I had childhood friends whose fathers wanted, for whatever reason, to close the wartime chapter and keep it closed, leaving their sons high and dry for knowledge.  One accepted that there were histories which were not happy, and men who were quietly haunted by them.  The tremendous will of the people to move on, which erupted so joyously with victory in Europe, gave such men the opening to a new life they needed, and they took it.  If there was no need to revisit the past, it was not revisited.

Still, standing there with Leslie I thought it was worth another question.  “So you weren’t still flying by this point?” I asked.

He wasn’t, having finished his tour in September 1944.

Then, out of nowhere he blurted out, “I didn’t finish with my own crew though.  I was sent to hospital with German measles, you see, and my own crew carried on flying without me.  It was six weeks before the doctor let me go back.  I expected them to still be there, but they weren’t.  I made enquiries.  But nobody seemed to know anything, just that they hadn’t come back from a raid.  The radio operator who had gone in my place was only young, and he’d just married, I think.  Anyway, over the years I’ve tried a few times to find out what happened to them – you know, at the library.  But I still don’t know.  I’ve always hoped one or two of them were made POWs, and got back home to New Zealand eventually.”

“New Zealand?” I retorted.

“Yes, it was a New Zealand squadron, based at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.”

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing.  “Wait a minute, you are saying you flew from Mepal?”

”Yes, that was the airfield.”

”Yes, but that’s the airfield which 75 Squadron flew from.”

”That’s right, 75 squadron.”

“Wait a minute, you are saying you flew from Mepal with 75 Squadron RNZAF?”

”That’s right ….”
“But my father flew with them”.

“No no no” he said, completely certain of his facts.  Well, he had been an accountant in civilian life.  “Your father was a fighter pilot with the New Zealand ‘fighter’ squadron.”

I put him right as gently but firmly as I could.  That evening, after Leslie and Joan had returned home to East Dean, I telephoned my dad to tell him what had come to pass.  I knew that he possessed a well-thumbed copy of Forever Strong, Norman Franks’ history of 75, which I had borrowed and read myself.  Norman and Dad had met or exchanged correspondence at some point and become friendly, and Norman and his wife had visited for dinner.  Norman wrote in Dad’s copy of Forever Strong (which I have in my office at home today):

“To Harry Yates DFC -Who completed a tour of with 75 Sqn
and was seen in the smoke 30 times
Best wishes,
Norman Franks”

Information on the fate of Leslie’s crew had to be in there.  I gave Dad Leslie’s number, and he duly checked and telephoned the next day.  The information was that Leslie’s skipper P/O Armstrong and all his crew were killed on the Dortmund raid of 22/23 May, 1944.  Flt Sgt George Leslie Edgerton – taciturn, stoic man that he was – now knew for certain that he was the only Armstrong crew-member to survive the war.  But at least he had that knowledge, and the long vigil of the heart that he had kept for his crew could be brought to a close at last.

Extraordinarily, Geraldine and I were in the nineteenth year of our marriage when he had finally spoken of his sorrow that day in our garden, and the coincidence of our respective dad’s war service came to light.

The event only spurred my dad on in a plan he was quietly hatching to research, write and publish the story of his flying years, centred on five hard months at Mepal.  At the time I knew nothing about this.  I was aware that, always a reader of history, he had become focussed on RAF history and had amassed quite a comprehensive book collection.  I also knew he had been to the Public Records Office at Kew and acquired a large pile of yellow sheets logging 75 operations for the period of his service.  I thought it was just a surfeit of nostalgia.

Harry at about the time he was planning Luck and Lancaster

Harry at about the time he was planning Luck and Lancaster
supplied by David Yates

It was my mother who finally told me that dad had quite forsaken her company in the evenings to disappear upstairs and start tapping on his 1970s IBM golf-ball typewriter.  Apparently, he had been hammering away at the keyboard for a year or more.  When I asked him about it he showed me a sheath of close-typed A4 sheets, the front one of which read:

“Luck and a Lancaster by Harry Yates DFC”

It was a pretty chaotic presentation, it must be said, with passages long and short crossed out everywhere and re-typed, and lengths of type stuck with sellotape on top of other lengths, or across the whole of the top or bottom of the sheet.  But there was the unmistakable voice of my dad talking quite naturally about events in his life I had little or no idea had ever taken place.  For his part, he was very unsure about the quality of the thing, which was obviously why he had kept quiet about it.  Did I think anyone would publish it, he asked.  I had no idea. “Let me take it home and read it properly,” I said.

I began reading that night, sitting up in bed.  A few pages in I turned to my wife and said, “Some of this is beautiful.”

My judgement on the manuscript was that it had to be worth sending off to publishers, but not in that condition.  So dad bought himself a modern electronic machine and re-typed the whole thing, which at that point ran up to his release from the eye hospital at Littleport.  But he had lost his creative impetus in the laborious typing process.  I suggested that he send what he had to some publishers anyway, and if one of them was interested he could return to writing, and finish the thing.

The first manuscript went, for some reason known only to dad, to Haynes, the technical manual publisher.  Unsurprisingly, it bounced back with a rejection slip within a month or two.  He then posted a copy to (the now defunct) Airlife Publishing, who were a much more likely prospect.  But weeks of silence turned into months.  I urged dad to find another publisher to try.  But he had become disheartened, quietly concluding that he had probably miscalculated, and there wasn’t really any interest in a septuagenarian heavy bomber pilot with only half his story told.

The whole project was put away in a chest of drawers, and he returned to mum’s company in the evenings.  Then, right out of the blue in the early summer of 1999, fully a year after shipping off the manuscript, he received a letter from Airlife’s managing editor.  “Dear Mr Yates,” it began, “Thank you very much for sending me the manuscript for your memoir, Luck and a Lancaster.  I sincerely apologise that I had rather a lot of submissions to read before I could get to yours.  But I have now read it with much interest, and would be very pleased indeed to publish the finished manuscript for you if you are still seeking a publisher.”

Still seeking a publisher!  Dad was electrified.  A standard authors contract was received, signed and shot back within a few days.  The only thing was that Airlife wanted to have the book available for its Christmas list, which meant finishing the whole manuscript in three months.  Everything came out of the chest of drawers and Dad threw himself back into his writing.  He made the deadline, but he wasn’t entirely happy about having to work so fast.  He felt that something was lost that perhaps did not return until the very last chapter and the epilogue.  I know there were two small factual mistakes that made it into print, and they always annoyed him.  But when I read the new material I thought it worked in rather well, given that this was the hard-grind of the tour from which all naivety had been drained by his hospitalisation.

Today, in one form or another, <em>Luck and a Lancaster</em> has probably sold getting on for 45,000 copies.  The response of readers has been incredibly generous and kind.  Hundreds of people, some of them fellow aircrew, many more of them relatives of aircrew, wrote often touching letters to dad.  He was very grateful and answered all he could until, over the final six years of his life, illness drained him too much.

He passed away in Hastings Conquest hospital on 20th November 2011, two months short of his 90th birthday.  He had lived a wonderful, satisfying life, which was what he deserved, and a life which is very much caught and held in aspic as the memory of a young flyer by his much older self.

One of the things Dad had done in his research period was to visit Barry Aldridge’s museum at Witchford, and sign the visitors book.  In the summer of 2001, I took Leslie up to Cambridgeshire to re-connect with his own past.  We visited Ely and the Cathedral, and we went to the old airfield, of course, and to the village green at Mepal.  Then we went on to Barry’s museum.  Leslie wandered through the exhibits and breathed in the pungent perfume of that Hercules power-plant which fills the place.  But some private regret, that will obviously never be expunged, stopped him from signing the visitors book.

Leslie had his 95th birthday dinner with Geraldine and I on St George’s Day this year.  He is still surprisingly hale and very determined to remain independent as long as possible.

Henry Smulovitch, Flight Engineer – Osborne crew

Crew of L Lucy cropped and contfromHR

The Osborne crew, one assumes taken at some point during their stay at Mepal. Patrick McCarthy, the crew’s Navigator is stood on the far left, Henry Smulovitch is stood second from the right in the main back row. The identities of the rest of the crew are sadly not known at this time. © David Smulovitch

David has contacted me about his Father, Henry Smulovitch, who was Flight Engineer with Roy Osborne’s crew between September and December 1944.

The Osbourne crew arrived at Mepal on the 8th of September 1944, Roy flying 2 ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops with Harry Yates and Jim Johnson on the 10th and 16th of September, before joining his tour on the 20th for their first Operational flight to Calais. David says that Henry, as Flight Engineer used to say that if Roy was injured, he would have to take the controls of the aircraft – Henry and the rest of the crew prayed that would never happen!

The details of Roy’s 2nd Pilot ops are as follows:

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
Twenty seven aircraft attacked Montivilliers in the Le Havre area, as detailed. All crews dropped their bombs on the target and a very concentrated raid developed. No fighters were encountered and only slight opposition was met from ground defences.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S Sugar (3)

F/O Henry Charles ‘Harry’ Yates, RAFVR 141776 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O William George ‘Bill’ Birnie, RNZAF NZ429291 – Navigator.
F/S Inia Whangataua ‘Mac’ Maaka, RNZAF NZ421741 – Air Bomber.
W/O Sinclair Archibald ‘Archie’ Bain, RNZAF NZ415983 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Denys ‘Tubby’ Westell, RAFVR 2221192/ 188789 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Geoffrey Fallowfield, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Norrie Close, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:21 – Landed 19:09
Flight Time 03:48

16/09/1944 – Attack Against Moerdijk
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack Moerdijk Bridge. The operation was successfully carried out in good weather. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O Oboe (19)

F/O James Johnson, RAFVR 176437 – Pilot.
F/S Roy Alvin Osborne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – 2nd Pilot.
W/O Thomas Talbot Murdoch, RAFVR 1345478 – Navigator.
F/O Alexander Mitchell Penman, RNZAF NZ416154 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. James Smith, RAFVR 1604615 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Lorenzo Marfil, RAFVR 1893899 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Alexander Reid, RAFVR 2211424 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald McLeod, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:36 – Landed 00:26
Flight Time 02:50

Its perhaps fortunate for us that Harry Yates was Pilot on one of these familarisation flights – within the pages of Harry’s book ‘Luck and a Lancaster‘, I found the following piece that relates to Roy – or apparently ‘Bill’ Osborne:

“Of the three second dickeys whom we initiated, only the first, Bill Osborne survived a tour. He became quite a character on the station. He had a great knack of capturing anyone’s essential features with a few affectionate strokes of the pen. At most times, an Osborne caricature was to be found on the mess notice board.

On the day of my de-mob I bumped into Bill in the corridor of a railway carriage. I was dressed in regulation civvy suit; he, a career pilot flying jets in uniform. Time was moving on and the great days of the Lancaster were already gone”.

Its a tantalising thought that perhaps one of ‘Bill’ Osborne’s caricatures maybe still exists somewhere………

It was now time for the Osborne crew to join the other crews, taking off from Mepal on a late summer afternoon………..

20/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft set out as detailed to attack enemy strong points at Calais. They all successfully bombed the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O ‘Oboe’ (20)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 14:45 – Landed 17:45
Flight Time 03:00

23/09/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Neuss. The target was obscured by ten tenths cloud with tops of 11,000 ft. Most crews bombed below cloud, some explosions and flashes were seen, but results were difficult to assess. One aircraft returned early through the complete failure of the electrical system and a further aircraft bombed the target, but owing to a technical failure, landed at Woodbridge on return. Moderate but inaccurate A.A. Fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N (5)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:25 – Landed 23:55
Flight Time 04:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (10)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 08:15
Flight Time 20:50

26/09/1944 – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack a defended locality near Cap Gris Nez. They all attacked the target from a low level and an accurate and concentrated raid was reported. Opposition was negligible.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (11)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 14:26
Flight Time 02:46

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to make an early morning attack on the defended localities near Calais. One aircraft landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure discovered shortly after take off. Of the remainder only one aircraft found a break in the clouds through which to bomb the Markers. Ten aircraft had to abandon their mission after circling the target area for a considerable time.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (12)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:54 – Landed 10:49
Flight Time 02:55

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (36)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:00 – Landed 11:05
Flight Time 04:05

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (37)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:25 – Landed 14:05
Flight Time 02:40

22/10/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Nine aircraft were detailed to attack Neuss. Eight attacked the target through ten tenths cloud, but results were unsatisfactory. One aircraft attacked Munchen Gladbach being unable to reach the primary target on time.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (38)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:30 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 04:05

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (39)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:50 – Landed 21:40
Flight Time 04:50

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Twenty three of these attacked the target and bombing was good, built up areas and factories being identified visually. One aircraft brought its bombs back owing to the failure of the bombing equipment when over the target and two other aircraft returned early owing to technical failures.

Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (46)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:20 – Landed 16:40
Flight Time 03:20

26/10/1944 – Attack Against Leverkusen
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Leverkusen. They all bombed the target in formation and a successful raid was reported. A.A. opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y (47)

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:00 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 04:25

28/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Seven aircraft took off a few hours later to participate in an attack on Cologne. They all bombed in clear weather and identified the target visually. Bombing was concentrated and a large smoke pall was seen on leaving. A.A. opposition was moderate, but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (40)
Hit by flak 4 times

F/S Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:15 – Landed 17:15
Flight Time 04:00

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Cologne
Eighteen aircraft took off in the evening to make a further attack on Cologne. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target area, but markers were well placed and a good glow from fires beneath the clouds was observed on leaving. A.A. opposition was slight and no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III NN710 AA-Q (23)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:00 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 04:55

11/11/1944 – Sea Mining in Oslo Fjord
Five aircraft were detailed for minelaying off Horten in the Oslo Fjord. Four aircraft took off and planted their mines successfully in their allotted position but on return the aircraft were diverted to Tain, owing to doubtful weather at base.

Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q (28)
A/C returned to Tain, owing to unsatisfactory weather at Base

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:25 – Landed 23:00
Flight Time 07:35

16/11/1944 – Attack Against Heinsberg
Twenty five aircraft were detailed to attack an Oil Refinery target at Sterkrade but this operation was cancelled, and the 25 aircraft later took off to attack Heinsberg in support of the advancing American Army, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All crews were successful in bombing the town which was identified visually. On leaving, the whole town appeared to be covered in a thick pall of smoke. Flak was fairly intense but only two of our aircraft received minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (48)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:28 – Landed 17:34
Flight Time 04:06

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (49)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:47 – Landed 17:28
Flight Time 04:41

21/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make another daylight attack on the Oil Refinery plant at Homberg, carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. On this occasion weather over the target was clear, and crews reported the bombing to be quite good, both the target and town being identified visually. Several good explosions were observed in the target area. Flak opposition was moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (50)
Hit by flak once

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:28 – Landed 16:52
Flight Time 04:24

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P  (19)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:40 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 04:46

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (51)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 17:03
Flight Time 04:48

28/11/1944 – Attack Against Neuss
Twenty one aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack on Neuss, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb and Incendiary bombs, together with one 12,000 lb bomb. Twenty aircraft were successful in dropping their bombs using navigational aids and a good concentration of fires was reported. Flak was very slight, the enemy defences appearing to be completely foxed. One aircraft captained by W/C R.J.A. Leslie, D.S.O., A.F.C. carrying the 12,000 lb bomb got in the wrong stream of bombers and bombed Essen.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (52)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:50 – Landed 07:25
Flight Time 04:35

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (53)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:48 – Landed 15:15
Flight Time 04:27

02/12/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Seventeen aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on the Coking Plant at Dortmund. All crews were successful in attacking the target which was covered by 10/10 cloud, tops being about 12,000 ft. and the raid was thought to be successful, though the Bomber stream was not as concentrated as usual. Flak was moderate, but very erratic, and none of our aircraft suffered damage. Bombs carried on this attack were 4,000 lb H.C., 1,000 lb. M.C. and 1,000 lb ANM.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (54)

P/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 17:36
Flight Time 05:00

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (56)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:00 – Landed 14:07
Flight Time 05:07

08/12/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on Duisburg Marshalling Yards carrying 1,000 M.C., 1,000 A.N.M. and Munro Bombs. All aircraft successfully attacked the target and a very concentrated attack was reported, but apart from one report of smoke coming through the tops of the cloud at 15,000 ft., no results were observed. One aircraft “D” captain F/S Wood, J., landed at Woodbridge on return.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (8)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:37 – Landed 12:37
Flight Time 04:00

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (60)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:50 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:20

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (61)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:22 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:15

28/12/1944 – Attack Against Gremberg M/Y at Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Gremberg Marshalling yard at Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Nineteen aircraft bombed the target and one bombed short due to technical failure. One aircraft AA”S” captained by NZ425292 F/O D. Sadgrove returned early owing to engine trouble. Crews were satisfied that the attack was successful, many reporting smoke rising well above the cloud tops. Slight H/F was experienced, but no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (62)
Hit by flak once
F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:01 – Landed 16:57
Flight Time 04:56

30/12/1944 – Mining in the Heligoland Bight
No bombing operations were laid on but four aircraft were required for mining by special equipment in the Heligoland Bight area. All were successful and planted mines as ordered. There was some enemy air activity, three of our aircraft reporting fighters of E/A. One of these, AA”J” captained by F/O E. Parsons, was in combat in which E/A was claimed as damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y (15)

F/O Roy Alvin ‘Ossy’ Osbourne, RAFVR 907181/ 185437 – Pilot.
F/S Patrick Joseph McCarthy, RNZAF NZ424489 – Navigator.
F/S Leonard Roy Harris, RAAF AUS.418404 – Air Bomber.
F/S Derek Mason, RNZAF NZ425850 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Leslie Smulovitch, RAFVR 1866270 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. S. Petty, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Pryce, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:35 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 04:05