Tag Archives: Jack Bailey

Bruce Hosie RNZAF NZ412882 – Wireless Operator. 1942

bruce Hosie015 cppd for post

Many thanks to Steve for passing on this complete copy of the logbook of Bruce Hosie, Wireless Operator with Jack Baliey’s 1st tour crew between September 1942 and May 1943.

After completing his tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Bruce went to 1665 and 1660 Conversion Units as an instructor before begining a second tour in January 1944 with 617 (Dambusters) Squadron at Woodall Spa.

At 617 Bruce flew initially with a F/Lt. Cooper and then the majority of his 29 Ops with F/O Bobby Knights, including the well known attack on the Tirpitz on the 15th of September 1944, that required the attacking force to first fly to to Yagodnik, near Archangel in Russia, refuel, mount he attack, before returning to Yagodnik to refuel again, before finally returning to Base, via Lossiemouth.

BruceHosie1

On 75 Sq. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Sixth from left is P/O Jack Bailey, Pilot of AA-V ‘Waikato’.
Photo published on Wings Over New Zealand forum, from NZBCA Archives, via Peter Wheeler.

BobKnightsCrew--WithNames

Bruce, taken with the Knights crew whilst on his 2nd tour with 617 Squadron.
Photo published on Wings Over New Zealand forum, from NZBCA Archives, via Peter Wheeler.

On the 7th of October 1944 Bruce took off with Squadron Leader Drew Wyness’ crew for a 16 aircraft Op on the Kembs Barrage.Allowing for a relatively high number of either recalled or ‘DCO’ Ops, this would have been Bruce’s 30th Op with 617 Squadron.

Lancaster Mk.I NG180, KC-S was hit repeatedly, but managed to drop its tallboy bomb before crashing into the Rhine near the town of Chalampe, on the Franco-German border.

At the time of writing this post I am not sure as to the fate of the rest of the crew, however it was later reported that Drew Wyness and Bruce Hosie had managed to get into their dinghy, but had been captured by German soldiers. Having been taken to the nearby village to be interrogated, they were taken back to the river and both shot in the back of their heads before their bodies were pushed back into the river. Their bodies were recovered some 50 miles down stream near Toul. Both now lay in Cholay War Cemetery.

(information regarding the fate of Bruce Hosie taken form “617: Going to War with Today’s Dambusters” by Tim Bouquet from a quote by Tony Iveson and Dambusters.org ‘lost in action’ section.)

View Bruce’s logbook here.

 

A “Who’s Who” – 1945.

CHBaigent-4-45

Wing Commander “Mac” Baigent, DFC*. – NZBCA archives.

Many thanks as always to Chris for keeping the posts going! – this time with a Who’s Who of Commanding Officers from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF in 1945. In putting the post together, I realised that at the foot of a page in Dad’s logbook, there was Mac Baigent’s signature, on Bobs sign off from his second tour – I had looked at these pages a thousand times and never noticed it………

As Chris does at the foot of this post, I must, as always, thank Peter and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association for more pictures that I certainly haven’t seen before from their archive.

Cyril Henry Baigent, DFC*, DSO, AFC, RNZAF. (NZ411973, 70038).
Cyril Baigent, usually known as “Mac”, or “Baige”, came from Ashburton, New Zealand.
He enlisted in March 1941, aged 17, and was posted to the RAF in September that year. He served his first tour of duty (32 operations) with 15 Squadron, including participation in the first two, Thousand Bomber raids, and second tour (33 Operations) with 115 Squadron in 1943. He was appointed Squadron Leader, November 1943.

Mac took over as Commanding Officer (CO) of 75 (NZ) Squadron on 6 January 1945, after the loss of W/C Ray Newton on 1st January.

Baigent was still ten days short of his 22nd birthday at the time, the youngest squadron commander in RAF Bomber Command.

Apparently some on Base gave him the nickname “Boy”, but only behind his back! Despite the baby-face and clear complexion, he was tall and apparently physically quite strong.

He was also very popular, and acknowledged for looking after new crews, often taking them on their first op’s. He flew 15 op’s in his time as CO, for a total of 70 by war’s end.

He also led three Operation Manna trips, including the Squadron’s very first on 29 April, one of the post-war flights to evaluate German radar, a farewell salute flypast for RNZAF airmen on the SS Andes, and one Operation Spasm (trip to Berlin to view the City on the ground).

He commanded the Squadron for the rest of the war, through the move to RAF Spilsby for Tiger Force training, and right up until it was disbanded in September 1945. He was awarded the DSO just as they moved to Splisby.

Citation – Distinguished Service Order
17 July 1945, 75 (NZ) Squadron, RNZAF
Throughout three years of operational duty this officer has displayed conspicuous gallantry and exceptional determination.  Since the award of a bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, he has taken part in many attacks against important and highly defended targets.  Both in the air and on the ground, Wing Commander Baigent has proved to be an able, keen and courageous leader, who has invariably set an inspiring example to all under his command.

He later rejoined 75 Squadron for the RNZAF’s deHavilland Mosquito ferry flights from England to New Zealand.

Citation – Air Force Cross
New Year 1948, 75 Squadron, RNZAF
This officer was posted to 75 Squadron as a Flight Commander in October 1946 for Mosquito ferry training duties.  Early in 1947 he proceeded to the United Kingdom and delivered his first Mosquito to New Zealand.  Since then this officer has delivered two more aircraft from the United Kingdom.  Furthermore he has assumed command of the Squadron and despite the time occupied in flying, he has completed much valuable work in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and on the ferry route to make this difficult task of ferrying easier and more practical.  By his keenness and fine leadership he has maintained a high morale amongst aircrew of his Squadron and his never failing enthusiasm and energy have made him an outstanding figure and he has won the admiration and respect of all ranks.  Squadron Leader Baigent has now completed 1,572 hours flying of which 279 hours have been flown within the past six months

WingCoAdjutant1945-RonBaker

Wing Commander “Mac” Baigent, DFC*, and Squadron Adjutant, Flight Lieutenant Charles Bewsher. Probably RNZAF official – appears in “Forever Strong”, by Norman Franks, incorrectly captioned as “F/L Paul Bewsher”. – NZBCA archives, Ron Baker collection.

SONY DSC

Mac Baigent’s signature, signing off the second tour of Air Bomber Jock Sommerville

Flt Lt. Charles Crossfield Bewsher, RAF (100122).
Charles Bewsher was 75 (NZ) Squadron Adjutant from November 1943 to May 1945.

He features in several of the Squadron group photos on this site, from 1943, 1944 and 1945.

The Squadron Adjutant’s role was as administrative assistant to the Commanding Officer, non-flying, essentially to keep the CO’s desk clear of as much paper as possible so that “the boss” could concentrate on operational matters. One of his responsibilities was probably the maintenance of the Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) as Bewsher’s name appears on some of these forms.

ABCFlightCommanders-late-1944-RonBaker

Flight Commanders: Squadron Leader Bob Rodgers DFC, DFM, Commander of “B” Flight; Squadron Leader Jack Wright DSO, DFC, Commander of “A” Flight, and Squadron Leader Jack Bailey DFC and bar, Commander of “C” Flight. Probably RNZAF official – appears in “Forever Strong”, by Norman Franks. – NZBCA archives, Ron Baker collection.

Sqn Ldr. John Robert “Bob” Rodgers, DFC, DFM, RNZAF. (NZ413956)

Bob Rodgers came from Timaru in New Zealand. After initially enlisting in the Army, he was accepted into the RNZAF on 4 July 1941. He trained on Tiger Moths at No. 1 EFTS, Taieri, and then on twin-engined Airspeed Oxfords at 1 SFTS Wigram. He graduated as a pilot on 29 January 1942 and a week later was on his way to England by sea.

He completed a refresher course on Oxfords at Little Rissington, converted to Wellingtons, then on 10 September 1942 he and his crew were posted to 115 Squadron at Mildenhall. Within five days they were in action on a raid to the Ger­man city of Essen. After 22 op’s, he was seconded to 105 (Mosquito) Squadron at RAF Marham as a Gee instructor in February 1943, but returned to 115 Sqdn to complete his tour on Lancasters on 12 May 1943.

He was posted to instructional duties at Lancaster Finishing School at Waterbeach, and on 6 June, D-Day, he applied to take a day off from instructing at the conversion unit to command a Lancaster on a raid on the Lisieux marshalling yards. His DFM came through on June 8.

Rodgers was posted to 75 (NZ) Squadron on 20 September 1944 and promoted to Squadron Leader, after the Squadron lost its B Flight Commander Garth Gunn, who was seriously injured on 17 September when he crash-landed at RAF Hawkinge on return from a daylight raid on Boulogne, and later died of injuries sustained in the crash.

In his book “Luck and a Lancaster”, Pilot Harry Yates DFC describes his boss:
“Squadron Leader Rodgers was a New Zealander and rather taciturn by nature. His post required him to be something of a communicator, and to this he responded with typi­cal Kiwi straightforwardness and informality.”

JAck Rodgers signature

Bob Rodgers sign off at the bottom of the page for February 1945 in the logbook of Air Bomber Jock Sommerville

BAIGENT, Wg Cdr Cyril Henry, DSO, DFC*, AFC, RNZAF. (NZ411973, 70038). Pilot, CO 6 Jan to 27 Sep 1945 RODGERS A/Sqn Ldr. John Robert DFC, DFM, RNZAF. (NZ413956) Pilot 20 Sep 1944 to 28 Mar 1945 “B” Flt Cmdr.

B Flight Commander Bob Rodgers, stood with Wing Commander Mac Baigent at Mepal, 1945

As Flight Commander and something of a Gee H specialist, Rodgers often flew as G-H leader and/or master bomber. He com­pleted his operational career on 6 March 1945 when he flew his fifty-sixth op’ to Salzbergen in Lancaster RF159, AA-X, as G-H leader.

Citation DFC
22 May 1945 75 (NZ) Sdqn:
This officer has completed numerous operational sorties as pilot and captain of aircraft and has invariably displayed outstanding courage and devotion to duty. As a Flight Commander his fearlessness and resource have proved an inspiration to those under his command. He has always shown great enthusiam for operations.

S/L John Leonard “Jack” Wright, DSO, DFC, RNZAF. NZ405781
Lesley Family021

Jack Wright was born in Tirau, in the Waikato.

He flew his first tour as Pilot with 75 (NZ) Squadron on Wellingtons, flying 32 op’s from 29 May to 20 Oct 1942. His crew’s Wellington was BJ772, AA-D, “Donald Duck”.

Citation DFC (Imm) 23 Dec 1942:
This officer has participated in many attacks on some of the most heavily defended targets in Germany. His painstaking search to identify and attack the target is worthy of the highest praise. One night in September,1942, when returning from an attack on the Ruhr a Junkers 88 was observed. By skilfully manoeuvering his aircraft Pilot Officer Wright enabled his gunner to open fire and destroy the enemy aircraft. At all times he has displayed courage and devotion to duty of the highest order.

He and his crew volunteered for the new specialist Pathfinder force and completed a second tour (24 op’s) with 156 (PFF) Squadron, forming the famous ‘Thomas Frederick Duck’ crew.

Lesley Family027

The crew of ‘Thomas Frederick Duck’ at 156 PFF Squadron May – November 1943. Standing, L to R: Nick Carter, Jack Wright, Podge Reynolds, Charlie Kelly Front, L to R: Alf Drew, Ken Cranshaw, Wally Hamond

Jack was awarded an Immediate DSO while with 156 Sqn (16 November 1943).

After various staff appointments he rejoined 75 (NZ) Sqdn on 28 Nov 1944 as a Squadron Leader, and “A” Flight Commander.

He flew a further 14 op’s, bringing his total to 70.

Squadron Leader) John Mathers “Jack” Bailey, DFC*, NZ412183 RNZAF
Jack Bailey was from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, but moved to New Zealand just before the war to farm in Ohingaiti, in the Manawatu. He enlisted in the R.N.Z.A.F. in 1941, was trained in New Zealand and then shipped to England.

He trained at 11 OTU, then completed a tour of operations as a Pilot with 75 (NZ) Squadron 9 (Sep 1942 – 4 May 1943), flying first Wellingtons, then Stirlings.

He received the DFC in June 1943.

Citation Distinguished Flying Cross
9 June 1943 [75 (NZ) Sqn]:
Throughout his operational career Pilot Officer Bailey has invariably displayed the utmost eagerness to proceed on operations. He always attacks his targets with skill and determination and has taken part in missions over heavily defended areas in enemy territory, such as Berlin, Cologne, Turin and Essen. Pilot Officer Bailey is an excellent captain of aircraft, who has performed all his duties in an exemplary manner.

On 75 Sq. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Sixth from left is P/O Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

On 75 Sq. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Sixth from left is P/O Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

After a period of instructional duty, S/L Bailey returned to the New Zealand squadron in late 1944 and began his second tour of operations. Bailey posted in as F/L, appointed to acting rank of S/L w.e.f. 10/11/44.

The Navigator from his first crew, Fray Ormerod DFC, held the posts of Navigation Leader and Operations Officer while Bailey was at Mepal.

Bailey became famous as the Pilot who took his Lancaster, NE181, JN-M “Mike”, The Captain’s Fancy” on her 100th op’ to Krefeld on 29 January 1945, the first New Zealand bomber to pass the magic “ton”.

NE181 100th & aircrew VHD cleaned

He also flew a memorable op’ to Osterfeld on 22 February, which led to the award of a bar to his DFC.

Citation Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (Imm)
1 March 1945) [75 (NZ) Sqn]:
Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Bailey has participated in many sorties against some of the most heavily defended targets in enemy territory. He has consistently displayed a high standard of courage and skill, qualities which were well evident on a recent occasion in February, 1945, when he led the squadron in an attack on an oil refinery at Osterfeld. Whilst over the target the aircraft was hit in several places. The starboard inner engine was rendered unserviceable and the propeller had to be feathered. In spite of this, Squadron Leader Bailey executed a successful attack. The attack on the Osterfeld refinery took place on afternoon of 22/2/45, and the bomb load of this particular aircraft was one 8,000 pound HC, and six 500 pond MC bombs. The ORB merely commented “Flak accurate and intense, several aircraft damaged”.

Jack was posted out on 14 May 1945.

References: Errol Martyn, Wings Over New Zealand forum, Obituary – S/Ldr J. R. Rodgers, DFC, DFM, “Pacific Wings”, October 2000 issue, “Dying For Democracy”, by F/Lt G Alan Russell DFC, and 75 (NZ) Squadron personnel records, compiled by Group Captain C M Hanson OBE RNZAF.

As always, thanks to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn., for permission to reproduce these photos.

NE191 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ – a new photograph…….

NE181 100th & aircrew VHD cleaned

A new photograph of the Bailey crew, taken prior to their 100th Op in NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ on the 29th January 1945, to Krefeld. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG). Picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks to Tony, son of Dave Pickup, Wireless Operator with the Bailey crew for sending in another, we believe, unseen photograph of The Bailey crew and NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’, prior to their departure to Krefeld on the 29th of January 1945 on ‘Mikes’ 100th Op.

It’s interesting to compare this picture with an earlier one that Tony supplied, which include the ground crew – it seems that the positions are barely changed – we can only guess which picture was taken first………

NE181 100th Jan 1945 tu low file

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’, just after ‘bombing up’ 29th January 1945. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Sgt. Phillips (Ground crew), LAC Thompson (Ground crew), Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

LAC Thompson

 

 

That famous first ton

NE181 100th Jan 1945 tu low file

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike “The Captains Fancy”, just after ‘bombing up’ for the Krefeld op’ on the 29th January 1945 (99 op’s marked).
L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Navigator), Norman Bartlett (Flight Engineer), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (Bomb Aimer), Dick Pickup (Wireless Operator). (Front row) Sgt. Phillips and LAC Thompson (ground cre, Roy Corfield (Rear Gunner), Tony Gregory (Mid-Upper Gunner), Fred Woolterton (ground crew).
– picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks as always to Chris for a new post about NE181 JN-Mike, ‘The Captains Fancy’….

Excitement is building amongst us Kiwi 75’ers as we look forward to the re-paint of (one side of) Auckland’s MoTaT Lancaster to represent 75(NZ) Squadron RAF’s famous ‘ton-up’ Lanc’, NE181 JN-M Mike “The Captains Fancy”. A formal hand over ceremony will be conducted at MoTaT in April, with veterans and the families of JN-M’s crews invited to attend.

Amongst the NZBCA’s photo archive are two photos that appear to be part of the documentation of that famous event, the day NE181 achieved the 100 op’s milestone. They have been published elsewhere, but for the record, it would be great to have them together displayed together with the other priceless record of the occasion.

This is the historic picture (top of post) of the Bailey crew, published previously on this site alongside Bomb Aimer Jack Wall’s memoirs. The seven crew are shown with three of Mike’s ground crew, about to leave on that famous 100th operational sortie to Krefeld. It looks to have been a freezing cold day, complete with snow and fog, in the middle of what was one of Europe’s coldest winters for many years.

The next two photos are from the NZBCA archive, from the collection of Alan Scott, Wireless Operator with the Anderson crew (April-July 45). They appear to have been taken the same day, going by the weather, light and backgrounds, and form a nice sequence as the crew apparently pause for a photo, board the aircraft, and then taxy out into the snow.

DSC_0092(2)

The Bailey crew boarding NE181 “The Captain’s Fancy” at dispersal, to begin pre-flight checks before flying to Krefeld, 29th of January, 99 op’s marked.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Alan Scott

DSC_0094

NE181 “The Captain’s Fancy” apparently taxiing out from her dispersal, preparing to fly to Krefeld, 29th of January, 99 op’s marked.
New Zealand Bomber Command Assn. archive / Alan Scott

Once again, if anyone has more information about these photos – or in fact, ANY other photos of NE181, we would love to hear from you – and thanks again to Peter Wheeler and the NZBCA for permission to share photos from their archives.

MOTAT Lancaster to be repainted as NE181 JN-‘Mike’, ‘The Captains Fancy’

JNM cropped comp

NE181 JN-‘Mike’ – The Captains Fancy’ – the new paint scheme for the Lancaster on display at the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland, New Zealand.
Image via NZBCA Facebook page – © Peter West

I woke up this morning to see the exciting news on the New Zealand Bomber Command Facebook page, that the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland has announced their Lancaster will be repainted in the markings and nose art of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF NE181 JN-Mike – ‘The Captains Fancy’.

The Lancaster on display at MOTAT was built in June 1945. NX665 was destined for service in the Pacific as part of the proposed Allied invasion of Japan. However, Japanese surrender in September 1945 made the deployment unnecessary. The aircraft instead went into storage at Llandow until sold to the French navy in 1951.

Following acquisition by the French, NX665 was given the military registration WU13, and deployed first in France, then Morocco and Algeria on anti-submarine patrol, maritime reconnaissance, and air-sea rescue operations. After service in North Africa, WU13 returned to France in preparation for deployment in the Pacific with Escardrille 9S based in Noumea, New Caledonia. This was the aircraft’s last period of active service before being gifted to MOTAT as a good will gesture to New Zealand by the French Government.

‘The Captains Fancy’ holds a special fascination with 75(NZ) Squadron as it was the only aircraft in the Squadron to pass its ‘century’ of completed Operations. Perhaps inevitably because of this ‘fame’ there is a degree of ‘fogginess’ that exists around the aircraft, regarding the exact number of Ops credited to it and even in some quarters, what crew and what date the magic figure of 100 Ops final was recorded. The mystery is compounded by the fact that ‘Mike’ never carried more that 101 bombs (indicating Ops completed), even though research strongly suggests this figure is possibly 104 – after leaving Mepal for maintenance, it returned, but the ORB’s seem to contain inaccuracies regarding ‘Mike’s’ further flights and in some cases it is a matter of vigorous conjecture as to whether the  aircraft listed are others or in fact NE181. What we do know of course is that ‘Mike’ DID complete at least 101 Ops whilst with the Squadron – so I am very interested to see how MOTAT will present and try to communicate the disparity between the ‘official’, painted total and the higher figure that many, including myself, think she reached.

The bittersweet irony of this aircraft’s presence in the Museum is that the officers in 75(NZ) Squadron lobbied hard to have NE181 bought home (some believe the maintenance break towards the end of the war was as much to prepare ‘Mike’ for the flight back home as it was to simply overhaul her for further Ops). Despite the desire of the Squadron to bring the old girl back home with them, it would appear that the New Zealand government baulked at the fuel bill for the homeward flight……..

See a past post by Ian and Chris regarding the mystery of the final Ops and in fact whereabouts of NE181 here.

See the announcement on the NZBCA Facebook page here.
Visit the MOTAT Lancaster webpage here.

The final mystery of Mike……..

It seems only fitting to pose the following questions from Ian after the Jack Wall memoirs. There are clearly a number of question marks hanging over NE181 around and after her 100th Op and we are all keen to find the answers that might complete another one of the pieces of this historical jigsaw.

Ian and Chris have spent a lot of time over the last few months trying to build an accurate history of this aircraft and now Mikes latter period with the Squadron is under scrutiny.

ac card NE181 cropped

The aircraft movement card for NE181, JN-M, The Captains Fancy.
© Royal Airforce Museum, Hendon/ Crown

NE181 (JN-M)
20 May 1944: NE181 joins 75 Sqn – ref. NE181 Aircaft Movement Record

29 Jan 1945: Completes her 100th operation, to Krefeld under S/L Bailey – ref. 75 Sqn ORBs

2/3 Feb 1945: Completes her 101st operation, to Wiesbaden under S/L Bailey – ref. 75 Sqn ORBs
Photos are extant showing 101 operations for her.

16 Feb 1945: Completes her 102nd operation, to Wesel under S/L Bailey – ref is Bomb Aimer Jack Wall’s notes, which state “M” (it was our 102nd operation for “M”) but ORBs list this aircraft as RF129, JN-M, a Lancaster I (the first reference made to RF129 in the ORBs)

17 Feb 1945: Alex Simpson flies her to Waterbeach – ref my letters from Alex and ‘Forever Strong’. Rather than being ‘struck off’, it seems highly likely that NE181 just spent several weeks here being refitted.

20 Mar 1945: We believe this was her 103rd op, to Hamm under S/L Bailey – no ref, just a hunch as S/L Bailey is flying this operation (all other listings in ORBs for RF129 have a different captain, except 16 Feb, 20 Mar and 24 Apr). ORBs list as RF129.

24 Apr 1945: Completes her 104th operation, to Bad Oldesloe under F/O Ware – ref is F/O Ware pilot’s logbook, Colin Emslie navigator’s log (Kiwis Do Fly) and a photo of the Ware crew beneath the nose of NE181; however, the bomb tally shows only 101 operations.

After this date, there is anecdotal evidence that she flew several PoW repatriation operations – ref??

19 Jul 1945: – goes to 514 Sqn – ref. NE181 Aircraft Movement Record

4 Sep 1945: goes to 5 MU – ref. NE181 Aircraft Movement Record

30 Sep 1947: Struck off charge – ref. NE181 Aircraft Movement Record

So the questions are:

  1. Why does the ORB list RF129 as having flown operations on the 16.2.45 and 24.4.45 (and probably the 20.3.45), when the crews, who seem well-aware of her fame,  state they were flying in NE181?
  2. If the above is correct, then there seem to have been two JN-Mikes kept on squadron after 16.2.45 – was NE181 returned to 75 Sqn from Waterbeach in anticipation of her being ‘repatriated’ to NZ?
  3. If NE181 was going to be returned to NZ, why was she flown on further operations? Two were flown by S/L Bailey – did he use her because she was ’his’ aircraft? (Did he fly any other operations between 16 Feb and 24 Apr in other aircraft?*) For the final operation, NE181 was the lead aircraft on a G-H raid – was she used this day because of her G-H ability? (Note- no one was aware of the significance of this ‘final’ operation for 75 Sqn.)
  4. Why, if she indeed did fly another 3 missions after the 2/3.2.45 as seems very likely, were NE181’s operational bomb tally on her nose not updated beyond 101? (Ref the photo of the Ware crew, taken after final operation 24.4.45)
  5. What references do we have for NE181 flying POW repatriations after operations ceased?

*Dick Pickups’s logbook lists; 22 Feb Osterfeldt, JN-Z, 26 Feb Dortmund, JN-P, 5 Mar, Gelsenkirchen, JN-P, 9 Apr Kiel, JN-K

So, as always if anybody has any thoughts, ideas or better still, factual information on this subject and these questions – please dive into the conversation!……..

(personally, I’d LOVE to see any correspondence between the Squadron and the New Zealand Government regarding the failed attempt to bring her home – Simon)

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 14. We will remember them

I didn’t want to let Jack Wall’s memoirs just stop, so I will finish them simply, but in a way that I think is fitting.

TO ALL AIRCREW OF ’75’ SQUADRON WHO FLEW IN WORLD WAR TWO

Boys of then, who are men today, turned in their civvies to free my land
Volunteers they were, these aircrew chaps who gave the hun no place of fun
Bomber Command this mighty force, had boys of spirit to serve the cause
Belgium people in those days would listen carefully to their voice
The voice of Merlin who night and day, boosted their morale in a magnificent way
No one else as those involved, will ever understand the meaning of it all
A song of freedom high above, who would bring relief for the people I so dearly love
My father and mother and many more, have prayed for you, who helped to win the war
We think of them, these magnificent men of ’75‘, who served and died to free my land
Standing here today, is thanks to them, who served and died
We will remember them.

Peter Loncke.
First Sergeant Belgium Air Force.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha
forever and ever strong