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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 13. NE181, The Captains Fancy

NE181, JN-Mike – ‘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. Certainly yesterdays post makes it clear from Jack’s and no doubt the entire Bailey crew that it was them!

NE181 original artwork

(Original caption from Jack Wall); 75(N.Z.) Squadron – Mepal. The Captains Fancy prior to the Air Ministry order that the majority of the figure was to be blacked out as it was too visible at night……
NE181 sporting a ‘brighter’ version of ‘The Captains Fancy’ nose art, after her 51st Op, which was to Calais, 20th September 44, piloted by S/L Williamson.

The picture below showing The Captains Fancy prior to her 100th Op with a clearly ‘blacked out’ version of the original artwork……..

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

original advertisement artwork

An image supplied by Mirror Group Newspapers, dated 27th July 1988; ‘We are enclosing with our compliments a copy of the cartoon character which you requested. He is Capt. Reilly-Ffoul, and he appeared in our ‘Just Jake’ strip during the 1939-45 war.’

JCWall Memoir Appendices_0001

Air Ministry Bulletin announcing the award of a Bar to Jack Bailey’s D.F.C., won during the Osterfeld OP
Jack Wall’s Recollections of the OSTLEFELD Opoeration;
This was a daylight raid and we led the flight formation – this was probably why we had so much flak aimed at the aircraft. When the other aircraft in the formation saw our bomb doors open they opened theirs and when they saw our bombs start to fall they followed with theirs. If we had been shot down they were instructed to bomb on their own. We did take a battering and Jack had to feather one engine over the target. However he still managed to fly straight and level for our bombing run and I have a good photo of the bombing in my small collection. Our load was 1×8,000 lb., 6×500 lb., and 1×250 lb. Bombs. When we landed it was found that we had been hit in all engines and had a total of 57 holes in various sizes. However no one was injured and all 21 Aircraft from the Squadron that took part returned
safely I cannot remember if any others were hit by flak; It was for his skill and courage on this operation that Jack was awarded the Bar to his D.F.C. – John was always known as Jack.

JCWall Ops Log & Bombing Photos_0006

A letter from Fred Woolerton, one of the ground crew that looked after NE181 throughout her stay at Mepal. The first part is an extract from an Air Ministry Bulletin, sent by Fred to Jack, the second part an explanation from Fred why ‘The Captains Fancy’ missed that one Op…….

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 12. On ‘Forever Strong’……

FOREVER STRONG – Some comments on the book by J C Wall.
It’s clear from these notes that Jack had a few strong opinions about a number of things in this book. I think most interestingly, there is a tangible anger regarding the description by Alex Simpson of his discussion with Jack Bailey regarding who would fly the 100th Op in JN-Mike.

All extracts and photograph of NE181 ‘The Captains Fancy’  from ‘Forever Strong – The Story of 75 Squadron RNZAF 1916-1990’, by Norman Franks. Published by Random Century New Zealand Ltd. 1991.

Page 72. Chapter 9 – Newmarket. November 1942 – February 1943.
Five aircraft went to Turin the next night, bombing markers laid down by Pathfinder aircraft, but only three got through. One returned with turret and intercom problems, while the other failed to gain enough height to clear the Alps and returned.

The Operation to Turin on 20.11.42 was the first use of Stirlings by 75 Squadron and only 4 Aircraft were detailed. This was my first Operation and only 2 of us reached the target and the other 2 returned early’.

Page 74. Chapter 9 – Newmarket. November 1942 – February 1943.
As January began, it was back to ’Gardening’ — a good stand-by when full Ops were not possible. Indeed, except for a couple of raids upon Lorient, the trips that month were all mine-laying. The Lorient trip on 23 January took Sergeant R.M. Kidd and his crew from the squadron — the first loss of 1943. Kidd in fact managed to evade, but the rest of his crew died.
Even on ’Gardening’ trips, enemy reception could be rough. Over the Gironde Estuary on 18 January, Sergeant Bennett, on his first trip, met with a hot reception. But successful evasive action after combats with three enemy aircraft enabled Bennett to bring his crew home safely.     

‘Mine laying (Gardening) was usually an easy trip but we had some shockers. Our 4th. Operation was one when we nearly ended our lives and is mentioned in the Citation for my D.F.C.’

Page 78. Chapter 10 – The Battle of the Ruhr. March – May 1943.
Then it was Berlin again, and yet again, on 27 and 29 March. Sergeant Bartlett made both trips:
on the first raid it took us 7 hours 40 minutes — quite a quiet trip; straight in, no trouble with the bomb run, bombs gone, and straight out, left hard circuit and away home. Nothing wrong with their defences, they were all there. I don’t know what made us so immune, which is more than can be said for the 29th! It took us 81/2 hours to get home -— on three engines. After the Lord Mayor’s Show, we floated up to the target. Then the rear gunner screamed: ’Fighter on the port quarter!’ An attack started and I looked down the rear of the aircraft and saw a line of incendiary shells going through the fuselage. Then the mid-upper cried that it was coming in again from the port for a second attack. We heard both gunners cry out they’d got it — both claimed it. Then a searchlight caught us, passing us from cone to cone, trying to get us out of the target area, to blow us to pieces. Then the port outer engine caught fire with a long trail of flame from it. l told the skipper to try a steep dive and he went down from 14,000 to about 9 to 10,000 feet, and we got away with it and got home despite another two fighter attacks — nobody hurt — our mid-upper claiming a second kill.
I recall our WOP, Rupert Moss, seeing a couple of swans over Berlin at about 14,000 feet and reported it to the Intelligence Officer when we got back — which he duly noted!

We went to Berlin on 1st March, on 27th March and then on the 29th.March 1943‘.

Page 83. Chapter 10 – The Battle of the Ruhr. March – May 1943.
At the end of the month, came a return to mining, first to the Frisian Islands, then to Kiel Bay and yet another disaster. Eight crews were assigned to go to Kiel on the night of 28/29 April, part of a mammoth force of 207 aircraft to mine the seas off Heligoland, in the River Elbe, and in the Great and Little Belts. An estimated 593 mines were sent into the water but the aircraft met much flak both from the shore and flak-ships strategically located by the Germans. Although it was a huge operation, the losses were unexpectedly high, no fewer than 22 aircraft — 7 Lancasters, 7 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons and two Halifaxes —- failing to return. Four of the Stirlings were from 75 Squadron -— 28 men killed!

‘Another disaster when Gardening in Kiel Bay. 8 of us from the Squadron were detailed and one returned early. Out of the other 7 Aircraft only 3 of us completed and the other 4 failed to return – the 28 crew members were all killed’.

Page 84. Chapter 10 – The Battle of the Ruhr. March – May 1943.
Wing Commander Wyatt remembers:
I took over 75 Squadron on 3rd May 1943. I’d been flying with 15 Squadron, originally from Boume, a satellite of Oakington. I’d been missing from a raid on Turin and had crash landed in Spain, but eventually re-joined the squadron just as it was about to move to Mildenhall. I hadn’t been there many weeks when I was sent for by Group HQ and was told about the state of 75 Squadron and was asked if I’d like the job as CO, but was told it was going to be a very tough one.
The morale of 75 at the time was very low. Their operational success rate was absolutely appalling and was one of the worst in Bomber Command. There were various reasons for it though.
The airfield at Newmarket was so close to the town — the Messes were virtually in the town — and there was far too much hospitality. All these New Zealanders rather fascinated the horse racing fraternity and Newmarket was the only place where horse racing continued during the war. They would not, of course, allow the racecourse to be turned into a proper airfield, with proper runways and so on. We used the Jockey Club which is where I had my sleeping quarters and the Officer’s Mess was just on the corner of the road south of the Club, on the main street.
The chaps were being entertained far too much and I think there was a terrible number of sore heads on a lot of mornings. It seemed to me they were enjoying life rather more in Newmarket and had begun to lose sight of the main reason for being there. The AOC outlined all this to me and said it was up to me to sort them out and get them back to being an operational squadron.

‘Wing Commander Wyatt spoke at one of our reunions and more or less repeated the comments in the book. In my view which was shared by many others it was absolute rubbish. We were not “living it up” at Newmarket and the main reason for the move to Mepal was because Newmarket only had grass runways’.

Page 99. Chapter 12 – Mepal. June – September 1943.
Norman Bartlett recalled the time a Lancaster was found right above them over the target:
We were on the bombing run and I was watching for other aircraft when we heard a cry. Looking round, Jack Brewster, our navigator, was pointing upwards, open mouthed, his face all twisted with fright. I looked up and directly above, about 200 feet, was a Lancaster, with bomb doors open, ready to drop a 4000 pound ‘cookie’. It was too late to do anything before the cookie dropped and as it passed us, it turned over and went by in a vertical position rather than horizontal, which probably saved us. Jack heaved a huge sigh of relief — and so did I!

‘Norman Bartlett was our Flight Engineer and Jack Brewster our Navigator at Mepal on Lancasters. As Norman’s comments follows the mention of ‘Stirlings flying under
Lancasters’, readers could be misled into thinking we were in a Stirling when we were nearly hit by a 4,000lb. Cookie. We were in a Lancaster and the other one was either at the wrong height or bombing at the wrong time. I did not see the Cookie as I was in the front of the Aircraft on my stomach looking through my Bomb Sight giving the Pilot instructions ready to bomb’.

Page 151. Chapter 18 – The Last Winter. December 1944 – February 1945.
The Captains Fancy

‘Under the photo of “The Captains Fancy” it states that Alex Simpson flew it on its 101st on the 5th January but it did not complete its 100th until the 29th Jan and also Alex did not take it on its 101st – we did on 2nd Feb’.

Page 152. Chapter 18 – The Last Winter. December 1944 – February 1945.
Alex Simpson recalls an important event at this time:
Squadron Leader Jack Bailey, ‘C’ Flight Commander, usually flew Lanc NE181 ‘M’ for Mike— named ‘The Captain’s Fancy’, which was a dog of an aircraft and I guess understandably so, as it was approaching its 100th operation. When the time came, Jack asked me if I would take ‘Mike’ to Ludwigshaven on the 5th —- the day after my 21st birthday. I protested for I had a very good aircraft of my own, and I had flown ‘Mike’ previously — in December.
It became apparent that Jack was superstitious about flying ‘Mike’ on its 100th, so in the end I agreed. After the operation, we did an in-depth study of the aircraft’s log book and associated paper work and found to ]ack’s geat surprise that he had already done the 100th — I had in fact done the 101st!
Jack and I tried very hard through Bill Jordan, the NZ High Commissioner in the UK, to get permission to fly ]N—M out of New Zealand on a flag-waving War Bonds tour, as it was then the first NZ aircraft to reach 100 operations, but we never got approval. I delivered ‘Mike’ to Waterbeach on 17th February, and it was later struck off charge on 30th September 1947.

‘The comments made by Alex Simpson regarding Jack Bailey are not a true record of events. I am very annoyed that he implies that Jack was frightened to take the aircraft on its 100th. We were all looking forward to being the crew that did the 100th in an aircraft that we had flown most of our Operations in. Jack was one of the most fearless, dedicated Pilots with the Squagron and as he had died some years before the book was compiled he could not put the record right. I had no knowledge of the contents of the book until I received the final copy after printing. We flew in “The Captains Fancy” to Krefeld for its 100th on the 29th Jan and this is confirmed in the book ‘Lancaster at War – 2′ also in Jack Bailey’s Citation for the Bar to his D.F.C. dated 16.4.45, also in my log book. Fred Woolterton – one of our ground staff – in the photo has also recently confirmed this. We flew it to Wiesbaden on 2nd. Feb for its 101st. and to Wessel on the 16th.Feb for its 102nd. I have an actual Bombing Photo of this last Operation showing Target, Date, Pilot and the Aircraft letter. Apart from Alex’s dates; all being wrong,  Jack, as Flight Commander, would not have asked if he would take it but would have simply detailed him………’.

Page 155. Chapter 19 – Victory in Europe. February – May 1945.
A daylight raid on Osterfeld by 21 of the squadron’s aircraft took place on 22 February, flak trying desperately to inflict hurt and injury. Flight Sergeant T. Cox had his starboard inner hit by flak, but the flames were put out by cutting the petrol and using the extinguisher. Flying Officer H. Russell’s bomber was also hit, the prop on the port inner and damage to the leading edge of the wing between his two starboard engines giving some moments of concern. Flight Lieutenant Doug Sadgrove had his port outer hit on the bomb run but he continued on, while Warrant Officer E. Ohlson also had an engine knocked out. Flight Lieutenant K. Jones lost an engine on the way out and had to abort.

I am surprised that no mention of Jack Bailey or his crew was made for this raid to Osterfeld as we led the Squadron and Jack was awarded the Bar to his D.F.C. for his courage and leadership on this Operation. We were hit in ail engines and had to feather one over the target and ended with 37 holes – no injuries. Despite this I had a very good Bombing Photo at 19.000ft.’.

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 11. Target Photographs

When I was posted to 75(NZ) Squadron for second tour they already had a
New Zealand Squadron Bombing Leader. As I had become an “A” Category
Bombing Leader at Manby on 24.6.44. I took over the duties of Bombing
Leader when the Squadron Bombing Leader was absent on leave etc.
I was therefore able to “acquire” some of my Bombing Photos.
When we dropped our bombs we also released a time controlled flash and the
camera was also timed to take a photo at a set time to coincide when the
bombs detonated on the ground. It was therefore essential to keep the
aircraft on course and straight and level on the bombing run and after
“Bombs Away” to take an accurate photo. This was not an easy task for the
Pilot with Searchlights and Flak all around the aircraft.

The photos show
Squadron Base – Mep is Mepal.
Compass bearing.
Bomb Load.
Camera and Flash setting.
Pilots Rank and Name.
Aircraft letter and Squadron number.


Aircraft “M”
We were one of the first over the target.
Little flak.
Visual Bombing


Aircraft “M”
Light Flak
Plenty of Cloud
Bombed on Markers

NEUSS Night 28/29.11.44. 19,000' Aircraft "M" Light flak Bombed on Markers Poor photo.

Aircraft “M”
Light flak
Bombed on Markers
Poor photo.

TRier Daylight 23.12.44. 17,000' Aircraft "M" Little Flak

Aircraft “M”
Little Flak

RHEYDT Daylight 27.12.44. 20,000' Aircraft "M" We were one of the first over the target Visual Bombing

Aircraft “M”
We were one of the first over the target
Visual Bombing

NEUSS Night 6/7/.1.45. 20,000' Aircraft "V" Medium amount of flak on way in and over target Bombed on Markers Poor Photo

Aircraft “V”
Medium amount of flak on way in and over target
Bombed on Markers
Poor Photo

WESEL Daylight 16.2.45. 20,000' Aircraft "M" (it was our 102nd operation for "M") Vsual Bombing in formation - we led.

Aircraft “M”
(it was our 102nd operation for “M”)
Vsual Bombing in formation – we led.

OSTERFELD Daylight 22.2.45. 19,000' Aircraft "Z" We led our Squadron formation and the other aircraft bombed when we did. We were the target for most of the Flak but we got a good photo. Hit in all engines and one hade to be feathered over the target. Had a total of 37 holes .Skipper awarded Bar to D.F.C.

Aircraft “Z”
We led our Squadron formation and the other aircraft bombed when we did. We were the target for most of the Flak but we got a good photo.
Hit in all engines and one had to be feathered over the target. Had a total of 37 holes .Skipper awarded Bar to D.F.C.

KIEL NIght 9/10.4.45. 19,000' Aircraft "K" Our last Operation. Bombed on Markers Note 2 other aircraft below us shown on photo.

Aircraft “K”
Our last Operation.
Bombed on Markers
Note 2 other aircraft below us shown on photo.

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 10. Operational History 2nd Tour

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG) and Fred Woolerton, ground crew member.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Operations with 75 (N.Z.) Squadron on Lancasters from Mepal
Date Target
Duration in hours
Total Bomb Load incl. (No.) of 4lb. incendiaries Remarks
28.10.44 Cologne
4.3 hours
8992 lbs
We were one of the first over the target and I have a good photo of the target.  Visual bombing.
Day Ops
4.35 hours
(incl. a 4000lb)
First time we bombed on G.H.
Days Ops
4.35 hours
14000 lbs
(incl. a 4000lb)
Light amount of Flak
Day Ops
4.25 Hours
14000 lbs Heavy amount of Flak and, as the puffs of black linger in the sky, a bit daunting.
Night Ops
4.15 houra
13000 lbs
(incl. a 4000lb)
Light Flak
Day Ops
4.3 hours
13000 lbs Plenty of Flak on the way in and over target.
Day Ops
4.35 hours
12000 lbs
(incl. a 4000lb)
Fairly quiet raid.
Night Ops
4.15 hours
11,850 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak.
Night Ops
6.10 hours
11,750 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Quiet raid – little flak.
Days Ops
4.5 hours
Incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak
Day Ops
4.35 hours
10,000lbs We were one of the first over target and I have another good photo taken at the time.
Night Ops
4.35 hours
11,000 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Medium amount of Flak on way in and over target
Day Ops
4.55 hours
11,000 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Nice and Easy
Night Ops
Wanne Eickel 10,850 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak
Day Ops
6.00 hours
10,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
A very special Op as this was to be the 100th. That or aircraft ‘The Captains Fancy’ was to do.
Night Ops
5.45 hours
9,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak.
Day Ops
5.25 hours 9,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Another very good photo in my possession.
Day Ops
5.25 hours
11,250 lbs.
incl. our one and only 8,000lb.
A real shocker with a total of 37 holes. All engines were hit and one was feathered. However still a good photo for my collection. Skipper was awarded Bar to his DFC.
Day Ops
5.40 hours
9,950 lbs
incl. 4,000lb.
Heavy Flak
Day Ops
5.40 hours
11,250 lbs
incl. 4,000lb.
Another near one but this time only 14 holes
Day Ops
5.30 hours
10,250 lbs. Medium amount of Flak over target
Night Ops
5.45 hours
9,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000 lb.
So we ended our tour at the place where we nearly ended out lives in April 1943. This was on the town and not mine laying. Bombed on Path Finder Flares and I have a good photo showing the flare and 2 aircraft flying below.

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 9. Operational History 1st Tour

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.

Bailey crew 1943 1st Tour. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Jack Wall, and  Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

Operations with 75 (N.Z.)  Squadron on Stirlings from Newmarket
Date Target

Duration in hours

Total Bomb Load incl. (No.) of 4lb. incendiaries Remarks
20.11.42 Night Ops Turin
8.00 hours
This was the first operation carried out by the Squadron on Stirlings.  4 of us went out but only 2 of us reached the target. The other 2 returned early. Medium amount of Flak over the target.
Night Ops
6.45 hours
7820 lbs
Hit by Flak through wing but missed the petrol tank.
Night Ops
8.30 Hours
4320 lbs
More Flak and searchlights over target than on the 20.11.41.
8.1.43 Gardening
4.45 hours
11,400 lbs
Load was 6 mines each 1,900lb
Our 4th operation and nearly our last. We were laying mines in the Baltic and the aircraft was hit by Flak, rendering one engine and all flying instruments unserviceable.  The aircraft went into a very steep diving turn but I managed to jettison the mines quickly which helped the aircraft to become controllable.  How Jack Bailey managed to control the aircraft is almost beyond belief.

This operation is mentioned in the Citation for my DFC.

The aircraft still had a thick coating of ice the next morning.

Night Ops
5 hours
7920 lbs
Very good op and the aiming point was clearly seen.
Night Ops
3.3 hours
5160 lbs
Could not maintain height due to weather conditions. Bombed aerodrome in Holland
Night Ops
5.3 hours
7920 lbs
Heavy Flak and many searchlights on way in and over target.
Night Ops
4.1 hours
9320 lbs
Saw several fighters but was not attacked.
Night Ops
5 hours
7920 lbs
Another near one.  Was coned in 15 searchlights for 8 minutes and hit by Flak. Skipper threw the aircraft about as thought it was a fighter.  Pilot skill saved us.
Night Ops
6.5 hours
7600 lbs
Load was 4 mines, each 1900 lbs
Nice easy one.
Night Ops
5.3 hours
 8160 lbs
Medium amount of Flak over the target.
Night Ops
5.3 hours
8160 lbs
Couldn’t maintain height. Aircraft U/S and bombs were jettisoned.
Night Ops
4.3 hours
9320 lbs
We were to bomb on Path Finder Flares but had to circle target for 20 mins awaiting PFF.
Night Ops
St. Nazaire
5.3 hours
7920 lbs
Very many fires in target area.
Night Ops
8.3 hours
4500 lbs Attacked by ME110 but not hit.  Many fires in target area.
Night Ops
6.5 hours
5940 lbs
Rear turret became U/S on way to target but Skipper decided to carry on.
Night Ops
3 hours
9320 lbs
Rear turret U/S after take off.  Skipper decided not to complete operation. 2 nights with U/S turret pushing our chances.
Night Ops
St. Nazaire
4.15 hours
7920 lbs
Heavy concentration of Flak and searchlights around target area
Night Ops
7.5 hours
4500 lbs Hit by Flak over Hanover on way to target.
Night Ops
8.05 hours
4500 lbs Fair amount of ice on aircraft on return but no problem.
Night Ops
6.1 hours
5160 lbs
Plenty of Flak on way in and over target.
Night Ops
6 hours
5160 lbs
Fair amount of Flak. BK770 crashed at Bressingham on return – all crew killed.
Night Ops
6.4 hours
5940 lbs
Plenty of Flak over target area.
Night Ops
6 hours
5160 lbs
Heavy Flak but no hits to aircraft as on 6.12.42.
Night Ops
8.1 hours
4320 lbs
Little Flak
28.4.43 Gardening
7.15 hours
7600 lbs
Load was 4 mines each 1900 lbs
Heavy Flak and many searchlights.
A disaster – the mines were to be dropped in Keil Bay at 800ft. 8 Aircraft from 75 Squadron set out and one returned early.  4 Aircraft failed to return – all 28 Crew were killed – only 3 of us completed the operation. Saw many Aircraft shot down without a chance of survival.   (One line of illegible typescript ends with word searchlights).
Night Ops
5.2 hours
9820 lbs
Our last Operation for first tour which was uneventful apart from Flak.  Diverted to another airfield on return.


The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 8. Battle Orders, 22.12.44 Trier – cancelled

Battle Orders 22 12 44

22.12.45. Operational Flying.
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Trier. Eighteen of these were cancelled and the 3 special equipment aircraft stood by but were also cancelled before take off owing to fog. The Squadron was not stood down, but were to be prepared for a take-off as soon as the weather improved.

Another fascinating Battle Order from Jack’s collection, this time the cancelled Op to Trier. With this document, the aircraft designator letters are visible, providing some useful information for Chris and Ian no doubt!  As with the previous Battle Order published yesterday, a fascinating note regarding the Butler crew under ‘WINDOW CREW’, being required to go to the Radar Section 30 mins before 1st briefing – clearly, the Zinzan crew must have had the same duty on the 16th on the Op to Seigen. I was not aware of this duty – part of me cannot believe that it was crew’s job to distribute the window canisters to the other crews, so I wonder if there was an aspect of briefing that this nominated crew performed to the crews involved on a particular raid??

Interestingly, the following nights raid to Trier, on the 23rd represents the almost exact same crew list – from a purely logistical and safety point of view, one must assume once the aircraft had been fuelled and ‘bombed up’, it was safer to use them, rather than change crews or aircraft – I have read the thoughts of the armourers regarding a protracted stand down and the inherent risks of debombing a number of aircraft……….

It would also appear that the Battle Orders are directly mirrored in the crew list order in Form 541 ‘Detail of Work Carried Out’ within the Squadron ORB’s. This in itself might give some clues as to the Flight identities of some of the aircraft in the database………

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 7. Battle Orders, 16.12.44 Siegen

BAttle Orders 16 12 1944

I am very excited about the presentation of this document, being only the second original Battle Order that I have seen relating to 75(NZ) Squadron. Tantalisingly, the designator letters for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flight aircraft are missing, however, looking at the layout of the sheet, I think it’s at least safe to assume that the groupings of the aircrew above the clearly identified ‘C’ Flight crews must identify them as ‘A’ and ‘B’ flight.

From a personal perspective, it’s exciting to see the Zinzan crew mentioned – for some reason, having to go to the Radar Station……..

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 6

40 years on – Growing older and older.
I took no interest in Air Force Associations until just before I retired and although I knew that there had been a 75 N.Z. Squadron Association in New Zealand I did not visualise one in the U.K. The Air Crew of the Squadron had been a mixture of N.Z., Canadians, Australians and U.K. personnel and the majority of the ground crews etc. were from the U.K. However the U.K. people came from all parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and this was the reason that I did not expect a Squadron Association to be formed.

However just before I retired an Office Manager (who knew I was in a N.Z. Squadron) contacted the N.Z. Embassy in London to ask if there was a N.Z. Squadron Association in this country. He did this without telling me and it was probably that some time previously I had mentioned other friends in Associations going on reunions. The Embassy gave him the name and address of the Secretary in Cornwall and the Association was my old Squadron No.75. In due course I received a letter from him and he advised that they had been going for about 10 years. I promptly joined and so made my first contact with people that I had been with over 40 years earlier. Since than I have joined the Air Crew Association and the R.A.F.A. and these associations have proven to be an added interest since I retired from active employment.

The link between 17th.December 1942, 28th April 1943 and 28th Ausust 1987
On the 17th December 1942 four out of five Stirling Bombers failed to return from a raid on the Opel works at Fallersleben — one of these being short Stirling BK620 and the Bomb Aimer was Eric Williams the author of ‘The Wooden Horse’ escape story. The plane had been damaged and after the other crew members had baled out the Pilot Sgt. Ken Durmall ditched the plane in Lake Westeinder, not far from Amsterdam. He was also taken prisoner so that all the crew escaped with their lives and ended up as P.O.W.s The Germans tried to get the aircraft to the shore but did not succeed and years later a Dutch Aircraft Recovery Group managed to get several parts ashore and these were placed in a museum. One part was an almost complete propeller and on the 28th August 1987 members of our Association were invited to Holland to attend an unveiling ceremony of the propeller that had been mounted as a memorial to 75 N.Z. Squadron as the Dutch had formed a special relationship with us due partly to the dropping of food and supplies by the Squadron. This was a wonderful experience and the people of Aalsmeer treated us to days to remember and they expressed their appreciation to the R.A.F. on many occasions. They did of course suffer greatly under the Germans and some said that the sound of our Aircraft gave them hope and they knew that they were not alone. There were still 5 members of the crew still alive and one attended the ceremony and I met the Pilot in Holland the following year when we received a further invite to a new museum of reclaimed parts – Eric Williams had died in 1984

Now we come to the link of these two dates with the 28th April 1943 which was the date that only 3 of us out of 7 returned from laying mines in Kiel Bay. While I was on the coach after the unveiling Stan Brooks came on and asked me what I had been up to as a Counsellor from the N.Z. Embassy in the Hague wanted to see me. He had arranged that we meet at the next stop which was a further reception in Aalsmeer. At this I met this Counselor and he produced a Battle Order that covered the Mine Laying Operation and asked if I was the Sgt.Wall listed as one of the crew that returned. He then told me that his Uncle Sgt. A.C. Howell was one of those that did not return from the operation and that all his family in N.Z. were told was that he failed to return on the night of the 28th. April. He had since traced the operation and obtained a copy of the Battle Order and asked if I could tell him anything about the raid and his Uncle. I advised him that I could not say much about his Uncle after all this time but that there would have been little chance of survival as we flew in at 600 feet or so and the A.A. Fire co-operating with searchlights was very intense and we saw several aircraft going in the sea without a hope.

However it so happened that on the day we took off, an official photographer took some photos and in my logbook that I had with me was one of our crew standing in front of our aircraft and another one showing all the N.Z. personal that were going on that operation that night. It was a large photo and all the faces were clear and although he was too young to have known his uncle  he recognised him from other photos that he had seen. It was a pity that no one thought of sending copies of this photo to the relatives of the ones that went missing that night . I cut the photo from my logbook and gave it to him and he had it copied and later returned my original to me. He said that the copy he had made to send tohis Father and Aunt (Brother and Sister of Sgt.Howell were even better than my copy. In November we attended our usual Squadron Association reunion at Mepal and while there went into Ely Cathedral to look for Sgt. Howell’s name in the R.A. Roll of Honour. The glass fronted case was opened for us and my wife took a very good photo of the entry which is in beautiful writing and we sent copies with other postcards of the Cathedral to the Counsellor – Jim Howell, who had by this time heard that he was being posted back home.

Since then we have been to the Runnymede Memorial and placed flowers in The Niche where Sgt.Howell’s name appears and taken photos and sent them on to Jim.

At the end of March 1990 Jan and I were going to the Squadron Reunion in New Zealand and Jim (who was now back there) heard that we were going and got in touch with our Navigator – Slim Ormerod – who was also back in New Zealand and asked him if he knew what we were doing after the Reunion Slim told him that we were staying with him for 5 nights then making our way up North to join the rest of our party at Auckland for our flight to Perth. He lived in the South part of North Island and Jim was only a few miles away.  Jim arranged to collect us and take us to his parents home in the Hawkes Bay area – his father being a brother of Sgt.Howell. On the way we visited some lovely spots and then spent the night with his parents Next day they took us on a sight seeing tour and we ended up at his Sister’s house in the Bay of Plenty. After all this we were ¾ of the way to Auckland and after 2 nights with them they organised a wonderful bus trip to Auckland were we met up with our other friends. We still hear from them at Christmas exchanging letters and Calendars and they always ask when we will be returning to stay with them.

At the Reunion in March 1990 I managed to recognise Slim who I had last seen in 1945 as he was Squadron Navigation Officer at Mepal when I returned with Jack Bailey to do my second tour. He was in the bar (where else would he be) and he still had the habit of letting his pint pot dangle on one finger after he had taken most of it down. I reminded him that exactly 47 years to the night we were 10,000 feet over Berlin in a Stirling.

A few years ago I was staying in Chateris for a November Re-union when I met Ernie Brook and during a chat with him he mentioned the Mine Laying disaster and when I told him that we were one of the lucky ones who got back he asked which aircraft we were in. When I told him it was “V” he reminded me that he was one of the team who serviced it that day. It is quite possible that he is one of the ground staff on my photo of the Aircraft that was taken just prior to take-off…………

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 5

15th April 1945 to 24th June 1946 — Redundant Air Crew
After 3 weeks leave I was posted to an Air Crew Assessment Centre at Catterick to try to sort out what other duties I could usefully be given. For some unknown reason the powers that be decided that I would make a reasonable Equipment Officer and I was posted on to an Equipment Course. However after a week I requested to see the C.O. and told him that I was far from happy on this type of work. He was very understanding and sent me home on indefinite leave – still on full flying pay. All good things do come to an end and after a month at home I was sent on a Flying Control Course near Swindon. I passed this and was sent to Upwood as one of three Flying Control Officers – all of us being redundant Air Crew.

Although I enjoyed the duties I did find that time dragged and I thought that after the end of the war the spirit of the R.A.F. was not the same. I was therefore looking forward to being released from the service and to try and pick up life again in civvy street especially as I was getting married in February. Some time in January an officer from Air Ministry came to the station to interview all 5 of us as they wanted one of us to go to Oslo on Flying Control duties. It would have meant an upgrade in rank to Squadron Leader and also the chance of a short service commission after normal release date of 4 years. I told him that I was not interested as I wanted to get out as soon as possible to try to sort out a job while I was still young enough to start a new career of some sort. The other 2 both asked to be considered for the position but in due course the posting came through for me to go to Oslo.

I have no idea why I was chosen as all 5 of us seemed to have similar experience and qualifications for the position – although I had been placed as second in the Flying Control Examinations. I still did not want to go and saw the Adjutant who was luckily an ex Air Crew character and explained my objections including the fact that I was getting married 10 days before the posting was to be taken up he picked up the phone and called the department at Air Ministry responsible for the posting and told them that I was unfit for overseas service. No questions were asked as far as I know and some days later the posting was cancelled.

I often wonder where I would be and what would I be doing if I had not turned down the posting – however I have no regrets as I had a happy time after release and for my working life. On the 25th March I was posted to Oakington and then on 24th June 1946 was released from the R.A.F. to start life in my regulation demob suit complete with Trilby hat…………

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 4

The Lancaster Bomber.
The Lanc proved to be a far superior aircraft than the Stirling with a bombing height of approx. 20,000 ft. against the Stirling at 10,000 ft. Also the bomb load was very much more and the handling much better when you were in trouble. Depending on weather etc. you were in difficulties if you lost an engine on a Stirling but the Lancaster could still make it back even on only 2 engines.

17th September 1944 to 12th April 1945 – Back on second tour.
After 3 weeks with my old Skipper and the __ _ I new crew converting to Lancasters we were posted back to 75 N.Z. Squadron who had moved from Newmarket to Mepal near Ely. My Skipper had tried to get other members of the old crew back but our Navigator was already back at Mepal as Station Navigation Officer so could not be part of a crew although he did go on Ops when a crew were short of a Navigator. Our original WOP/AG had already gone back on Ops with a Path Finder Squadron and I heard that he had completed a second tour with them. The story was that he returned from end of tour leave and a crew was short of a WOP/AG and he volunteered and that he failed to return on that raid. My skipper also discovered that our Mid-Upper Gunner should not have flown with us on our first tour as he was unfit. He had suffered a bad crash in the sea while on training and was told that he was no longer fit for operational duties, however this was overlooked and he had a very good first tour with us on Stirlings. I an not sure why he could not get our Rear gunner and Flight Engineer back or if in fact he tried but I am sure we would all have liked to have been together for the second time.

It was good to be back on an Operational Squadron again and as it was after D Day the majority of our raids were in daylight often with Fighter Cover. The losses were not so high and we felt that we had a good chance to complete the second tour – not so confident when we were on Stirlings. As my Skipper was a Flight Commander we did not fly so often as other crews and so once again it took 6 months to complete our tour.

However as I had passed my Bombing leaders Course I stood in as Squadron Bombing Leader when required and this was very interesting. Checking the Bomb Load positions and briefing the Bomb Aimers for Ops I was not going on helped to fill in the time. A second tour on Bomber Command at that time was between 20 and 25 Ops and after 22, making a total of 50 we were told that we had finished and so on the 9th  April 1945 my services as a Bomb Aimer were no longer required. By this time there was a surplus of Air Crew and so with many others I became redundant as Air Crew but still in the R.A.F…………….

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 3

11th June 1945 to 16th September 1944 – Instructing at O.T.U.
I was sent to No.26 O.T.U. at Wing near Leighton Buzzard as an instructor in the Bombing Section. This entailed instructing airmen who had passed their initial course and had received their brevets. All were destined for Bomber Command and so all were straight Bomb Aimers with the letter “B” in their brevets instead of the “O” for observer that I was wearing. As far as I can recall the course for each group lasted 3 or 4 weeks and in that time we instructed on the different types of bombs, fuses and flares. We also told them what to expect on Ops and in general to advise on the different aspects of their job. During this period they dropped small practice bombs at a range outside Thetford using mainly Wellingtons.

On some occasions the instructors flew with them and of course next day we studied the results of their efforts after receiving the plots from the bombing range. While on the station I was sent to Manby on a Bombing Instructors Course and on return was put in charge of the section. Later on I was sent again to Manby on a Bombing leaders Course and this was more advanced than the previous course and included instruction on planning bomb loads in relation to positioning etc. for various types and fuel loads and targets

On the 24th June 1944 I qualified as Bombing Leader “A“ Category – I am not sure exactly what this “A” category meant but the Bombing Leader at Wing was well pleased with my efforts. After a year or so I was getting a little fed up with the routine being repeated every few weeks and it was a great moment for me when my Pilot from 75 N.Z. Sqadron flew down to see me. He said that he was going back on Ops with the old squadron and asked if I was interested in returning with him as his Bomb Aimer. I eagerly agreed but advised him that I was doubtful that I would be able to as I hal been on the Bombing Instructor and Bombing leaders Courses and that I understood that the the Bombing Leader at Wing was hoping for a posting and that I would take over. However he was pretty sure that he could use his Irish Blarney (he was an Irish New Zealander known as Irish Jack) and said that I would hear in due course. Sure enough a few weeks later I was told to report to No.3 L.F.S. at Feltwell which was a short Conversion Course on Lancaster

So on the 16th September 1944 I said goodbye to all my friends at Wing to start to prepare for my second tour………….

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 1

J.C. Wall’s experiences during World War II and Later

September 1939 – July 1941
I was 18½ years old at the outbreak of war living in Beckenham with my parents and working in S.E. London. In the meantime I had joined the local A.R.P. as a part time voluntary stretcher bearer being on duty all night for 2 or 3 nights a week during the London Blitz. We were called out many times to rescue bomb victims – my first was an elderly woman from a badly damaged house but unfortunately she was dead by the time that we pulled her out.

Although we could sleep between raids I still had to make my way to work in London the next day often with delays there and back due to raids and bomb damage on the tracks. Quite often there would be an alert on by the time I got home and I would find a note from my Mother which would read “Your dinner is in the oven – we are in the shelter”. The shelter being a corrugated iron Anderson shelter sunk in the garden.

Just before I was 20 years old I decided to volunteer for Air Crew duties in the R.A.F. Partly I think because I knew that in a year or so I would be called up and would probably end up in the Army – my 2 Brothers were already in the Army and their stories of the vigorous training was a bit off-putting.

In May 1941 I had my Educational and Health examinations and was passed as fit for all Air Crew duties. However although like most 20 year olds I wanted to be a Pilot I was told that there was a 9 month waiting period for Pilot training and only 2 months for other Air Crew duties. I was also advised that if I volunteered for Observer training (Navigator/Bomb Aimer). I could transfer to Pilot training later. I fell for this “con” and of course found out that there was no hope of changing courses.

7th July 1941 to 12th November 1942 – Training
I was enlisted on the 7th July 1941 in London and was equipped at Lords Cricket ground and billeted in the new flats at Bryanston Court near the London Zoo – in fact our meals were taken in the Zoo Restaurant. After 3 weeks I was posted to Initial Training Wing at St. Andrews in Scotland for 3 months. Then after a short stay in Eastbourne and Blackpool, set off for an unknown destination which proved to be South Africa.

We went out in convoy and the journey took just over 5 weeks and the S.S. Ormonde was very crowded. To me this was a real adventure as up to the date that I joined the R.A.F. the furthest that I had travelled was to Great Yarmouth and Lyme Regis for holidays.

I was training in South Africa for almost 6 months and most of the training was Navigation and the rest was for Gunnery and Bomb Aimer. We came back on our own (not in convoy) on the Duchess of Richmond and the journey took only 3 weeks. While in South Africa I celebrated my 21st. birthday in Johannesburg – I had very little money at the time but managed to raffle a Rolls Razor and a Valet Auto Strop Razor that had been given to me when I joined up. A good time was had by a few of us at a Johannesburg? Club from the proceeds of the raffle.

Our training was on Oxfords and Ansons but due to restrictions we did very little night flying and I had only loqged 1hr.35mins. at night against 99hrs day while in training. On completion of our course those of us that passed were presented with our Observer Brevets and the majority were then given the rank of Sgt. A few were given the rank of P.O. but I do not know how selection was made – probably on type of school one attended – I was a Sgt.

He had a wonderful time in South Africa and enjoyed the hospitality of the South African families on many week ends away from camp.

When we returned to England we then heard that we would be in Bomber Command and as the 4 Engine aircraft needed a Navigator and a Bomb Aimer instead of an Observer half of us would be Navigators and the rest Bomb Aimers. There was no choice and it seemed a pity that most of the time of our training was on Navigation and that we would not put our full training to practice. However I was quite happy to be nominated as a Bomb Aimer and I wonder if I would have survived the war if I had been a Navigator – not because of my lack of skill but purely fate.

I should then have been posted to an Operational Training Unit (O.T.U.) and then on to a Conversion Unit for 4 engine aircraft. This should have meant a further 3 or so months of “safety” before flying on Operations but it was not to be. I was at Bournemouth awaiting posting to an O.T.U. when the C.O. sent for 4 of us and advised that we were very lucky as we would not be going to O.T.U. or Conversion Unit for training on 4 Engine Aircraft but that after a short course on Wellingtons (2 Engine Aircraft) we would be posted direct to a Squadron and so on to Operations.

Consequently after 3 weeks of training on Oxfords and Wellingtons and still with only 1½ hours of night flying experience I was sent to 75 (N.Z.) Squadron at Newmarket and met my crew for the first time. The aircraft that they were flying were the Mark 1 Stirlings and all the Bombing Raids were at night.

The memoirs of John ‘Jack’ Wall, Air Bomber – Bailey crew

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

I am amazingly pleased to say that Tony, son of Richard Pickup, Wireless Operator with the Bailey crew during their second tour, has passed to me a copy of the memoirs of the crew’s Air Bomber Jack Wall.

Jack completed a total of 50 Ops during 2 tours with 75(NZ) squadron between 1943 and 1945 – both with Jack Bailey, who was to become ‘C’ Flight O/C in 1945. Their second tour is inextricably linked to Lancaster Mk.III NE181 ‘The Captains Fancy’ JN-M, completing the aircraft’s 100th Op – the only aircraft in 75(NZ) Squadron to reach its century.

Tony has tried for some time to make contact with surviving relatives of Jack, but it would appear to date to be to no avail. We have discussed the document and we feel that until or if, someone related to Jack steps forward, we will attribute all copyright of these memoirs to Jack Wall himself. Also, in order that a relative is able to have an ‘original copy’ in its entirety , the original hand typed pages of the memoirs will be reproduced as text, not as images of the pages – only photographs and documents that perhaps nearly all actually have Crown copyright (which will now be expired) will be directly reproduced.

This is, relative to my experience at least, a very big document. There seems little point in attempting to post it in one go – not only would it create an astonishingly large single post, the honest likelihood is that many facts and tales would simply be lost to a reader on one sitting. To this end, I have decided to break it down to a number of installments – hopefully this will allow individual stories and recollections to ‘breathe’ a little better during a reading. I will try to build up a ‘head’ of posts and will let the blog automatically release them over each day till we have seen it all. A lot of the document is typed recollections, but there are also copies of documents and photographs that I am sure you will all find fascinating.

A little more on Jack Bailey……

Many thanks for the following from Chris, who has done some ‘joining of dots’ based on a few recent posts – its good to have people look at the stuff I am getting – too often I suffer from not being able to see the wood for the trees – all secondary review and analysis is much appreciated!

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. Photo published on Wings Over New Zealand forum, from NZBCA Archives, via Peter Wheeler.

“2.2.43  Stirling I BF443 received from Short & Harlands, Long Kesch. Auth:41G/9286.”
– refers to this aircraft, Mk I Stirling BF443, AA-V, apparently named “Waikato”:

I believe that the guy between Hosie and Bailey is Jack Wall, A/B. The other crew members will be Sgt’s Livingston, Ottaway, and Thompson (not able to identify which is which, although that’s probably the F/E Livingston to the right of Bailey, since the other two are wearing gunner-type suits).

This was during Jack Bailey’s first tour with 75, the same Jack Bailey who went on to become O/C C Flight at 75 (NZ) Sqdn on his second tour, and of course regular Pilot of Lancaster NE181, JN-M, The Captain’s Fancy! It looks like Jack Wall followed Bailey and was in his second tour crew as well.

The first Bailey crew began on Wellingtons (first op’ 26 August 1942), then converted to Stirlings in October 42. AA-V “Waikato” eventually became their regular a/c and it looks like they flew 15 op’s in her between 26/27 February 43 (Cologne), and 04/05 May 43 (Dortmund).

I can’t find Livingston, but here are the others:

P/O (later S/L) John Mathers Bailey, DFC*, NZ412183 RNZAF. Pilot 9 Sep 42 to 9 May 1943 & 6 Oct 1944 to 14 May 1945.
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.

F/O (later S/L) Charles Fray Omerod, DFC, RNZAF. (NZ413340) Observer/Navigator 9 Sep 1942 to 23 May 1943.
Citation DFC (15 Apr 1943): An excellent navigator. Flying Officer Ormerod has completed a large number of operational sorties. Always cheerful and willing to undertake any task, he has set an example of courage and energy to all ranks in his squadron. He has participated in raids against the most heavily defended towns in Germany.
MiD awarded 14 Jun 1945 for service as Station Navigation and Operations Officer at 75 (NZ) Sqdn, RAF Mepal.

Sgt Bruce James Hosie RNZAF (NZ412882) WO/AG 9 Sep to 23 May 1943 c/w J M Bailey as W/Op

F/O Jack Christopher Wall, DFC, RAF. (143421) A/B x Oct 1942 to 23 May 1943 & 6 Oct 1944 to x Apr 1945. c/w J M Bailey.
Citation DFC (17 Jul 1945): This officer has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.

Sgt F J Ottaway, RAF. (1284470) WO/AG x Sep 1942 to 23 May 1943. c/w J M Bailey as F/Gnr.

Sgt W F Thompson, RAF. (962902) AG x Aug 1942 to 5 May 1943. c/w J M Bailey as R/Gnr.

Richard Pickup RAFVR 188816 logbook

RP log 01 sf

I’m really pleased and very grateful to Tony, son of Richard ‘Dick’ Pickup for the donation of his father’s complete logbook. What may be of particular interest to 75(NZ) aficionados is that it lists a number of operational flights in the famous ‘Captain’s Fancy’ NE181 JN-‘Mike’, including the much debated 100th Op on the 29th of January 1945 to Krefeld. I know there has been quite a discussion on the ‘Wings Over New Zealand’ forum regarding NE181 – I’ll leave it to those more knowledgeable on this subject to decide whether the pages of this logbook hold any further revelations……

See Richard’s logbook here

Tony, once again, many thanks


Richard Pickup, the Bailey crew and ‘Mike’

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, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Many thanks to Kevin for passing a contact onto me regarding a member of the Bailey crew and many thanks also to Tony  for being so generous with the information he has shared with me regarding his father, Richard Pickup, who was the Wireless Operator with the crew and also flew on the 100th op of NE181 JN-Mike. I’ll let Tony pick up the story about ‘Mike’

“There has been quite a bit of discussion over the years about when the 100th op was and who flew it and I know that in the book “Forever Strong”, the 100th was credited to a different crew. Some years ago I was in contact with John (Jack) Wall, the bomb aimer in Jack Bailey’s crew, and he took great exception to the fact that, in the book, an assertion was made that Jack Bailey wouldn’t fly the 100th and so someone else did it.  He said they were really keen to fly the 100th and did so.  The photograph, which I’ve attached, was taken after the aircraft had been bombed up but just before boarding. I have got quite a lot of correspondence from Jack (Wall) about this (and the missions of this second tour on 75).  If you wanted it I would have to get Jack Wall’s family to release it, but I am pretty certain that it will be in the Squadron Association Archives.  I will include here the page of my father’s log book that covers January ’45, and the period of M Mike’s 100th operation. As I understand it from Jack Wall, the 100th mission which took place on the 29th Jan to Krefeld.  This date and operation is also confirmed as the 100th for M Mike in Jack Bailey’s citation for the bar on his DFC, of which I have a copy”.

The relevant page from Dick Pickup's logbook, showing the Krefeld raid on the 29th of January - JN-Mike's 100th op with 75(NZ) Squadron.picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

The relevant page from Dick Pickup’s logbook, showing the Krefeld raid on the 29th of January – JN-Mike’s 100th op with 75(NZ) Squadron.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Richard was a W/Op with 117 Squadron in North Africa betwee 1940 and 1943. At the end of that campaign, the Squadron was posted to the Far East, but Richard and others were posted back to the UK to be re-mustered with Bomber Command. After arriving at 149 Squadron at Methwold, he lost his new skipper after only 4 ops when he took a new crew on an op over France. Dick and the rest of the crew were posted for re-crewing and it was at Feltwell that Dick met Jack Bailey who was forming a crew for his second tour with 75(NZ). Jack just happened to be short of a W/Op, Dick joined the crew and the rest, as they say is history………….