Tag Archives: John Gerald Rowlands

The Rangiuaia Crew

As a research activity gathering together the flights of Mikes father, John Rowlands (Turnbull crew), I ended up gathering the Op history of Wi Rangiuaia and his crew, so it seems a shame to waste the information and hopefully someone might come across this post and be able to tell us a little more about the boys………..

As is sometimes the case – a number of RAFVR boys in the crew and no record of their christian name – so fingers cross, we might get to know them a little better.

The Rangiuaia crew were;
Fg Off. Wi Rangiuaia RNZAF. (NZ427319) – Pilot
F/Sgt A Matthew RAFVR – Navigator
F/Sgt D Morrison RAFVR – Air Bomber
F/Sgt John Edward Barry Mossman RNZAF (NZ42112587) – Wireless Operator
Sgt L Player RAFVR – Flight Engineer
Sgt T Mynott RAFVR – MId Upper Gunner
Sgt T Morgan RAFVR – Rear Gunner

18.1.45. F/S Rangiuaia and crew arrived on posting from No. 31 Base
22.1.45. Rangiuiai 2nd pilot with Abrams crew. War Ops – Duisberg.
28.1.45. Rangiuiai 2nd pilot with W/C Baigent. War Ops – Cologne.

29.1.45. War Ops –Krefeld
13/14.2.45. War Ops – Dresden
14/15.2.45. War Ops – Chemnitz
16.2.45. War Ops – Wesel
18.2.45. War Ops – Wesel
23.2.45. War Ops – Gelsenkirchen
24/25.2.45. War Ops – Mining Oslo Fjord
26.2.45. War Ops – Dortmund
27.2.45. War Ops – GelsenKirchen
9.3.45. War Ops – Datteln
11.3.45. War Ops – Essen. P/O Kiwi Ernest Amohanga 2nd Pilot.
12.3.45. War Ops –  Dortmund
17.3.45. War Ops – Auguste Viktoria
21.3.45. War Ops – Munster. W/O T. Dewsbury as Mid Upper Gunner
29.3.45. War Ops – Salzgitter
9/10.4.45. War Ops – Kiel. F/O Gwyn Duglan as Mid Upper Gunner
14/15.4.45. War Ops –Potsdam. F/L Grant Alan Russell as Air Bomber.
29.4.45. War Ops – Supply Dropping over Delft
2.5.45. War Ops – Supply Dropping over Delft. Back to regular crew, but minus the MUG, Sgt. Mynott.
7.5.45. War Ops – Supply Dropping over Delft. Again no Sgt. Mynott.
10.5.45. War Ops – Juvincourt repatriation. F/O Patrick Wilson as Wireless Operator.
12.5.45. War Ops – Juvincourt repatriation. F/O Patrick Wilson as Wireless Operator.
14.5.45. War Ops – Juvincourt repatriation.
25.5.45. War Ops – Belgian refugees
12.6.45. War Ops – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing. Significant crew change; F/Sgt A Matthew – Navigator, F/Sgt Mervyn Lawrence Stewart – Air Bomber (ex Turnbull crew), F/Sgt John Edward Barry Mossman – Wireless Operator, F/Sgt John Gerald Rowlands – Flight Engineer (ex Turnbull crew), Sgt T Mynott – MId Upper Gunner, Sgt F Hadden – Rear Gunner (ex Turnbull crew).

John Gerald Rowlands, Wireless Operator – Turnbull crew.

75 squadron front

The Turnbull crew, dated 1944 by the scrapbook caption (below)
© Mike Rowlands 75 Squadron reverse

Many thanks to Mike for contacting me about his father, John Rowlands, who was the Wireless Operator with the Turnbull crew towards the end of 1945. The crew were fortunate, arriving too late to have to fly any bombing missions, however they took part in Supply dropping and repatriation of Prisoners of War, Belgian refugees and also a number of flights to view the effects of bombing.

Mike has supplied a couple of wonderful photographs of the boys. Time and location is not clear – my heart jumped when I first saw the nose art on the Lancaster in one of them, but judging by the date, it’s more likely to be have taken at  Lancaster Finishing School, rather than at Mepal – but a fantastic picture nevertheless. What is also nice is the reverse of the  image (at the foot of the post) is the names and addresses of some of the crew, including the pilot Bill Turnbull.

According to Mike, his father was very good friends with Bill Turnbull and his wife, Agnes. Bill and Agnes retired to KeriKeri Bay and tried to get John to emigrate to New Zealand. Sadly Bill passed away in 1974, being laid to rest in KeriKeri cemetry. John subsequently moved to New Zealand in 1974 with the family and they became close to Agnes, staying with her on many occasions.

Mikes mother, was in the WAAF (Joan Eleanor Fenney) and at various times stationed at Stradishall,Feltwell and Scampton – Mike is keen to hear about anything related to her time in the RAF and also the stations she was based at………..

The Turnbull crew were;
P/O William Caverhill Turnbull RNZAF (NZ4210995) – Pilot
F/Sgt Ronald Charles Tizard RNZAF (NZ427344)  – Navigator
F/Sgt Mervyn Lawrence Stewart RNZAF (NZ431855) Air Bomber
F/Sgt Ronald William Bull RNZAF (NZ4215778) – Wireless Operator
F/Sgt John Gerald Rowlands RAFVR – Flight Engineer
Sgt R Joshua RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt F Hadden RAFVR – Rear Gunner

30.4.45 Supply Dropping Rotterdam
2.5.45 Supply Dropping Delft – regular crew but no Sgt. Joshua – no MUGs flying on this trip.
4.5.45 Supply Dropping in the Hague Area – as with the previous op, Sgt. Joshua is absent.
23.5.45 Prisoner repatriation Juvincourt
25.5.45 Belgian refugees
9.6.45 Viewing effects of bombing

Interestingly, John’s last flight was with Wi Rangiuaia’s crew – John, his Air Bomber Mervyn Stewart and his Rear Gunner Sgt. Haden joined this crew on 12.6.45 on another flight to view the effects of bombing. One must assume that at this point, aircrew were beginning to be re-posted or sent for disembarkation.

75 squadron names front

The boys posing in front of a Lancaster – location unknown, though likely to be Lancaster Finishing School.
© Mike Rowlands

75 Squadron names reverse