Tag Archives: John Gifford Foulkes

Gwyn Martin RAFVR 981426/ 110857 – Observer. logbook

Gwyn Martin logbook 049 cropped for LB post

Th last page in Gwyn Martin’s logbook recording the 2 flights that would finally bring him home after 3 years as a Prisoner of War.
“Beautiful trip over the ruins of the Ruhr and the upper Rhine valley, Cologne etc. – very gratifying after 3 years”.
“Home at last”.
© David Martin

Following on from the original post about Gwyn Martin, observer with the Curry and Saunders crew, I am very pleased to present Gwyn’s logbook, again, very generously donated to the site by his Son, David.

The logbook as presented covers Gywn’s entire flying career, from training to his first operational tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, through to instructional duties at No.12 Operational Training Unit and finally his second tour posting to 150 Squadron – coming to an abrupt end on the 23rd of October 1942 when Gwyn and his crew were brought down by flak, crash landing in Lake Langavanet, in Norway. He would spend the next 3 years in Stalag Luft III.

There is some interesting notation against certain Ops and looking through his time with 11 O.T.U after his first tour with 75(NZ) Squadron, I couldn’t help but note the names of some of the Pilots going through the training Squadron. Whilst I have no way of knowing if its the same individuals, its interesting to see the surnames as Pilot  of Baigent and Fox to name but two…..

See Gwyn Martin’s logbook here.

 

“Up and Under”. Gwyn Martin, Observer – Curry & Saunders crew 1941

Gwyn post-war

Gwyn Martin post-war and the cover of his book “Up and Under ” – described in Gwyn’s own words as ‘A sort of partial autobiography, 1939 – 1945’

I am indebted to David Martin for the permission to present images and extracts from his Father’s book “Up and Under”.

Gwyn Martin was born in Penygraig, Rhondda in 1921 and was still at school when he volunteered for the RAF in September 1939. He flew 50 bombing missions over Europe and was awarded the DFM in 1941 after the raid on Brest. On the day after his 21st birthday, in October 1942, he was shot down in Norway and crashed into a lake. He then spent the next two and a half years in Stalag Luft III in Poland as a prisoner of war.

After his release from the RAF he attended university and in 1948 qualified as a pharmacist. In 1946 he married Jane Marjorie Lloyd from Aberystwyth and they both ran ‘Taylor Lloyd, the chemists’, in Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth, until their retirement.

A keen rugby played, Gwyn played for Cardiff RFC, Aberavon and Llanelli, and, while a student, appeared in the Welsh Final Trials of 1946-7. He was Captain of Aberystwyth RFC 1948-51 and President from 1982 onwards. He was a founder member of Aberystwyth RAFA and elected a life member.

For 18 years he was the Honorary Secretary of the Aberystwyth branch of the RNLI and then became their President. A keen and distinguished photographer, he was President of Aberystwyth Camera Club from 1958 onwards. Gwyn’s photographs are extensively represented in the collections of the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His autobiography, from 1939-1945, Up and Under, was published in 1989.

 

Gwyn Martin arrived at Feltwell on the 10th of April 1941 to join 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. With the extended role of a 2nd Pilot at this early part of the War, Gwyn and the other members of his crew essentially had 2 Pilots. Within the format of these Crew Op History pages, a link is provided at the foot of the Curry crew, that will take you onto the crew’s second Pilot, Tony Saunders.

After completing his first Tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, disillusioned and spent, Gwyn resisted the requests for him to stay with the Squadron. After a stint as an instructor he returned to Operations with 150 Squadron and on the 23rd of October 1943, he and his crew were shot down, crash landing in Lake Langavanet, in Norway. He would spend the next 3 years in Stalag Luft III.

David has generously given me permission to use chapters relating to Gwyn’s time with 75(NZ) Squadron within these histories and his copyright of this material should be noted. “Up and Under” can be found on Amazon in both physical and eBook format.

Whilst the addition of the chapter extracts makes the 2 crew histories a significant read, I would encourage you all to take the time to enjoy the extra details of Ops and Gwyn’s personal recollections of his comrades and personalities from Feltwell from that period in 1941.

19410419 First Crew - Curry copy

The Curry crew. From L to R (back row) Albert Windiate, Gwyn Martin, George Curry, Brian Smith, Edward Callender & Stanley Tompsett. Front row, Groundcrew, names unknown. © David Martin.

19410705 Second crew - Saunders

The Saunders crew.
Back row L to R: Raymond Curlewis (2nd Pilot), Tony Saunders (Pilot),  Jack Thompson Front Gunner), Gwyn Martin (Observer)
Front row L to R: Edward Callender (Rear Gunner) & Albert Windiate (Wireless Operator)
© David Martin.

A continuation of Gwyn’s story will be posted at a later date, which will continue from his departure from Feltwell to the day he returned to Norway to once again visit the remains of the Wellington he crashed in, some 50 years before.

To begin Gwyn’s story begin with the Curry crew Operational history page here.
To Jump to the second part of Gwyn’s time with the Squadron, as part of Tony Saunders crew, go here.

Information requested on Robert Toller – Ward crew. KIA 15th September 1941

I have been contacted by Carl, whose uncle was Robert Toller, the Wireless Operator of the crew Captained by James Allen ‘Jimmy’ Ward V.C. on the night of 15th September 1941, when 4 of the 6 crew were lost.

My natural reaction regarding a request such as this is to go straight to the ORB for that month. What I found was surprising, bemusing  and frustrating. After staring at the 2 pages of Form 541, relating to the Hamburg raid, I realised that there was no evidence of the Ward crews participation, let alone loss in this raid. The only veiled reference to a loss was;

“One plane was seen to be shot down and observations show that Searchlights and Night Fighters were co-operating very well.”

A check of Form 540 gave me;

Operations.              BOMBING ATTACKS AGAINST TARGETS AT HAMBURG.
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Two of these aircraft failed to return; one being captained by SGT. J.A. Ward who was awarded  the Victoria Cross on 4th August, 1941. There was clear weather over the target, and bursts were seen in many parts of target area. A.A. fire was heavy over and near target area. Searchlights were numerous, working in cones, and co-operating with A.A. fire and night fighters.

Based on the previous Op the crew flew and a check with the Roll of Honour, the Ward crew that night were;

Sgt James Allen ‘Jimmy’ Ward, VC, RNZAF NZ401793 – Pilot.
Died age 22. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt Horace Gordon Sloman, RAFVR 929627 – 2Pilot.
Died age 21. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt L. E. Peterson RAFVR – Observer.
Shot down. PoW no. 9630. PoW Camps – Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft VI, 357. Safe UK NK.

Sgt Robert William Toller, RAFVR 1054292 – Wireless Operator.
Died age 20. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt H. C. Watson, RAFVR 952162 – Front Gunner.
Shot down. PoW no. not known. PoW Camps not known. Safe UK not known.

Sergeant Kenneth Hutley Toothill, RAFVR 1114337 – Rear Gunner.
Died age 29. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery Germany.

A check through ‘Forever Strong – The Story of 75 Squadron RNZAF 1916-1990‘ by Norman Franks, suggested that 2 crews were lost that night, however it seemed only worth mentioning the loss of Jimmy Ward – the other crew lost on that raid was not even mentioned…..

This makes me quite angry to be honest – and I apologise to Carl, given that this is a request about his uncle, so I dig some more through the Roll of Honour, which to be honest requires some subtle search terms to bring out what I am looking for.

The second crew that were lost on the night of 15/16th September 1941 were;
Sgt Anthony Henry Ryder Hawkins, RNZAF NZ40971 – Pilot.
Died age 20. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Robert Boswell Blakeway, RNZAF NZ403486 – 2nd Pilot.
Shot down. PoW no. 39332. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalags 9C, Luft VI, Luft IV and Luft I. Took part in the forced march from Stalag Luft IV (Gross Tychow) to Stalag XIB (Fallingbostel) 6 Feb to 1 May 1945. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe UK 1 May 1945.

P/O Hugh MacLachlan Aitchison, RCAF R.54169/ J.4782 – Observer.
Died age 28. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt John Gifford Foulkes, RAFVR  909428 – Wireless Operator.
Died age 20. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Derek Richard Fawcett
, RAFVR 1755949 – Front Gunner.
Died age 21. Buried Hamburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt W. E. Mullins, RCAF R.54981 – Rear Gunner.
Shot down. PoW no. 18334, PoW Camps – Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft VI and 357.

So, primarily if you have information you wish to share with Carl regarding his uncle, but in fact any information on any of the airmen who were lost that night would be gratefully received.

As always, many thanks in advance……….