Tag Archives: Kenneth Ralp Philip

Some of Bob’s stories

Many thanks to Vic for passing on information regarding a new post on his Blog regarding his Father, Bob Jay, who was Flight Engineer with Bill Mallon and Eric Butler. The post is entitled ‘Some of Bob’s stories’ and judging by the pictures above, you might get an idea of what these tales relate to!

Read Bob’s tales here.

Bob Jay’s war – Baedeker

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Another update from Vic regarding his blog about his Father.

This latest post concerns recollections of one of the crew’s post war flights on what has come to be known as a ‘Baedeker’ Op.

If anybody has a definitive explanation for why these trips out over the bombed cities of Germany were given this name I’d be interested to hear from you, though I suspect there a certain tinge of irony in their naming. After the bombing of Lubeck in March 1942, the German leadership, outraged by the attack decided to mount a series of Vergeltungsangriffe, or “retaliatory attacks” on British cities.

As always, many thanks for wikipedia –
The Baedeker raids were conducted by the German Luftwaffe’s Luftflotte 3 in two periods between April and June 1942. They targeted militarily unimportant but picturesque cities in England. The cities were reputedly selected from the German Baedeker Tourist Guide to Britain, meeting the criterion of having been awarded three stars (for their historical significance), hence the English name for the raids. Baron Gustav Braun von Stumm, a German propagandist is reportedto have said on 24 April 1942 following the first attack, “We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide.”

The cities attacked were:
First period
Exeter (23rd and 24th April, 3rd May)
Bath (25th and 26th April)
Norwich (27th and 29th April)
York (29th April)

Second period, following the bombing of Cologne:
Canterbury (31st May, 2nd June and 6th June)

So as I mentioned, I am not sure whether the use of ‘Baedeker’ was an official or unofficial description for these Ops – certainly looking at the logbooks from the Squadron during this period, Baedeker is mixed with ‘Viewing the Effects of Bombing’, so it might even have been a personal description of individual airman – thinking back I am pretty sure that Baedeker is not used in the Form 540 or 541 of the Squadron’s Operational Record Books. Perhaps this is all slightly further complicated by the fact that Jim Haworth notes in his letters home that initially these Ops were called ‘Cook’s Tours’ and that after the first one the crew flew on ‘Yesterday, Tuesday, we were lucky enough to get our turn on one of the Cook’s Tours or Baedeker trips as they are now called’………..

Read Vic’s  new post on the Baedeker Op of 4th June 1945 here.

Letters home – Jim Haworth. Mallon/ Butler crew.

About a month ago I posted an update to Vic Jays blog ‘Bob Jay’s War’, regarding Vic’s presentation of letters from his Fathers Navigator Jim Haworth.

Jim wrote numerous letters to his wife, Sally, while he was overseas. They contain lots of fascinating information that fills in some of the gaps in his crews story and gives an insight into life with the air force during and shortly after the war and the importance of humour in difficult times! At 34 Jim was the oldest member of the crew and the only one with children. He had two daughters before the war and had only spent 6 weeks with the younger, Maryann. He was away from home for the next three years and this helps to explain the home sickness that is evident in almost everything he wrote.

As is always the case when these sort of documents come to light, an astonishing secondary level of information can be added to the ‘cold’ details that are present within the official history within Forms 540 and 541 of the Squadron Operational Record Books.

My massive thanks goes to Ruth, Jim’s daughter, via Vic for passing on a significant portion of transcribed copies of Jim’s letters for display on the blog.

The letters can be seen here in the ‘Collections’ section of the blog

Bob Jay’s war – some new updates

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Thanks to Vic for letting me know he has added some more posts to his blog about his Father, Bob Jay.

The first adds some more of Jim Haworth’s letters home after the war in Europe has ended and clearly shows the unease and frustration (certainly in Jim’s mind) regarding the departure of some of the Squadrons aircrew of other nationalities and the possible roles the New Zealand crews might be facing in the Far East.

The second post explores Eric Butler’s arrival as skipper with the crew after the departure of their original Pilot, Bill Mallon, on compassionate grounds.

I continue to be impressed by the dogged determination that Vic is showing with his blog – the level of detail is now amazing regarding the story of his Father’s crew and it really seems, despite Vic’s frustration regarding finding information on the other members of the crew, that the pieces of the jigsaw are really beginning to ‘fall into place’. I’d love to think that eventually I might be able to do the same for Dad’s 2 crews and their stays with the Squadron – though I think it might take considerably longer to achieve.

Read Vic’s 2 new posts here.

Letters home – Jim Haworth, Navigator with the Mallon crew

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Thanks to Vic for letting me know of an update to his blog, about his Father’s tour with 75(NZ) Squadron. The latest addition is based on letters written by Bob’s Navigator, Jim Haworth to his wife Sally, back in New Zealand. Much like the addition of the notes written by John Bell that I was able to add to a previous post on the Gordon crew, Jim’s letters provide not only a fascinating insight into the day to day events of operational airmen, but also add interesting detail to the historical record of the Squadron.

On meeting Bob and the being so far from home……..
“Did I mention we have a flight engineer now, so have completed our crew. He is a married chap, the only other one in our lot. Think he’s about 25 and comes from Grimsby up on the Humber and seems quite a good chap. I’m quite convinced this war is a single chap’s one. Perhaps the Pommie ones who are married are not so badly off as they do get home leave. If I had known what I know now I would have plonked for NZ training and the Pacific. They do get back now and then.”

On his Pilot’s notification of the loss of his second brother and a chance to go home………
“Bill Mallon …… was asked today if he wanted a compassionate posting back to NZ. owing to the death of his second brother. After talking it over, he has cabled to his people and is leaving the decision to them. Looks to me we may lose him, worse luck, as he is a good steady type. Still, my own opinion was that he should accept for his people’s sake. Got any doctor’s certificate for me, eh?”

On the Hallendorf Op………..
“On Thursday we were in a show which was the deepest penetration in daylight the RAF heavies have made so far, to a place near Brunswick. There was a whistle when the target went up but during the whole trip we did not have very much trouble with flak and none with fighters. Over the target was pretty dicey, in thin cloud & quite a bit of flak but nothing hit us. Full cloud over the target, thank goodness. These days with the ‘special instruments’ as the papers call them, everyone hopes it won’t be clear over the target on daylights. Coming back we had some more stuff chucked up at us near the Ruhr but they should be out of business nearly by now.”

This is only a very small example of the extracts from Jim’s letters – read the rest on Vic’s blog here

Bob Jay’s War – some updates.

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Just got a mail from Vic, letting me know he has just put up some more information about his fathers crew on his blog.

He has added some information about the Milsom crew regarding the movement of Lance Waugh to Bob’s crew (re my last post) and also added information about the closing stages of the war from the perspective of the Squadron.

Vic also tells me that he and his wife visited Scartho Road cemetery in Grimsby recently, on the 39th anniversary of Bob’s passing and payed their respects to Alex and David, 2 New Zealanders from the Squadron who now rest there, so many miles away from home.

Read Vic’s blog here

Read an earlier post of mine about David Nola and Alec Coutts here.

 

Bill Mallon Interview

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Vic has added  extracts from a fascinating interview with Bill Mallon, to his website about his father, Robert Jay, who flew with Bill in 1945. The original interview with Bill was one of a number that were collected  for the Military Oral History Project by Martin Halliday.

Additionally, Vic has also been contacted by the the daughter of Jim Haworth, the crews Navigator. Apparently Jim wrote many letters to his wife from Canada and England and within these letters there are lots of references to the boys in the crew and life in Bomber Command – so look forward to the Robert Jay story growing even further!

view the new information here.