Tag Archives: Nathaniel Edmund Hodson

New addition to Group Photographs section

Group portrait of the 75th New Zealand Bomber Squadron, Royal Air Force, alongside a Vickers bomber aeroplane, England. Photographer unidentified. Evening Post (Wellington, NZ).
Credit: National Library of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-123840-G http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22753875 

My memory was pricked yesterday, when I received a comment from Bruce, identifying his Father, John Fernie in the above photo.

Originally posted, now almost 5 years ago, Chris had come across it in the National Library of New Zealand and had begun to tentatively try to identify individuals within the group.

It sounds awful in a way to say that I had ‘forgotten’ about this photograph, but as soon as I saw Bruce’s comments, I thought I must number up a copy and add it to the Group section of the menu. Clearly great minds think alike – as I received an email form Chris this morning, not only with a numbered up version of the photograph, but also an incredibly comprehensive list of identified individuals in the picture! There are still a few gaps, so, as always if anybody is able to fill the final gaps, please get in touch.

You can read the original post here.
And you can see the new numbered up photograph, with the list of names here

P/O Trafford McRae Nicol and the Jarman crew, 1942

Fernie-1stJarmanCrew[4]

The first Jarman crew, in front of Vickers Wellington X3636, AA-R, probably March 1942.
Back row, L-R: John Fernie, Wireless Operator, Trafford Nicol, 2nd Pilot, Eric Jarman, Captain, Stanley Hall, Navigator.
Front, L-R: Jim Harris, Rear Gunner, Ron Davey, Front Gunner / Bomb Aimer.
– NZ Bomber Command Assn, Stan Brooks collection, via Anna Rhodes-Sayer.

Thanks as always to Chris and special thanks to James and Barbara Ogilvie and the Nicol family for sharing these photos and their own research. Thanks to Anna Rhodes-Sayer and the NZ Bomber Command Assn for permission to reproduce the main crew photo.

Trafford McRae Nicol was born in 1921, son of James Alexander & Louisa Clara Nicol who lived in Inglis St., Seatoun, Wellington, New Zealand.

He went to school at Rongotai College, and Wellington College, and enlisted in the RNZAF in early 1941, aged 20, undergoing Initial Training (probably at Levin), then pilot training at No. 2 Service Flying Training School (2 SFTS), Woodbourne.

TraffordMcRNicol-Course14BWoodbourne[3]

Graduation photo for No. 14B (War) Course, 2S.F.T.S., Woodbourne, 1941. Trafford Nicol, back row, second from right.
– Barbara Ogilvie.

Five other 75 (NZ) Squadron pilots appear in this group:

– middle row left, Graham Murdoch, whose path closely followed Trafford’s (see below);
– next to him, Alan Tolley, lost with all the crew of Stirling BF506, AA-P on 21st April 1943 in a raid on Rostock ;
– front row left, a very young Cyril “Mac” Baigent, DSO, DFC, AFC, later to become Wing Commander and Commanding Officer of 75, the youngest CO in Bomber Command;
– next to him, John McCullough, DFC, lost with Stirling BK604, AA-S on 3 Feb 1943.
– William Horne, who flew 2nd Pilot with S/L Ray Newton.

Trafford then sailed to England, and went through Operational Training at 12 O.T.U, Chipping Warden:

TraffordMcRNicol-23CourseChippingWarden[3]

No. 23 Course – Pilots – Chipping Warden, UK, December 1941.
Back row, L-R: 3. Rip Rogers (+), 4. Johnny Wilmshurst (missing), 5. Cyril Wrightson (+).
Middle row, L-R: 4. ? Buller (+), 6. Roy Willson (+).
Front row, L-R: 1. Roy Spear (missing), 2. Jim Cowan (missing), 3. Trafford Nicol (+), 4. Stinker Murdoch (+), 8. John Keenberg, 9. Ric Richardson (+), 10. Rupert Smith (missing).
– Barbara Ogilvie.

Again, several of the pilots named in this photo went on to serve with 75 (NZ) Sqdn.

Sgt Johnny Wilmshurst was lost with all his crew on a daylight op’ to Duisburg on the 10th of July.

Incredibly, P/O Graham “Stinker” Murdoch and P/O Rupert John Smith, both died on the same night captaining separate aircraft, both with all crew lost, on the 9th of June during a raid on Essen.

And equally incredible, Sgt Cyril Wrightson died flying 2nd Pilot with F/S Mahood, with all crew lost, on the night of the 22nd/23rd of April during a raid on Cologne, the same operation that resulted in Trafford Nicol’s death.

75 (NZ) Squadron Operational Record Book,  Form 540, March 1942: P/O Nicol, T.M. Posted to this unit from No, 12 O.T.U w.e.f. 10.3.42

Trafford was posted in from 12 OTU on the 10th of March, together P/O Graham Murdoch, and must have joined Eric Jarman’s crew within a day or two.

Sgt Eric “Rick” or “Riki” Jarman came from Yeppoon, in Queensland, Australia, and was a clerk at Rockhampton before he enlisted in the RAAF in September, 1940.

He had arrived at 75 (NZ) Sqdn in November the previous year, and had been flying as 2nd Pilot with S/L Peter Kitchin. The squadron had flown very few operations during this period as Bomber Command re-assessed strategies after a disastrous Berlin raid on 7/8 November, and then as 75 became busy training and converting from the 1C Wellingtons to the new Mark IIIs.

Jarman carried out his first Night Flying Test as Captain of his own aircraft on 9 March, a 15 minute flight in Wellington III  X3587, AA-P.

The Jarman crew were:
Sgt Eric George Delancey Jarman, RAAF AUS404507 – Pilot
P/O Trafford McRae Nicol, RNZAF NZ411929 – 2nd Pilot
Sgt Stanley Frederick Hall, RNZAF NZ402182 – Navigator
Sgt John Alexander Fernie, RAF 980003 – Wireless Operator
Sgt Ron S. Davey, RAF – Front Gunner / Bomb Aimer
Sgt Richard James Harris, RNZAF NZ402999 – Rear Gunner

Stanley Hall and Richard Harris had arrived separately on Squadron only a week or so earlier, but John Fernie and Ron Davey had been on the Squadron since November the previous year.

Fernie originally crewed up with Sgt Robert Arthur Colville RNZAF, and had already flown 7 op’s.

He had very fortunately not been on board when Colville took Wellington X3355, AA-Y up for an air test on 28 February, although as was the norm at the time, four ground crew had gone along for the ride. Just after take-off, Colville lost his starboard engine, and then as he attempted to turn back to the airfield to make an emergency landing, the port engine failed as well. The aircraft crashed near Lakenheath, killing two of the ground crew, and leaving the 2nd Pilot Sgt Woodham fatally injured. Colville and the other two ground crew were seriously injured, Colville almost losing both legs.

Davey had flown 2 op’s with Sgt Giddens, but for some reason Giddens left the Squadron in December. Davey may have trained with other crews during January and February.

RIck Jarman flew his first Op as skipper on the 13th March 1943, bombing targets at Dunkirk. Twelve days later, Trafford Nichol would join the crew as 2nd Pilot for an OP to Essen and St.Nazaire on the 25th of March.

The Jarman crew would fly a further 7 Ops, before they boarded Wellington Mk.III X.3487 AA-O on the 22nd of April, that night flying to Cologne.

22/04/1942 – Operations – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Ten Well.III a\c were detailed attack the above targets. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 100lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendiaries was dropped in the target area but no results seen owing to cloud. There were only a few searchlights active and A.A. fire was slight. Well.III, X3487 captained by P/O Jarman was attacked by a JU.88 which attacked once and broke away to port. The results of this short attack were however serious the second pilot, P/O Nicol being mortally wounded, the rear gunner Sgt. Harris being killed and the Navigator Sgt. Taylor and W/Op. Sgt. Fernie were wounded. The bomb load was not dropped on the target but was dropped in the sea. The a/c was brought back to base and crash landed. Well.III, X3705, captained by F/S. McLachlan, was also attacked and the second pilot killed (P/O. Fountain) and Sgt. Tutty was wounded. F/Sgt. McLachlan managed to reach base and crash land.

Wellington Mk.III X.3487 AA-O
a/c shot up by JU88 and crash landed on return. Sgt. Harris was killed in the attack. P/O Nicol died of injuries the day after

P/O Eric George Delancey ‘Rick/ Riki’  Jarman , RAAF AUS.404507 – Pilot.
P/O Trafford McRae Nicol RNZAF NZ411929 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. William Henderson Taylor, RAFVR 1051621/ 122053 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Alexander Fernie, RAFVR 980003/ 127783 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R.S. Davey, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Richard James Harris, RNZAF NZ402999 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 04:40
Flight Time 06:25

Feltwell Station Log Wednesday 23rd April 1942: “0442 O.75 crash-landed (18th) last A/c.”

Rick Jarman was awarded the DFC for his part in the incident:
DFC citation E.G.D. Jarman, RAAF:
Citation DFC (Imm) (15 May 1942) “One night in April 1942 this officer was the captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. Whilst over the target area, the aircraft was hit by shellfire and sustained damage. The navigator, wireless operator and front gunner were injured, but despite this, Pilot Officer Jarman flew on to make his attack. On the return journey it was discovered that a bomb had not fallen owing to the damage caused by the enemy’s shellfire whereupon Pilot Officer Jarman altered course and headed for the North Sea so that the bomb could be jettisoned. Before reaching the sea, however, his aircraft was subjected to an attack by an enemy fighter whose fire killed the rear gunner, wounded the second pilot and inflicted further damage on the aircraft. Skilfully controlling the bomber Pilot Officer Jarman continued his flight and after jettisoning the bomb in the sea, he finally reached this country where he made a safe landing with the undercarriage retracted.”

They crash-landed at 4:40 in the morning. Trafford was badly wounded, and passed away later that day.

From “New Zealanders in the Air War”, by Alan Mitchell:

On these five operations only one aircraft was lost, but several injured men were brought back. One, Pilot Officer T. McRae Nicol, of Welling­ton, had been badly hit in the abdomen by shell-splinters. He was in great pain when they lifted him tenderly from the aircraft into the ambulance, but he had a smile for Olson.

I’ve got a guts full of lead, sir,” he told the CO., almost proudly. Morphia eased the rack of the pain, but although he probably knew he had little chance of survival, he remained cheerful until he died.

Trafford’s niece, Barbara remembers reading a letter from the Squadron’s Chaplin to Trafford’s parents saying that Trafford was a great leader, was always so positive and one of his favourites.  The letter also said that a WAAF had given Trafford a cup of hot tea before he was removed from his Wellington, and that the hot tea may have caused more damage to his stomach.  Barbara says she always thought that it was funny how her uncle died in the war from a hot cup of tea…….

Trafford was buried with full military honours at Feltwell’s St. Nicholas Churchyard, Row C Grave 11, on the 29th of April.

His crewmate Jim Harris was buried the same day at St. Nicholas Churchyard, Row B Grave 11.
 
Returning from the same Cologne operation in the early hours of 23 April, another night fighter had attacked the McLachlan crew’s Wellington X3705, AA-F, killing 2nd Pilot P/O Cedric Fountain, RNZAF (NZ41981). They also struggled to reach Base, and had crash-landed at Feltwell about an hour before the Jarman crew.  Trafford, Jim and Cedric were all buried at St Nicholas Churchyard on the same day, and the photograph of the funeral party suggests that the three airmen were taken on the same carriage:

TraffordMcRNicol-Funeral-Felwell-27May1942[3]

P/O Trafford Nicol’s funeral, Feltwell, 29 June 1942.
– Barbara Ogilvie.

Rick Jarman eventually flew 41 op’s to complete his tour with 75 (NZ) Squadron on 3 August, and after a stint instructing at 27 OTU, went on to a second tour with 460 Squadron. He was promoted to Squadron Leader, but sadly on their 9th op’, he and 5 of his crew were lost over Germany on 28 April 1944. The crew is immortalised in a famous painting, “Bomber Crew”, which was still being worked on by the artist when they were shot down.

Trevor Smith went on to skipper his own aircraft, but was lost with all his crew on the 9th of July, during a raid on Wilhelmshaven. Fernie and Chunn survived the war.

– Read more about the events of the night of 22nd /23rd of April, within a post about Feltwell Cemetery here  (about half way down the post)

To read the crew history in full, please click here to be taken to the Jarman crew Op history page.

Again, special thanks to James and Barbara Ogilvie and the Nicol family for sharing these photos and their own research. Thanks to Anna Rhodes-Sayer and the NZ Bomber Command Assn for permission to reproduce the main crew photo

 

George Anthony Young and perhaps, Frank Edwin McKenzie – Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery, Netherlands

Young McKenzie crop comp image

Sgt. Anthony George Young, Front Gunner and Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, Wireless Operator with Trevor Smith’s crew. Images courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

Wyb has also passed on information regarding the recovery of the body of Sgt. George Anthony Young, Front Gunner with the Smith crew who was killed on the 9th of July 1942 on an Op to Willhelmshaven. As with the previous post, Wyb has supplied information relating to the recovery of Anthony’s body, so as before, please be aware of the content of these translated reports at the end of the post.

Many thanks again also, to James, for the translation of this second set of documents.

Interestingly, another body was recovered with Sgt. Young. This second body had no means of identification, however its proximity and similarity of rate of decay suggests this might have been the body of Frank McKenzie, Wireless Operator with he Smith crew. Wyb has included a letter from the New Zeland Defence Force, who, noted the likelihood of this unknown airman perhaps being Frank, given as the letter notes, he was the only other Sgt. in the crew. The family were notified of the possibility at the time, but after exhumation nothing could be confirmed and the grave has remained ‘unknown’.

I must confess the need to wonder out loud about whether modern DNA testing techniques might be able bring an answer after all these years………..

19/05/1942 – Attacks Against Mannheim and St. Nazaire
Nine Wellington III aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with a bomb load consisting of 4 lbs. incendiaries and 250lbs. bombs. The bomb load was dropped in the target area where fires and explosions were observed. A.a. fire was slight but ineffective, and searchlights were inaccurate. Weather conditions were good though there was a slight ground haze. Navigation was by TR, D/R, Loop, astro.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 05:40
Flight Time 06:15

29/05/1942 – Bombing Attacks Against Dieppe
Four Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. The target area was bombed, but owing to cloud and poor visibility results were not observed. A.A. fire was light and searchlights were not numerous. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Navigation was by D/R, TR, Loop.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:25 – Landed 03:00
Flight Time 04:35

30/05/1942 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Twenty-three Wellington aircraft, including IA, IC,III, were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, Wellington IA T.2894, captained by P/O Johnson (attached to this Unit from C.G.S. Suton Bridge) failed to return to base. Another aircraft X.3751 captained by P/O Jarman, was badly damaged by flak, both fuel tanks being holed and both port and starboard airspeed indicators rendered unserviceable. The bomb load consisted of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and 30lbs. and 4lbs incendiaries. The weather conditions were excellent, and the target was bombed successfully many fires being started in all parts of the town. A.A. fire was very erratic and searchlights were working in cones. A large number of enemy aircraft were seen but no attacks resulted. Navigation was by D/R, TR, Q.D.M., Loop.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:10 – Landed 03:15
Flight Time 04:05

01/06/1942 – Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Twenty Well. a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb loads of $000lbs, 500lbs, 250, 30lb inc and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area but results were not observed owing to cloud over target. Large fires were, however, seen to be burning in the target area. A.A. fire was not particularly intense and searchlights were scattered. One ME.109 followed Well.IC DV884 for about 5 minutes but was eluded. Weather was fairly good until target was reached where there was low cloud and haze. Navigation was good by all aids.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 04:30

02/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area but no results were observed. A few small fires were seen near target. A.A. fire was fairly heavy and searchlights operating in cones were numerous. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather marred the operation, there being a heavy ground have. Navigation was excellent. Well, X3408, captained by P/O Carter, failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:05 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 04:05

05/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. No results were observed. A.A. fire was intense and searchlights active in cones. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was clear except for ground haze. Nav was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3714 AA-W

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
S/L Frank Henderson Denton, RAF 36238 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O Nathaniel Edmund Hodson, RNZAF NZ403603 – Observer.
Sgt. Leonard Chambers, RNZAF NZ403758 – Wireless Operator.
F/S Cyril Vincent Green, RNZAF NZ402997 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Kenneth Atherton Crankshaw, RNZAF NZ404533 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 04:00

05/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. No results were observed. A.A. fire was intense and searchlights active in cones. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was clear except for ground haze. Nav was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:15 – Landed 03:20
Flight Time 04:05

06/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Twelve aircraft were detailed to carry out an attack on the above target and a bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped on the target. Large buildings were seen to be ablaze and there were a number of small fires. Flak was fairly intense but searchlights few. No enemy a/c were encountered. Weather was good. Navigation was very good. One a/c sighted enemy flak ships and dived down to 200ft and attacked them. Results were not observed.

Wellington Mk.III X.3587 AA-P

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
Sgt. William Graham Clark, RAFVR 903293 – Observer.
Sgt. Barry Herbert Coulter, RAFVR 1261820 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Robertson Ramsay, RNZAF NZ405508 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Henry Edward Jones, RAFVR 1192997 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 05:15

17/06/1942 – Mine-Laying off Frisian Islands
Eight a/c were detailed to carry out the above sortie. Mines were laid as ordered and all a/c returned safely. (Two a/c out of the above eight went to St. Nazaire on a sortie). There was very little flak and searchlights were few. There was haze and vis. was moderate. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3760 AA-L

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot. CANCELLED
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Ian Gordon Stewart, RNZAF NZ404623 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:00 – Landed 00:00
Flight Time 00:00

 

19/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Eleven a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 4lb inc was taken. Aircraft unable to identify Emden attacked Osnabruck. Results were not observed. Flak was not intense but searchlights were fairly active. One unidentified a/c followed Well.III X3539 for about 5 miles but made no attack. Weather was clear over Osnabruck. Nav was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III Z.1592 AA-O

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:47 – Landed 04:47
Flight Time 05:00

20/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Twelve a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results were not observed. There was intense flak and searchlights were few. A JU88 attacked Well.III, X3539 without result. Weather was hazy with 5/10 cloud. Visibility very bad. Nav was good. Well.III, X3760 P/O Fraser failed to return.

Wellington Mk.III X.3540 AA-H

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 04:15

22/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Emden
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results were not observed. Flak was moderate and searchlights were scarce. One JU88 and one ME109 sighted by one of our a/c but no attack made. Weather good 5/10 cloud at 15,000’, clear over target. Slight haze. Nav was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3540 AA-H

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 03:45
Flight Time 04:25

23/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at St. Nazaire and (Gardening)
Eight a/c were detailed to carry out the above sortie. Bomb load was 500lbs and vegetables. The task was carried out as ordered. Small concentration of flak and seachlights at Cherbourg. No enemy a/c seen. Weather was fine with slight ground have over France. Nav was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3714 AA-W

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:04 – Landed 05:44
Flight Time 06:40

25/06/1942 – Attack on Targets at Bremen
Twenty a/c were detailed to attack the above. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, 500lbs and 4lb inc was dropped in the target. Results not observed. There was alarge amount of A.A. fire searchlights were ineffective. A JU88 followed Well.III X3664 but did not attack. Weather was moderate with 10/10 cloud. Nav was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3557 AA-X

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:50
Flight Time 05:30

29/06/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Sixteen a/c were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 500lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area. Results not observed. A.A. fire was heavy in target area. Searchlights were ineffective through cloud. A JU88 was attacked and claimed as shot down by Well.BJ837, captained by Sgt. Hockaday. Weather was cloudy. Nav was excellent. Well.III (P/O Monk) failed to return and Well.III Z1616 (Sgt. Bertram) crashed after take-off and caught fire. All crew killed.

Wellington Mk.III X.3557 AA-X

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 02:00
Flight Time 02:10

02/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Bremen
Twelve aircraft left base to carry out an attack on targets at Bremen. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 30lb and 4lb incendaries was dropped in the target area, bomb bursts and fires were seen in target area. A.A. fire was poor and searchlights were scattered but numerous. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was very clear over target. Navigation was very good by TR and DR.

Wellington Mk.III X.3714 AA-W

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Donald Norman Potts RNZAF NZ412267 2nd Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:20 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 04:50

07/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Frisian Islands (Gardening)
Nine a/c carried out the above sortie and carried 500lbs bombs and vegetables. A few machines returned with loads but some carried out their task. There was no A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft. Weather was cloudy with poor visibility. Navigation was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3714 AA-W

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:15 – Landed 04:20
Flight Time 04:05

08/07/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Wilhemshaven
Thirteen a/c were detailed to attack the above target. Bomb load of 4000lbs, 1000lbs, and 4lb inc was dropped in the target area and hit were believed to be scored. There was heavy predicted flak and searchlights were scattered. No enemy a/c were seen. Weather was good clear over target. Navigation was excellent.

Wellington Mk.III X.3557 AA-X

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953 – Pilot.
P/O Donald Norman Potts RNZAF NZ412267 2nd Pilot.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367 – Observer.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771 – Front Gunner.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time missing

Wellington Mk.III X.3557 AA-X came down at the northern end of the Waddenzee, near Rottumeroog Is at 01.30hrs. The time of the crash indicates the aircraft was still on the outward bound route to the target and was almost certainly shot down by one of the many German night fighters operating along that part of the Dutch coast. The details contained within German documentation regarding the injuries to the body of George Young certainly seem to support this, describing significant head injuires, assumed to be from a bullet or shell.

All of the crew were killed. Only the bodies of Sgt Young and the Pilot, P/O Trevor Harry Smith were recovered. As mentioned previously, a second body was recovered with Sgt. Young’s – the conjecture by rank of the airman is that this was Frank McKenzie, however a positive I.D. was never able to be made.

Trevor Smith was initially buried in Rottumeroog, but was subsequently moved to and re-interred at Oldebroek General Cemetery. The rest of the crew are remembered on the Air Force Memorial at Runnymede.

P/O Trevor Harry Smith, RNZAF NZ41953. KIlled age 24. Buried Oldebrock General Cemetery Netherlands.
P/O Donald Norman Potts, RNZAF NZ412267. KIlled age 25. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 116 Runnymede Memorial.
P/O Alan Stuart Broun, RNZAF NZ405367. KIlled age 32. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 115 Runnymede Memorial.
Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF NZ391085. KIlled age 22. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 117 Runnymede Memorial.
Sgt. George Anthony Young, RNZAF NZ405771. KIlled age 21. Buried Schiermonnikoog (Vredenhof) Cemetery Netherlands.
P/O Jack Ralph Gavegan, RNZAF NZ402128. KIlled age 30. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 116 Runnymede Memorial.

img046

Image courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

Schiermonnikoog 17th July 1942

To
Mr Hotel Manager van der Werff, Schiermonnikoog.

Regarding: bodies of the 3 English pilots that were washed up on the shore of Schiermonnikoog on 15.07.1942.

Enclosed are the doctors reports of the findings of the 2 bodies washed ashore on 12.07.1942 and the body washed ashore on 15.07.1942 together with the estate records of the deceased. The bodies washed ashore on 12.07.1942 and 14.07.1942 were buried on 15.07.1942 in the Schmiermonnikoog cemetry on 15.07.1942.

The position of the individual graves are as follows:

Washed up 12.07.1942, unknowm, new part, left, 1st row, 6th grave Nr.
Washed up 12.07.1942, Fraser, new part, left, 1st row, 7th grave Nr.
Washed up 15.07.1942, unknowm, new part, left, 2nd row, 1st grave Nr.

Korvetten Captain
and Island Kommander

img063

Doctors report of Sgt. George Anthony Young. Image courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

Schiermonnikoog 25th July 1942

Doctors report

Regarding the findings of the body of Sergeant O.D. Young of the R.A.F., Age unknown, Official No. NZ 405 771, retreaved on 20. Aug. 1942 on Simonsand, buried on 22. Aug. 1942 in the Vredenhof zu Schiermonnikoog contained in the loss-report 45 of the Island Kommander Schiermonnikoog .

Identification mark: NZ 405771
                                          OD
                                    Y o u n g

Large, very muscular korpse of a Sergeant of the R.A.F. discovered and retreaved on 20.08.1942 on Northwest coast of Simonsand.
The corpse is estimated to have been 10 to 12 weeks in water.

The skull is shattered, probably though a bullit in the head and there is only the lower jaw and the right temporal bone with cheek bone still existant. Neck is very macerated and torn. Lower legs and feet, lower arms and hands mostly free of flesh; the rest of the body is very torn; advanced decay through maggot damage.

Probable cause of death: shot in the head
Special markings: none

Clothing: yellow lifejacket, Flying combiniation, blue flying uniform, on the left breast side a badge with wings and “AG”, right cuff three chevrons, Thick blue and white pullover, blue pilot shirt, white underpants, thick blue wool socks.

The coastguard Groningen found the following items and passed them on to the Miltary Airbase Leeuwarden:
                      1 Signet ring
                      1 Cigarette box
                      1 Plaster box
                      1 Yellow headgear
                      1 iron ration

1. Witness                                           2. Witness                                       3. Witness
Assistant Chief Doctor                      Petty Officer                                   Private

img064 rot and cpd

Doctors report for unknown airman, recovered at the same time and location as Sgt. Young’s body – it is speculated that this is the body of Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie. image courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

Schiermonnikoog 25th July 1942

Doctors report

Regarding the findings of the body of an unknown R.A.F. Sergeant found on 20th August 1942 on Simonsand, burried on 22nd August 1942 in the cementry, Vredenhof zu Schiermonnikoog contained in the losses report 45 of the island kommander Schiermonnikoog.

Mid-sized body of a Sergeant of the R.A.F. found on 20.08.1942 on West coast of Simonsand.
The Body was likely to have been floating in water for approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

The head missing; the lower arm and hands completely free of skin and flesh; What is left of the body is very macerated; advanced maggot damage; no external injury found.

Probable cause of death: not determined.

Special marks: none.

Clothing: Yellow life jacket, Flying suit combination, blue pilot uniform, left breast side a wing with ”AG”, right arm three chevrons, thick white pullover, blue pilots shirt, white underpants, thick blue wool socks.

According to the coastal guard centre Groningen the deceased was not carrying a will on his person.

1. Witness                                           2. Witness                                        3. Witness

Mar. Ob. Ass. Arzt                              Lt. M. A.                                            M. A. Ob. Mast

Wyb noted in correspondence that the estimated duration given for the time the bodies had been in the water is incorrect, based ont only on the date of the Op and the identification of at least George Young, but also because the time of year, summer would have probably accelerated the decomposition of the bodies owing to the higher temperature (relatively) of the sea.

funeral Young and unknown sergeant grave 83

A German Officer conducts the burial ceremony of Sgt. George Anthony Young. Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

funeral grave 83 and grave 84 both washed ashore on a sandbanck east of Schiermonnikoog

Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

funeral grave 83 and 84 Vredenhof cemetery Schiermonnikoog

Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

funeral Young grave 84 and an unknown sergeant buriel date 220842

Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

grave 83 and 84 our father...

Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

first grave shield Young

The grave of Sgt. George Anthony Young RNZAF. Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

grave 83 unknown possibel Mc Kenzie

The grave of an unknown airman (foreground), believed to be Sgt. Frank Edwin McKenzie, RNZAF. Photo courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

letter NZ Def force cpd and obs

Letter from the New Zealand Defence Force regarding the possible identification and subsequent failure to identify him. image courtesy Wyb Jan Groendijk

Sgt Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin – Ramsey crew 1941

SgtGunnerSirCharlesMappin-crop

Sergeant Air Gunner Sir Charles Mappin, 1940
The Spectator.

Another post from Chris – and another Knight of the British Empire…….

Born March 7, 1909, Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin was the 4th Baronet and son of Thomas Wilson Mappin and Violet Maud Duke , a member of one of the families behind the Mappin & Webb business, steel manufacturers, silversmiths and jewellers.

Apparently a member of the House of Lords, and listed as a “landowner”, Charles married Ruby Duff, and had a son Michael in 1931. According to the Daily Express of the day, he was ‘a leader of the Bright Young Things’.

A lover of practical jokes, in 1932 he announced plans for the “Old Berkeley Square Cat Hunt”, to round up all the stray felines of Mayfair whose howling had been disturbing him at night, with the aid of 100 residents and greyhounds. The cats were to be locked in a room and painlessly put down. A large outraged crowd gathered, and the police and RSPCA also fell for the prank.

Neither politics nor family life appear to have suited Charles, as by 1939 he had apparently spent most of his Mappin & Webb inheritance, and was sailing around the islands of Tahiti on a yacht, fishing, drinking, pearl-collecting and womanising. He left a rollicking, bawdy record of his exploits in a diary, published in the Spectator many years later by his half-sister, the equally eccentric Margot Duke.

“And then came the famous Quatorze Juillet, and Tahiti is reputed to do it as well as any place. All shops are shut, the square in front of Government House is turned into a fair with roundabouts, coconut-shies, dance halls, bars and all the whoopsy nonsense you can imagine. This continued for 14 days, open day and night, and not a sober person on the whole island. Each night the districts sent their dance teams to dance before the Governor in native costume, and to sing their local himenes. All very impressive and romantic and a wonderful excuse for one more rumble-bumble, and one more bottle before returning to the country to sleep it off before starting again the following morning. I man- aged to make the 14 days, then chaos. By this time Bryan and I were staying with Rupert, who had taken a house, also in Punaauia, in preparation for the return of wife and infant toreador-aviateur.

Fortunately I had asked an Australian, Roger Barry, to lunch with me the following day at the Blue Lagoon and he arrived at 1 o’clock to find me quite crazy, imagining the most extraordinary things and living a life of my own entire imagination. He stayed with me for three days and three nights without leaving me for one minute. My ravings I won’t try and explain as, except for Ann, they only concerned people on the island. I was cured by intravenous injection of somnafeine, and, although I pray to God it never happens again, it has done two good things: it has shown me I have a very good friend in Roger Barry, and it has frightened me on to the wagon until Christmas.”
(From The Spectator Archive – http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/23rd-april-1994/23/adventure-on-the-south-seas)

According to the Spectator article, his vessel carried no radio, and the war had been declared for six months before he heard of it. However his final diary entry, as published, is dated 22 September, just 3 weeks after war was declared, and he mentions the Administrator giving them “the latest war bulletin” when they came into port.

He came home, and volunteered for the RAF as a rear-gunner, and is said to have refused a commission and a ground job. His sister described the decision as “suicide . . the norm was three trips, and they used to hose them out.”

Sir Charles graduated as a sergeant gunner, and was posted to 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF – then  based at RAF Feltwell.

11.10.41.
Wellington 1c. Z8942 was received on squadron strength from No. 10 M.U.

31.10.41.
P/O Ralph Foster and crew were posted in, from No. 20 O.T.U. Lossiemouth, Scotland.

Charlie’s first op’ was as Front Gunner with the experienced Ramsey crew.

04/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Nine Wellington 1C aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Heavy cloud was experienced throughout the whole trip and although bombs were dropped in target area no results were observed. Accurate Heavy Flak was met over the target area and searchlights were active, but ineffective owing to cloud.  No enemy aircraft were met. Weather was very poor with 10/10th cloud which completely marred the whole operation.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9941 AA-A

Sgt. Neil Gordon Cresswell Ramsey, RAFVR 116065 – Pilot.
P/O Ralph Owen Foster, RNZAF NZ402443 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Nathaniel Edmund Hodson, RNZAF NZ403603 – Navigator.
Sgt. Norman George Errington, RAFVR 942763/ 115638 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin, RAFVR 1380356 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. George Reginald McQueen, RAFVR 1109382/ 123292 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:05 – Landed 22:40
Flight Time 04:35

For his second Op, he and Foster joined the Wilson crew. Navigator Ryder, Wireless Operator Reid  and Rear Gunner Hope were probably members of their original OTU crew.

John Wilson had arrived on Squadron on 2nd of September, and this was his first Op as Captain of his own crew

07/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Berlin and Ostend
Fourteen Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed from this Unit to attack the above targets. Two of these aircraft, X.9951, captained by F/O Methven and X.9976, captained by Sgt. Black, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped in target area and some large fires were started, but results were not clearly observed owing to heavy cloud over target area. A considerable amount of heavy flak was met over target area but searchlights, where seen, were ineffective. No enemy aircraft were met throughout the trip. Weather was poor with 10/10th cloud over target area. Navigation was good, Astro and D/R loops being used. Wellington Z.1091, captained by P/O Sandys returned to base owing to engine trouble. Wellington Z.1068, captained by Sgt. Parham returned to base owing to Navigator being sick.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8942 AA-J

Sgt. John Stephen Wilson, RNZAF NZ402530 – Pilot.
P/O Ralph Owen Foster, RNZAF NZ402443 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Leslie Owen Ryder, RAAF AUS.404626 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Henry Reid, RAFVR 997006 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin, RAFVR 1380356 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Lawrence Beresford Hamilton Hope, RNZAF NZ40940 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:54 – Landed 00:03
Flight Time 03:09

Sadly, the crew’s second op’ together was their last:

08/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington Ic aircraft from this Unit carried out the above attacks. Three of these aircraft, X9268, captained by Sgt. Smith, X9977, captained by Sgt. Nunn, and Z8942, captained by Sgt. Wilson failed to return to base. Bomb load consisted of 1000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs. and containers of incendiaries. Many large fires were started with resultant explosions and burst were observed across a but-up area. A railway junction to the South of the target was also successfully attacked. Much heavy and light flak was experienced and large cones of searchlights were active in target area. Several enemy aircraft were seen in target area co-operating with searchlights. Weather was moderately clear to target but haze over target. Navigation was very good.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8942 AA-J

Sgt. John Stephen Wilson, RNZAF NZ402530 – Pilot.
P/O Ralph Owen Foster, RNZAF NZ402443 – 2nd Pilot..
P/O Robert Leslie Owen Ryder, RAAF AUS.404626 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Henry Reid, RAFVR 997006 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin, RAFVR 1380356 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Lawrence Beresford Hamilton Hope, RNZAF NZ40940 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Wellington Z8942, AA-J was shot down by Flak and crashed at 22:15 on the night of 8 November 1941 at Zuidland (Zuid Holland), 20 km SW of Rotterdam. All were killed except for the Rear Gunner, Lawrence Hope, who was captured and became a Prisoner of War.

Sgt. John Stephen Wilson, RNZAF. NZ402530, died age 27.
P/O Ralph Owen Foster RNZAF NZ402443, died age 29.
P/O Robert Leslie Owen Ryder, RAAF. AUS.404626, died age 25.
Sgt James Henry Reid, RAFVR 997006, died age 21.
Sgt Sir Charles Thomas Hewitt Mappin, RAFVR 1380356, died age 32.

WilsonCrew

Wilson, Foster and Hope. – Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph/Weekly News, and WO2VPR (https://sites.google.com/site/wo2vpr1/home/1941-11-09-wellington).

The crew are buried in the city‘s Crooswijk General Cemetery. Sir Charles Mappin is buried in Plot LL. Row 1. Joint grave 14.

Sgt Lawrence Beresford Hamilton Hope, RNZAF NZ40940, survived and was captured. Prisoner of War No.24510. Camps,  Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft III, Luft VI and 357.

Tragically, Lawrence Hope did not survive the war. Whilst on a forced march from Stalag 357 at Fallingbostel to Lübeck with some 500 Allied prisoners, he was one of 30 POWs who died at Gresse, 14km NE of Lauenburg, when RAF Typhoon fighter-bombers attacked the column, mistaking them for enemy troops. He died on 19 April 1945, less than three weeks before VE Day. Initially buried in the parish churchyard at Gresse, but in July 1947 reinterred at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

On the day Sir Charles Mappin was posted as missing, his Mother told the Daily Express:

“I am proud of Charles, he had guts”.