Tag Archives: New Zealand Bomber Command Association Archive

Charlie Shepherd, Armourer – 1941 – 1943

Sad news from Chris

In memory of Charles Campbell “Charlie” Shepherd, RNZAF (NZ391907); 1918 – 30.1.2016

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Charlie at work, bombing up a 75 (NZ) Sqdn Stirling. – Charlie Shepherd collection, NZ Bomber Command Assn archives

Sad news with the passing of another original 75er, Cpl Charles Campbell Shepherd, NZ391907, who passed away just short of his 97th birthday on 30th January 2016, after a short illness.

Charlie Shepherd sailed from his native New Zealand to the UK in 1940 as an LAC armaments fitter, and was posted to 10 Squadron, RAF Leeming, on Whitleys.

He then served on 75 (NZ) Squadron at Feltwell, Mildenhall, and Newmarket, from 13 March 1941 to 9 June 1943. The NZ Bomber Command Assn hold copies of several photos that he took during his time at 75 (NZ) Squadron, for a brief glimpse into the life of the Armourers.

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Caption on reverse: “NZ groundstaff Feltwell 1941. All armourers. 75 Squadron”. – Charlie Shepherd collection, NZ Bomber Command Assn archives.

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Ground crew working on 75 (NZ) Squadron Stirling AA-B. – Charlie Shepherd collection, NZ Bomber Command Assn archives.

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Caption on reverse: “75 ARM 1941. J. Walsh, Bill Mason, Trotter, Ronnie Bartlett, could be Hartis, and C.C.S. Workers are ones without ties!” – Charlie Shepherd collection, NZ Bomber Command Assn archives.

Charlie later served on 486 NZ Squadron, Typhoons/Tempests, from 28 Sep 1944 to 8 May 1945, then went to 80 Sqdn.

He told a great story that some months after the war was over, an RAF officer noticed his New Zealand shoulder patch and asked what the hell was he doing still on an operational squadron, as everyone else had gone home. He apparently replied “I’m waiting for the next one!”. He thought he must have been overlooked as there weren’t many Kiwi ground crew in UK to start with. He eventually left the UK in December 1945.

After the war, Charlie lived in Maungatapere, Northland, New Zealand, and worked as a carpenter, joiner, and boatbuilder . He held a Private Pilots Licence at the age of 80.

– As always, thanks to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn. for permission to reproduce these photos. Extra details from the 75 Squadron (RAF/ RNZAF) Association of New Zealand.

B Flight Pilots, June 1945.

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B Flight No. 75 (NZ) Squadron, Mepal, June 1945 – NZBCA archives, Ivan Carroll collection.

Thanks as always to Chris for doing a bit of detective work on this photograph of ‘B’ Flight Pilots, taken in June 1945 and generously passed on by Peter from the NZBCA archives.

Flying Officer Ivan Carroll arrived at Mepal on 13 March 1945, flew his first op’ on 18 March, and stayed on with the Squadron after VE Day for Tiger Force training at Spilsby until 29 September.

This is the first formal group photo I have seen from the immediate post-war period.

The photo is a little worse for wear, but nevertheless a great shot of the Pilots who made up B Flight, just after the war ended, and for once we can put faces to all the names- luckily for us, Ivan wrote them on the back:
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Back row: F/O Bruce Crawford (F/O Roderick Bruce Crawford, RNZAF, NZ427551), F/O John Young (F/O John Simpson Young, RNZAF, NZ4213650), Self (F/O Ivan Silvester Carroll, RNZAF, NZ4213254), F/O Hardie (F/L William Leslie Hardie, RNZAF, NZ 428111), F/S Daly (F/O Alfred George Daly, RNZAF, NZ4211789), F/O Don Shearer (P/O Donald Babington Shearer, RNZAF, NZ4210512), F/O Pete Trevarthen (F/O Peter Lloyd Trevarthen, RNZAF, NZ429974).
Front row: F/O Alan Baynes (F/O Allan Ralph Baynes, RNZAF. NZ427453), F/L Charlie Stevens (F/Lt Charles Mackenzie Stevens, RNZAF, NZ4210535), S/Ldr Ballingall (Sqn Ldr. Alexander Stewart Ballingall, RNZAF, NZ2286, B Flight Commander), F/Lt Rus Banks (F/Lt Russell Ashley Banks, RNZAF, NZ416437), F/O Bill (Tubby) Evenden (F/O William Evenden, RAF, 1337365, 196039).

As always, thanks to Peter Wheeler and the NZ Bomber Command Assn., for permission to reproduce this photo.

See this photograph within the ‘Group Photographs’ section of the blog here.