Tag Archives: NG113 AA-D

Jack Meehan – Wireless Operator, Glossop crew

jack-meehan

Jack Meehan, Wireless Operator with the Glossop crew
image copyright New Zealand Herald

It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of Jack Meehan, Wireless Operator with the Glossop crew, on the 27th of December.

Jack and the Glossop crew flew out of Mepal with the Squadron between July and December 1944, taking part in Ops to support the Allied invasion of Europe, before switching back to the main bomber campaign against targets in Germany.

Jack’s full obituary in the New Zealand Herald can be read here.

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

At this time, 70 years ago, a long dark shadow is cast…….

At the exact time of the publishing of this post, 70 years ago, Pilot John Wood and his Flight Engineer Dougie Williamson were easing the  throttles forward on their Mk.I Lancaster HK601 JN-Dog.

19 more Lancasters of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF would follow John Wood’s Lancaster into the cold Cambridgeshire night, to join up with a second-wave force of another 509 aircraft from Bomber Command.

The destruction caused and the debate that has continued over their target that night has been encapsulated into a single word, which in itself, has cast a long dark shadow over the activities of RAF Bomber Command and the boys that flew in it.

 Dresden

An article in today’s Guardian, titled ‘’We thought Dresden was invincible’: 70 years after the destruction of a city” provides a fascinating eye witness account of the raid on Dresden.

Eberhard Renner, a dentist’s son who was 12 years old on the night RAF bombers arrived tells of the Second World War bombing – and the moment his father thought the unthinkable.

The boy had gone to bed, his head buzzing with his chemistry experiments, when at around 9.45pm the first air raid warning sounded. “Air raid warnings had been an almost daily occurrence since December so I thought little of it and at first I really couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed. I went downstairs anyway but there was nothing special to indicate what was about to occur.

He and his parents noted the drone of the bombers in the distance, but they thought they were flying on to bomb Chemnitz or Leipzig. Then they saw the “Christmas trees” – magnesium flares that floated down on parachutes to light up the city.

Even then we were so secure in the belief that Dresden was invincible, we didn’t believe it was anything more than a reconnaissance mission,” he recalled. His parents told him the enemy pilots were only taking photographs and would soon be gone.

Only when the bombs started falling did we realise it was Dresden’s turn,” Renner, now 82, said. “First they dropped the explosive bombs to expose the roofs. Then came the incendiary bombs to do the real damage – a well-worked-out English strategy. By that time we were sitting in our cellar and I felt increasingly scared by the minute. One bomb exploded in our garden and blew the door in towards me and my mum, but luckily we weren’t hurt.

Dresdeners have always had an inflated feeling of their own importance and that extended to thinking that the English were too cultivated to destroy a city like Dresden, the so-called Florence on the Elbe. How incredibly naive we were.

And then I heard my father, who was not a courageous man at the best of times, say something that would have been unthinkable days before,” Renner, a retired engineer and architect who still lives in the city, recalled. “‘Well, it’s those criminals we’ve got to thank for this’,” he said, meaning Adolf Hitler. Like many people, it had opened his eyes. “Up until then it had been ‘be careful what you say in front of the kids’, now he was openly expressing his opinion in front of the neighbours!

No one contradicted him.

Read the full Guardian article ‘We thought Dresden was invincible’: 70 years after the destruction of a city here

Bomber Command War Diary (Martin-Middlebrook & Chris Everitt)
13 February 1945
Operation Thunderclap
The Air Ministry had, for several months, been considering a series of particularly heavy area raids on German cities with a view to causing such confusion and consternation that the hard-stretched German war machine and civil administration would break down and the war would end. The general name given to this plan was Operation Thunderclap, but it had been decided not to implement it until the military situation in Germany was critical. That moment appeared to be at hand. Russian forces had made a rapid advance across Poland in the second half of January and crossed the eastern frontier of Germany. The Germans were thus fighting hard inside their own territory on two fronts, with the situation in the East being particularly critical. It was considered that Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz – all just behind the German lines on the Eastern Front now – would be suitable targets. They were all vital communications and supply centres for the Eastern Front and were already packed with German refugees and wounded from the areas recently captured by the Russians. As well as the morale aspect of the attacks, there was the intention of preventing the Germans from moving reinforcements from the West to face the successful Russian advance. The Air Ministry issued a directive to Bomber Command , at the end of January. The Official History. describes how Winston Churchill took a direct hand in the final planning of Operation Thunderclap – although Churchill tried to distance himself from the Dresden raid afterwards. On 4 February, at the Yalta Conference, the Russians asked for attacks of this kind to take place, but their involvement in the process only came after the plans had been issued. So, Bomber Command was specifically requested by the Air Ministry, with Churchill’s encouragement to carry out heavy raids on Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig. The Americans were also asked to help and agreed to do so. The campaign should have begun with an American raid on Dresden on 13 February but bad weather over Europe prevented any American operations. It thus fell to Bomber Command to carry out the first raid.

Dresden: 796 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos were dispatched in two separate raids and dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs. The first attack was carried out entirely by No 5 Group, using their own low-level marking methods. A band of cloud still remained in the area and this raid, in which 244 Lancasters dropped more than 800 tons of bombs, was only moderately successful.

The second raid, 3 hours later, was an all-Lancaster attack by aircraft of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups, with No 8 Group providing standard Pathfinder marking. The weather was now clear and 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs with great accuracy. Much has been written about the fearful effects of this raid. Suffice it to say here that a firestorm, similar to the one experienced in Hamburg in July 1943, was created and large areas of the city were burnt out. No one has ever been able to discover how many people died but it is accepted that the number was greater than the 40,000 who died in the Hamburg firestorm and the Dresden figure may have exceeded 50,000.

Bomber Command casualties were 6 Lancasters lost, with 2 more crashed in France and 1 in England.

311 American B-17s dropped 771 tons of bombs on Dresden the next day, with the railway yards as their aiming point. Part of the American Mustang-fighter escort was ordered to strafe traffic on the roads around Dresden to increase the chaos. The Americans bombed Dresden again on the 15th and on 2nd March but it is generally accepted that it was the RAF night raid which caused the most serious damage.

13/02/1945 – Attack Against Dresden (Form 541 75(NZ) Squadron RAF)
Twenty aircraft attacked Dresden as detailed. Very slight H/F was only opposition. The first aircraft over the target reported thin cloud which had cleared for later aircraft. Some aircraft were able to bomb visually. Crews reported the whole town was well alight and could see the glow of fires 100 miles away on return A highly successful raid.

Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B

Reginald Arthur Smith

Extract from the logbook of Reg Smith, Rear Gunner with the Adamson crew

F/O Maurice James Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:17 – Landed 07:04
Flight Time 08:47

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D
F/O Ronald Wynn Russell, RNZAF NZ37220 – Pilot.
F/O Francis Neville Selwood , RNZAF NZ4215756 – Navigator.
F/O Victor Digger Hendry , RNZAF NZ425570 – Air Bomber.
F/S F. Jillians, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Hunt , RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S William Henry Grout, RCAF R.109213 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. E. Bates , RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:17 – Landed 07:25
Flight Time 09:08

Lancaster Mk.I NF935 AA-P
F/O Valentine Richard Egglestone, RNZAF NZC429998 – Pilot.
F/S Gordon McDonald Mitchell, RNZAF NZ4211764 – Navigator.
F/S James Frederick Freestone, RNZAF NZ4213370 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R. Akehurst, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. P. Hill, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Jack Truman, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. P. Goldie, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:09 – Landed 06:57
Flight Time 08:48

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F “The Seven Sinners”
F/O John O’Malley, RNZAF NZ428276 – Pilot.
F/S F. Cousar, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Septimus Robinson, RAFVR 1432941/ 190538 – Air Bomber.
F/S Frank Henry Gimblett, RNZAF NZ427520 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt W. Ireland, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Ramsay, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. B. Stacey, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:11 – Landed 06:49
Flight Time 08:38

Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G
F/O John Rees Layton, RNZAF NZ425914 – Pilot.
Sgt. Lloyd Edward Anger, RCAF R.200903 – Navigator.
W/O Clive Woodward Estcourt, RNZAF NZ391045 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ta Tio Tuaine Nicholas, RNZAF NZ425658 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt F. Samuel , RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S David Onslow Light, RNZAF NZ4212848 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Leslie Dixon Moore , RNZAF NZ421327 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:19 – Landed 06:21
Flight Time 08:02

Lancaster Mk.I HK573 AA-H
F/L George Stanley Davies, RNZAF NZ427262 – Pilot.
F/S Claude Cuthbert Greenough , RNZAF NZ429069 – Navigator.
F/S Henry Edward Chalmers, RAFVR 1565986 – Air Bomber.
F/S T.M. White , RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt I.R.H. Evans, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J.J. Maher, RAFVR 1434090 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S R. Muir, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:13 – Landed 07:22
Flight Time 09:09

Lancaster Mk.I RA510 AA-J
F/O Robert Jaspar Pearson, RNZAF NZ39575 – Pilot.
W/O Alick Segnit, RAAF AUS.28834 – Navigator.
F/S B. Farmer, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S William Arthur Johnston, RAAF AUS.432239 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt S. Miller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. A. Smithson, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. E. Hadigate, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 06:37
Flight Time 08:17

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K

Stan Heald

Extract from the logbook of Stan Heald, Air Bomber with the Ware crew

W/O Esmond Edgar Delwyn Ware, RNZAF NZ42486 – Pilot.
F/O Colin Campbell Emslie, RNZAF NZ431170 – Navigator.
F/S Stanley John Heald, RNZAF NZ415319 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wilfred Darling Cairns, RNZAF NZ427794 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. David Carter, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S G.B. White, RCAF R.209852 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Richard H. Wright, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:16 – Landed 07:23
Flight Time 09:07

Lancaster Mk.I HK597 JN-N

jimmy-wood-001-40

Extract from the logbook of Jimmy Wood, Air Bomber with the Banks crew

W/C Cyril Henry ‘Mac’ Baigent, RNZAF NZ411973/ 70038 – Pilot.
F/L Russell Ashley Banks RNZAF NZ416437 2nd Pilot.
F/O Maurice Wiggins , RAFVR – Navigator.
F/O James ‘Jimmy’ Earnest Wood , RAFVR 1801019/154906 – Air Bomber.
F/L Alexander Reid Hirst, RNZAF NZ41588 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. “jock’ Fraser, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
W/O John Edward Britnell, RAFVR 1579917 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Norman ‘Paddy’ Allen, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:11 – Landed 07:15
Flight Time 09:04

Lancaster Mk.III NG448 JN-P
F/L Ernest Joseph Abraham, RNZAF NZ428061 – Pilot.
F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt Klitscher RNZAF NZ415262 2nd Pilot.
F/O Donald John Glengarry, RNZAF NZ422059 – Navigator.
F/O David George William Hubert Jones, RAFVR 186301 – Air Bomber.
F/S Stanley Graham Watson, RAFVR 1124508/ 195948 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Samuel Joseph Hughes, RAFVR 2218612 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Ronald William Makin, RNZAF NZ4212812 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. R. Evans, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:53 – Landed 06:40
Flight Time 08:47

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S
F/L Sidney Lewis ‘Buzz’ Spillman, RNZAF NZ413138 – Pilot.
Sgt. N. Holbrook, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Thomas Ernest Corlett, RNZAF NZ425692 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. G. Abrahams, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt H. Thorne, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Vernon Alfred Clouston, RNZAF NZ428285 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S William Patrick Burke, RNZAF NZ4210017 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:14 – Landed 07:11
Flight Time 08:57

Lancaster Mk.I NG449 AA-T
F/L Jack Plummer, RNZAF NZ42451 – Pilot.
F/S Arthur Leonard Humphries, RNZAF NZ428244 – Navigator.
W/O Edgar John Holloway, RNZAF NZ429923 – Air Bomber.
W/O Robert William ‘Bobby’ West, RAFVR 1077746 /195545 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Maurice Fell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/O Russell James Scott, RNZAF NZ428984 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Alexander Malcolm McDonald, RNZAF NZ426070 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 07:06
Flight Time 08:56

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-X
F/L Douglas Ross Sadgrove, RNZAF NZ425292 – Pilot.
F/S Robert Trevor Dixon, RNZAF NZ4212652 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Stimpson, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick Fleming, RNZAF NZ425241 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Bernard John Mahoney, RAFVR 1628335/ 190539 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Robert Samuel Bawden, RNZAF NZ4212629 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. Dalimore, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:52 – Landed 07:07
Flight Time 09:15

Lancaster Mk.I ME450 AA-W

SONY DSC

Extract from the logbook of Robert ‘Jock’ Sommerville, Air Bomber with the Zinzan crew

F/O Vernon John ‘Taffy’ Zinzan, RNZAF NZ425314 – Pilot.
W/O James Sydney George Coote, RAFVR 517881/ 56715 – Navigator.
F/O Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville, RAFVR 1562617/ 161049 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Miles ‘Joe’ Parr, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Ackroyd, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. H. Hutchinson, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frank Watts, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:13 – Landed 06:32
Flight Time 08:19

Lancaster Mk.I HK561 AA-Y

Gordon Ford

Extract from the logbook of Gordon Ford, Wireless Operator with the Watson crew (the clipped reference to ‘1 A/C lost’ refers to the Chemnitz Op, the following night

F/O Matthew Watson, RAFVR 1495959/ 176130 – Pilot.
F/S Kenneth Raffill Wood, RNZAF NZ4212783 – Navigator.
F/S Richard Godfrey Dawson, RNZAF NZ421686 – Air Bomber.
F/S Gordon Ford, RAFVR 1523080 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Pare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Mentiply, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. A. Bolland, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 07:13
Flight Time 08:58

Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D

Gerry Newey

Extract from the logbook of Gerald Newey, Wireless Operator with the Wood crew

F/O John Henry Thomas Wood, RNZAF NZ426235 – Pilot.
F/S John Austin White Pauling, RNZAF NZ422976 – Navigator.
F/S Noel Ridley Hooper, RAFVR 1336483/ 196925 – Air Bomber.
F/S Gerald Newey, RNZAF NZ425285 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt Douglas Williamson, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Albert John Tipping Cash, RCAF R.147817 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Ralph Charles Sparrow, RCAF R.263518 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:52* – Landed 06:44
Flight Time 08:52
*While listed as 21:52, Gerry Newey’s logbook lists the crew’s take-off time as 21:50

Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F
F/O Wi Rangiuaia, RNZAF NZ427319 – Pilot.
Sgt. A. Matthew, RAFVR – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Morrison, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S 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.

Take Off 22:07 – Landed 07:20
Flight Time 09:13

Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V
F/L Donald Winter Thomson, RNZAF NZ41613 – Pilot.
F/S Herbert Ronald Holliday, RAAF AUS.434602 – Navigator.
F/L Grant Alan ‘Russ’ Russell, RNZAF NZ411729 – Air Bomber*.
F/S D. Brazier, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. C. Payne, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Jack Heaton, RAFVR 982650/ 196880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S J. Messer, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
*Hilray Hubert Stratford, the crew’s regular A/B is listed in the Form 541, however, the position of A/B was in fact taken by the Squadron Bombing leader Grant Alan Russell, Hilary Stratford being ill for this Op – from A.G. Russell’s book ‘Dying for Democracy’

Take Off 22:08 – Landed 07:08
Flight Time 09:00

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 JN-X
F/O Ronald Christie Flamank, RNZAF NZ427270 – Pilot.
F/S A. Westbury, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S E. Carver, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Douglas Haig Rapson, RNZAF NZ428323 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. V. Saunders, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K. Moore, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. Hills, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:08 – Landed 06:34
Flight Time 08:26

Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-Z
F/O Herbert Wilfred Hooper, RNZAF NZ40111 – Pilot.
Sgt. Royston Edgar Lane, RAFVR 195332 – Navigator.
Sgt. E. Holt, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
W/O A. Gordon, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Petrie, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. R. Sturrock, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. J. Spiby, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:54 – Landed 06:59
Flight Time 09:05

 

Lest we forget………

Don Day, Navigator – Leadley crew

Don Day portraits

Sgt. Donald A. Day, Navigator with the Leadley crew – 12th October 1944 to 18th February 1945. © Peter Day

Many thanks to Peter for passing on a wonderful set of photographs of his Father, Donald Day and the Leadley crew. In talking to Peter, I realised I was listening again to the recollections of the admiration that the crew held for their Skipper. Peter said he viewed Donald ‘Like a God‘ and I have heard this exact phrase used by others. No doubt each airman viewed their crew mates with respect and belief in their ability to do their job, but i think that ultimately, they all put their lives and trust in the hands of their ‘Skip’ – and they believed, come hell or high water that he would get them ‘back for breakfast’ after every Op.

Middle row far left 41 Air School Colindale East London South Africa Training

Don during his early training: middle row far left, whilst at No. 41 Air School, Colindale, East London, South Africa. © Peter Day

front row middle the Leadley crew

The Leadley crew on base, 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal, Cambridgeshire. Don is stood in the middle of the front row – I think, Bob Gill is stood behind Don, in the middle of the group. If this is Bob Gill, then based on the visibility of brevets as basic shapes within the photograph, I think that to the left of Bob, id Don Leadley, the Skipper. © Peter Day

The Leadley crew arrived at Mepal on the 12th of October 1944 from No.31 Base. Donald, the Skipper flew with Alan Baxter’s crew on the night of the 19th of October to Stuttgart. The Leadley crew flew their first Operational flight on the 21st of October to Flushing. The boys went on to complete their tour, their final Op with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF being to Munchen Gladbach on the 1st of February 1945 – ironically, the Op that marked my own Father’s return to the Squadron……..

front row rhs D Day lhs Bob Gill

The Leadley crew in front of an unknown Lancaster at Mepal. Don is knelt to the right in the front row, next to Bob Gill, the crew’s Air Bomber. © Peter Day

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Flushing. All crews were able to identify the target visually and bombing was reported as being very accurate. A.A. opposition was moderate. One aircraft (Captain 176437 F/O J. Johnson) failed to return, but was seen to be shot down over the target by heavy A A fire.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (14)
Listed as a MK.III PB524 10 times (AC) (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:05 – Landed 13:53
Flight Time 02:48

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Twenty three of these attacked the target and bombing was good, built up areas and factories being identified visually. One aircraft brought its bombs back owing to the failure of the bombing equipment when over the target and two other aircraft returned early owing to technical failures.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (15)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:02 – Landed 17:20
Flight Time 04:18

26/10/1944 – Attack Against Leverkusen
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack Leverkusen. They all bombed the target in formation and a successful raid was reported. A.A. opposition was very slight.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (16)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:04 – Landed 17:20
Flight Time 04:16

29/10/1944 – Attack Against West Kapelle
Fourteen aircraft took off to attack a target at West Kappelle. They all bombed as instructed by the Master Bomber and bombing was reported as concentrated, although it was thought to be slightly away from the correct aiming point. No opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB520 AA-G (18)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:10 – Landed 12:37
Flight Time 02:27

30/10/1944 – Attack Against Wessling
Six aircraft took off to attack a target at Wesselling. Bombing was reported as being rather scattered. A.A. opposition was moderate to intense, but only one aircraft suffered damage.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K (26)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:06 – Landed 13:33
Flight Time 04:27

31/10/1944 – Attack Against Bottrop
Six aircraft took off as detailed to attack a target at Bottrop. they all attacked the target in formation and a fairly concentrated raid was achieved. A.A. fire over the target was intense but all of our aircraft returned safely.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (22)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Percy Leonard Smith, RNZAF NZ39886 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:49 – Landed 16:32
Flight Time 04:43

02/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery at Homberg, carrying 7 x 8,000 lb, 13 x 4,000, 99 x 1,000 and 132 x 500 lb Bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing the target in clear weather, and a concentrated raid developed. A large pall of black smoke was soon burning in the target area, and many crews saw their bombs burst in the smoke, through which parts of the factory were observed. Flak opposition was moderate to intense and eight aircraft suffered minor damage, but one aircraft captained by NZ421343 F/L V.J. Andrew, was hit by heavy flak when over the target and the starboard engine caught fire which the crew only managed to extinguish with great difficulty.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K (28)
Hit by flak once (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 15:40
Flight Time 04:06

05/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Eighteen aircraft detailed to make a second attack in daylight on Solingen carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb inc. No.17 Clusters. All crews were successful in bombing in formation and reports indicate that bombing was more concentrated than in the previous raid.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H (7)

F/S Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:16 – Landed 15:30
Flight Time 05:14

06/10/1944 – Attack Against Coblenz
Sixteen aircraft were detailed for a night attack against Coblenz carrying 8,000 lb; 4,000 lb; No.14 clusters; No.17 clusters; 4lb inc. Fifteen aircraft were successful. The aircraft captained by F/O T. Winter (152351) returned early on account of engine trouble. Crews were able to identify the target visually in clear weather and a good concentrated raid developed, with smoke rising to 10,000 feet. NZ421919 F/O Kilpatrick, M had a short inconclusive encounter with a JU.88. Flak was moderate to slight.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H (8)

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S S. Cooke, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:57 – Landed 22:12
Flight Time 05:15

08/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twelve aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery at Homberg in daylight carrying 8,000 lb., 4,000 lb., 1,000 lb., 500 lb., and No 14 Clusters.  All crews report identifying the target visually through breaks in the clouds, and bombing was fairly concentrated, much smoke and many explosions were seen around the target.  Flak defences were moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (25)

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
P/O Henry James Abrahams, RAFVR 1313153/ 183761 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:01 – Landed 12:16
Flight Time 04:1

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
Twenty three aircraft carried out a successful attack on Cologne Marshalling Yard with 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Flak over the target was moderate but accurate. One aircraft captained by F/O D.P. Leadley landed away at Manston. The crew were unhurt, but the aircraft was damaged.

As is sometimes the case, the reportage of the Form 541 Raid Summary barely fails to describe the actual events for the Leadley crew this night. As noted by Ron Mayhill, A/B with Jake Aitken’s crew HK 593 was, he thinks. one of the aircraft that he saw get hit by flak over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-M (16)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 16 x 500 M.C.,
Primary target Cologne M/Y.
Landed at Manston on two engines

Hit by flak 20 times (AC) Landed at Manston, crew unhurt. (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

Cologne extract from logbook

From Don Day’s logbook ‘s/c on 3 engines, bomber late – shot up by flak landed Marston with 1 1/2 engines.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Kidd, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:13 – Landed 17:10
Flight Time 04:57

For his efforts and skill on the return flight, F/O Donald Percy Leadley was awarded an Immediate Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation for this raid adds extra detail to the events of that night:

Citation DFC (Imm) 21st Dec 1944): In November 1944 this officer was pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. Early on the outward flight the propeller of the starboard outer engine had to be feathered. Although some height was lost, Flying Officer Leadley went on to the target and executed his attack. During the operation the aircraft was hit by shrapnel . Some time later, en-route for home, the port inner engine commenced to emit smoke , whilst oil poured from it. Soon afterwards yet a third engine became defective. In spite of this Flying Officer Leadley flew to the nearest available airfield in this country and effected a safe landing. This officer has completed numerous sorties and has invariably displayed a high degree of skill, coolness and courage.

02/12/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Seventeen aircraft took off to make a daylight attack on the Coking Plant at Dortmund. All crews were successful in attacking the target which was covered by 10/10 cloud, tops being about 12,000 ft. and the raid was thought to be successful, though the Bomber stream was not as concentrated as usual. Flak was moderate, but very erratic, and none of our aircraft suffered damage. Bombs carried on this attack were 4,000 lb H.C., 1,000 lb. M.C. and 1,000 lb ANM.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (33)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 5 x 1,000 M.C., 4 x 1,000 ANM.
Primary target Dortmund.
Scattered attack.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:47 – Landed 17:18
Flight Time 04:31

04/12/1944 – Attack Against Oberhausen
Twenty aircraft took off as detailed to attack an Oil target at Oberhausen, carrying 1 x 12,000 lb, 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM, 500 G.P., 500 M.C. and 4 lb I.B. bombs. Nineteen aircraft attacked the target using navigational aids and the raid was reported as well concentrated though results were unobserved owing to 10/10 cloud with tops 10,000 ft covering the target. One aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen, having been damaged by flak.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (34)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 6 x 1,000 ANM, 6 x 500 G.P.
Primary target Oberhausen.
Second wave well concentrated bombing.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Charles Witchard, RAAF AUS.424334 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:24 – Landed 16:08
Flight Time 03:44

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
Twenty one aircraft set out as detailed to attack the Railway Marshalling Yards at Hamm during daylight, carrying 8,000 lb H.C., 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P. (LD.), 500 M.C., 4 lb I.B. bombs and Munroe bomb. Twenty aircraft attacked the target area through 10/10 cloud but a break in the cloud a little later disclosed bomb bursts to be rather scattered. One aircraft was led astray by the leader, and bombed a last resort target at Heintrop.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (35)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 12 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 G.P. LD 6hrs
Primary target Hamm M/Y.
Good concentration.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/L Stanley William Galloway, RAFVR 148919 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:09 – Landed 13:50
Flight Time 04:41

06/12/1944 – Attack Against Mersburg Leuna Oil Refinery
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to participate in a night attack o the Merseburg Leuna Oil Refinery, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 G.P.(LD) bombs. The target was covered with 10/10 cloud, tops about 14,000 ft and all aircraft were successful in bombing the target with navigational aids. The attack was considered to be concentrated, though bombing results could not be seen, apart from the glow of fires seen beneath the cloud. Flak was intense in the target area and a few enemy fighters were seen en route but no attacks were reported. One aircraft, AA “R” captained by 1585981 F/O D. Atkin, had engine trouble after leaving the target, the starboard inner catching fire, and it was with great difficulty that the crew managed to keep the fire under control. When approaching this country the starboard inner engine went u/s and after jettisoning all equipment and with the aircraft losing height at 100 feet per minute, the Captain made a very good ditching in the River Orwell. None of the crew were hurt.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (36)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 6 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 G.P.L.D. 6hrs
Primary target Meresburg Oil Refinery.
Fairly good concentration on markers.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/L Stanley William Galloway, RAFVR 148919 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:05 – Landed 00:16
Flight Time 07:11

12/12/1944 – Attack Against Witten
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack Witten in daylight and again found their target obscured by ten tenths cloud. Moderate flak was encountered and enemy fighters were seen attacking the first wave of aircraft ahead. No results were observed owing to cloud. The aircraft captained by F/Lt Hannan collided with another aircraft just before reaching the target, however the target was bombed and base reached safely. The a/c captained by F/S Zinzan was damaged in landing and the Air Bomber F/O Mesure sustained a broken leg.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (39)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 14 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 M.C.
Primary target Witten.
Lead in first wave somewhat scattered due to attack by enemy fighter.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:19 – Landed 15:54
Flight Time 04:35

21/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target in daylight. Crews bombed by instruments in ten tenths cloud. Results were unobserved. NZ42397 F/L I. Hannan landed at Mendlesham on return, but reached Base later the same evening.

Lancaster Mk.I PB132 AA-X (55)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 6 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Trier.
Gunners saw target through gap, seemed well hit.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
Sgt. Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:19 – Landed 16:50
Flight Time 04:31

23/12/1944 – Attack Against Trier
The twenty one aircraft detailed on the 22nd December took off to attack Trier in improved weather conditions, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P., 500 M.C., 500 ANM., 250 G.P. bombs. The target could be identified visually and T.Is were aimed at by most crews. The attack was reported as being good with very few scattered bombs. Several explosions were seen as our aircraft left the target.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J (76)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 6 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Trier.
Very good concentration of bombs in target area.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:53

27/12/1944 – Attack Against Rheydt
As many crews as possible were required for an attack on Cologne. The target was cancelled and an attack on Rheydt was substituted. Inexperienced and special equipment leaders not being required the offer of 26 was reduced to 20. Aircraft took off carrying 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. and 250 G.P. Bombs. Visibility over the target was excellent and crews were able to identify the target, the flares being accurately placed. Clouds of smoke were seen to rise from the target. One aircraft AA”Q” captained by NZ421746 F/O H. Miles failed to return. This aircraft was seen to be hit by bombs and to spiral down.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F  (49)
Bomb load 6 x 1,000 ANM, 4 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Rheydt.
Very good concentration of bombing over target. AA-O dropped bombs from 23,000ft. after being directly above for 3 minutes and had to take violent evasive action to avoid being hit.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:27 – Landed 16:45
Flight Time 04:18

28/12/1944 – Attack Against Gremberg M/Y at Cologne
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Gremberg Marshalling yard at Cologne carrying 4,000 H.C., 1,000 ANM., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Nineteen aircraft bombed the target and one bombed short due to technical failure. One aircraft AA”S” captained by NZ425292 F/O D. Sadgrove returned early owing to engine trouble. Crews were satisfied that the attack was successful, many reporting smoke rising well above the cloud tops. Slight H/F was experienced, but no fighter opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (41)
Bomb load 2 x 1,000 ANM, 15 x 500 ANM.
Primary target Grenberg M/Y.
A bit too concentrated to be safe.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 16:58
Flight Time 04:43

31/12/1944 – Attack Against Vohwinkel
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack Vohwinkel in daylight. Moderate accurate heavy flak was met over the target, but all aircraft returned safely. A scattered raid was reported.

Lancaster Mk.I PB741 AA-E (16)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C. 4 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Vohwinkel.
Generally good but some scattered bombing.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:23
Flight Time 04:39

01/01/1945 – Attack Against Vohwinkel
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Vohwinkel, in datlight. Nineteen aircraft took off, seventeen of which attacked the primary target. F/O McMillan attacked a last resort target. NZ40984 W/Cdr. R.J. Newton and NZ429286 P/O R. Aitchison as second pilot, failed to return. There was very little opposition in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-U (44)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 12 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C. 4 x 250 T.I.
Primary target Vohwinkel.
Uneventful trip.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:01 – Landed 21:38
Flight Time 05:37

03/01/1945 – Attack Against Dortmund Oil Refinery
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund Oil Refineries in daylight. Crews bombed by instruments in ten tenths cloud. Results were unobserved. The aircraft carried 4,000 H.C., 500 M.C. 500 G.P. 500 ANM and Munro bombs. NZ42397 F/L L. Hannan landed at Mendalsham on return, but reached base later the same evening.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-F (53)
Bomb load 1x 1,000 H.C., 13 x 500 G.P., 2 x 500 M.C. 1 Munro.
Primary target Dortmund oil refinery.
Good concentration on flares.

Hit by flak once (AIR14/ 3463 Damage reports)

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Noel Thorpe, RNZAF NZ428168 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W. Pugh, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:39 – Landed 17:35
Flight Time 04:56

11/01/1945 – Attack Against Krefeld
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack Krefeld, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500AMN., 500G.P., 500 M.C., 250 G.P., and Munro bombs. Seventeen aircraft bombed the target in tenths cloud with special equipment and two aircraft bombed last resort. Slight H/F was met over the target, but no fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (48)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P., 1 x 350 Munroe.
Primary target Krefeld.
Fairly good bombing around flares.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Brazier , RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 16:46
Flight Time 05:12

13/01/1945 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
Eighteen of nineteen aircraft detailed carried out a successful daylight attack on Saarbrucken Marshalling Yard, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500AMN., 500G.P., 500 M.C., 250 G.P., and Munro bombs. W/Cdr Baigent in ‘A’ had to return with his full load after reaching the target owing to technical trouble which prevented release of bombs. Crews bombed on special equipment. The Marshalling Yard was visible and many bursts were seen on the target. No opposition reported. All aircraft were diverted owing to bad visibility at Base.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (49)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 7 x 500 ANM, 4 x 250 G.P., 1 x 350 Munroe.
Primary target Saarbrucken.
A very good attack. Blue markers a great improvement.

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
W/O John Smyrk, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 17:14
Flight Time 05:43

15/01/1945 – Attack Against Langendreer
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Langendreer, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500AMN., 500 M.C., 250 G.P., and Munro bombs. One aircraft ‘D’ captained by F/O Leadley failed to reach the target owing to starboard inner engine failing. No results were observed owing to ten tenths cloud. Flak was slight over the target. No fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 X AA-D (1)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P. 1 x 350 Munroe.
Primary target Langendreer, but abortive.
Furthest point reached 5027/0530 E 14:14hrs 16,000ft. Bombs jettisoned, stbd. inner failed.

Confirmed in Don Day’s logbook – ‘Engine failiure – returned’

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
P/O F. Power – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 17:02
Flight Time 05:31

16/01/1945 – Attack Against Wanne Eickel
Seventeen aircraft attacked Wanne Hickel in ten tenths cloud, tops 6/7000 feet, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 G.P. 500 ANM, 500 M.C. 250 G.P. and Munro bombs. Crews bombed with the aid of instruments and sky markers. Flak was moderate. The general impression was that bombing was concentrated on markers and red glow seen through cloud. The aircraft captained by NZ426235 F/S Wood, J, was attacked by a F.W. 190. The rear gunner opened fire, but no hits were observed and our aircraft suffered no damage. The aircraft captained by NZ414376 F/L T. Blewett unfortunately crashed in this country. The captain and Air Bomber NZ426234 F/O J. Wilson were killed. The Navigator 1398282 F/S Cornell, B.T. died later as a result of severe injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A (18)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 10 x 500 G.P, 2 x 500 M.C., 2 x 250 G.p, 1 x Munroe.
Primary target Wanne Eickel.
Bombing scattered – saw red glow – S/L followed stream in and out this side of front line.

Hit by flak twice (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Brazier , RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:35 – Landed 04:09
Flight Time 04:34
28/01/1945 – Attack Against Cologne (Gremberg)
Twenty aircraft attacked Cologne (Gremberg) as ordered, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., 500 M.C. “50 G.P. and Munro bombs. Cloud broke to nil just before the target and crews were able to identify the marshalling yard. Accurate slight to moderate H/F was met over the target. No fighters were seen. Bursts were seen on the marshalling yard. All returned to base.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (50)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 8 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 2 x 250 G.P, 1 Munro.
Cologne (Gremburg).
Target seemed to get a good plastering with tendency to overshoot.

Hit by Flak twice (AIR14/3463 Damage Reports)

P/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Campin, RAFVR 1673010 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:20 – Landed 16:24
Flight Time 06:04

29/01/1945 – Attack Against Krefeld M/Y
Nineteen aircraft attacked Krefeld marshalling yard in ten tenths cloud, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500 ANM., 500 M.C., and 250 G.P. Bombs. Aircraft bombed in formation with the aid of instruments. A good concentration was reported. Slight H/F over the target was the only opposition encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-G (63)
Bomb load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 4 x 250 G.P.
Primary target Krefeld M/Y.
Other aircraft were bearing through the target and upset the formation after owing to slipstream.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Campin, RAFVR 1673010 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:02 – Landed 15:40
Flight Time 05:38

01/02/1945 – Attack Against Munchen Gladbach
Seventeen aircraft bomber Munchen Gladbach. No results were observed owing to cloud being ten tenths over the target.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D (51)
Bomb load 1x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM, 2 x 500 M.C., 3 x 250 G.P., 1 x 240 Smoke Puff.
Primary target Munchen Gladbach.
Seemed a scattered affair. Blue puffs over a wide area. A shakey port inner which caught fire on way home was cause of low maximum height.

F/O Donald Percy Leadley, RNZAF NZ427062 – Pilot.
F/S Donald Arthur Day, RAFVR 1602082 – Navigator.
F/S Robert A. ‘Bob’ Gill, RAFVR 1292170 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. W.E. Campin, RAFVR 1673010 – Wireless Operator.
F/S R. Clare, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Phillip Baden Baker, RNZAF NZ416976 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Keith Kitchener Heslop, RNZAF NZ425422 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 18:19
Flight Time 05:43

 

2nd right Brother Daves wedding

Don stood second from right on his Brother, Dave’s wedding day. © Peter Day