Tag Archives: Norman Bartlett

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 11. Target Photographs

When I was posted to 75(NZ) Squadron for second tour they already had a
New Zealand Squadron Bombing Leader. As I had become an “A” Category
Bombing Leader at Manby on 24.6.44. I took over the duties of Bombing
Leader when the Squadron Bombing Leader was absent on leave etc.
I was therefore able to “acquire” some of my Bombing Photos.
When we dropped our bombs we also released a time controlled flash and the
camera was also timed to take a photo at a set time to coincide when the
bombs detonated on the ground. It was therefore essential to keep the
aircraft on course and straight and level on the bombing run and after
“Bombs Away” to take an accurate photo. This was not an easy task for the
Pilot with Searchlights and Flak all around the aircraft.

The photos show
Squadron Base – Mep is Mepal.
Date.
Height.
Compass bearing.
Time.
Target.
Bomb Load.
Camera and Flash setting.
Pilots Rank and Name.
Aircraft letter and Squadron number.

cologne

COLOGNE
Daylight
28.10.44
18,000′
Aircraft “M”
We were one of the first over the target.
Little flak.
Visual Bombing

soligen

SOLINGEN
Daylight
4.11.44.
20,000′
Aircraft “M”
Light Flak
Plenty of Cloud
Bombed on Markers

NEUSS Night 28/29.11.44. 19,000' Aircraft "M" Light flak Bombed on Markers Poor photo.

NEUSS
Night
28/29.11.44.
19,000′
Aircraft “M”
Light flak
Bombed on Markers
Poor photo.

TRier Daylight 23.12.44. 17,000' Aircraft "M" Little Flak

Trier
Daylight
23.12.44.
17,000′
Aircraft “M”
Little Flak

RHEYDT Daylight 27.12.44. 20,000' Aircraft "M" We were one of the first over the target Visual Bombing

RHEYDT
Daylight
27.12.44.
20,000′
Aircraft “M”
We were one of the first over the target
Visual Bombing

NEUSS Night 6/7/.1.45. 20,000' Aircraft "V" Medium amount of flak on way in and over target Bombed on Markers Poor Photo

NEUSS
Night
6/7/.1.45.
20,000′
Aircraft “V”
Medium amount of flak on way in and over target
Bombed on Markers
Poor Photo

WESEL Daylight 16.2.45. 20,000' Aircraft "M" (it was our 102nd operation for "M") Vsual Bombing in formation - we led.

WESEL
Daylight
16.2.45.
20,000′
Aircraft “M”
(it was our 102nd operation for “M”)
Vsual Bombing in formation – we led.

OSTERFELD Daylight 22.2.45. 19,000' Aircraft "Z" We led our Squadron formation and the other aircraft bombed when we did. We were the target for most of the Flak but we got a good photo. Hit in all engines and one hade to be feathered over the target. Had a total of 37 holes .Skipper awarded Bar to D.F.C.

OSTERFELD
Daylight
22.2.45.
19,000′
Aircraft “Z”
We led our Squadron formation and the other aircraft bombed when we did. We were the target for most of the Flak but we got a good photo.
Hit in all engines and one had to be feathered over the target. Had a total of 37 holes .Skipper awarded Bar to D.F.C.

KIEL NIght 9/10.4.45. 19,000' Aircraft "K" Our last Operation. Bombed on Markers Note 2 other aircraft below us shown on photo.

KIEL
NIght
9/10.4.45.
19,000′
Aircraft “K”
Our last Operation.
Bombed on Markers
Note 2 other aircraft below us shown on photo.

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 10. Operational History 2nd Tour

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’, just after ‘bombing up’ 29th January 1945. L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Sgt. Phillips, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG), unknown ground crew member. picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

The Bailey crew in front of NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’, just after ‘bombing up’ 29th January 1945.
L to R (back row), Jack Brewster (Nav), Norman Bartlett (F/E), Jack Bailey (Pilot), Jack Wall (A/B), Dick Pickup (W/Op). (front row) Sgt. Phillips, unknown ground crew member, Roy Corfield (R/Gnr), Tony Gregory (MUG) and Fred Woolerton, ground crew member.
picture supplied by Tony Pickup ©

Operations with 75 (N.Z.) Squadron on Lancasters from Mepal
Date Target
Duration in hours
Total Bomb Load incl. (No.) of 4lb. incendiaries Remarks
28.10.44 Cologne
4.3 hours
8992 lbs
(1248)
We were one of the first over the target and I have a good photo of the target.  Visual bombing.
30.10.44
Day Ops
Wesseling
4.35 hours
12000
(incl. a 4000lb)
First time we bombed on G.H.
4.11.44
Days Ops
Solingen
4.35 hours
14000 lbs
(incl. a 4000lb)
Light amount of Flak
8.11.44
Day Ops
Hamberg
4.25 Hours
14000 lbs Heavy amount of Flak and, as the puffs of black linger in the sky, a bit daunting.
29.11.44
Night Ops
Neuss
4.15 houra
13000 lbs
(incl. a 4000lb)
Light Flak
2.12.44
Day Ops
Dortmund
4.3 hours
13000 lbs Plenty of Flak on the way in and over target.
5.12.44
Day Ops
Hamm
4.35 hours
12000 lbs
(incl. a 4000lb)
Fairly quiet raid.
11.12.44
Night Ops
Osterfeld
4.15 hours
11,850 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak.
16.12.44
Night Ops
Siegen
6.10 hours
11,750 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Quiet raid – little flak.
23.12.44.
Days Ops
Trier
4.5 hours
10,350lbs.
Incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak
27.12.44.
Day Ops
Rheydt
4.35 hours
10,000lbs We were one of the first over target and I have another good photo taken at the time.
6.1.45.
Night Ops
Neuss
4.35 hours
11,000 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Medium amount of Flak on way in and over target
11.1.45.
Day Ops
Krefeld
4.55 hours
11,000 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Nice and Easy
16.1.45
Night Ops
Wanne Eickel 10,850 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak
29.1.45.
Day Ops
Krefeld
6.00 hours
10,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
A very special Op as this was to be the 100th. That or aircraft ‘The Captains Fancy’ was to do.
2.2.45.
Night Ops
Wiesbaden
5.45 hours
9,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Little Flak.
16.2.45.
Day Ops
5.25 hours 9,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000lb.
Another very good photo in my possession.
22.2.45
Day Ops
Osterfeld
5.25 hours
11,250 lbs.
incl. our one and only 8,000lb.
A real shocker with a total of 37 holes. All engines were hit and one was feathered. However still a good photo for my collection. Skipper was awarded Bar to his DFC.
26.2.45.
Day Ops
Dortmund
5.40 hours
9,950 lbs
incl. 4,000lb.
Heavy Flak
5.3.45.
Day Ops
Gelsenkirchen
5.40 hours
11,250 lbs
incl. 4,000lb.
Another near one but this time only 14 holes
20.3.45.
Day Ops
Hamm
5.30 hours
10,250 lbs. Medium amount of Flak over target
9.4.45.
Night Ops
Kiel
5.45 hours
9,500 lbs.
incl. 4,000 lb.
So we ended our tour at the place where we nearly ended out lives in April 1943. This was on the town and not mine laying. Bombed on Path Finder Flares and I have a good photo showing the flare and 2 aircraft flying below.

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 9. Operational History 1st Tour

On 75 Sq. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Sixth from left is P/O Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

Bailey crew 1943 1st Tour. L to R, two ground crew, Navigators F/O Ormerod (Gisborne) then Bruce Hosie, Jack Wall, and  Jack Bailey, Pilot of Waikato. Image supplied by Peter Wheeler.

Operations with 75 (N.Z.)  Squadron on Stirlings from Newmarket
Date Target

Duration in hours

Total Bomb Load incl. (No.) of 4lb. incendiaries Remarks
20.11.42 Night Ops Turin
8.00 hours
4320lbs
(1080)
This was the first operation carried out by the Squadron on Stirlings.  4 of us went out but only 2 of us reached the target. The other 2 returned early. Medium amount of Flak over the target.
6.12.48
Night Ops
Mannheim
6.45 hours
7820 lbs
(1080)
Hit by Flak through wing but missed the petrol tank.
9.12.42
Night Ops
Turin
8.30 Hours
4320 lbs
(1080)
More Flak and searchlights over target than on the 20.11.41.
8.1.43 Gardening
4.45 hours
11,400 lbs
Load was 6 mines each 1,900lb
Our 4th operation and nearly our last. We were laying mines in the Baltic and the aircraft was hit by Flak, rendering one engine and all flying instruments unserviceable.  The aircraft went into a very steep diving turn but I managed to jettison the mines quickly which helped the aircraft to become controllable.  How Jack Bailey managed to control the aircraft is almost beyond belief.

This operation is mentioned in the Citation for my DFC.

The aircraft still had a thick coating of ice the next morning.

23.1.43
Night Ops
Lorient
5 hours
7920 lbs
(1980)
Very good op and the aiming point was clearly seen.
3.2.43
Night Ops
Hamburg
3.3 hours
5160 lbs
(540)
Could not maintain height due to weather conditions. Bombed aerodrome in Holland
7.2.43
Night Ops
Lorient
5.3 hours
7920 lbs
(1980)
Heavy Flak and many searchlights on way in and over target.
14.2.43
Night Ops
Cologne
4.1 hours
9320 lbs
(1980)
Saw several fighters but was not attacked.
16.2.43
Night Ops
Lorient
5 hours
7920 lbs
(1980)
Another near one.  Was coned in 15 searchlights for 8 minutes and hit by Flak. Skipper threw the aircraft about as thought it was a fighter.  Pilot skill saved us.
18.2.43
Night Ops
Gardening
6.5 hours
7600 lbs
Load was 4 mines, each 1900 lbs
Nice easy one.
19.2.43
Night Ops
Wilhelmshaven
5.3 hours
 8160 lbs
(540)
Medium amount of Flak over the target.
25.2.43
Night Ops
Nuremberg
5.3 hours
8160 lbs
(540)
Couldn’t maintain height. Aircraft U/S and bombs were jettisoned.
26.2.43
Night Ops
Cologne
4.3 hours
9320 lbs
(1080)
We were to bomb on Path Finder Flares but had to circle target for 20 mins awaiting PFF.
28.2.43
Night Ops
St. Nazaire
5.3 hours
7920 lbs
(1080)
Very many fires in target area.
1.3.43
Night Ops
Berlin
8.3 hours
4500 lbs Attacked by ME110 but not hit.  Many fires in target area.
11.3.43
Night Ops
Stuttgart
6.5 hours
5940 lbs
(360)
Rear turret became U/S on way to target but Skipper decided to carry on.
12.3.43
Night Ops
Essen
3 hours
9320 lbs
(1080)
Rear turret U/S after take off.  Skipper decided not to complete operation. 2 nights with U/S turret pushing our chances.
22.3.43
Night Ops
St. Nazaire
4.15 hours
7920 lbs
(1980)
Heavy concentration of Flak and searchlights around target area
27.3.43
Night Ops
Berlin
7.5 hours
4500 lbs Hit by Flak over Hanover on way to target.
29.3.43
Night Ops
Berlin
8.05 hours
4500 lbs Fair amount of ice on aircraft on return but no problem.
4.4.43
Night Ops
Keil
6.1 hours
5160 lbs
(540)
Plenty of Flak on way in and over target.
8.4.43
Night Ops
Frankfurt
6 hours
5160 lbs
(540)
Fair amount of Flak. BK770 crashed at Bressingham on return – all crew killed.
10.4.43
Night Ops
Stuttgart
6.4 hours
5940 lbs
(360)
Plenty of Flak over target area.
16.4.43
Night Ops
Mannheim
6 hours
5160 lbs
(540)
Heavy Flak but no hits to aircraft as on 6.12.42.
20.4.43
Night Ops
Rostok
8.1 hours
4320 lbs
(1080)
Little Flak
28.4.43 Gardening
7.15 hours
7600 lbs
Load was 4 mines each 1900 lbs
Heavy Flak and many searchlights.
A disaster – the mines were to be dropped in Keil Bay at 800ft. 8 Aircraft from 75 Squadron set out and one returned early.  4 Aircraft failed to return – all 28 Crew were killed – only 3 of us completed the operation. Saw many Aircraft shot down without a chance of survival.   (One line of illegible typescript ends with word searchlights).
4.5.43
Night Ops
Dortmund
5.2 hours
9820 lbs
(1080)
Our last Operation for first tour which was uneventful apart from Flak.  Diverted to another airfield on return.

 

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 8. Battle Orders, 22.12.44 Trier – cancelled

Battle Orders 22 12 44

22.12.45. Operational Flying.
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Trier. Eighteen of these were cancelled and the 3 special equipment aircraft stood by but were also cancelled before take off owing to fog. The Squadron was not stood down, but were to be prepared for a take-off as soon as the weather improved.

Another fascinating Battle Order from Jack’s collection, this time the cancelled Op to Trier. With this document, the aircraft designator letters are visible, providing some useful information for Chris and Ian no doubt!  As with the previous Battle Order published yesterday, a fascinating note regarding the Butler crew under ‘WINDOW CREW’, being required to go to the Radar Section 30 mins before 1st briefing – clearly, the Zinzan crew must have had the same duty on the 16th on the Op to Seigen. I was not aware of this duty – part of me cannot believe that it was crew’s job to distribute the window canisters to the other crews, so I wonder if there was an aspect of briefing that this nominated crew performed to the crews involved on a particular raid??

Interestingly, the following nights raid to Trier, on the 23rd represents the almost exact same crew list – from a purely logistical and safety point of view, one must assume once the aircraft had been fuelled and ‘bombed up’, it was safer to use them, rather than change crews or aircraft – I have read the thoughts of the armourers regarding a protracted stand down and the inherent risks of debombing a number of aircraft……….

It would also appear that the Battle Orders are directly mirrored in the crew list order in Form 541 ‘Detail of Work Carried Out’ within the Squadron ORB’s. This in itself might give some clues as to the Flight identities of some of the aircraft in the database………

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 7. Battle Orders, 16.12.44 Siegen

BAttle Orders 16 12 1944

I am very excited about the presentation of this document, being only the second original Battle Order that I have seen relating to 75(NZ) Squadron. Tantalisingly, the designator letters for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flight aircraft are missing, however, looking at the layout of the sheet, I think it’s at least safe to assume that the groupings of the aircrew above the clearly identified ‘C’ Flight crews must identify them as ‘A’ and ‘B’ flight.

From a personal perspective, it’s exciting to see the Zinzan crew mentioned – for some reason, having to go to the Radar Station……..

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 6

40 years on – Growing older and older.
I took no interest in Air Force Associations until just before I retired and although I knew that there had been a 75 N.Z. Squadron Association in New Zealand I did not visualise one in the U.K. The Air Crew of the Squadron had been a mixture of N.Z., Canadians, Australians and U.K. personnel and the majority of the ground crews etc. were from the U.K. However the U.K. people came from all parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and this was the reason that I did not expect a Squadron Association to be formed.

However just before I retired an Office Manager (who knew I was in a N.Z. Squadron) contacted the N.Z. Embassy in London to ask if there was a N.Z. Squadron Association in this country. He did this without telling me and it was probably that some time previously I had mentioned other friends in Associations going on reunions. The Embassy gave him the name and address of the Secretary in Cornwall and the Association was my old Squadron No.75. In due course I received a letter from him and he advised that they had been going for about 10 years. I promptly joined and so made my first contact with people that I had been with over 40 years earlier. Since than I have joined the Air Crew Association and the R.A.F.A. and these associations have proven to be an added interest since I retired from active employment.

The link between 17th.December 1942, 28th April 1943 and 28th Ausust 1987
On the 17th December 1942 four out of five Stirling Bombers failed to return from a raid on the Opel works at Fallersleben — one of these being short Stirling BK620 and the Bomb Aimer was Eric Williams the author of ‘The Wooden Horse’ escape story. The plane had been damaged and after the other crew members had baled out the Pilot Sgt. Ken Durmall ditched the plane in Lake Westeinder, not far from Amsterdam. He was also taken prisoner so that all the crew escaped with their lives and ended up as P.O.W.s The Germans tried to get the aircraft to the shore but did not succeed and years later a Dutch Aircraft Recovery Group managed to get several parts ashore and these were placed in a museum. One part was an almost complete propeller and on the 28th August 1987 members of our Association were invited to Holland to attend an unveiling ceremony of the propeller that had been mounted as a memorial to 75 N.Z. Squadron as the Dutch had formed a special relationship with us due partly to the dropping of food and supplies by the Squadron. This was a wonderful experience and the people of Aalsmeer treated us to days to remember and they expressed their appreciation to the R.A.F. on many occasions. They did of course suffer greatly under the Germans and some said that the sound of our Aircraft gave them hope and they knew that they were not alone. There were still 5 members of the crew still alive and one attended the ceremony and I met the Pilot in Holland the following year when we received a further invite to a new museum of reclaimed parts – Eric Williams had died in 1984

Now we come to the link of these two dates with the 28th April 1943 which was the date that only 3 of us out of 7 returned from laying mines in Kiel Bay. While I was on the coach after the unveiling Stan Brooks came on and asked me what I had been up to as a Counsellor from the N.Z. Embassy in the Hague wanted to see me. He had arranged that we meet at the next stop which was a further reception in Aalsmeer. At this I met this Counselor and he produced a Battle Order that covered the Mine Laying Operation and asked if I was the Sgt.Wall listed as one of the crew that returned. He then told me that his Uncle Sgt. A.C. Howell was one of those that did not return from the operation and that all his family in N.Z. were told was that he failed to return on the night of the 28th. April. He had since traced the operation and obtained a copy of the Battle Order and asked if I could tell him anything about the raid and his Uncle. I advised him that I could not say much about his Uncle after all this time but that there would have been little chance of survival as we flew in at 600 feet or so and the A.A. Fire co-operating with searchlights was very intense and we saw several aircraft going in the sea without a hope.

However it so happened that on the day we took off, an official photographer took some photos and in my logbook that I had with me was one of our crew standing in front of our aircraft and another one showing all the N.Z. personal that were going on that operation that night. It was a large photo and all the faces were clear and although he was too young to have known his uncle  he recognised him from other photos that he had seen. It was a pity that no one thought of sending copies of this photo to the relatives of the ones that went missing that night . I cut the photo from my logbook and gave it to him and he had it copied and later returned my original to me. He said that the copy he had made to send tohis Father and Aunt (Brother and Sister of Sgt.Howell were even better than my copy. In November we attended our usual Squadron Association reunion at Mepal and while there went into Ely Cathedral to look for Sgt. Howell’s name in the R.A. Roll of Honour. The glass fronted case was opened for us and my wife took a very good photo of the entry which is in beautiful writing and we sent copies with other postcards of the Cathedral to the Counsellor – Jim Howell, who had by this time heard that he was being posted back home.

Since then we have been to the Runnymede Memorial and placed flowers in The Niche where Sgt.Howell’s name appears and taken photos and sent them on to Jim.

At the end of March 1990 Jan and I were going to the Squadron Reunion in New Zealand and Jim (who was now back there) heard that we were going and got in touch with our Navigator – Slim Ormerod – who was also back in New Zealand and asked him if he knew what we were doing after the Reunion Slim told him that we were staying with him for 5 nights then making our way up North to join the rest of our party at Auckland for our flight to Perth. He lived in the South part of North Island and Jim was only a few miles away.  Jim arranged to collect us and take us to his parents home in the Hawkes Bay area – his father being a brother of Sgt.Howell. On the way we visited some lovely spots and then spent the night with his parents Next day they took us on a sight seeing tour and we ended up at his Sister’s house in the Bay of Plenty. After all this we were ¾ of the way to Auckland and after 2 nights with them they organised a wonderful bus trip to Auckland were we met up with our other friends. We still hear from them at Christmas exchanging letters and Calendars and they always ask when we will be returning to stay with them.

At the Reunion in March 1990 I managed to recognise Slim who I had last seen in 1945 as he was Squadron Navigation Officer at Mepal when I returned with Jack Bailey to do my second tour. He was in the bar (where else would he be) and he still had the habit of letting his pint pot dangle on one finger after he had taken most of it down. I reminded him that exactly 47 years to the night we were 10,000 feet over Berlin in a Stirling.

A few years ago I was staying in Chateris for a November Re-union when I met Ernie Brook and during a chat with him he mentioned the Mine Laying disaster and when I told him that we were one of the lucky ones who got back he asked which aircraft we were in. When I told him it was “V” he reminded me that he was one of the team who serviced it that day. It is quite possible that he is one of the ground staff on my photo of the Aircraft that was taken just prior to take-off…………

The memoirs of Jack Wall – Part 5

15th April 1945 to 24th June 1946 — Redundant Air Crew
After 3 weeks leave I was posted to an Air Crew Assessment Centre at Catterick to try to sort out what other duties I could usefully be given. For some unknown reason the powers that be decided that I would make a reasonable Equipment Officer and I was posted on to an Equipment Course. However after a week I requested to see the C.O. and told him that I was far from happy on this type of work. He was very understanding and sent me home on indefinite leave – still on full flying pay. All good things do come to an end and after a month at home I was sent on a Flying Control Course near Swindon. I passed this and was sent to Upwood as one of three Flying Control Officers – all of us being redundant Air Crew.

Although I enjoyed the duties I did find that time dragged and I thought that after the end of the war the spirit of the R.A.F. was not the same. I was therefore looking forward to being released from the service and to try and pick up life again in civvy street especially as I was getting married in February. Some time in January an officer from Air Ministry came to the station to interview all 5 of us as they wanted one of us to go to Oslo on Flying Control duties. It would have meant an upgrade in rank to Squadron Leader and also the chance of a short service commission after normal release date of 4 years. I told him that I was not interested as I wanted to get out as soon as possible to try to sort out a job while I was still young enough to start a new career of some sort. The other 2 both asked to be considered for the position but in due course the posting came through for me to go to Oslo.

I have no idea why I was chosen as all 5 of us seemed to have similar experience and qualifications for the position – although I had been placed as second in the Flying Control Examinations. I still did not want to go and saw the Adjutant who was luckily an ex Air Crew character and explained my objections including the fact that I was getting married 10 days before the posting was to be taken up he picked up the phone and called the department at Air Ministry responsible for the posting and told them that I was unfit for overseas service. No questions were asked as far as I know and some days later the posting was cancelled.

I often wonder where I would be and what would I be doing if I had not turned down the posting – however I have no regrets as I had a happy time after release and for my working life. On the 25th March I was posted to Oakington and then on 24th June 1946 was released from the R.A.F. to start life in my regulation demob suit complete with Trilby hat…………