Tag Archives: obituary

Sad news…….

It gives me great sadness to report the passing of 2 75(NZ) Squadron veterans – Leonard Cooper and Charles Green

I received an email from Leonard’s son the day before last letting me know that Leonard passed on the 30th of March, aged 97. Yesterday I learnt through a post Vic Jay had made on his ‘The Mallon crew’ Facebook page that we had also lost Charles on the morning of the 8th, aged 98 years.

Leonard Cooper – Mid Upper Gunner
Leonard arrived first at Mepal, on the 17th of August 1944, as Mid Upper Gunner with Ken Southwards crew. The crew’s first Op together was on the 6th of the following month, attacking targets at Harqueoc, Le Havre. A further 5 Ops followed, until the crew took off on the 6th of October to attack targets at Dortmund.

Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund, but one of these was withdrawn owing to a technical failure. Twenty six aircraft attacked the target in good weather and a very accurate and concentrated raid was reported, large fires being left burning. A.A. Fire was moderate, but fighters were active and the aircraft captained by NZ427798 F/S W. Farr, had a series of combats during which the enemy aircraft was claimed as being destroyed. One aircraft returned early and landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure and another (Captain NZ411048 F/O K. Southward) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LM104 JN – K,  was at 22,000ft, probably en route to the target, when it was brought down by an enemy night-fighter SW of Monchengladbach, 50 miles south west of Dortmund, crashing near Willich. The Pilot was able to control the aircraft long enough to enable his crew to bailout successfully but was unable to do so himself and he bravely died in the crash. He was buried at Willich but later reinterred at the Rheinberg War Cemetery. All of Southward’s crew were captured as prisoners of war.

Taking prisoner number, 1060, Leonard was initially interned at Dulag Luft, before arriving at Stalag Luft VII, in Silesia, Germany (now Bąków, Opole Voivodeship, Poland). During his stay at Luft VII, he was promoted to Flight Sergeant.

On the 19th of January 1945, Leonard was one of the 1,500 RAF, RNZAF, RCAF and RAAF prisoners who were marched out of camp in the bitter winter cold. They crossed a bridge over the river Oder on 21st of January, reached Goldberg on 5th of February, and were loaded onto a train. On 8th of February they reached Stalag III-A located about 32 miles south of Berlin.

Leonard was liberated by the Russian on 22nd of April 1945 – his date of return to the UK is not known.

Charles Frederick Green – Mid Under Gunner
Charles Frederick Green arrived at Mepal on the 16th of January 1945, along with Gwyn Duglan, both as Mid Under Gunners.

Charlie was born in Peckham in October 1921 and volunteered to join the air force in January 1941 while still only nineteen. In September 1943 he was posted to No. 429 Squadron at R.A.F. Leeming, North Yorkshire.

He went on to complete 34 operations as a Halifax mid-upper gunner before becoming ‘tour expired’ in July 1944.

After further training at RAF Feltwell in the use of the 0.50 calibre machine gun as a Mid Under Gunner. Whilst at Mepal, he completed 13 more operations, all in the same aircraft, AA-L (HK562), but with 6 different crews, including 3 ops with the Mallon crew and 1 Op with my Father’s crew (Zinzan).

Charles married Marjorie, whom he originally met at Mepal, in the Officer’s Mess, in 1947 and moved from his home in Dagenham to the village of Dore, near Sheffield. In 1960, after a holiday in Blackpool, they decided to move to Poulton-le-Fylde.

When V.E. Day cut short his second tour, Charles had completed a total of fifty operations and, on the 25th September 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He always insisted he was not a hero: ‘I was only doing what everyone else was doing’ he said, ‘We all did our bit’.

Our condolences extend to both families at this sad time

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

Trevor Dill, Navigator – Williams crew 1943

75 squadron Mepal 1943 left to right Speedie Williams pilot,Ivon Kate RG,Shorty Carson B:A, Taffy Williams W:OP, Trevor nav < Dicky F:E and Billy M:UG

The Williams crew, RAF Mepal, 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, 1943
From L to R: Hilton Clifford ‘Speed’ Williams (Pilot), Ivon George Kaye (Rear Gunner), Adrian Leslie Bernard ‘Shorty’ Carson (Air Bomber), ‘Taffy Williams (Wireless Operator), Trevor Dill (Navigator), ‘Dicky ‘Dickinson (Flight Engineer) and William ‘Billy’ Hemsley (Mid Upper Gunner)
© New Zealand Bomber Command Association Archive and/or others.

The sad news has reached me, via the New Zealand Bomber Command Association Facebook page of the passing of Trevor Dill, Navigator with ‘Speedy Williams’ crew.

Trevor and his crew began Operations on the 27th of April 1943 with what seemed like the almost standard first sortie to lay mines in the Frisian Islands – 27 Ops later a final trip to Bremen on the 8th of October saw the boys stay with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF come to an end, but then to continue with 7 Squadron PFF.

I have taken the liberty of reproducing the above picture, also presented on the NZBCA Facebook page today to record Trevor’s passing – on his 95th birthday.

From the New Zealand Herald’s obituary section, the following:

“DILL, Trevor Gordon. Service No NZ 42292 Flight Lieutenant, DFM, mid, 75 NZ sqdn UK, 7 PFF sqdn UK. WWII. Passed away peacefully 28th June 2016 at home on his 95th birthday. Dearly loved husband of Jessie (war bride, England) who walked with me for 69 years. “I cannot bear to part from you, We’ve been so long together. You’ve travelled with me on life’s road, no matter what the weather. You’ve never gave me cause for pain, Though days were sad and rough. Just walking with you, seemed to be enough.Together we’ve climbed hills and mountains And paddled in the sea, But you, my loved and trusted mate, Were always true to me. We’ve both grown old and shabby, But you I’ll hate to lose, You’ve grown a part of me.” Much loved father and father- in-law of Malcolm, Janice and Brian, Denise and Robin, Jeanette and Henk, Richard and Debbie. Dad you leave us with lasting memories of hiking, camping and world travel adventures. An active and ‘loads of fun’ Poppa for the grandchildren. Phillipa, Alice and Fred, Sean and Liam, Eva and Daniel, Daniel, Morgan and Kyran. The best story-teller for the great-grandchildren. Regan, Mariska, Carlos, and Dominic, Hannah and Sarah, Luca, Kaylin.

A celebration of Trevor’s life will be held at Ranfurly Hall, Kaipara Flats Road, Kaipara Flats on Monday 4th July at 1:00 pm followed by private cremation.”

 

Ake AKe Kia Kaha!

 

View the ‘Speedy’ Williams crew history here.