Tag Archives: P. Brooke

Operation ‘Manna’ starts 70 years ago today…….

Today, 70 years ago, after the cessation of hostilities in Europe, a massive humanitarian operation began to drop food and supplies to the starving people of Holland. At  12:34, this afternoon F/L Bill Alexander took off in ME531 AA-K, ahead of another 8 Lancasters from the Squadron to take part in the first day of food dropping over Delft.

The aircraft, crews and order of take off as recorded in the Form 541 for April 1945 was as follows:

29/04/1945 – Supply Dropping in the Delf Area
9 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping in the Delft area. The operation was uneventful and crowds were seen waving and cheering. Quite a number of packs hung up.

Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A
S/L Laurence Douglas McKenna, RNZAF NZ424493 – Pilot.
F/O Maurice Frank Thorogood, RAFVR 1322861/ 139697 – Navigator.
F/O H. St. Laurent, RCAF J.29721 – Air Bomber.
F/S Leslie Thomas Patrick Murphy, RAAF AUS.423476 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. T. Harper, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Sidney George Frederick Sizeland, RAFVR 196611 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Gordon Albert Mills, RAFVR 1445361/ 196610 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:36 – Landed 15:00
Flight Time 02:24

Lancaster Mk.I RA510 AA-E
F/O Albert George Bone, RNZAF NZ4211608 – Pilot.
F/S P. Henchie, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Maurice Patrick Power, RNZAF NZ421395 – Air Bomber.
F/S Raymond Joseph Butler, RNZAF NZ4213147 – Wireless Operator.
F/S V. Cramer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. R Lander, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. Logan, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:37 – Landed 14:59
Flight Time 02:22

Lancaster Mk.II ME531 AA-K
F/L William Edward Robert Alexander, RNZAF NZ413801 – Pilot.
F/O Dixon D NZ1981,   – Navigator.
Sgt. W. Townsend, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. E. Preston, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. M Brown, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/L Basil Douglas Larbalestie, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. Payne, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:34 – Landed 15:07
Flight Time 02:33

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-T
F/O Thomas Wagner Good, RAFVR 1330401/ 195724 – Pilot.
F/S Woonton R, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Williams E,   – Air Bomber.
W/O P. Brooke, RAFVR 1312079 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Winning, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. H. Parry, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. W. Gilbert, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:39 – Landed 15:20
Flight Time 02:41

Lancaster Mk.I HK561 AA-Y
F/L Russell Ashley Banks, RNZAF NZ416437 – Pilot
F/O Maurice Wiggins, RAFVR 1219661/ 164286 – Navigator
F/O James Ernest ‘Jimmy’ Wood, RAFVR 1801019/ 154906 – Air Bomber
F/L Alexander Reid Hirst, RNZAF NZ41588 – Wireless Op
Sgt. Norman ‘Paddy’ Allen, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner
W/O John Edward ‘Jack’ Britnell, RAFVR 1579917 – Rear Gunner

Take Off 12:37 – Landed 15:06
Flight Time 02:29

Lancaster Mk,I RF127 AA-W
F/L Ian Taylor, RAFVR 1550767/ 135709 – Pilot
P/O David Dickson Hope, RAAF AUS.401954 – Navigator
W/O John Alfred Tarran, RAAF AUS.419395 – Air Bomber
W/O Mervyn John King, RAAF AUS.430036 – Wireless Operator
Sgt. L. Deeprose, RAFVR – Flight Engineer
W/O T. R. Kemp, RAFVR 1412409 – Mid Upper Gunner
F/S E. Franklin, RAFVR – Rear Gunner

Take Off 12:38 – Landed 15:17
Flight Time 02:39

Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V
F/O Ronald Christie Flamank, RNZAF NZ427270 – Pilot.
F/S A. Westbury, RAFVR AUS.401954 – Navigator.
F/S E. Carver, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Douglas Haig Rapson, RNZAF NZ428323 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. V. Saunders, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie Dixon Moore, RNZAF NZ421327 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. Hills,   – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:39 – Landed 15:13
Flight Time 02:34

Lancaster Mk.II PB421 AA-P
F/O Wi Rangiuaia, RNZAF NZ427319 – Pilot.
Sgt. Mayhew A,   – 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,   – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Morgan,   – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:40 – Landed 15:10
Flight Time 02:30

Lancaster Mk.I RF129 JN-M
W/C Cyril Henry ‘Mac’ Baigent, RNZAF NZ411973/ 70038 – Pilot.
F/S James Randel Haworth, RNZAF NZ4216510 – Navigator.
F/L Grant Alan Russell, RNZAF NZ411729 – Air Bomber.
P/O William Lachlan Wilson, RNZAF NZ41117 – Wireless Operator.
W/O W. Peplow, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/O Harold George Howells, RAFVR 1292972/ 185219 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O Gwyn Duglan, RAFVR 179249 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:46 – Landed 15:11
Flight Time 02:25

 

75(NZ) Squadron RAF would undertake another 117 flights to Holland over the next 9 days till the final on the 8th of May. An earlier post about Operation ‘Manna’ and the USAAF Operation ‘Chowhound’ can be read here.

30/04/45           
Supply Dropping – Rotterdam 
21 Aircraft were detailed to Supply dropping in the Rotterdam area. Crowds of Dutch were seen waving and cheering. The Operation was carried out successfully.

01/05/45           
Supply Dropping at Delft  
21 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Delft. The population were very excited. There was a great deal of flag waving and thanks messages were seen painted on roof tops.

02/05/45           
Supply Dropping at Delft   
21 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Delft. This mission was successful. The crowd were not as large as usual, but more flags were observed. F/O E.Ohlson reported having seen Germans in barracks cheering and waving white flags. F/O R, Flamank saw Germans waving from gun posts on the coast.

03/05/45           
Supply Dropping at Delft and the Hague      
10 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping, five for Delft and five for the Hague. Crowds and flag waving were not so extensive as before and enthusiasm seems to be waining.

04/05/45           
Supply Dropping at the Hague and Delft      
6 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping. Three for The Hague, and three for the Delft. The missions were successful, but fewer people were seen.

05/05/45           
Supply Dropping at the Hague 
4 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at the Hague. The mission was uneventful.

07/05/45            
Supply Dropping at Delft   
26 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Delft. The mission was uneventful. Oil patches and yellow objects were seen in the sea near the Dutch coast.

08/05/45           
Supply Dropping at Rotterdam    
8 Aircraft were detailed for Supply Dropping at Rotterdam. The mission was uneventful, but considered successful.

 

David Walter King, Navigator – more information on the Klitscher crew

75SqCFlightCrewbus45-RonMayhill

75 (NZ) Squadron C Flight crews boarding the Bedford crew bus to go out to their respective aircraft parked at dispersal – Mepal, 23rd March (February) 1945. The navigators all carry large gear bags. Amongst the RNZAF boys is far left, Pilot Ben Klitscher, Navigator Colin Emslie (with officer’s cap, carrying bag, Ware crew, C Flight) and members of the Russell crew – A/B Vic Hendry (centre front, side-on with cigarette), Pilot Wynne Russell (centre, looking straight at camera), Navigator Neville Selwood, W/Op Fred Jillions, R/G George Robson, and F/E John Hunt (far right). Colin flew in JN-M The Captains Fancy, while the Russell crew flew in PB418, AA-C.

Many thanks to Roger for contacting me after the post I made about the Klitscher crew, regarding his Father, David Walter King, who was the Navigator with the crew. A few weeks ago Chris sent me the photograph above, showing members of the Ware and Russell crew. Also identified in the caption on the far left of the group is Ben Klitscher.

Roger also sent me a copy of this picture and was able to additional identify his Father, David amongst what we must assume are 2 other members of the Klitscher crew. Very interestingly, the caption needs to be amended – the navigator stood with Ben Klitscher isn’t Colin Emslie, but is in fact David Walter King.

Klitscher crew cpd2

David King, Navigator with the Klitscher crew, stood to the right of the group with his map bag, Skipper Ben Klitscher, stood on the left.

logbook page

A page from David’s logbook, identifying the photograph at the top of the post was taken prior to the Gelsenkirchen Op on the 23rd of February 1945 – the next OP they would be posted missing…….© Roger KIng

Roger is able to share the following information regarding the fate of LM740 and the Klitscher crew:
“Their Lancaster came down 2 miles short of the advancing USA 8th army advance. I have visited the village of Ulich where they crashed. Ben must have  been a magic pilot to bring the plane down in one piece. They tried to set the plane on fire but the incendiary devices had been  damaged in the crash. They ended up on the POW march through Germany on the Moosberg march. Ben was my Mum and Dad’s best man at their wedding and remained in touch over the years.”

card pack

© Roger KIng

route record

© Roger KIng

The above images show a pack of cards that David had on the Mooseberg march at the end of the war – amazingly, on the back of one he has recorded their progress on the march. There were 3 main routes that allied Prisoners of War took during this period. David and his fellow prisoners took – the “Southern route”, from Stalag VIII-B (formerly Stalag VIII-D) at Teschen (not far from Auschwitz) which led through Czechoslovakia, towards Stalag XIII-D at Nuremberg and then onto Stalag VII-A at Moosburg in Bavaria. (this is confirmed on David’s Recovery Form below).

 

Perhaps ironically, given that the crew crashed just ahead of the advancing American 8th Army, that ultimately he and his fellow prisoners were liberated by the American 3rd Army.

img012

David’s Recovery Form, clearly showing his Service No., PoW No. and also Unit. © Roger KIng

Request for Information – Ben Klitscher, Pilot 1945

I have been contacted by Lois regarding her Father, Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher. Ben arrived with his crew at Mepal on the 30th of January 1945 and flew 5 Ops with his crew before being shot down on the Kamen Op on the 25th February. Lois is very interested to find out additional information about her Father and his crew – looking at the gaps in the crew information regarding first names and information related to their internment as Prisoners of War, there must be a chance to add to the information of the Klitscher crew.

30.1.45
Administration
NZ415262 F/S Klitscher L.E.R. and crew arrived on posting from 3 L.F.S.

13.2.45. War Ops- Attack Against Dresden
Lancaster Mk.III NG448
F/L Abraham and Crew
F/S Klitcsher as 2nd Pilot.

16/02/1945 – Attack Against Wesel
Twenty one aircraft attacked Wesel as detailed. Slight accurate H/F was encountered over the target but no fighters were seen. A concentrated raid was reported.

Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G  (52)

F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher, RNZAF NZ415262 – Pilot.
P/O David Walter King, RAFVR 1603821/ 164563 – Navigator.
Sgt. W.C.F. Pilkington, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Brooke, RAFVR 1312079 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W. H. H. Brewer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.A. Blackbee, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D.W.S Amps, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
F/O Alec Gordon Leech, RNZAF NZ413093 – Mid Under Gunner.

Bomb Load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM., 4 x 250 G.P. 1 Munroe
Primary Target Wesel
Thoroughly satisfactory

Take Off 12:42 – Landed 17:49
Flight Time 05:07

18/02/1945 – Attack Against Wesel
Twenty aircraft attacked Wesel. Twenty one were detailed but AA”R” F/S Scott, returned early through technical trouble. Aircraft bombed on special equipment in ten tenths cloud with tops about 10,000 ft. Leaders were satisfied it was a good raid. Very slight H/F was only opposition

Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G  (53)

F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher, RNZAF NZ415262 – Pilot.
P/O David Walter King, RAFVR 1603821/ 164563 – Navigator.
Sgt. W.C.F. Pilkington, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Brooke, RAFVR 1312079 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W. H. H. Brewer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.A. Blackbee, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D.W.S Amps, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
F/O Alec Gordon Leech, RNZAF NZ413093 – Mid Under Gunner.

Bomb Load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM., 4 x 250 G.P. 1 Munroe
Primary Target Wesel
Green puffs good

Take Off 12:04 – Landed 17:04
Flight Time 05:00

19/02/1945 – Attack Against Wesel
Twenty one aitcraft were again detailed to attack Wesel. AA”J”, captained by F/S Lukins, B.L., returned early through engine trouble. Cloud was 1-10/10ths with some haze. A few crews were able to identify the river bend. Bombing appeared to be accurate. Very slight H/F was the only opposition.

Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G  (54)

F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher, RNZAF NZ415262 – Pilot.
P/O David Walter King, RAFVR 1603821/ 164563 – Navigator.
Sgt. W.C.F. Pilkington, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Brooke, RAFVR 1312079 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W. H. H. Brewer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.A. Blackbee, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D.W.S Amps, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
F/O Alec Gordon Leech, RNZAF NZ413093 – Mid Under Gunner.

Bomb Load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM., 3 x 250 G.P.
Primary Target Wesel
Results difficult to assess but there was a fair concentration of bomb burts which appeared to be in target

Take Off 13:32 – Landed 18:37
Flight Time 05:05

23/02/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Sixteen aircraft attacked Gelsenkirchen as detailed. There was ten tenths thin cloud over the target with horizontal visibility between 500/ 1000 yds. Formation keeping was very difficult in these conditions, but crews reported quite a good bombing concentration on special equipment and leaders. Opposition from flak was very slight and no fighters were seen. F/S Barr, D. landed at Warboys.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K  (60)

F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher, RNZAF NZ415262 – Pilot.
P/O David Walter King, RAFVR 1603821/ 164563 – Navigator.
F/S W.C.F. Pilkington, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Brooke, RAFVR 1312079 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. W. H. H. Brewer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.A. Blackbee, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D.W.S Amps, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Bomb Load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 9 x 500 ANM., 4 x 250 G.P. 1 Munro.
Primary Target Gelsenkirchen

Take Off 11:50 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 05:36

25/02/1945 – Attack Against Kamen
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen. Thin stratus cloud in layers covered the target area, but at times crews were able to make out the target and report a considerable white smoke followed by thick black smoke rising to a good height. Accurate H/F was experienced. AA”B” captained by F/S Klitscher is missing from this operation

Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B  (50)

F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher, RNZAF NZ415262 – Pilot.
P/O David Walter King, RAFVR 1603821/ 164563 – Navigator.
F/S W.C.F. Pilkington, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/O John Duncan Craven, RAFVR 1007069/ 57882 – Wireless Operator.*
Sgt. W. H. H. Brewer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. K.A. Blackbee, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D.W.S Amps, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

*The reason for Sgt. Brooke’s absense from the crew is not known, but his replacement John Craven suffered a cruel twist of fate. F/O Cravens appears to have already completed a full tour with John Perfrement in mid 1944. John Craven’s presence back in the Squadron at this point was not something I was aware of and needs to be looked at as well…..

Bomb Load 1 x 4,000 H.C., 10 x 500 ANM., 4 x 250 G.P. Aircraft failed to return. Seen to leave stream and turn back with port inner engine feathered believed due to heavy flak damage N.W. of Wesel

Take Off 09:48 – Landed –
Flight Time MISSING

LM740 was en route to the target and was seen to leave the stream near Wesel, approximately  50 miles from the target with the port-inner engine feathered after being hit by heavy flak. The seven crew then apparently abandoned the aircraft after turning for home and landing relatively uninjured in enemy territory. They were all captured as Prisoners of War.

F/S Louis Eldon Bernhardt ‘Ben’ Klitscher, RNZAF NZ415262 – Pilot.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps.
Returned to United Kingdom 11th May 1945

P/O David Walter King, RAFVR 1603821/ 164563 – Navigator.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps or return date.

F/S W.C.F. Pilkington, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps or return date.

F/O John Duncan Craven, RAFVR 1007069/ 57882 – Wireless Operator.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps or return date.

Sgt. W. H. H. Brewer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps.
Returned to United Kingdom 8th May 1945

Sgt. K.A. Blackbee, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps or return date.

Sgt. D.W.S Amps, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
No information regarding Prisoner of War Number, camps or return date.