Tag Archives: PB418 AA-C

Reg Smith, Rear Gunner – Adamson crew. New pictures

RegSmith cont

Reginald Arthur Smith, this portrait taken at some point in his training – Rog would join Maurice Adamson’s crew and spend the last year of the War with 759NZ) Squadron RAF at Mepal. © Kevin Smith

Many thanks to Kevin for passing on the picture above of his Father, Reg Smith, Rear Gunner with Maurice Adamson’s crew, who flew in the Squadron towards the end of the War in 1945.

Kevin donated his Father’s logbook to the blog almost exactly 2 years ago and with the arrival of these 2 new pictures, I thought it was worth re-presenting the crew with a full Op history, something, that originally with the blog, I didn’t tend to do when a logbook was added to the collection.

The Adamson crew flew a total of 21 ops before the end of the war and continued to fly a food drop on The Hague, repatriate Prisoners of War from Juvincourt and fly a number of observation trips over Germany to view the effects of the bombing campaign by the Allies.

Interestingly Reg’s logbook also covers the break-up of the Squadron – whilst his Commonwealth crew mates moved with 75(NZ) to Spilsby in preparation for Tiger Force, Reg stayed at Mepal and joined 44 Squadron.

See Reg’s logbook here.

AdamsonCrew-A cont

The Adamson crew, date and location unknown. Kevin has identified his Father Reg Smith (Rear Gunner), front row center and Jack Fisher, the crew’s Wireless Operator is on the back row far right. Kevin also thinks that Monty Adamson is to the left of Reg, with Noel Unwin to his right. Interestingly, perhaps strangely, the picture seems to contain another Pilot – identity unknown. © Kevin Smith

The Adamson crew arrived at Mepal on the 19th of January 1945 from 1653 Conversion Unit. Probably, as Wing Commander, without his crew, Mac Baigent took the whole crew up for their first Op on the 9th of February to Hohenbudburg.

09/02/1945 – Attack Against Hohenbudburg
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Lutskendorf, but the target was changed during the afternoon to Hohenbudberg. This operation was carried out in 8/10th cloud with tops about 10,000. Flak was slight to moderate and S/L effective. A scattered raid was reported.

Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B

W/C Cyril Henry ‘Mac’ Baigent, RNZAF NZ411973/ 70038 – Pilot.
F/O M. Adamson, RNZAF NZ426904 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Arthur Edwin Noel Unwin, RNZAF NZ427347 – Navigator.
F/S Kenneth William Rathbride Mitchell, RNZAF NZ425700 – Air Bomber.
F/S John William Fisher, RNZAF NZ4211617 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 03:51 – Landed 08:32
Flight Time 04:41

13/02/1945 – Attack Against Dresden
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

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

22/02/1945 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Osterfeld, carrying 4000 HC 500 ANM 250 GP bombs, JN”O” F/L Jones, K. returned early through engine failure. There was no cloud over the target, but some haze. Crews found it difficult to identify the target visually owing to smoke and difficult formation flying conditions in flak, but the impression is that the concentration of bombing was excellent and the target well “pranged”. Flak was moderate to intense and several aircraft were damaged.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

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 12:54 – Landed 18:02
Flight Time 05:08

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 LM544 AA-D

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 11:56 – Landed 17:18
Flight Time 05:22

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 LM544 AA-D

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 09:46 – Landed 15:10
Flight Time 05:24

27/02/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen, carrying 4000 HC 500 ANM 500 MC bombs. NZ426904 F/O M.Adamson and NZ425292 F/L D.Sadgrove returned early through engine trouble. Cloud was ten tenths. Leaders met slight to moderate H/F. No results were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 dnc AA-K
A/C returned early owing to engine trouble

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 11:31 – Landed 15:52
Flight Time 04:21

01/03/1945 – Attack Against Kamen
Seventeen aircraft were detailed to attack Kamen, carrying 4,000 H.C., 500ANM., 500 M.C. and Munro bombs. F/O D. Barr in AA”C” jettisoned and returned early through engine trouble. Crews bombed on special equipment as the target was obscured by ten tenth cloud. Flak was negligible.

Lancaster Mk.I PB741 AA-E

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:02 – Landed 17:26
Flight Time 05:24

02/03/1945 – Attack Against Cologne
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack Cologne. No aircraft bombed owing to special equipment failiure. Three aircraft jettisoned due to flak damage to engines, the remainder bringing their bombs back. F/O Woodcock was wounded in the neck and his engineer F/Sgt. Gibb in the legs but landed safely at base.

Lancaster Mk.I PB741 DNC AA-E

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:18 – Landed 18:35
Flight Time 05:17

05/03/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Gelsenkirchen. AA”E” F/S Lukins was withdrawn. AA”W” F/L Parker and JN”X” P/O Cleminson returned early through engine trouble. The remainder found the target obscured by 10/10ths cloud tops 15,000 ft. Aircraft bombed on special special equipment. Leaders had a good run in and there was a good concentration at this time. Aircraft were met by slight H/F on outward route. No fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:36 – Landed 16:13
Flight Time 05:37

06/03/1945 – Attack Against Salzbergen
Sixteen aircraft attacked Salzbergen in 10/10ths cloud up to 11,000ft. with nil clouds below. The formation was well packed over the target and released simultaneously. A slight upheaval of the cloud a minute later was all that could be seen. Slight H/F was the only opposition.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:30 – Landed 14:22
Flight Time 05:52

09/03/1945 – Attack Against Datteln
Twenty one aircraft attacked Datteln as detailed. A good concentration of aircraft and bombing reported. Cloud ten tenths. No opposition was encountered. A mushroom of smoke was seen penetrating cloud.

Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:35 – Landed 16:00
Flight Time 05:25

10/03/1945 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen Buer
Twenty one aircraft attacked Gelsenkirchen as detailed. Aircraft bombed in light formation and all bombs were dropped together. Cloud was ten tenths. Slight H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:35 – Landed 17:32
Flight Time 04:57

14/03/1945 – Attack Against Heinrich Hutte
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target. Crews found the target covered with 10/10ths cloud. Formation was good though the target and bombs fell away together. Very accurate moderate H/F was met on the run in and over the target. F/Lt. E. Parsons in AA”E” failed to return. His aircraft was seen to be hit causing it to spiral into cloud. F/S McLernon landed at Woodbridge but returned to base the following day.

Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-D

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:33 – Landed 18:45
Flight Time 05:12

17/03/1945 – Attack Against Auguste Viktoria
Nineteen aircraft took off to attack the Auguste Viktoria Benzol Oil plant. Cloud and vapour trails limited visibility to 50yds over the target, but the aircraft remained in light formation and bombs were released together. No results were seen. Opposition was slight H./F.

Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J

P/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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:03 – Landed 17:13
Flight Time 05:10

20/03/1945 – Attack Against Hamm
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack the Marshalling Yards at Hamm. There were 6-7/10ths cloud over the target with tops at about 10,000ft. Some confusion was caused by the preceding squadron leading this squadron off track and scattering the formation. However a fair concentration was attained in the end. Some H/F was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:13 – Landed 15:36
Flight Time 05:23

23/03/1945 – Attack Against Wesel
Eight aircraft were detailed to attack Wesel carrying 1,000 M65 (RT), 1,000 M65 (B.T.) and Munro bombs. The target was attacked with the aid of special equipment. There was no cloud over the target but the visibility was poor owing to smoke. All crews reported a good concentration of bombs on the A/P. Very slight H/F was experienced.

Lancaster Mk.I RF190 AA-F

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:08 – Landed 19:15
Flight Time 04:07

29/03/1945 – Attack Against Salzgitter
Twenty one aircraft attacked Saltzgitter as detailed. Cloud was ten tenths, tops up to 19,000 ft and thin cloud and contrails persisting above, reducing visibility to 500yds. No results were observed and a scattered raid is reported. Flak moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:32 – Landed 19:23
Flight Time 06:51

04/04/1945 – Attack on Meresburg
21 aircraft were detailed to make a night attack on MERSEBURG.. (AA’R’ F/O C Stevens) returned early through technical trouble. (JN’D’ F/O J. Wood) was hit by flak before reaching the target, the B/ Aimer (F/S Hooper) was burned about the face and the Pilot’s hands were slightly burned, the F/Engineer (Sgt. Williamson) apparently fell through the M.U.G Turret. Crews bomber glows of fires on Master Bomber’s instructions. Fires were fairly concentrated though reports indicate a rather scattered raid. Flak moderate to light.

Lancaster Mk.I NF741 AA-D

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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:44 – Landed 02:55
Flight Time 08:11

13/04/1945 – Minelaying at Kiel
21 aircraft were detailed to attack Keil, carrying 4,000 HCN, 1000 ANM, 500 ANM and Munro Bombs. The target was covered by 10/10 cloud and tops 4/5000. Bombing was concentrated and fires were seen on leaving target. Flak was Slight. This was also a leaflet raid.

Lancaster Mk.III NF741 AA-D

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:27 – Landed 02:35
Flight Time 06:08

14/04/1945 – Attack on Potsdam
25 aircraft were detailed to attack POTSDAM. There was no cloud and visibility was good. A very concentrated attack developed and the target was well alight by the time the last aircraft were on their way home. Flak was slight and bursting well below stream. AA’T’ (F/O A.R. Baynes) was attacked by two enemy aircraft believed to be JU.88’s 20 miles S.W. of Potsdam on the homeward journey. The Flight Engineer (Sgt. Sliman) was killed by canon shell.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:22 – Landed 02:49
Flight Time 08:27

20/04/1945 – Attack on Regensburg
20 aircraft were detailed to bomb REGENSBURG. Perfect visibility and the river, dock and target areas could be made out. Bombing appears to have been fairly well concentrated round the target starting with a slight undershoot but some bombs also spread to the M/yards beyond. The crew on starboard side of formation claimed direct hits on railway bridge. Flak slight but accurate.

Lancaster Mk.III ME531 AA-K

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:57 – Landed 17:13
Flight Time 07:16

24/04/1945 – Attack on Bad Oldesloe
21 aircraft were detailed to attack BAD OLDESLOE. JN/N (F/L Preyer) failed to take off owing to engine trouble and AA/Y (F/S Reay) made an early return owing to fire in starboard outer engine. No opposition was encountered but slight flak seen over Dutch Coast. Some of the bombs fell to the port of the A/P. Main attack considered very good.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:09 – Landed 12:57
Flight Time 05:48

30/04/1945 – 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.

Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:51 – Landed 19:29
Flight Time 02:38

04/05/1945 – 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.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
No Mid Upper Gunner on this Op
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:35 – Landed 15:01
Flight Time 02:26

09/05/1945 – Repatriation of Prisoners of War
10 Aircraft were detailed for repatriation of Prisoners of War. The number of men brought back was 240. S/Ldr. B. Mckenna (AA.J) crashed when taking off at Dunsfold for Baso. There were no injuries and the crew returned with F/Lt. M. Adamson (AA.K). Complaints were made of the bad landing procedure at Dunsfold.

Lancaster Mk.III ME531 AA-K

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:45 – Landed 19:35
Flight Time 11:50

12/05/1945 – Evacuation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt
15 Aircraft were detailed for the evacuation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt. The total number returned for the day was 336. F/O G. Cleminson (JN.O) developed a hydraulic leak at Juvincourt. He had to stay overnight and on the return trip next day, brought another 24 men. The total number of men brought back to date is 1320.

Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O Tulley R, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:12 – Landed 12:49
Flight Time 04:37

25/05/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
2 Aircraft were detailed for flights over the continent to see the effects of the bombing offensive.

Lancaster Mk.- NN773? AA-G

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.
F/L Charles Crossfield Bewsher, (Squadron Adjutant) F/O Day – Passengers

Take Off 10:00 – Landed 16:46
Flight Time 06:46

23/06/1945 – Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
5 aircraft were detailed for viewing the effect of the Bombing Offensive.

Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:33 – Landed 14:27
Flight Time 04:54

05/07/1945 – Post Mortem – Checking German Radar Equipment
12 aircraft were detailed for the Post Mortem Operations for checking Gernam Radar Equipment.

LancastervMk.I NN747 AA-D

F/L 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.
F/S John Palmer, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Rhodes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner .
Sgt. Reginald Arthur Smith, RAFVR 1606544 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – Landed
Flight Time 04:40

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request for information – Solingen, 4th of November 1944

soligen

Target photo taken by Jack Wall, A/B with Jack Bailey’s crew over Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. The information at the foot of the photograph contains the following information: 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.

I was contacted by Matthias last week with information of a potentially fascinating project. Matthias works for the local TV station in Wermelskirchen who are preparing to make a programme about the raid on Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. He is keen to gather as much information as possible – and has contacted me to put out a request to any relatives of the boys who flew on the Op, who might have any information, whether it be stories, photographs or even perhaps logbook notes. Matthias is particularly keen to try to make contact with any relatives of Harry Scott’s crew, who were all lost on the Solingen Op.

Having put together the complete crew list for this Op, I was fascinated to see perhaps a tie up in a detail mentioned in this post and elsewhere on the blog. The first aircraft in the Op list below is LM266 AA-A. The AIR14/3463 Damage Report for this Op lists this aircraft as being hit by debris from an exploding aircraft. Putting in a blind, but optimistic search into the blog through up a post I had made about the myth of the ‘Scarecrow’ and amazingly, the logbook entry by John Dickinson (Mid Upper Gunner with Charlie Spain’s crew) that recorded a ‘Scarecrow’ was Solingen – Whilst I cannot be sure, the proximity of the 195 Squadron aircraft  (HK658 ) to LM266, the fact that John witnessed it, I think, makes it quite a possibility – of the 4 aircraft lost on this Op (3 from 195 and ND917 from 75(NZ) Squadron), only HK658 is listed in the AIR14/3463 Damage Report as exploding – and in fact identifies 2 other aircraft, both from 195 Squadron being hit, Like LM266, with the debris.

log27&28 scarecrow crop

Extract form John Dickinson’s logbook for the Solingen raid, 4th November 1944, noting the loss of a Lancaster by a ‘Scarecrow’. © Dickinson Estate

04/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Twenty one aircraft took off to attack Solingen in daylight, carrying 8,000 lb, 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 4 lb incendiaries and No.17 Clusters. All crews dropped their bombs in the target area, but the raid appeared to be scattered. Flak opposition was moderate. One aircraft captained by NZ428797 F/O J. Scott, failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LM266 AA-A ” (43)
Damage not due to Enemy Action – Hit by debris from an exploding Lancaster – thought to be 195 Sqdn HK658 ‘C’ (exploded)

F/L Alan Roy Bidwell Barton, RNZAF NZ413930 – Pilot.
P/O John Gerald Birch, RNZAF NZ429035 – Navigator.
Sgt. William Semple, RAFVR 1558692/ 190519 – Air Bomber.
P/O John Alister MacDonald Stuart, RNZAF NZ404633 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. Smith, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Leslie John Moore, RAFVR 2219346/ 188668 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. F. Williams, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:51 – Landed 16:23
Flight Time 04:32
Lancaster Mk.III LM740 AA-B  (15)

W/C Roy John Alexander Leslie, RAFVR/ RNZAF 36255/ NZ2427 – Pilot.
F/L Frank Ross Dawes, RNZAF NZ417273 – Navigator.
P/O Raymond Alexander Ramsay, RNZAF NZ416866 – Air Bomber.
F/S Ronald Vincent Kemp, RAFVR 1492881/ 188505 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Funnell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Woods, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Cliff Newman, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

This appears to essentially be Nelson Bright’s crew – though I have no information to explain why Nelson is absent.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:07
Flight Time 04:22
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 AA-H  (6)

F/O Jeffery Baines, RNZAF NZ414577 – Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Allen Holt, RNZAF NZ4211049 – Navigator.
F/S John Kennedy Clements, RAAF AUS.418070 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. J. Brown, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Aldridge, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. D. McCleod?, ? – Mid Upper Gunner. No apparent record of this individual
Sgt. E. Bates, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:44 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:31
Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G  (25)

F/O Raymond Arthur Cumberpatch, RNZAF NZ427543 – Pilot.
Sgt. Norman Frederick Wilson, RAFVR 1584666/ 190665 – Navigator.
F/S Clayton Dickson Williams, RNZAF NZ4214071 – Air Bomber.
W/O Lindsay Roy Switzer, RNZAF NZ422008 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Sinclair, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Tom Grady, RNZAF NZ416829 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Walter Dalziel Sneddon, RNZAF NZ425436 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:01
Flight Time 04:16
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C  (32)

F/L Leslie Arthur Martyn, RNZAF NZ417082 – Pilot.
P/O Thomas Issac Elliot, RNZAF NZ421364 – Navigator.
P/O Allan Roy Frank Dunkerley, RAAF AUS.423083 – Air Bomber.
P/O Henry James Abrahams, RAFVR 1313153/ 183761 – Wireless Operator.
F/S A. Golembeck, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Lindsay, RAFVR 1624589 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P/O Andrew Roy Wright, RCAF J.88789 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:42 – Landed 16:10
Flight Time 04:28
Lancaster Mk.III LM544 AA-J  (60)

F/O Maurice Edward Dare, RNZAF NZ425238 – Pilot.
F/O Gordon Howe Warren, RNZAF NZ4212904 – Navigator.
F/S Norman Farquhar McDonald, RNZAF NZ429073 – Air Bomber.
F/S William Donovan Neville, RNZAF NZ425538 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Dunbar, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S Alfred Thomas Bannan, RNZAF NZ425760 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Gordon Lawton, RNZAF NZ4210874 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:08
Flight Time 04:28

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K  (29)

S/L Roy Campbell Earl, RNZAF NZ411388 – Pilot.
F/O Edgar William Lovejoy, RAFVR 745516/ 142868 – Navigator.
F/O J. Rich, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
P/O Patrick Hugh Finnegan, RAFVR 1344819/ 159025 – Wireless Operator.
W/O Leslie Howells, RAFVR 1417820/ 187820 – Flight Engineer.
W/O W. Brown, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O William Henry Goodridge, RAFVR 635318/ 53370 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:41 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 04:22
Lancaster Mk.I ME751 AA-M ‘Mother’ (50)

F/L Wylie James Wakelin, RNZAF NZ391390 – Pilot.
P/O Percival McDowell Johnston, RNZAF NZ4215865 – Navigator.
P/O Graham Barker Appleby, RNZAF NZ422653 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John De Hoop, RAFVR 1810752/ 191161 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Leveridge, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Frank Watts, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Kennedy, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R  (39)

F/O Donald Francis Atkin, RAFVR 1585981 – Pilot.
F/S Eric Thomas Coulson, RNZAF NZ429310 – Navigator.
F/S Reginald John Thurston, RNZAF NZ4210046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Wesley Murray Curtis, RAAF AUS. 423524 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Jones, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Madden, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Johnstone, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:45 – Landed 16:30
Flight Time 04:45
Lancaster Mk.III PB427 AA-U  (19)

F/O Charles Thomas Spain, RAFVR 921159/ 178068 – Pilot.
F/S P. Johnson,   – Navigator
F/S Leonard Charles James, RNZAF NZ4211046 – Air Bomber.
F/S Laurence Percy Bergman, RAAF AUS.424579 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. D. McNeil, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Townson Dickinson, RAFVR 2221282 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John ‘Steve’ Chamberlain, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:35 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I NN710 AA-Q  (25)

F/O Kenneth William Cooper, RAFVR 1440684 – Pilot.
F/S Ian Campbell Cowie, RNZAF NZ425738 – Navigator.
Sgt. J.J. Fitzgerald, RAFVR 658963 – Air Bomber.
F/S Vernon John Smith, RNZAF NZ416826 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Alderson, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. W. Cousins, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. T. Clayton, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:15
Flight Time 04:35
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L ‘Lucy’ (42)

F/O Martin Adam Kilpatrick, RNZAF NZ421919 – Pilot.
P/O Raymond Sinclair Tait, RNZAF NZ4213951 – Navigator.
Sgt. M. ‘ Jock’ Cattenach, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Wesley Geoffrey ‘Geoff’ Davenport, RAFVR 1817811/ 196353 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Benjamin Charles ‘Ben’ Barton, RAFVR 56702 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Albert ‘Titch’ Halliday, RAFVR 1899145 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Robert ‘Bob’ Olive, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ (30)

P/O Douglas Ross Sadgrove, RNZAF NZ425292 – Pilot.
F/S Robert Trevor Dixon, RNZAF NZ4212652 – Navigator.
Sgt. D. Stimpson, RAFVR – Air Bomber.
F/S Frederick Flemming, RNZAF NZ425241 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Bernard John Mahoney, RAFVR 1628335/ 190539 – Flight Engineer.
F/S Robert Samuel Bawden, RNZAF NZ4212629 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Douglas Dallimore, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:40 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:40
Lancaster Mk.III ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’ (69)

F/L Thomas Christie Waugh, RAFVR 159174 – Pilot.
P/O Colin William Hannam Woonton, RNZAF NZ429055 – Navigator.
F/S Robert Irwin Swetland, RAFVR 1098818, 186577 – Air Bomber.
F/S P. Kidd, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. N. Southgate, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/S James Baird Nickels, RNZAF NZ425852 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S David Frank Sage, RNZAF NZ424824 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 16:24
Flight Time 04:53
Lancaster Mk.III NE181 JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’ (73)

S/L John Mathers ‘Jack’ Bailey, RNZAF NZ412183 – Pilot.
P/O Jack Geoffrey Brewster, RNZAF 130520 – Navigator.
F/O Jack Christopher Wall, RAFVR 143421 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Richard Pickup, RAFVR 98926/ 188816 – Wireless Operator.
F/O Norman Bartlett, RAFVR 54290 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Thomas Douglas Gregory, RAFVR 1283636/ 183718 – Mid Upper Gunner.
W/O Roy Corfield, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:29 – Landed 16:03
Flight Time 04:34
Lancaster Mk.I HK597 JN-P ‘Bad Penny IV’ (29)

F/O Francis Colin Wood, RNZAF NZ414715 – Pilot.
F/S R. Johnson, RAFVR – Navigator.
P/O Leslie Ronald Hurcombe, RAFVR 153900 – Air Bomber.
F/S Arthur Albert Charles Taylor, RAFVR 1583883, 186770 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. A. Gibbs, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. A. Wolley, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Mahoney, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed 16:04
Flight Time 04:33
Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W ‘The Paper Doll’ (51)

F/O Leonard Boyer, RAFVR 1602332/ 184498 – Pilot.
F/S M. Mendes, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/S Allan Jospeph Couper, RAAF AUS.430013 – Air Bomber.
F/S Roderick Wilfred Blue, RNZAF NZ426307 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Burkell, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. R. Adlard, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Davies, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:33 – Landed 16:00
Flight Time 04:27
Lancaster Mk.I HK600 JN-T ” (20)

P/O Patrick Leo McCartin, RAAF AUS.419328 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Miles, RAFVR 845847/ 187426 – Navigator.
P/O Leonard Arthur Martin, RAFVR 153528 – Air Bomber.
F/S Phillip Francis Smith, RAAF AUS. 427206 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William John Warlow, RAFVR 1653307 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Dennis George Albert Bryer, RAFVR 1874880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. John Gray, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:34 – Landed 15:59
Flight Time 04:25
Lancaster Mk.III ND917 JN-O ” (70)

F/O John Harold Scott, RNZAF NZ428797 – Pilot.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 29, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Alister Henry Scott, RNZAF NZ428259 – Navigator.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 27, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/S Kenneth Peder Christian Andersen, RNZAF NZ429128 – Air Bomber.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 28, during a raid on Solingen, Germany. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/S Edward John Francis Howard, RNZAF NZ424469 – Wireless Operator.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 24, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Howard Mansel Thomas, RAFVR 1895708 – Flight Engineer.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 26, during a raid on Solingen. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt. John Thomas Beardmore, RAFVR 1818755 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Died Saturday 4th November 1944, age 19, during a raid on Solingen, Germany, Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Joseph Thomas Bayes, RAFVR 1595589, 185783 – Rear Gunner.
Died Saturday 4 November 1944, age 35, during a raid on Solingen, Germany. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

Take Off 11:31 – Landed Missing
Flight Time Missing
Lancaster Mk.III ND911 JN-V  (65)

F/O Robert Gordon Cuming, RNZAF NZ428083 – Pilot.
F/S John Gilbert ‘Jack’ Scott, RNZAF NZ4213321 – Navigator.
F/S Sydney George Sewell, RNZAF NZ423916 – Air Bomber.
F/S John Durant ‘Jack’ Christie, RNZAF NZ426309 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.C. Lambert, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Scott, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. D. McElligott, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:35 – Landed 16:20
Flight Time 04:45
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D  (38)

F/L Victor John Andrew, RNZAF NZ421343 – Pilot.
P/O Eric James Osborne, RNZAF NZ422795 – Navigator.
F/S Edward James Sinclair, RNZAF NZ428261 – Air Bomber.
F/S D. Roberts, RAAF AUS.426010 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J. Huckle, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. E. Hadigate, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Henry Grout, RCAF R.109213 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:30 – Landed 16:05
Flight Time 04:35

The other 100 Op lancasters of 75(NZ) Squadron RAF…….

Gdad 7 (2)

PB418 AA-C showing 100 Ops
New Zealand Bomber Command archive/ Neville Selwood

Given the post this morning about NE181 JN-Mike ‘The Captains Fancy’, its perhaps a little bit ironic that I suddenly find myself talking about at least 1 and perhaps another 2 Lancasters from the Squadron that at least  (might have) reached the figure of 100 Ops.

Funnily enough Ian emailed me earlier this evening to politely question my description of ‘Mike’ being the ‘only’ Lancaster to reach 100 – I was happy to admit a mistake, but Ian came back (he said sheepishly) to perhaps agree I was right. Then Chris came back, clutching more goodies from the New Zealand Bomber Command archive. I have to be honest, these 3 images (1 above and 2 below) left me, well, speechless.

The aircraft in these pictures is PB418 AA-C with 100 Ops clearly marked on her nose – the 3 images come originally from F/O Neville Selwood RNZAF, Navigator with F/O Wynn Russell RNZAF and crew, who did 23 op’s in her. Now, I defer to Chis and his patient sifting of the Squadron ORB’s – so far for this aircraft, he thinks he has found 95 of these Ops + 3 ‘Manna’ Ops – though he wonders if perhaps he might have missed a few, or even perhaps a few Ops might have been recorded before the aircraft arrived at Mepal.

Ian’s entry in the Lancaster database for PB418 is as follows;
On Sqn Aug 1944,to 514 Sqn Jul 1945 from IWM. Serial from ORBs. Total op’s = 95 (95th achieved on 22 April, to Bremen, with the Lukins crew), plus 3 Operation Manna supply drops to Rotterdam, plus 5 POW repatriation flights from Juvincourt, May 45, from ORB’s (Newey). AA-C from 3GBC and AIR14/3463.’

Which suggests, depending on how the food dropping and prisoner repatriation flights were counted more than 100 – I am aware that the crews considered the ‘Manna’ flights as Ops – the aircraft were fully crewed (for early flights) and armed – and they had instructions to fire back if fired upon…..

Gdad 1 (2)

Flying Officer Wynn Russell (Pilot) RNZAF left and Flying Officer Neville Selwood (Nav) RNZAF with AA-C
New Zealand Bomber Command archive/ Neville Selwood

Built by Avro at Manchester, PB418 joined 75 (NZ) Squadron as AA-C in August 1944. Allocated to Flying Officer Wynn Russell in January 1945, his Navigator Neville Selwood recalled in “Kiwis Do Fly” that it was a real old timer with narrow propeller blades.

“Enough to get us to 19,500 feet and no more. It certainly did over 100 trips but that may have included some DNCO and the Manna drops of 30th April and 7th May 1945.”

“It was a lucky kite and eventually was re-engined. We did 23 operations in her, the last being a 5 hour 25 minute trip to Keil with 10,092 lbs. My last trip with 75 (NZ) Squadron was with PB418 on 29th June 1945 when we flew a ‘postmortem’ run to Flensburg. Apparently ‘C went to 514 Squadron and was scrapped in March 1948. What a shame, she had looked out for us.”

(Kiwis Do Fly: New Zealanders in RAF Bomber Command, by Peter Wheeler. 2010, New Zealand Bomber Command Association)

selwood (2)

PB 418 (AA-C) at its dispersal RAF Mepal, March 1945. It carries the tail markings of a GH leader for ‘A’ flight 75 (NZ) Squadron. In the background, to the left Mepal’s control tower and to the right one of the airfield hangers.
New Zealand Bomber Command archive/ Neville Selwood

If this isn’t enough, Chris says that ‘Buzz’ Spilman reckons that LM276 AA-S ‘Sugar’ reached her hundred – though further research needs to be undertaken to prove this claim and additionally,  HK562 AA-L ‘Love’ was (according to Jim Haworth, Mallon crew) “retired” on 99, so Chris reckons based on these aircraft alone, there may have been another one or two that came close, or perhaps even achieved the ton, but NE181 ‘Mike’, still probably beat them all………