Tag Archives: PB421 AA-K

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!

How to start a Norwegian fishing boat – and other useful information………

Instructions for Starting Boat Motor, Norway without shadow

“General Instructions For The Starting And Running Of The Type Of Small Boat Engine Normally Found In Norwegian Waters”
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The Terry Ford archive continues to give up some fascinating things, this post collecting together some documentation which is best placed under the heading “Emergency Procedures”….

Without doubt, (in my opinion) the most remarkable of these documents is the one above. Wonderfully titled “General Instructions For The Starting And Running Of The Type Of Small Boat Engine Normally Found In Norwegian Waters”, the document is printed on what appears to be rice paper or similar. Having viewed and handled the document, it is incredibly fragile and we must assume was designed to be consumed either to deny its capture by enemy intelligence, or simply as a filling dessert……

If an airman was in any doubt as to why he should be aware of the necessary starting instructions of a Norwegian boat engine, the first few paragraphs of the document explains…..

“Most fishing and small transport vessels employed on the Norwegian coast are fitted with Semi-Diesel engines. There are a number of different makes and consequently many variations in detail, but the principles and main features do not differ very much. There are in addition a few Semi-Diesel engines of special design which will not be considered in this paper.

The principle common to all these engines is that they must be heated before they can be started and the fuel used is Solar oil

The sketch shows one of the most common types found in Norway. The purpose of this paper is to try to give elementary instructions in the starting and running of this type of motor for the benefit of those who might have to deal with them in an emergency and do not possess any previous knowledge of small boat engines, but who are familiar to some extent with engines as such.

It should be noted that the horsepower developed by this type of motor is normally considerably in excess of the stated horse power.”

And later on, some wonderful advice regarding checking whether the engine is yet hot enough to run…….

“To find out if the motor is warm enough for starting put an ordinary safety match against the head without striking it. If it lights immediately the motor is hot enough. Make it a rule never to put out the blow lamp before you are certain that the engine is running steadily. It should always be kept handy in case of engine stoppage”.

I must say, whilst familiar with the escape maps printed on silk, I have never seen or heard of this edible kind and I would be fascinated to see others, if anyone knows of them.

Lancaster Dinghy Drill 1

Dinghy Drill page 1
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

Lancaster Dinghy Drill 1a

Dinghy Drill page 2
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The second 2 sheets outline the procedure for deployment of a dinghy when crash landing in water. What strikes you reading this is the incredibly ordered and specific tasks and activities that were required to be remembered at an instance of chaos when a large metal tube, designed to fly in the air is suddenly, possibly with some force, sitting, or more likely sinking in cold dark water – and probably in the pitch or near black-out. I am sure its testament to constant drilling and practice and I certainly recall a number of photographs showing airmen in their swimming trunks stood by the side of a swimming pool, familiarising themselves with such skills. Perhaps the compare and contrast can be imagined by the following extract from “Up and Under” by Gwyn Martin, who has featured a few time on the blog in the last few weeks, regarding his and his crews experience of a crash and escape from a Wellington bomber, on water at night……

“I went forward to the bomb sight and fused the mines, coming back to stand beside Shag for the run into the Karmsund. He was losing height in a shallow diving turn, when a bright signal light shone ominously on the ground. Shag and I recognised it for what it was, the front gunner didn’t. I shouted at Shag,

“Turn Shag, for Christ’s sake turn.”
“What the hell do you think I’m doing?”

I looked out to see we were now almost in a roll, with flak pumping up urgently towards us, not floating in the cotton wool ball manner to which we were accustomed at greater heights.

The first shell went through the starboard engine, the next hit amidships. We were on fire from nose to tail. The intercom went with the first burst, which also killed Don Taylor and Frankie and Johnnie, our two carrier pigeons. The ammunition storage ignited, sending exploding bullets flying around like a Chinese New Year celebration. I went forward to defuse the mines, but it was too late. There were no electrics. I banged on the doors of the front turret, for Dalziel to come out. I passed Shag, still working hard to keep us in the air, but he was running out of time, luck and airspace, everything except courage. Jim reported in his best Cockney, “Taff, we’ve f****** had it!”

Nothing was more obvious. He and I went back to see if there was a chance of improving the situation aft of the office. With Jim leading, we went through the rear door, but as he came to the main spar, the reserve oil tank on the starboard side blew up in his face and over his hands. At the same moment, the flares and pyrotechnics by the flare chute caught fire. The fabric was well alight already, and I could see the ground fifty feet below. The mines were still in the bomb bay, despite our efforts to dislodge them. Jim and I took up crash positions on the floor of the office. Through our legs, we saw the roof of a house go by. We went up a bit, then down a bit, then we hit water, when Jim, in great pain, leapt from the floor and went out through the roof. Shag shot out of his oversized, borrowed, flying boots, through the Perspex windscreen. My head came abruptly into contact with the door. My next conscious moment found me sitting on the floor of the office, with the W/T receiver and sundry other wreckage in my lap. I was unable to move, my predicament made worse by being submerged, I was drowning. Above me, was a greeny blue hole ominously getting darker.

Suddenly, the floor moved to the right, freeing my left leg. I made a movement and was out like a cork from a bottle, surging up through the green blue hole into the night. There I hovered for a while, airborne above the lake. I heard Shag shouting, “Gwyn, where are you?”

I felt I could have answered, “I’m up here, you silly old bugger.” I didn’t, because he was pulling me into the dinghy, along with Jim and Dalziel.

In the dinghy, released automatically in the crash, we took stock of our position. Shag had facial injuries and no boots. Jim had burns to his hands and face, and was also without boots. Dalziel was badly wounded, clearly dying. I was unsure what was happening to me from my waist down, but I had one boot. We looked in the First Aid pocket for morphine for Dalziel, only to discover that there was nothing in the pocket. Some thieving bastard or incompetent slob had either pinched and flogged it or had not packed it. We tried to assure Dalziel that, once ashore, we would get help quickly. We tried paddling towards where we thought the shore ought to be. After minutes of furious paddling, we hadn’t moved. We were stuck on a piece of wing, impinged dead centre of the dinghy bottom and we were driving ourselves around in non productive circles. Shag removed the piece of wing, we paddled again, and still we made no progress. This time, we found we were still tied to the nacelle mooring, until Shag cut this umbilical cord. We paddled again, still getting nowhere. We could now make out the shape of the land, but we were unsure of how far we were from it.

Shag called for volunteers to swim ashore. Dalziel was out of it, Jim, a pre-war Southern Counties swimming champion, couldn’t manage either, but I, as a better than average swimmer, couldn’t feel my legs. So it was Shag, a non swimmer, who volunteered for the task. He asked that Mary and his family should be informed that he had done his best, in the event that anything happened to him.

Over the side he went, with one arm on the dinghy, pulling it as he thrashed the water with his other arm and legs, hopefully pointing towards the shore. He performed this antic for sometime before collapsing. He sank immediately, assuming a kneeling position in nine inches of water. We were hysterical. Nothing could have been funnier.”

Emergency Positions

Emergency Stations page 1
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

Footnotes

Emergency Stations page 2
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The two pages above are titled “Emergency Stations”. I must admit reading through the first page I am a little perplexed that even before anything has happened, the instructions require both Mid Upper and Rear Gunner to brace themselves their arms round each others neck!. The footnotes also do not, I feel, aim to necessary bring natural calm to any impending situation –

“Drills are based on “DISTRESS”, developing from “EMERGENCY” where Distress is taken without developing from  “EMERGENCY” where “Distress” is taken without previous “EMERGENCY” action, “C” – Course, “H” – Height, A “A” permits and without prejudice to “FULL” Distress signal action”.

Now, it might be me, not having had an air force training, but this makes no sense to me and reading that section back   what does “A” even stand for??

Parachute Drill

Parachute drill
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

The last of the formal documents (above) is the parachute drill. Again, it amazes me that given the potential of the scenario that would require this particular protocol to be but into operation would very possibly negate that very same protocol – I suspect, training and a hell of a lot of gut instinct and luck would be the deciding factor and with it, survival or death.

John McFarland’s memories of just such an event shows the need for speed perhaps over process:

“We flew from a remote base near Ely in East Anglia and were engaged mainly in sea and French railway yard mining operations as well as drops to the French Resistance. It was during one of these we were shot down. The Germans had the capability to fire vertically upwards. We were over Denmark and it was around midnight when my navigator’s table shattered and I knew we’d been hit from below. Everything happened so fast. We had to bail out and use our parachutes. The parachute wrappers used to put little notes in with the silk saying things like ‘all the best’!  Only three of us survived that night – the rear gunner’s parachute failed to open. That could have been any one of us for you just grabbed a parachute on your way out to board the aircraft…”

Engine Failure and fire comped and cpd

Hand written notes by Terry Ford – Engine Failure & Engine Fire .
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

And finally, written in Terry Ford’s own hand, notes on both sides of a piece of paper, one assumes as an ‘aide memoire‘ in case of engine failure or worst case scenario an engine fire. As with all things aeronautical – the solution if the fire does not go out is simple……….

JUMP!

 

Ford crew – aiming point photographs

Aim Point photos comped for blog header

Aiming point photographs, clockwise from top left: Harqueboc 6/9/44, Bonn 18/10/44, Calais 27/9/44 and Alvis 10.9.44
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

My continuing thanks to Julia and her family for the remarkable collection of material they have so generously passed on of her Father, Terry Ford, who was a Pilot with the Squadron mid to end of 1944. Thanks also to Scott, the Son of Reg Weeden, Terry’s Navigator for extracting and correcting these aim point photographs.

The detail of some of these images is astounding, particularly as a number are taken on day-light sorties.

What follows is a summarised Op history for the Ford crew, with expanded Form 541 Diary entries for the Ops where AP photographs exist. This is a remarkable collection of photographs, representing the largest set for an individual crew, certainly that I have so far seen from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

It’s sobering to note for anyone unfamiliar with these images, that having positioned the aircraft in the stream and having arrived at the Aim Point and released their bombs, the Pilot had to then stay straight and level until the time delayed camera had recorded the bombs exploding, all while possibly under threat from fighters, flak, collision and even possibly bombs falling from above.

 

31/08/1944 – Attack Against Pont Reny
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Flying Bomb Supply Dump at Pont Reny. All were successful in bombing the target, although cloud obscured it to some extent, which caused part of the bombing to be scattered. No enemy fighters were encountered and A.A. opposition was slight, but one aircraft (Captain NZ421488 .F/O. J. Aitken) was damaged and the Air Bomber, NZ429967 .F/O. R. Mayhill received slight injuries.

03/09/1944 – Attack Against The Aerodrom At Eindhoven
Ten aircraft took off as detailed to attack the airfield at Eindhoven. All were successful in bombing visually and a good concentration of bombing was achieved. A.A. opposition was slight, but accurate, and three of our aircraft suffered minor damage. No fighter opposition was encountered.

Target photo Le Havre 5-9-44 'L'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

05/09/1944 – Attack Against Le Havre
Eighteen aircraft were standing by to attack Dortmund, but this operation was postponed and twenty five aircraft took off to attack Le Havre in favourable weather. Opposition was negligible and a very successful raid was carried out, without loss. Most of the bombing was done visually. Reports indicate that the target was well saturated.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy”

Flight Time 03:30

Target photo Harqueboc 6-9-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

06/09/1944 – Attack Against Harqueboc Le Havre
Twenty four aircraft were detailed to attack the German Army Headquarters at Harqueboc, near Le Havre. All aircraft bombed the target according to the Master Bomber’s instructions and a very accurate raid was reported. Fires were seen to be still burning from the previous day’s attack on Le Havre. Once again no opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

Flight Time 03:40

Target photo Alvis Montvilliers 10-9-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
Twenty seven aircraft attacked Montivilliers in the Le Havre area, as detailed. All crews dropped their bombs on the target and a very concentrated raid developed. No fighters were encountered and only slight opposition was met from ground defences.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y
Listed in ORB as PB432 but in absence of this serial actually existing in the squadron I suspect it’s a typo and should be PB132

Flight Time 03:44

08/09/1944 – Attack Against Doudenville
Twenty three aircraft took off at dawn to attack enemy defence positions at Doudeneville on the outskirts of Le Havre. Weather conditions were very unfavourable over the target and crews had great difficulty in seeing the markers. Only ten dropped their bombs before the Master Bomber gave instructions to abandon the mission. The remaining thirteen aircraft brought their bombs back to base. Considerable light A.A. fire and machine gun fire was encountered in the target area.

11/09/1944 – Mining in the Baltic Sea
Eight aircraft were detailed to lay mines in the Baltic area, and they all dropped their mines as ordered. No opposition was met on the mining area, but fighters were thought to be active on the homeward route, and one aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU.88. Another aircraft (Captain NZ426041 F/O. W. Hadley) failed to return.

Target photo Frankfurt 12-9-44 'P'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

12/09/1944 – Attack Against Frankfurt
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart, but during the day the target was changed to Frankfurt. Two aircraft failed to take off for this operation and of the twenty that took off the majority were able to identify the target, by the river and several made out the railway yards. Fighters were fairly active and one aircraft claimed to have destroyed an enemy aircraft, the captain was AUS421308 .F/O. J. Bateman. Another aircraft had an inconclusive encounter. All aircraft returned to base and reported a good and accurate raid.

Lancaster Mk.III PB430 AA-P

Flight Time 06:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Target photo Calais 27-9-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

27/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Fourteen aircraft attacked Calais as detailed, taking off in the morning during doubtful weather. Crews bombed visually under instructions from the Master Bomber and a good concentrated raid was carried out. Some accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

Flight Time 02:45

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to make an early morning attack on the defended localities near Calais. One aircraft landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure discovered shortly after take off. Of the remainder only one aircraft found a break in the clouds through which to bomb the Markers. Ten aircraft had to abandon their mission after circling the target area for a considerable time.

29/09/1944 – Mining in the Kattegat Area
Five aircraft were detailed to lay mines in the Kattegat area. Weather conditions were very bad and the crews had difficulty in pin pointing. However four were successful, one being abortive. No enemy opposition was encountered.

Target photo West Capelle Dyke 3-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

03/10/1944 – Attack Against the West Kapelle Dyke
Twenty one aircraft we detailed to attack the West Kappelle dyke. Twenty of these were successful in bombing although some crews had to make two or three attempts owing to low cloud base. Bombing was reported to have been fairly good and some flooding was seen. One aircraft had to bring its bombs back owing to a technical failure.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

Flight Time 02:55

05/10/1944 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
Thirty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack the railway centre at Saarbrucken. They all reached the target area but only fourteen bombed before the Master Bomber issued instructions to abandon the mission. Bombing appeared scattered, and the raid was unsatisfactory. The aircraft captained by NZ 427481 F/Sgt Galletly, A. failed to return.

Target photo Dortmund 6-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

06/10/1944 – Attack Against 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 Farr, W. 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.III PB132 AA-Y

Flight Time 05:35

Target photo Emmerich 7-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

07/10/1944 – Attack Against Emmerich
Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Emmerich in support of the advancing Allied armies. They all bombed the target successfully and a concentrated and accurate raid was reported, the target area being entirely covered with smoke. Moderate heavy AA fire was encountered and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

Flight Time 04:10

Target photo Duisberg 14-10-44 'O'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O “Oboe”

Flight Time 04:05

Target photo Duisberg 15-10-44 'O'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg(2)
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to make a further attack on Duisburg, unfortunately, however, three aircraft had to be withdrawn. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable. The remaining twenty five aircraft took part in a very successful attack in excellent visibility and large fires were seen to break out and add to those already burning from the morning attack. AA opposition was negligible and searchlight did not operate until late in the raid. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy fighter.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O “Oboe”

Flight Time 04:50

Target photo Bonn 18-10-44 'R'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

18/10/1944 – Attack Against Bonn
Sixteen aircraft were again detailed to attack Bonn and this time they were able to carry out the operation. For the first time the aircraft attacked flying in formation. Some moderate heavy A A fire was met over the target, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

Flight Time 04:45

19/10/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Twenty eight aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart. The attack was in two waves. Thirteen aircraft took part in the first wave and successfully dropped their bombs with the aid of markers and flares, in weather conditions of 9/10ths cloud. A.A. opposition was moderate and a few enemy aircraft were active. Fifteen aircraft took part in the second wave five hours later and they all dropped their bombs with the aid of flares through ten tenths cloud. The glow of fires seen, indicated that the fires were concentrated around the aiming point. AA opposition was less than that encountered during the first wave, but more enemy fighters were active. Four of our aircraft had inconclusive combats.

Target photo Flushing 21-10-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

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 PB132 AA-Y

Flight Time 02:40

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

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.

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.

Target photo Koblenz 6-11-44 'Q'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

06/11/1944 – 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 NN710 AA-Q

Flight Time 05:11

15/11/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty five aircraft were detailed for an attack an the Soest Marshalling Yards, but this operation was cancelled and the same aircraft took off to attack an Oil Refinery at Dortmund in daylight, carrying 4,000 lbs and 500 lbs bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing in formation through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 ft. and a concentrated raid was reported. Flak was reported as being fairly accurate by the leading aircraft, but none of our aircraft were hit.

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Target photo Homberg 21-11-44 'Y'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

21/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make another daylight attack on the Oil Refinery plant at Homberg, carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. On this occasion weather over the target was clear, and crews reported the bombing to be quite good, both the target and town being identified visually. Several good explosions were observed in the target area. Flak opposition was moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

Flight Time 04:07

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Target photo Cologne 27-11-44 'JN-D'

© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

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.

Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D “Dog”
Hit by flak once

Flight Time 04:32

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

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.

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.

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.

View the Ford crew Op History page here.

“Campbell’s C**ts” – Terry Ford, Pilot – 1944

Campbells cnts

An extract of a letter written by Terry Ford to Bob Moore regarding notes for the Squadron History, eventually written by Norman Franks
© Julia Burke/ Meryl Poole

Many thanks to Julia, daughter of Terry Ford for passing on a remarkable collection of her Father and his crews time with 75(NZ) Squadron. The collection is sizable and will be shared and added to the crew’s Op History page to add to what Scott has already so generously given regarding his Father Reg Weeden, the crew’s Navigator.

The schoolboy in me, couldn’t help but smirk at the above extract, written by Terry to Bob Moore, who at the time, had started the Squadron History – eventually to see the light of day as ‘Forever Strong’ by Norman Franks.

If the text isn’t big enough, click on the above image to read the rather unflattering tale of a Canadian gentleman and his desire to see the Captains of the Squadron get the respect they deserved – it seems the crews saw to that………..

I am sure there will be more posts on the Ford crew in the near future, to read the Op History for the Ford crew as it currently stands, click here.

 

Reginald Charles Weeden, Navigator – Ford crew, 1944

Reg Weeden - RAFVR 1941

F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, Navigator with Terry Ford’s crew: July to December 1944. Reg stayed with the Squadron, it seems until it was disbanded at the end of 1945.
© Scott Weeden

Many thanks to Scott for passing on a considerable collection of material relating to his Father, Reg Weeden, who was Navigator with Terry Ford’s crew during the last quarter of 1944. As well as completing a first tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Reg then went to 35 Squadron and took part, during 1946, in Operation ‘Goodwill’, a tour of the United States by the Squadron in their Lancasters.

Reg Weeden entering Bomber - RAF Mepal 1944

Reg, starting his day in the ‘office’.
© Scott Weeden

Reg Weeden at Navigator Stn. Lancaster - RAF Mepal 1944

Reg at his navigators desk.
© Scott Weeden

Reg’s training prior to arrival at Mepal on the 27th of August, 1944 is as follows:

No.1 A.O.S – Malton, Ontario. 16.5.43 – 1.10.43
Reg Navigator Graduation Ceremony Sep'43 - COMP

No.3 A.N.S. – Port Albert, Ontarion. 17.10.43 – 13.12.43
No.9 (o) A.F.U. – LLanderog, Wales. 29.2.44 – 4.4.44
No. 84 O.T.U – Desborough, Northamptonshire. 5.4.44 – 14.6.44
No. 1658 H.C.U. Chedburgh, Suffolk. 22.6.44 – 8.5.44

Stood in front of the tail of a Stirling, one assumes therefore at 1958 C.U. at Chedburgh. Reg is stood second from the left. Scott Weeden

Stood in front of the tail of a Stirling, one assumes therefore at 1658 C.U. at Chedburgh. Reg is stood second from the left. © Scott Weeden

No.3 L.F.S. Feltwell, Norfolk. 12.8.44 – 27.8.44
No.75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal Cambridgeshire. 27.8.44

29/08/1944 – Attack Against Stettin
Fourteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack Stettin and thirteen of these successfully bombed the target with the aid of markers. A good concentration of fires developed and all crews reported a successful raid. A.A. opposition was moderate and enemy fighters were active on the outward route. Three of our aircraft had combats, two being inconclusive but the third (Captain NZ428797 .P/O. J. Scott) claimed one enemy aircraft as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by 1323677 .F/S. King, D., failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-T

F/L Charles Gordon Washer, RNZAF NZ415392 – Pilot.
F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. W. Andrew, RAFVR – Navigator.
F/O Kenneth James Burmester, RAFVR 1800126/ 152746 – Air Bomber.
P/O Leslie Thomas Casey, RAAF AUS419455 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. W. Mellor, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
F/O Wilfred Darrell Cooper, RNZAF NZ426151 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. W. Conners, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 06:50
Flight Time 09:30

31/08/1944 – Attack Against Pont Reny
Pont Remy 30 August
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed to attack the Flying Bomb Supply Dump at Pont Reny. All were successful in bombing the target, although cloud obscured it to some extent, which caused part of the bombing to be scattered. No enemy fighters were encountered and A.A. opposition was slight, but one aircraft (Captain NZ421488 .F/O. J. Aitken) was damaged and the Air Bomber, NZ429967 .F/O. R. Mayhill received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. R. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:16 – Landed 19:45
Flight Time 03:29

03/09/1944 – Attack Against The Aerodrom At Eindhoven
sept 3 eindhoven
Ten aircraft took off as detailed to attack the airfield at Eindhoven. All were successful in bombing visually and a good concentration of bombing was achieved. A.A. opposition was slight, but accurate, and three of our aircraft suffered minor damage. No fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I ME753 AA-N

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
P/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:50 – Landed 19:10
Flight Time 03:20

05/09/1944 – Attack Against Le Havre
5 sept le havre
Eighteen aircraft were standing by to attack Dortmund, but this operation was postponed and twenty five aircraft took off to attack Le Havre in favourable weather. Opposition was negligible and a very successful raid was carried out, without loss. Most of the bombing was done visually. Reports indicate that the target was well saturated.

Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L “Lucy”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:45 – Landed 21:15
Flight Time 03:30

06/09/1944 – Attack Against Harqueboc Le Havre
sept 6 le havre

Twenty four aircraft were detailed to attack the German Army Headquarters at Harqueboc, near Le Havre. All aircraft bombed the target according to the Master Bomber’s instructions and a very accurate raid was reported. Fires were seen to be still burning from the previous day’s attack on Le Havre. Once again no opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzgerald, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:50 – Landed 19:30
Flight Time 03:40

08/09/1944 – Attack Against Doudenville
8 sept le havre canned

Twenty three aircraft took off at dawn to attack enemy defense positions at Doudeneville on the outskirts of Le Havre. Weather conditions were very unfavourable over the target and crews had great difficulty in seeing the markers. Only ten dropped their bombs before the Master Bomber gave instructions to abandon the mission. The remaining thirteen aircraft brought their bombs back to base. Considerable light A.A. fire and machine gun fire was encountered in the target area.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y (DNC)

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 06:05 – Landed 10:00
Flight Time 03:55

10/09/1944 – Attack Against Montivilliers
Le Havre COMP
10 sept le havre
Twenty seven aircraft attacked Montivilliers in the Le Havre area, as detailed. All crews dropped their bombs on the target and a very concentrated raid developed. No fighters were encountered and only slight opposition was met from ground defences.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y
Listed in ORB as PB432 but in absence of this serial actually existing in the squadron I suspect it’s a typo and should be PB132

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 15:24 – Landed 19:08
Flight Time 03:44

11/09/1944 – Mining in the Baltic Sea
11 sept Baltic mining
Eight aircraft were detailed to lay mines in the Baltic area, and they all dropped their mines as ordered. No opposition was met on the mining area, but fighters were thought to be active on the homeward route, and one aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU.88. Another aircraft (Captain NZ426041 F/O. W. Hadley) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I LM276 AA-S “Sugar”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:44 – Landed 03:14
Flight Time 07:30

12/09/1944 – Attack Against Frankfurt
12 sept frankfurt
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart, but during the day the target was changed to Frankfurt. Two aircraft failed to take off for this operation and of the twenty that took off the majority were able to identify the target, by the river and several made out the railway yards. Fighters were fairly active and one aircraft claimed to have destroyed an enemy aircraft, the captain was AUS421308 .F/O. J. Bateman. Another aircraft had an inconclusive encounter. All aircraft returned to base and reported a good and accurate raid.

Lancaster Mk.III PB430 AA-P

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 01:25
Flight Time 06:30

25/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
25 sept calais

Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to carry out an early morning attack on Calais. They all reached the target and found that ten tenths cloud with 2,000 feet tops and less than 1,000 feet base obscured it. The operation, therefore, had to be abandoned.

Lancaster Mk.I NF951 AA-P

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. P. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:20 – Landed 12:30
Flight Time 04:10

27/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
sept 27 calais
Fourteen aircraft attacked Calais as detailed, taking off in the morning during doubtful weather. Crews bombed visually under instructions from the Master Bomber and a good concentrated raid was carried out. Some accurate heavy and light A.A. fire was met over the target.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – Landed
Flight Time 02:45

28/09/1944 – Attack Against Calais
sept 28 calais abandoned
Twelve aircraft took off as detailed to make an early morning attack on the defended localities near Calais. One aircraft landed at Woodbridge owing to a technical failure discovered shortly after take off. Of the remainder only one aircraft found a break in the clouds through which to bomb the Markers. Ten aircraft had to abandon their mission after circling the target area for a considerable time.

Lancaster Mk.I PB132 AA-Y (DNC)

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
W/O W. Brown, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/O William Henry Goodridge, RAFVR 635318/ 53370 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:47 – Landed 10:47
Flight Time 03:00

29/09/1944 – Mining in the Kattegat Area
29 sept kattegat
Five aircraft were detailed to lay mines in the Kattegat area. Weather conditions were very bad and the crews had difficulty in pin pointing. However four were successful, one being abortive. No enemy opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I PB421 AA-K
Reg Weeden’s logbook says “S” – this needs to be checked

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:40 – Landed 06:50
Flight Time 07:10

03/10/1944 – Attack Against the West Kapelle Dyke
Walcheren COMP
Oct 3 west kappelle
Twenty one aircraft we detailed to attack the West Kappelle dyke. Twenty of these were successful in bombing although some crews had to make two or three attempts owing to low cloud base. Bombing was reported to have been fairly good and some flooding was seen. One aircraft had to bring its bombs back owing to a technical failure.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:00 – Landed 14:55
Flight Time 02:55

05/10/1944 – Attack Against Saarbrucken
5 oct saarbrucken
Thirty one aircraft took off as detailed to attack the railway centre at Saarbrucken. They all reached the target area but only fourteen bombed before the Master Bomber issued instructions to abandon the mission. Bombing appeared scattered, and the raid was unsatisfactory. The aircraft captained by NZ 427481 F/Sgt Galletly, A. failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:30 – Landed 22:55
Flight Time 05:25

06/10/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
6 oct 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 Farr, W. 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.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:55 – Landed 22:30
Flight Time 05:35

07/10/1944 – Attack Against Emmerich
oct 7 emmerich

Twenty six aircraft took off as detailed to attack Emmerich in support of the advancing Allied armies. They all bombed the target successfully and a concentrated and accurate raid was reported, the target area being entirely covered with smoke. Moderate heavy AA fire was encountered and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 16:25
Flight Time 04:10

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg
oct14 duisburg

Thirty one aircraft took off at dawn to attack Duisburg. Except for one aircraft which returned early, they all dropped their bombs in the built up areas of the town, which was identified visually and with the aid of markers. A moderate heavy A A barrage was encountered from the target area and a few of our aircraft suffered minor damage. One aircraft was damaged in the bomb bay which necessitated it landing at Woodbridge on return

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O “Oboe”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 07:00 – Landed 11:05
Flight Time 04:05

14/10/1944 – Attack Against Duisburg(2)
Duisburg 14th 15th Oct 44 comp

oct14 duisburg 2
Twenty nine aircraft were detailed to make a further attack on Duisburg, unfortunately, however, three aircraft had to be withdrawn. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable. The remaining twenty five aircraft took part in a very successful attack in excellent visibility and large fires were seen to break out and add to those already burning from the morning attack. AA opposition was negligible and searchlight did not operate until late in the raid. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with an enemy fighter.

Lancaster Mk.I HK596 AA-O “Oboe”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 03:40
Flight Time 04:50

18/10/1944 – Attack Against Bonn
oct19 Bonn
Sixteen aircraft were again detailed to attack Bonn and this time they were able to carry out the operation. For the first time the aircraft attacked flying in formation. Some moderate heavy A A fire was met over the target, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I HK574 AA-R “Rio Rita”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 08:35 – Landed 13:20
Flight Time 04:45

19/10/1944 – Attack Against Stuttgart
Stuttgart CLEAN
oct20 Stuugart
Twenty eight aircraft were detailed to attack Stuttgart. The attack was in two waves. Thirteen aircraft took part in the first wave and successfully dropped their bombs with the aid of markers and flares, in weather conditions of 9/10ths cloud. A.A. opposition was moderate and a few enemy aircraft were active. Fifteen aircraft took part in the second wave five hours later and they all dropped their bombs with the aid of flares through ten tenths cloud. The glow of fires seen, indicated that the fires were concentrated around the aiming point. AA opposition was less than that encountered during the first wave, but more enemy fighters were active. Four of our aircraft had inconclusive combats.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 04:05
Flight Time 05:50

21/10/1944 – Attack Against Flushing
Flushing CLEANED
Oct 21 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 PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 11:10 – Landed 13:50
Flight Time 02:40

23/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Oct 23 Essen
Twenty seven aircraft took off as detailed to attack Essen. Ten tenths cloud prevailed over the target but all aircraft were successful in attacking with the aid of marker flares. A A opposition was moderate but no enemy fighters were seen.

Lancaster Mk.III PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:45 – Landed 21:50
Flight Time 05:05

25/10/1944 – Attack Against Essen
Oct 25 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 PB132 AA-Y

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B. Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 13:15 – Landed 17:10
Flight Time 03:55

05/11/1944 – Attack Against Solingen
Nov 5 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 NF935 AA-P

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
F/S E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:15 – Landed 15:10
Flight Time 04:55

06/11/1944 – Attack Against Coblenz
Nov 6 Koblenz
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 NN710 AA-Q

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:53 – Landed 22:04
Flight Time 05:11

15/11/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Nov 14 dortmund
Twenty five aircraft were detailed for an attack an the Soest Marshalling Yards, but this operation was cancelled and the same aircraft took off to attack an Oil Refinery at Dortmund in daylight, carrying 4,000 lbs and 500 lbs bombs. All aircraft were successful in bombing in formation through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 ft. and a concentrated raid was reported. Flak was reported as being fairly accurate by the leading aircraft, but none of our aircraft were hit.

Lancaster Mk.I ME321 AA-N “Nan”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:30 – Landed 17:30
Flight Time 05:00

20/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Nov 20 Homberg
Twenty eight aircraft took off to attack the Oil Refinery Plant at Homberg. Twenty two aircraft in daylight attacked the target in ten tenths cloud with tops at 23,000 ft. which made formation flying very difficult. They carried 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. Results of bombing could not be observed, but it is considered that the raid was unsatisfactory. One aircraft AA/J returned early owing to icing trouble and two aircraft bombed last resort targets at Duisburg and Hamborn. Three aircraft failed to return. These were captained by 185116 F/O R. Gordon, AUS419328 F/O P. McCartin and 152402 F/O H. Rees.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:48 – Landed 17:11
Flight Time 04:23

21/11/1944 – Attack Against Homberg
Nov 21 Homberg
Twenty one aircraft took off to make another daylight attack on the Oil Refinery plant at Homberg, carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. On this occasion weather over the target was clear, and crews reported the bombing to be quite good, both the target and town being identified visually. Several good explosions were observed in the target area. Flak opposition was moderate.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
P/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:30 – Landed 16:37
Flight Time 04:07

23/11/1944 – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
nov 23 Gelsenkirchen
Twenty five aircraft took off as detailed to attack Nordstern Oil Refinery Plant at Gelsenkirchen carrying 4,000 lb and 500 lb bombs. All aircraft attacked in formation bombing on navigational aids as the cloud was 10/10 with tops at 8000 ft. The attack was thought to be well concentrated, though it was impossible to observe the results. Flak opposition was moderate, but no fighter opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

P/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:43 – Landed 17:25
Flight Time 04:42

27/11/1944 – Attack Against Cologne Marshalling Yard
nov 27 cologne
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.

Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D “Dog”
Hit by flak once

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:26 – Landed 16:58
Flight Time 04:32

30/11/1944 – Attack Against Osterfeld
nov 30 Osterfeld
Eighteen aircraft took off as detailed carrying 4,000 lb, 1,000 lb, 500 lb, and Incendiary bombs to attack the coking plant at Osterfeld. Seventeen aircraft attacked the target successfully through ten tenths cloud with tops 10,000 feet, and the raid was reported as being well concentrated. One aircraft captained by NZ411915 F/O J.A. McIntosh is missing and the aircraft is believed to have had its tail shot away.

Lancaster Mk.I PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 10:49 – Landed 15:50
Flight Time 05:01

04/12/1944 – Attack Against Oberhausen
dec 4 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.III ME321 AA-N

P/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 12:15 – Landed 16:11
Flight Time 03:56

05/12/1944 – Attack Against Hamm Marshalling Yards
5 dec Hamm
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 PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 09:03 – Landed 13:52
Flight Time 04:49

06/12/1944 – Attack Against Mersburg Leuna Oil Refinery
Leuna Oil CLEAN
Dec 6 meresburg
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 PB761 AA-Y “Yorker”

F/O Terrence Arthur Ford, RAFVR 1585520/ 152112 – Pilot.
F/O Reginald Charles Weeden, RAFVR 1602823/ 153661 – Navigator.
F/O Neill Creagh Chapman, RAFVR 1624304/ 153939 – Air Bomber.
F/S George James Tredinnick, RAAF AUS.430229 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. E. Muller, RAFVR – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. B Glover, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. H. Fitzwater, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:11 – Landed 00:24
Flight Time 07:13

december end yates sign off

Reg’s final Operational sign off – interestingly by Harry Yates.
© Scott Weeden

RAF Mepal Xmas Card 1944 - COMP

© Scott Weeden

Navigators Mepal 1944 (RCWeeden front center)

The precise date of this photograph is unknown, however what is known is that it was taken in 1944 at Mepal and is composed entirely of Squadron Navigators.
© Scott Weeden

It is clear from Reg’s logbook that he stayed at Mepal for a significant amount of time beyond his tour. Scott says he was retained to provide support and instruction for Navigation – which makes perfect sense. The pages from his logbook clearly show that Reg not only stayed beyond his tour end in December 1944, but was in fact involved in a Baedeker flight on the 28th June with Don Shearer

A single page from his logbook makes interesting and perhaps perplexing reading – especially as the page bears no stated location – what can be deduced however is simultaneously interesting and confusing……..

RC Weeden - Logbook - MEPAL Page 13 (1945)

H2S  cross country flights (XC) with Peter Trevarthen , James Westbrooke, Leslie Sinclair in April and May, followed by a Baedeker flight with Donald Shearer on the 23rd of June. The date, aircraft and Pilot all tally, but Reg is not listed in the crew in the June Form 541 for this sortie.

21.7.45
Administration. The Squadron Moved from R.A.F. Station, Mepal, No. 3 Group, to R.A.F. Station, Spilsby, No.5.Group. The journey was made by rail and the whole move was carried out very smoothly. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to both stations for their excellent cooperation in the movement.

We must assume the words ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Spilsby place the 2 sorties with Maurice  Adamson after the 21st of July, where Reg flew twice as a Passenger

DISBANDMENT OF SQUADRON. No.75(N.Z.) Squadron was disbanded with effect from 15.10.45 on the authority of Bomber Command letter BC/S.32518/Org. dated 3rd. October, 1945.

We can also assume that, therefore the final 2 sorties on this page dated Dec 3rd and 5th must actually be with 35 Squadron. It’s interesting if this is the case, the sudden, relaxing of the very detailed style of Reg’s log entries while Operational. After a little googling, it appears that Operation ‘Spasm’ was a collective name given to a series of flights with Aircrew to Berlin. These flights allowed time on the ground and exploration of what remained of the city – apparently all under the watchful eyes of their Soviet army ‘minders’……

His ‘Units Served’ list at the back of his Logbook is peculiar based on the dates listed above. Reg clearly lists his stay at Mepal as being between 21st August 1944 and 16th January 1946 – though this date is obviously 2 months after the Squadron was disbanded…..??

Units served

Reg next moved to 35 Squadron at Gravely. The steady routine of cross country training flights was broken in the July of 1946 when Reg was a member of one of several (I assume) crews who flew to the United States on Operation ‘Goodwill’.

A little bit of googling has thrown up a fascinating thread on the PPRuNe forum – which can be seen here.

In July and August 1946 sixteen Lancasters of 35 Squadron went on Operation Goodwill, a trip to the U.S.A. to show the Americans some of the ‘British Flyer Boys’ that had helped win the war. Reg’s complete logbook can be viewed here (including 35 Squadron and the Goodwill records).

After a few emails with Scott  -I realise that the pictures I found and I liked – astonishingly actually are the pictures of Reg……

Reg Weeden - Center Lanc - TW872 D

35 Squadron Lancasters, waved off on the start of their tour to the United States -the Lancaster in the centre of the photograph is Reg’s……

Reg Weeden - Rear Lanc - TW872 D

Reg’s Lancaster in the foreground

35 Squadron Goodwill Tour - Reg 3rd row from front - 7th from right under left wing

Reg, amongst the 35 Squadron ‘Goodwill’ crew photograph.
© Scott Weeden

Wonderfully, while Reg was in the States, he sent a letter home, describing some of the trip.

Letter July 1946 - 35 Sdn - Page 1

Letter July 1946 - 35 Sdn - Page 2

© Scott Weeden

35 SQD RAF
24/7/46

My Dear Mum

Have had a wonderful time since our arrival here, but I’m just melting away with the heat.

Again, as before we have had only a short stay and tomorrow we are flying to our next stage Denver.

I called Doris up by phone from New York, and the family were most delighted to hear from me. I’m still hoping against hope that on my return I shall be able to get some time off to visit them.

Last night a party was given in our honour at an enormous country mansion, dancing in the grounds, it was just like a film setting, everything was so lovely.

The Squadron Commander received a phone call from Rita Hayworth yesterday and she is meeting us together with other screen lovelies on our arrival at Los Angeles on the 28th.

Isn’t this just wonderful, I bet a few people are envious of us, I will certainly have something to talk about when I return.

Well that’s about all for today, hope you enjoy your summer holiday.

Bye for now

Regards to all

Love

Reg xxxx

To Evelyn xxxxx

 

 

75 NZ Squadron Crest

At this point, we Know very little more about the Ford crew. Tragically, perhaps as a footnote to the remarkable story of the Ford boy’s exploits we have to pause and reflect on the cruel twists of fate that would befall at least one of the members of the crew.

The following report is harrowing – and I must confess personally, I was ignorant of this incident.

There is, a certain irony that the reportage as presented, happened so long after a period that similar reports perhaps blurred because they were simply a nightly occurrence, worse perhaps therefore because Neill Chapman got through that flak and night fighter infested time to simply, become a victim of what now, we would describe as fate, or just, terrible bad luck.

In November 1967 a passenger jet bound for London’s Heathrow airport crashed into the southern slopes of Blackdown Hill, near to Fernhurst village, resulting in the tragic death of all 37 persons on board. The accident is recorded as the 11th worst air accident in the United Kingdom.

The police report from 1967 gives a harrowing account of the event:
About 10.02 p.m. on Saturday, 4th November, 1967, a Caravelle Airliner No. EC-BDD, owned by Iberia Airlines of Spain, crashed at Black Down Hill, Sussex (map reference 919289). This Hill at its highest point is 902 ft. above sea level. The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Malaga, Spain, to Heathrow Airport, and was piloted by Captain Harnando Maura [Pieres], 37 years, an experienced Pilot. It left Malaga at 7.30 p.m. G.M.T. and the estimated time of arrival at Heathrow Airport was 10.10 p.m. G.M.T. The weather at the time was slightly misty with intermittent drizzle but there was reasonable visibility.

The plane, a Sud Aviation Caravelle SE210, named Jesus Gurudi after the Basque composer, was travelling in a north-easterly direction. It initially struck trees in the grounds of Black Down House, then continued for hundreds of yards, “passing across a meadow where it killed 65 grazing sheep and injured 23 more which were subsequently destroyed”. It then broke through a large hedge and parts of the aircraft fell off destroying a garage, and damaging parts of the roof of Upper Black Down House as the aircraft disintegrated.

Haslemere Fire Brigade were alerted within minutes of the crash, and were later joined by firemen from Grayshott, Liphook and Guildford. Aviation fuel had caused small fires to break out in the densely wooded hillside. It soon became clear however that all those on the flight had been killed on impact:

Debris from the aircraft was scattered over the whole of the 355 yards of its passage. There were no survivors from a total complement of 30 passengers and 7 crew“.

Fernhurst villagers provided essential support: the Village Hall was turned into a temporary mortuary and the WVRS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) helped provide food and drink for the emergency services from the Youth Club behind the Spread Eagle public house.

The victims on the scheduled flight, Iberia 062, were the all-Spanish crew, and the passengers comprising 25 British, mostly returning from holiday in Spain, 2 Americans, 2 Spaniards and 2 Australians. Among the passengers were: the British film and TV actress June Thorburn, who was five months pregnant; industrialist and Coventry City Football Club vice-president John Clarkson; and Donald Campbell of the Campbell Aircraft Company. There is a memorial stone in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey.

Reasons for the crash:
The plane’s Black Box flight recorder was recovered from the scene, although the cockpit and instruments were badly damaged, making the investigation into the cause of the crash difficult. The aircraft appeared to be flying along its correct path, but at a significantly lower altitude. It is possible that the type of altimeters then in use were mis-read by the crew. It is suggested that the air navigation beacon at Northchapel was introduced as a result of the disaster to try to prevent it happening again (although navigation beacons provide position, not height, information to pilots).

Within the passengers were Neill and Patricia (née Lake-Davis) Chapman  – Died 4th of November 1967.

 

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