Tag Archives: Roy John Alexander Leslie

Request for information – Solingen, 4th of November 1944

soligen

Target photo taken by Jack Wall, A/B with Jack Bailey’s crew over Solingen on the 4th of November 1944. The information at the foot of the photograph contains the following information: Squadron Base – Mep is Mepal. Date. Height. Compass bearing. Time. Target. Bomb Load. Camera and Flash setting. Pilots Rank and Name. Aircraft letter and Squadron number.

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

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

log27&28 scarecrow crop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lancaster Mk.III PB421 AA-K  (29)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’, 86 Ops – QED

ND 801 002wm

From Form 541 75(NZ) Squadron RAF 03.2.45. Attack Against Dortmund “Aircraft crashed on landing. Pilot, Nav, W/Operator, Engineer and A/Bomber injured and in hospital. Prt. Outr. Failed prior to reaching target and overshot on landing. Camera completely wrecked”. © Pauline Whittall

There was perhaps inevitably, a high level of interest in the post I made a few weeks back regarding the final fate of ND801 JN-X. If not for the astonishing pictures supplied by Pauline showing the aircraft’s final resting place in a chicken shed on the edge of the airfield, then for not only the identification of another 75(NZ) Squadron RAF Lancaster with nose art (unicorn rarity springs to mind), but also a clear OP count – 85 painted, sadly the 86th shown in this picture.

ND801 is (frustratingly) notable for being one of the few Lancasters from the Squadron with identifiable nose art and a name of ‘Get Sum Inn’, perhaps the style of the artwork and the name suggests a reference to a pub, or having a pint generally. The origin of this artwork will probably never be know, though looking at the operational history, it would appear that relatively early in ND801’s flying career, she became the relatively regular mount of Colin Megson’s crew (21 Ops). Latterly, a similar level of frequency can be seen after the Megson crews departure from flying ‘801 ( though they were to be on base longer) by Tom Waugh’s crew, who flew 16 Ops in her.

A high count Lancaster from this period in the war, such as ND 801of course poses the tantalising question of whether she would have ever reached her ton, or even overtaken NE181, JN-M, ‘The Captains Fancy. Well, obviously she didn’t, but statistic fans might be interested to know  that at the point ND801 and Bruce Crawford’s crew crashed on the 3rd of February 1945, ‘Mike’ had clocked up her 98th the day before to Weisbaden. Perhaps more interestingly, at this same point, there were some other Lancasters that were also accumulating high totals – LM544 was on 86 also ME751 AA-M had reached 75 and HK562 AA-L was on 74 (all figures subject to final checking and revisions to database).

Readers will have, no doubt, got bored with my now regular wittering about the ‘Form 541 database’ that I have slowly been chipping away at over now the last 14 or so months. This morning I realised I had just added the a/c and pilot details for the 3rd of February 1945. Deciding to test the contents of the database I filtered in the serial number no. column and low and behold got 86 Ops for ND801, which, to be honest I am astonished by.

I suppose I am saying all of this to make a number of observations. Firstly, the full Op list for ND801 was generated, as opposed to found. I make this observation and differentiation because I think its significant. Up until now (and in real terms I will have to continue for a while), when someone requests information on a relative, I have to essentially trawl through the ORB’s, looking for a crew. Now this activity in itself is wrought with problems. Firstly, you are ‘looking’ for, normally a Pilots name, at the top of the crew list – looking for things assumes you find all that you are looking for. More problematically, whilst you might note a change in a member of a crew, its very difficult to find if a member of the ‘subject’ crew might have flown a ‘fill in’ for another crew – this level of analysis, is simply beyond my time, unless I am aware that this is the case. From my experience, I know the ORB’s are littered with errors, ranging from incorrect initials to the completely chaotic, non consecutive ordering of pages – from recent typing I have discovered that Tim Blewett, Pilot, is consistently listed in the Form 541 with a first initial of ‘J’. these typographical errors become more acute when you deal with the aircraft serial codes – a case in point relating to ND801 – in place she is listed as ‘NF801’ – only by cross referencing Ian’s amazing database on the blog was I able to satisfy myself that in the absence of another ‘NF’ aircraft with a similar number, that these entries were in fact ND801. Sad to say that these errors and others are repeated in other documents, so the process of categorically confirming the identity of a certain aircraft within the ORB’s is at best time consuming and I fear perhaps on occasions to come, even maybe impossible.

The data base is still a long way off being complete in terms of even basic information. My creative left sided brain decided to begin the whole activity at the beginning of 1943 – I guess because Dad joined the Squadron for his first tour in that year, so eagle eyed readers that noted my reference to completing the Dortmund raid of 3rd February 1945 shouldn’t get too excited – when 1945 is complete, I have to go back and do 1940, 1941 and 1942…….

Whilst portions of the database contain full information – target a/c serial, Pilot, Nav, AB, W/Op, FE, MuG and R/Gnr, a significant portion does not yet. Quickly I realised in terms of raw usable and extractable information it was better to focus on Target, a/c and Pilot. In addition to this, the ‘up’, ‘down’ times have to be added.

I estimate that based on work and sleep, there is probably another 2 years of work to complete the basic database – obviously once this is complete, a full history for aircraft, crews and individuals will be able to generated. How this is done I am not sure – it might provide the tipping point regarding the much muttered about website to replace the blog. My gut feeling is that a searchable database is not the way forward – whilst I am and always will be keen to share anything I have, there is a difference between information and time – this database will represent too significant an investment in time to simply allow people to hoover it all up – and I will not let that happen.

Ian Chris and I have been in some discussions over the last few months regarding expanding the A/C datbase to include images – it strikes me, with the creation of the Op history for ND 801, an individual page for each aircraft of the Squadron might be the way forward. Based on my magnificent presentation of ONE aircraft to this point, I have added a shell section below the 3 aircraft types and under it an ‘ND series’ page that links then directly to at this moment just ND801 – but hopefully this will grow.

I’m interested in your feedback and thoughts

View the Operational history of ND801 JN-X ‘Get Sum Inn’ here

cheers

Simon