Tag Archives: Seven Sinners

Three cousins in 75(NZ) Squadron – another question answered!

AA-A

AA-A “Seven Sinners”
Photo from Forever strong: The story of 75 Squadron RNZAF, 1916-1990 (1991) by Norman Franks, Random Century.

Chris is like a dog with a bone with this story – his final thoughts and a very well argued conclusion……..

The question about the beer tankard nose art in the previous post led to an almost immediate reply from Ian, who has been helping build the 75 (NZ) Sqdn aircraft database, with a copy of a more detailed photo from Norman Franks’ book, Forever Strong.

AA-A was “Seven Sinners”, a name we had thought to be associated with another, later Lancaster.

Armed with this information I had another go with Google, which fortuitously turned up a wonderful set of photos of AA-A Seven Sinners and her original crew, the Bateman crew, who I think must have dreamed up the name and nose art:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/skew/4417816297/in/set-72157623582338770/

Johnny Bateman, his Navigator and Bomb Aimer were all Australian (hence the kangaroo), and the others were Brits (hence the Lion).

Seven Sinners was also the name of a 1940 movie starring Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne, so no doubt topical at the time.

The Forever Strong photo must have been taken just after she was named and decorated, as there are no op’s markings.

By the time the Elmslie crew’s photo was taken with her in October 44 (below), she had 27 op’s marked, so I figured there had to be a decent record of her in the ORB’s, going back to August 44 or thereabouts.

The Elmslie crew at Mepal, October 1944, in front of AA-A with its Foaming Beer Tankard nose art. Left to Right: Jim Elmslie (Pilot), Alan Wiltshire (Nav), Ken Futter (F/E), Jim McKenzie (B/A), Peter Dear (W/Op), John Vallender (RG), Gordon Burberry (M/UG) Photo from Alan Wiltshire, courtesy of NZ Bomber Command Association archives.

The Elmslie crew at Mepal, October 1944, in front of AA-A with its Foaming Beer Tankard nose art.
Left to Right: Jim Elmslie (Pilot), Alan Wiltshire (Nav), Ken Futter (F/E), Jim McKenzie (B/A), Peter Dear (W/Op), John Vallender (RG), Gordon Burberry (M/UG)
Photo from Alan Wiltshire, courtesy of NZ Bomber Command Association archives.

A quick scan of the ORB’s (Form 541’s) and there she was, LM266, the Bateman crew’s regular Lancaster from mid-August to early November, and the same a/c that the Elmslie crew flew on 7 October!

When we first looked at the Elmslie crew’s op’s, I had incorrectly assumed that LM266, as recorded in the ORB’s for 7 October, was AA-F (which she was re-coded to later in her life), but we have now confirmed that she was AA-A, from 28/29 July to 4 November 44.

Not only did the nose art help us solve the identity of the aircraft, it also allowed us to date the photos of Jim and crew in front of and underneath “Seven Sinners” – they would have been taken on the 7th of October 44, the day of their first op’ together, to Emmerich!

Good work Chris!!