Tag Archives: Sgt. Craven

P/O Clifford Frederick Page, Observer – Nola crew

Aircrew Remembered Archive Collection 20 copy

P/O Clifford Frederick Page, Navigator with David Nola’s crew.
courtesy of Kelvin Youngs, Aircrew Remembrance Society.

Many thanks to Kelvin for passing on a wonderful collection of images of Clifford Page, Observer with the David Nola’s crew, were all killed apart from the Rear Gunner on their return from an Op to Hamburg on the 8th May 1941 , when their Wellington struck a barrage balloon cable in the Humber Estuary. This crew has been of special interest to me since I first came across the graves of David Nola and the 2nd Pilot Alex Mee, in Grimsby cemetery, not longer after I began to research 75(NZ) Squadron.

Kelvin has passed them on with the sole desire that they should be seen by the wider 75(NZ) community and that by doing so, a little more might be learnt about some of the photographs – I think a laudable and sensible wish. I am sure that we have all benefited from the generous donation by individuals to the blog so far and it has always been my intention to present all of the material I have been sent – it’s only by doing this that everyone can see it and then perhaps contribute more to our knowledge of the squadron – and long may this continue.

View this remarkable collection here. If you are able to add  information to any of the images in the collection, please quote the photograph number so I can add to the caption.

Perhaps annoyingly and also ironically given so little is known of the photographs, I am currently not able to tell you much about the crew – my ORB collection for 1941 is sadly fragmented.

I present what I have in the hope that somebody else might be able to fill the gaps…….

February 1941 From 541
From 18.40 HRs. 10/2/41 to 04.30 HRS 11/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Rotterdam
Wellington T.2503
P/O Falconer Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
P/O Muir Navigator
Sgt. Morrison W/Operator
Sgt. Hellier Front Gunner
Sgt. Brodie Rear Gunner

From 18.30 HRS. 14/2/41 to 01.15 HRS. 15/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Wellington T.2503
P/O Falconer Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
P/O Muir Navigator
Sgt. Morrison W/Operator
Sgt. Hellier Front Gunner
Sgt. Brodie Rear Gunner

From 18.55HRS, 21/2/41 to 00.30 HRS, 22/2/41
Bombing Attacks on Willemshaven
Wellington MK.Ic R.1161
P/O Burton Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Revitt Navigator
Sgt. Milborne W/Operator
Sgt. Brown Front Gunner
Sgt. George Rear Gunner

From 18.50 HRS, 23/2/41 to 23.05 HRS. 23/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Boulogne
Wellington Mk.Ic R.7818
P/O Kimberley Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Williams Navigator
Sgt. Fairlam W/Operator
Sgt. McCracken Front Gunner
Sgt. Watts Rear Gunner

From 18.50 HRS, 26/2/41 to 00.40 HRS. 27/2/41
Bombing Attacks Against Cologne
Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818
P/O Kimberley Captain
Sgt. Nola 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Williams Navigator
Sgt. Fairlam W/Operator
Sgt. McCracken Front Gunner
Sgt. Watts Rear Gunner

March Records not present

April 1941 Form 541
From 21.35 Hours 14.4.41 to 04.30 Hours 15.4.41
Bombing Attacks on Brest
Wellington Mk.Ic (no serial code listed)
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

From 20.25 Hours 16.4.41 to 03.50 Hours 17.4.41
Bombing Attacks on Bremen
Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

From 20.35 Hours 17.4.41 to 05.35 Hours 18.4.41
Bombing Attacks on Berlin
Wellington Mk.Ic R.3166
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

From 20.35 Hours 20.4.41 to 04.25 Hours 30.4.41
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Mannheim and Rotterdam
Wellington Mk.Ic R.3169
Sgt. Nola Captain
Sgt. Mee 2nd Pilot
P/O Page Navigator
Sgt. Russell W/Operator
Sgt. Hall Front Gunner
Sgt. Craven rear Gunner

Form 540 for May
May 8
Operations
Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Twelve Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, TBO.404, returned to base with bombs on account rear turret and guns being out of order. The remaining aircraft all dropped their bombs and bursts were seen in target areas, as a result of which many fires were started. A.A. fire was intense and fairly accurate, and searchlights were active. Enemy aircraft were numerous but no attacks were made. The weather was good, but a little too clear. Navigation was by D/R, astro, W/T, map reading.

Similarly to the loss of James Ward, his crew and the Hawkins crew  on the night of 15th September 1941, the loss of the crew is not even recorded in this summary of the raid.

Sgt David Leo Nola RNZAF NZ39930. Pilot. Died age 25.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

P/O Clifford Frederick Page RAFVR 60780. Navigator.Died age 22.
Buried Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery England.

Sgt Alexander Coutts Mee RNZAF NZ40656. 2nd Pilot. Died age.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt Walter Russell RAFVR 949560 Wireless Operator. Died age 23.
Buried West Bromwich Churchyard Staffordshire England.

Sgt John Hall RAFVR 988980. Front Gunner. Died age 20. Buried Hull Northern Cemetery, England.

Sgt Craven RAFVR. Rear Gunner. AG x Mar to 7 May 1941. c/w D A Nola as R/Gnr.

We will remember them

Bev comes from Grimsby and after the trip down to Cambridgeshire for the reunion we need to find some time for her family. Her grandparents are buried at Scartho cemetery and it’s a chance for Bev to go to the graves, leave new flowers and tidy the plots. Probably because of where my head is at the moment I leave her and wander off to have a look at the war graves section of the cemetery. I work on a fairly simple basis of looking for RNZAF stones, which in hindsight was a rather crude approach. Getting home I do a search through Aircrew Remembrance Society and discover that not only are two of the boys in the cemetery 75(NZ), but in fact they were in the same aircraft.

Sgt David Leo Nola RNZAF NZ39930 Pilot. Age 25.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt Alexander Coutts Mee RNZAF NZ40656 2nd Pilot.
Buried Grimsby (Scartho Road) Cemetery Lincolnshire England.

Sgt Craven RAFVR Air Gunner. Injured

Sgt John Hall RAFVR 988980 WOAG.  Age 20.
Buried Hull Northern Cemetery, England.

P/O Clifford Frederick Page RAFVR 60780 Observer. Age 22.
Buried Great Yarmouth (Caister) Cemetery England.

Sgt Walter Russell RAFVR 949560 WOAG. Age 23.
Buried West Bromwich Churchyard Staffordshire England.

From Aircrew Remembrance Society;
Took off from Feltwell, Norfolk to attack Hamburg. 115 aircraft took part including 50 Wellington’s, 31 Whitley’s, 27 Hampden’s, 4 Manchester’s and 3 Stirling’s. Due to poor visibility few aircraft failed to identify the targets. Only 12 bomb loads hit the target area and all aircraft returned.

On the return trip Wellington R3169 crossed the East coast of England and collided with barrage balloon cables. The Wellington crashed out of control in the River Humber near Trinity Sands.

Sgt. Alexander Mee had previously escaped in another incident on the 19th March 1941 when he parachuted from a 75 Squadron Wellington IC T2736 Which later crashed at Ryhill, near Leeds. All the crew escaped by parachuting, sadly Sgt Gilmore’s failed to open and he was the only fatality.

Two things touch me – firstly that David and Alexander are laying thousands of miles from home, whilst all the other boys that were killed were able to be bought home by family and loved ones. Secondly that the RAF record system is a bloody nonsense – if you die, you are an accessible record, survive and people might never even know your Christian name.