Tag Archives: Tank Corp

Peter Carrie

Peter Carrie, Chelsea Pensioner and Flight Engineer with the Lukins crew

It is with great sadness that I must pass on the news from Kerry, that his Grandfather, Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer with Bernard Lukin’s crew passed away early this morning at the age of 102.

Peter’s remarkable story has been featured more than once in the blog over the last few years – so remarkable in fact, as to warrant its reproduction now as a tribute to Peter and his time during the War.

Crew cpd and cont for blog

The Lukins crew at Mepal, sometime in 1945. Peter Carrie is stood at the far right of the picture, the individual next to him is an unknown ground crew member. The crew’s Rear Gunner, Tom Benson is stood second in on the left of the group
© Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

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In a remarkable recreation of the above photograph, Peter stands alone under S ‘Sugar’ at the RAF Museum Hendon. © image owner unknown at this date

Peter Carrie who flew with Bernard Lukins crew as Flight Engineer between February and July 1945. If the stories of the boys who flew in the Squadron are all not remarkable, then Peter’s is even more so.

Born 1915 in Dundee, Scotland, he joined the Army  at 19  in the Tank Corp and served in India and the Khyber Pass. During WW2 he was evacuated from Dunkirk , they found him covered in dead bodies and thought he only had hours to live – in Kerry’s words, he was like a ‘pin cushion’ with shrapnel  wounds all over his body.

The King sent a letter to his parents when he made it to a military hospital informing them of his condition. The Army found him unfit for service so Peter joined the RAF and ended up with Bernard Lukin’s crew at Mepal in February 1945.

See the Lukin’s crew Op history here.

Often when I state superlatives I add, ‘as far as I am aware’ – in this case I don’t have to. Peter was the only Chelsea Pensioner to also hold the Bomber Command clasp.

Training group cpd cont fx for blog

A group photograph taken during Peter’s training to become a Flight Engineer. Peter is second row from the back, 4th from left.
© Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

On the 23rd of April 2014 Peter was presented with his Bomber Command clasp by General Sir Redmond Watt, KCB KCVO CBE DL

Clasp award

Presentation of Bomber Command Clasp to Peter Carrie by General Sir Redmond Watt, KCB KCVO CBE DL on the 23rd of April 2014.
© Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

The citation at the awarding of Peter’s Bomber Command clasp was as follows:
“We are here today to mark a significant event in the life of In-Pensioner Peter Carrie.  Peter has the distinction of having served with both the Army from 1934 – 1940 and the RAF from 1943 – 1946.  After much public pressure to recognise those who bravely set out from bases all along the east coast across France and Germany on perilous missions, the Bomber Command clasp was finally instituted in 2013.  To that end, Peter is the only Chelsea Pensioner to qualify for such an award.
 
Peter was as a Flight Engineer on many Lancaster bombing missions,including those on Hamburg and Wesel.  He served with 75 (NZ) Squadron, which was constantly engaged against Germany from 1940 to VE day.  According to statistics, this squadron flew more sorties than any other Allied heavy bomber squadron.  It suffered the second highest casualties of all the Allied squadrons, and dropped the second largest weight of bombs of any Allied squadron.Miraculously Peter and his crew members made it safely home following each mission, although on many occasions his aircraft was hit by enemy flack and even lost the occasional engine.  
 
Some 55,000 Airmen who served with Bomber Command were killed during wartime raids and Peter can testify to losing many friends and colleagues on these daring missions.  He will be the first to say that he was no hero and saw his brave feats as just part of his job, however his modesty belies a man of integrity and immense courage in the face of such danger”.

I am sure you would all wish to join me in passing heart felt condolences to Kerry and Peter’s surviving family at this sad time.

Another of these incredible old men has left us.

Ake AKe Kia Kaha!

Happy Birthday to Peter Carrie – 100 today

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Albeit, a little belatedly, I would personally and I am sure all of you would, like to wish Peter Carrie the warmest wishes on his birthday today, having reached the magnificent age of 100 years old.

Peter has featured in a few of posts already, firstly recounting his amazing story, starting in the Army, before joining the RAF and 75(NZ) Squadron and flying with Bernard Lukin’s crew, a Flight Engineer. We then had news of him receiving a new Flight Engineers brevet to go with his Bomber Command clasp from Air Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Deputy Chief of Defence for Military Capability. Finally there was also a small additional post  on the Lukins crew, after by chance, we discovered the christian names of 2 more of the boys who flew with Peter.

Peters amazing story can be read here.

The story of Peter receiving his new Flight Engineers Brevet can be read here.

And the discovery of two more of the boys names from the Lukin’s crew can be read here.

Happy Birthday Peter

Ake Ake Kia Kaha

Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer, Lukins crew – a new, wonderful story

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Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer with the Lukin’s crew, now wearing his Flight Engineers Brevet, recently presented to him by Air Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Deputy Chief of Defence for Military Capability. All rights recognised for original owner of the photograph.

Through being a member of a few RAF related Facebook pages, I came across a new and wonderful story regarding Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer with Bernard Lukin’s crew. If you recall, I was contacted a couple of months ago by Peter’s Grandson, Kerry, with news that Peter had just been award his Bomber Command Clasp – a very notable event as it meant that Peter was the only Chelsea Pensioner to hold the Clasp. I’m really pleased to pass on another award, this time of a Flight Engineers brevet.

I think the original post of this story (difficult to track sometimes on Facebook) come from the British Army Facebook page – I hope the original author doesn’t mind me reproducing the picture above, or a small extract from the full piece that can be read here.Chelsea Pensioner Sergeant Peter Carrie, a WWII Army and RAF Bomber Command veteran, has finally added a flight engineer brevet to his distinctive scarlet uniform.

Sergeant Carrie, born in Dundee in 1915, has the unique distinction of being the only Chelsea Pensioner eligible to have a Bomber Command Clasp because as well as his army service he served in the Royal Air Force in World War II as a flight engineer on Lancaster bombers.

It was only when he received his Clasp in April this year from General Sir Redmond Watt, the Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, that staff realised Sergeant Carrie was ‘improperly dressed’ without his flight engineer brevet, which he was eligible to wear on his uniform along with his medals.

Sergeant Carrie served with 75(New Zealand) Squadron and survived many dangerous bombing missions against Nazi Germany including those on Hamburg and Wesel. Asked why he was in a New Zealand Squadron Sergeant Carrie said: “The Kiwis came over but were short of men on some squadrons so I joined them. They used to have drink sent over from home and after every mission we’d have a wee shot.”

Air Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Deputy Chief of Defence for Military Capability, presented Sergeant Carrie with his missing brevet. He said: “Sergeant Carrie is extraordinary. The valour, the courage and commitment men like Sergeant Carrie showed during WWII was just exceptional, in Bomber Command, in the mission that they did, and sustained throughout that war.”

A little more about the Lukins crew…..

Crew cpd and cont for blog

The Lukins crew at Mepal, sometime in 1945. Peter Carrie is stood at the far right of the picture, the individual next to him is an unknown ground crew member. The crew’s Rear Gunner, Tom Benson is stood second in on the left of the group. Whilst we still don’t know the positions within the photograph of Duncan Ross and Bill Reid, we at least now know their full names. © Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

After the very high viewing figures of my post about Chelsea Pensioner Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer with Bernard Lukins crew last weekend, I thought it was making a post about a little more that I have now discovered about them.

As with many of the RAF/ RAFVR boys that flew in the Squadron, the RAF’s decision to destroy the Personal Occurrence Records (POR’s) at the end of the War, means that now the Squadron records only list many of them by initial, rather than name – so I am constantly pleased to receive names where they are known.

This afternoon, I was contacted by Malcolm, whose Grandfather, James ‘Jimmy’ Shaw, was a Pilot at Mepal between February and June 1945. As well as being able to give me the christian names of all the boys in the crew, Malcolm also sent a small clipping that had originally been posted on a forum, I assume, from Bert Donald, Jimmy’s Wireless Operator.

Amazingly, within the paragraph, Bert remarked that he was still in touch with two members of the Lukins crew – Duncan Ross, the Air Bomber and Bill Reid, the Wireless Operator, so Duncan and William, pleased to meet you…….

Additionally and I feel awful for missing it, Sgt. T. Benson, Rear Gunner with the Lukins crew is of course Tom Benson – Brian had previously been in contact about his Father, but in the activities of last weekend, I completely failed to make the connection – but all details are now updated!

So, I suppose the message is if you know even only the christian name of a relative who flew with 75(NZ) Squadron and particularly if they were RAF/RAFVR, please get in touch – if they weren’t killed in action, as terrible as that sounds, I apologise, the probability is that we don’t know their names.

Peter Carrie, Flight Engineer – Lukins crew

Crew cpd and cont for blog

The Lukins crew at Mepal, sometime in 1945. Peter Carrie is stood at the far right of the picture, the individual next to him is an unknown ground crew member. The crew’s Rear Gunner, Tom Benson is stood second in on the left of the group© Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

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In a remarkable recreation of the above photograph, Peter stands alone under S ‘Sugar’ at the RAF Museum Hendon. © image owner unknown at this date – I have tried to find out and will amend details when able to – but the image is too moving to not include in this post…….

Many thanks to Kerry for passing on these images of his Grandfather , Peter Carrie who flew with Bernard Lukins crew as Flight Engineer between February and July 1945. If the stories of the boys who flew in the Squadron are all not remarkable, then Peter’s is even more so.  Born 1915 in Dundee, Scotland, he joined the Army  at 19  in the Tank Corp and served in India and the Khyber Pass. During WW2 he was evacuated from Dunkirk , they found him covered in dead bodies and thought he only had hours to live – in Kerry’s words, he was like a ‘pin cushion’ with shrapnel  wounds all over his body. The King sent a letter to his parents when he made it to a military hospital informing them of his condition. The Army found him unfit for service so Peter joined the RAF and ended up with Bernard Lukin’s crew at Mepal in February 1945. Often when I state superlatives I add, ‘as far as I am aware’ – in this case I don’t have to. Peter is the only Chelsea Pensioner to hold the Bomber Command clasp.

Training group cpd cont fx for blog

A group photograph taken during Peter’s training to become a Flight Engineer. Peter is second row from the back, 4th from left. © Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

 

13.2.45 Administration
156733 F/S Lukins B.L. and crew arrived on posting from 1669 C.U.

Five days later the Lukins crew would begin their tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

18.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against  Wesel
Lancaster Mk.I HK562 AA-L
F/O Bernard Lincoln Lukins RAFVR 1586733/195347 – Pilot
F/S F. Gunningham RAFVR –  Navigator
F/S Duncan Ross RAFVR – Air Bomber
F/S William Reid RAFVR – Wireless Operator
Sgt Peter Carrie RAFVR – Flight Engineer
Sgt A. Crossfield RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt Tom Benson RAFVR 1901416 – Rear Gunner

F/O Charlie Green Joins the crew as Mid Under Gunner.

19.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against  Wesel

Lancaster Mk.I RA510 AA-J
Same crew

RA510, AA-J suffered an engine failure immediately after take-off. The port-inner engine was shut down and feathered then the Lukins crew proceeded to The Wash where the bomb load was jettisoned before returning to base, landing at 15.10hrs.

28.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen
Lancaster Mk.I PB741  AA-E
Same crew

2.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Cologne
Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G
Same crew
The raid, was not a success as the G-H equipment failed to function correctly and all Squadron aircraft failed to bomb. The main raid was highly destructive, with the Pathfinders marking in clear weather conditions.
This was the last RAF raid on Cologne, subsequently captured by American troops four days later.

4.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wanne-Eickel
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C
Same Crew

6.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Salzbergen
Lancaster MK.III PB418 AA-C
F/L S. Cowen takes over position of Flight Engineer from Peter Carrie

7/8.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dessau
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C
Sgt. Carrie returns as Flight Engineer
Sgt. Crossfield swaps to Mid Upper Gunner position and Sgt. Benson takes over Rear Gunner position

11.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Essen
Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J
Same crew

A milestone was reached on the Essen Op, when the largest number of aircraft sent to any target so far in the war, took place with the dispatch of 1,079 aircraft to Essen. The force comprised 750 Lancasters (21 ex 75 Sqn), 293 Halifaxes and 36 Mosquito’s from all bomber Groups. Only three Lancasters were lost.
4,661 tons of bombs were dropped through complete cloud cover on Oboe-directed sky- markers. It was an accurate attack and the resulting devastation virtually paralysed Essen until American troops entered the city some time later.

12.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund
Lancaster Mk.I RA541 AA-J
Same crew

Following on from the previous day’s record force of 1,079 aircraft to Essen, the area-raid on Dortmund by 1,108 aircraft from all Groups established  a new record that would stand till the end of the war. Three aircraft types were again involved; 748 Lancasters, (21 ex 75 Sqn), 292 Halifaxes and 68 Mosquito’s. Two Lancasters were lost.
A record 4,851 tons of bombs was dropped through cloud by the force. The only report from this unfortunate city indicated that the attack fell mainly in the central and southern districts. An investigation conducted after the war on the effects of the bombing stated that, ‘ . . . The final raid stopped production so effectively that it would have been many more months before any substantial recovery could have taken place . . . ‘

14.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Heinrich Hutte
Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A
Same crew

27.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Hamm
Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A
Same crew

09/10.4.45. Gardening Ops – Mining, Kiel Bay
Lancaster Mk.I PB763 AA-A
Same crew

14/15.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Potsdam (Berlin)
Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A
Same crew

This was the first raid by Bomber Command four-engined aircraft in the Berlin defence zone since March 1944. This time the approach across parts of Germany recently captured by Allied troops led to only one Lancaster being lost – shot down by a night- fighter.

It was also the last raid of the war by a major Bomber Command force on a German city. The aiming point was the center of Potsdam and the intention was to destroy the local army barracks, and the railway system. The raid was successful and severe damage was caused not only in Potsdam, but also in northern and eastern districts of Berlin.

20.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Regensburg
Lancaster Mk.I NG322 JN-F
F/L S. Cowen replaces Peter again as F/E
P/O Lukins & crew, found it unnecessary to drop their smoke-puff. Their bombs were observed bursting on the railway junction south of the A/P and north of the river.

A daylight op of 100 Lancasters of 3 Group, including 20 from 75(NZ) Squadron, were detailed to carry out attacks on the fuel- storage depot at Regensburg, on the Danube, 7 miles east of the Czechoslovakia/ German border. It was an accurate raid with only one aircraft lost.

This was the last raid in the current campaign against German oil targets, waged since June 1944. Much of Bomber Command’s effort during this period, sometimes at considerable loss, has been devoted to these oil operations helping not only the Allied ground forces on the Western front, but also those fighting in Italy and on the Eastern front.

22.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Bremen Daylight op
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C
W/O V. Peplow replaces Peter as Flight Engineer
PB418, P/O Lukins & crew, observed their bomb bursts on the A/P (Aiming Point) while in good formation. Then their starboard engine failed.

22.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Bremen
Lancaster Mk.III PB418 AA-C
W/O V. Peplow in as Flight Engineer

3.5.45. Operation Manna –  Supply drop at The Hague
Lancaster Mk.I NN773 AA-G
No Mid Upper Gunners flew on this Op.
P/O R. Fairbairn replaces Peter as Flight Engineer

The aircraft detailed for this Op were airborne Mepal at or about 11.20hrs.
 A total of 50 supply packs were carried – 25 for Delft and 25 for The Hague. 
Crews had no difficulty identifying the targets at each dropping zone. Of the 10 packs dropped, 4 hung up. The packs contained an undisclosed number of food bags many of which fell free of the packs and burst open on impact. One of these bags contained flour which burst in mid-air. Other bags falling directly on the white cross, broke open scattering the contents.
Fewer people than on previous days were now turning up, but they still were enthusiastic in their praise for the aid. At one drop zone, crews noted the field appeared to be guarded by soldiers.
In general, all crews reported well-concentrated dropping of supplies taking place.
The 10 aircraft returned to base safely on completion of the task, landing between 13.24 – 1359hrs.

7.5.45. Operation Manna –  Supply dropping, Delft
Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A
Sgt. Peter Carrie returns to the crew as Flight Engineer
LAC Waldock as Passenger

This was the largest number of 75(NZ) Squadron Lancasters detailed for supply dropping to the starving people of Holland, in this series of humanitarian aid operations.

10.4.45. Operation Exodus – Prisoner Repatriation from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk.I RF190 AA-R
F/O David Jones replaces Duncan Ross as Air Bomber
F/L Owen joins the crew as Flight Engineer

5 Squadron aircraft were detailed for the evacuation of 336 ex Prisoners of War from Juvincourt to RAF Ford.

12.5.45. Operation Exodus – Prisoner Repatriation from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A
F/L Fuller replaces F/O Jones in Air Bombers position

15 Lancasters were detailed for the operation in which 360 Prisoners of War were returned home. The total to-date was 1,224.


15.5.45. Operation Exodus – Prisoner Repatriation from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A
F/S A. Griffiths takes Air Bombers position

24.5.45. Operation Exodus – Repatriation of Belgian refugees to Brussels and Prisoners of War to England
Lancaster Mk.I NG448 AA-A
F/S Duncan Ross returns in Air Bombers position

Just two aircraft were made available, not only for the return of Prisoners of War but also for repatriation of Belgian Refugees to Brussels. The aircraft departed from RAF Waterbeach, England with 20 refugees – 10 on each aircraft. After offloading their Belgian passengers at Brussels, each crew then took on board 12 Prisoners of War for the return journey to England. This brought the number of POW’s returned home by the squadron to 2,219.

26.5.45. Operation Exodus – Repatriation of Belgian Refugees to Belgium and Prisoners of War to England
Lancaster Mk.I NN747 AA-D
F/L Lukins & crew, had a minor taxiing mishap while at Brussels, damaging the wing. Their planned uplift of 24 ex Prisoners therefore had to be cancelled.

That days operation completed 75(NZ) Squadron’s contribution to Operation Exodus. Between 9 May and 26 May 1945, 134 sorties were flown during which 2,354 Ex Prisoners of War were repatriated to England and 152 Belgian refugees to Brussells.

8.6.45. Viewing the Effects of Bombing
Lancaster Mk.I RE510 ‘E’

I know Kerry would love to find out more about his Grandfather and given that the majority of the crew, being RAF, only currently exist as first initials, so would I. If you know anything about the boys that flew with Peter Carrie and Bernard Lukins, as always, please get in touch……

Clasp award

Presentation of Bomber Command Clasp to Peter Carrie by General Sir Redmond Watt, KCB KCVO CBE DL on the 23rd of April 2014. © Peter Carrie/ Kerry Major

The citation at the awarding of Peter’s Bomber Command clasp was as follows:
“We are here today to mark a significant event in the life of In-Pensioner Peter Carrie.  Peter has the distinction of having served with both the Army from 1934 – 1940 and the RAF from 1943 – 1946.  After much public pressure to recognise those who bravely set out from bases all along the east coast across France and Germany on perilous missions, the Bomber Command clasp was finally instituted in 2013.  To that end, Peter is the only Chelsea Pensioner to qualify for such an award.
 
Peter was as a Flight Engineer on many Lancaster bombing missions,including those on Hamburg and Wesel.  He served with 75 (NZ) Squadron, which was constantly engaged against Germany from 1940 to VE day.  According to statistics, this squadron flew more sorties than any other Allied heavy bomber squadron.  It suffered the second highest casualties of all the Allied squadrons, and dropped the second largest weight of bombs of any Allied squadron.Miraculously Peter and his crew members made it safely home following each mission, although on many occasions his aircraft was hit by enemy flack and even lost the occasional engine.  
 
Some 55,000 Airmen who served with Bomber Command were killed during wartime raids and Peter can testify to losing many friends and colleagues on these daring missions.  He will be the first to say that he was no hero and saw his brave feats as just part of his job, however his modesty belies a man of integrity and immense courage in the face of such danger”.