Tag Archives: Vernon Zinzan

More pictures of W/O Miles ‘Joe’ Parr, Wireless Operator – Zinzan crew.

Many thank to Jimmy for passing on some more wonderful photographs of his father, Miles Parr, Wireless operator with the Zinzan crew, with who my father completed his second tour with the Squadron in 1945.

Apart from the last image, showing an almost complete Zinzan crew sometime between late 1944 and early 1945, at Mepal, all the other images seem to be from Miles’ trade training. I have tagged all the names listed in the photographs of this post – so we might get lucky and learn a bit more about some of the other boys in the photographs…..

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Back row right to left: Tom Coddington, Yorks, Sheff Levick, yorks, Mick Mustalgh, Kilkenny, Samson Shaw, Derbyshire.
Front row right to left: R Myhill, Norfolk, Dick Watkins, Lancs, My Dad, unknown individual (but appears again below), “Monty” Banks, London.
© Jimmy Parr

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Miles to the right, with him the same unnamed chap that is sat far left, front row, in the group picture above.
© Jimmy Parr

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Miles and another airman. Wearing their Sergeants stripes, places this photograph possibly just after they had completed their Signals Training, before moving on to an Advanced Flying Unit.
© Jimmy Parr

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written on the back of this photograph is:
“good luck and best wishes Joe, Ever yours Hugh Webb”.
Jimmy is aware that Miles was know as ‘Joe’ – Taffy Zinzan often calling him this name in mail between them.
© Jimmy Parr

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Group shot with Miles standing in the middle – judging by the clothing, they were flying by this point, though date and location are unknown.
© Jimmy Parr

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A slightly better condition version of the group photograph that Peter, Vernon Zinzan’s son sent me all those months ago, which was one of the main catalysts for all I have done since.
Left to right: Vernon ‘Taffy’ Zinzan, James George Sydney Coote, H. Hutchinson, A. Ackroyd and Miles ‘Joe’ Parr. Mepal date unknown.
© Jimmy Parr

Sgt. Miles Parr, Wireless Operator – Zinzan crew. Another wonderful connection

Dad, front row left, his pilot, Vernon John Zinzan and navigator James George Sydney Coote. Middle row Sgt. H. Hutchinson, Mid Upper Gunner. Back row from left Sgt. A. Ackroyd, Flight Engineer and Sgt. Miles Parr, Wireless Operator.

Dad, front row left, his pilot, Vernon John “Taffy” Zinzan and navigator James George Sydney Coote. Middle row Sgt. H. Hutchinson, Mid Upper Gunner. Back row from left Sgt. A. Ackroyd, Flight Engineer and Sgt. Miles Parr, Wireless Operator.

I am not particularly superstitious,  but when the blog clocked past 13,000 visits today, I felt something special – I was born on the 13th of November and consider the number 13, unlike many, to be a lucky number – is 13 going to be lucky again for me? – it appears it is…..

About 2 hours after we hit 13,000, I received an amazing email from Jimmy, the  son of who I now know to be Miles Parr, wireless operator for the Zinzan crew, who my father flew his second tour with from the 2nd of February 1945.

Its been an incredible few weeks, first being contacted by Paul with information about Tom Darbyshire and now Jimmy letting me know another christian name.

Wonderfully, Jimmy was able to let me know that Vernon, the pilot and a New Zealander was nicknamed ‘Taffy’ because he had a sheep farm in NZ – and thus acquired the Welch nickname, with the obvious connotations…..Apparently, also, Vernon would sometimes come back to Liverpool with Miles when they had leave – ironic, given my relative proximity now to that city.

Jimmy has photographs and his fathers logbook and medals, so hopefully in the near future we will be able to share some more information about Miles and the boys and add a few more lines to the 75(NZ) Squadron story……….

Warrant Officer Miles Parr, stood on the right of the picture. The identity of the other 2 chaps is as yet a mystery.... ©  Jimmy Parr

Warrant Officer Miles Parr, stood on the right of the picture. The identity of the other 2 chaps is as yet a mystery….
© Jimmy Parr

Robert Douglas ‘Jock’ Sommerville RAFVR 1562617/161049 – Logbook

Just uploaded Bob’s full logbook in the new ‘Crew Logbooks’ section in the main menu. The document covers all of Dad’s training beginning in 1942 at No.15 Elementary Flight Training School, all the way through his 2 tours with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, finishing with his last op to Potsdam on the 14th April 1945.

View Bob’s logbook here

Battle Orders for Dortmund 3/1/45 from Kevin

I get a reply back from Kevin regarding any details on Dad’s second tour crew. Disappointingly nothing, though an unexpected surprise Kevin sends me a copy of the Battle Orders for the daylight raid on Dortmund, 3rd January 1945. This raid is before Bob goes back to 75(NZ), but the gap under Air Bomber suggests that perhaps until his arrival, there was no ‘fixed’ member in that position for the Zinzan crew.

From a Squadron point of view, the Battle Order is also very useful as it not only provides another check regarding the aircraft flown on that raid, but also perhaps more interestingly, given the rarity ( or as I have found it) of information identifying crews in the 3 flights that 75(NZ) operated.

A Sleepless Night…….

Dad, front row left, his pilot, Vernon John Zinzan and navigator James George Sydney Coote. Middle row Sgt. H. Hutchinson, Mid Upper Gunner. Back row from left Sgt. A. Ackroyd, Flight Engineer and Sgt. M. Parr, Wireless Operator.

I went to bed last night with my mind turning like a washing machine regarding the photos I received from Helen. I don’t know how the brain works when you are asleep, but obviously I was doing some sort of processing. I woke at about 4.00am with the sudden realisation that Vernon at least is in the group photograph with the Lancaster in it.

Out of bed, into the studio and turn the computer on – Vernon’s heavy brow is very distinct and I swear to god there is a chap near Bob in the photo with the same heavy brow – to be honest I am not sure I consciously remember seeing this individual, but I wake up sure that I have, maybe I haven’t properly woken up – at this point, I have no idea, other than a belief that he is there……

I open up the group picture and the crew photo I got from Peter with his Dad in it – I don’t even have to zoom – next door but one to Bob in the front row is Vernon, so obviously that I can’t believe I didn’t see it straight away.

Zooming into the group shot to get a better look at Vernon and it’s as if a light has suddenly been turned on. It is Vernon, there’s no question – and next to him is James the navigator. Before I have time to take this in I realise that stood in the 2 rows behind Dad, Vernon and James are Sergeants Hutchinson, Ackroyd and Parr!?!

I grunt with pleased satisfaction, get up and stagger off back to bed. Noisily positioning myself under the covers causes Bev to suddenly wake…

‘Where have you been? What’s happened? Have you been up?
‘yeah….just found the boys in that photo…Dad and Vernon and the rest….there all the bloody time……sods…….’
You’ve been where? What photo?

I am reliably informed at the point of expected reply, I am again, fast asleep…..

Scanning the pictures from Helen

The new scanner is set up in the studio, so I decide to scan the group photos from Helen in. The results are astonishing. Setting a high scan resolution blows the images up on screen way beyond their existing physical size and the detail is amazing. I allow my self a wry grin – its ironic I think, that in this age of digital technology, the pictures are set at the resolution there were created at – these images 70 years old, in some cases provide a resolution impossible today.

1945 crew list from Wayne

I receive an email from Wayne today – it lists a full crew for 1945. The list is as follows;

12 March 1945.

Lancaster I RF127 AA.W  Up 13:01 Down 18:16
F/O Zinzan, V. NZ425314 Captain
W/O Coote, J. Nav
F/O Sommerville, R. A/B
Sgt Parr, M. WO/Air
Sgt Ackroyd, A. F/Eng
Sgt Hutchinson, H. MU/Gnr
W/O Torbitt, M. R/Gnr

Bomb Load 1 x 4,000 lb H.C, 13 x 500 lb ANM.
Primary Target – Dortmund.
Tracking error of .02 large on G.H. H2S on at 16:50 on run to the target.

It feels as if I am slowly putting a picture together now. It also feels slightly as if my loyalties feel split – its almost as if Bob had 2 ‘families’ – one in 1943 and one in1945 – where should I begin? I don’t want to ignore one of them, but at the same time I don’t want to go off on a wild goose chase looking for stuff that might not be there, if its at the cost of finding other information………

I need to see the ORB’s to learn more about the crew….