Tag Archives: Wellington

700,000 views – and amazing new milestone!

We have reached another incredible viewing milestone – now over 700,000 views and almost 1,500 followers!

I find myself always saying the same at these points – but it still amazes me and also makes me incredibly proud that the viewing figures continue to rise – a single proof that there is still massive interest in the Squadron and support for it.

It’s been a strange and very testing time for all over us in the last 12 months or so. I must confess, the number of posts has perhaps reduced, but as a necessary need to enhance the website as a resource, I have found my attention almost completely dominated with the Nominal Roll project – but it has been worth it. Subject to revision and corrections, we now have a definitive list of all operational aircrew that flew with 75|(NZ) Squadron RAF during the War period. The first stage, listing all individuals alphabetically with text holders for their biographies is complete. Next will come the addition of these biographies and also where they exist, photographs of the individuals. I have to congratulate Chris Newey and Kevin King at this point for a herculean effort and forensic search to provide to date, photographs of almost 25% of those individuals listed on the Roll. My gratitude also to all of those that have so far downloaded, completed and returned the aircrew information sheets – they have, in all cases, added to our knowledge of those airmen.

By its nature the Nominal Roll project will still take a very long time to complete. I still have a lot of information to add that I hold and there is, I am pleased to say, an almost daily flow of new information that has to then be added to the database, output and either added or updated to an existing entry. I am also pleased that in this search, I and others are forming new links with other Squadron groups, whilst searching out the personal stories of the Squadron and through this new channels and exchanges of information are taking place – all incredible useful to all parties concerned.

It’s already becoming, I am sure a broken record, but please if you see this post, or are a regular reader of the blog, do consider downloading the aircrew information form and completing as much as you can – even small pieces of information such as date and place of birth add to the boy’s story.

Once again, thank you to all of you, both contributors and readers – you have all played a part in getting 75nzsquadron.com to where we are today!

Simon

Aircraft Database update 6th August 2014

composite aircraft image

Many thanks as always to Ian for another update to the 75(NZ) Squadron Aircraft Database. The database contains some new updates particularly relating to the Lancaster section and Ian has also added a note at the bottom relating to ‘Flight’ identification. Ian feels and I completely agree with him, that there appears to now be substantive evidence that a lot of existing sources for information on the aircraft that flew in the Squadron are in parts incorrect – there clearly seems to be errors relating to ‘C’ Flight and it would appear in some cases, aircraft have been identified as ‘AA’ (A or B Flight), simply through the ignorance that ‘C’ Flight (JN) even existed.

I suppose to this end, if anybody has the time to check through our database and is able to provided definitive evidence of particularly, Flight coding (photograph/ logbook entries etc) then please, as always contact us!

See the Wellington database here.
See the Stirling database here.
See the Lancaster database here.

Aircraft Database update 9th July 2014

composite aircraft image

Many thanks to Ian as always for his diligent work with the Squadron aircraft database, of which, a new update has just been uploaded!

View the Wellington records here.
View the Stirling records here.
View the Lancaster records here.

Aircraft Database – minor corrections

composite aircraft imageStirling and lanc only

Many thanks to Ian for performing a few tweaks to the aircraft database regarding information on the Stirling and Lancaster pages, since the last major update last week.

See the Stirling page here
See the Lancaster page here

Aircraft Database update 2nd February 2014

composite aircraft image

Many thanks to Ian, as always, for his continuing work on the aircraft database section of the website – here is is latest update!

Wellington records here.
Stirling records here.
Lancaster records here.

Aircraft database update

composite aircraft image

Many thanks to Ian for his continuing work on the aircraft database section of the website – here is is latest update!

Wellington records here.
Stirling records here.
Lancaster records here.

Aircraft database update

composite aircraft image

I’m afraid, in truth this ‘update’ is probably the last of 4 that Ian has sent me over the last few couple of months, but as I have much discussed (and should probably shut up now), work demands got the better of me. But, here it is, the latest version of the database, covering all of the Wellingtons, Stirlings and Lancasters that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

New aircraft profiles for the database pages

Wellington Ic, Stirling Mk.III and Lancaster Mk.III from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.
artwork produced by Clavework Graphics © Bill Dady.

I have just received 3 fantastic examples of aircraft profile artwork to add to the relevant sections of the aircraft database section of the blog. A very big thanks to Bill Dady of Clavework Graphics for creating the custom artwork so quickly and to such a high quality.

If you are interested in perhaps getting a profile illustration of a relative’s aircraft, you can look through the Clavework website here and find out more about the costs of getting your own profile artwork produced here

75(NZ) Squadron Aircraft Database

I am incredibly pleased to announce a significant expansion to the site – a database of the aircraft that the Squadron flew during the war. I feel this is a fantastic addition to the site and represents a unique opportunity to gather together all of the individual efforts that have been made to identify and record the histories of each aircraft.

I am immensely grateful to Ian for the incredibly generous donation of his ongoing research data base regarding the aircraft that 75(NZ) Squadron operated between 1940 and 1945. Over this period of time the Squadron flew first Wellingtons, then Stirlings and then in March 1944, finally converted to Lancasters.

Direct links to the 3 respective database pages are here;
Wellington
Stirling
Lancaster

This database is obviously very much an ongoing project, but, as with the rest of this blog, if people can find it, they may well be able to add to it. Ian, Chris and I have already spent this first day passing information between ourselves and the database will refine, correct and grow as we merge the information we already have and hopefully as people find it and offer more.

The publishing of this database is only the first step – there will now be ongoing ‘ordering’ of the information contained within it, which will attempt to correctly credit/ recognise all individuals that have contributed to it and all sources that have been used to add to it. At the same time we welcome the identification of sources, which we might have overlooked. I think Ian, Chris and I see this database as a resource for everybody, so it’s only fitting therefore, that everybody who can possibly be credited will be, within the aircraft lists.

If anybody can add a reference or wishes a source to be attributed, just mail me and we will add or correct as necessary.

The database has been created based on the careful research of Ian and others. In places, existing sources have been used, which include;
Forever Strong – The Story of 75 Squadron RNZAF 1916-1990, by Norman Franks – Random Century New Zealand Ltd.
Luck and a Lancaster – Chance Survival in World War II, by Harry Yates – Airlife Publications.
Avro Lancaster – A Definitive Record, by Harry Holmes –  Airlife Publications.
3 Group Bomber Command – An Operational Record, by Chris Ward and Steve Smith – Pen & Sword Aviation.
The Stirling Story, by Michael JF Bowyer – Crecy Publishing Ltd.
Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the second World War 1943, by W.R. Chorley – Midland Publishing

In addition to these published texts, the work of others are duly recognised from the following websites;
ADF-Serials.com and specifically the page related to 75(NZ) Squadron.
Lancaster Archive Forum (LAF) and its contributing members.
Wings Over New Zealand Forum (WONZ) and its contributing members. In particular, Dave Homewood, who started a Wellington list, almost 2 years ago on the forum http://rnzaf.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=Wartime&thread=13372&page=1

Squadron Leader Colin Gilbert RAF/ RAAF

Colin (third from left) and his crew

Colin (third from left) and his crew

Many thanks indeed to Noel Baker for so generously allowing me to ‘borrow’ information on Colin from his own website that can be visited here. It never ceases to amaze me the generosity people show in letting me present information on a relative who flew with 75(NZ) Squadron. Colin’s story with the Squadron now represents the furthest back that I have  got with an individuals information (1940 in this case) and also, Colin was the youngest Squadron Leader from the Commonwealth forces at his time of Acting appointment. Noel has presented a fascinating and very well detailed account of Colin’s life and flying career – you should read it in full

Many thanks Noel.

read about Colin’s time with 75(NZ) Squadron on this blog here

Gerald Howard Jacobson RNZAF NZ41333 – Pilot. Logbook

I had the great pleasure to meet Denis Jacobson at the Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association Winter Reunion in November. His father Gerald flew with 75(NZ) in 1942 between 19th of August and 17th of December when he was tragically lost with the rest of his crew on an op to Fallersleben.

Gerald’s logbook is a beautiful and detailed document, detailing all training he undertook as a Pilot. Of note also is Gerald’s transition from the Squadron’s Wellington bombers to the new Stirlings which replaced them.

Browse Gerald’s logbook here

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.