Tag Archives: Wellington

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.