A.J. Thomas crew 27.4.43 †

26/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Duisburg
Eight aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000 lb. and incendiaries of 30 lb. and 4 lb. One aircraft however failed to take-off as the pilot was sick. And two aircraft returned early. The remaining five aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, which was a mass of flames. Large concentrated fires being seen which were spreading. Very heavy A.A.Fire was experienced in the target area, which was mainly predicted and co-operation with cones of searchlights. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one combat took place. The weather was very good in the target area, but visibility was impaired by haze caused by the large fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III BF517, captained by F/O P.J. Buck, was attacked by an unseen fighter when about 30 miles North of the target. The rudder and tail of the aircraft was damaged, and the rear gunner was mortally wounded. The fighter was evaded and by jettisoning all moveable objects height was maintained and the aircraft returned to base where a perfect crash landing was made. Besides the rear gunner who lost his like, minor injuries were also received by two other members of the crew.

Stirling Mk.III BF377 AA-J

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123, 149999 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
Sgt. Maurice Edward Parker, RNZAF NZ414332 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Charles Leonard Parker, RNZAF NZ41228 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. McLellan, RAFVR 537228 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Stokes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Vincent Rex Jamieson, RNZAF NZ416431 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:53 – Landed 05:33
Flight Time 04:40

27/04/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operations, with mines of 1500 lb. One of these returned early owing to engine trouble and the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and the parachutes were seen to open. No enemy aircraft, A.A. fire or searchlights were encountered. There was heavy cloud and occasional rain storms in the mining area although visibility was good, except for haze. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF377 AA-J

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Leonard Richards, RNZAF NZ404946 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. A.E. Parker, RAFVR 1313969 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 01:23 – Landed 05:20
Flight Time 03:57

04/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets, with bombs of 2000lb 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft, however, failed to take-off owing to engine trouble. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, with the exception of two which returned early owing to engine trouble. Large fires and explosions were seen, which appeared to come from the centre of the target area. Some A.A. Fire and searchlights were encountered, but they were ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. No cloud was prevalent in the target area, and visibility was good, ground detail was obscured by the smoke from the fires. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.I BF459 JN-E

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. James Leonard Richards, RNZAF NZ404946 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. A.E. Parker, RAFVR 1313969 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:25 – Landed 01:56
Flight Time 02:31

09/05/1943 – Mining in the Ile De Re Area
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation, with Mines of 1500lb. All of the Mines were dropped in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. One aircraft met heavy A.A. Fire, but it was ineffective , a few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was good in the mining area and visibility was also good. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.I BF459 JN-E

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. A.E. Parker, RAFVR 1313969 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:20 – Landed 04:33
Flight Time 06:13

13/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Bochum
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft, however, were forced to return early owing to engine trouble. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and very large concentrated fires were seen, together with explosions. This is considered to have been a very successful raid. Heavy predicted A.A. Fire co-operation with searchlights was encountered. Several enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. Stirling Mk.I. BK619, captained by Sgt. J.L. Mitchell was attacked by an ME110 and opened fire at 400 yards slightly below our aircraft. The mod-upper gunner fired a medium burst and the enemy aircraft was seen to burst into flames and passed beneath the Stirling. The rear gunner fired a further long burst at 300 yards and the enemy aircraft was seen to turn on its back and dive, hit the ground and explode. The weather was very clear in the target area, but visibility was impaired by slight ground haze. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I BK614 JN-H

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. A.E. Parker, RAFVR 1313969 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:20 – Landed 04:08
Flight Time 03:48

17/05/1943 – Mining off the West Coast of France
Two aircraft were detailed for the above operation, with Mines of 1500lb. Which were successfully dropped in the allotted area, and all the parachutes were seen to open. Some A.A.Fire was encountered from flak ships. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. There was no cloud in the mining area and visibility was good. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.I BK817 AA-B

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton, RAFVR 644136 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:43 – Landed 05:13
Flight Time 06:30

11/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb.,1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to return and two returned early owing to engine trouble. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Many large fires and huge explosions were seen. Moderate and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with search lights were encountered. One aircraft was coned by searchlights, but violent evasive action eventually avoided them with difficulty. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was clear and the visibility was good except for haze caused by the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stiring Mk.III BK817 captained by Squadron Leader R.H. Laud, (“A” Flight Commander).

Stirling Mk.III EF399 AA-O

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:31 – Landed 01:42
Flight Time 02:11

14/06/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with Mines of 1500lb., two aircraft returned early, one owing to intercommunication failure and the other owing to engine trouble and one aircraft failed to return. The remaining three aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, but they were ineffective. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took lace. There was thick cloud in the mining area although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.I BK646 captained by F/O J.L. Edwards failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:59 – Landed 00:40
Flight Time 01:41

19/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Krefeld
Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft returned early as it was hit by A.A. fire in the fuselage, mainplane and mid upper turret. The Flight Engineer made a really good effort to overcome the damage by hacking his way through the fuselage into the port wing to get at the petrol tank controls, which he then operated by hand. The BREUIL STEEL WORKs was very badly damaged and appeared to have the roof missing. Large fires and huge explosions were seen in the target area. An aircraft captained by P/O Sedunary, lost the outer propeller , just before bombing. He carried out his bombing successfully and returned to base. At the beginning of the attack little light and heavy A.A fire and one searchlight were encountered, but as the attack progressed the defences were thoroughly disorganised. There was no cloud in the target area and visibility was excellent, except for smoke from out flares. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:03 – Landed 05:16
Flight Time 07:13

21/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Krefeld
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. bombs in the target area. The operation was very successful, the whole of the town was seething in flames and the smoke from the fires was rising to a height of 8,000ft. On the return the fires could be seen from the Dutch Coast. Heavy, moderate and light A.A. fire. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good with clear visibility except in the target area, where there was haze caused by fires. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Stewart, RAFVR 1117389 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:49 – Landed 04:10
Flight Time 04:21

22/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim (actually Mülheim)
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs and 4lbs. Four aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen the whole RUHR area was smoke palled. A very heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights was encountered and five aircraft were slightly hit by A.A.fire, some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. There was 3/10ths cloud on the target area but visibility was fairly good, except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.I EF399 captained by F/S Burbidge, Mk.III EF408 captained by Sgt. Wood, MK.III BK810 captained by W/O McKenzie and Mk.III EH889 captained by F/O McCrorie.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Stewart, RAFVR 1117389 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:38 – Landed 03:46
Flight Time 04:08

25/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Gelsenkirchen
Eleven aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets, with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return and the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Owing to 10/10ths cloud it was difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the attack, although the glow of fires below the cloud, could be seen over a large area. Both moderate and heavy A.A.fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, but were ineffective. Sergt. Burley’s aircraft sighted an unidentified aircraft from astern, the Stirling corkscrewed and the mid-upper-gunner and rear gunners opened fire. The unidentified aircraft was seen to dive to the ground and a fire and flash were seen. The aircraft was claimed to be destroyed. Some enemy aircraft were seen and three short combats took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. It was very cloudy in the target area and visibility was poor. Navigation was good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III BK768 captained by F/O Perrott.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
F/S Geoffrey Phillips Sowerby, RNZAF NZ417243 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Stewart, RAFVR 1117389 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:31 – Landed 03:36
Flight Time 04:05

03/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Cologne
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiaries of 30lbs and 4lbs. All aircraft, with the exception of one, which returned early owing to engine trouble, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large concentrated fires were seen, the whole area appearing to be in flames. Heavy and medium A.A. fire was encountered, which was ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good and clear over the target, although slight ground haze partially obscured ground detail. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 04:50
Flight Time 05:20

24/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Twenty-three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs., 1,000lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs., and 4lbs. Of these aircraft, two returned early due to unserviceable W/T and engine trouble respectively, and one aircraft failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was a very concentrated and successful attack. Very large spread fires were seen with black smoke rising to height of 1,400ft., some heavy explosions were also seen. A heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered and two aircraft were coned in the searchlights but neither were hit. The aircraft captained by F/O. G. TURNER whilst avoiding a searchlight cone, the starboard wing was struck by a JU.88 approaching head on. The enemy aircraft turned over and dived to the ground, it was claimed to be destroyed.. The Stirling was badly damaged having more that 4ft. of the starboard mainplane torn off, and the aileron and aileron controls being useless. The captain had extreme difficulty in controlling the aircraft, but kept it on an even keel with the assistance of the Air-bomber, and after the 3 hours return flight to base, made a perfect landing. Two other short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was very good, with clear visibility, except for haze caused by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE890 captained by Sergeant H. Nichol.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 00:45
Flight Time 02:35

25/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs., 1,000lbs., and incendiaries of 30lbs., and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to take off, and two returned early, wing to engine trouble and an intercommunication failure respectively, and one aircraft failed to return. Sixteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs on target area, which was an absolute mass of flames. Many huge explosions were seen in the midst of the fires. Moderate A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, one aircraft receiving slight damage. An aircraft was held in a searchlight cone for 3 minutes, but avoided it by making diving turns. Some enemy aircraft were seen. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.C. WILLIAMS sighted an unidentified aircraft 400 yds away approaching from astern. The Stirling corkscrewed and the Mid-upper and Rear gunners fired a long burst, the enemy aircraft exploded in the air and dived to the ground. It was claimed to be destroyed. Another aircraft was sighted by them approaching on the port quarter, the Rear gunner fired two short bursts and the enemy aircraft broke away. The weather was hazy to the enemy Coast, but clear over the target. Visibility was good except for haze caused by smoke from the fires, which could be seen west of the DUTCH coast. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling MK.III EE892 captained by Sgt.. M. ASHDOWN

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:30 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 04:15

27/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Twenty two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2,000lb., 1,000lb., and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. Two aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This attack was more concentrated than the previous one, colossal fires and explosions were seen with smoke rising to 20,000ft. , a ship was also seen to be on fire in a Dock south of the target. Moderate heavy and light A.A. fire co-operating with search lights operating in belts were encountered, although the A.A. fire was heavier than the previous attack, it was ineffective except for slight damage to three aircraft. Some enemy aircraft were seen. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt.E.J.ROBERTS sighted a JU 88 approaching from port beam above and all gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft broke away firing and then approached on the port beam below. Mid-upper and Rear gunners fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft was claimed to be damaged. The Stirling was also damaged, having a bomb door blown off and a petrol pipe-line pierced, nevertheless the captain brought his aircraft safely back to base. The weather was good except for 3/10th cloud at the target, visibility was good, although smoke haze prevented identification of ground detail. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BF577 JN-M

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 04:45
Flight Time 06:45

30/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Remscheld
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. And 4lb..One aircraft returned early as rear turret was unserviceable and two failed to return. The remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, large concentrated fires and some explosions were seen. Moderate heavy and light A.A fire co-operating with searchlight belts were encountered, and one aircraft was slightly damaged in the mid- upper turret. Some enemy aircraft were seen, the aircraft captained by F/S. O. WHITE sighted an unidentified aircraft which attacked three times. Each time the mid upper and rear gunners fired a burst, and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which then fell away and claimed to be damaged. The weather was good with clear visibility except for haze caused by fires. Navigation was very good. On return, one aircraft landed at HARDWICK, due to shortage of petrol. The missing aircraft were Stirling Mk.III BF458 captained by Sgt. A.J. THOMAS and Stirling Mk.III EE915 captained by F/Sgt. J. DARNEY.

Stirling Mk.III BF458 JN-A

Sgt. Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 1394123/ 149999 – Pilot.
Sgt. Hector Alisdair ‘Paddy’ Stewart , RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
F/S Frederick William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. John Hubert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

BF458 was brought down to the north of Krefeld, near Bockum and Uerdingen. The sole survivors were the Navigator and the Wireless Operator who were captured as POW’s. The Flight Engineer and M/U gunner were buried in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery. The other three are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

P/O Alfred John Thomas, RAFVR 149999 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 25.
Son of George and Elizabeth Thomas.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 133.

Sgt. Hector Alistair ‘Paddy’ Stewart, RAFVR 1029882 – Navigator.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 222432
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags IVB and Luft III
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

P/O Frederic William Raukawa Cumpsty, RNZAF NZ413386 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 25.
Son of Charles Edwin and Mary Cumpsty, of Greytown, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 198.

F/S R.H. Boxell, RAFVR 1331932 – Wireless Operator.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 222430
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag IVB
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. John William Gale, RAFVR 1271102 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 23.
Son of George William and Ellen Gale, of Hove, Sussex.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 2. F. 9.
‘Loved and remembered’

Sgt. John Herbert O’Farrell, RAFVR 1796043 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of John and Margaret O’Farrell, of Dundrum, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 2. F. 10.
‘Jesus, mercy! Requiescent in pace. Also his brave comrades. Amen’

W/O Ernest Frank Henry, RCAF R.139159 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 26.
Son of Ernest Frank and Anne Henry; Husband of Helen Margaret Henry, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Buried Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 180.