W.R. Methven crew 03.10.41 †

12/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover and Le Havre
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. One of these aircraft, SXA.893 captained by P/O. Roberts was attacked over the Zuyder Zee by an enemy fighter. Our aircraft was damaged but a good hit was scored on the enemy which turned away in a steep dive. When nearing base out aircraft ran out of petrol and the captain succeeded in baling out 5 of his crew, but he himself had no time to jump. By the aid of his landing light he picked out a fire break in a forestry plantation and landed safely with little additional damage. All bombs were dropped and fires were started. A.A. fire was heavy and co-operating with searchlights. Search lights were numerous but not troublesome. Thunderstorms were encountered on route and there was slight cloud and haze in target areas.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAF 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Navigator.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Green,   – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:15 – Landed 01:45
Flight Time 04:30

14/08/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hanover
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1000lbs; 500lbs; 250lbs; and containers of incendiaries.
ROB.214 reports bombs fell probably near centre of town but to N.W. of railway station. Bursts observed. Large fires seen when leaving. Have and cloud over target made pinpointing impossible.
ROB.417 bombed south of town.
ROB.476 reports one very large fire started approx.. half mile N.W. of target aiming point.
ROB.556 dropped bombs in target area.
ROB.577 reports that bursts were see and a small fire started.
P/O. Scott reports bomb bursts see and a large fire started.
S/L. Widdowson bombed target.
P/O. Williams bombed buildings near target.
Several dummy fires were observed around target area.
A.A fire was fairly intense and co-operating with searchlights.
Searchlights were active.
ROB.214 was attacked by enemy aircraft, probably JU.88, at about 1200feet over base. One head-on attack was made with cannon and machine gun, but no hits scored. Avoided enemy action by diving to about 200 feet.
The weather was fine in target area, but there was heavy cloud on route.
Navigation was D/R, W/T, loop, astro, Q.D.M.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9767 AA-S

P/O William Jeffrey Rees, RAF 86395 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAF 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Clifford Edwards, RAFVR 1163977 – Navigator.
Sgt. Fred Garde, RAFVR 993802 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Lea Warburton, RAFVR 978776 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Timothy Rowley Murphy, RNZAF NZ404037 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:30 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 07:00

26/08/1942 – Bombing Attacks Against Cologne and Boulogne
Fourteen Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. SWU.567 failed to identify the target and bombs were jettisoned over the sea when petrol gauges had been showing zero for approximately one hour. Another aircraft, captained by Sgt Curlewis, failed to identify the target owing to 10/10 cloud and bombs were returned. All other aircraft dropped their bombs, but heavy cloud in the target area prevented observation of results. A.A. fire was moderate and predicted. Searchlights were ineffective owing to cloud. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks made

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9434 AA-?

Sgt. Anthony ‘Tony’ Saunders, RAF – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Gwyn Martin, RAFVR 981426/ 110857 – Observer.
Sgt. Albert George Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Monk, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Charles Thomas Black, RAFVR 1377719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:10 – Landed 05:30
Flight Time 05:20

02/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Frankfurt
Ten Wellington Aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, GYM.475 failed to reach the target owing to failure of the rear gunners oxygen  supply. Bombs were dropped by the remaining aircraft, and large fires were started. A.A. fire was slight but accurate in target area. Several cones of searchlights were reported near the target but these were not very accurate. Three enemy aircraft were seen, but no attacks  developed. The weather was clear over the target area, but hazy on the return journey.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9834 AA-O

Sgt. Anthony ‘Tony’ Saunders, RAF – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Gwyn Martin, RAFVR 981426/ 110857 – Observer.
Sgt. Albert George Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Monk, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Charles Thomas Black, RAFVR 1377719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:15 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 06:30

06/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Huls
Thirteen Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these  aircraft, X9767 captained by P/O Johnson, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lb GP, 500 lb GP, 250 lb GP, and SBC’s of 4lb incendiaries. One aircraft was seen under attack on the Dutch-German frontier. Another aircraft was observed possibly being shot down by dual AA fire/searchlight action about 15 miles west or south-west of the target. An enemy aircraft was seen taking off from Schipol, but no attacks occurred Bombs were dropped in the target area and numerous fires were started. A.A. fire was light over the target area, but heavy en route, while searchlights were working in cones around target. Three enemy  aircraft seen but no attacks made. The weather was good over the whole journey.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9834 AA-O

Sgt. Anthony ‘Tony’ Saunders, RAF – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Gwyn Martin, RAFVR 981426/ 110857 – Observer.
Sgt. Albert George Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Dennis Thompson, RAFVR 1152206 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Charles Thomas Black, RAFVR 1377719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:10 – Landed 00:35
Flight Time 04:25

15/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburg
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Two of these aircraft failed to return, one being captained by Sgt J. A. Ward who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 4 August 1941. There was clear weather over the target, and bursts were seen in many parts of the target area. A.A. fire was heavy over and near target area. Searchlights were numerous, working in cones, ans co-operating with A.A. fire and night fighters.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9834 AA-O

Sgt. Anthony ‘Tony’ Saunders, RAF – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Sidney Joseph Lawrence Levack, RAFVR 971231 – Observer.
Sgt. Albert George Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Dennis Thompson, RAFVR 1152206 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Charles Thomas Black, RAFVR 1377719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:10 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 06:35

29/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Genoa and Frankfurt
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Target areas were bombed, bursts were seen, and fires started. Heavy and light A.A. fire was ineffective, and very few searchlights operated in target areas. Weather was not too good, there being cloud on route and in target areas. Navigation was by D/R, QDM, pinpoints, loop, Lorenz, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9976 AA-O

G/Capt John Alexander Powell, RAF 1626025 – Pilot.
P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L Watkins,   – Observer.
Sgt. Albert George Windiate, RAFVR 911390/ 112731 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Monk, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
F/L Kay, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:00 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 10:00

03/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Dunkirk
Three Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Target area and docks were bombed and fires started.
The weather forecast was favourable, with a slight haze along the French coast. A.A. fire was fairly intense to the south of the target, with searchlights co-operating.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9975 AA-U

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Fairbrother, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:50 – Landed 21:30
Flight Time 02:40

12/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen and Nurenburg
Nine Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out these attacks. One of these aircraft, X9981 captained by S/Ldr Chamberlain, failed to return to base. Wellington IC X9975, captained by P/O Fisher returned to base owing to over heating of an engine. Direct hits were observed on the docks at Ostend and large fires were started which were visible for 90 miles. Incendiary bombs were dropped on a large factory and fires left burning. Other machines were dropping loads within 50 mile radius. A.A. fire was nil at primary, but there was a heavy flak after dropping bombs on Ostend. Searchlights were active to the East and West of target area. Weather was good.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:55 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 07:35

13/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen and Dusseldorf
Six* Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to attack the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lb GP, 500 lb GP, 250 lb GP and SBC’s of 4 lb incendiaries. Considerable A.A. fire was experienced North and West of the target area, both light and heavy. Target was bombed and fires were observed on leaving. Many large cones of Searchlights were active West and North of the target. Enemy aircraft were seen on the return flight over the Dutch coast but no attacks were made on our aircraft. An unidentified aircraft followed Sgt Taylor and crew in X9977 for about 40 minutes. No attacks were initiated. The aircraft was using a hand lamp for signalling. The weather was 10/10 cloud over target area, with haze. Navigation was by Lorenz, QDM’s, Astro Fix and DR.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:45 – Landed 23:25
Flight Time 04:40

15/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Ten Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 250 lb GP’s and containers of incendiaries. Captains report that bombs were dropped on the target by estimation, but owing to slight haze over the target results were not seen. A considerable amount of heavy AA fire was experienced in and around the target area. Fire was accurate over Aachen. Searchlight activity was intense throughout the route but ineffective in the target area because of the cloud. Weather was fair en route but thick ground haze over all target area. Navigation was by Astro, D/R, QDM. Pinpointing and Lorenz check. Two of these aircraft, Z8945, captained by Sgt Barker, and X9916, captained by Sgt Matetich failed to return to base.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:20 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 05:55

26/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Hamburgh and Cherbourgh

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:10 – Landed 01:30
Flight Time 07:20

01/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Kiel
Eleven Wellington Ic Aircraft from this Unit were detailed to attack the above targets. The whole Operation was marred by bad weather there being 10/10th. Cloud throughout the trip and no results were observed. Bomb load consisting of 1000lbs, 50lbs, 250lbs and incendiaries was dropped on un-identified town, and on area to the West of the target. Very heavy predicted A.A. fire was encountered over target area together with 75m.m. tracers. Searchlights were isolated and ineffective owing to cloud. One M.E. 110 enemy aircraft was seen but no attack was made. Navigation was good, Astro and D.R. loop being used. A convoy fifteen miles off the Wash fired at the aircraft until the colours were fired. There was a surprising lack of enemy fighters.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9957 AA-?

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:35 – Landed 00:15
Flight Time 06:40

04/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Essen
Nine Wellington IC aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Heavy cloud was experienced throughout the whole trip and although bombs were dropped in target area no results were observed. Accurate Heavy Flak was met over the target area and searchlights were active, but ineffective owing to cloud. No enemy aircraft were met. Weather was very poor with 10/10th cloud which completely marred the whole operation.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:05 – Landed 22:25
Flight Time 04:20

07/11/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Berlin and Ostend
Fourteen Wellington Ic aircraft were detailed from this Unit to attack the above targets. Two of these aircraft, X.9951, captained by F/O Methven and X.9976, captained by Sgt. Black, failed to return to base. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1000lbs, 500lbs, 250lbs and containers of incendiaries. Bombs were dropped in target area and some large fires were started, but results were not clearly observed owing to heavy cloud over target area. A considerable amount of heavy flak was met over target area but searchlights, where seen, were ineffective. No enemy aircraft were met throughout the trip. Weather was poor with 10/10th cloud over target area. Navigation was good, Astro and D/R loops being used. Wellington Z.1091, captained by P/O Sandys returned to base owing to engine trouble. Wellington Z.1068, captained by Sgt. Parham returned to base owing to Navigator being sick.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Navigator.
Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. R. Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9951 AA-L was brought down by enemy flak at 23.00hrs, crashing at Werdohl, about 45 miles east of Dusseldorf. All but one of the crew survived

P/O William Reginald Methven, RAFVR 67072 – Pilot.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: not known
Prison Camps: not known
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. John Cuthbert McKechnie Gibson, RNZAF NZ404352 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 29.
Son of John and Lillian Isobel Gibson, of Thames, Auckland, New Zealand; Husband of Ethel Frances Gibson, of Ngaio, Wellington, New Zealand.
Buried Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – 30. B. 5.

P/O Donald Arthur Webster, RCAF J.5308 – Observer.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 688
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft I, Luft III, XXIB and Luft III. Escaped via a tunnel at Oflag XXIB. Promoted to F/Lt whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 18th of May 1945

Sgt. A.B. Frisby, RAFVR 1255606 – Front Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 24481
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIIB, Luft III, Luft VI and 357
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Thomas Patrick Duffy, RNZAF NZ40789 – Wireless Operator.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 24549
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft III, Luft VI and 357. Promoted to W/O whilst interred
Date of return to United Kingdom: 10th of May 1945

Sgt. R Pattinson, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 90118
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags VIIA, 383, Luft VII
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known