W.D. Whitehead crew 16.3.43 †

Whitehead crew - including Peter Dobson

The Whitehead crew. This photograph was taken on the 24th of April 1943, before take-off.
Left to Right: Rex Jamieson Rear Gunner, Morris Parker Air Bomber, Charlie Parker Wireless Operator, George Stokes Mid Upper Gunner, Hugh McLellan Flight Engineer, Don Whitehead Pilot,& Peter Dobson Navigator
Many thanks to Sandra for supplying caption information

22/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at St. Nazaire
Nine aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with 30 lb. 4 lb. incendiary bombs. One aircraft however, failed to take off as it was found to be unserviceable. A general recall, however, was broadcast when the aircraft were about twenty minutes from the target. They all brought their bombs back with the exception of one, which was forced to jettison them.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

W/O John Arthur Ernest Walsh, RNZAF NZ401294 – Pilot.
Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Bertram Augustus Moffatt, RCAF R.802237 – Navigator.
Sgt. Francis Henry Reddicliffe, RAFVR 1030797 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Charles Leonard Parker, RNZAF NZ41228 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Herbert Worthington, RAFVR 574819 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Phillip Gordon Stuart, RCAF R.93568 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Stanley Arthur Curtis, RAFVR 1386838 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:55 – Landed 00:05
Flight Time 05:10

27/03/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Eleven aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1,000lb. And incendiaries of 30lb. And 4lb. One of the aircraft returned early, as it failed to maintain height . The remaining ten aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was difficult to judge the effectiveness of our bombs, as there was thick ground haze. Two aircraft were hit by A.A. fire, which was intense. But not effective. Many searchlights were also seen, which were co-operating with the A.A. defences. A few enemy aircraft were seen, but no combats took place. The weather was not very good, although it was fairly clear over the target except for ground haze. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I W7469 AA-O/C

W/O John Arthur Ernest Walsh, RNZAF NZ401294 – Pilot.
Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Bertram Augustus Moffatt, RCAF R.802237 – Navigator.
Sgt. Francis Henry Reddicliffe, RAFVR 1030797 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. John William Scudder, RAFVR 1291875 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Jack Herbert Worthington, RAFVR 574819 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Phillip Gordon Stuart, RCAF R.93568 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Stanley Arthur Curtis, RAFVR 1386838 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:45 – Landed 23:10
Flight Time 03:25

29/03/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
One aircraft was detailed to carry out this operation, with mines of 1500 lbs. which were successfully dropped in the allotted area, and the parachutes seen to open. No A.A. fire, enemy aircraft, or searchlights were encountered. Rain and cloud was prevalent in the mining area, although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.I BK624 AA-A

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 19:35 – Landed 00:35
Flight Time 05:00

06/04/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. Both aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and the majority of the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A. Fire, Searchlights or Enemy Aircraft were encountered. The weather was clear in the target area, with good visibility. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK664 AA-M

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 21:00 – Landed 03:15
Flight Time 06:15

10/04/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Frankfurt
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Three aircraft were forced to return early as they failed to maintain height. Eight of the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. It was not possible to see the target owing to thick cloud, a large red glow was nevertheless seen. Both light and heavy A.Afire co-operating with searchlights was encountered, although they were ineffective. Several enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place. There was 10/10ths cloud in the target area, but it was clear and dark above our aircraft. Navigations was excellent. Stirling III, BF455 captained by F/Sgt. Rothschild was hit over the target by A.A.Fire and also chased by enemy Fighters. This caused him to run short of Petrol over the English Channel on the way home, and he eventually crash landed in the sea, 3 miles off Shoreham. The wireless procedure had been perfect, and Spitfires escorted it over the French coast, and a Walrus Flying Boat was waiting for it to crash land. Dingy drill was perfect and all the crew got in safely after an immaculate landing – the Stirling floating for 25 minutes. The final scene was enacted in the Channel as the Walrus collided with the Dinghy and dropped all the crew in the sea. No Ill-effects except for Sgt. Grainger, the Flight Engineer, who suffered from shock. Stirling III BF456 captained by Sgt. Webb failed to return.

Stirling Mk.I R9243 AA-C

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 00:15 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 03:45

22/04/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation, with Mines of 1500 lbs. All of these aircraft successfully dropped their Mines in the allotted area, and the majority of the parachutes were seen to open. Two A.A. ships were in the mining area and light & heavy A.A.Fire co-operation with searchlights was encountered, but it was inaccurate. No enemy aircraft were seen. Eight tenths cloud was prevalent in the mining area, and patches of cloud provided cover for the aircraft. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 21:00 – Landed 04:00
Flight Time 07:00

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

28/04/1943 – Mining in Kiel Bay
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. One of these aircraft returned early owing to its compass being faulty and four failed to return. The remaining three aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered which is believed to have come from an A.A. ship in the mining area. No enemy aircraft were seen. Visibility was fairly good, with scattered cloud in the mining area. Navigation was very good. Stirlings Mk.1 R9290, Sgt. A. Lewis, W.7513 – Sgt. K. Halliburton, BF.467 – P/O D. Thompson, <k.III BK664 – P/O. D.V. Hamer, failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF465 AA-K

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 20:30 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 08:00

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.III BK434? ??-?

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot. Sgt. Cyril Philip Bailie, RAFVR 1578834, 155786 – 2nd Pilot.Died Tuesday 3 August 1943, age 21, during a raid on Hamburg.
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 22:57 – Landed 03:14
Flight Time 04:17

05/05/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Six aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with Mines of 1500lb. One aircraft, however, failed to take-off and one failed to return. The remaining four aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and all the parachutes were seen to open. Some light A.A.Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No enemy aircraft were seen. There was broken cloud in the mining area, although visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. EF.340, captained by Sgt. R.F. Westwood.

Stirling Mk.I BF443 AA-V “Waikato”

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 21:54 – Landed 02:07
Flight Time 04:13

23/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dortmund
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and the remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Some very large fires were seen, and the bombs were seen to explode amongst large buildings. Medium and Heavy A.A.Fire co-operating with searchlights was encountered. One aircraft was hit whilst over the target, and the port outer propeller was shot off, but the aircraft successfully returned to base. Some enemy aircraft were seen, and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but identification was difficult owing to smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. Stirling Mk.III,BK.783 captained by Sergeant S.M. Tietjens failed to return.

Stirling Mk.III BF461 JN-B

Sgt. Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
Sgt. Thomas Darton, RNZAF NZ416465 – 2nd Pilot.Died Wednesday 26th May 1943, age 22, during a raid on Dusseldorf.
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 23:01 – Landed 03:46
Flight Time 04:45

25/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Dusseldorf
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with bombs of 1000lb and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. Four aircraft returned early owing to engine trouble, and one failed to return. The remaining eleven aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, and some large explosions were also seen. Both heavy and light A.A.Fire was encountered, co-operationg with searchlights, which were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. Ten tenths cloud was prevalent in the target area, but visibility was fairly good. Navigation was very good. This missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.I. BK602, captained by Sergeant T.W. Darton.

Stirling Mk.III BF458 JN-A

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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 23:47 – Landed 01:56
Flight Time 02:09

29/05/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Twenty aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with bombs of 2000lb, 1000lb, and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to the rear turret being unserviceable, and two returned early. Four aircraft failed to return. The remaining thirteen aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires were seen and also some big explosions. Some heavy A.A.Fire was encountered, but it was ineffective. No searchlights were seen. A few enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good in the target area, but visibility was impaired by smoke from the fires. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BK776 Captained by P/O. R.F.Bennett, Mk.I EF398, captained by F/O. R.B. Vernazoni, MK.III EH881 captained by Sgt. J.H. Carey and Mk.III Bf561 captained by Sgt. S.R. Thornley.

Stirling Mk.I BK817 AA-B

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S 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 23:10 – Landed 03:27
Flight Time 04:17

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 EH880 AA-J

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/O John Lloyd Edwards, RAFVR 130636 – 2nd Pilot.
F/O 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 23:40 – Landed 03:32
Flight Time 03:52

24/06/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Wuppertal
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack with incendiary bombs of 30lns and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early owing to the rear turret being unserviceable and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very good attack, very large concentrated fires being seen, the glow of which was visible 30 miles away from the Dutch Coast. The defences were considerably stronger than the previous attacks, both moderate and heavy A.A.fire was encountered and two aircraft were slightly hit. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one short combat took place but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, although the smoke from the fires obscured ground detail. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EH902 captained by F/S Bluck.

Stirling Mk.III BF518 AA-E

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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. Alfred James Henry Ames, RAFVR 616330, 53741 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Stokes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Vincent Rex Jamieson, RNZAF NZ416431 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:27 – Landed 04:16
Flight Time 04:49

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 BF518 AA-E

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – 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. Alfred James Henry Ames, RAFVR 616330, 53741 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Stokes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Vincent Rex Jamieson, RNZAF NZ416431 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:36 – Landed 03:32
Flight Time 03:56

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 BF518 AA-E

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
Sgt. Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S 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 23:15 – Landed 04:15
Flight Time 05:00

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 88approaching 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.I EE897 AA-G

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Eric John Roberts, RNZAF NZ417107 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S 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 22:00 – Landed 04:50
Flight Time 06:50

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 ws 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.I EE897 AA-G

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S J.H. Kay, RAFVR – 2nd Pilot. Details and subsequent history of this individual unclear – appears to have only made this single 2P Op with the Whitehead crew – as an observer?
F/S 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 22:30 – Landed 00:05
Flight Time 01:35

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 BF518 AA-E

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S 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 21:40 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 06:50

10/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nurenburg
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with indiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lb. One aircraft failed to take off owing to engine trouble, the remainder however, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen glowing below the clouds and some heavy explosions were also seen, indicating that the attack was a success. Moderate A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but gave little trouble. Some enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was poor at the target, 9/10ths cloud prevailing, which prevented identification  of detail. Navigation was very good. The aircraft captained by P/O C.C.Logan, owing to unserviceable navigation aids on return journey went off track and ran short of petrol. The crew prepared to abandon the aircraft but fortunately the petrol lasted and they landed at R.A.F. Marston, after being airborne for 9 hours and 10 minutes.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S Maurice Edward Parker, RNZAF NZ414332 – Air Bomber.
F/S 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 22:00 – Landed 06:20
Flight Time 08:20

12/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Turin
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 50lb. and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area, which was an absolute mass of flames, colossal fires and heavy explosions were also seen. Very feeble A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, but were ineffective. Some enemy aircraft were seen and one combat took place. The aircraft captained by P/O A. Burley sighted an unidentified aircraft on the way to the target in the Chartes area, which approached from astern, the rear gunner gave a short burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the enemy aircraft broke away. The Stirling’s port outer engine was badly damaged and had to be feathered. The captain however, continued to target which was 380 miles distant on three engines, successfully bombed it and returned to base, making a perfect landing. The weather was clear with a bright moon over the target. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
Sgt. Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S Maurice Edward Parker, RNZAF NZ414332 – Air Bomber.
F/S Charles Leonard Parker, RNZAF NZ41228 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. McLellan, RAFVR 537228 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Stokes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Vincent Rex Jamieson, RNZAF NZ416431 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 05:30
Flight Time 08:10

16/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Turin
Twelve aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. All of the aircraft successfully bombed the target except one which jettisoned its bombs 10 miles N.W. of Turin owing to an electrical equipment failure. Some huge explosions and very large fires were seen, which appeared to be spreading. Slight A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective except for one aircraft that received negligible damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. The weather was good except for ground haze. Navigation was very good. All the aircraft were diverted to other aerodromes on return, owing to fog at base.

Stirling Mk. EF465 AA-H
details in Mepal log regarding fog at base and alternate return destinations for aircraft
F/S Whitehead and crew Landed at Boscome Down and returned to Mepal 17.08.43 (reference Sgt George Stokes Log, via Sandra Riley)

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

Take Off 20:20 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 07:30

23/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb., and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb.. Five aircraft returned early owing to failure and three aircraft failed to return. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area and all of the crews agreed that it had been well and truly hit. The fires were all concentrated and huge columns of smoke together with heavy explosions could be seen. A moderate heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but only one aircraft received damage. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 passing above, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners fired and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which was then lost sight of and is claimed to have been damaged. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITEHEAD whilst over BERLIN sighted an enemy aircraft on the starboard quarter, 300yds away. The Rear Gunner fired a five second burst and the enemy aircraft was seen in flames diving to earth, and was claimed as probably destroyed. The same aircraft encountered another unidentified aircraft 300yds away on the starboard quarter. The Rear Gunner fired another five seconds burst and the enemy aircraft exploded and disintegrated. It was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/O. A. Alexander, whilst over the target sighted a ME110 approaching from the starboard quarter above and firing at his aircraft. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunners replied with long bursts and the enemy aircraft was seen to be in flames. A fire was later seen on the ground and the enemy aircraft was claimed as probably destroyed. Scattered cloud was met on the outward route, but it was clear over the target. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BF465 captained by P/O A. RANKIN, BF564 captained by P/O A. Sedunary and EE938 captained by W/O T. Fear.
The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITE, O.H. whilst approaching the target area was coned by searchlights and repeatedly hit by heavy A.A. fire, sustaining considerable damage to port mainplane. He continued towards the target though still coned by searchlights and was then attacked by a JU88 sustaining hits in the rear of the fuselage which shattered the rear turret and killed Rear Gunner Sgt. Poole, J.. The aircraft was forced into an uncontrollable dive and the captain warned his crew ‘Prepare to abandon the aircraft’. Unfortunately, in the middle of this order the inter-communication failed, and the Navigator, Air Bomber and Wireless Operator abandoned the aircraft, due to the fact that they were unable to contact their Captain. F/Sgt. WHITE jettisoned his bomb load whilst in the dive directly over the target area, managed to regain control of the aircraft when height had been lost down to 6,000ft. The captain and two remaining members of the crew after taking stock of the damage decided to attempt the long and hazardous return journey to base. This they did successfully and made a perfect crash landing at base without lights, flaps or under carriage, as the electrical leads were shot away.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Muir Williams, RAAF AUS.401341 – Air Bomber.
F/S 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 20:30 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 08:00

27/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nuremburg
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Good concentrated fires and heavy explosions were seen. A moderate barrage consisting of light and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, and two aircraft received slight damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen, one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was cloudy on the outward journey but clear over the target and visibility was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE955 captained by F/Sgt. Higham.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/O James Samuel Battersby, RNZAF NZ405069 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
Sgt. John Muir Williams, RAAF AUS.401341 – Air Bomber.
F/S 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 21:15 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 07:15

30/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Munchen-Gladbach
18 Aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All aircraft with the exception of one which failed to return, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires which were well concentrated and spreading, were seen. All crews were of the opinion that this was a good attack. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Batger, H. sighted an enemy aircraft 600 yards away, ahead and the front gunner fired a long and short burst, the enemy aircraft then disappeared and was claimed as possibly destroyed. . The aircraft captained by F/S McGregor,K. sighted an Me110 astern, the rear gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engines. It is claimed as a possible destroyed. There was 8/10ths cloud at the target approaches although it was clear in the target area. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was  Stirling MK.III EH938 captained by Sgt. Parkin, T.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

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

Take Off 00:15 – Landed 04:30
Flight Time 04:15

31/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. Two aircraft failed to take-off and four did not return, the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen, although rather scattered they appeared to be progressing very well. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered and one air craft received slight damage. Enemy night-fighters were in great prominence, the aircraft piloted by F/Sgt. Wilkinson, G encountered a JU88 approaching from astern 500yds away. The rear gunner fired a long burst, the enemy aircraft replied and stalled. The mid-upper gunner then fired three long bursts. The enemy aircraft was seen to fall away and is claimed as probably destroyed. Our aircraft received damage to the rear of the fuselage and had part of the tailplane and fin badly damaged. The aircraft captained by F/O Alexander sighted two Me109’s, the first opened fire from the starboard quarter and the rear gunner replied with a short burst. The enemy aircraft stalled and the mid-upper gunner fired a short burst. The enemy aircraft then dived to the ground and exploded, it was claimed to be destroyed. The second Me109 opened fire with a short burst from the port bow to the port quarter. The rear gunner then fired a short burst and tracer was seen to enter the enemy aircraft, which dived. It was claimed as possible destroyed. The aircraft captained by W/O Moseley, P. sighted a Me110 on the port quarter, the mid upper and rear gunner fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft turned over and dived with smoke pouring from its starboard side. It was claimed as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by P/O C.Logan sighted a Me109 sixty yards astern, the mid-upper and rear gunner  fired and tracer from the rear gunner was seen to hit the aircraft. The Stirling then corkscrewed and the Me109 disappeared. It was claimed to be damaged. Two other aircraft crash landed away from base due to damage caused by enemy fighters, none of the crews were injured however. 8/10ths cloud was encountered on the outward journey and 9’10ths at the target, visibility, nevertheless, was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings MK.III EE918 captained by F/Sgt. Roberts,E, EE878 captained by F/Sgt. Henley, D, EE905 captained by F/Sgt. Helm,G. and EF501 captained by F/S McGregor, K.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Robert Speirs, RNZAF NZ413136 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S Maurice Edward Parker, RNZAF NZ414332 – Air Bomber.
F/S Charles Leonard Parker, RNZAF NZ41228 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. McLellan, RAFVR 537228 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Stokes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Vincent Rex Jamieson, RNZAF NZ416431 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:20 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 07:15

05/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take-off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of CAMBRIDGE. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the FRENCH Coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable. The ENGLISH Coast was reached however, it belly-landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took, place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.BATGER sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter which opened fire on them and our aircraft corkscrewed. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunner then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the Flight Engineer Sgt. R. DALKINS was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. R. WHITMORE sighted an enemy aircraft 100yds. astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was flowed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft, which was afire. F/Sgt. WHITMORE’s Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners opened fire on the enemy aircraft, which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON, E.S.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 AA-H

F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Henry Leonard Burton, RNZAF NZ415863 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Peter Gerald Dobson, RNZAF NZ439022 – Navigator.
F/S Maurice Edward Parker, RNZAF NZ414332 – Air Bomber.
F/S Charles Leonard Parker, RNZAF NZ41228 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. H. McLellan, RAFVR 537228 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. George Stokes, RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Vincent Rex Jamieson, RNZAF NZ416431 – Rear Gunner.

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

F/S Peter Gerald Dobson,was killed on the night of 8th of September 1943 when attempting to help the Menzies crew of BK809 JN-T which had crashed on take-off for the Boulogne Op.

2 thoughts on “W.D. Whitehead crew 16.3.43 †

  1. Sandra Riley (Stokes)

    The Picture at the top of this section was taken before take of on 24.04.43 of Whitehead Crew.
    Left to Right: Rex Jamieson Rear Gunner, Morris Parker Bomb-aimer, Charlie Parker Wireless Operator, George Stokes Mid Upper Gunner, Hugh McLellan Engineer, Don Whitehead Pilot, Peter Dobson Navigator

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    Reply

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