N.B. Whitta crew 9.8.43 †

10/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nuremburg
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary 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 BK809 JN-T

W/O John Lefevre Mitchell, RAFVR 1387449/ 155859 – Pilot.
F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. John Gall , RNZAF NZ416476 – Navigator.
Sgt. Sidney Albert Longman, RAFVR 1318852/ 155104 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. A.T. Boomsma, RAFVR 1331148 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. R. Risbridger, RAFVR 577918 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. V. Newman, RAFVR 642264 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. G. Shinn, RAFVR 1445155 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:15 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 06:45

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. BF465 AA-K

F/O Allan Mason Forbes Alexander, RNZAF NZ41712 – Pilot.
F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Walter Frank Morice, RNZAF NZ415708 – Navigator.
Sgt. Philip Hutcheson Pullyn, RNZAF NZ416643 – Air Bomber.
F/S Thomas James Mayhew, RNZAF NZ415549 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frank Howard, RAFVR 643578 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Armstrong ‘Doc’ Lyon, RCAF R.108340 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. William Hamish ‘Mac’ MacDonald, RNZAF NZ417219 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:15 – Landed 06:30
Flight Time 09:15

09/08/1943 – Mining in the Frisian Islands
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., which were all successfully dropped in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were encountered. Visibility was good, being clear with a bright moon. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.I BF443 AA-V “Waikato”

F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – Pilot.
P/O John George Turnbull, RNZAF NZ42490 – Navigator.
Sgt. Michael Costello, RCAF R.123094 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Frederick Andrews, RAFVR 1263093 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick David Mason, RAFVR 1230433 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Jack Edmond Lovewell, RAFVR 1333957 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Basil George Crisp, RAFVR 1215484 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 01:25
Flight Time 03:15

15/08/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs.. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to inter-communication failure and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and parachutes were seen to open. Some heavy A.A. fire was encountered and one aircraft was slightly hit in the fuselage. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was very good. One aircraft, whilst returning across FRANCE at 200 feet, shot up four trains, the engine of one was seen to explode and the other three appeared hit. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE891 captained by F/Sgt. WHITTA, N.B.

Stirling Mk.III EE891 AA-Q

F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – Pilot.
P/O John George Turnbull, RNZAF NZ42490 – Navigator.
Sgt. Michael Costello, RCAF R.123094 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Reginald Frederick Andrews, RAFVR 1263093 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Frederick David Mason, RAFVR 1230433 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Basil George Crisp, RAFVR 1215484 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Jack Edmond Lovewell, RAFVR 1333957 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Stirling Mk.III EE891 AA-Q was brought down off the French coast either by enemy aircraft action or AA ground fire. The bodies of the Captain, Wireless Operator and Mid Upper Gunner were recovered and buried at Olonne-sur-Mer. The body of the RCAF Air Bomber was also recovered and buried at Les Sables-d ́Olonne. The other missing crew members are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

F/S Neville Bruce Whitta, RNZAF NZ416566 – Pilot.
Killed age 20.
Son of Alfred Vivian and Constance Eva Whitta, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Buried Olonne-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – I. E. 4.

F/O John George Turnbull, RNZAF NZ42490 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 33.
Son of Francis Turnbull and of Ada Turnbull (Nee Brown), of Fulwell, Co. Durham.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 198.

F/S Michael Costello, RCAF 123094 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 32.
Son of John and Emma Costello, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Husband of Louise Costello. of Toronto.
Buried Les Sables-Dolonne (La Chaume) New Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – The only wargrave in the cemetary
‘Beloved son of Of John and Emma Costello R.I.P.’

Sgt. Reginald Frederick Andrews, RAFVR 1263093 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 22.
Buried Olonne-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Row 5. Grave 5.

Sgt. Frederick David Mason, RAFVR 1230433 – Flight Engineer.
Lost without trace age 21.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 158.

Sgt. Basil George Crisp, RAFVR 1215484 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 22.
Buried Olonne-Sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Row 5. Grave 7.

Sgt. Jack Edmond Lovewell, RAFVR 1333957 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 21.
Son of Arthur and Ethel N. Lovewell, of Norwich.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 157.