Abbreviations

A/C

A/G

B/A

F/Eng

LZ

Nav

TAF

W/Op

Aircraft

Air Gunner

Bomb Aimer

Flight Engineer

Landing Zone

Navigator

Tactical Air Force

Wireless Operator

 

 

Month and year: March 1945

 

24th March 1945

Place: Great Dunmow

 

Today was to prove another "red letter" day in the history [of] our Squadron, as with her sister Squadrons she went forth to deal the Hun a mortal blow.  The weather was almost perfect when our first aircraft, W/Cdr. Bunker, took off at 0630 hrs.  The visibility was only of the order of 2000 yrds. over England but it improved over the Continent to about 8 miles.  30 of our aircraft were detailed for the operation; 24 in one section to drop on D.Z. R and 6 who were to drop with 620 Squadron on D.Z. P.  Our first section of 24 aircraft were airborne in 26 mins., a very creditable performance, there was however a delay of several minutes when F/O. Lewis developed a very nasty swing on take-off and wrote his undercarriage off, completely obstructing the runway in use.  The crew were shaken up but except a slight cut sustained by F/O. Weldon there were no injuries.  F/O. Connell had an engine pack up on take-off and had to cast off his glider but he landed as soon as possible after the last aircraft had taken off and took another glider which he successfully towed to the D.Z.

 

The form up which was done at 125 m.p.h. indicated instead of 130 m.p.h. indicated was reasonably good and by the time the stream set course over base everything was under control.  It was very wise that the true air speed required for the journey to the Rhine was only 140 m.p.h. instead of 145 m.p.h. as most of our aircraft found it very difficult to maintain 140 m.p.h. with the fully loaded glider.  As we approached the English coast our sister squadrons were seen converging on us and when the sections took their appropriate positions in the stream the greatest air armada of all time was winging its way Rhineward to strike the final knockout blow to Hitlers Regime.  The Halifax Squadron which was immediately in front of us began to draw away leaving a gap of about 8 miles; as it was essential that the stream be kept continuous, our Squadron Commander had to disregard the time briefed for Marfax and by cutting corners endeavour to bridge this gap.  He was unable to do this and we went into the L.Z. area as an almost separate unit.

 

As we neared Marfax the mighty power of the American Air Force converged on us and soon the two streams were flying along in perfect unison; the Stirlings and Halifaxes with their giant Horsas and Hamilcars on the port side and the Dakotas with their two Wacos each on the starboard side.  As we approached the Rhine Field Marshal Montgomery's artificial smoke screen was seen to be covering the greater number of the L.Z.'s and when we reached the release point our L.Z. could not be seen through the murk.  No doubt the glider pilots experienced great difficulty in landing at their allotted point on the L.Z.

 

Owing to the very effective work done by the Army and the 2nd T.A.F. in silencing the majority of the flak batteries, the opposition was very much lighter than what we had expected.  There was however a very little heavy flak coming from the direction of Rees and some light flak and small arms fire coming up from the L.Z. area.  None of our aircraft is missing and no casualties were suffered.  The Rebecca Eureka sets which were set up on all of the turning points were scarcely necessary owing to the extremely good visibility, but had the weather been duff they would have given very valuable assistance to the Navigators.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "A" LJ 930.  Crew:  W/C R.H. Bunker (Pilot), NZ F/O J.S. Asher (Nav), Can W/O Browne D.J. (A/B), A W/O Cassidy F.T. (W/Op), F/S Bagley R.L. (F/Eng), NZ W/O Whittleston J.B. (A/G), Mr Singleton (U.S. War Correspondent).  Time Up:  06.30.  Time Down:  12.26.  W/C Bunker reported a very satisfactory trip.  He reported that the Halifax stream which he was supposed to follow was flying at a great air speed than he was and although he cut corners in an attempt to catch them he was some ten miles behind them at the Landing Zone.  No damage sustained from enemy action.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "G" LK 566.  Crew:  Can S/L D.R. Robertson (Pilot), Can F/L L.E. Prowse (Nav), Can F/L N.L. Roseblade (A/B), F/Sgt G.D. Thompson (W/Op), F/Sgt R. Alderson (F/Eng), F/Sgt R.G. Davies (A/G), F/L D.L. Merchant (2nd A/B).  Time Up:  06.32.  Time Down:  12.20.  S/L Robertson had a satisfactory trip.  He reported a Halifax go down in flames in the L.Z. Area and saw three 'chutes open from it.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "K" LJ 895.  Crew:  A F/O R.J. Fogarty (Pilot), W/O D.F. Holden (Nav), F/Sgt A.E. Lovegreen (A/B), F/Sgt L.J. Restall (W/Op), F/Sgt F.W. Spilka (F/Eng), W/O R.G. Shaw (A/G).  Time Up:  06.34.  Time Down:  12.24.  F/O Fogarty had a good trip with no damage being sustained.  He reported one "Waco" on fire on the ground, and one Halifax with a wing off going down in flames in the L.Z. Area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "O" TS 265.  Crew:  F/L C.M. Brazier (Pilot), F/S T.W. Booker (Nav), Can W/O R.E. St Marie (A/B), W/O L. Bedford (W/Op), Sgt S.C. Baker (F/Eng), Can W/O R.R. Smith (A/G).  Time Up:  06.34.  Time Down:  12.35.  F/L Brazier had a satisfactory trip.  No damage to a/c.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "J" LJ 826.  Crew:  A F/O S.J. Connell (Pilot), NZ F/O E.B. Reynolds (Nav), A P/O F.C. West (A/B), A P/O L.C. Dowling (W/Op), F/Sgt A. Ell (F/Eng), Can F/O K. Conley (A/G).  Time Up:  06.35, 08.15.  Time Down:  07.45, 13.40.  F/O Connell, on his first attempt, had an engine "pack up" on take off but he landed as soon as possible and took off again at the end of the stream.  He had a good trip.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "M" LJ 898.  Crew:  F/Sgt J.W. Driscoll (Pilot), F/O W.J. Hollins (Nav), F/Sgt A.E. Cole (A/B), F/Sgt N. Carter (W/Op), Sgt C.D. Evans (F/Eng), Sgt H.F. Harmer (A/G).  Time Up:  06.37.  Time Down:  12.33.  F/Sgt Driscoll had a very good trip and sustained no damage from enemy action.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "L" EE 316.  Crew:  A F/O J.H. Atkinson (Pilot), F/Sgt H.C. Fisher (Nav), F/Sgt A.R. Mitchell (A/B), F/Sgt E.J. Matton (W/Op), F/Sgt C. Hayden (F/Eng), Can W/O J. Driscoll (A/G), F/L K. Sheppard (2nd F/Eng).  Time Up:  06.38.  Time Down:  12.15.  F/O Atkinson had a good trip and sustained no damage.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "C" EF 273.  Crew:  F/O P.W. Mungall (Pilot), F/O J.D. McMillan (Nav), F/O B.G. Jennings (A/B), Sgt G.S. Sykes (W/Op), Sgt E.F. Pile (F/Eng), Sgt R. Davies (A/G).  Time Up:  06.39.  Time Down:  12.29.  F/O Mungall had a satisfactory trip and no damage was sustained.  He reported three Dakotas in a damaged condition on the western side of the Rhine.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "E" LK 433.  Crew:  NZ F/O N.W. Sutherland (Pilot), NZ F/O C.G. Rouse (Nav), A P/O D.R. Bertram (A/B), A F/O I.H.K. Nixon (W/Op), F/Sgt E.G. Algar (F/Eng), NZ F/O R.E.G. Vincent (A/G).  Time Up:  06.40.  Time Down:  12.25.  F/O Sutherland had a very good though uneventful trip.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "N" LK 889.  Crew:  F/O R.J.W. Passmore (Pilot), F/O L. Pagliero (Nav), F/O R.D. Stephens (A/B), F/Sgt E.G. Reynolds (W/Op), Sgt E. Ward (F/Eng), Sgt A.D. Frost (A/G).  Time Up:  06.41.  Time Down:  12.21.  F/O Passmore had a quiet trip with no damage sustained.  He reported one Halifax go down in the L.Z. Area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "D" EE 962.  Crew:  A F/O E.W.T. Jones (Pilot), W/O K.G. Loach (Nav), F/Sgt C. Black (A/B), F/Sgt E.H. Welsford (W/Op), F/Sgt W.G. Carrington (F/Eng), F/Sgt A. Hanson (A/G).  Time Up:  06.43.  Time Down:  12.40.  F/O Jones had a good trip.  He saw one Halifax and one Stirling in difficulties over the L.Z. Area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "B" LK 196.  Crew:  Can F/O H.B Allan (Pilot), Can F/O W.C. Summers (Nav), Can W/O G.T. Cunningham (A/B), F/Sgt J.F. Bradbrook (W/Op), F/Sgt K. Kendrew (F/Eng), Can W/O C.P. Randall (A/G).  Time Up:  06.44.  Time Down:  12.18.  F/O Allan had a good trip with no damage.  He reported a Halifax in trouble over the L.Z. and saw two 'chutes open from it.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "F" LK 431.  Crew:  A F/O I.G. Mason (Pilot), A W/O C.L. Ranclaud (Nav), W/O F.E. Dickens (A/B), A F/Sgt J. Ford (W/Op), Sgt D. Gray (F/Eng), A F/Sgt W.G. Allen (A/G).  Time Up:  07.41.  Time Down:  13.36.  F/O Mason had a quiet trip.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "Q" LK 336.  Crew:  Can F/O E.F. Insley (Pilot), Can P/O H. Venular (Nav), F/Sgt L.C. Sharp (A/B), Can W/O J.H. Hay (W/Op), Sgt W. Dexter (F/Eng), F/Sgt I.J. Post (A/G).  Time Up:  07.43.  Time Down:  12.56.  F/O Insley had a good trip.  He sustained no damage.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "R" LJ 281.  Crew:  F/L J.D. Le Bouvier (Pilot), F/L C.M. Lovell (Nav), F/L R.G. Cullen (A/B), F/L L.J. Blunsum (W/Op), F/S H.G.E. Priestley (F/Eng), F/S G. Hopkin (A/G), F/L R.G. Davidson (2/A/G).  Time Up:  06.45.  Time Down:  13.08.  F/L Le Bouvier had a good trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  In the L.Z. area he saw 2 Stirlings in difficulty.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "P" LJ 271.  Crew:  W/O E.T. Dickens (Pilot), F/S C.R. Steen (Nav), W/O H.B. Williamson (A/B), F/S S.J. Herd (W/Op), Sgt H. Rice (F/Eng), W/O R.A. Ranson (A/G).  Time Up:  06.46.  Time Down:  13.01.  W/O Dickens had a quiet trip he reported 2 Stirlings in difficulties over the L.Z. area; four chutes were seen to open.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "T" LJ 977.  Crew:  NZ F/L C.L. Siegert (Pilot), AUS P/O V. Willis (Nav), AUS F/O L.J. Pepperell (A/B), P/O A.L. Chambers (W/Op), F/S P.W. Morris (F/Eng), W/O J.F. Welton (A/G).  Time Up:  08.04.  Time Down:  12.48.  F/L Siegert had a quiet trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  He reported seeing 3 parachutes open from a Stirling which was in trouble over the L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "Q" EF 242.  Crew:  F/O C.W. Hoskyns (Pilot), F/O S. Carpenter (Nav), F/O A. Fisken (A/B), W/O C. Buckley (W/Op), Sgt R.E. Chapman (F/Eng), F/O P.J.R. Viney (A/G).  Time Up:  06.49.  Time Down:  12.45.  F/O Hoskyns had a quiet trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  He reported two Stirlings on fire on the West side of the Rhine and on Halifax in the L.Z. area in difficulty.  He also reported one Horsa glider going down in flames.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "Z" EF 264.  Crew:  CAN P/O R.S Middleton (Pilot), CAN P/O R.G.J. Beck (Nav), CAN F/O A.G. Bosaley (A/B), P/O H.J. Cretney (W/Op), F/S A.E. Drury (F/Eng), CAN F/O W.J.A. Angus (A/G).  Time Up:  06.51.  Time Down:  12.51.  P/O Middleton had a good trip and the only damage sustained to his aircraft was a small hole in No.4 tank on the Port wing.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "Y" LK 276.  Crew:  U.S.A. Flt O. C.C. Bliss (Pilot), AUS P/O L.G. Godley (Nav), F/S C.H. Cockerill (A/B), F/S A. Hanson (W/Op), P/O G.W. Fairweather (F/Eng), W/O J.F. Missaubie (A/G).  Time Up:  06.50.  Time Down:  12.32.  Flt.O. Bliss had a good trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  He reported one Stirling with one of its port engines on fire in the D.Z. area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "O" EF 204.  Crew:  CAN F/O D.S. Sellars (Pilot), CAN F/L W. Mowat (Nav), AUS F/O C.G. Hill (A/B), CAN P/O R.M. Palmer (W/Op), P/O F.W.S. Kempton (F/Eng), W/O I.S. Armstrong (A/G).  Time Up:  06.52.  Time Down:  12.43.  F/O Sellars had a quiet trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  He saw one Halifax go down in the L.Z. area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "N" LJ 936.  Crew:  F/S W.H. Tucker (Pilot), F/S T.B. Goodwin (Nav), F/O E. Daly (A/B), F/S H.C. Fisher (W/Op), Sgt J. Adams (F/Eng), F/S T.W. McGechie (A/G).  Time Up:  06.53.  Time Down:  12.30.  F/S Tucker had a quiet trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  He reported one Stirling and one Halifax in difficulties over the L.Z. area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "S" EF 244.  Crew:  AUS F/O C.J. Bickford (Pilot), P/O D.E. Bowen (Nav), F/S G.J. Brace (A/B), F/S E.H. Newbury (W/Op), F/S B. Gilson (F/Eng), W/O L.N. Armstrong (A/G).  Time Up:  06.54.  Time Down:  12.36.  F/O Bickford had a satisfactory trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "V" LK 276.  Crew:  NZ P/O G.P. Wylie (Pilot), NZ W/O A.G. Stephens (Nav), NZ P/O J.R. Brown (A/B), F/S P. Stell (W/Op), F/S T.H. Peart (F/Eng), CAN W/O E.G. Lance (A/G).  Time Up:  06.56.  Time Down:  12.28.  W/O Wylie had a quiet trip and sustained no damage to his aircraft.  One Halifax was seen to crash near the L.Z. area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "U" LJ 832.  Crew:  AUS F/O A.J. Whiteley (Pilot), AUS P/O J.G. Williams (Nav), W/O A. Watts (A/B), NZ W/O H.W. Heyward (W/Op), Sgt I.M. Heald (F/Eng), NZ W/O B.G. Husband (A/G).  Time Up:  06.57.  Time Down:  13.06.  F/O Whiteley had an uneventful trip and no damage was sustained by his aircraft.  He reported one Horsa glider down in the Channel at position 50.57N 01.27E.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "A" LK 227.  Crew:  F/O D. Lowry (Pilot), W/O B.N. Matheson (Nav), F/S R. Hawes (A/B), Sgt R. Steel (W/Op), Sgt R. Scotney (F/Eng), Sgt L. Mallett (A/G).  Time Up:  07.57.  Time Down:  13.25.  F/O Lowry had a quiet and uneventful trip.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "X" LJ 818.  Crew:  S/L J.R. Fisher (Pilot), F/L J.C.W. Davies (Nav), CAN F/O J.J. McDowell (A/B), AUS P/O T.J. Trood (W/Op), F/S R.W. Bullock (F/Eng), P/O L.J. Hawkins (A/G).  Time Up:  07.59.  Time Down:  13.43.  S/Ldr Fisher had a good trip.  The port side of his aircraft was slightly damaged by flak.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Stirling IV "C" LJ 563.  Crew:  F/S R.R.C. Bailey (Pilot), F/S S.H. Budd (Nav), CAN W/O A.F. McDougall (A/B), F/S A. Hepburn (W/Op), Sgt A.S.B. Bateman (F/Eng), Sgt A. Stewart (A/G).  Time Up:  08.01.  Time Down:  13.17.  F/S Bailey had a quiet and uneventful trip.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Great Dunmow

 

The Squadron stood by today for a possible resupply trip to the bridgehead but as the Army had linked up with the Airborne forces it was not necessary.  The only flying was an air test by F/O. Passmore.