Post by eightwired on Jan 10, 2019 14:51:08 GMT 12
I recently inherited some of my grandad awards, documents and photos from when he served in the RNZAF. He was part of one of the squadrons that flew in the Hudson Bombers. I thought I would post some of these photos and things that he kept including people he served with who were lost in combat and a photo of NZ 4563.
It also looks like he was very good friends with S.M Cullen who was a wireless operator on the NZ2013 for a period of time. He kept an article from him and also his death notice in the paper. I would love to learn more about the crew that he flew with and the missions they did. I've also added some photos of his friends (although no names were noted so I'm not sure who they are) but they might be of some value to their family members if they stumble across them.
There's also a very cool No. 2 Sergeants Mess Dinner menu on 10th, May 1944. They even happened to sign the back of the menu.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 10, 2019 18:17:22 GMT 12
Hudson crews would usually form in New Zealand, go to Fiji and spend time with No. 4 (GR) Squadron, then move up to either No. 9 (GR) Squadron at Plaines des Gaiac in New Caledonia (later Pallikulo, Espiritu Santo), or No. 3 (GR) Squadron at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. Most Hudson crews served on several different squadrons, rotating around.
From my records, it looks from the photos that your grandfather's friend, Stuart Maxwell Cullen, NZ413290, Wireless Operator-Air Gunner, served with No. 4 (GR) Squadron No. 3 (GR) Squadron, No. 2 (GR/BR) Squadron and No. 9 (BR) Squadron at various times.
Cullen was in a crew with: Pilot - F/O William Moffatt Murray NZ404926 Second Pilot - P/O - F C Cook Navigator - Sgt - C Nicholls WOpAG - F/Sgt - A C James
They were with No. 4 (GR) Squadron in Fiji and left there to join No. 3 (GR) Squadron 6 Feb 1943 at Guadalcanal. They flew a tour there, with their last operational patrol on 30 March 1943, and then departed for Espiritu Santo on the 1st of April 1943, and then back to Whenuapai where the rest of the crew joined No. 1 (BR) Squadron but Cullen was instead posted to No. 2 Squadron at Ohakea.
Post by eightwired on Jan 10, 2019 20:33:01 GMT 12
Thanks so much for all the information! Greatly appreciated.
I don't have his log book with me but I'll ask around and see if we have a copy of it in the family. I would be interested to know if you have any info on my grandfather who was Daniel John McGill. It's really interesting to hear about the tours and where they went based off Stuart's involvement and his potential crew.
Last Edit: Jan 10, 2019 20:33:28 GMT 12 by eightwired
Post by baronbeeza on Jan 10, 2019 21:13:08 GMT 12
It would seem he was in the UK and probably with 75 Squadron earlier in the war. His service number 404077 is on that club membership card with a NZ House address. Also the Wellington pics. I believe those middle pics of the barracks are probably Canada.
Last Edit: Jan 10, 2019 21:14:36 GMT 12 by baronbeeza
Post by baronbeeza on Jan 11, 2019 16:16:51 GMT 12
Steve Moore may feel old but he has only been around since the 70s. The wartime history of the squadrons is well documented and many here are really up with the play.
Your grandfather joined up very early in the war and did his training in Canada. He was in the UK for some reason but ended up back in NZ and the Pacific theatre. The guys here will piece it all together for you.
In the meantime if you post any other pics or bits and pieces it will help all.
D J McGill embarked NZ 5/12/40 per AORANGI for Canada, arrived there 23/12/40, probably graduated as W/Op A/G in June 1941. However so far have no other information on his service in UK or NZ. I can find no information on him serving on Hudson or Ventura squadrons (nor Catalinas for that matter, although my researches on this type as yet incomplete). As he was at Ohakea in May 1944, it is entirely possible that he serving as a gunnery instructor with the Gunnery Training School at Ohakea, which would explain his absence from squadrons. Of course, as suggested above, you can take the initiative and contact NZDF and obtain his record of service. David D
Have now found some further information about our friend NZ404077 Daniel John McGill. He was enlisted at Levin as an LAC A/G u/t on 27/10/40, embarked for Canada as stated above, trained in Canada at 2 WS (Wireless School) and 5 B&GS (Bombing & Gunnery School), qualified as W/Op A/G 23/6/41, then sailed for UK, arrived here 28/7/41, passed through several training units including 2 RS, 20 OTU and 15 OTU, then off to the Middle East for an exciting life on Vickers Wellingtons, with his first operational unit being 37 Sqdn (under 205 Group), between early March and early August 1942 (thus eligible for the Africa Star which would have been issued later in war). Then he was repatriated to New Zealand, arriving on 30/9/42, following which posted to 2 Sqdn at Nelson (Hudsons) in October, then after special leave, departed for Fiji (4 GR Sqdn at Nausori, also equipped with Hudsons) 16/4/43; returned to New Zealand (Auckland) 24/12/43, then after a period with a Sick & Wounded unit, posted to No. 3 BR Sqdn at Ohakea, which was working up for its second operational tour. However just prior to departure in May 1944, McGill was posted (presumably because he volunteered) to the RNZAF's aircrew training organisation, and although not stated specifically, it seems he had decided to have a crack at becoming a pilot. This involved being posted to schools at the Delta, Ashburton, then Harewood, but for reasons unstated he was tfd to the Reserve, Class C, on 19/12/44. Anyway, this has made a liar of me, as he not only completed a (truncated) tour of duty from Fiji flying aboard Hudsons, but he almost commenced a second tour on Venturas, all this in addition to his adventures in North Africa with the Desert Air Force. These details explain most of the aircraft types in the photographs; the Fairey Battle and the Norseman were in Canada, Wellington in UK or North Africa, and Ventura at Ohakea in NZ, 1944. Hope this is all of interest. Now all that remains is to get the more detailed record of service from NZDF, which might explain a few of the mysteries. Incidentally, during his tour of duty at Nelson and then Fiji, McGill was a member of the crew of F/L D S (Denys) Hamilton, who rose to rank of squadron leader later in war. Unfortunately I do not have a captain for McGill whilst he was with 3 Sqdn at Ohakea in 1944 due a lack of good documentation at that time. No crew lists seem to exist for the Ohakea period, so only means of determining who was in which crew is by reference to the Form 541s (operational flights) which briefly list all crew members, but it seems that most flying over this period was training, and I am not convinced that I have noted all the operations flown. However S M Cullen was definitely with 3 Sqdn at same time as McGill in early 1944, may have even been in same crew as McGill. Cullen was in crew of F/O J McC Tocker from beginning of February 1944 and right through to end of their tour, but no proof that McGill had a crew connection with him. David D
Post by eightwired on Jan 14, 2019 18:43:33 GMT 12
Thanks David, amazingly detailed! Dan's daughters (my mum) and her sister will be super appreciative of all the information provided and myself included I was too young to have an in-depth conversation with my grandfather when he was alive regarding the War. As far as I'm aware he never liked to disclose or talk about the War in detail with family. I'll fill out those forms with the RNZAF and get more info.
So amazing to hear where he was and what he's done!