Heres another news article about the Sgt James Allen Ward, VC Community Centre with a very good picture of Wg Cmdr Ian MacPherson, RNZAF! www.buryfreepress.co.uk/news/local/centre_renamed_for_war_hero_1_2697491 Strangely enough I have just had an email from a friend of mine with a connection to the Wellington Memorial I went to in November and it turns out that Sgt Wards niece was at his art exhibition opening! I had mentioned the dedication of the above in the email I had sent to him previously...Another contact for the Assn in NZ? Sweet as!
In remembrance of Sgt Edgar Harvey who died in December 1942 with the rest of the crew.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 7, 2011 9:57:47 GMT 12
Here is a great wartime article with memories from No. 75 (NZ) Squadron pilot Charlie Pownall.
With the R.A.F. Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 6 August 1941, Page 7
New Zealander's Experiences
This story of a young Wellington D.F.C., Flying Officer C A. Pownall, as told to the N.Z E.F. Official Correspondent in the Middle East, is becoming typical of the long and wide experience in the air war of those New Zealanders posted to the Royal Air Force in Britain shortly after the outbreak of hostilities.
Flying Officer Pownall, who captains a Wellington bomher, made 30 raids from England before he went out to the Middle East a few months ago. "This sun and sand are a far cry from an English winter. I remember our trips home from Germany only last December—coming back above cloud, locating the 'drome by wireless and skimming in over the treetops with nothing in sight beyond a hundred yards. Flying there could be really tough, but here its not so had. The heat is the worsL —the way it makes things many times harder for your engines. They have to be able to take it when you're flying 1,200 miles perhaps twice a week.
Yes, it's a far cry, but we had so much to do in the air last year, that England will always seem pretty close. I was lucky enough to be in a lot of the big shows. Altogether I saved up 30 coupons —that is what our blokes call making 30 raids — and most of them were grand parties.
I joined the New Zealand Squadron after ten weeks' final training on Wellingtons, and it was only another three weeks before I began operational flights. That was the time when we were doing our best to hold up the German drive into Belgium and France. The trip I liked most in those early days was one in which we picked up a German motor convoy and bombed it from only a thousand feet. We could see bits of vehicles flying across the bomb flashes.
A machinegun bullet which I stopped in my shoulder on the third trip kept me on the ground for eight weeks, but I got back into the air early in July to make six more raids as second pilot on industrial targets, mostly in the Ruhr. Then after gaining my captaincy I took my kite over on 20 more to objectives such as Wilhelmshaven, Bremen, Kiel, Berlin and the channel ports.
Remember the party we arranged for Hitler during his November beer garden meeting in Munich? A number of New Zealand Squadron machines were there, including my own, It was a grand night, with a full moon, and I remember the way we fixed the spot where Hitler's show was supposed to be. We lined it up with the railway station, our primary target, and I made my run so that our HE's and incendiaries crossed the station yards towards the beer garden. I bet he heard them, anyway.
Channel port raids kept us busy during the September invasion scare. My best one was on Antwerp, where we laid two sticks of bombs across the docks and got back home and into the pub-before the bar closed.
It wasn't always as simple as that; one night over Berlin, after straddling the railway, we flew south to avoid the flak and we were just turning west again for home when searchlights picked us up at 15,000 feet and held us for twenty miles. We got out at, 5,000 feet with several holes in the machine. The ack-ack stuff had been so close that we could hear tho bursts plainly and smell the cordite as we flew through the puffs.
We carried on until the end of December, with flying conditions becoming increasingly worse. On out last return trip from Berlin we were flying between two unbroken layers of cloud all the way, and then we found the wireless was out of order, it was nine in the morning when we passed over a hole in the cloud and found ourselves above Cherbourg. Shot at as we circled, we hurried at full throttle back into the clouds and finally, after narrowly-missing a balloon barrage, we reached home at the end of ten hours in the air, about three hours overdue.
Malta was my next stamping ground. Bad luck dogged me there; we landed on the island in the middle of a raid, and had hardly been there three days before my bus was destroyed on the ground in another attack. But there was another one for me here, and she has served me well in the trips I've made to Libya in between the jobs I've had of preparing advanced desert bases.
These desert trips are long and monotonous but there is usually compensation at the far end. My best here was a raid on Gazala, beyond Tobruk. We were as keen as mustard when we heard the other morning that we were to take an aerodrome load —that is, our target was an enemy landing field. That night we flew up to an advanced base, and we went forward again at one in the morning, in order to make the most of the moonlight. When I dropped a flare over the approximate position of the Gazala 'drome I could see about 20 aircraft dispersed on the southern side, and so without opposition I circled down and made my first bombing run. Now that the Germans knew we had discovered their field, they really let us have it. They had,-veiy many small anti aircraft, guns, disposed around the drome. I carried on out to sea, climbed and went hack over the target to let go the rest of our HE's and incendiaries. We see them burst again among the 'aircraft, starting some pretty large fires, and for the next 20 minutes big explosions were visible through the pall of smoke. It was a good show.
You might also like to know that we have found the family of Lang who have a picture of him so thats 5 out of 7 pics we have. Laura might be coming over for the dedication. She didnt realise that there was an airport only just over an hour away from Kessel! Cross your fingers because that will be 6 out of 7 families attending! Sweet as!!! to coin a Kiwi phrase!
In remembrance of Sgt Edgar Harvey who died in December 1942 with the rest of the crew.
In response to your query about whether the German ships received much damage to them during RAF bombing raids, the answer is, yes, they did over time, but initially the small size of standard RAF bombs meant they had little effect on the horizontal armour plating of most capital warships. According to German naval historian Siegfried Breyer's book Battleships and battlecruisers 1905 - 1970, only Scharnhorst was damaged during the 24 July raid, Scharnhorst was struck by five bombs at La Pallice, transferring to Brest in August 1941 and not returning to Germany until the Channel Dash in February 1942.
Gneisenau suffered many air raids at Brest in 1941; on 6th April was struck by an aerial torpedo and on 10/11 April was struck by four bombs whilst in dock receiving repairs from the torpedo hit. Breyer records that on 24 July the raid against Gneisenau was "...unsuccessful...", that doesn't necessarily mean the ship wasn't hit; it might have meant that the bombs struck but caused no damage. There is also the likely scenario that the official British account elsewhere on this thread is inaccurate. Bear in mind the source of information was prepared at the time, which meant that there was no way of knowing exactly what damage was done until well after the fact, indeed after the end of the war. Official documents of this nature - Intelligence summaries, have often been subsequently proven wrong.
After the Channel Dash however, Gneisenau's fate was sealed when it was badly damaged during a raid on Kiel on 26/27 February 1942; its forward magazines were burnt out and foc'sle was completely destroyed. At that time she (or 'He' - German capital ships were always male, rather than the traditional female) was in dry dock since the ship had struck a mine during the Channel Dash.
After this damage the Gneisenau was transferred to Gotenhafen, now Gdynia in Poland, where work began on conversion to 15 inch main armament. When the two ships were built, the intention was that they were to be armed with the same twin 15 in turrets fitted to Bismarck and Tirpitz, but due to shortages, they mounted nine 11 in guns in three turrets. Despite this, and being referred to in subsequent histories as battlecruisers, the Germans always classified the two ships as 'Battleships'.
Gneisenau was never fully converted to a 15 in gun armed ship and it never sailed again under its own power. Its 11 in turrets were put to use as coastal batteries; 'B' and 'C' turrets (again, the German turret designation was different; the British named their turrets as 'A', 'B' ahead of the superstructure and 'X', 'Y' aft; the Germans, 'Anton', 'Bertha', 'Caesar', 'Dora' etc...) were landed in Norway and still exist. Apparently they are accessible up a cliff face.
I don't have any info on whether Prinz Eugen was damaged during the 24 July 1941 raid, the ship infamously accompanied the Bismarck on its first and last cruise into the Atlantic before escaping to Brest to eventually accompany the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau back to Germany. Interestingly, Prinz Eugen is still afloat, albeit upside down after being expended during atom bomb tests by the Americans. There is footage somewhere on the internet of the ship taken recently.
I hope this is of use and helps answer your question.
While cross checking photos and logbooks from 75 Squadron I wondered why this unit held onto its Stirlings for so long , into April 1944 ? While most others had converted much earlier. The 456 NZ aircrew KIA on 75 was the highest rate in the Group and their outdated Stirlings were certainly not given soft targets and were not really up to the task given them. Was 75 the last RAF BC heavy squadron to operate them.?? Any thoughts ?/
the delay in getting lancasters is partly explained in a letter to the NZ High commissioner from RAF Air Ministry (held on the NZ High commission files at archives)
dated 6 January 1944 it in part states"
"My Information is that the squadron are No.1 priority for re-equipping with lancaster aircraft and that no other squadron wil receive priority over No.75. "It was anticipated that the re-equipping would have taken place during the present month, but owing to abnormal wastage of aircraft which has taken place in the meantime, and also owing to a small number of holds up in production, it is probable that they will not now be re-equipped until sometime in february. "The above position appears very satisfactory, and no doubt the squadron will be pleased to hear from you that such is the case."
The above delays obviously continued until April-May
While cross checking photos and logbooks from 75 Squadron I wondered why this unit held onto its Stirlings for so long , into April 1944 ?
I don't suppose you have come across my uncle's log book in your travels Peter? Flt Lt Eric Witting, pilot, 75 Sqn, 1943/44. He donated it to the Ohakea Museum around 1990 but it went missing during the shift to the new site out by SH1. I have always wondered if it perhaps ended up at MOTAT with "his" Lancaster AA-O/ND 752 or someone borrowed it in the course of doing some research and forgot to return it?
Last Edit: Jul 5, 2011 19:40:16 GMT 12 by skyhawkdon
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 3, 2011 0:24:07 GMT 12
Another interesting article on No. 75 (NZ) Squadron. I'd be interested to see one of the Silver Fern badges mentioned. Was it the same as what the army was issued? Or was it a specific design for No. 75 (NZ) Squadron members?
Evening Post, Volume CXXXIII, Issue 96, 24 April 1942, Page 5
The New Zealand Bomber Squadroa (Number 75) is again becoming a New Zealand unit, in fact as well as in name. Coinciding with the appointment of Wing Commander E. G. Olson, of New Plymouth, as the new commanding officer, the New Zealand personnel in the flying crews has been increased to 70 per cent., and will shortly mount to 100 per cent.
This is due to no small extent, to the energetic organisation of the air liaison officer, Squadron Leader John Gamble, of Wellington. During the period in which Group Captain M. W. Buckley and Wing Commander C. E. Kay were with the squadron, it established a reputation for efficiency and an excellent record which was recognised by the Bomber Command. Somehow or other, after their departure for New Zealand, the personnel dwindled in numbers and the spirit of the squadron fell off until the New Zealanders openly admitted that they preferred to be posted elsewhere. It is difficult to explain the reason for this, but it is a fact.
But with the appointment of Wing Commander Olson all that was changed. The fact that the squadron has carried out ten raids since his appointment without losing a single aircraft has given an immense fillip to the entire squadron, so that the tradition that Group Captain Buckley established is beginning to live again.
Wing Commander Olson has two excellent flight commanders—Squadron Leader R. J. Newton, of Christchurch, and Flight Lieutenant F. H. Denton, D.F.C., of Greymouth, both of whom are on their second tour of operations.
Wing Commander Olson carried out four raids, before taking over his command, in the bombing of Lubeck, Cologne, Poissy, and Essen. He was accompanied by Wing Commander T. O. Freeman, of Dunedin, on his first raid, that on Lubeck. It is an interesting coincidence that nine years ago Wing Commander Olson gave Wing Commander Freeman his first training at Taieri aerodrome, and Wing Commander Freeman returned the compliment by giving Wing Commander Olson his first operation experience. They dive-bombed Lubeck and then remained over the town taking photographs, which turned out to be the best taken on that night, with the result that they were published in English national newspapers. The crew for the raid comprised two wing commanders, a squadron leader, two flight lieutenants, and one pilot officer. The crew enjoyed Wing Commander Olson's dry comments. .He said little, but occasionally asked over the inter-communication telephone: "What's that, flak?" Then, a few moments later, when he heard the crump of the explosion, he would add: "Yes, that will be flak."
During the Ruhr raid a cone of searchlights held Wing Commander Olson's aircraft for several minutes. This was his most unpleasant experience, but the Wellington flew out safely. The crew of the plane included Flight Lieutenant C. Bull (Hamilton), Pilot Officer W. Bridget (Christchurch), and Pilot Officer R. L. Clarke (Napier), all of whom are on their second tour of operations.
A "SHAKY DO." Squadron Leader Newton, who has a fine record, distinguished himself during his first tour, bombing Kiel during Mr. Matsuoka's visit. "It was the- best blitz I have ever seen," said Squadron Leader Newton. Once he. returned from Hamburg on only one motor. Recently he had a "shaky do" over Dortmund. He was held for several minutes in a cone of search lights into which the Germans pump red flak. A whole five-inch shell pierced, the tail-plane, ripping away half off the starboard elevator, resulting in the plane diving and stalling during the remainder of the trip. The port' aileron control rod was also badly damaged. It was found after the raid hanging together by a small piece of metal.
Pilot Officer W. G. Fenton (Gisbome) is Squadron Leader Newton's rear gunner. Fenton operated in Defiants and night-fighters before joining the New Zealand bombers. He is very cool and efficient. Flight Lieutenant Denton has the distinction of being one of the few New Zealanders who did his first tour with the New Zealand Squadron, then returning for a second tour with the same squadron. He was decorated in September, 1940, for successfully attacking Chartres aerodrome, and also attacking docks and shipping at Flushing from a very low altitude, resulting in his aircraft rocketing several hundred feet into the air. Flight Lieutenant Denton has returned several times with his plane badly shot up. He once took to his parachute when his petrol gave out.
Flight Lieutenant Doel, of Auckland, is another experienced pilot who is carrying out his second tour. Ha previously raided over Germany and the Middle East. Others attached to the squadron include Flying Officer N. E. Hodson (Wellington), who has carried out 20 raids. Pilot Officers G. E. Murdoch; and T. McCrae Nicol (both of Wellington), A. Fraser (Christchurch), C. W. P. Carter (Timaru), C. Fountain (Palmerston North), and P. Wilsons (Dannevirke), and Flight Sergeant W. Fraser (Invercargill), who has done 26 raids. Pilot Officer K. Climie (Lower Hutt, and Flight Sergeant R. H. Tye (Waikato) recently completed operations} and will shortly be posted out.
AWE-INSPIRING EXPERIENCES. These are only a few of the members of the squadron, all of whom are doing an excellent job of work. All could tell experiences that would inspire civilians with awe. They all know they may "go for a Burton" any night, but all carry on very cheerfully.
Viscount Galway recently visited the squadron and saw the crews being briefed for a raid against Hamburg, after which he met and chatted with, them. Squadron Leader S. Barton Babbage, of Wanganui. is a newcomer to the squadron. He replaces as padre Squadron Leader A. G. Kayll. of Waihi, who has been transferred.
In every aircraft the crews wear thes silver fern badge. Many of the men regard it as a mascot and would not dream of flying without it. The English members of the crew, especially, the sergeants, also proudly wear the badge. And so the New Zealand Squadron flies on, striking at the very heart of Germany and taking its full share of the Bomber Command's strategy. New Zealand may well be proud of every one, from the Wing Commander to the armourers. They are certainly keeping the silver fern flying.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 28, 2012 12:00:52 GMT 12
This article comes from the Auckland Star, Volume LXXIII, Issue 96, 24 April 1942, Page 7 via Papers Past:
THEY'RE KEEPING TIE SILVER FERN FLYING
NZ. BOMB SQUADRON
Telling Blows At The Heart Of Germany
Special Correspondent. United Press Association.—Copyright.
Rec. 10.30 a.m. LONDON, April 23
The New Zealand Bomber Squadron (No. 75) is again becoming New Zealand in fact as well as in name. Coinciding with the appointment of Wing-Commander E. G. Olson, of New Plymouth, as new commanding officer, New Zealand personnel in the flying crews has increased to 70 per cent and will shortly amount to 100 per cent. This is due in no small extent to the energetic organisation of the air liaison ofacer. Squadron- Leader John Gamble, of Wellington.
During the period in which Group- Captain M. W. Buckley and Wing- Commander C. E. Kay were with the squadron it established a reputation for efficiency and an excellent record which were recognised by Bomber Command. Somehow or other, after their departure the New Zealand personnel dwindled in numbers and the squadron spirit fell off until New Zealanders openly admitted that they preferred lDeir.g posted elsewhere.
It is difficult to explain the reason for this, but it is a fact. However, with the appointment of Wing-Commander Olson all that was changed. The fact that the squadron has carried out 10 raids since nis appointment, without losing a single aircraft, given an immense fillip to the entire squadron, so that the tradition which Group-Captain Buckley established is beginning to live again.
Excellent Squadron Leaders Wing-Commander Olson has two excellent flight commanders, Squadron-Leader R. J. Newton, of Christchurch, and Flight-Lieutenant F. H. Denton, D.F.C., of Greymouth. Wing- Commander Olson carried out four raids before taking command, bombing Lubeck, Cologne, Poissy and Essen. He was accompanied by Wing-Commander T. O. Freeman, of Dunedin, for his first raid, which was Lubeck.
There is an interesting coincidence in this flight, for nine years ago Wing-Commander Olson gave Wing-Commander Freeman his first trailing on the Taieri. Wing-Commander Freeman returned the compliment by giving Wing- Commander Olson his first operation experience. They dive-bombed Lubeck and then remained taking photographs, which turned out to be the best taken that night, with the result that they were published in English national papers.
The crew for the raid comprised two wing-commanders, a squadronleader, two flight-lieutenants and one pilot-officer. Members of the crew enjoyed Wing-Commander Olson's dry comments. He said little, but occasionally asked, "What's that? Flak?" Then a few moments later, when he heard the crump of an explosion, lie would add, "Yes, that be flak."
During a raid on the Ruhr a cone of searchlights held Wing-Commander Olson's aircraft for several minutes. This was the most unpleasant experience, but his Wellington flew out safely. His crew includes Flight- Lieutenant C. Ball, of Hamilton, Pilot-Officer W. Bridget, of Christchurch, and Pilot-Officer R. L. Clarke, of Napier, all of whom are on their second tour or operations.
Distinguished Record Squadron-Leader Newton, who has I a fine record, distinguished himself during his first tour in the bombing of Kiel during the visit of the Japanese Ambassador, Matsuoka, to the German port. "It was the best blitz I have ever seen," said Squadron- Leader Newton. Once he returned from Hamburg with only one motor. He recently had a "shaky do" over Dortmund. He was held for several minutes in a cone of searchlights, into which the Germans pumped flak. A whole 5-in shell pierced the tailplane, ripping away half of the starboard elevator and resulting in the machine diving and stalling for the remainder of the trip. The port aileron control rod was also badly damaged. It was found after the raid hanging together by a small piece of metal.
Pilot-Officer W. G. Fenton, of Gisborne, is Squaaron-Lieader Newton's rear-gunner. He operated in Defiant night fighters before joining the New Zealand bombers. He is very cool and very efficient.
Pilot-Officer Denton has the distinction of being one of the few New Zealanders who did that first tour with the New Zealand squadron, then returning for a second tour with the same squadron. He was decorated in September. 1940, for successfully attacking Chartres aerodrome and also attacking docks and shipping at Flushing from a very low altitude, resulting in his aircraft rocketing several hundred feet into the air. He returned several times and his plane was badly shot up. He once parachuted when his petrol gave out. Experienced Auckland Pilot Flight-Lieutenant A. W. Doel, of Auckland, is another experienced pilot who is carrying out his second tour. He has previously raided Germany and the Middle East. Others attached to the squadron include Flying-Officer N. E. Hodson. who has carried out 20 raids, and Pilot-Officers G. E. Murdoch and T. Mcßae Nicol. of Wellington, Pilot-Officer A. Fraser, of Christchurch, Pilot-Officer C. W. P. Carter, of Timaru, Pilot-Officer C. Fountain* of Palmerston North, Pilot-Officer P. Wilson, of Dannevirke, and Flight-Sergeant W. Fraser, of Invercargill (26 raids).
Pilot-Officer K. Climie, of Lower Hutt. and Flight-Sergeant R. H. Tye, of Waikato, recently completed operations and will shortly be posted out.
The foregoing are only a few of the squadron, all of whom are doing an excellent job of work. All could tell experiences that would hold civilians in a state of awe. They all know the way to "go for a Burton" any night, but all carry on most cheerfully.
Visit by Lord Galway Viscount Galway, formerly Governor-General, recently visited the squadron and saw the crews being briefed for a raid on Hamburg, after which he met and chatted with them.
Squadron-Leader S. Barton Babbage is a newcomer to the squadron. He replaces, as padre, Squadron- Leader A. G. Kayll, of Waihi, who has been transferred.
In every aircraft the crews wear a silver fern badge. Many regard it as a mascot and would not dream of flying without it. British members of the crew, especially sergeants, also wear the badge proudly.
And so the New Zealand squadron flies on, striking at the very heart of Germany and taking its full share of Bomber Command strategy. New Zealand may well be proud of every one of them. From the wing-commander to the armourers they are certainly keeping the silver fern flying.
I am interested to see one of the Silver Fern mascots they carried on each aircraft as mentioned above. Does anyone have one of these?
I have a few in my RNZAF insignia collection which i'll forward to Dave to post for me (still haven't worked out how to post photos!!) as well as a painted irvin flying jacket featuring the silver fern & a nice studio portrait of a NZ air gunner displaying his badge. But firstly a day out in Brighton!!