Post by Dave Homewood on May 20, 2012 12:30:17 GMT 12
I wonder, did any of the No. 75 (NZ) Squadron bombers make it to 100 operations (plus)?
And does anyone know of other Lancasters or other bomber types that achieved this milestone with kiwi crew or connections?
In the excellent book "Lancaster" by Mike Garbett and Brian Goulding there's a photo of Lancaster BIII PB150 CF-V of No. 625 Squadron at Scampton with a large kiwi sitting on a bomb painted under the pilot's window, alongside markings for 100 ops (five or so of which were dropping food rather then bombs). Does anyone know who the New Zealand crew member/s was/were?
Post by Dave Homewood on May 20, 2012 14:02:05 GMT 12
Great, thanks. So I guess the kiwi on PB150 may have been a left over, left on the aircraft for luck by 1945 which is when I assume the photo was taken due to the food dropping ops, unless it's later pilot when the photo was taken was also a kiwi?
Lancaster B.III NE181, JN-M of 75 (NZ) Squadron is believed to be first RNZAF aircraft to complete over 100 operations. She was named "The Captain's Fancy", the usual mount of C Flight commander, Squadron Leader Jack Bailey (shown here in the cockpit).
More here, including photo of her having 100th and 101st mission markings applied.
According to this source she flew her final and 101st mission on 5 Jan 45. My uncle's logbook may be in error then when he records JN-M as the aircraft his crew flew on 19 February '45 on a bombing raid on Wesel.
"Lancaster" by Mike Garbett and Brian Goulding has the same 101st missions marking photo (p296) but records the aircraft as NE181 AA-M. But it must have been a C Flight plane if piloted by S/L Bailey, therefore should correctly be "JN"?
Apparently this aircraft was earmarked to be taken back to New Zealand when the war ended, but this never happened and she was eventually scrapped (Sept 47).
Post by Dave Homewood on May 20, 2012 14:27:57 GMT 12
What a huge shame that NE181 was not brought to New Zealand. Hugely more historic than the lancaster we do have, though i don't for a minute begrudge the Lancaster at MOTAT and the massive amount of work that has gone into preserving and restoring it.
I gues it was a replacement JN-M that your uncle flew in on the 5 of Jan 1945. Same code but different serial?
Hi Dave, interestingly "Lancaster" gives JN-M's date of retirement as "early February 1945", so who knows! She (NE181) was apparently still with 75 until July 45 when she was transferred to 514 Sq., but I suppose its possible that the JN-M code was passed to another a/c in the meantime.
Post by Dave Homewood on May 20, 2012 14:50:01 GMT 12
According to Garbett and Goulding in "Lancaster" they could only trace a total of 28 Lancasters that did make the 100 mark and beyond. It explains how there is almost always doubt in the count and discrepancies often between the bomb talley marks on the nose and the ORB and other records.
However of the 28 they found they detail and have photos of:
Lancaster BI R5868 PO-S, S-Sugar - 137 ops (now preserved at Hendon)
Lancaster BIII EE176 QR-M Mickey The Moocher 128 ops
Lancaster BI W4964 WS-J Johnny Walker - Still Going Strong, 106 ops - scrapped 1949
Lancaster BIII PB150 CF-V, 100 ops
Lancaster BI LM227 UL-I, I-Item, 100 ops
Lancaster BIII EE129 BQ-B Phantom of the Ruhr 121 ops, scrapped 1946
Lancaster BIII ND458 HW-A Abel "Mabel" 121 ops, scrapped 1947
Lancaster BIII ND709 F2-J, 100 ops, scrapped August 1947. Only Pathfinders Force 100 op aircraft
Lancaster BIII PA995 BQ-V The Vulture Strikes!, lost in action 11 March 1945
Lancaster BI ED588 VN-G, G-George, failed to return on 128th op, 29/30 Aug 1944,
Lancaster BIII ED860 QR-N, N-Nan, 130 ops, written off after failing to become airborne 28/29 Oct 1944
Lancaster BIII ED888 UK-M2 140 ops, scrapped January 1947!! this was the highest op Lancaster of them all and was sadly never preserved.
Lancaster BIII ND578 KM-Y 123 ops, retired 1945
So that gives a picture of 13 of these 100 op (plus) bombers. Add in Lancaster B.III NE181, JN-M of 75 (NZ) Squadron as mentioned by Chris above that makes 14. There ar another 14 to go, and maybe more. I wonder if these or any of the other 14 not detailed were crewed by kiwis?
Yes Dave, you were right, the JN-M that my uncle flew in on 19 February was serial no. RF129, so the code had been passed on from NE 181 to this aircraft. That's a shame, I am struggling to find photos of the a/c he flew in, so was hoping that The Captains Fancy was one of them.
PA4474 HW-R/BQ-B Battle of Britain Memorial Flight 2008 `Phantom of the Ruhr'; EE139 HW-R 100 Sqn `Phantom of the Ruhr' RAF Waltham 31 missions then transferred as BQ-B to 550 Sqn RAF North Killingholme to complete 121 missions; EE136 WS-R 9 Sqn RAF Bardney `Spirit of Russia' 93 missions then transferred as CA-R to 189 Sqn RAF Fulbeck to complete 109 missions; PB150 CF-V 625 Sqn RAF Kelstern 93 missions plus 7 `Op Manna' to total 100.
Post by Dave Homewood on May 27, 2012 21:55:46 GMT 12
Of course outside of Lancasters and Mossies there were other types too. Halifax B. Mk111 LV907 "Friday the 13th" from "A" Flight of 158 Sqn had New Zealanders in its crew and it completed a total 128 ops.
Dave, I've just been reading Peter Wheeler's Kiwis Do Fly, and there is an entry for The Captain's Fancy, Lancaster NE181, JN-M's 104th mission, the last bombing mission flown by 75 (NZ) Squadron in the war, an attack on Bad Oldesloe, 24th April 1945.
So the 101st mission wasn't its last, and its "retirement" didn't last very long ...
And does that mean, since serial no. RF129 JN-M is recorded in the sq. ORBs on 19 February, that there were TWO JN-M's flying with C Flight from early Feb to the end of the war?
Its a bit of a puzzle isnt it..Ton Up Lancs by Norman Franks lists 35 aircraft to have reached this total. With the Catains Fancy NE 181 ,I believe that Norman Franks is wrong as the last op logged was 104 on 24.4.45 to Bad Oldesloe as in KDF. In fact JN -M (NE181 ) last flight with 75 Sq appears to be an air test on July 1. On the move from Mepal to Spilby 75 didnt take their old aircraft so presumably it then went for overhaul and re issued. I spoke to Esmond Ware and Colin Emslie ( the Pilot and Navigator of JN M ) this morning and they confirm they did do those extra ops in M and that it still carried the nose art till they left Mepal. Serial records show that it was scrapped at 5 MU om 31/9/47. The NZ crew and officers on 75 did try to bring this Lanc back to New Zealand but the NZ Government would not meet the cost. I will post sme photos later Maybe the Lansc at MOTAT should be repainted as The captains fancy JN M rather than AA O
I forgot to add the 75 Sq also had PB 132 AA C which did 100 or more ops as noted in KDF> THe New Zealand Skipper Wynn Russell and Nav Neville Selwood flew this veteran in 1945, by then it had served on the squadron for over a year. This aircraft is not recorded as a ton up Lanc. With Mossies there certainly were a few especially on the OBOE equpped 105 and 109 Sq aircraft that would do two trips in one night ( with different crews ) . On 109 Sq there were 10 NZ pilots , one aircraft they flew HS P The Grim Reaper flew over 140 operations.