Further to confuse, both Lancaster Squadrons by Jon Lake, and Lancaster by Garbett & Goulding, state that it was S/L Jack Bailey that flew The Captains Fancy on her 100th op', which they say was the 29th January raid on Krefeld.
Esmund Ware's crew were/are convinced that their well-documented final op' of 24 April to Bad Oldesloe was number 104. Just to stuff things up further, she is recorded in the Squadron ORB for this op' as RF129 not NE181.
RF129 "M" has been recorded as the serial no. on 19 Feb, where I believe the a/c flown was NE181 JN-M, so again, I wonder if she did fly other op's between mid-Feb and 24 April, mis-recorded as RF129?
RF129 was the serial no. for AA-M, and as far as I can figure out ME751 was also coded AA-M - just to make things interesting, on one occasion (27 Feb) RF129 "M" and ME751 "M" appear in the ORB on the same op'.
I may be Able to help with the Wigram nose art. Details from Nick Carter. the art at Wigram is likely to be Thomas Frederick Duck. Originally Duck was on Nicks Wellington in 75 Sq. AA-D RJ772 based at Mildenhall skippered by Jack Wright. Nick had drawn up the design on paper first.
Duck was burnt out on the ground around 27 September 1942 when a loaded Boston crash landed and the fragments set AA-D alight. Nicks crew (all but one being kiwis) joined up again on 156 pff Squadron, this time on Lancasters, being allocated GT-T (JA 983?) This caused a problem with the Duck design. But a fellow kiwi flying GT-F (Alf Drew) suggested a combination to produce Thomas Frederick Duck.
The photo below shows TFD and crew names on GT-T
At the end of their tour Nick peeled the canvas art off and brought it home where it sat in a cupboard for years. In the 1970's Nick had a pub inland from Gisborne. He and a visiting W/C got talking about the Museum at Wigram and Nick gave the art plus jackets etc to the visitor. So that seems to be how Duck got to Wigram, where it was shown upstairs in the Bomber Command area.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 3, 2012 19:17:20 GMT 12
The story of Thomas Frederick Duck and the crew attached to that aircraft is detailed in the excellent 1944 book New Zealanders in the Royal Air Force, by RNZAF Correspondent Alan W. Mitchell. Among the crew was Cambridge man Ken Crankshaw who rang a Mooloo cow bell on their bomb runs apparently. Thanks for the story of how the nose art got to Wigram Peter. I had suggested earlier in the thread that they have this nose art there, but I am still yet to see eveidence of The Captain's Fancy nose art also being there.
Nick tells me that the bell was actually the door pull from a stately home where they were being hosted. Nick says it came off in Kens hand and being a tidy KIwi he pocketed it, and ceratinly rang it after bombs away.
(100) 29 January 45, S/L Bailey, Krefeld (101) 2/3 February 45, S/L Bailey, Wiesbaden
- Bailey in cockpit - 101 op's marked - photo from Historic Aviation Services
This tally agrees with the accepted wisdom that NE181 flew 101 op's before being "retired".
- ties in with Lancaster Squadrons by Jon Lake, and Lancaster by Garbett & Goulding, which both state that it was S/L Jack Bailey that flew The Captains Fancy on her 100th op', which they say was the 29th January raid on Krefeld.
- ties in with photos (above) of Bailey with the a/c displaying 99 and 101 op' markings
- doesn't tie in with Simpson flying the 100th op' on 5 January - that was no. 96. There is one aborted "op'" on 17 July 44 that could be added back in, but that would still leave us three short.
I can't find definitive evidence, but it seems most likely that her code "JN-M" was then transferred to Lancaster I RF129 - I now think the info I was given that RF129's code was "AA-M" is wrong (ME751 was AA-M). That would make my uncle's logbook record of flying JN-M on 19 Feb correct.
RF129 first appears in the ORB's on 16 Feb, two weeks after NE181 disappears from them.
So I think there were two JN-M's on 75 Sq for the next few months, but one of them was (supposed to be) retired.
There are then 28 op's flown by RF129 (16 Feb - 22 April) before the 24 April op' flown by Ware and crew, which was recorded in the ORB as RF129 but which was actually NE181:
(104?) (* RF129 "M" 24 April 45, Ware, Bad Oldesloe) * Logbook, navigators account and photo (below) prove this a/c was actually NE181 JN-M
- F/O Ware and crew, 101 op's marked - photo from this forum, courtesy of NZBCA archives, via Peter Wheeler
The Ware crew state that this was op' no. 104 and have documented that in several places. They were well aware of the plane's significance and must have had good reason to think the tally was 104. (The op' markings don't appear to have been updated from 101, but that could be explained by her "retired" status?). So if correct, that means that two further op's had been flown since the 101st on 2/3 Feb.
Perhaps two of the other 28 op's recorded as RF129 were actually NE181? Interestingly, two of those op's were flown by S/L Bailey ... !
Then the rest of the record continues as Glen has already listed:
11 May 45, Ware, POW's from Juvencourt. 12 May 45, Ballingall, POW's 13 May 45, Thompson, POW's 14 May 45, Opie, POW's 15 May 45, Ware, POW's 16 May 45, Shaw, POW's 26 May 45, Ballingall, Refugees x 10, POW's x 24.
After having been through the ORB's following a particular crew, it has been staggering to follow a single a/c and see just how hard they drove these machines!
If you look at the dates, it was just relentless, and an amazing tribute to the work of the ground crews and supporting organisation behind it all.
Also interesting to see that NE181 was not only a favourite of S/L Bailey (C Flight commander) but before him S/L Williamson, and was flown a couple of times by W/C Leslie. So she must have been well known as a 'good kite'!
I've read a lot about RAFBC over the years and thoroughly agree with your last comments Chris. I would also just like to thank all for the terrific research and detail in this thread around our Sqns. and all those brave crews that served.
It is most appreciated by a humble enthusiast such as myself...
Wow, great work by you guys! Fascinating histories there - I must update my own data, too, the information of operations seem that Alex wasn't the 100th pilot. Sadly, he died a few years ago, so I can't ask why he thought he flew the hundredth.
All my records/letters are in storage (house rebuild after earthquake) so can't check but wasn't SL Bailey superstitious about flying the 100th op and asked Alex to fly it? Not sure if that was from Alex or from 'Forever Strong'? But either way, they must have been 5 short, as Alex thought he'd flown the 101st, not 100th! Also, the aircraft obviously wasn't flown off-station to Waterbeach on the 17th Feb 1945 - but Alex did fly her on the 6th Dec, as confirmed by your research and his own records.
It would be great to collate all this data on the 75 Sqn Lancs into a single book, eh...? There is valuable history spread all across the internet!
The story about Bailey being superstitious and not wanting to fly the 100th op' is mentioned by GlenT (75 Sq Assn) in Reply #29 above in this thread - he says it came to him via Simpson's daughter.
Glen also says that Simpson noted the 100th / 101st in his logbook (5 Jan op' to Ludwigshaven). If that's correct, Simpson must have had reason to think so - perhaps someone had done a count-back and got the no's wrong?
So I guess this is the same story that found its way into "Forever Strong"?
Would love to hear any further info you have on this.
And I agree, it would be great to have all the 75 stuff together - Glen and Simon's separate projects are at least heading in that direction. Big job though!
I would love to have the time to database the ORB info so it was possible to pull up a/c and crew histories, no.'s of op's, etc. Don't want to tempt fate by talking about rainy days however ..!!
I was lucky enough to correspond with Alex on several occassions and met him once. My initial contact was just to find out more about the colours and markings of the Captain's Fancy, and information on his flying of her. Unfortunately, all my records are boxed up while we wait for our house to be rebuilt, so maybe later this year, I'll be able to dig them out and post more information.
Know what you mean about the rainy day! I've often thought about just trying to collate all the info I have on the Captain's Fancy into one place; I have various pictures of the Captain's Fancy with at least 4 different versions of nose-art for example, and more seem to appear all the time!And yep, getting the ORBs into a database would be a brilliant, but time-consuming, project!
Hi Ian and Chris, nice to see "The Captains Fancy" has taken 'the fancy' of others like me. My friend Mel Douglas has spent the best part of three years drawing her, and now has her as a Print for sale. His work is amazing. I took a copy of this print with me through Holland and England last July, had it framed in Markelo, then organised a meeting with ACM Sir Stephen Dalton at the RIAT airshow and presented him with this print " from Mel and I", and asked nicely if he would consider repainting the BBMF Lancaster with NE181, the Fancy next time the nose art is changed. He was very taken with the print and promised he would think of it. As a result of all our searching for detail of the Captain etc, and my contact with Alex, Mel and I have planned to make a special set of pages on the 75 Squadron Assn website especially for NE181... so in answer to your suggestion above.. you are welcome to help us achieve that with your credit of info of course on the site. Since creating the official 75 Sqn Assn site it has been my intention to document such items like this. This thread has shown how simple its history is not! There are photos of me presentig the RAF CAF with this print on the Assn Facebook page... Apply to join it, and I'll accept you... 75 SQUADRON, RAF/ RNZAF ASSOCIATION or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Cheers GlenT.
great work Chris et al. Just to add another twist Glen T sent me a correction to our BC listings including a BG Ballingall W/Op joining 75 Sq 17/7/45. I see that a Ballingall flew The Captains Fancy on 26 May.