Click on the above for some pictures from my flight in the Canadian Lancaster VR-A, August 2014
New: My Lancaster flight 18th August 2014
The full story of that unforgettable experience.
It's nearly two years since I started researching my dad's war years and 18 months since I published what I thought was going to be a single post for the benefit of the family he never knew - he survived the war but died at the age of 55 in 1974. Little did I know at the time that a few requests for help and hours of trawling the internet would yield such a huge amount of information, put me in touch with the families of some of the men who flew alongside my dad and even unearth a photograph of my dad in a Lancaster bomber on his way to an operation over Germany (see Ch. 18).
|Sergeant Robert Jay, November 1944.|
The downside of publishing a blog like this is the random nature of its posts, published as material comes to light, so I have now arranged the posts into a format that will make it easier to navigate. To access each chapter just click on its title in the list of contents. With the exception of the chapters about Bill Mallon's brothers all the posts are about Bob, his family, his crew and other members of No. 75 (NZ) Squadron. The dates of publication are now merely a device to order the posts and no longer indicate the actual date they were published.
- Introduction and recent developments
- The crew.
- Bob Jay - early years & training. 3a. Bob's operational sorties. 3b. The war is over.
- Bill Mallon and his brothers
- Bill Mallon - early years and his epic journey.
- Jim Haworth - letters home.
- Jim Haworth - more letters home.
- Jim Haworth - his account of a 'Baedeker trip'.
- Jim Haworth - navigating at night.
- Frank Symes.
- Eric Butler.
- Lancelot Waugh, Randal Springer & the Milsom crew.
- Jack Mallon.
- Jack Mallon and 'The Other Few'.
- Tom Mallon.
- Tom Mallon - "Say not 'goodnight'".
- Les Hofert.
- Two Lancasters - RF127 & NX611.
- Squadron Leader Alban Chipling D.F.C. (RAFVR 108178)
- No.75(NZ) Squadron - operations from March - April 1945.
- No.75(NZ) Squadron - losses from March - April 1945.
- Appendix I: 'You are going to be a Flight Engineer' (pamphlet).
- Appendix II: Pages from the Squadron's O.R.B. showing Bob's 'War ops'.
- Appendix III: 'Flak'.
- Appendix IV: Bob's RAF 'Record of Service'.
- Appendix V: Bob's Flying Log book.
- Appendix VI: RAF identity card (Form 1250).
- Appendix VII: RAF Service Book (Form 64 Part I).
- Appendix VIII: RAF Airman's Pay Book.
- Appendix IX: Pages from Bob's I.T.W. exercise book (Feb-Mar 1944).
- Appendix X: What happened to the rest of the crew?
- Appendix XI: An unexpected benefit of a flying suit.
- Appendix XII: Bob's Bomber Command Clasp 2014
- Appendix XIII: Time travel
- Appendix XIV: My Lancaster flight - 18th August 2014
Originally planned as my dad's story this blog has now become the story of his crew - or at least his pilot, navigator and wireless operator. To complete the story I need to find out more about the other three crew members:
- F/O Kenneth Philp** (RNZAF NZ429093), bomb aimer, aged 32 (born 1912 or 1913 in NZ)
- Sgt Don Cook (RAFVR), mid-upper gunner, aged 20 (born 1924 or 1925) from London (?)
- Sgt John (or Denis) Eynstone (RAFVR), rear gunner, aged 19 (born 1925 or 1926) from Oxford (?). Recent information from Geoff Swallow in Melbourne suggests John's name was actually Denis, which would explain why he usually appeared in the O.R.B. as D. Eynstone.
Can anyone help? (my contact details are in 'View my complete profile' below)
To be continued in Chapter 10......
I rather belatedly contacted Paul Warnault, the former mayor of Guînes, to check the veracity of the information I had written about him in Chapter 13. His son, also called Paul, replied as follows:
- Dear Vic,
I am Paul junior and my father who is now 91 years ask me to tell you that you can use and mention his letters in your blog. I have read the chapter 13 of your blog, all is correct about him.Just a small mistake in the translation of his letters. The name of the village is GUÎNES but not GUINESS as the famous bier.I can again tell you that he finish as Colonel in the reserve army.Find enclosed also picture of the graves of RAF pilots and airmen who rest in peace in our cemetery.These graves have always been cleaned, maintained and flowered twice a year.As teacher, he has explained and repeated to all his pupils that they must never forget that young brave guys coming from many countries died far from home for our freedom and are buried here at Guînes.Best wishes,Paul Warnault
A huge thank you to all of the following:
- 75nzsquadron- a fantastic collection of material related to No. 75 (NZ) Squadron and compiled by Simon Sommerville. This blog, started in memory of Simon's dad, also called Bob, has continued to grow at a remarkable pace since its inception. Bob took part in 51 operations during two tours with the squadron and died in August 2011.
- The Lancaster Archive forum
- Wings over New Zealand
- Aircraft Q failed to return - the story of Cecil Butler, a flight engineer whose training parallelled that of Bob's but started 6 months earlier. As he flew with the Pathfinder Force he was expected to complete a tour of 45 operations rather than the usual 30. He was shot down and killed on his 31st operation. Much of the detail about my dad's training came from this website, painstakingly researched by Pete Tresadern.
- www.75squadron-raf-rnzaf.com - the New Zealand 75 Squadron Association, first created in 1950 and the source of lots of help and useful information
- NZDF Serials - Lancaster
- RAF Bomber Command Diary
- P/O Thomas Forbes - at No. 7 I.T.W. at RAF Newquay
- Royal Air Force Organisation
- RAF Bomber Command 1939-45: Rob Davis