Friday, 8 September 2017

Don Cook

Unbelievable! After five years and numerous appeals and newspaper articles, I have traced the Mallon crew's mid-upper gunner, Don Cook. After spending so much time searching in London, I eventually discovered that he and his wife Susan had moved to Suffolk in 1980. Sadly, Don died in February 2000 at the age of 75 but, as well as Susan, Don has a nephew and niece, who live in Canada.

I should now be able to write the final chapter here, on the blog, and eventually up-date the book. What is remarkable about Don's story so far is the continuing tragic theme that seems to have run through the whole story of 'The Mallon Crew!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Mallon Crew

Now available from, Amazon, Kindle, most aviation museum shops and several independent bookshops.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Press coverage

Media coverage in the U.K. so far includes interviews on:
·        BBC Radio Humberside
·        BBC Radio Cambridge
·        BBC Radio Lincolnshire
·        BBC Radio York

There have been articles in:
·        The Guardian, ‘Family’ section
·        The Daily Mirror
·        The Yorkshire Post
·        Blackpool Gazette
·        Cambridge News
·        Cambridgeshire Times
·        Cleethorpes Chronicle
·        Grimsby Telegraph
·        North Devon Gazette
·        Nottingham Post
·        Oxfordshire Guardian
·        Ryedale Gazette & Herald (twice)
·        Sheffield Star
·        Shropshire Star
·        Southwark News
·        Lincolnshire Life magazine (July 2017)
·        East London Advertiser

In New Zealand, articles have appeared in:
1.     Christchurch Star (Stuff/Fairfax Media)
2.     Havelock North Village Press (N.Z. Media & Entertainment)
3.     Wairarapa Times Age (APN)
4.     Wairoa Star (Independent)
5.     Sunday Star Times (Stuff/Fairfax Media)
6.     Taranaki Daily News (Stuff/Fairfax Media)
7.     New Zealand Women’s Weekly (Bauer) (Feb 2017)
8.     Air Force News (R.N.Z.A.F.) (March 2017)

 And there has been a forty minute podcast on The ‘Wings over New Zealand’ Show

In Australia, articles have appeared in:
1.     The Western Advocate (Fairfax Media)
2.     Bathurst City Life (Independent)
3.     The ‘Military Books Australia’ blog
4.     ‘Aerogram’, the magazine of the Friends of the RAAF Museum (Sept 2017)
And reviews in:
5.     ‘Aircrew Book Review’ blog (July 2017)
6.     ‘Flightpath’ magazine (August 2017)
7.     A review in ‘Aero Australia’ magazine (March 2018)

In Canada and the U.S:
1.     ‘Airforce’, the R.C.A.F. Association magazine (October 2017)
2.     Kerby News, Calgary
3.     ‘Military History Now’, an on-line magazine

And in Europe:
  • La Voix du Nord, France (March 22nd 2017)
  •, the Netherlands, 23rd January, 2018
There are also articles scheduled for:

  • Flypast magazine (UK)
  • Flightpath magazine (Australia)
  • Britain at War magazine (UK)


    'Aerogram', Friends of RAAF Museum magazine (Sept 2017)

    Blackpool Gazette

    Cleethorpes Chronicle

    The 'i' newspaper
    Nottingham Evening Post, 10th December 2016
    Wairoa Star, 29th December 2016

    Wairarapa Times Age 28th Nov 2016
    Bathurst City Life 26th Jan 2017
    Shropshire Star 28th January 2017
    New Zealand Women's Weekly, February 2017

    Sunday, 9 October 2016

    International Bomber Command Centre.

    The International Bomber Command Centre, on Canwick Hill, Lincoln, due to open some time next year, will be the finest tribute possible to the young men who died serving with Bomber Command. It is on target but still needs your financial support.
    The Chadwick Centre, named in honour of Roy Chadwick, the designer of the Lancaster, will house exhibition spaces and artworks, as well as a reference library and multimedia suite providing opportunities for people to carry out their own research.

    At the moment, the memorial walls carry the names of the 25,611 aircrew who died flying from Lincolnshire air bases. By next year, they will include more than 30,000 more.

    The view of Lincoln from Canwick Hill.

    Saturday, 4 June 2016


    11th Sept -  Bergen op Zoom:  During a recent trip to Belgium and the Netherlands I took some time to visit Bergen op Zoom, a city with a population of about 66,000 in the south of the Netherlands.

    Bergen op Zoom town hall in the Grote Markt
    On the outskirts of the city there are two Commonwealth War Cemeteries, side by side and surrounded by woodland. The one on the left is the Canadian War Cemetery, the last resting place of 968 Canadians, including 64 from the R.C.A.F. It is also where Sgt Trevor Hedley Gray and his crew, of No. 75(NZ) Squadron, are buried.

    The graves of Trevor Gray and his crew, September 2016

    Like the Mallon boys, Trevor was an old boy of New Plymouth Boys' High School and his crew's story is told in the book 'The Mallon Crew', to be published shortly. Tom Mallon and his navigator, P/O George Brock, are buried in the adjacent War Cemetery.

    The graves of Tom Mallon and George Brock, September 2016

    31st May - Jim Haworth's grandson and great grandson:  Ruth sent me this picture of her grandson, Izaak, taking his dad, Andy, for a short flight after gaining his pilot's licence.

    25th March - 'The Mallon Crew', the book based on the stories in this blog, should be published later this year, either through one of the publishers that have expressed an interest or by 'self-publishing.

    7th March - Jim Haworth, navigator: Jim's daughter Ruth found this poem amongst her dad's belongings recently. She doesn't know its origin but she believes it to be her dad's handiwork and, from what I have learned about Jim during the last couple of years, I would have to agree. It was definitely written by one of the squadron's navigators - there is a glossary below for those unfamiliar with R.A.F. slang and the range of techniques at the navigator's disposal before global positioning satellites were available.

    To the tune of "The Mountains of Mourne"
    At Mepal our briefing’s a wonderful sight
    The Sprog navigators all shitting with fright
    They don’t hold with loops or use astro at all
    Their only way home is a bloody Gee crawl
    At least from their logs it would so appear
    That they just guess a course for the skipper to steer
    With D.R.M. setting and blue end in red
    It’s no wonder they’re always so late into bed.

    When all’s said and done they must know their stuff
    When the vis has clamped down & the Met is all duff
    With H2S fixes and DR as well
    And API winking like a bat out of hell
    And revise ETA they just alter course
    And hope to be still with the rest of the force
    But when ‘H’ hour comes round & TI’s go down
    You can bet Seventy-five will be raining bombs down.

    When coming back home with the crew all asleep
    The Nav working backward to fill in his gaps
    Across the North Sea they erratically roam
    Believing the Nav when he says “Soon be home”.
    And when at long last the poor bastards arrive
    A sweet voice from control says turn ‘25’.

    Astronavigation – using celestial bodies to fix the aircraft’s position using a sextant
    Air Position Indicator
    Dead Reckoning - calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position and estimated speeds over an elapsed time.
    Direct Reading Magnetic compass. Blue end in red probably refers to the N and S poles of the compass, coloured red and blue respectively.
    Estimated time of arrival
    An early form of ground control radar
    Aircraft mounted radar
    H Hour
    The moment bombs are scheduled to start to fall
    Loop antennae, part of the Radio Direction Finder system (R.D.I.)
    The Meteorology Officer’s weather report
    A newly qualified airman
    Target Indicator flares dropped by Pathfinder Force

    3rd March - Charles Frederick Green: after a fascinating and lengthy conversation with Charles I have been able to update his story. What a privilege to be able to talk to someone who flew with my dad, even if it was on only three operations and he flew with so many different crews during his second tour that he remembers none of them.

    1st March - Charles Frederick Green D.F.C: just like Cook, Green is not an unusual surname and I expected to have just as much difficulty tracing Charles as I did Don. I was mistaken -  I was delighted to discover not only the whereabouts of Charles, but also that he was alive and well, the only one so far to have survived to read my story. I received an e-mail this afternoon from Mike, a friend of Charles, who was trying to find a way of obtaining a copy of his D.F.C. citation. He wrote: "He is a fabulous chap who wouldn't have done this himself but I think he deserves some recognition of his wartime experiences." I couldn't agree more!

    January - Don Cook: just before Christmas 2015 I decided that all my efforts to trace Don or his family were getting me nowhere. I decided I needed the help of the professionals and who better than 'FinderMonkey', one of the organisations featured in the BBC documentary series 'Family Finders.'

    Unfortunately they were unable to help.