Friday, 10 October 2014


22nd Dec - Michel Beckers, who carries out research on behalf of the website '', has produced memorials for both Jack Mallon ( and his brother Tom ( He also provided me with this picture of Jack's Blenheim shortly after it was shot down (see chapter 24):

Jack's Blenheim, 9th Oct 1940

15th Dec - "Reunion of Giants"**: I have just watched this DVD, the story of the visit to the UK of The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Lancaster, 'VeRA', earlier this year. It gives a fascinating insight into the challenges they faced, including crossing the Atlantic, the weather and engine failure, not to mention the challenge of working alongside the military. Disappointing that the flights from Kirmington weren't featured but well worth watching for the interviews with veterans, including Ron Brown, a flight engineer with B flight, 75(NZ) Squadron, who died this year.

The video also introduced me to a classic quote from one of the pilots addressing a disappointed crowd as the ground crew struggled to overcome mechanical problems that were delaying VeRA's departure from Hamilton. "It's better to be down here wishing you were up there than to be up there wishing you were down here" - I bet there were thousands of aircrew during the war who would concur.

** Available from The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.

13th Dec - Doug Williamson: there is now a full chapter that tells Doug's remarkable story (chapter 19)

27th Nov - Ken Philp (bomb aimer): Ken's chapter is now complete, pending any additional information from the family (chapter12). I was shocked to learn that Ken also had a brother who was a pilot and was killed in action.

7th/8th Nov  I attended the annual reunion of the UK branch of the Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron last Saturday and the Remembrance Day service at the squadron's memorial gardens in Mepal on Sunday. They were both very moving occasions and the opportunity to meet people with links to my dad, however indirect, made both very special.

1st Nov It wasn't just the quality of the rugby that made New Zealand such thoroughly deserving winners of the Rugby Union World Cup, it was also the philosophy behind their success. Their mantra "Better people make better All Blacks" sums up this philosophy and is an example to us all.
The performance of the England team was more than disappointing but at least I had the pleasure this evening of watching the Rugby League side make amends by beating New Zealand 26-12 at the KC Stadium in Hull!

Sean O'Loughlin scores England's fourth try

3rd Oct Some of the stories Bob told us when we were children are reproduced (as accurately as possible second hand and after sixty years) in chapter 3c.

14th Sept - The International Bomber Command Centre. Thanks to Peter Jones, whose father was also a flight engineer with Bomber Command, Chris Johnson and others at the Centre Bob's story is now featured in the 'Your memories' section of the website. There is also a link on the website of The Flight Engineer & Air Engineer Association and the 75(NZ) Squadron website.

July 2015 - 'The man who invented stereo'. I have only just discovered that a special ceremony at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London was held on the 1st of April, 2015 to honour Alan Dower Blumlein (1903 – 1942), a British electronics engineer, for his pioneering work on the recording and playback of stereo sound. What is probably more significant and less well known about Alan is the role he played in shortening the Second World War (see Appendix XVI: Navigation).

16th June - Hereworth School, an independent Anglican school for boys in Havelock North, Hawke's Bay. Like many schools in New Zealand Hereworth has tragic links to No.75(NZ) Squadron. (see Appendix XV)
    30th April A sad postscript to the 25th February up-date below was the recent death of John McFarland, one of the three survivors of Jim Murray's crew.

    28th April The International Bomber Command Centre: as a 'Yellowbelly' I have been closely following the progress of the International Bomber Command Centre project and came across this account written by Sgt John Sargeant DFM. John was a flight engineer with No. 106 Squadron based at RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire.

    25th April - I received an e-mail this morning from Reg Phillips in New Zealand, who had read the article on the New Zealand Herald website and wondered if I could shed any light on his dad's time with No. 75(NZ) Squadron. Unfortunately, his dad arrived at Mepal on the 16th July, 1945, two weeks after Bob had been declared 'surplus to requirements' and left prior to his posting to RAF Burn on the 24th July, so I was unable to help.  

    25th April - After numerous unsuccessful attempts to persuade UK newspapers to publish an article about the growth of this blog I finally had some success when I submitted it to the New Zealand Herald who published it in their digital edition on ANZAC Day. Here's the link -
    One of the replies to the article recommends the video 'Maximum Effort', a short film about a day in the life of a 75 Squadron crew - it is well worth a look! The crew completed their tour but the aircraft in the film, AA-O (ND752), was one of seven from the squadron lost on the notorious Homburg operation of the 20th/21st July, 1944. The pilot, Henry Burtt, and four of his crew were killed.

    3rd April - In 1940 Bob was given a Rotary watch for his 21st birthday - it is 75 years old today and still going strong!

    75 years old today!

    20th March - Denis Eynstone (rear gunner): Chapter 11 is now complete, with details of all his post-war service, and Chapter 11a has some of Denis's art work from earlier in the war.

    28th February - Bill Mallon's dad Alexander (Alec) emigrated from Australia to New Zealand in about 1910, leaving behind family and friends. One of these was his sister, May Elizabeth Mallon, whose granddaughter Pat still lives in Australia. Pat lost contact with Alec's family many years ago and has only a sketchy recollection of Alec and some of his family visiting her grandmother in Sydney before the war. On the 28th January 2015 I received an e-mail from Pat's son-in-law Michael who had been researching his wife's family history and came across this blog. Pat had known Alec's sons were pilots but had no idea what had happened to them - Michael said she read their chapters with pride and they are planning a reunion with the Mallons when they travel to New Zealand later this year.

    25th February - F/O Henry James Murray: I have written at length about the sacrifices made by the people of New Zealand and by the Mallon and Philp families in particular. The 75(NZ) Squadronblog recently told the story of another family that suffered the heartbreak of losing more than one son.

    On the 26th May 1941 David Magnus Murray (27) was killed serving with the New Zealand Infantry in Crete. Just over a year later, on the 22nd July 1942 David's brother Gavin Allan Murray (32), a New Zealand Engineer, was killed at El Alamein in Egypt.

    The third of the four Murray brothers, Henry James ('Jim') (26), became a pilot and was posted to No 75(NZ) Squadron in February 1944. In the early hours of the 19th April 1944 Jim died along with three of his crew when their aircraft was brought down over Denmark on a mine-laying operation in Kiel Bay.

    The three brothers are now hundreds of miles apart and  thousands of miles from home. David has no known grave in Crete but his name is remembered on the Athens memorial, Gavin is buried in the El Alamein cemetery and Jim is buried in Gram churchyard in Denmark. Their surviving brother, the youngest, was not permitted to serve overseas, although both he and their sister did serve with the N.Z. armed forces.

    Jim's grave, second from left, in Gram churchyard
    The El Alamein war cemetery
    The Athens war memorial.

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