22nd Dec - Michel Beckers, who carries out research on behalf of the website 'aircrewremembered.com', has produced memorials for both Jack Mallon (http://www.aircrewremembered.com/mallon-john-charles.html) and his brother Tom (http://www.aircrewremembered.com/mallon-thomas-alexander.html). 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.
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.
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.
75 years old today!
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.|