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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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75 Squadron Crest
02/03.08.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III EH928 AA-A P/O. Bailie

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 02/03rd August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (NZ - 3 Group)

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EH928

Code: AA-A

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: North sea off Terschelling

Pilot: P/O. Cyril Philip Bailie 155786 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Jack Thomson NZ/421145 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Howard Thompson 1484375 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. William Turner NZ/416579 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Joseph Isherwood 1502733 RAFVR Age 31. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eddie Millward 1385557 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Purdie 1554949 RAFVR Age 27. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Francis Hunting 1358198 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23.14 hrs from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire to bomb the port of Hamburg - 740 aircraft taking part, 17 from the Squadron but 6 returning early due to severe icing and mechanical problems.

19 aircraft were claimed by by night fighters during the bombing operation. Some were intercepted and shot down over Heligoland, some over Schleswig-Holstein with others over the target area. The bomber stream were scattered suffering a fierce thunderstorm once they reached the target.

Above L-R: Sgt. F.A.J. Scott with Fl/Sgt. Jack Thomson, Centre: F/O. William Turner, Right: Front three from left: Fl/Sgt Jack Thomson, Fl/Sgt John Cecil Turner NZ421115, P/O. D.M. Tunnicliffe. Back three from left: Fl/Lt. Maurice James Francis Morrissey NZ/421084 - died 22 April 2009, W/O. L.E. Lancaster, John David Dean NZ/416323

At least 4 allied aircraft were lost over the target due to the weather, icing, turbulence or struck by the lightning. Many turned back. As the bomber stream was scattered, so was the bombing with many other towns over a 100 mile radius receiving hits. A large portion of the raid was caused by a house fire in Elmshorn, it was thought had been struck by the lightning, resulting in the bombers thinking this was the target, released their bombs. Some 57 people were killed in the town with 254 houses destroyed.

Halifax EH928 was returning back to its base having bombed the target. It was then that they were understood to have been one of three aircraft shot down 25 km north west of the island of Terschelling by Hptm. Hans-Joachim Jabs (1) of Stab IV./NJG1 at 03:51 hrs.

The pilots body was washed up later near Argab on the west coast of Denmark, sadly the remainder of the crews bodies were never recovered.

The Squadron lost another crew on this operation:

Stirling III BF577 Flown by 31 year old, Fl/Sgt. James Arthur Couper NZ/417027 RNZAF from Wellington, New Zealand - killed with all six other crew members after a mid air collision with a Luftwaffe Do217 flown by Fw. Krauter of II./NJG3.

Burial details:

P/O. Cyril Philip Bailie. Lemvig Cemetery. Grave 715. Son of Matthias Godard Anthony and Matilda Blanche Bailie, of Allestree, Derby, England.

Fl/Sgt. Jack Thomson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 199. Born on the 31st October 1916 the son of Thomas James Thomson and Edith Adelaide Thomson, of Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to service worked asa salesman/mechanic for the Singer Sewing Machine Company in Christchurch. A total of 457 flying hours logged and on his second operation.

Sgt. William Howard Thompson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 167. Son of William Henry and Ellen Thompson, of Tettenhall, Staffordshire, England.

F/O. William Turner. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Son of John and Amy Kathleen Turner, of Patea, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 459 flying hours logged and on his sixteenth operation.

Sgt. Joseph Isherwood. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 154. No further details - are you able to contribute?

Sgt. Eddie Millward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 89. Son of Maud Millward, of Peckham Rye, London.

Sgt. Thomas Purdie. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 162. No further details - are you able to contribute?

Sgt. Ernest Francis Hunting. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 154. Son of Ernest Alfred (died 19th January 1976) and Ellen Rose Hunting (died 11th December 1980), of Stamford-le-Hope, Essex, England. On parents grave at at Stanford-le-Hope Cemetery, Essex, his grave inscription reads: “Somewhere In The Lone Sea, There Is A Spot Unmarked But Holy”.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jan Field-Hodgson for information and photographs. Her father had been good friends with Fl/Sgt. Jack Thomson. Also our thanks go to the Auckland Cenotaph and Weekly News. Detailed information also supplied by Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3. Geoffrey Gillon for family photograph of parents grave for Sgt. Ernest Francis Hunting.

(1) Oberstleutnant Hans-Joachim Jabs was born in Lübeck, Germany on 14 November 1917 and joined the Luftwaffe in December 1936 and initially operated as a day fighter pilot from March 1940 over France and the British Isles accumulating 16 victories before being withdrawn in December 1940 and the following year took part in the invasion of Crete and later that year in missions in Norway and the North Sea. In November 1941 after undergoing two months of transition training the now Hauptmann Jabs was transferred to Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 where he became Staffelkapitän of 9 Staffel. On 1 November 1942 he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 2./NJG1 and on 1 August 1943, he was appointed the new Gruppenkommandeur 4./ NJG 1.

When Germany capitulated in May 1945, Oberstleutnant Jabs was captured by the British and was held as a prisoner of war for a year. Having flown 510 combat missions Oberstleutnant Jabs achieved a total of 50 victories. After his release he started a business in Westphalia selling heavy farm equipment. The business enjoyed great success over the ensuing years.

He died on 26 October 2003 at Lüdenscheid, Germany aged 85. At his funeral on 31 October the Bundes-luftwaffe provided a guard of honour and the President of Fighter Pilots Association Luftwaffe, Toni Weiler gave a eulogy. (courtesy of our researcher Roy Wilcock of Aircrew Remembered) (see Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

KTY - 15.07.2017

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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