26/27th June 1944 692 Squadron Mosquito B.XV MM139 Fl/Lt. Farrow
Operation: Göttingen, Germany
Date: 26/27th June 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 692 Squadron (motto: Polus Dum Sidera Pascet - 'So long as the sky shall feed the stars') 8 (PFF) Group
Type: Mosquito B.XV
Base: RAF Gravely, Huntingdonshire
Location: Ederen, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. James Phillip Farrow DFC. DFM. MiD. NZ/402136 RNZAF Age 26. Injured. Pow Stalag Luft III, Sagan
Nav: F/O. Clement Russell Strang NZ/413725 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:38 hrs on an operation to bomb the railcards at Göttingen. A large Mosquito force of 35 to bomb this target.
MM139 was hit by flak north west of Aachen and crashed at Ederen. The pilot managed to force his escape after forcing himself through the cockpit roof whilst the aircraft was inverted and breaking up.
After a heavy landing injuring himself he was quickly captured.
The navigator lost his life in the crash and buried at Ederen. It appears the American graves registration unit removed his remains to Margraten in the Netherlands. Later the British removed his remains an buried them at Venray. It was impossible for the remains to have a positive identification and so he was buried as an unknown airman. Consequently he is remembered at the Runnymede Memorial.
Immediate DFM flying Hampdens with 408 Sqn, gazetted 10th February 1942. Citation reads: "N.Z. 402136 Sergeant James Phillip Farrow, Royal New Zealand Air Force, No. 408 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron One night in January, 1942, this airman was the pilot of an aircraft which bombed Emden. The aircraft was subsequently attacked and badly damaged by the fire from 2 enemy fighters. Sergeant Farrow received a slight wound in the leg and the remaining members of the crew were seriously wounded. In the face of a harassing situation, Sergeant Farrow ordered the crew to abandon aircraft. Unaware that his message had not been received as the intercommunication system had broken down and believing himself to be alone in the aircraft, he finally evaded his attackers and set an approximate course for England. Flying a badly damaged aircraft, on a dark moonless night, and with no instruments to aid him, Sergeant Farrow eventually reached this country where he made a safe landing with the under-carriage retracted. By his skill and resolution, he saved both his aircraft and, unknowingly, his wounded crew. This airman has participated in many operational missions and has always shown courage and tenacity worthy of high praise.
DFC awarded whilst with 692 Sqn, gazetted 13th June 1944. The King has also been graciously pleased to approve the undermentioned awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in the following circumstances: “One night in May, 1944, several crews of Mosquito aircraft were detailed for a difficult and dangerous mine-laying mission. The operation called for the highest standard of skill and accuracy. In the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, balloon defences and considerable searchlight activity the attack was pressed home with great precision from low level. That complete success was achieved in spite of such hazards is a high tribute to the calm courage and iron determination shown by the following officers who participated in various capacities as leaders and members of aircraft crew. 2816 Supplement To The London Gazette, 13 JUNE, 1944 Distinguished Service Order. Acting Wing Commander Stephen. Delancy Watts. DFC (404008), Royal New Zealand Air Force, No. 692 Squadron. Acting Squadron Leader Edward John Saunderson (84319), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron.
Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross. Flying Officer Cyril Hassall, DFC (134026). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron. Distinguished Flying Cross. Acting Squadron Leader George Mckeand (101511), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant John Hollis Barron (J9161), Royal Canadian Air Force, No. 692 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant James Phillip Farrow, DFM (402136), Royal New Zealand Air Force, No. 692 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Deryck Nevil Grainger, DFM (113860), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Derrick Newton Riley (120979), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron. Flying Officer Sidney Ainsworth (145844), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron. Flying Officer Edward Burt Chatfield (136339), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron. Flying Officer Vernon Peter Bruce Hill (J16255), Royal Canadian. Air Force, No. 692 Squadron. Flying Officer John Page (142144), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 692 Squadron
692 Squadron was the first squadron to carry 4,000 lb. bombs in the Mosquito. Also the first Mosquito unit to carry out minelaying operations.
Burial and personal details:
F/O. Clement Russell Strang. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. Born on the 22nd September 1921 at Winton.Worked as a clerk for the Bank of New Zealand prior to service. After 3 months in the Territorial Army joined the RNZAF at Levin on the 06th July 1941.Awarded his air observers badge and promoted to sergeant on the 28th February 1942. Embarked for England on the 01st May1942. Carried out 21 operational sorties with 76 squadron. Commissioned on the 21st April 1943. Served for a few weeks in 35 squadron. Then as an instructor with 1665 MTU before joining 692 squadron on the 02nd March 1944. Son of Clement Russell (Served with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade 23/608 during first world war - he died of war wounds on the 11th July 1921 age just 27 and just 2 months before his son was born) and Margaret Clement Winsome Strang (née Templeton later Pearce) of Winton, New Zealand. A total of 660 flying hours logged and this was his 65th operational sortie on a second tour.
Fl/Lt. James Phillip Farrow DFC. DFM. MiD. Born on the 09th August 1918 at Gisborne. Had a total of 78 operational sorties. Survived the war as a PoW. Passed away on the 27th July 2010 age 91 at Thames Hospital. Buried at the Totara Memorial Park. Grave 0081.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jeff Farrow, Althea Barker for grave photo - used with permission, Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: