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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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431 Squadron Crest
F/O. Ernie “Pedro” Pedrazzini RAFVR

Flying Officer Ernie “Pedro” Pedrazzini RAFVR had an Italian father, John Battista and an English mother, Emma Harriet and was born in Lambeth, London in 1923. He had two brothers, James and Ricardo.

Received his call up papers in 1942 when he was working at the razor blade manufacturers, Gillette Industries. He wanted to follow his elder brother, Ricardo into the RAF so volunteered for P.N.B.,(Pilot/Navigator/Bomb Aimer training). Although he had passed all the intelligence and adaptability exams, he was turned down due to an alleged and untrue eyesight defect. This was due to his father being classed as an enemy alien despite living in England for forty years. Although not interned, his father was forbidden a car, bicycle and wireless set and restricted to a five mile radius of his home, having to report to the police station, at first every day and then once a month. His mother, though English was under the same restrictions and was dismissed from the ARP.

Ernie’s brother was then dismissed from the RAF when Italy declared war but later was allowed to rejoin only, sadly, to be killed in August 1944 in 635 Pathfinder Squadron.

Ernie was given the choice to become a Flight Mechanic, (ground crew), and joined and trained at Cosford before volunteering for aircrew as a Flight Engineer. Went on to train at St. Athans in Wales and after passing out as a Sergeant was sent to 1664 HCU at Dishforth for flying training. He joined F/O. Hagar and his crew as their Flight Engineer and was posted to a cold and miserable Croft. After further training, the crew commenced their first tour on the 27th August 1944. Their total operational trips were 14 on Halifaxes and 17 in Canadian Lancasters.

On the 1st November 1944 on a raid to Oberhausen, the crew flew the brand new ’S’ for Sugar Lancaster “Solid Sender”. They were at the front of the main stream and therefore ahead of the Window Cover and were riddled by flak to the annoyance of the ground crew. Ernie remembers the pilot, Don Hagar was known as “press ahead Hagar” for evermore! This mistake was not repeated. The crew flew this particular Lancaster on nine operations.

Crew

Pilot - Flying Officer Don Hagar DFC RCAF

Flight Engineer - Flying Officer Ernie “Pedro” Pedrazzini RAFVR

Navigator - Flying Officer A.G. Kelly RCAF

Bomb Aimer - Flying Officer H.W. MacKenzie RCAF

Wireless operator - Sergeant W.H.”Bill” Crooke RCAF

Mid Upper Gunner - Sergeant R.D.Thornton RCAF

Rear Gunner - Pilot Officer H.”Hal” Ames RCAF

Operations:

27th August 1944 Daylight operation to Mimoyecques - Vi Construction Depot 226 aircraft from 6 and 8 Group - accurate attack - no losses

31st August 1944 Daylight operation to De-Cezembre - 165 Halifaxes from 6 Group - accurate attack - 1 lost

09th September 1944 Daylight operation to Le Havre - 272 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Group - Master Bomber ordered the operation to be abandoned due to poor visibility - no losses

10th September 1944 Daylight operation to Le Havre - 992 aircraft - troop concentrations - accurate attack - no losses

12th September 1944 Daylight operation to Wanne-Eickel Oil Depot - 412 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Group - 7 aircraft lost (4 from the Wanne-Eickel Oil Depot operation) - aircraft hit by flak.

25th September 1944 Daylight operation to Calais troop gun concentrations - 872 aircraft - low cloud, only 287 aircraft able to bomb due to low cloud - no losses.

26th September 1944 Daylight operation to Calais troop gun concentrations - 191 aircraft - accurate attack - 2 lost.

27th September 1944 Daylight operation to Sterkrade-Ruhr Valley Oil Plant - 171 aircraft - 83 aircraft bombed due to heavy cloud - only 3 engines working - no losses.

28th September 1944 Daylight operation to Cap Griz Nez - Heavy gun emplacements - 494 aircraft from 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - no losses.

04th October 1944 Daylight operation to Bergen,Norway-Submarine pens - 137 aircraft from 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 1 lost.

06/07th October 1944 Night operation to Dortmund - 523 aircraft from 3, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 5 aircraft lost.

09/10th October 1944 Night operation to Bochum - 435 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups - target covered by cloud - poor bombing - 5 aircraft lost.

14th October 1944 Daylight operation to Duisberg - 1013 aircraft (plus a further 1251 from the USAAF) - 14 aircraft lost.

19th October Squadron converted to Lancaster X.

01/02nd November 1944 Night operation to Oberhausen - 288 aircraft from 6 and 8 Groups - target cloud covered - poor bombing - 4 aircraft lost.

02/03rd November 1944 Night operation to Dusseldorf - 992 aircraft - accurate bombing - 19 aircraft lost - moderate flak.

16th November 1944 Daylight operation to Jülich US Army support - 413 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing.

18th November 1944 Daylight operation to Münster Army support - 479 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Groups - poor bombing - 1 aircraft lost.

21/22nd November 1944 Night operation to Castop Rauxel oil refineries - 273 aircraft from 1, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - many night fighters - 4 aircraft lost.

27/28th November 1944 Night operation to Nuess - 290 aircraft from 1, 6 and 8 Group - accurate bombing - 1 aircraft lost.

30/01st December 1944 Night operation to Duisberg, Marshalling Yards - 576 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups - target covered in cloud - poor bombing - 3 aircraft lost.

Above: W/O. Richard Pedrazzini 1375587 RAFVR Age 30

02/03rd December 1944 Night operation to Hagen - 504 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 2 aircraft lost.

04/05th December 1944 Night operation to Karlsruhe - 535 aircraft from 1, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 2 aircraft lost.

05/06th December 1944 Night operation to Soeste - 497 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 2 aircraft lost.

06/07th December 1944 Night operation to Osnabruck - 453 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups - partially successful - 8 aircraft lost.

24th December 1944 Daylight operation to Dusseldorf - military airfields - 338 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - Heavy flak - 6 aircraft lost.

29/30th December 1944 Night operation to Sholven - 324 aircraft from 1, 6 and 8 Groups - heavy cloud cover but accurate bombing - 4 aircraft lost.

02/03rd January 1945 Night operation to Nuremberg - 514 aircraft from 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 6 aircraft lost.

07/08th January 1945 Night operation to Munich - 645 Lancasters from 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8 Groups - accurate bombing - 15 aircraft lost.

28/29th January 1945 Night operation to Merseburg - 602 aircraft from 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups - scattered bombing - 11 aircraft lost.

01/02 February 1945 Night operation to Ludwigshaven - 382 aircraft

F/O. Pedrazzini and his crew went their separate ways after the end of their tour. F/O. Hagar went on to fly Spitfires and the rest of the crew returned to Canada. F/O. Pedrazzini was posted to Riccal to train on the Avro York for Transport Command, one of the longest courses he had been on. He was posted to Holmsley South flying to India with troops and VIP’s. In 1946 he was a EVT Officer at Oakington in Cambridge and opted for de mobbing.

Ernie is now retired and living in East Yorkshire.

Researched by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered - May 2017. Photo credits , excerpts from log book and other information to Ernie Pedrazzini.

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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Last Modified: 24 May 2017, 17:00

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