26/27.04.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling I BF517 AA-O Air/Gnr. Sgt. Brian A. Rogers (Pilot: P/O. Peter J.O. Buck)
Date: 26/27th April 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 75 Squadron
Type: Stirling I
Location: 30 miles north of Duisburg.
Pilot: P/O. Peter John Oswald Buck RNZAF NZ/413377 Survived (1)
Pilot 2: Fl/Lt. Edward Robert Myddleton Appleton RAF 42475 Survived (2)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. J.W. Jones RAFVR 1068491 Survived
Nav: F/O. Alexander Fielding Minnis RAFVR 126499 Survived
Air/Bmr: Sgt. A.P. Sadler RAFVR 1379771 Survived
W/Op/Air Gnr: P/O. John Henry Symons RCAF J/6507 Survived (R/77568 as a NCO)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J. Watson RAFVR 1021021 Survived
Air/Gnr. Sgt. Brian Arthur Rogers RAFVR 1384342 Age 22. Killed
We are pleased to adivise that the family of the pilot have since contacted us in July 2017 - we hope to have further information and perhaps an obituary placed to P/O. Peter Buck.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 00:15 hrs with some eight others from the squadron to join a total force of 561 aircraft to bomb Duisburg. 17 aircraft from the raid failed to return. The Bomber stream were attacked both on en route to the target and during the homeward bound of the trips.
BF517 was attacked by one of the many night-fighters. During such an attack, the rear gunner, Sgt. Brian Rogers was mortally wounded and two other crew members suffered minor injuries, when their Stirling was attacked 30 miles north of the target of Duisburg.
The pilot P/O. Peter Buck, managed to evade further attacks but had difficulty in maintaining altitude. Other crew members jettisoned all movable equipment on the flight home, a crash-landing being made at Newmarket without further serious injuries at 04:15 hrs.
Left: P/O. Peter Buck (courtesy Penny Buck, July 2017)
The DFC awarded to the pilots for this action probably summarises the event during the operation:
“One night in April 1943 P/O.’s Buck (RNZAF) and Symons (RCAF) were Pilot and Navigator respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Duisburg. Whilst over the target area, the aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter and sustained much damage. The Rear Gunner was mortally wounded, while P/O. Symons was wounded in the hand. P/O. Buck succeeded in evading the attacker and set course for base. On the return flight the damaged bomber became difficult to control and when one of the engines failed, the aircraft began to lose height.
All moveable equipment was jettisoned and, height being maintained, P/O. Buck flew the aircraft back to base where he effected a perfect crash-landing. During the return flight, P/O. Symons, in spite of his injury, did all within his power to help his pilot, obtaining a number of fixes which proved of great assistance. In a most difficult situation these officers displayed courage. skill and determination of a high order”.
(1) Fl/Lt. Peter John Oswald Buck, who at the time lived at Flat 3, College Buildings, Victoria Avenue, Wanganui, New Zealand - passed away on the 12th October 1992. Further details follow.
(2) Sq/Ldr Edward Appleton was killed at a later date on the 31st August 1943 - for details visit the great website 75 (NZ) Squadron
where Simon Somerville has collated a great deal of information on the Squadron.
Sgt. Brian Arthur Rogers. City of London Cemetery and crematorium, Manor Park. Screen wall. Square 241. Coll grave 108018. Son of Arthur John and Evelyn Laura Rogers, of Leyton, London, England.
Right: Sgt. Brian Arthur Rogers
We are grateful for the crew details and information to Peter Schnorling - a researcher based in Germany who kindly contacted us in June 2017. For further detailed information on the Squadron visit Simon’s website.