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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
26/27.07.1942 No. 75 Squadron Wellington III Z1596 P/O. Ian J. Shepherd

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 26/27th July 1942 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (RNZAF)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: Z1596

Code: AA-?

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

Location: Dose, Nr Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Ian James Shepherd NZ/404414 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Obs: P/O. Reginald Sidney Lees NZ/404907 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Norman Bruce Robertson NZ/411101 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. ‘Sonny’ James Francis Winstanley NZ/412373 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Dixon 613966 RAF Age PoW No: 25165 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (1)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off between 22:30 - 23:35 hrs to bomb Hamburg. 403 aircraft taking part with crews experiencing cloud and icing en-route but clear weather over the target.

Hamburg reports state that widespread damage was caused - 823 houses being destroyed with more than 5,000 damaged - 14,000 people were bombed out, 337 people killed on the ground with 1,027 injured.

75 Squadron Wellington crews at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk.

Understood to have been hit by anti-aircraft fire on return from bombing the target whilst flying at low level. The Wellington crashed in a field near the village of Dose, South West of Schortens. (see map - not to be confused with the village of the same name near Cuxhaven, to the East of the target area) Sgt. Dixon was the only survivor of the crash - after being threatened to be shot after capture by a soldier, another, named Heinrich Derks, pulled him away and insisted that he was to be taken as a prisoner of war.

(1) Sgt John Dixon left for New Zealand in 1949, initially to stay with the family of Jimmy Winstanley before settling there. His daughter explained that during the “Long March” towards the end of the war when the PoW’s were forced to leave the camps to further away from the encroaching front line, he had been provided food by the local German civilian population. This happened to many of the prisoners, many survived due to their kindness.

Left: remarkable photo taken during part of the 'Long March'. (Air Rem-stalag files)

Burial details:

Initially buried at the municipal cemetery at Wilhemshaven - reinterred after war end.

P/O. Ian James Shepherd. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 13.C.9. Son of John George and Katie Shepherd, of Timaru, Canterbury, husband of Muriel Allan Shepherd, of Timaru, New Zealand. Total of 380 hours flying time - his 24th operation.

P/O. Reginald Sidney Lees. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 13.C.8. Son of William John Lees and of Harriet Lees (née Burt), of Matata, Auckland, New Zealand. Total of 295 hours flying time - his 7th operation.

P/O. Norman Bruce Robertson. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 13.C.6. Son of Gilbert David and Minnie Robertson, of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand, husband of Eva May Robertson, of Mairoa, Auckland. Total of 216 hours flying time - his 10th operation. Prior to service motor assembly driver working for Transport (Waikato) Ltd..

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Francis Winstanley. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 4.D.12. Son of Thomas and Angela Adele Winstanley, of Ralph Street, Huntly, Auckland, New Zealand.Total of 127 hours flying time - his 10th operation. Born 9th October 1921, Huntly, Waikato, New Zealand. Before enlistment he worked as a clipper.

Page of remembrance placed for Rosemary Balu from New Zealand, daughter of the late Sgt. John Dixon. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

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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