26/27.07.1942 No. 75 Squadron Wellington III Z1596 P/O. Ian J. Shepherd
Date: 26/27th July 1942 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 75 Squadron (RNZAF)
Type: Wellington III
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 and shown right)
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.
He also wrote some poetry and we are fortunate to be able to reproduce two of them within our 'poetry section'.
Left: remarkable photo taken during part of the 'Long March'. (Aircrew Remembered Stalag files)
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..
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.