10/11.09.1942 No. 11 Operational Training Unit Wellington Ic DV930 TX-D Sgt. Munro
Date: 10/11th September 1942 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 11 Operational Training Unit 91 Group
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Bassingbourne - Steeple Morden - satellite dispersal airfield
Location: Herne Hill Farm, Chediston, Suffolk
Pilot: Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro NZ/415005 RNZAF Age 31. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Jack Foden Stanley NZ/41553 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr Sgt. Andrew Scott Renwick 1552246 RAFVR Age 20. Injured (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Hamilton Vigers 1151773 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Walter Freeman 1334858 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 21:03 hrs to bomb Düsseldorf. A huge force took off - a total of 479 aircraft mad up with 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens and 14 Whitleys.
The pathfinders marked the target area successfully using the "Pink Pansies" (2) in converted 4,000 lb. bomb casings. The city was hit in all areas apart from the north, also hit was the neighbouring town of Neuss.
Reports are that 39 industrial firms in Düsseldorf and a further 13 in Neuss were damaged to the extent that no production could take place for various periods, 8 public buildings were destroyed and 67 damaged. 911 houses were also destroyed, 1,506 seriously damaged and another 8,340 lightly damaged.
On the ground 132 people were killed, made up of 120 in Düsseldorf and 12 in Neuss. A further 11 people were classed as "missing" 2 days after the raid. 19,427 people were made homeless.
The raid took it's toll on the allies though with 33 aircraft lost. (20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters. 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes and 1 Hampden) 60 crewmen were killed, 1 injured and 13 made PoW.
It is thought probable (based on timings) that they were forced to return. During this the aircraft came down at location described at 23:50 hrs.
Another 11 OTU crew were also lost during this operation. The mainly New Zealand crew flying Wellington Ic DV890 flown by Sgt. Norman John Rowe NZ/414344 RNZAF was killed with all his other four crew, buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. (All also on on their 1st operational sortie)
(1) Sgt. Renwick did survive the crash but succumbed to his injuries the following day.
(2) "Pink Pansies" an incendiary bomb - 2,800 lb.'s. - used as a target marker made up from Benzol, rubber and phosphorous)
Above: 22A Pilot Training course at Wigwam 18th October 1941. 31 year old, Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro NZ/415005 RNZAF - Killed on the 10th September 1942 whilst with 11 Operational Training Unit returning from an operation to Dusseldorf Wellington IC DV930 Crashed in Suffolk on return. 20 year old, F/O. Laurence John Kirkpatrick NZ/414990 RNZAF - Killed on the 23rd September 1943 whilst with 75 Squadron during an operation to Mannheim. F/O. Henry James Bennett NZ/414722 - Killed 03rd February 1945 whilst with 22 squadron on a Rhubarb operation in Burma, Beaufighter TF.X NE445. 27 year old, F/O. David Ross Scrymgeour NZ/414687 RNZAF - Killed on the 19th April 1943 whilst with 13 Squadron, Blenheim V BA727 failed to return from an armed reconnaissance off Tunisia. 32 year old, F/O. Murray Archer Legg NZ/415071 RNZAF - Killed on the 24th January 1943 whilst with 58 Squadron, Halifax II DT684 during a transit flight. 31 year old F/O. Athol George Greentree NZ/414974 RNZAF - Killed on the 12th November 1943 whilst with 42 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LX912 during a torpedo strike off Crete. 23 year old Peter Sydney Watt NZ/415046 - Killed on the 02nd January 1944 whilst with 83 Squadron, Lancaster III JB114 operation to Berlin.
A brass memorial plaque is inlace at St. Mary's Church, Chediton as well as a poppy memorial made by the granddaughter of the pilot, Fiona Woodberry of Victoria, Australia.
Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro. Ipswich Old Cemetery. Sec. C. Div. 31. Grave 35. Son of George and Angusina Munro of Edinburgh, Scotland. Husband of Dorothy M. Munro, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. A publican prior to service. 308 flying hours logged and on his first operational sortie. The family also lost his brother, 25 year old, Cpl. Iain Fraser 18079 of the 25th Infantry Battalion.
Sgt. Jack Foden Stanley. Ipswich Old Cemetery Sec. C. Div. 31. Grave 34. Son of Thomas Armitage Stanley and of Florence Hilda Stanley (nee Lancaster), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 228 flying hours logged and on his first operational sortie.
Sgt. Andrew Scott Renwick. Camelon Cemetery. Sec. 12. Grave 421. Born on the 14th June 1922 at Wigtownshire, the son of William Montgomery Renwick and of Elsie A. Renwick (née Scott), of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Sgt. Kenneth Hamilton Vigers. Little Stukeley Churchyard (St. Martin). Son of the Revd. Edgar Hall Vigers, M.A. and Marjorie Constance Vigers, of Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, England. Grave inscription reads: 'An Inspiration To Us All'.
Sgt. Robert Walter Freeman. Englefield Green Cemetery. Plot 10. Grave 1164. Son of William Harold and Eliza Freeman, of Egham, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: 'Accepted In The Beloved." Ephesians I.6'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, to Ian Martin of “Medals Reunited”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, with thanks to Geoffrey Gillon and George Evans for grave photographs, other sources as quoted below: