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Thread: Great Uncle

  1. #1
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    Default Great Uncle

    I am looking for any information about my great uncle f/s william bray. i would be most gratefull for any pictures of him and crew if available. I will give as much information as i have discovered so far
    his service number is 1853723
    flying lancasters
    serial number PB521
    Operation hamburg
    date 1 21st march 1945
    date 2 22nd march 1945
    squadron 97
    many thanks for the help

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    Maria,

    From my trilogy 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Two: Fates 1942-1998)':

    Wed 21/Thu 22 Mar 1945
    BOMBER COMMAND

    Raid on the Deutsche Erdölwerke refinery in Hamburg’s Harburg district, Germany (by 155 Lancasters & 8 Mosquitoes - 4 lost)
    97 Squadron, RAF (Coningsby Lincolnshire - 5 Group)
    Lancaster III PB521/Q - took off at 0121 and brought down south of the Elbe, crashing in the vicinity of Cranz and Neuenfelde at 0355. Four crew died at the time of the crash; one of the air gunners is buried in Hamburg and the others at Becklingen, 17km south of Soltau. The RAF navigator, injured, and air bomber were taken prisoner. Also captured was the captain, who suffered severe spinal injuries in the crash and was transported 45km west to Stalag XB, a prisoner of war camp at Sandbostel, 8km south of Bremervörde. On 30 April, about when the camp was liberated, he died of his injuries and was buried there, later being reinterred at Hannover.
    Captain: NZ421792 Flt Lt Owen Patrick Fewster TAYLOR, DFC, RNZAF - Age 25. 1065hrs. 45th op.
    Taylor, whose first 16 ops were flown with 44 Sqn, was lost on the last op of his Pathfinder tour. Although no longer operating under 8 (PFF) Group during his time, 97 Sqn continued with its ‘marking’ role after transfer to 5 Group in April 1944.

    And from Vol Three (Biographies & Appendices):

    TAYLOR, Flight Lieutenant Owen Patrick Fewster, DFC, (pff).
    NZ421792; b Rangiora 11 Jun 19; Rangiora HS; exchange clerk - P & T Dept, Wgtn. NZ Army/TF 18 mths; RNZAF Rotorua/ITW as Airman Pilot u/t 7 Mar 42, 3EFTS 13 Jun 42, 1SFTS 5 Sep 42, Pilots Badge [wef 30.11.42] & Sgt 6 Feb 43, att RAF & emb for UK 9 Mar 43, 11PD&RC 12 Apr 43, [12PD&RC 31 May 43?], 20(P)AFU, 14OTU (Wellington) 24 Aug 43, 51 Base for 1661HCU (Stirling) 30 Nov 43, Comm 23 Jan 44, 5LFS (Lancaster) late Feb 44, 44 Sqn (Lancaster - 16 ops) 26 Mar 44, 97 Sqn (Lancaster - 29 ops) 9 Jun 44 [att PFFNTU (Lancaster) 9-c.26 Jun], PFF Badge 2 Nov 44, shot down & crashed/ser inj on Hamburg op & PoW 21/22 Mar 45, Stalag XB, died of injuries 30 Apr 45. Hannover War Cemetery - 10.B.17, Limmer, Hannover, Germany. Son of Charles & Violet May Taylor (née Cooke), Tauranga. [BSD & phot. TWN 27.6.45].

    TWN = 'The Weekly News', a weekly New Zealand publication, the illustrated section of which for 27 June 1945 (page 26) includes a small portrait-head shoulders type photo of Taylor. A scan of the image can be obtained from the Air Force Museum of New Zealand (Email: info@airforcemuseum.co.nz), but they may also be able to supply a better image of him from a course photo taken during his training in New Zealand.

    The full crew was:

    Taylor
    Flt Sgt J B Aherne +
    Sqn Ldr W M Burnside, DFC - PoW
    Wt Off J H Bushby - PoW
    Flt Sgt N H Stauber +
    Flt Sgt A Rainsford +
    Flt Sgt W T Bray +

    Bray fell into the nearby River Este and drowned, and was first buried in a field grave.

    And from Gp Capt C. M. Hanson's 'By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999':

    TAYLOR, Flight Lieutenant Owen Patrick Fewster, DFC, (pff). NZ421792; Born Rangiora, 11 Jun 1919; NZ Army/TF 1940 to 1942; RNZAF 7 Mar 1942 to (died of injuries) 30 Apr 1945; PoW 22 Mar to Apr 1945. Pilot.
    Citation Distinguished Flying Cross (16 Feb 1945): [97(PFF)Sqn RAF (Lancaster)] This officer has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty. Shot down on the night of 21/22 Mar 1945, on his 45th sortie - the last to complete his tour - during an attack with 97 Sqn on Hamburg, Germany. Died of his injuries in Stalag XB on 30 Apr 1945. He had previously flown 16 sorties with 44 Sqn RAF (Lancaster). Buried Hanover-Limmer British Military Cemetery.

    If you care to email me at errol.martyn AT xtra.co.nz I can send you scans of some documents from Taylor's service record that relate to the loss of his aircraft and crew.

    Errol

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    Maria, Hi,
    Just a few BMD details:
    BRAY, WILLIAM THOMAS
    Rank: Flight Sergeant
    Trade: Air Gnr.
    Service No: 1853723
    Date of Death: 22/03/1945
    Age: 23
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 97 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference 1A. H. 9.
    Cemetery HAMBURG CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of William and Margaret H. M. Bray, of Stamshaw, Portsmouth; husband of Emily Jean Bray, of Stamshaw

    Civil registration event: Marriage
    Name: BRAY, William
    Registration district: [?] Portsmouth
    County: Hampshire
    Year of registration: 1917
    Quarter of registration: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Spouse's last name Jeffery
    Volume no: [?] 2B Page no: [?] 1198
    MarriageFinder™: [?] William Bray married Margaret H M Jeffery

    Civil registration event: Birth
    Name: BRAY, William T
    Registration district: [?] Portsmouth
    County: Hampshire
    Year of registration: 1923
    Quarter of registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Mother's maiden name: Ward
    Volume no:[?] 2B Page no:[?]736

    Civil registration event: Marriage
    Name: BRAY, William T
    Registration district: [?] Horncastle
    County: Lincolnshire
    Year of registration: 1944
    Quarter of registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Spouse's last name Watson
    Volume no: [?] 7A Page no: [?] 1379
    MarriageFinder™: [?] William T Bray married Emily J Watson

    Civil registration event: Birth
    Name: WATSON, Emily J
    Registration district: [?] Spilsby
    County: Lincolnshire
    Year of registration: 1922
    Quarter of registration: Apr-May-Jun
    Mother's maiden name: Ferguson
    Volume no:[?] 7A Page no:[?]967

    He Enlisted Nov 1942 at Oxford.
    97 Sqn operated Pathfinder Lancasters from RAF Coningsby.
    RAF Coningsby is in the Horncastle Registration District so his wife might have been a local girl.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Errol Martyn View Post
    Maria,

    From my trilogy 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Two: Fates 1942-1998)':

    Wed 21/Thu 22 Mar 1945
    BOMBER COMMAND

    Raid on the Deutsche Erdölwerke refinery in Hamburg’s Harburg district, Germany (by 155 Lancasters & 8 Mosquitoes - 4 lost)
    97 Squadron, RAF (Coningsby Lincolnshire - 5 Group)
    Lancaster III PB521/Q - took off at 0121 and brought down south of the Elbe, crashing in the vicinity of Cranz and Neuenfelde at 0355. Four crew died at the time of the crash; one of the air gunners is buried in Hamburg and the others at Becklingen, 17km south of Soltau. The RAF navigator, injured, and air bomber were taken prisoner. Also captured was the captain, who suffered severe spinal injuries in the crash and was transported 45km west to Stalag XB, a prisoner of war camp at Sandbostel, 8km south of Bremervörde. On 30 April, about when the camp was liberated, he died of his injuries and was buried there, later being reinterred at Hannover.
    Captain: NZ421792 Flt Lt Owen Patrick Fewster TAYLOR, DFC, RNZAF - Age 25. 1065hrs. 45th op.
    Taylor, whose first 16 ops were flown with 44 Sqn, was lost on the last op of his Pathfinder tour. Although no longer operating under 8 (PFF) Group during his time, 97 Sqn continued with its ‘marking’ role after transfer to 5 Group in April 1944.

    And from Vol Three (Biographies & Appendices):

    TAYLOR, Flight Lieutenant Owen Patrick Fewster, DFC, (pff).
    NZ421792; b Rangiora 11 Jun 19; Rangiora HS; exchange clerk - P & T Dept, Wgtn. NZ Army/TF 18 mths; RNZAF Rotorua/ITW as Airman Pilot u/t 7 Mar 42, 3EFTS 13 Jun 42, 1SFTS 5 Sep 42, Pilots Badge [wef 30.11.42] & Sgt 6 Feb 43, att RAF & emb for UK 9 Mar 43, 11PD&RC 12 Apr 43, [12PD&RC 31 May 43?], 20(P)AFU, 14OTU (Wellington) 24 Aug 43, 51 Base for 1661HCU (Stirling) 30 Nov 43, Comm 23 Jan 44, 5LFS (Lancaster) late Feb 44, 44 Sqn (Lancaster - 16 ops) 26 Mar 44, 97 Sqn (Lancaster - 29 ops) 9 Jun 44 [att PFFNTU (Lancaster) 9-c.26 Jun], PFF Badge 2 Nov 44, shot down & crashed/ser inj on Hamburg op & PoW 21/22 Mar 45, Stalag XB, died of injuries 30 Apr 45. Hannover War Cemetery - 10.B.17, Limmer, Hannover, Germany. Son of Charles & Violet May Taylor (née Cooke), Tauranga. [BSD & phot. TWN 27.6.45].

    TWN = 'The Weekly News', a weekly New Zealand publication, the illustrated section of which for 27 June 1945 (page 26) includes a small portrait-head shoulders type photo of Taylor. A scan of the image can be obtained from the Air Force Museum of New Zealand (Email: info@airforcemuseum.co.nz), but they may also be able to supply a better image of him from a course photo taken during his training in New Zealand.

    The full crew was:

    Taylor
    Flt Sgt J B Aherne +
    Sqn Ldr W M Burnside, DFC - PoW
    Wt Off J H Bushby - PoW
    Flt Sgt N H Stauber +
    Flt Sgt A Rainsford +
    Flt Sgt W T Bray +

    Bray fell into the nearby River Este and drowned, and was first buried in a field grave.

    And from Gp Capt C. M. Hanson's 'By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999':

    TAYLOR, Flight Lieutenant Owen Patrick Fewster, DFC, (pff). NZ421792; Born Rangiora, 11 Jun 1919; NZ Army/TF 1940 to 1942; RNZAF 7 Mar 1942 to (died of injuries) 30 Apr 1945; PoW 22 Mar to Apr 1945. Pilot.
    Citation Distinguished Flying Cross (16 Feb 1945): [97(PFF)Sqn RAF (Lancaster)] This officer has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty. Shot down on the night of 21/22 Mar 1945, on his 45th sortie - the last to complete his tour - during an attack with 97 Sqn on Hamburg, Germany. Died of his injuries in Stalag XB on 30 Apr 1945. He had previously flown 16 sorties with 44 Sqn RAF (Lancaster). Buried Hanover-Limmer British Military Cemetery.

    If you care to email me at errol.martyn AT xtra.co.nz I can send you scans of some documents from Taylor's service record that relate to the loss of his aircraft and crew.

    Errol
    Thanks Errol that was very interesting reading but my great uncle was Brittish but hewas said to either have drowned in the river este or was murdered trying to find out more info thanks again
    Last edited by mariapaffett; 14th July 2012 at 10:48.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    Maria, Hi,
    Just a few BMD details:
    BRAY, WILLIAM THOMAS
    Rank: Flight Sergeant
    Trade: Air Gnr.
    Service No: 1853723
    Date of Death: 22/03/1945
    Age: 23
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 97 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference 1A. H. 9.
    Cemetery HAMBURG CEMETERY
    Additional Information: Son of William and Margaret H. M. Bray, of Stamshaw, Portsmouth; husband of Emily Jean Bray, of Stamshaw

    Civil registration event: Marriage
    Name: BRAY, William
    Registration district: [?] Portsmouth
    County: Hampshire
    Year of registration: 1917
    Quarter of registration: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Spouse's last name Jeffery
    Volume no: [?] 2B Page no: [?] 1198
    MarriageFinder™: [?] William Bray married Margaret H M Jeffery

    Civil registration event: Birth
    Name: BRAY, William T
    Registration district: [?] Portsmouth
    County: Hampshire
    Year of registration: 1923
    Quarter of registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Mother's maiden name: Ward
    Volume no:[?] 2B Page no:[?]736

    Civil registration event: Marriage
    Name: BRAY, William T
    Registration district: [?] Horncastle
    County: Lincolnshire
    Year of registration: 1944
    Quarter of registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Spouse's last name Watson
    Volume no: [?] 7A Page no: [?] 1379
    MarriageFinder™: [?] William T Bray married Emily J Watson

    Civil registration event: Birth
    Name: WATSON, Emily J
    Registration district: [?] Spilsby
    County: Lincolnshire
    Year of registration: 1922
    Quarter of registration: Apr-May-Jun
    Mother's maiden name: Ferguson
    Volume no:[?] 7A Page no:[?]967

    He Enlisted Nov 1942 at Oxford.
    97 Sqn operated Pathfinder Lancasters from RAF Coningsby.
    RAF Coningsby is in the Horncastle Registration District so his wife might have been a local girl.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    many thanks peter you have my uncle exactly can i ask where you got those details or if you know where i can get pictures of him with his aircraft

  6. #6
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    Maria,
    There are a number of BMD websites. One is Free, and most of the others are subscription. The subscription ones are marginally better than the Free one (but it's Free!!!) and enable you do all sorts of searches. If you use them a lot then the 'cost' of each search is relatively small.
    I'm afraid I can't help with photos. If you have no personal docs from his late wife then you are going to have to rely on somebody who has researched the aircraft, the Squadron, or the Station, having a photo in which yr Grt Unc coincidentally appears. Errol, by the way, is the best authority on NZ casualties, so if the aicraft your man was on had a Kiwi in the crew then Errol will know all the details of the operation and the aircraft fate!
    Good luck with the researches!
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    PS We try not to use the 'Quote' mechanism for items on the same Thread page. It uses up a large amount of the website storage space (or whatever!), and it also has a tendency to put Our Great Leader in a bit of a 'paddy'!!!
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    many thanks for the help and information not used a site like this before i hope i have done it right this time

  8. #8
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    Hello Maria,
    Taylors Portrait is on its way by e mail to you,
    Best of luck,
    Digger.

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