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Thread: Where can I find sorties list for 103 Squadron (26/02/1945 onwards)?

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    Default Where can I find sorties list for 103 Squadron (26/02/1945 onwards)?

    This is probably a long short in the dark under heavy cloud, but here goes ... I am trying to find some information about the sorties my late uncle would have flown on. He was posted to 103 Sqn on 26/2/1945 as P/O (Navigator) (No. NZ 433284).

    Without his Flight Log, is there anyway to track down which aircraft/sorties he would have flown on?

    Many thanks.

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    Hello

    The information you seek will be held in the Squadron Operations Record Book (ORB for short). Either a member of the board already has a copy, for his own research, and might offer his help, or you can purchase a copy, online, from the National Archives in Kew, London. Or, if you are able to visit yourself (but I presume you live in NZ ?), you can read it / copy it in Kew.

    I have a bit of No. 103 Squadron ORB, but for 1943, as I have several airmen/aircrew I'm interested in who served with that unit, but that was in 1943.

    The reference at Kew is AIR 27/817 and that covers January to November 1945. I'm not familiar with the online purchase, and I think you'll have to pay about £3.30 for each month you're interested in. Others will be able to help you.

    It would also help forumites to help you if you'd give the full ID of your late uncle.

    Good luck.

    Joss

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    Thanks so much Joss, your information is very helpful.

    My apologies for the omission (something went weird when I tried to edit my post).

    My uncle's name was Keith Whynn Hodgson. He was in the RNZAF, trained in Canada, and thence to the UK.

    I know he flew with a pilot named 'Jack' K Wilson.

    Again, thanks.

    Michael

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    F/S K.W. HODGSON (NZ433284) No.103 Sqdn. R.A.F.
    1945.Mar.15 - Lancaster RA278 to Misburg - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0688)
    1945.Mar.16 - Lancaster RA278 to Nurnburg - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0690)
    1945.Mar.19 - Lancaster PD236 to Hanau - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0693)
    1945.Mar.21 - Lancaster ME551 to Bremen - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0696)
    1945.Mar.27 - Lancaster LM295 to Paderhorn - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0704)
    1945.Apr.03 - Lancaster PD236 to Nordhausen - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0718)
    1945.Apr.05 - Lancaster RF193 to Lutzkendorf - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0722)
    1945.Apr.18 - Lancaster RA528 to Heligoland - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0737)
    1945.Apr.22 - Lancaster RA528 to Bremen - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0741)
    1945.Apr.25 - Lancaster RA528 to Berchtesgaden - pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0744)
    1945.Apr.29 - Lancaster RA528 to Leiden (Manna) pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0751)
    1945.May.01 - Lancaster RA528 to Rotterdam (Manna) pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0763)
    1945.May.03 - Lancaster RA528 to Rotterdam (Manna) pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0771)
    1945.May.07 - Lancaster RA528 to Rotterdam (Manna) pilot F/L Hardman (scan.0777)
    1945.May.26 - Lancaster RA528 to Brussels (Exodus) pilot F/L Wilson (scan.0785)
    Last edited by grounded; 11th June 2014 at 00:57. Reason: update correct service number

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    kwhrnzaf,

    Hodgson's log book or a copy of it is held by the Air Force Museum of New Zealand. Their email is info@airforcemuseum.co.nz

    From Colin Hansonís By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999:

    HODGSON, Flight Lieutenant Keith Whynn, AE.
    NZ433284 & 130111; Born Wellington, 16 Aug 1924; NZ Army 20 Nov 1942, 632230; RNZAF 19 Mar 1943 to 8 Mar 1946, TAF 1 Dec 1948, Res. 1 Aug 1957 to 16 Aug 1979; Navigator, then Secretarial.
    Air Efficiency Award - 1 Dec 1955.
    As a navigator served with 103 Sqn RAF (Lancaster).

    Grounded,

    note that you have the incorrect service number in your post for Hodgson.

    Errol

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    Much thanks to you both grounded and Errol. This information has put a pernicious family rumour to rest. It was said that Keith 'went to pieces' on his first sortie, made a serious navigational error taking the flight over a heavily defended area which put the crew at risk, and as a result the tail gunner was killed. Supposedly Keith 'never flew again'. As he died quite young in 1980 I have not been able to get to the bottom of this story until now.

    That said, had the story been true it would not have diminished my respect for him.

    Aside from those who have been there, none of us know how we would cope with such intensive stress and fear.

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    kwhrnzaf,
    Sorry for that mistake on your late uncle's service number; I went back and corrected it.

    From what I gather, the core crew was:
    Wilson
    Kay
    Christien
    Hodgson
    Harrison
    Licquorice
    Jackson

    The 103 ORB usually lists aircrew according to position.

    The only anomalies to that crew seem to be that on April 04 P/O Taylor tagged along, then on May 03 W/C MacDonald was onboard, on May 07 F/L Hardman was pilot, and on their last flight, on May 26, Sgt. L. Jackson is not listed as aircrew, but a rear gunner was not necessary on an Exodus run weeks after the war ended.

    The 103 ORB does not seem to support the pernicious family rumours you mentioned.

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    grounded, thanks for going the extra mile and removing the final source of doubt. I am most grateful.

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    Hey,
    Those "pernicious rumours" are sometimes harder to get rid of than crap on a blanket.
    Interviewing WW2 aircrew is becoming a rarity. Interviewing friends and family members that WW2 aircrew spoke to about wartime experiences is to be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak. Sometimes a WW2 veteran told stories about what happened to other military personnel, and all the while the people listening assumed that the veteran was relating a personal account, when, on further research, that clearly was not the case. An example of this occurred in the early 1960s when a group of WW2 aircrew gathered for a reunion and a few drinks. Into the evening, when the bomber stream (b.s. for short) was flying thick and heavy, a Lancaster pilot gave a vivid and riveting description of a V2 rocket going up so close in front of the aircraft that the exhaust of the V2 melted the persplex windscreen of the Lancaster, after which the Lancaster's flight back to Base could only be managed on instruments alone. Silence was maintained during the telling of the tale but he was then shouted down by his mates and he later admitted it didn't actually happen to him but it truly did happen, only to another aircrew from another squadron.

    A theory I have been considering regarding aircrew, and possibly other military personnel as well, is that, "Whatever happened to one crewmember, happened to them all."

    What got me started on that was a photo of a Bomber Command pilot placed on a mantle prior to a post-war reunion of aircrew; before the arrival of his mates, the veteran Lancaster pilot took the photo off the mantle, looked at it, and said, "He survived the crash but they shot him; they shot him in the stomach." When he said that, he placed his hand on his stomach and winced, as if in pain.
    Last edited by grounded; 12th June 2014 at 05:17. Reason: add punctuation

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    grounded, just curious: I can understand why the rear gunner would not be required on Exodus, but then why the need for a mid-upper gunner and bomb aimer? Were they just there to manage the passengers perhaps?

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