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Thread: Nichol Blake WEATHERSTON 104Sqd.

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    Default Nichol Blake WEATHERSTON 104Sqd.

    Hi,

    I am researching Nichol Blake WEATHERSTON of 104 Squadron who was killed on Tuesday 29 June 1943.

    He is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

    Can anyone shed any light on what happened to him, please ?

    Regards,

    Graeme

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    Default Nichol Blake WEATHERSTON 104 Sqd.

    Hello Graeme,

    I can not confirm, but have a note saying Wellington W5455 from 104 Sqn lost on a mission to Messina 29.06.43.

    Probably other researchers from this forum can assist.

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    Hi Graeme,
    Can't give you details of 104 loss but can provide details of operation.
    From my fathers log and diary (37 Squadron) 29th June briefing 8-00pm, target is Messina and we are carrying 9x500lbs. Took off at 10pm only 2hrs to get there, went in right at midnight blitz time. Fair amount of flak, but Nobby is gened up, great bloke to fly with ( Sqd Ldr B.R.Hall). Came back in 2 and half hours and after spending 1 hour on our own circuit we got diverted to 236 Wing. Took us another hour to get from kite to briefing tent, garry driver got lost.
    231 and 330 Wings which comprised 37,70,142 and 150 Squadrons were based at Cerignola and 236 Wing which comprised 40 and 104 were based at Foggia.
    From 37 Squadron ORB. Operations-Marshalling yards at Messina. Sixteen Wellington X aircraft attacked the Ferry Terminal and Marshalling Yards at Messina on the night of 29th June 1943. The operation was carried out in fair weather but with low patches of cumulus cloud, up to 7/10ths over the target area, and some haze. Illumination provided by No.236 Wing was not good, the flares being dropped off the target area, F/O Fernihough dropped a 4000lb bomb amongst buildings near the marshalling yards and others recording bursts near the Ferry Terminal, in the town, and in the Marshalling Yards vicinity. Six aircraft were diverted to Hani West for landing. Two aircraft captained by F/O Taylor and Sgt Smith, crash landed at base. Opposition encounted was heavy flak, scattered, moderate and mainly inaccurate. Light flak came from the area between San Giovanni and Reggio di Calabria. Twelve to twenty searchlights were in operation, some coning and co-operating with A.A. guns, but mainly beaming spasmodically. Bombing was carried out from 7500 to 1500 feet.
    Your man Weatherston was part of the illumination run made by 236 Wing and from the reports above it would appear his aircraft was probably hit by flak over the target.
    I hope the information provided is of help.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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    Hi Graeme, Finn & Rob,

    It would appear as if the No.104 Sqn loss occurred on 28/29-6-1943, not 29/30-6-1943.

    (From F R Chappell's, 'Wellington Wings'.):

    28th June 1943
    Tonight we briefed for targets on the toe of Italy where 104 Squadron is to do the flare dropping.

    29th June 1943: Security Scare.
    I was up early for interrogations this morning and learned that "R for Robert" (Sgt Cochrane)[sic], is missing. How many Rs is that who have been lost? We held briefing for the same targets again this afternoon. The Wing Commander is going tonight and will try this illuminator business. George Edwards is also operating tonight and my friends from "Y for Yorker" at Salerno (Sergeant Hick and crew) are taking "T for Tommy" with a 4,000 lb bomb.

    See:
    Wellington Wings:An RAF Intelligence Officer in the Western Desert.
    Chappell,F.R.
    London:William Kimber,1980.
    p.175

    So, the No.104 Sqn loss probably shaped-up like this:-

    28/29-6-1943
    No.104 Sqn.
    Wellington II W5455 "R"

    Missing flare-dropping, Messina.

    1349957 Sgt James Cumming COCHRAN +
    129600 F/O Nichol Blake WEATHERSTON +
    1320326 Sgt Arthur Edward REED +
    1211939 Sgt Arthur Edward SIMMONS +
    1353595 Sgt Edgar Phillip WATSON +

    All commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

    Corrections, additions welcome.

    Errol Martyn's comments would also be of interest.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 25th July 2009 at 03:00. Reason: minor correction

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    Col,

    No.70 Sqn suffered a New Zealand related loss on this date, namely

    Mon 28/Tue 29 Jun 1943
    MEDITERRANEAN AIR COMMAND

    Raid on ferry terminus and railway yards at Messina, Sicily
    70 Squadron, RAF (Kairouan/Temmar, Tunisia - 231 Wing, 205 Group, Northwest African Strategical Air Force)
    Wellington III DF680/X - took off at 2051 captained by Sgt E R Norburn, RAF, and an hour later reported engine trouble on the outward journey. Plotted over the coast returning early, but plots then faded with the last signal from DF680 being heard at 2350, although interference made the message unintelligible. Lost without trace, the five crew are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.
    Navigator: NZ42301 Flt Sgt Gordon Phillip McBAIN, RNZAF - Age 34. 245hrs. 3rd op.
    Air Bomber: NZ422672 Flt Sgt Arthur Ernest WATSON, RNZAF - Age 24. 202hrs. 3rd op.
    Watson’s brother, Hugh Arthur Thomas Watson, died a day short of a year earlier while flying with 7 Sqn, RAF.

    Errol

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    Hi Errol,

    Thanks for that quick reply. I was a tad concerned about the Arthur Edward REED/SIMMONS, Edgar Phillip WATSON and Arthur Ernest WATSON RNZAF tie-up. Plenty of scope for error there! CWGC seems to have got it right.

    Does your comment in FYT2/114: "(by 81 aircraft - 4 lost)", still hold?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 25th July 2009 at 03:15. Reason: minor correction

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    Hi Errol,


    Does your comment in FYT2/114: "(by 81 aircraft - 4 lost)", still hold?

    Col.
    Col,

    Yes, it does. The detail was a last minute addition to the book and not held on the final draft on my p/c, from which the above was cut and pasted.

    Errol

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    Errol,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Col.

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    Default Weatherston

    Hi All,

    Many thanks for the replies.

    I must admit though that I am slightly confused.

    Are we saying that his crew was

    1349957 Sgt James Cumming COCHRAN
    1320326 Sgt Arthur Edward REED
    1211939 Sgt Arthur Edward SIMMONS
    1353595 Sgt Edgar Phillip WATSON

    or is this open for debate.


    As a matter of interest this is what the local newspapers said about him;

    Nichol was 6’ 4” tall and has been described as “an exceptional man mentally and physically”.
    he was educated at Taunton Grammar School, at that time being resident in Southampton. His parents later moved to the London area whilst Nichol spent 10 years in Australia. Returning to England he joined the Staffordshire Constabulary and was stationed at Brownhills.
    Nichol enlisted in the Royal Air Force in September 1941 and trained in Canada between April and October 1942. He came top in every examination he took and was awarded 100% marks in a test of leadership and character. He was promoted from Leading Aircraftman to a commissioned rank without serving as a Sergeant.

    many thanks,

    Graeme

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    Hello Graeme,

    The 104 Squadron loss details were mentioned as a probability. They match up with the known facts, but confirmation from the ORB, or a reliable secondary source is needed.

    The reason for my hesitancy, are the other two losses mentioned by Errol. Until they are identified the information is - "Open to debate".

    Col.

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