View Full Version : S/L Harold Wright Bruce, HENEY,, RNZAF - No.582 Sqn - detailed DSO recommendation

17th February 2022, 14:14
HENEY, Harold Wright Bruce, A/S/L, DFC (NZ39918) – No. 582 Squadron – Distinguished Service Order – awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 June 1944.

This officer was the captain of an aircraft detailed ,to attack Dortmund one night in May, 1944. When over the target area the aircraft caught fire but Squadron Leader Heney continued -his-bombing- run. The flames reached dangerous proportions and became a target for the enemy's defences. Nevertheless, Squadron Leader Heney made an effort to extinguish the flames and, as they subsided, turned for home. One engine was useless but he maintained a steady course and later, although his aircraft sustained more damage in an attack by a. fighter, he landed safely at base. This officer has participated in a large number of sorties and has .displayed a high degree of skill, courage and devotion to duty.

Recommendation dated 23 May 1944 in AIR 2/9156 when he had flow 58 sorties, (320 hours).

1. This officer was the captain of an aircraft ordered to visually mark a target at Dortmund on the night of 22nd/23rd May 1944. At a height of 18,000 feet, about 5 minutes before bombing and during the “run-in” to the target, incendiaries were dropped from an aircraft above. They fell on the port engine and port tail plane causing the aircraft to be set on fire.

2. Squadron Leader Heney decided to continue his run into the target while the flight engineer feathered the engine and pressed the fire extinguisher. After completing the bombing run, it was realized that the fire was assuming dangerous proportions. The aircraft was dived to 13,000 feet in an effort to shake off the incendiaries and the crew were ordered to “Put on Parachutes”. This was partially accomplished but the aircraft was still blazing when the enemy defences concentrated on it.

3. Seeing the fire was gradually dying out, Squadron Leader Heney cancelled his order to abandon the aircraft and turned for home. Meanwhile, due to such violent manoeuvring, it was impossible to pick up a Datum with which to navigate. The navigator relied entirely on his D.R. navigation which, it transpired, was very accurate.

4. On three engines, the aircraft crossed the heavily defended Ruhr area at a height of 13,000 feet.

5. Arriving over the country, the aircraft was attacked by an intruder whilst at a height of 3,000 feet, sustaining severed damage to the aircraft, rendering the hydraulic system unserviceable. The intruder was evaded and the aircraft eventually reached base.

6. On arrival at base, the runway was obstructed, but this captain did not even mention the fact that he was on three engines. Obeying orders to the last detail, he was kept circling until the obstruction was cleared. The aircraft was landed using the emergency air bottles to pump down the undercarriage.

7. Squadron Leader Heney is a most capable captain who always presses home his attacks with great courage and the utmost determination. At all times, he maintains coolness under the most trying conditions. He is an outstanding member of a gallant crew and is strongly recommended for the Immediate Award of the Distinguished Service Order.

(Signed by Wing Commander, Commanding, No. 582 Squadron, R.A.F., on 23.5.44)

“This officer showed outstanding airmanship, courage and endurance of the highest order, and I strongly recommend him for the Immediate Award of the Distinguished Service Order.”

(Signed by Group Captain, Commanding, R.A.F. Station, Little Staughton, on 24.5.44)

“Strongly recommended for the Immediate Award of the Distinguished Service Order.”

(Signed by Air Vice Marshal, Commanding Group).