View Full Version : Norman Jonathan INGRAM - DFM (No.150 Squadron) - DFC (No.21 Squadron) - cits and bio

12th May 2022, 04:36
INGRAM, Norman Jonathan, Sergeant (580400) – Royal New Zealand Air Force – No. 150 Squadron – Distinguished Flying Medal – awarded as per London Gazette dated 8 November 1940.
Recommendation states:

‘This airman and another have rendered fine service as an Aircrew since the outbreak of the war and by mutual trust and cooperation in their duties have produced a really first-class crew which can be relied upon to complete any air operations allotted them. Since 10 May 1940, they have carried out one day and eight-night sorties, sometimes in very difficult weather conditions, but on each occasion the target was located and attacked and valuable information obtained’.

INGRAM, Norman Jonathan, Flight Lieutenant – (NZ2408) – No. 21 Squadron – Distinguished Flying Cross – awarded as per London Gazette dated 29 June 1945. From Spink catalogue of 25 November 1998. Recommendation states:

“This officer’s operational career began on Battles in France between 1939-40 when he was awarded the D.F.M. after eight operations, and completed a tour of 30 sorties. On returning to England in June 1940, he continued to operate and after six trips was shot down in May 1941 whilst attacking shipping at St. Nazaire. He evaded capture and returned to England. After a period of rest at an O.T.U., he resumed operations with Nos. 88 and 464 Squadrons and 38 Group, where he totalled 13 operations before commencing his last tour of 35 operations. He has at all times shown great keenness and enthusiasm for operations. His advice on the ground and example in the air have been an inspiration to less experienced navigators. He flew as Deputy Leading Navigator for two low-level daylight operations made by this Wing. At night, often under difficult conditions, his aircraft never once strayed from its route. I recommend him strongly for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross”.

Flight Lieutenant Norman Jonathan Ingram, D.F.C., D.F.M., was born in November, 1918 in Wellington, New Zealand and educated at Wellington Boys College prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force in June 1938 for training as an Air Observer. Promoted to Acting Sergeant in January 1939, he joined No. 150 Squadron for operational duties in August of the same year, subsequently serving in Fairey Battles in France between September 1939 and June 1940 and winning his D.F.M. after just nine sorties. Then following brief service with No. 204 squadron and promotion to Flight Sergeant Ingram, joined No. 82 Squadron, which unit was operating in Blenheims. In the afternoon of 13.5.1941, during a raid on enemy shipping in St. Nazaire Harbour, his aircraft was set on fire by intense flak, the captain making a forced-landing near the target. Ingram takes up the story in his M.I.9 report (P.R.O. WO208/3304 refers).

‘We set fire to the aircraft, destroying it completely… French peasants supplied us with civilian clothes and put us in touch with some fishermen who rowed us over to the south bank of the Loire that night. For a fortnight, we ravelled by secondary roads at night and slept in barns and cow-sheds by day. On two occasions, we were stopped by gendarmes, who, on learning our identity, helped us on our journey, advising us to pose as Algerians. Our route from St. Nazaire to Usson was via Paimboeuf – St. Pere-en-Retz – St. Philbert – Montaigu – St. Maixent and St. Sauvent-La-Plaine. At Usson, we crossed the Line of Demarcation, about nine miles South-West of Gencay, on 27 May. After leaving Usson, we ran into a French Military Patrol, told them who we were, and were arrested. We were taken to Moussac on the 28th, and were sent from there to Marseilles for a Medical Board on 10 June. While there, I escaped along with Sergeant Pilot S.J. Houghton’.

The two men broke out of Fort St. Marthe on the same day as their Medical Board, remained in hiding in Marseilles for three days and then made for Spain via Perpignan and Banyuls, crossing the Pyrenees to Vilajuiga on 16 June. After reporting to the British Consul in Barcelona shortly afterwards, they were taken to the Embassy in Madrid and repatriated via Gibraltar.

Promoted to Warrant Officer in October 1941, Ingram enjoyed a well-merited period of rest at No. 17 O.T.U. until the end of 1942, by which stage he had been commissioned as a pilot officer. Returning to operations with No. 88 Squadron in January 1943, he gained further advancement to Flying Officer that April and also served briefly with Nos. 464 and 296 Squadrons. From December 1943 until March 1944, he was posted sick on the Non-Effective List, but returned to the operational front with No. 570 Squadron in April 1944. It was, however, his time with No. 21 Squadron, No. 140 Wing, between September 1944 and April 1945, that witnessed his participation in the spectacular low-level strikes on the Gestapo H.Q.s at Aarhus and Copenhagen, and very probably Odense. The first of these raids took place on 31.10.1944, when Ingram flew with Squadron Leader A.F. Carlisle, C.O. of 21 Squadron, in Mosquito VI PZ 306, the target at Aarhus being reduced to rubble in double quick time, as evidenced by the Squadron’s no-nonsense O.R.B. entry:

‘Seven aircraft, together with aircraft of 464 and 487 Squadron, detailed to attack Aarhus, Denmark, 25 aircraft attacked with 35 x 500lb. 11-second bombs and also cannon attacks made. Last crews reported only S.E. and N.W. corner of target buildings left standing and general results were considered very satisfactory. Two trains, one engine, one rail tank car and running troops were attacked en route with cannon. Many hits were recorded inmost attacks. Two aircraft were damaged by birds. Six aircraft took photographs confirming destruction [see back cover of catalogue]. The aircraft landed at R.A.F. Swanton Morley on the way out to refuel. Time up 0705 hours. Time down 1415 hours’ (P.R.O. AIR 27/264 refers).

Also worthy of mention would be the fact that due to the extremely low altitude of the attack, at least one Mosquito hit the roof of one of the buildings, losing its tail wheel and the port half of its tail plane. Remarkably it managed to limp back across the North Sea and make a safe landing. The raid had been led by Group Captain Peter Wykehem-Barnes, his Senior, the legendary Air Vice-Marshal Basil Embry, participating as an ‘observer’ under the pseudonym. ‘Wing Commander Smith’. The Gestapo H.Q. was actually located in buildings of Aarhus University, the whole, including incriminating records, being destroyed, and by way of a bonus, S.S. Obersturmfuhrer Lonechun, Head of Security Services, was among the dead.

By early 1945 increasing Gestapo infiltration of the Danish Resistance prompted two further H.Q. strikes, the first of them on the Shellhuset Building in the middle of Copenhagen. In fact, the feasibility of attacking the Gestapo’s Copenhagen H.Q., housed in the former Shell Oil Company’s office building, had been under consideration at No. 2 Group for some months, but now there was a desperate need for action and the operation was given the green light. On this occasion, the raid leader was none other than Wing Commander “Pinpoint” Bateson, already famed for placing his bombs ‘Bang Through the front door of the Gestapo H.Q. in the Hague. 20 Mosquitos of No. 140 Wing were assigned to the target. Ingram once again flying with Squadron Leader Carlisle. It was a very fine day on 21.3.1945 and the take-off timetable was strictly adhered to. Within a quarter of an hour, the whole force was airborne, the irrepressible Basil Embry (a.k.a. ‘Wing Commander Smith’) recalling a rough and boisterous flight across the North Sea:

‘We had now worked up maximum cruising speed and were flying just above the ground in perfect formation, preparing for our final run up to the target. At times we had to pull up to avoid high-tension cables, trees and other obstruction, but our mean height was below tree-top level. It was an invigorating and satisfying sensation, especially since we were on our way to strike another blow at the evil Gestapo’.

With Bateson’s navigator negotiating a perfect course to the target – no doubt with the assistance of Ingram who acted as Deputy Navigation Leader of the force – check point after check point flashed past until over the streets in Copenhagen the Shellhuset raced into view. True to form, “Pinpoint” dropped his marker incendiary smack between the first and second floors of the building, the remainder of the force bombing hot on his tail. Few of the wrong sort survived the subsequent holocaust, somewhere between 100 and 200 Gestapo workers being killed compared to just ten Danish prisoners. As the Mosquito striking Force set course for home, the local Resistance combed the ruins and spirited away five safes and two filing cabinets containing among other information, a complete list of Gestapo informers. The great success of the raid was, however, marred. The maximum attacking height was 100 feet, but a short distance from the target the pilots had had to pull their aircraft over a 130-foot-high flood light pylon, which Wing Commander Kleboe, flying No. 4 in the first wave, hit with tragic results. Losing control, he crashed in the path of the oncoming second and third waves, killing himself and his navigator. The smoke and flames rising from the wreckage gave the impression that this was the target and at least half of the following Mosquitos bombed the wrong location, killing 86 children and 17 staff of the Jeanne d’Arc School. Naturally this incident caused huge distress among the R.A.F. survivors of the raid, but the Danes were forgiving and realistic, quickly announcing that such tragedies were inevitable in times of conflict.

At the end of the month, Squadron Leader Carlisle finally found time to sit down and write a recommendation for Ingram’s D.F.C. Just a few days later, on 17.4.1945, the squadron contributed to the strike force assigned the last remaining Gestapo H.Q. in Denmark, namely the one located on the Island of Odense. It was another successful outing under the leadership of “Pinpoint” Bateson, but further research is required to confirm Ingram’s probable participation.

Having relinquished his R.A.F. Commission and transferred to the R.N.Z.A.F. back in January 1944, Ingram gained advancement to Flight Lieutenant in October of the same year. Immediately following the end of hostilities, he served with No. 2 Squadron at Ohakea and as a member of the Canterbury Project Flight at Wigram. Transferred to the Reserve in January 1947, he was re-appointed as a Flight Lieutenant for regular service for five years in March 1949, subsequently seeing service in Malaya as a navigator with No. 41 Squadron. He was finally placed back on the Reserve in December 1954.