NUTTALL, Squire, Flight Sergeant (1684518) - No.35 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 12 December 1944. Born 20 December 1922. Medals sold at auction 5 November 1991 for £ 3,800. Information from website of Dix-Noonan-Webb. Posted to No.77 Squadron in September, 1943; took part in four night operations before being posted to No.35 Squadron, “Pathfinder Force”. Between November, 1943, and April, 1945, he completed a further 87 sorties making 91 in total, amassing an incredible 500 hours of operational flying time. Awarded DFM, 12 December 1944. Nuttall flew most of his earlier missions as mid-upper gunner but for his last 40 missions he was more usually employed as rear gunner. These two positions were probably the most vulnerable and dangerous places to be on a heavy bomber and the life expectancy of such gunners was not long by any means. It is, then, all the more remarkable that Nuttall survived unscathed to fly so many missions. His operational career included the following missions: 30 March 1944 - Nurnberg - when Bomber Command suffered its heaviest losses in one attack; 9 May 1944 - Haine St Pierre - in Master Bomber aircraft; 2 June 1944 - Trappes - in Master Bomber aircraft; 5/6 June 1944 - Maisy - Early hous of D-Day the squadron attacked two German coastal batteries, one at Maisy and the other at Longues; 7 July 1944 - Caen - in Master Bomber aircraft; 5 January 1945 - Hanover - “mid-upper gunner baled out over target after being presumably hit by flak”; 12 March 1945 - Dorrmund - The largest daylight raid during the war against a single target when 1,107 aircraft dropped more than 4500 ronnes of bombs; 4 April 1945 - Leuna (Merseburg) - in Master Bomber aircraft; 25 April 1945 - Wangerooge - The last operational mission of the Second World War for both Nuttall and No.35 Squadron when eight Lancasters bombed gun batteries on the island of Wangerooge; May 1945 - various missions marking for dropping of food supplies in Holland and ferrying released POWs from Belgium, France and Germany (Operation EXODUS). Final flight in July 1945. His regular captain was F/O Eric Charles Gregory, DFC. Died 10 March 1991 in Bolton, Manchester. No citation in Gazette. Recommended 20 September 1944 when he had flown 53 sorties (254 hours); found in AIR 2/8882 by Ian Tavender and oublished in his The Distinguished Flying Medal for the Second World War.
This NCO has a fine recoordof service as amid-upper gunner, having completed 53 operational sorties. .His crew has operated for a long period in a most important role and has attacked some of the most heavily defended targets in Gemany, amongst them Berlin, Schweinfurt,Dusseldorf, Nuremberg and Cologne. Flight Sergeant Nuttall sets an example of coolness under the heaviest fire and allways shows the greatest skill in directing his Captain in avoiding fighter and searchlight interception. It is considered that this NCO’s fine record of service and devotion to duty fully merits the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medak,
NUTTALL, Squire, Warrant Officer, DFM (1684518, RAFVR) - No.35 Squadron - Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) - awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 October 1945. Citation from Air Ministry Bulletin 20047.
Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal this Warrant Officer has flown on many more operational sorties, serving in a crew engaged on many important marking duties. An air gunner of outstanding ability, his keen vigilance has, on many occasions, enabled his captain to take action to avoid enemy night fighters. Throughout a long period of operational flying, Warrant Officer Nurtall has displayed gallantry and devotion to duty of a high order.
Combat Reports from Dix-Noonan website:
At 1946 hours on the night of 20-21 January 1944, Halifax II (HR 857) “S” of 35 Squadron was doing a bombing run on Berlin at 18,000 feet with an I.A.S. of 140 knots, when it was encircled by 10 or more fighter flares. The Rear-Gunner saw an M.E. 210 astern slightly port up at 600 feet. When the range closed to 500 feet, the Rear-Gunner told his Captain to “Corkscrew port,” and opened fire with a short burst of approximately 180 rounds. The enemy aircraft replied with cannon and M.G. fire but the tracer passed wide of the bomber. As the fighter was trying to follow the corkscrew, the Rear-Gunner fired another short burst of approximately 180 rounds. Again the M.E. 210, now on starboard quarter up, replied, but the shots went wide. The fighter still tried hard to follow the corkscrew, but was unable to do so and breaking off starboard quarter up was not seen again. Throughout this combat there was 10th/10ths cloud below which was illuminated by searchlights, flares and target fires. No casualties or damage to either fighter or the bomber.’
At 2309 hours on the night of 21-22 January 1944, Halifax II (HR 857) “S” of 35 Squadron was just completing its bombing run on Magdeburg from a height of 18,500 feet with an I.A.S. of 140 knots, when about six fighter flares were dropped directly ahead. Due to flares, fires, searchlights and some clouds, visibility was good, the Mid-Upper Gunner [Nuttall] seeing a J.U. 88 on the starboard quarter level at about 400 yards. The Rear-Gunner immediately gave “Corkscrew starboard” and both Gunners opened fire, the Mid-Upper Gunner expending approximately 150 rounds and the Rear-Gunner 350 rounds. Three guns in the rear turret stopped and the enemy aircraft replied with a short burst before breaking away port beam up. As the bomber rolled at the bottom of the corkscrew, the fighter passed above to starboard and attacked from the quarter as the bomber commenced its climb to port. The Mid-Upper Gunner fired a medium burst of approximately 100 rounds and the enemy aircraft replied before breaking away port beam down. The J.U. 88 climbed to port beam, and moving ahead dead astern, attacked from slightly up, opening fire at 400-500 yards, both Gunners returning fire, the Mid-Upper Gunner expending approximately 80 rounds and the Rear-Gunner, on one gun, approximately 200 rounds, causing the fighter to break away starboard beam below. All the time the bomber was corkscrewing and continued to do so in spite of the enemy aircraft being lost. About two minutes later, the Mid-Upper Gunner saw a fighter attacking once more; this time from the starboard quarter up, at about 400 yards. The Mid-Upper Gunner fired a short burst of 80 rounds which caused the enemy aircraft to break away port quarter up without firing. About three minutes later, the Rear-Gunner saw the J.U. 88 on the starboard quarter up, at about 400 yards and both Gunners opened fire, the Mid-Upper Gunner expending approximately 80 rounds and the Rear-Gunner approximately 300 rounds. As the fighter broke away at 200 yards on the starboard beam up, the Mid-Upper Gunner fired a long burst of 130 rounds into the underside of the fuselage of the enemy fighter. The J.U. 88 was not seen again. Enemy aircraft claimed as damaged. No damage to bomber.’
‘At 0035 hours on the night of 30-31 March 1944, Lancaster III (ND 646) “R” of 35 Squadron, detailed to attack Nuremburg, was at a height of 18,000 feet with an I.A.S. of 150 knots, in conditions of good visibility (nearly half a moon and snow on ground), when the Rear-Gunner [Nuttall] saw a J.U. 88 on very fine starboard quarter well down at 600 yards. As the fighter commenced to climb, the bomber corkscrewed starboard. The Rear-Gunner opened fire and observed his incendiaries hitting the cockpit and port engine (Wireless Operator confirms this), causing the enemy aircraft to break away starboard beam and dive away below. The J.U. 88 which did not open fire is claimed as damaged. Fifteen minutes later, and still heading at 18,000 feet with an I.A.S. of 150 knots, under the same conditions of good visibility, the Rear-Gunner noticed an enemy aircraft standing off at 600 yards on the port quarter level. When the aircraft opened fire, the bomber corkscrewed port and the unidentified enemy aircraft seemed to drift out of range, and this aircraft was not seen again. 300 rounds were fired from the rear turret without any stoppages. One J.U. 88 claimed as damaged.’
Indeed most of Nuttall’s targets were to be of the heavily defended German kind, no less than seven trips to Stuttgart, four to Berlin, three to Dortmund, Essen and Frankfurt, and a brace to Cologne and Dusseldorf being among others. Other than the above described engagements with enemy night fighters, highlights must have included the raid on Hannover on the night of 5-6 January 1945, when the Mid-Upper Gunner in Nuttall’s crew baled out as a result of the heavy flak encountered; and the controversial raid on Dresden on the night of 13-14 February 1945, when over 35,000 casualties were inflicted and 1600 acres destroyed by the worst ‘firestorm’ of the War. No doubt, too, Nuttall’s eve of D-Day sortie to Maisy, for French targets also made up part of his extraordinary wartime career.