Format Type: PDF, ePub
Read Online: 155
Chris Ward's Profile of 75(NZ) Squadron is the long-awaited, definitive and comprehensive wartime account of this well-known and highly-regarded Bomber Command outfit. Produced with the full support and assistance of squadron veterans, the Royal New Zealand Air Force Association and the New Zealand Bomber Command Association, it is a testament to the duty and sacrifice of all those who served with this famous unit throughout the Second World War. Chris Ward's detailed narrative, based on the squadron's Second World War Operations Record Book, is complemented by several hundred photographs, many published for the first time. In 1938, the New Zealand government had ordered thirty Vickers Wellington Mk1 bombers. RNZAF aircrew were despatched to train on the new aircraft at RAF Marham, and then take them to their new home in the Southern Hemisphere. When war broke out, the New Zealand Government placed the aircraft and their crews at the disposal of the RAF to help fight the new enemy. Already known as 'The New Zealand Squadron', the unit was given the number 75 on 4 April 1940, the previous unit so numbered having been disbanded. This meant that the original nucleus of personnel remained together as an operational unit of the RAF. On 4 April 1940, The New Zealand Squadron was renamed 75(NZ) Squadron. Although often referred to as an RNZAF unit, it was wholly equipped and controlled by the RAF until the end of the conflict. It was a key component of No. 3 Group, Bomber Command, and was based initially at RAF Feltwell, then RAF Mildenhall, RAF Newmarket and RAF Mepal, in Cambridgeshire. The unit saw action over France, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Germany, distinguishing itself in the process. The squadron operated with a strength of three Flights after receiving Short Stirling bombers. In line with the rest of No. 3 Group, the squadron re-equipped with the Avro Lancaster in 1944, the type seeing the unit through to August 1945. 75(NZ) Sqn operated against the Germans from 1940 to VE Day, flying more sorties than any other allied heavy bomber squadron, suffering the second highest number of casualties. A Victoria Cross was awarded to Sgt J A Ward for climbing out onto the wing of his Wellington on an operation over Europe, in an attempt to put out an engine fire. Although badly damaged by enemy fighters' cannon shells, the aircraft managed to return to its base.