​​A Pilot's Story

A Chesterfield Hero

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 23rd September 1944

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 3rd September 1944

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 27th September 1944

A much better picture of Dumbo on a snowy dispersal. Photo courtesy of F/E Ian Fraser with kind permission of his daughter Linda

​​​​​​14th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Munchen Gladbach

​​​​​​​​​​​20th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Karlsruhe

​​​​​​​​​​19th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Handorf Airfield

619 squadron sent 16 Lancasters​ without losses. For some reason or other, Sgt. 'Doc' Stokes didn't fly this mission with F/S Powell doing the engineering. Munich was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II—the city was hit by 71 air raids over a period of five years.

​​​​16th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Stuttgart

​​​​​15th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Le Havre

18th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Munchen Gladbach

​​​​​​​​​​​​​21st Operation - 619 Squadron -  Kaiserslautern

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 26th September 1944

​​​​​​13th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Deelen airfield

619 Squadron


RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincs :


Apr 1944-Sep 1944

RAF Strubby, Lincs :


Sep 1944-Jun 1945

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 19th September 1944

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 17th September 1944

619 squadron sent 17 Lancasters​ without losses. Deelen was the largest German airfield in Holland. The Netherlands was one of the main operational areas for the Luftwaffe during their attack on the UK and later also the first line of defence against Allied air raids, especially against the industrial Ruhr area.
The Germans built hangars and workshops and the runways were extended and cast in concrete. A railway connection to facilitate logistics was built and several flak (anti-aircraft) batteries were installed.

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 9th September 1944

619 squadron sent 10 Lancasters​ without losses. 'Doc' Stokes is back as the flight engineer on this one. Considered one of the strongest fortifications in the Atlantic Wall, Le Havre was also aided by strong natural defences that included bodies of water preventing access from the south, east and west. The north side of the port was heavily fortified, with a 6–7-metre (20–23 ft) deep and 3-metre (9.8 ft) wide anti-tank ditch stretching across the entire approach, pillboxes fitted with anti-tank and machine guns and 1,500 mines. Plans called for a massive naval and air bombardment to soften up these fortifications and so the RAF bombers dropped 5,000 long tons (5,100 t) of bombs ninety minutes prior to an attack commencing to over run the city.


An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 12th September 1944

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 10th September 1944

​​​​​​17th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Boulogne

619 squadron sent 15 Lancasters​ without losses. A bit of a strange one this, the ORB says that five crews made their target but were ordered to return to base, but according to Roy's log book, he dropped 11 1000lb and 9 500lb bombs. Notice F/O Martin flew as a second Dickie. 113 were Lancasters sent to bomb the Munster-Handorf airfield which was intended as a diversionary raid whilst a main raid was carried out by 136 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitoes of 5 Group (which was destined to be the "specialist" Group for attacks ) attacked the Dortmund-Ems canal near Ladbergen.

619 squadron sent 14 Lancasters​ without losses. 'Doc' was missing again. Stuttgart was attacked by raids of over 200 aircraft. This raid resulted in a firestorm that caused extensive damage and 957 deaths.

619 squadron sent 16 Lancasters​ without losses. This was the last op that Roy and his crew flew with 619, they would soon move to a new squadron, 227. It is unknown why there doesn't seem to be any air gunners on this raid, however another very knowledgeable friend informs me Thomas And Smart are listed in the official ORB. Although the last 619 op, Roy would fly 'Dumbo' once more before moving to 227.

619 squadron sent 18 Lancasters​ without losses. The crew dropped 18 incendiaries on Karlsruhe in a firestorm raid and was one of those raids that we wish never happened. The city was nearly destroyed in this and other raids.

619 squadron sent 16 Lancasters​ with 1 loss. This was the fateful night when Britain lost one of it's very bravest sons, Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson, VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar. Gibson was the master bomber on this raid. After the famous 617 squadron's Dams raid, 'Operation Chastise', he was seen as too valuable in terms of his propaganda value to be allowed to fly again and was sent on a flag waving tour of America and Britain. Being a born fighter, he wasn't able to be out of the line of fire for long and when he heard about the D-Day landings he feared the war would end before he could get back into action. He sent a message to Arthur 'Bomber' Harris pleading to be allowed to fly in anger again. His wish was granted. In the weeks before his death he had a couple of flights as an observer in a P-38 Lightning and flew a Mosquito to RAF Scatsta  in the Shetlands. Then on this night, he again flew a Mosquito however not the Mosquito he was supposed to fly. The aircraft at Coningsby wasn't serviceable so Gibson and his stand-in Navigator, Sqn Ldr Jim Warwick, travelled over to Woodhall Spa to collect their reserve Mosquito. For some reason Gibson rejected this aircraft and insisted on using another Mosquito which was already bombed up for another mission to the consternation of it's intended crew and ground staff who had the re arm the two craft.

​The weather had deteriorated and the primary target of Bremen was lost with the alternate target of Munchen Gladbach selected. After a late start things didn't go well over the target either when three of the target marker aircraft failed to find the red target area. Gibson tried to mark the red area himself but the red flares malfunctioned and they didn't release from the aircraft.

​With the confusion over the target area, he ordered the bombing party to turn away from the target which was potentially very dangerous, leaving them to be left exposed to flak and night fighters. Roy's navigator, Snowy, mentioned in his audio interview with the Australian war memorial that he didn't have a lot to do with Roy circling the area and was listening to the radio communication with Gibson. Eventually they were ordered to bomb the green target area and started to return to home. On the way back to Blighty, Snowy remembers hearing Gibson saying that he 'was going down now' and assumed he was reducing altitude to inspect the target damage, this was not the case however. Gibson had been a casualty of 'friendly fire'. The return journey home from any mission was the usual time to be intercepted by the night fighters and all the crews would be looking out for them. A Lancaster rear gunner, Sergeant Bernard McCormack, believed that he mistook Gibson’s Mosquito for a Junkers-88. Once McCormack became convinced that he had shot down Gibson’s Mosquito, he remained quiet. He died in 1992 but not before he recorded onto recording tape what he believed had happened.

Another Lancaster crew flying in the same area as McCormack’s also noted in their combat report that they saw an aircraft flying out of control before crashing. They also saw red target indicator flares explode on the crashed aircraft and Gibson’s Mosquito had been carrying the very same flares, the ones that hadn't released. A sad night for Britain indeed. 


619 squadron sent 16 Lancasters​ without losses. The RAF kicked of the Liberation of Boulogne (Operation Wellhit) by Canadian forces on this day by softening up the city.​

A drawing I did of Dumbo